That quote is the solution to nearly every conflict on Planet Earth.
A being who does not relegate themselves to a label is free. A being who does not identify with a label cannot be manipulated by external forces.
The tactic of divide and conquer has long been used to manipulate humanity. And it will continue until we stop attaching our identity to labels. Separation is an illusion (quantum entanglement is proof of this). When you see that everything is connected; when you see everyone as an aspect of yourself, how can you possibly cause harm to someone?
“He who experiences the unity of life sees his own Self in all beings…” – Buddha
The most positively influential people did not attach their identity to labels. Gandhi was not “pro-Indian” or “anti-British”, but pro-freedom. Martin Luther King Jr. was not “pro-black” or “anti-white”, but pro-freedom*. Jesus was not a Christian and Buddha was not a Buddhist (if they existed). Leonardo Da Vinci could not possibly be categorized. Their spirit could not be confined to a label. All of these people were incredibly unique and shared the truth of unconditional love for everyone.
“I consider myself a Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist and Confucian.” —Mahatma Gandhi
You cannot be both the perceiver and the object being perceived. You can perceive your body, so therefore you’re not your body. You can perceive your thoughts, so therefore you’re not your thoughts. You are consciousness. Why limit yourself to asinine things? The more big picture you think, the less relevant the trivial labels of self-identity become.
Nonetheless, it would be extremely naïve to say that there aren’t ignorant people who identify with labels and attack those who could be considered a different label. But can you control how they think? Of course not. You can only control how you think. Are you basing your sense of self on how others might view you? If so, then you’re giving in to their agenda.
If you wait on everyone else to change in order for you to change, then guess what? It’ll never happen. Nothing changes when there’s diffusion of responsibility. Deep down, you don’t want conflict. You don’t want to live in an “us vs them” society. None of us do. But you hold the false belief that “they” have to change first, instead of being the change yourself.
There’s a reason why Gandhi said “Be the change you wish to see in the world” instead of “Wish for the world around you to change.”
Change starts with the (infinite being having an experience as a) man in the mirror.
Live like you’re setting an example for how you wish everyone would live. Not doing this means that you believe your reality is beyond your control. Do you really believe that?
If you don’t take personal responsibility for being a model for the change you want to see, you effectively externalize your power. In doing so, you not only become a perpetual victim, but open yourself up to be manipulated by hidden agendas.
You might be thinking, “Yeah I’d love to be a dreamer and think of myself as an infinite being, but there are people out there that will possibly kill me just because my skin is darker than theirs.” Sadly, that is true in a lot of parts of the world. But my question is this… Are you going to let the mind-set of ignorance determine how you view yourself? Are you going to label yourself just because others label you? Fuck a label. Just BE.
We must not tolerate injustice. Martin Luther King Jr. said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” This is because we’re all connected. We must not tolerate separation either, for this is the root of the actions behind injustices.
To be resentful of injustice is to bring yourself to the level of ignorance that created it.
“The best revenge is to be unlike him who performed the injury.” – Marcus Aurelius
We must rise above, not allow ourselves to be dragged back into the quicksand of ignorance.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Be the change.
PS – A note on culture…
Just because you don’t identify with a label doesn’t mean you throw culture out the window. Not identifying with labels gives you the freedom to not be confined to the bounds of one culture, and like Bruce Lee said, “Absorb what’s useful, reject what is not, add what is uniquely your own.”
*Yes, the word freedom is a label as well. But one that we need to convey their message within the confines of language. Plus no one labels themselves as “freedom”, which might actually be interesting, though.
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