Even people who may seem inert aren’t. They have to act to avoid action, though usually that is not conducive to growth or productivity.
I heard that Richard Nixon was very loyal to his people. Oh, indeed. There is honour among thieves and breaches of honour. There is no domain of human experience, I am aware of, that is conflict free. We are loyal as a function of our extended sense of identity. Our minds attempt to reconcile very fundamental intuitions about our relationship to life and even just answer some simple questions of logic.
Try this if you would, friends. Define yourself without including any references to the world around you.
“I think, therefore I am.” Sorry, you asked a philosopher. Ah, thought is a phenomenon you are capable of experiencing. An action that you can only be conscious of in context of experience versus non-experience. I think therefore I am automatically includes the whole world.
I am woman. To define yourself as woman you must include matches for your gender and contrast to your gender.
I feel, therefore I am… achy. There you include references to an organic structure that serves the body collective in a very specialized way.
Well, yes, that’s how Descartes was able to prove the existence of the world. You just hit upon one of the primary points of today’s subject of loyalty. If you were to continue this exercise trying to define yourself without references to the world until you ran out of ideas, what you would have produced is your list of loyalties. Some people won’t include gender on that list, others will. Some won’t include age, others will. Some won’t include species, others will. Isn’t it strange how much these things differ between people?
Some don’t include feeling. Some don’t include thinking. Indeed, some people objectify themselves and by extension everyone else. However you define yourself, you immediately define the world likewise. Now, do these lists always take only one side of a seemingly opposed split?
People often say they feel they were born the wrong thing, wrong gender, wrong station in life. Is that loyalty to your self? It is and it also isn’t. Most people are not well equipped to be loyal to their selves. Be true to yourself is great advice but people have to see it to do it, and they don’t realize exactly what they are doing that creates these splits in their self awareness.
We are taught not to be. We are taught to be good little workers. To obey others and not ourselves. Taught to be seen and not heard. That’s true. People see themselves as objects, as products of their experience. Both are sadly true and damaging to adhere to. They have lead people down the road to failure. Even in the strictly practical sense, the teaching being only a convenience for some other who saw themselves as entitled to authority over you.
We have to teach others how to respect us, but first we have to respect ourselves. Respecting oneself is primary, and you have to be able to perceive self to respect self.
And you never truly respect another if not yourself. Exactly. Perhaps the big challenge to self respect is the realization that you can’t respect the nose to spite the face.
Can we have our loyalties include two seemingly opposing ideas? We can. When we realize our identity with the third point, we can even make informed choices about which side of the paradox we will actually manifest, rather than have the yin-yang of the soul roll over us like an out of control boulder.
When we are the observer? I can be this or that and both? Yes. This is the basis of mastering change in the world. Some call this magic.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.