One problem I have with labeling ourselves as a this or a that, is that it usually stems from adoption of the values most familiar to us as we grow into young adults.
Once adopted it can be very difficult to abandon those labels, particularly if the culture we live in seems to suggest that any alternatives are forbidden.
While we might be subjected to psychological manipulation to think of ourselves as being one thing or another, philosophical alternatives, discussions and attitudes may be well and truly concealed from our consciousness; even to the point of them being actively denied as worthy investigations.
It’s as if we become addicted to our idea of ourselves; our egos.
Often, we do not even notice that our attitudes are determined by our culture, our surroundings, or those with whom we connect.
However, some influences are adopted without question and it is those, which can end up restricting us from a more progressive view of ourselves.
Instead we preserve the status quo and conserve what we have been led to believe cannot, must not, be altered.
Then there is the liberated mind that has been awakened to the fact that anything is possible. Possible, not in the sense that we can do (or be) the impossible, but that we do have the ability to reject restrictions and change the way things have been done previously, for new ways, more suited to our current perception of reality.
This is the difference between preserving older views that might have even once been relevant, and new views that offer advances in both thinking about, and experiencing, life.
Of course, this whole point is a case for the Left, but if it is to be truly worthy of our humanity, it has to be nurtured and applied with compassion.
It is here, in my opinion, that the conservative Right has missed its calling to preserve all the good humanity has achieved, and instead, tried to petrify past concepts as sacrosanct, never to be questioned.
In this spirit then, there is a need to question so much that is accepted as a fait accompli, irreversible, and which are, in fact, nothing more than blinkers to possibilities and wonders we have yet to even imagine, let alone discover.
I would suggest we ask if the free market, based as it is on profiteering on and from each other, is really the best way to distribute wealth or build a culture?
Does our political system serve the people, or the culture, or merely itself?
Has philosophic discussion of life been replaced by, subservience to an idea of gods and goods?
Does psychological manipulation to make us behave in some kind of Brave New Totalitarian Corporate World, without the freedom to be ourselves, simultaneously, perhaps even at one time accidentally, now commonly, deceive us into thinking that we are free agents of our own lives?
Or, can we see that the labels of fiscally conservative, socially liberal etc., are nothing more than deceptive distractions that blind us from questioning our perceptions of what is real, worth keeping and worthy of our effort to explore, and, where appropriate, renew or change?
The Right as it is presently evolving, some would say, ‘devolving’, does indeed seem to be limiting its idea of freedom, but the Left is not helping as it moves further to the Right in a weird effort to limit its own advances such as they are. If the Right misconstrues freedom for the people, then the left misappropriates liberating the governance of the people. And government by the people becomes merely rhetorical.
There is a sense of inequality in our democracies; an imbalance.
It is physically, psychologically and philosophically challenging us, but we the people are suffering from not practicing, from not understanding our freedom, and therefore invite the deprivation that ignorance and uninformed decision brings to our lives in the market place, the ballot box, and the global culture as a whole.
In many ways, it is as if we have given ourselves the freedom to ignore reality while marrying it to past concepts no longer valid. We have mislabeled God as being something other than our own inherent aptitude to live a life of love.
A warning on the label of our era would not go amiss.
Desmond Rutherford, based in Adelaide, South Australia, is a poet, columnist and writer. Des DownUnder is published under license from Desmond Rutherford Associates Ltd.