(Photo by Jari Hytönen on Unsplash)
Last week Kanye West tweeted, "Don't follow crowds. Follow the innate feelings inside of you. Do what you feel not what you think. Thoughts have been placed in our heads to make everyone assimilate. Follow what you feel." If nothing else, this tweet gives us a glimpse into how many people approach life. Our innate feelings, our desires are who we truly are. "I desire, therefore I am." It used to be that "I think therefore I am", but now "to think is to be untrue to yourself".
Now, I am of the opinion that we didn't deal with feelings well in the past. We shut them down, cast them aside, said that they were for the weak. We do need to learn how to face our feelings, be in touch with them, and understand them. However, to say that one's innate feelings is the "true self" is dangerous.
Our feelings are as much a product of culture as our thoughts are, if not more. At least we can examine our thoughts and trace them back to where they come from. Feelings, desires seem to just bubble up from within us. It is much harder to find the origin of those feelings. That doesn't mean that they have always been a part of us though! Consider fashion. Our fashion choices are often the product of how we feel about a piece. And research would show that how we feel about fashion pieces is often due to what we are exposed to. And in today's media-saturated world, advertising plays a massive part in it!
Research would also point to how things like pornography can greatly change the way a person views sex and the opposite gender. How people talk around us can greatly change the way we see ourselves and how we feel about ourselves. Our feelings are as much a product of our culture as any other part of us.
I put forward that the most "you" part of "you" ultimately comes down to the choices you make. Sure your choices can be highly influenced by your experiences, etc. But they cannot DICTATE what you choose.
Right before the Israelites were to enter the Promised Land, God said to them, "This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." (Deut 30:19-20). He told them to be careful what they chose.
God is not closed-minded. He does not dictate how we are to act. He simply leaves the choices before us, clearly showing us how each option affects our lives. And then we exercise our humanity by choosing.
What are you choosing today? How are you exercising your humanity?