Intro to Identities

We love it to identify with things. Whether positive or negative identity doesn’t matter much to us. But where does this need for Identity come from and what is an Identity in the first place?

Identity

An Identity can be defined as a thought to which we attach. This thought can be a belief, a certain behavior pattern, or an ideology. Here are some examples identities:

Nice, strong, friendly, hard-headed, french, smart, independent, being white, hard-working, loving, being a truck driver, tennis player, rich, or being poor.

The question now might arise, why do we have identities? Why do we start to attach ourselves to things? Why go through all this hassle?

Insecurity

The lower the self worth, the bigger is the need for identities. That’s why people of low self worth are easy pray for cults and ideologies. People of low self worth are on the lookout for higher identities which will (or so they hope at least) raise their self worth. A great example of this are nationalists. If you don’t have a lot going for you at least you still have a country to which you can attach your self worth

Unfortunately, since most of us don’t really know who or what we are, we are rather insecure about ourselves. That’s why we start clinging to all the sorts of things and attempt to make them our ‘own’. As soon as there is a collection of identities, the ego arises. This gives new confidence of actually ‘being’ something, which gives the quote: “I think therefore I am” a whole new meaning.

Negative Identities

But we don’t just have ‘positive’ identities, we also have many negative ones. And we have good reasons for that.

They give us comfort and acceptance. We find safety in our negative identities because of course, they are very familiar. We rather embrace a negativ identity than face nothingness.

They put responsibility ‘out of reach’. Often we don’t want to be responsible. Here negative identities come in handy. They are great excuses to stay lazy. “Oh I would love to work on my passions, but I’m too old/unskilled/busy/poor.”

They make us unique. Most of us have an innate need for differentiation. Often we try to find things that make us unique, but this doesn’t even have to be something positive. Many take pride in being lazy, procrastinating, or even not caring about their health.

Identity addiction

There are many identities can be very toxic to us. The blinded victim however might not see this. The businessman that worked 16 hours a day for the last 20 years will be so identified with his lifestyle that he in fact prides himself on being such a hardworking person. Not realizing of course that he’s wasting his life in pursuit of mediocre material pleasures. But our identities give us comfort, humans like to do the things with which we are most familiar. It takes great will or maybe even a great disaster for us to get rid of those identities.

Let’s think of an obese person. One of the biggest problems in dieting is your ‘identity set point’. If you do not drop your identity of being an obese person. You will always return back to where your identity is. This does not only apply to obese people, but also to underweight people. That’s what people call the yoyo effect, it’ coming back to your original weight after trying a diet. So next time you start a diet, start imagining that you are already at your goal weight, visualize it until it actually becomes your identity, and at this point weight loss will be easy.

Unidentitfy

To really understand identities fully, we need to get a better perspective of who ‘we’ really are. And the truth is, we are not any identity. ‘Neti Neti’ some Hindus would say, you are ‘not this, not that’. We could look at single identities as parts of a bigger whole. A lot of identities create the ego. But of course those identities are hollow, they are no more than thoughts without substance. Yes we might even stack identities on top of identity and create a rather impressive self image. But it remains just that. An image. A representation. The problem of course is that all those identities are rather constricting. And our true self lies behind all of those many identities and buried so deep it is already forgotten and takes often hard work to see it. But it is there. Once you peal identity by identity off from your original nature, your true self might become visible again…

Every form, every identity, every label is some sort of limitation. Our true nature however is absolutely unlimited.

Your true self can and will never be an identity.

Freedom and limitation

In this short article, I would like to discuss a concept which might not be immediately obvious. I’m going to talk about freedom and limitation.

Now at first, those two things might sound like two opposing forces. But the truth is quite the opposite. In reality, limitation breeds freedom. Sounds contradictory? Let’s explore this idea.

How free do you really want to be?

Have you ever considered that too much freedom might be the true limitation?

Let’s take for example that you are a chair designer. A customer comes and tells you to create a nice chair. What you will quickly realize is, that because you have been given so much freedom, you are almost stuck. You don’t know where to start, you don’t have any clear direction. If you have ever stared at a blank page right before writing or drawing something, you probably know this problem very well.

Now let’s suppose the customer says, I would like you to create a black and white medieval chair out of oak wood and copper. This might seem like a very specific instruction, but also at the same time now you know where to start and you can now focus on the actual design and the detail and let your creativity flourish.

Or let’s look at video games. A lot of single player video games have in game money. However, most people don’t want unlimited amounts of money, even if the game has cheat codes, they rather choose to work for the money. And of course, developers understand this very well, which is why they put limitations like these in games. In video games, we also often get to choose the difficulty of the game. And many people decide to play the video game on harder difficulties. Like a famous man once said “…not because it is easy, but because it is hard!”.

We enjoy limitations because it’s so satisfying once we overcome them.

So think about it, next time you are facing adversity. Maybe you intentionally choose to play this life game on hard mode. So it will be all the more rewarding once you succeed in your endeavors.

Politics and liberalism

Many people like to entertain the idea of liberalism. Freedom to the people. Initially, we may think “Yeah! What could be so bad about that?”. The problem arises as soon as your freedom might infringe on somebody else’s freedom. Some libertarians might say something like:

“But I want to keep the freedom to not wear a mask during a pandemic.” Or

“The government is stealing my money by making me pay taxes.”

But of course, the government is creating those limitations to enable more freedom. By building roads and hospitals with your tax money. You having to wear a mask while shopping might not be very comfortable, but it gives you and others the freedom to go shopping in the first place!

In art

Of course, artists understand the freedom that limitations can bring very well, which is why they also use things like deadlines, limit themselves to maybe 3 colors, or only use a certain style. Down below you’ll find some examples for this.

Who needs brushes anyways?
Having only one guitar string will force you to get creative!

The 5 laws of existence

We all have heard of the laws of physics. But there are laws even more universal, even more ‘Set in stone’. Here come the 5 laws of existence.

1. You Exist

The fundamental transpersonal self does always exist and is not dependent on objects. Objects being not only objects “out there” in the physical world, but also “inside” like thoughts and emotions. You want to get an understanding of I am ness stripped of the object. Objects are always changing. Realize that you are unchanging. I am ness always existed.

2. Everything is here and now

Have you ever experienced any other time than now? Many have heard the phrase that time is an illusion and it has been mimicked plenty of times without really understanding what is meant by that saying. What time really is, deserves a whole post on its own, however, it is important to understand that who we really are, is not a ‘being’ locked in this current Time frame. We are watching the movie, we aren’t the actor in the movie (even though we often like to think otherwise). The complete movie already exists but it is linearly displayed to us.

3. The one is the all and the all are the one

Everyone and everything is part of the all, it’s just that not everyone is aware of that. There are no real borders in reality. Everything is connected. Thus you always, at any point and any time have the ability to merge back into with the all and reconnect with your true self.

4. What you put out is what you get back

Have you noticed? If you feel bad, everything around you becomes bad. Your kids become annoying, your work becomes harder and your food tastes worse. However, luckily the opposite is true as well. If you live a life of abundance and radiate positivity you will always get positivity and abundance back. You reap that which you sow.

5. Everything changes but the first 4 laws.

Every experience that you have is a combination of those laws. Once you understand this you’ll understand exactly how existence works, you’ll understand exactly how reality works and how to create the reality that you prefer. Every experience that you have is a combination of these laws. Master those laws and you will become a master of your reality.

How to start a war 101

So you want to start a war? You came to the right place. Here we will explain how you can create your very own war.

“Why can’t we just get all along” the hippie might say.

The answer? As to many Questions on this blog, Identities and survival. The big warmongerers of history of course understood this very well. In fact, they used it to their advantage!

1. Creating a collective identity

Think of Hitler and his followers. Hitler was a very clever man when it comes to creating a big following. To be Nazi one has to adapt a whole behavior pattern that comes with it. You have to dress a certain way, act a certain way, yes even speak a certain way. And of course, most importantly, have a common enemy. This creates unity and comradery, an “us vs them” mentality. Only if this is achieved, only if a clear split is made between who we are and who they are, war can happen.

But this is not something new. The great kings of the middle ages already understood this very well. They used religion to unite people of different cultures under one common Identity.

2. Make people afraid

Now that people see themselves as part of the collective identity you created, you can start to create a threat to their identity. Those Jews, those communists, those barbarians, those black people” they “steal our jobs, threaten our security, try to change our system”.

3. Survival instinct kicks in

Now that people have identified with the collective identity you created for them and now that it is under threat from “those people”, the next step is simply to sit, wait, and watch how people are going to do everything in their power to defend their identities

4. Enjoy your war

Now people will riot and beg you to go to war. It almost seems like it’s their idea.

Enjoy your war! 🙂

Pro tip: This strategy can be applied in many different avenues. Men vs. Woman, Gay vs. Straight, Religious vs. Atheist, etc.

Good luck and have fun!

Borders of self

Where does “you” start and where does “you” stop. This is a question of where the border is drawn between self and other. Before we think this question through together, I would like you to ask that question yourself, what do you consider yourself?

Drawing the line

There are generally 2 widely spread theories.

  • 1. I am me. I am everything that happens on the inside of the skin. I can control my arm, therefore I am my arm. [Draws the line at the skin]
  • 2. I am parts of what happens inside of me, I am the positive attributes of myself. When I am drinking, I am not myself. When I get mad, I am not myself. [Draws the line inside the mind]

Let’s analyze these theories.

Let’s play a little question-answer game with a person who holds the theory No. 1.

  • Q: Why do you believe you are your body?
    • A: I am my body because I can control it!
  • Q: Do you control the growth of your hair? The beating of your heart?
    • A: No.
  • Q: What happens if I remove a part of your body? Let’s say I remove some hair, or maybe even a finger, or an arm. Are you less you?
    • A: No, I’m still me, but if you’d remove my brain I’d stop to exist. Because I would die. Maybe theory 2. was right after all.
  • Q: Aha very clever. So you think you are your brain because without it you couldn’t exit. What about air, food or water? Is that you?
    • A: What? No, of course not.
  • Q: Well without it, you couldn’t exist. in fact, you couldn’t exist without the sun. Are you also the sun?

I think at this point it should be clear that explaining why the 2. theory is faulty is unnecessary.

So where do I draw the line?

Well, the truth is.. there are no lines in reality. Reality doesn’t come in lines, all lines are made up by us. To understand ourselves we always need to have the other. But now that we realize that there is no line between self and other, we do have to realize that self and other become one. Now becoming the Self with a capital “S”. But why aren’t we quite aware of that? We might understand on an intellectual level that there are no borders in reality and that we made them all up. But why does it still feel like I am only “me”?

Survival instinct

To realize that the self as we believed it to be doesn’t exist means to kill it. To merge with “the All” means that the small self has to die. And of course, there is a lot of resistance to dying. For most people, it takes many years of practice to truly see through the illusion and realize who you really are. But everyone who has broken through the illusion says it’s worth it. So I sincerely encourage you. Question your beliefs. Question who you think you are. Ask your self whether you really want to believe an illusion for the rest of your life.

The will to power and understanding

The desire for power over one’s self and its environment is innate in humans, but what is power, why do we desire it, and how do we acquire it?

Insecurity

The desire for power is really an admission that you are powerless. Think about it. If you would be all-powerful, do you really need to prove it? Do you need to prove in front of a toddler how much stronger you are than them? Of course not. Because you know you are.

Now, of course, the question remains. Why do we want everyone to see how powerful we are? It is, quite simply because we don’t believe it ourselves. We look for confirmation in other people. We hope that other people will recognize how powerful we are, so we can trick ourselves into believing that it is actually true.

Knowledge

The phrase “Scientia potentia est” or also known as “knowledge is power” is something that comes to mind when we think of power. And it’s true, knowledge enables us to manipulate reality. But let’s inquire a step deeper, what is knowledge? Knowledge allows us to make predictions. predictions allow us to make better decisions. Decision making is what it boils down to.

Don’t kill the dog

To know we must split reality up. For something to be known there has to be a knower. And thus we have duality. This is how we understand anything. We cut it into different pieces, different holons so to speak. Let’s take for example a dog. If we want to understand what the dog is made out of we could cut open the dog and describe its organs. But of course, by cutting open the dog, we kill the dog. By splitting reality up into pieces, we forget its real meaning. And now we are in a position where we think we understand reality, we think we know what it is all about, but in the process of trying to find out we lost the bigger picture.

We split the world up so we can start doing predictions. If you have 1 and 2 you can start to add them up and all of a sudden you have mathematics. We use those predictions to make better decisions.

What is true power

When we think of power we often think of the ability to control other humans and being superior to them. But power has a lot more depth to it than we initially think about.

Power is a skill. It is a skill that can be trained to master oneself. Because he who has true power, he has true control over himself. She who has true power, she has the ability to help, to connect, to love, and to solve problems. Because what true power is, is to do the things that are necessary without hesitation. Without stepping in one’s own way. He who has power has the ability to actualize his potential.

Real power is not something you have to make happen, real power is simply something you allow to happen that is already built into you. Real power is something revealed, not something created. Real power is letting go, letting happen. Real power is doing what you really want to do, following your passion, and living in accordance with your deepest values. Power is decision making. Power is to decide with full confidence and trust in its result. Real power is trust. Real power is selflessness. Do you have real power?

Thoughts on death

If there is one thing that drives us, one thing that scares us, one thing that makes us lose all our moral standards it is this. Death. But have we ever questioned the assumption that death is really that bad? After all, most of us have no idea what it is. Yet we are “deathly” afraid of it.

Fear

To understand why we fear death so much we need to first understand why we fear in general. We fear what threatens us. By us, I mean our identity. Our ego. Our self-sense.

Why do we fear what threatens us? Our fear of death is what is keeping us alive. Everything alive tries to avoid death. Humans use the emotion of fear to keep us away from what we perceive as danger. We demonize death. We cry at funerals. We shed tears when we see death in the news. Because the Human system is built to avoid danger. But is it all that bad?

Die before you die

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just ask someone who has died what death is like?

Luckily we can! There is a phenomenon called a near death experience or short, NDE. Some reports say that they happen to 17% of people who nearly die. So, what do people who had NDE’s say? What was it like? Many people report they had strong positive emotions, a feeling of peace, painlessness, happiness, and pure bliss.

So if this is true, is it justified to fear death the way we do?

Implications

Now you might say: “Oh well, death isn’t as bad as we thought, so what?” The problem is that we don’t see the implications this has. Our complete worldview hinges on this one simple fact. That death is the worst thing that could ever happen to you. But if we believe those people who had near-death experiences, and death really is one of the most beautiful things we are able to experience, then we should start celebrating mass murders for being such selfless beings, helping people see Love and God without worrying about themselves. Hitler was the real Bodhisattwa. Hitler should be our Jesus.

But.. Seriously?

Alright alright. That might be a little radical. And I am not advising anyone to go around killing people. But what I do advise is to show more compassion and accept death. Don’t demonize death. It is integral to life.

Let it go.

Death is much more than just what we initially think of. When we think about death we think about the physical body dying. But death happens all the time, in all of us. We die when we let go. We die when we grow. We die when we become someone new and let go of our past self. It is a necessary and useful process. Without death, there could be no life. Life implies death and the other way around. Death and change could be synonymous. It’s no accident that the Hindus pray to Gods of death. They embrace it, they celebrate it, they welcome it. Because they realize how death and birth are one and the same thing. You cannot have one without the other.

Happy Death!

When people cry at a funeral, they aren’t crying for the person who got “cut short of their life”. They usually cry out of selfishness. They cry because they can’t have that person in their life anymore. Clinging to things, not being able to let them go, not being able to let them die is the source of all suffering. Therefore I hope to encourage all of you. Try to let go. Try to let go of the things that you always thought you needed. That doesn’t mean you have to actually sell your car or leave your partner. But try to let go of the attachments you hold in your mind. See how liberating it can be. See how much less pain you’ll have to endure once the person or possession finally has to leave. This doesn’t mean you don’t love the things around you or cherish them. Quite the opposite. You can cherish them without your selfish attachment. Love life. Don’t cling to it.

Survival

Everything we do is based on one simple principle. We are trying to survive. This might seem simple at the beginning but it really goes much deeper than that. All our opinions, all our judgments, all our actions, and our complete morality has one ultimate goal. Survive.

But how can this be? Here are 3 questions that may come up to this bold claim:

1. How am I surviving when I start watching Netflix?

To understand this we need to understand what we are trying to survive. We are trying to survive the ego that we have constructed for ourselves. Watching Netflix might be a coping mechanism that we learned to avoid dangers like studying for school. Since we have learned that studying might imply suffering.

2. How am I surviving when I Insult someone?

To know ourselves we need to know what is other. Many people try to reaffirm their identity by pointing out everything that they are not. Some may point at poor or lazy people and rant about them, just to make sure that everyone (and they themself) knows how hard working they are. This is just the ego’s reaction to things it cannot admit about itself. In fact, studies show that homophobic people are more attracted to homosexual porn than the average person.

3. How am I surviving when I am smoking cigarettes?

This is an odd one. We obviously know that smoking is bad for our health, same with eating sweets. So why would that be a survival mechanism? It is important to understand here that, again survival doesn’t mean the physical survival of our bodies. We have habits that are so intrinsic to our identity that letting go of them would feel like a small death, we would lose a part of ourselves. With things like eating sweets another factor comes into play, we have been conditioned for millions of years that high caloric foods are “good” for us, so our taste buds have evolved to make those foods taste good.

Conclusion

We see now that survival involves more than just running away from obvious dangers. In fact, what our minds have labeled as dangers might be the things that most benefit our physical survival. Survival is really the base motivation of all things in existence since if it cannot survive, it wouldn’t be here.

You got it all wrong

Have you ever wondered? What if everything you know, what if everything you ever got taught, and what if anything you ever learned is 180° wrong?

How could this be you may ask? Well, to understand this we need to first understand how we build knowledge at all.

How do we know anything at all?

Imagine a pyramid upside down. At the tip of the pyramid (now at the bottom), we have our most fundamental beliefs. Those could be beliefs like. I am real, I am my physical body, my parents are real, the world is logical. Those very basic beliefs we usually adopted when we were children. As we grew up we learned more and more about our environment and our selves – or so we thought. What really happened was that we were looking for ideas that confirmed our very early beliefs. And so we started building our castle of knowledge on top of sand.

A castle on top of sand

Philosophers often like to use a phrase called “a priori”. It means a truth that doesn’t need proof. A truth so obvious that it doesn’t need to be questioned. Do not be mistaken, this is a huge trap. An example for an a priori claim would be:

2+2=4

But is it really? The short answer: No. The long answer: If we ask the question 2+2=4 we completely neglect the fact that it needs someone to perceive that statement. So yes, it does make sense for a human, but what about an ant? Or what if there are higher beings for whom simplistic duality is ridiculously silly? Also, one must of course ask. in what context does 2+2=4? in a materialistic universe? Maybe, but what if there are entirely new and higher ways of understanding? I hope you can see that what is true in this case is entirely relative.

Why we don’t want to crash the castle

Now let’s imagine we deeply question one of those deep assumptions we have about reality. What would happen if we for example realize that, what we called real, actually has no reality whatsoever? Well, in fact, we would die. Or more so, the Identity that we have constructed for ourselves. Because after all, who we are, is really who we think we are. And as soon as we realize that our thinking always worked through as blurred lens, the idea of who we are collapses. That is why people are not willing to question their assumptions about race, religion, or even their favorite soccer team. Because their whole world view hinges on those beliefs. Our life, or what perceive as our life depends on it.

Conclusion

So we kind of know that all our beliefs that we have are built on top of illusions. Now the question remains, are we ready to question those? Are we ready to die, let go of our attachments to what we thought was true and be reborn again to a new, higher truth?