Scientists say that we evolved from fish (over millions of years of evolutionary time). Many fish remain together in large schools. We, as human beings, still cluster together in groups (often, just as the fish do, out of fear or out of the desire to be associated with something more substantial). When one “belongs” to a sizable group, it allows one to identify oneself with (and “as”) something larger and (apparently) much more significant. One identifies with (and becomes) the group. “It is ‘my country'”… which is so vast, powerful, and beautiful… and, so they say, “It is what I am willing to die for.” The aforementioned sentence is a typical thing stated often in various countries, each thinking that their ways and systems are better and more righteous.
Similar things happen with political parties and organized religions. Each person identifies with that large organization (which takes him away from his obscure, unsung, little self). Or, similarly, one identifies with one’s images of God; one identifies, then, with images (that one is) of something powerful, large, and almighty. People identify with something larger that is (they believe) “protecting them,” keeping them safe in a world of full of disorder and chaos. Some people — full of indoctrinated prejudices — exclusively identify with their race, culture, political group, or family units (apart from all others). Often, unfortunately, it is mostly about their race, or their culture, or their political group, or their family… and the rest can (more or less) go to grass. Few of us identify with the little, poor woman or man who labors all day in the vegetable fields under a very hot sun and who gets next to nothing for payment; few actually see a little, defenseless animal as a reflection of the whole.
Many of our man-made groups, however, are usually not as safe or as necessary as we have been lead to believe. People clinging to individual countries and religions have created wars (against each other) for millennia. People have fought about their different projections of God — and about their little idealistic groups and separate systems — for eons.
Fortunately, there are those who see beyond mere boundaries and groups and who simply help all others. This affection and care for all others goes beyond the realm of humans and extends into the beautiful realm of animals and plants. Some help, with real action, not for mere monetary reward but, instead, because they have real love in their hearts for all (beyond what any herd-mentality dictates).
Can real intelligence stand alone? Without being a hermit, can one not identify with — or belong to — anything (i.e., to anything that, through limited groups and systems, separates man)? It may be that real and lasting peace may come when we go beyond the limited groups, systems, and images that we — so robotically — identify with. The mind that is seriously and intelligently aware transcends separative borders and, hence, goes beyond conflict. (This “going beyond borders” goes beyond mere external borders and, additionally, involves transcending internal borders, false separation, and internal mental conflict.) Such a mind, if it is truly intelligent and pristine, is beyond belonging to separative groups that cause havoc, friction, and indifference in the world. (Our inner conflicts and separations project out into society as outer conflicts and separations.) Prudent emptiness (which is freedom beyond being lead) — beyond crude traditions and beyond images of the past — does not need to identify with anything. Humility and real innocence need not clutch at (and identify itself with) something “larger.” Profound innocence is a vulnerability that does not merely turn to violence (i.e., violent ways) to achieve continuity.
Group of Aphids (1) Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2018
Group of Aphids (2) Photo by Thomas Peace c. 2018