Gary Snyder: Self-definition is presupposed before we start talking politics

 

Self-definition is presupposed before we start talking politics, which is also to say: What picture of the world have you managed to create for yourself?

– Gary Snyder in National Treasure: Gary Snyder, Lion’s Roar

It’s always good to start with the big picture and some context. In this case, Gary Snyder reminds us that politics always starts out with our definition of ourselves and our picture of the world.

As does everything in our human life, really.

To the extent we see this and take it in, there is a softening of our identification with these identities. We see that politics – and so much else in our social and human life – come out of our biases and conditioning. That’s what creates the richness, and also what creates positions. And these positions – depending on how we relate to them – can create friction or a more informed view, or both.

To the extent we identify with our views, there is friction. And to the extent this identification has softened, there is some fluidity and the possibility of a a bigger picture and more informed view. We have the possibility of including multiple perspectives and find a more inclusive way of looking at the situation.