“The distinctive characteristic of most practical and theoretical concerns with freedom is the attempt to discover how one can be free from something: be it one’s own passions and appetites, society, laws, or the forces of physical nature. Freedom is generally conceived of as that state of being or that opportunity which is on the other side of ‘necessity’…liberty or freedom signifies properly the absence of opposition [my italics].” (Deutsch 103)
|Which one is the original?|
I read this quote a year and a half ago in one of my favorite books—Advaita Vedanta. It resonates with me because of the word "from": freedom from something... freedom from something....
Judith Butler tells us that "gendering is a kind of impersonation and approximation....There is no original or primary gender." Gender, actions, and ideas are reflections of other genders, actions, and ideas. When did material reflection begin and when will it end?
Reality is an oxymoron: people identify with social roles to express their individuality, but every social role is a reflection of its opposition. People are less unique by trying to be more unique.
In Franny and Zooey, J.D. Salinger wrote, “It’s everybody, I mean. Everything everybody does is so—I don’t know—not wrong, or even mean, or even stupid necessarily. But just so tiny and meaningless and—sad-making. And the worst part is, if you go bohemian or something crazy like that, you’re conforming just as much as everybody else, only in a different way” (26).
Reality is socially constructed and context bound, meaning the connection between "woman" and "dress" is arbitrary. There's nothing inherent about "woman" that signifies "dress". In fact, there's nothing at all that's inherent about "woman". Gender and other social roles are "achieved through an apparent repetition of the same", producing "the illusion of a prior and volitional subject" (Butler).
So, where does gender come from? My mind, my body, or my spirit? All three? How do I know if I am gay or straight?
What is reality?