I have been grappling with – my entire life it seems – questions of identity. I have gone back to the beginning, to a man who enlightened me 30+ years ago with his ability to cut through the rhetoric, expose the blind corners and convenient, comfortable illusions of our species.
Krishnamurti, the anti-guru, the anti-teacher, the anti-philosopher says it too well:
“….That search for security again expresses itself through class divisions, which develop into the stupidity of nationalism and imperialism, breeding hatred, racial antagonism and the ultimate cruelty of war. So through our own egotistic desires we have created a world of nationalities and conflicting sovereign governments, whose function is to prepare for war and force man against man….”
What benefits do I derive from identifying with my “race,” “my religion,” “my nation?!” Are there any benefits?
Krishnamurti identifies fear as the root cause of our need for a jiveass psychic security blanket, a binky, an externalized label that makes us feel warm, fuzzy and o-fucking-kay. And yet, there is no protection and no security behind any label, marker or identifier. You are you and I am me, regardless of what the world calls us or what we pretend to call ourselves.
What slapped me in the face again is the way in which I’ve fallen into a pattern of identifying myself as a black man, a member of the black community, an advocate for black people, a freedom fighter, a freeslave. The prime motivator was and is fear nurtured with brainwashing and coercion.
I am only free when I see and refuse to play THE game. I’m only free (and me) when I confront my deepest fear – being alone in the water with no lifeboat, living life with no chaser or cut card. I know and wear the ‘Mask’ of patriotism expressed through race rhetoric, posing, narrow colored concerns. The fear of dismissal and rejection by my so-called tribe haunts me, the jealous, excommunicating, nitpicking kente set, a people who could never embrace me because they can’t embrace their real selves in the light of day.
They too wear the nationalist blindfolds, refuse to peek out of their colored foxholes, can’t see the stockyard fence that hems them in and leads them to physical, psychological and spiritual slaughter. We’ve learned to lobotomize ourselves with German efficiency.
I see the ignorance, the studied evasion, the terrified, sophisticated grasping for validation, the ravenous need for love…in myself!! I see it in my so-called people, in THEIR ignorance, in their impotent rebellion, wolf tickets sold by spiritual eunuchs. I see this madness in other people – people who are not supposed to be my people. And they are, though they don’t know it and I tend to forget it.
Its such a funny picture: racist termites infest the minds of whites who can’t see, feel or taste it and the black folks, who see too much, the real merged with the hallucinatory, ghosts and shadows frolicking with the child within who never had and chance and who we don’t give a chance. Far easier to wade in ‘post-traumatic-slave-disorder.’ We drink the stagnant water, the poison we intend for our enemy, who lives in a tra-la-la fantasy world of shallow, monstrous faux conceit and narcissism. Hemlock ain’t nuthin’ but a .40 and a resentment against the white man…and yet, WE die from it.
There are those who howl at any thought of seeing outside of the color-construct:
Your color-stuck malignancy is precisely why WE can’t shake our dehumanization, can’t see our common humanity and kinship with the white fool who is our ignorant-opposite, the tails’ side of the same coin. No, we’d rather walk with a pimp’s pride and a whore’s dignity. We recall the great civilizations and innovations of “our people,” before our capture and enslavement. 100 years from now, who will recommend us, our civilization, our great offerings? No one because we have none. They will say that our enslavement ended on paper – but not between the ears.
None of our movements have yet freed us from our desire to merge with something or someone else – bigger, stronger, wiser – someone who will solve all of our riddles, protect and save us. From ourselves. That boat will never arrive in time to save our drowning carcass. It will never arrive at all. My advice: Swim, muthafucka, swim!
What happened to the “divinity within?” You?!
I hate white people and black people and religious people and nationalists and patriots and communists and anarchists and all others who live, breathe and die by hand me down tags – cranial brands that they can’t see beyond. Their petty insanity and narrow soul-lessness makes it impossible for them to see the quilt, only the individual panels. And what results: Man in conflict with man, woman, child, animal and planet. We are in internalized, dysfunctional conflict with ourselves.
Will you be militantly yourself, or will you be what they tell you you should be, oughta be, what they teach and train you to be?! No one will liberate me and you from that prison, that woodchipper. I charge and convict myself first and foremost of these crimes. And then I charge you with the same.
I hate myself for conforming, for feeling guilt, feeling pressured to raise my right hand and be “BLACK, first, last and always,” to be manipulated by the drunken clergy that cries “SINNER” when black penis touches white pussy, or threatens to. “Black and white don’t go together,” two little black girls tipsily sang to me when I was hanging with a white girl one day long ago. This disease of compartmentalized races that must stick to their own kind or else be infected with mongrelized cooties….why this is our spiritual Alzheimers and Everest.
We have become like the pods in “Invasion of the Bodysnatchers,” numb replicas of ourselves that grow and flourish in the basement of our consciousness, our dim awareness and then – when we fall completely asleep – this dead thing replaces us, human no more. Just a vacant, vapid, windup doll, trolling the surface that shackles us in place.
So, while I can’t help but be spiritually and emotionally nekkid when it comes to racism/white supremacy and its discontents, to sexism, homophobia, speciesm, shadism, etc, I’m gonna be blind when it comes to not allowing shade or looks to keep my thinking, my heart, my spirit on the down-low, in a shoebox, programmed, fitting all that I see into a narrow paradigm. And I will remember that, as Krishnamurti puts it, “most people are second hand.” Derivative. Clones. Dead. What do I look like following them, following anybody?! If I meet some free people along the way, I meet some free people along the way. But I don’t need you to hold my hand and support me, nurse me, educate me, prop me up.
NOT seeing is not an option. I say, see ALL that you can see, all of this bullshit including yourself. Don’t just look at the surface sheen, look at the underneath, feel it, take it into your mouth and suck on that lozenge of self-hate and revulsion, the personal powerlessness animated through fake religion, fake militance, fake solidarity, fake, fake fake. Don’t take my world for it, see and feel it for yourself.
Look at how retarded, how limited we are, how underdeveloped, how incapable of seeing except through the borrowed prism through which you see everything, race, gender, etc. You picked it up, read it somewhere – in church, in school, in your political re-education class; dogma that explains your life neatly and folds it like a starched shirt at the Chinese laundry.
But don’t take my word for it; don’t even listen.
I want to know a new freedom whether it includes happiness or not; one that doesn’t require a bulletproof vest, or a moat, a Bible or a Big Book, a woman, a servant, a mob or a movement. I’m dropping all of my dogmatism and crutches – just for today, just this second. No Gods, No Masters and NO ANSWERS – NOTHING unless it comes out of my unique many layered, authentic experience.