I’m going to go out on a limb and say there’s three types of people. First of all, what we all have in common: each of us are born to a group. That group could be our family, our country, or our religion. Usually, it’s a combination of these and more. Regardless, the fact is that we are born to a group.The group then teaches us how to live, how to act, how to everything. We are taught how to BE in the most pervasive and fundamental sense of the word.
We’re taught how to put on shampoo, how to treat strangers; we’re taught how to eat and how to shit, we’re taught how to read and how to lead; We’re taught what’s right and what’s wrong; we’re taught what’s allowed and what isn’t. “Taught” is a nice word. Substitute for it any of these: disciplined, punished, molded, imprinted, conditioned. It’s not like I’m saying parents and authorities are sinister. OK, maybe I am. But I understand where they’re coming from. A baby human is pre-programmed to exist in a world tens of thousands of years old. In a world that doesn’t exist anymore. Of course they’re going to spank us, put us in institutions and school so we have a shot in modern society.
Now, our three types of people. Group 1 more or less goes along with the program. They chase after what society tells them to chase. They avoid experiences society tells them to avoid. They don’t rock the boat. They don’t shock their parents or become jailed for their beliefs. In short, they carry on the legacy.
Group 2 are those who realize that society is a giant charade. And act on it. They drop the beliefs of their elders like a bad hangover. They stop believing in the hell of their parents and create their own heaven. Disillusioned with the lie that was beaten into them during grade school, Group 2 believes the path of authenticity means getting in touch with that pre-programmed infant.
Group 3 realizes the bullshit and like Group 2 leaves it behind. But then- eventually- come back. I know a guy who was raised Catholic. At a young age he knew he was gay, but he really wanted to be a Catholic. For a while he tried to not be gay and to be a good Catholic. You can imagine the results (it didn’t work). So, he left the group he was born to. He joined Group 2. Like the rest of them, he realized the game he was raised to play has broken rules. It’s flawed. Many people who come here never go back. Think of all the queers alientated by a church who, rather than be good little boys and girls and stay in Group 1, leave the church for good.
My friend didn’t do that. Instead, he became an openly gay Catholic. That meant pissing off people, or at the least, making them uncomfortable (but the line between the two is so fine, isn’t it? Thought for the day, I’m getting off track). He joined group 3. He walked away from home, found himself, then came back. He paved the way for others.
Because he had the gall to walk away from home, he was able to bring something back to his community and repay them tenfold for teaching him how to wipe his own ass, tie his own shoes, and all the other forgettable yet indispensable things we’re taught from an early age.
The truth is all of us are cycling through these three groups constantly. There’s days when I follow tradition, then there’s days where- following truth- I walk away. Then other days, I need to reconcile the two. Truth and Tradition. Tradition and Truth. If you think you’re in Group 1, allow yourself to believe and do what you know deep down is OK. If you’re in Group 2, come back for chrissakes.