Doubt is part of every word I say.

Before the glances congeal

into a gaze,

I am already formed.

A partial.

A remnant.

Existing to be discarded.

How many estimates

Must I encounter

To meet the one

I cannot fall short of?

 

I fail,

I fail,

I will fail you

Always

In your judgement

Gaged beneath you or above.

I am neither.

 

Don’t be awkward.

Avoid tense situations,

making inconvenience,

or miscommunication,

Try not to make a scene,

Never challenge assumptions

Meant to keep you out,

Unseen.

Accept avoidance.

Otherwise,

There is the possibility

For further offense,

For violence.

Yet, with it,

the smallest chance

for understanding,

for love.

 

When the assessors put away their scales,

When the haughty walk away with their condescension,

When the clever finish laughing at their snide remarks,

When the confident are done pointing out insecurities,

When the bullies tire of their threats,

The victims will stop defending themselves,

The anxious will stop hiding their fears,

The stupid will no longer be ashamed of their ignorance,

The humble will rise with their heads held high,

The valuations will be rendered obsolete

In a system of artifice completely useless for truth.

alightcircleballoonmpbaecker

Text and images by M.P. Baecker © 2018.

24 thoughts on “Being Myself

  1. I enjoy all of your poems, but this is one of the best. I can identify with it and all the comments that are available for me to read. I have a question. To you it will probably seem to miss the point, but to my philosophy it is quite important. When you say “a system of artifice completely useless for truth”, are you referring to the condition *before* valuations are “rendered obsolete” or *after*?

    Thank you so much for your ability to articulate clearly so much of the human condition.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your wonderful comment and in-depth reading! I love your question! I don’t think it misses the point, it is key and is a portal into a much bigger, more intriguing realm!

      It gave me pause for a long time. My fastest answer would have been “after”: After the valuations are rendered obsolete, then the system would be completely useless for truth. But that is oversimplifying it, the question to me is more like that classic one, “What came first the chicken or the egg?” This system of stark dualities: “winners” vs. “losers” can only function as much as we give it power. It would not exist in the first place if it didn’t function so well to convince, to convince us in the truth of its absolutes. But using it with the intent of finding out the truth, of getting at the “real”, then you run into utter frustration, into an unending dualism (which I enjoyed illustrating symmetrically in the last paragraph).
      So after deeper thought, my answer would be it can also be neither (neither before nor after), at the instant of it is being rendered useless for truth, it is obsolete.

      But all of this is completely dependent on your intentions: use the system as a tool to gain power or influence and it is not at all obsolete but can be quite effective, use it to convince yourself of the truth…now that’s another story! I hope I have given you a satisfactory answer, you have given me wonderful things to ponder. I’m curious about your philosophy and I hope to learn more about you!

      Honestly, I am as much an observer of my own work as any reader😄, I approach writing like I do painting, it comes from a place operating just outside of logic, words are not chosen but excavated from a pile that are “not quite it”. So it means so much to me that you pose great questions like this!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, M.P.

        “use the system as a tool to gain power or influence and it is not at all obsolete but can be quite effective, use it to convince yourself of the truth…now that’s another story” Yes! but the powerful and influential actually do convince the vast majority of one “truth” or another. That is what gives them power and influence. And when I say “them”, I am not necessarily excluding “us”. We all have some influence over others, and find it very convenient just to say “because it is true” rather that give a more detailed justification.

        So the answer to the “before or after” question that would have fit most neatly with my philosophy is “before”. That is, once people realize that their “system of artifice [is] completely useless for truth”, then many wonderful things of the kind you talk about in the last verse would follow. The irony is that deception is bolstered by our “truth” concept, as it allows people to propagate proposals for which there is no rational basis (the basis instead being, “It is ‘true.'”)

        The philosophy (epistemology, to be precise) starts with the realization that we are the co-creators of all of our knowledge; that there is an interplay between reality and our own needs and biases that will never yield a description of reality on its own terms. To me this is not a heavy lift. The problem then becomes, “How do you sort proposals you accept from ones you reject?” I won’t bore you with that here, but you can read about it in “Leaving Truth” by Keith Sewell, my introduction to which is at http://www.poppersinversion.org/gary-intro/, or a more evolved (and shorter!) version of that book at http://www.hacktheroot.xyz/

        Liked by 1 person

        • I just re-read the blog post that launched my A Light Circle subscription: “The Center Everywhere”. I was happy because you make a pitch for our philosophy in a way much more likely to connect with people than Keith or I ever could.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Wow! Thanks so much! I am in the midst of your reading your wonderful work now! I want my writing to reach people of all backgrounds in a visceral and/or intellectual level. I am so humbled by your reading and your support! Thank you!

          Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks so much for your thoughts and the links to your work! I am thrilled to read it! You’ve given me a lot of food for thought there and in the comment itself. Thank you!

          The question that nags at me is what makes people realize the “system of artifice [is] completely useless for truth”, what sparks people to question their fundamental truths? It seems from both of our writings that it involves consciousness wanting to become self-aware and making a conscious decision.

          Like

        • Yes, I agree. You’ll keep us posted as you learn how to make people *want* that self-awareness, right? 🙂

          Like

    • Thank you so much Uma! I seem to have the problem of having too many things to write about and too much in my head nowadays but way too little time! Poetry vents all this pressure out more efficiently than prose!

      Lately, I’ve also been finding myself in debates with people about what it means to be “yourself”, most people say that you yourself and those closest to you should define you. And I would normally agree, but I’ve been antagonizing people with this question, “But would you like someone who treats everyone else like shit and respects only themselves and their closest friends?”

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  2. Beautiful and touching, my friend. 😊 We cannot help but be judged, or help but judge ourselves. The assessors will never put away their scales, the bullies will never tire of their threats. Somehow, in life, we learn to understand that, but we should never learn to accept it. Being ourselves is the first, true victory we must achieve in life, despite their haughty condescension. Once we do their clever laugh mean nothing.

    A brilliant poem, sister!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much Tom!

      I was inspired by that E.E. Cummings quote: “To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”
      In person, I am actually taken for every kind of optimistic, very pleasant, sunny, even naïve, but I know of all these dark sides of human nature too, maybe how pleasant I act is a reaction to that, but mostly, I think it is also a product of trauma. You don’t want to draw a reaction that could be negative, one you may soon regret.

      I think optimists and humanists alike find themselves always on the defensive nowadays, constantly saying things like “I don’t think the world is a nursery school” or “it’s not all sunshine and rainbows”. We know this, we know this from traumatic, bitter experiences! There is and perhaps always will be this dualism in human nature. Both outside and within.There is no worse bully than one who is terrified, anxious and feels threatened. Bold confidence is often a bluster for the profoundly insecure.
      I desire to be truly myself without putting anyone down or fooling anyone to believe in my perfection. As you say, “Being ourselves is the first, true victory we must achieve in life”! I’m with you brother!🤗💚💚

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a great desire! “To be truly myself without putting others down.” Sublime!

        And I honestly don’t think there is any naivete in your disposition. Like me, you see the dangers inherent in life, in the world, yet do not give in to them. I’ve seen just as many naive doom-and-gloomers as I’ve seen pollyannas. No one knows what tomorrow brings, so all we can do is gather the information and make educated guesses.

        I choose to make sure people know there are bright possible futures, too. I’m surprised how many do not know. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • You’re truly an inspiration Tom! I just wanted to add this to our thread (sorry for extending it), because I really want to hear your take on it. (I wrote to another commentator, Uma, about it too):

          Lately, I’ve also been finding myself in debates with people about what it means to be “yourself”, most people say that you yourself and those closest to you should define you. And I would normally agree, but I’ve been antagonizing people with this question, “But would you like someone who treats everyone else like shit and respects only themselves and their closest friends?” What’s your answer to this Tom?

          Liked by 1 person

        • I say that only we can define ourselves. Others can label us, those close to us and those distant, but only we can define (and/or create) who we really are.

          So, no. I do not like someone who treats everyone else like shit and respects only themselves and their closest friends. I suppose that is why I get along with so many people (and am intolerant of so few). 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • As always, your responses are excellent Tom!💐👏 You’ve given me great clarity here! I posed this question to challenge the idea of self being completely “independent” from others. I agree with you, ultimately, we create meaning in our own lives and decide for ourselves.

          Liked by 1 person

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