In mathematical terms, a late friend once explained to me that Heraclitus' statement could be translated as "A" never equals "A," which is the opposite of the foundation for most of our mathematics and western civilization. Start with A never equals A, and where would we be today?
I would offer that "I" never equals "I" either, because we as humans are always changing. We are never exactly the same person from minute to minute, and that change appears to accelerate when we enter the playground of Phase 2 in Busting Loose.
In linguistic terms, our shape-shifting selves are striving to be verbs and not nouns.
Instead of saying "I am a writer," to be more accurate and dynamic, I might say "I write," or "I make symbolic marks in certain patterns that some people take the time to decipher." Instead of saying "I'm a filmmaker," I'd say "I arrange sound and images and create packets of digital information to be viewed by others." Instead of saying "I'm an entrepreneur," I might say "I create ways to make money flow."
Granted, some people would think writer, filmmaker and entrepreneur are pretty sexy nouns, and I've taken great pride over the years in being able to hand the words out like dollar bills or stick them on business cards. But do they tell who I really am, in the hologram or as an infinite being? They're all an illusion, just like the other terms I might use for myself, like unemployed bum or spiritual surfer.
The difference is that each noun comes with its own baggage. Each verb comes with a possibility. In quantum physics, nouns are the collapsed wave form. Verbs are the zero field itself.
To integrate the metaphors, nouns tend to dam the river of life, while verbs tend to move it along.
"I write" means I do that thing when I am moved to do so, and implies I can do other things like make homemade sauerkraut. "I am a writer" crystallizes whatever image and expectations of being a writer that you or I might have. That expectation might incidentally include actual writing, but most days may be just about wearing a tweed jacket, thinking great thoughts and smoking a pipe in my library while I stare at the books on the shelves hoping to release my writer's block.
All the energy I put into being a writer that does not include the actual writing, is time taken away from the possibility of growing rutabagas, climbing Mt. Everest or playing with a puppy.
I know a minor filmmaker with a famous name, which I won't mention here. But you've heard of the family.
The kindest thing I can say about this person is that as a filmmaker, he's a great chef. But I've actually felt pity for him/me. Not only is he a noun-y filmmaker, he's got the extra added weight of the family name attached. What might have initially seemed like a crown is probably more like a ball and chain.
I watched this person spend a lot of time creating an image of being a renegade filmmaker, dressing like an extra from "Easy Rider" and bossing people around as if his world was a real movie set, as if this type of behavior confirmed he was a filmmaker.
This, instead of actually making films.
He obviously feels compelled to follow in the footsteps of his family heritage and he occasionally has made a film, but as I said, his future is in cuisine. Maybe chef just doesn't sound as sexy as filmmaker.
I understand that this is his life path and there's nothing wrong with it. I do hope he gets to open his own restaurant some day. But he is an interesting reflection to me about how we get caught up in meaningless roles.
I relate this all with a great deal more compassion now than I felt then because I see all my nouns being sucked into the black hole of meaninglessness as Phase 2 continues and I come face to face with all my discomfort and illusions. At this moment in time, what do the terms filmmaker, father, writer, lover, journalist, radio host, brother, son, SOB, TV producer, sports junkie, ex-husband really have to do with anything?
Not much, as far as I can tell. They were simply nouns that I placed my power in for a time. I'm reclaiming my power from them -- even as I battle the tyranny of adjectives. But don't get me start on the judgment of adjectives.
Living the "verb life" means living free, living reactively, living without the burden of expectation and letting others do the same thing. I'm liking the fact that I'm learning I'm not who I thought I was all this time.