Saturday, 17 January 2015

I would love thee, but for the hole in my heart

As a pre-teen, still stuck in primary school, I was convinced that this one girl - who was both a neighbour and classmate - simply had to be 'mine'. I don't know why I thought like that if it involved any reasoning at all. All I can remember is having agonized thoughts over what if she didn't like me, who at that time was still this hugely awkward boy. Even now, many years later I still feel ashamed for having such possessive thoughts towards another human being.

Worse is that it pains me to still occasionally have such thoughts, although it's then usually accompanied with a kind of longing towards a life filled with warmth and shared joys. I'm not naive enough to think that any such things can be found in a relationship with another person. Yet despite this knowledge it still hurts me to see couples, especially when it are two girls holding hands. It's hard to escape the hold the mind's whispered promises hold over one's conscious mind.

As a scientific person I'm quite aware of how the whole bio- and neurochemistry around physical attraction and procreation works. Even before we are born, each and everyone of us is in theory primed and ready to be manipulated by our own genes and mind. From the physical sex we are attracted to, to what we seek in a partner to procreate with, to the mechanisms which make us claim, defend and lash out at a mate. Not to mention the mechanisms which physically alter our brains to ensure that we are imprinted on our offspring and become happy to sacrifice ourselves for them, far beyond the bounds of what is reasonable.

Free choice is largely an illusion. Our subconscious mind is most adapt at manipulating the conscious mind without it being aware of it. Genes, bio- and neurochemistry all conspire against us. And our reward? Liberal applications of neurotransmitters which make us feel really fuzzy, warm and good about ourselves. We are little different from those rats in experiments which get trained to press a lever to get a pleasing jolt to the reward center in their brain.

Many are seemingly quite okay with this situation, happy to be in essence a slave of their own genes and mind. They feel happy, so why resist? It's not like it's harming anyone, after all.

Where this clashes with the consciousness is where one desires more out of life than to simply be a slave. It's not dissimilar in this regard compared to the dark chapter in humanity's history of widespread slavery. As slavery stood to be abolished in the new-formed USA, especially slave-owners defended their actions by saying that they had sacrificed everything to keep these slaves safe, well-fed and happy but that now they were so ungrateful as to rebel. On the other side, slaves were divided on the 'freedom' thing as well. While being a slave isn't perfect, it offers a kind of stability, certainty and safety, especially if one's owner isn't the bad type. Many slaves later returned to their former owners as free people, to work for an honest wage as a result.

The slaves who protested were the ones who protested generally not because of unfair treatment, but simply because of the unfairness and injustice of being forced into and kept in slavery. They, as well as many free people alongside them, could not imagine being stripped of one's humanity like that and kept like a dog, or less than that. A mere piece of property, a puppet to dance to the owners' strings. This is ultimately the one thing which at least in my view makes a person a human being: this drive for freedom and justice.

So how does that rhyme with this supposed oppression by one's own body and mind? Isn't that who we are after all? Why would one protest against one's own flesh? Why fight the urge to go out, possess and mate to fulfil our mind's desires? Why gorge on that delicious, unhealthy food whenever you can, even though you know you're quite literally killing yourself? Are you merely a programmed puppet or your own person?

Where does the border between 'self' and the lizard/monkey brain foisted upon us by evolution truly lie?

Who and what are we, really?

I have seen, gone through, experienced and thought deeply about many issues in what most would call only a brief part of my life. I have seen the very edges of hope and despair as well as the heights of joy and utmost relief. Through it all I have had to confront those very questions over and over as in everything these same questions just got flung back into my face. I was a boy, then a man, then a girl and now a woman. I have loved, lost, been hurt and beaten more times than I could count.

What I value most at this point is simply freedom and justice. Freedom from society. Freedom from what my own mind keeps whispering into my consciousness. Freedom from being a puppet for everyone and everything. I simply want to be my own person.

I think I know who I am at this point. Maybe I also know what I am. I do not know what this body of mine is, and likely will never know the answer. I do not think that this body of mine has a part in any future of mine, as it will only hold me back from freeing myself.

As far as the issue of my body further trying to manipulate me into thinking or behaving a certain way goes, it can take a very long hike off a very short pier there. I don't have to obey my genes. They're not my master. All that is important is my 'self'. The ego freed from the body's manipulations, free to dream and act without inhibitions or distractions.


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