Abstracting What's Natural

Brigham #environment

Everything in the world has been defined, or in terms of my current metaphor, “boxed up.” I aim to convince the reader that these boxes should be fully opened to reveal the more accurate defining characteristic of the world, which is its abstractness and lack of definition. I am not discussing scientific or physical phenomena, such as north and south or positive and negative, but that of the human condition. We’ve placed fulfillment into a narrow economic understanding and created models of a meaningful life by means of film and television that are unattainable for most people. We are the ones who in fact created this limiting perspective and the conception that we are supposed to fit inside of it. How can we possibly allow for such abstract terms such as freedom, love, and politics to be naturalized by mass media? I assume a corresponding image came to mind when reading each of those words, and too many people take these subconscious relationships for granted.

Modern discourse possesses a uniformity in people’s conceptualization of the current reality that limits thinking to the actual and limits an attainment of the possible. We’ve created boxes in the pursuit of total rationality and our desire to define everything. We’ve restricted our own freedom by developing a common understanding of the term. A word that is in opposition to restrictions has become trapped in its current form. We’ve become slaves to definition. We are victims of the limitations we have imposed on ourselves.

Society has generated expectations around our behavior and deemed them as norms that we are pushed to model ourselves after. These norms have led to a cynical self-understanding. If we are the round peg unable to fit in the square hole, the thought that we are somehow less than is incredibly destructive. Constraining the infinite spectrum of humanity into a minute range of possibilities according to idealized physical identity, but more importantly, accepted ideologies regarding what matters in life, is a primary contributing factor as to why so many today to undergo serious depression or anxiety, and in the harshest cases, harm themselves. This negative self-perception of oneself can be paralleled by a similar perspective on what constitutes success today.

The terms worth and value are inherently attached to it is a dollar amount that defines the amount of economic freedom we possess. This monetary freedom pretty much constitutes freedom of action in capitalist society, and if one is not able to conjure enough wealth to get by, let alone do the things they actually want to do, a negative sense of identity can be found as the common result. Nothing in today’s world is simply allowed to exist without an attached limitation linguistically. I do not want to promote the idea that some of these definitions cannot be positive as well, such as the identification of basic human rights to that of autonomy, speech, and life, but these things are not universal due to the relativity of values in many non-American societies.

My main gripe with the current use of language is that of the “either / or” distinction. This artificial idea leaves no room for ambiguity and no freedom to truly act outside of pure affirmation or negation. The most blatant example of this can be found in the two-party system, which is void of any true ideological representation through party-identification objectifying the candidate into a predetermined set of views of that respective party, and in today’s climate, no room for true political discussion outside of the accepted attitudes. This “two-party system” is a ruse, and simply indoctrinates the voting population into believing they have democratic power, when in reality they are participating in the continued oppression of foreign countries, the lower classes, and any real possibility of bettering the lives of the masses in the current construction of production. Almost every choice we make in life goes beyond the distinction of black and white, but we are manipulated to think we have to choose between two distinct paths in so many instances of our lives. After highschool we are pushed to go to college or join the workforce. Once we get a job, the path of hard work is necessary or one will find themselves living a poor life. Relationships are immediately connected to marriage and monogamy, where we should prove that we will love someone forever or, on the other hand, live a miserable lonely life. Any rational person should possess an innate lack of uncertainty, the basis for anxiety and many people’s hesitancy to truly be themselves in a world so caught up in the concrete.

The most contradictory definitions are those which constitute morality. How does one define a word relating to the “right” way to behave? The obvious answer is you cannot, but in the modern day, we do so through cultural relativism under the notion of unwavering growth and progress. Morality is dependent on the existence of others, but there has and never will be an objective moral compass. Just because we have progressed to the perceived peak of human history, it does not mean that we have reached the summit of the mountain. This summit is hidden from our view because it lies in a time not yet lived. By accepting our current way of life as ideal, we inherently limit ourselves and every other individual from achieving more. We’ve also isolated our sense of freedom as individualistic, as if our freedom isn’t reliant on the freedom of others. If we were left to pure solitude, our freedom would be worthless as there would be nothing to enact our freedom on, for it would be relative to the inhuman, and would ultimately be defined by the action or lack of action taken by one individual. To truly say that humanity has reached its highest sense of value, there is a requirement that every individual is capable of enacting their freedom equally.

Many things do define our condition, and are contingent on the fact we are alive. The human condition is limited to the day we are born to the day we cease to be. The things we create or memories we’re a part of can be infinite, but these moments too will eventually never be spoken about again, as the connections to that memory itself will not exist for eternity. The only thing we can do is seek to cultivate our own existence through the things we devote our time to in light of an uncertain future. Any attempt to transcend the finite nature of our lives is futile, but the attempt to make the world a place filled with artificial truth is equally dishonest. The point I want to make regards the human desire to live in a world on his own terms, and many of the societal stigmas, norms, and expectations that we blindly accept and serve to limit this desire to be free. Living with complete freedom does not give one the right to encroach on the freedom of others, but to coexist in a world defined by coexistence. Restraining ourselves by succumbing to the “either/or” dichotomy and even to previous human history (to an extent) rejects the notion of our free-will. If you truly believe in a cause that will benefit yourself and others, or want to live your life in a certain way that goes against the grain, strive to achieve those things. We all end up in the same place, and the question is, are you going to let others manipulate you into becoming a standardized subject? Or will you break out of the box and truly live according to your aspirations? The choice is yours.