In 1758 Carl Linnaeus introduced the label we often use for ourselves i.e., homo sapiens, Latin for “wise man.” We distinguish ourselves from other animals by saying “We are the animal that reasons.” We are also the animal that has “agency,” we make choices and control our destiny.
It turns out that we are not very good at either one, reasoning or making choices. Nevertheless, we behave with haughtiness and arrogance as if we are “hot stuff.” We are not. A successful animal in a sustainable community full of self-confidence would be making good and reasonable choices. We don’t.
Do we even know what the choices are? Take one of the most basic choices we humans have, namely, our sexual identity. “We are all born nonbinary. We learn gender.” (1) A nonbinary person is someone whose gender identity isn’t exclusively male or female. To put it mildly that last statement would come as a shock to many of us. Clearly, gender identity is an arena where we have a lot to learn before we begin to pretend we know what is true and what is not true. A little humility at this point would be a good choice.
Let’s begin with Alex who at age 4 pronounced himself both a boy and a girl. “Some days at home he wears dresses, paints his fingernails and plays with dolls; other days, he roughhouses, rams his toys together or pretends to be Spider-Man. Even his movements ricochet between parodies of gender; on days he puts on a dress, he is graceful, almost dancer-like, and his sentences rise in pitch at the end. On days he opts for only ‘boy wear’ he heads off with a little swagger.” (2)
Whatever the choice any of us makes on the nonbinary to L.G.B.T.Q. spectrum as relates to our identity it will leave us in limbo. Our True-self’s identity transcends our body, our mind and our sexual behavior. Kai Morsink, a Columbia University senior describes the feeling. “What I’m feeling is that there’s this internal thing that is always going to be saying, ‘You as you exist are not real.’” (1)
Click on the links below to pursue a more profound understanding of what our real identity is.
Insight # 115: Understanding the distinction between who we are and who we are not empowers us to transcend the illusion that is the foundation for all human suffering. –Roy Charles Henry
- True Self and False Self in this blog and in print in The ABC’s of Simple Reality: The Encyclopedia of Self-Transformation, Vol 2 (2018), pages 299-305, by Roy Charles Henry.
- PMS or Bipolar II—You Choose in this blog and in print in Who Am I? The Second Great Question Concerning the Nature of Reality (2013), pages 53-55, by Roy Charles Henry.
- Bergner, Daniel. “Neither/Nor.” The New York Times Magazine. June 9, 2019, pages 41-41.
- Padawer, Ruth. “boygirl.” The New York Times Magazine. August 12, 2012, page 20.