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[personal profile] theatokos
Do we have an internal voice anymore? An interior world that is our own? How many of us edit what is in our own journals so that we might project our best image, or a certain type of image, or please others, or not offend them with our real thoughts? When we have constant information and input flowing in (status updates, advertisements, music or muzak, tv, etc) how can we filter and develop an interior world?

And as women particularly is our interior world valued? Is it only valuable if other people like it? If we get so many 'likes' on Facebook, or some one pays us for our memoir? Our bodies are certainly picked apart. All of our parts must be approved by some external gaze - be it male or female. If a magazine tells us curvy is in then we can breathe a sigh of relief. We can defend our figures based on whatever health fad is in. Do we get to like our selves just because?

How can we embrace our bodies, our embodiedness (flesh, earthiness, corporeality, etc) without being only our bodies? Finding this blade thin balance feels impossible on days when I engage in mainstream media, but is only slightly more possible when I read philosophic or theological texts. Any wisdom gleaned is still problematic - all theory, all big words. And how do we find the razor thin line between personal and physical autonomy, still so necessary in our world, and communal participation, still so necessary in our world? Women especially still struggle in these areas. How can we embrace our desires and hopes, aspirations and ambitions, and also serve and care for others in a meaningful way?

The greatest mystery in life to me is finding the place of balance in all these questions. I think it is one of feminism's biggest challenges in the world. How do we embrace the myriad contradictions that make up our lives? To serve and be served? To love and be loved? To embrace power (such a problematic word in feminism) and yet not be crushed by it? To attain equality with men, but elevate that equality to something that provides freedom for women and men, for all people regardless of class, size, religion, sex, gender, race?

Ultimately, how do we become whole human beings?

Religiously and theologically I think the rise in paganisms and New Age movements speaks to many of these questions. I waver inbetween mono- and poly-theism. My personal practice is FAR more pagan than Christian. And yet to be honest I think that established religions, among them Christianity, have more tools, language, depth and nuance to tackle a lot of the questions. There is so much in the Christian tradition alone that is liberatory and radical, but church feels dead. How do we/I/you find personal meaning and depth and also have community?

The modern struggle of transience v permanence, individual v community, choice v duty, private and public, and so on. We never choose sides, it's always a negotiation. An ongoing negotiation until the day we die, I'm guessing.

Date: 2010-08-12 04:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
How do we/I/you find personal meaning and depth and also have community?

Yes, that sentence resonates for me. I have struggled with it. Christianity is essentially communal. So is Judaism. And probably also Islam although I don't know enough about Islam to speak to it.
One can not really be Christian without a community. One can admire Christ, believe in one's own fashion but to be a follower means to be one of the community of believers.

To be "pagan" is that also to be communal? Is belonging to a "coven", a "circle" a group of some sort necessary? But people call themselves "solitary". And there is every degree of personal belief. One of the charms of being "pagan" is that you can self define, make up your own religion. There is no "book", no central "authority".

As to women and media and inner life:
Every woman must define herself and by her choices create herself.
To have an inner life means to control one's "outer life".
There is all that "stuff" out there. But no one is compelled to let it in to one's world. The media, the popular culture makes us feel that we have to be part of everything. To be "modern", to be part of our world, we should have, do, be. But is that true?

There have always been people who have said NO! Thoreau is often quoted. But there are many others in different times and places. The Desert Fathers went into the desert to hear God but also to find themselves. Some people radically separate themselves from their society. Many many more simply create their own world by picking and choosing.

Privacy is necessary for an inner life. How can it be "inner" if it is known to everyone on facebook or where ever? Somethings can be so personal that there are no words for them. And why would we want to share this? What benefit is there to have many know what is so important to me?

You pose some very interesting questions.
Thank you.

Date: 2010-08-12 07:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
And how do we find the razor thin line between personal and physical autonomy, still so necessary in our world, and communal participation, still so necessary in our world?

This is a question I've been asking a lot lately. I have always prided myself in being an independent person, but have discovered lately that I let myself be defined by other people's needs and desires to a distressing degree. So much so that I sometimes can't even tell what desires are really mine and what are the reflections of others. Some of this is a function of being a ridiculously sensitive empath, some of it is because of my family history, and some of it is female socialization. It's frustrating, and it's made me become extra fierce in my self ownership...but I feel at odds with others when I'm fierce in this way, like I don't quite fit anymore, all sharp edges and raw corners. People react negatively to that and it reduces social harmony. So yeah, there is a balance and I have no idea where to find it.


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October 2010


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