I’m repeating myself. Unintentionally, I keep touching on my belief that God and humankind are not ideas. Of course, there are myriads of ideas and theories about the nature of man and God, but the entirety of experience refuses to be reduced to them. Of course, “man is not an idea” comes from Camus and Dostoevsky and all those other great writers we flee because of their supposed darkness. In a previous post, I argued that the MBTI is just another stereotype because it categorizes humanity like an idea.
I want to take it further, though. I do. I want to proclaim some kind of soft-Nihilism where categories about man and God do not exist. After all, what goodness have they brought us, these four letters of personality? This skin color? This intelligent-quotient? These supposed-haves and pseduo-have-nots? What good comes to us from separating the goats from the sheep? From quantifying human experience into a pleasant, understandable mold? Jew and Gentile? Male and female? Believer and unbeliever?
Of course, some good is that these categories are comforting and “make sense”. Hell, that’s their job, after all. But an “other” is instantly born along with these categories. If man is an idea, then you better make damn sure that you’re the right idea. You’d better be on the right end of the dividing line. When you start treating a man like an idea, someone automatically becomes the vilified outsider. It may even be you.
These categories do not exist, though. They’re all phony and rhetorical attempts of the mind trying to make sense of existence. I will not pretend that they exist like you do. I do not agree to your rules. I will be a terrible guest, refusing to eat what is in front of me — I rudely push it away. I refuse to wriggle on your wall because I exist beyond what you think of me! Because I am beyond what I know of myself! God, I do, I want to believe this. I want to stumble like a drunk man towards the new day.
The worst dividing line, though, comes not from a psychologist or a businessman. It’s not the MBTI or anything like that. This worst line is within me. The worst line is my past dictating my experience, whispering future incantations. It whispers sibilants slowly, saying who will save and who will desert. Who is just like all the other ones and who might be — but probably isn’t — radically different. I cannot break free from these categories of the past.
I have tried — Lord have I tried — to escape it. I run from it in the cool of the night with the dew in my hair, retching from the myrrh. But, these past experiences are always there telling me how to live, what to expect. It tells me how many wrecks I’ve built, reminding me of how many lives I’ve ruined. And it laughs at me, because I cannot even think without my past. It tells me how I will continue to do nothing. It overwhelms my barricades, trampling my flags. It tells me I cannot become what I am already.
Perhaps all of us, men and women, wake up hungover from the past every morning. Do we greet the day with a smile and an aspirin? Do we drink our coffee in confusion, slowly stirring creme? Do we apologize for words half-said and fully-believed in hysteria? The past greets us at every dawn with headaches, nausea. We can ignore it or address it, but it is inescapable. Ever still, we are hungover. Even forgiveness cannot wipe away regret.