“We are rag dolls made out of many ages and skins, changelings who have slept in wood nests, and hissed in the uncouth guise of waddling amphibians. We have played such roles for infinitely longer ages than we have been human. Our identity is a dream. We are process, not reality.”- Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977), anthropologist, educator, philosopher, and natural science writer.
I was just reminded of this marvelous quote by Eiseley and I will try to remember it the next time I see or hear some essentialist rhetoric regarding gender or sexuality or “race” or class or any other human made identifier that is usually designed to judge us and separate us into cut and dried categories for easier elevation or subjugation, inclusion or exclusion, praise or persecution. Identity is fleeting, but the use of it is has been an effective tool of division for the ruling class for centuries.
There is more to us than what we present as right now. We are more than our appearance, or our body parts, or our biological functions, or our feelings, or knowledge, or status, or pedigree, or faults. Yes, our identities are important, but not so much as our common ancestry or our shared trajectory.
We are a staggering amalgamation of billions of iterations over billions of years, iterations that emanate from the stars themselves. Countless expressions of one thing: life.
This isn’t “woo woo”, it is the science of nature and the history of this earth. And if that isn’t the best description of the Divine within us, I don’t know what is.
Kenn Orphan, August 2022