I think to resign yourself to a label is to stifle the growth of your perspective and compartmentalize your intelligence. We all seem to know this deep down, but we continue to do it anyway.
“I’m a Feminist.” “I’m an Atheist.” “A Humanist, that’s me.” It’s like strapping a funnel around your head – shutting down two thirds of your intelligence so you can feel less vulnerable within the remaining one. It always makes me chuckle to hear a self-proclaimed Atheist resenting the idea of religion, because by identifying himself with a group of values and beliefs, he’s representing Atheism as somewhat of a religion its self.
Sorting its opinion into a box enables the mind to more securely commit to it, and I think the reason the mind does that is because it heavily associates opinion with personal identity.
Our sense of self is sociologically programmed to identify with things that can’t realistically be identified with – opinions, intelligence, ideas, creations, achievements, etc. We can’t truly identify with these things because they’re entirely vulnerable to mutation and elimination. The mind seems to be perfectly aware of this because it becomes very insecure when these things do mutate or face elimination. Take a look at any religious debate and you’ll see the effects of that in full colour.
If I pride myself on my excellence as a pianist, what happens when arthritis kicks in and I can no longer play? Am I suddenly worthless? If I derive my sense of self worth and value from the success of my music, what happens when it becomes yesterday’s news or when it faces criticism that most people agree with?
I think to be truly open minded as people we need to cease identifying with material forms and false abstractions of self. We should consider the fact that each of us existed at a time before our minds accumulated, and therefore we should consider the possibility that pure consciousness and awareness is the truest sense of self we can attain.