One of the important things to accomplish in life is to figure out who you are, although, thanks to the various books I’ve read on cognition and the formation of personality, I don’t believe that individuals have STATIC personalities anymore. Brains change thanks to damage, drug use, new experiences, new information, death, trauma, learning…even positive experiences can alter a person’s world view and, therefore, their “self expression.” HOWEVER, I still think it’s important for a person to THINK ABOUT THEMSELF and their place in the world. And I have recently taken stock of myself and come to a strange conclusion:
I am CHAOTIC NEUTRAL.
Here is a definition of “chaotic neutral” from the “Alignment (Dungeons & Dragons)” Wikipedia page (which cites the 2003 version of the D&D Players Handbook as its source):
“A chaotic neutral character is an individualist who follows their own heart and generally shirks rules and traditions. Although chaotic neutral characters promote the ideals of freedom, it is their own freedom that comes first; good and evil come second to their need to be free.”
I don’t believe in political parties. I don’t believe in religions or superstitions. I don’t believe in traditions as binding contracts. (I LOVE traditions, like art and mythology and stories and such, but I don’t think I need to BELIEVE in any of them to love learning about them.) I was an anthropology student for years, studying physical, cultural, and linguistic anthropology (even winning an “Anthropology Student of the Year” Award from one school,) but I eventually came to regard the METHODS of anthropology, which attempt to discover the patterns in cultures (how specifically defined “peoples” lived, how they collectively spoke or worshiped, how they were THE SAME,) and I just found that BORING. It didn’t make sense to me to JUST look at the SAMENESS—because a “PEOPLE” is actually, truthfully, a collection of individuals.
Now, today, I see “cultures” as the boring part. I like the INDIVIDUALS and works that have been created by ONE PERSON (or maybe a very small group.) Novels, paintings, poems, songs, comics, performances…these are individual expressions, not examples of genres or cultures or ideologies. I don’t believe in LABELS anymore. (Even “DADA,” which I love as a field of study, I can’t see as a UNIFIED THING at all anymore. It was a bunch of weird people, each doing their own thing, and sharing their works and conversations and attitudes with EACH OTHER at a giving time in a given place, but the separations and labels are arbitrary and can be used to EXCLUDE. Give me one example of a “PUNK,” and I can name five OTHER punk performers who aren’t like your example at all. And the reason I don’t believe in LABELS or GROUPS or political parties or any of that shit anymore is because by putting a LABEL on anything, you ignore the INDIVIDUAL’S and their lives in favor of bland stereotypes and generalities.
ANTI-FA, CONSERVATIVE, DEMOCRAT, “LEFT,” “RIGHT,” LIBERAL, CHRISTIAN, MUSLIM, ATHEIST, ARTIST, MEDIA… It’s all garbage.
I believe in PEOPLE. To try to boil someone down to JUST their race or religion or gender or sexuality or age or economic background or skin tone or mental capacity or political party or subculture or buying habits or any single “term” is empty and lazy and harmful. And although I believe that LAWS are necessary to protect individuals from each other and (more importantly) from non-human predators (like corporations,) I DON’T believe that laws should be allowed to exist that impinge on how I think, feel, and believe OR how I act based on those thoughts and beliefs. (NO THOUGHT POLICE!) I believe in individual freedom, as long as what you do doesn’t impinge on anyone ELSE’S freedom. Why should you care what OTHER PEOPLE do in their bedrooms, as long as everyone involved are consenting adults? They aren’t making you join in, and ultimately YOU have NOTHING to do with their lives. (Maybe you are angry precisely BECAUSE they aren’t letting you join in?) Regardless, you need stay out of other people’s bedrooms and dining rooms and libraries and night clubs and so on. If your religion doesn’t like it, then YOU shouldn’t do it, but leave everyone else alone. If you don’t like the movie, don’t watch it. If you don’t like the song, don’t listen to it. If you don’t like the food, don’t eat it. If you don’t like the clothes, don’t wear them. If you don’t like the beliefs, don’t believe them.
Live YOUR life how you believe you should live it. Let ME live mine the way I want to live mine. Don’t expect me to live by YOUR rules, and I won’t expect you to live by MINE.
—Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Supreme Bunny Lord of The P.E.W.)
P.S.: You can get the image at the top of this article on various PRODUCTS (Sell out alert! Sell out alert!) Click on the link to your favorite P.O.D. site:
It’s pretty exciting stuff!
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