Chapter 9: Know Thyself, Love Thyself

Know Thyself

…And, for a while, this lack of rootedness gave me a sense of freedom, of detachedness from many of the ideas that others around me appeared to have about their identities as women and men; as creoles or non creoles’ ‘white’ or ‘black’; Christian, Jew, Muslim or Hindu; English, French, Indian, Arab; rich or poor; middle class or working class.

At best, I was deeply amused by people’s attachment to being ‘white’ and ‘black’ even though it was palpably clear that most were not black and none, white. At worst, I was disgusted with those who bought into the idea that Jesus was born of Immaculate Conception between God and Mary, his mother. I was appalled by the church’s attempt to elevate him to a divine status in its bid to control ordinary men and women. I was disrespectful of women who defended the patriarchal system and their roles primarily as mothers and wives over their primary identity as human. I was snobbish towards those who snubbed the poor and vulnerable because they lived in better homes, better neighbourhoods, owned top of the range cars and had better academic education.

Brave and virtuous as my stance was on these issues, it would take me many years to realise that I had only dented the shield of my own personal and conditioned attachments. In fact, my position was not terribly different from those I had learned to despise except that I had made a conscious decision to opt out of the hierarchical worldview which harmed those who were overtly vulnerable…

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