I’m in dissertation land and my focus, as of now, is on mimetics and desire and how that constructs oneself. There’s a lot more involved with all that but that’s the basics. With that I have been thinking, reading and writing about it for the past few weeks and this has been influencing and infiltrating other things in my own life and what I am perceiving.
What it has made be think a lot about these past few days is the notion of autonomy and of belonging to a group/crew. These two things seem like oppositional poles in the construction of identity but they are linked and reflect what I think is a constant flux of self.
Let’s start with autonomy. Autonomy is independence of self. It is singularity, it is defined, it is most times thought of as a position of isolation or at least the lack of intrusion by external forces. It is the creation of the self through solitude, it is constant, and a concentrated preservation of some sort of essence/essentiality. It is that feeling when you know that you are unique, only, special, alone, doomed. Autonomy for me is a desire to preserve something about oneself in the face of being socialized. It is that ‘you’ that only you know is honest and when others try to extinguish, diminish, or distract it there is an almost animal nature to guard and protect it.
Autonomy makes us conscious humans able to cope and believe in self-awareness and to have volition of self. It is the thing that lets us define ourselves in the world that we live in that is both a secret and a mission. Without it, identity gets flattened. Without it, passion gets punched out. Without it, you just become a coextensive and most probably a bore.
Now what is a group, aka a crew, and what people also call a fam? You know what it is. It is a group (more then 3) people that are friends but it is deeper then that. Together you are a roving collective, a micro scene, a shifting force to the room, to the party, to the night. You are friends in individual ways but you share something else. You share a philosophy of living, you share aesthetics, you share lifestyles, you share an attitude of acting and thinking about things and when together there is an us/them line that is clear to yourselves and others.
The crew is where you can slide in and out while still being yourself and although it seems to not define you, it does, it creeps into you because it is the background in which you play your life, take you photos, spend your days and nights. It is the source of memory making and those memories make up you who you are.
The desire to be a part of a crew is animal too. We are social creatures. We are not meant to be alone. That is why when you hear about a hermit in the cave or in the woods it seems glorious but also frightening and it is very very rare. That’s why most of them were made into saints or poetic treasures because that shit is hard to do, to be truly alone. It is not natural. We commend the ability to be unnatural because it makes us less animal.
Being a part of a crew makes us animal, makes us human. It is sometimes a replacement for a blood family because those are now just reproduction and early-life-stage nurturing way stations in becoming who we are really going to be. We get older. We get to choose who we spend time with and we choose those that fit with us or project what it is we want to be like. Everyone is trying to be a concept of themselves because that’s life. That’s the nature of self-realization.
But the crew has failures too. It is a mind meld; it is peer pressure cooker where everything can turn into an undefined stew. It makes things easier to say yes to and it makes the truth that we are all truly alone and will dye alone seem far off in a horizon we don’t even think will be real by the time we reach it. Science will save us all.
So what happens to autonomy in the crew? It can thrive or it can get demented. Crews can be seen as a support network in one’s climb to self-awareness. It is through contrast and interaction that one defines the limiting lines of where and who one wants to be. Adversely, the crew can be where one flat lines. You are there, all of you and you can feel that itch of yourself trying to expand and the crew will either let you or it will prevent you or it will just stay put. Then there is a problem. Then there is sometimes a deep existential problem when you and the crew don’t match anymore and that makes you think even deeper and harder about who the hell you actually are and who the hell are these people around you.
Can you be autonomous in a crew? Yes. Can you have a crew and that informs your autonomy? Yes. This is all an obvious thought in many ways but I have been thinking about this because for me, both seem to be burdens but necessary ones.
To me the real question is does one need autonomy? Does one need a crew?
Both of these seem to be beneficial and necessary in some ways but there is this sticky feeling that I have been getting when thinking about this the last few days. Does this need of autonomy actually exist or is it just a construction that we hold onto, cling to because without it the truth that shit is really fucked and we are just less the specks would just make us all catatonic? Does being a part of a crew make the journey in this thing better, funner, more full or is it a distraction in which we become myopic in our proximities and lack a wider openness and comprehension of humanity???!!!!???!!!!
I am not sure. All I know is that it’s a twisted thing being a person sometimes and that at the end of the day all we got is love baby.