Thursday, 11 May 2017

Political Views & Identity


It's occurred to me whilst in conversation with a friend that the reason people get so hot under the collar when it comes to political views, whether right-wing, left-wing, anarchist or statist, is that it forms a part of their identity, their basic sense of self as a human being, so that when attacking or even merely inadvertently upsetting those views they take it as an affront on their person rather than merely on their opinions, i.e. angles on things.

The same is often the case of religious and atheist affiliations which often form a part of a person's identity and indeed one could make the point that political views, because they so often require belief as opposed to doubt, are quasi-religious in the meaning they give a person. 

I venture to say here, however, that I do not take a high view of 'identity' since I interpret it as relating to the lower, egoic self, as opposed to the higher, more illumined self which accepts diversity since in tune with the Whole which sustains the apparent separateness of human beings, the illusion of separateness being seen as the source of all evil in some ancient Eastern traditions (according to Manly P. Hall in his Lectures on Ancient Philosophy). 

Things that have helped me in overcoming too high a sensitivity when my philosophical/political attachments and views are challenged are
  • the insight that I might be wrong and have been wrong in the past
  • the insight that everyone is journeying, whether consciously or not, wether actually ascending, stalling or descending, up their own Mountain of Enlightenment and therefore that people with particularly abhorrent views may grow out of them in time and that lower forms of consciousness co-exist with higher ones as they always have done in history.
  • the humility that comes with my own experience of identity, whether it be my conservative, pro-capitalist, pro-US imperialism, anti-French views that I held when I left school - views which I find particularly flawed, immature and mind controlled now (I was very influenced by The Economist newspaper and interpretations of my life experience - see Experience as Interpretation) - or my more left-wing views that developed later to reach a point now where, despite all the reading and thinking that I do now, I do not identify with any views in the sense of having my ego, my sense of self (low form of identity) at stake in them.
Identity remains for me symptomatic of an emerging mode of consciousness - whether it be attachment to a nation, an ideology, a particular people, race or religious creed - that has yet to free itself from the false self, i.e. the ego, and therefore has yet to experience what Manly P. Hall calls the second birth that follows the first, biological, birth, which is in fact a death (of the ego) in favour of a realisation that puts oneself in touch with the higher Self rooted in the All, i.e. Being, and which therefore sees the metaphysical unity amongst the apparent, physical, diversity. 

Addendum - The same friend I had a conversation with, on reading this, said that political views can be moral views - not just any views - and I wholeheartedly agree. That being said moral views can be seen as an expression of higher consciousness rather than being part of egoic identity.

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