Friday, September 3, 2010

Identity Crisis

Snapshot of the State

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin autographs a photograph during a stop on the newly opened Chita-Khabarovsk highway, near Khabarovsk, approximately 6100 kilometers (3800 miles) southeast of Moscow

Those who choose to be enslaved by men they don’t even know don’t hesitate to show idolatry when given the opportunity. A tyrant’s sordid history is forgotten, the blood on his hands ignored. It seems an attempt to forge a superficial bond with the collective abstraction integral to the individual’s identity.

Butler Shaffer writes:

“One of the deadliest practices we engage in is that of identifying ourselves with a collective entity. Whether it be the state, a nationality, our race or gender, or any other abstraction, we introduce division – hence, conflict – into our lives as we separate ourselves from those who identify with other groupings. If one observes the state of our world today, this is the pattern that underlies our deadly and destructive social behavior.

Through years of careful conditioning, we learn to think of ourselves in terms of agencies and/or abstractions external to our independent being. Or, to express the point more clearly, we have learned to internalize these external forces; to conform our thinking and behavior to the purposes and interests of such entities. We adorn ourselves with flags, mouth shibboleths, and decorate our cars with bumper-stickers, in order to communicate to others our sense of 'who we are.' In such ways does our being become indistinguishable from our chosen collective.”

When these “abstractions’ are personified in living, breathing, fawned over humans, the attraction is irresistible.
U.S. President Barack Obama shakes holds bags of takeout food as he greets lunchtime diners at Nancy's restaurant in Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard.

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