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Holding onto our identities

"When a person attains realization, it is like the moon’s reflection in water. The moon never becomes wet; the water is never disturbed. Although the moon is a vast and great light, it is reflected in a drop of water. The whole moon and even the whole sky are reflected in a drop of dew on a blade of grass."
- Genjokan by Dogan

For a vast majority of the people, the rest of their lives is greatly affected by decisions and experiences very early in their lives. If you decided to study engineering when you were fifteen, it is very unlikely that you will do anything outside of that, like be a musician or a footballer or a doctor, later on in life. 

Our identities are a consequence of the beliefs we hold, the experiences we have had, the decisions we have taken and the environments we are born into. 

This being the case, in order for us to change and improve our identities, we need to be willing to change our beliefs, have new experiences, take new decisions and where possible, change the environment that we live in.

We are seeing increasing isolationism in the world today because fewer and fewer of us are showing a willingness to do these things. 

While social media and the Internet holds the possibility for an immense cross-pollination of ideas and beliefs, the abundance of content, ideas and experiences that we can potentially expose ourselves to overwhelms us and we find it easy to fall back on the content and ideas that we are familiar with. Which leads to a lack of change and improvement in our identities.

Imagine how your genetic identity would be after generations of inter-breeding among those with similar genes (a.k.a your relatives). Any biologist worth her salt will tell you that this is a recipe for regression, disease and eventually extinction. 

I'm telling you that isolationism in terms of beliefs, ideas, experiences and practices is a recipe for regression, disease and eventually extinction.

Just because your family has been vegetarians for years and years doesn't mean that you have to be one. Just because everyone you went to college with has made similar career choices and lifestyle choices, you don't have to follow suit. Just because all your neighbours live life in a certain way, you don't have to do the same.

Just because you have a current identity that has resulted from doing all these things, you don't have to hold onto it strongly and defend it every chance you get.

Isolationism breeds from the idea that we ought to be unflinching about living up to our identities and holding on strongly to our beliefs and looking at all conflicting ideas with either tolerance or contempt. 

The only way to diffuse isolationism is to not hold onto our identities strongly, but to continue evolving them into something better suited for the world we live in. 

What was right thousands of years ago, or a hundred years ago, or six months ago may not be right now. 

Be proud of what you've done and who you are, but don't let that be a reason to not do something else that you haven't done previously. 

Don't let your identity get in the way.

Where and when necessary, where and when you see reason to, change your identity.

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