It is a psychological saw that we need to stand out and fit in, and between those polarities lie all of our problems. Fitting in is being like those we aspire to be like (Or are afraid to not be like). Standing out is expressing our natural self in the way we go about our life. W.B. Yeats called fitting in our "Primary Mask," the one handed to us by parents and culture. And standing out, he called our "Antithetical Mask," the one contrary to the way society thinks we ought to be. And so begins the dance with these two pardners, by walking two paths at the same time. How much can we get by with? How unlike who we are expected to be can we be? We answer a question in the way we live our life. And, like all such questions, we answer it best by being conscious of it, and keeping one eye on each path as we choose our choices in light of what's in it for us. It takes reflection to come to new realizations. But, to think, particularly about our thinking, is to stand out-- something fitting in does not allow. Already we are not being who we are supposed to be just by wondering if we are and considering being "other," by being "I." Where do we stop and our overseers, exemplars, start? Who is living the life we walk around in? How different can we be and still "belong"? How different do we need to be in order to be who we are? Where does the line lie between who we are expected to be and who we must be no matter what? A religion worthy of the title would help us ask and answer the question. That would be a religion of the soul in the deepest/truest sense. A bringing up, bringing out, bringing forth who we are born to be, and not the automaton we become through the imposition of social oughts. Ah, but. Where is what we need when we need it? We have to work out our own salvation, with fear and trembling and a sickness unto death. Or not. With not being a dying worse than death. How we negotiate the turns between fitting in and standing out tells the tale.
It is all a lost cause. The arctic and antarctic are disappearing. What lasts over time? What chance does anything have? Instead of saying, "What the hell? Why try?" and giving up our causes, we should give ourselves to them with renewed vigor, and let nothing stop us, or even slow us down, like moths circling a flame, loving every second of a dying spiral. We should give ourselves to our loves because they are not going to last, and we only have one short lifetime to express our loyalty and devotion to causes worthy of us. It matters how we live-- to us, if not to eternity-- and we owe it to ourselves to live as fully as possible as long as possible, giving ourselves to those things that bring out the best we have to offer, spending ourselves completely in the experience and expression of life in all its radiance and glory. Why hold anything back? What is to be gained by refusing the invitation to be alive in the service of what matters most to us? What matters to you? How is that evident in your life? Why wait to show it that you love it?