Learn, unlearn, re-learn. Mixed mental artists approach this in various ways, none of which are wrong, they are on the path that suits them. We do, however, tend to see this journey mainly as an exercise in understanding the effects of culture. Culture means many different things, but it most definitely is an amalgamation of traits, beliefs, morals, and attitudes of the society from which it came. But what is society? I tend to think of society as simply an abstraction, a concept, because it is not a tangible thing, unlike the people who make it up. The best way to wrap your brain around this is to consider the expression “missing the forest for the trees” but in reverse. Or ask yourself this question, “How many trees do there need to be for it to be considered a forest?” I don’t know, but I do know that if there are no trees, then there is definitely no forest.
This is the path I am choosing at this moment. The individual may only be a small part or contributor to their culture, but this does not mean they can only have a small impact. I have learned that much of what I am is from my culture, and for me, that part was easy. The next part is unlearning. This is where it becomes more tricky. The reason it becomes tricky is because now we have an identified self, and the self wants nothing more than to self-perpetuate. The self is, well….self-serving. This is what we understand as ego.
Where there is ego, there is no humility, and humility is a requisite not only for unlearning, but for re-learning as well. We see this played out in every form of fundamentalist thinking…a total lack of humility, thus the ego grows. My path of unlearning and re-learning is not just a logical one, but a psychological and personal one.
Back to the forest and trees…If I as a single tree in this forest can learn to let go of my ego, the forest is already being redefined. My forest, my culture, cannot become better without me becoming better first. If I wait for my culture, my ego will only grow because it is trying to survive in a forest full of other egos. To obtain mastery of yourself is to let go of your “self”, and that is my mixed mental art.