(Bautista, Personal Photograph, Koh Sahmet Island, Thailand, 2013)
When you are fully present with everyone you meet, you relinquish the conceptual identity you made for them — your interpretation of who they are and what they did in the past — and are able to interact without the egoic movements of desire and fear. Attention, which is alert stillness, is the key – Eckhart Tolle
Pre-emptive construing -When a person is construed as nothing but an X, all their other characteristics are ignored – G.A. Kelly
Don’t make the mistake of wearing a negative label. Wrong labels can keep you from your destiny. Wear the right labels: strong, talented and valuable – Pastor Joel Osteen
In another new section of this blog, I am going to start exploring areas of a book written by Paul Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson called The Cultural Creatives (2000). It presents a quite detailed account of a collective of individuals known as cultural creatives. As I started reading the book and really connecting with the ideology, the philosophy, the mantra, the mandate or whatever you want to call their way of thinking and doing – I had to stop and realize that this phenomenon – the emergence of cultural creatives – resonates with me but identifying its members as cultural creatives feels suffocating. But it’s the double-edged sword of our time – labelling everything and compartmentalizing people.
The more I sat with the term, the more I thought about my need to identify with it. But why? The sense of belonging, that’s why. But then I remembered Tolle (2005) in his text A New Earth, when he says:
You have only covered up the mystery with a label. Everything, a bird, a tree, even a simple stone, and certainly a human being, is ultimately unknowable. This is because it has unfathomable depth. (25)
When you don’t cover up the world with words and labels, a sense of the miraculous returns to your life that was lost a long time ago when humanity, instead of using thought, became possessed by thought. A depth returns to your life. Things regain their newness, their freshness. And the greatest miracle is the experiencing of your essential self as prior to any words, thoughts, mental labels, and images. (26)
Let’s focus on labelling people. Some find it necessary to do so because it makes life easier. Others find it disturbing because a label takes away the essence or wonder about someone. There’s no room for ambiguity or change. There’s no need to understand or listen to someone’s life story. There are boundaries, culture codes and limitations when we construe labels and place them on people.
Loner. Religious. Transgender. Lawyer. Artist. Good-looking. Spiritual. Uneducated. Poor. Vegan. Celibate. Liberal….
When we use labels, we don’t just know how to define people, we also know how to judge them in so many ways.
Even Shakespeare knew that naming a rose was problematic.
I’m not on a crusade to abolish the labels in society. I’m writing this to keep in mind that cultural creatives is just a name placed upon an essence that I really do resonate with on so many levels. It’s not about the name, it’s about the essence.
It’s like low tide – so much is revealed if we just let things be.
Like my own labels placed upon me by others and sometimes by myself, I must see that underneath the labels lies so much more.
And no matter what the labels are – it’s someone’s life – a rich textured indescribable essence of being.