Category Archives: 01. IDENTITY (Acrylic Paintings)

Identity: Who are you?

Identity: Who are you?

Identity: Who are you?

What a significant purpose of life: Life isn’t about learning to fit in somewhere; it is about creating somebody new.

Socio-cultural identities

Of course, you may want to stay social and cooperative with people in your life. However, with time, the nature of these relationships might transform as your awareness regenerates. Separation from yourself and others means, in a psycho-spiritual way, that you let go of your identity, which is based on social conformity and cultural beliefs that would be misbeliefs in a different culture. You also must let go of attachment to others’ judgments, which are opinions only and have little if anything to do with truth. By distancing yourself from the idealized role you have learned to assume during all the years of education, socialization, and enculturation, you begin to see who you really are.

Don’t waste your thoughts on interpreting equipment, façade styles, and fashions. They are not relevant to our true selves, and they go as fast as they came. We are not our social personalities. Clinging to our social identity and old ways of thinking about ourselves makes us, in any case, matter less than we deserve. Artificial rules that protect selfish interests are not natural laws of life. So don’t take them so seriously!

Children are dependent on the care received from their parents and other adults in the culture they are born into. For them, inter-psychological learning, the influence of other people is unavoidable. Their survival depends on following their caregivers. Such dependencies should not exist anymore later in life, though. An adult person can re-build their own identity intra-psychologically. There is a possibility, even a necessity to recognize your socio-cultural independence. It is a trap to let others’ opinions and beliefs define one. Therefore, such an awareness allows you to free yourself from backward-related definitions of your person by others.

Losing one’s identity

When I moved abroad and ended up being on myself in a completely different culture, there was nobody and nothing anymore that would have supported and validated my identity at that time. For my new environment far away from my former social networks, jobs, and possessions that had defined me to a significant extent for a long time, too, I then was left to be just an unknown foreigner. Therefore, I could not and did not have to live up to any story anymore. What an opportunity. I’ve realized how foolish it had been to build one’s personality too much on the unstable ground of externals.

Meanwhile, having left most of the external things and values behind, there has remained one true identity-giving source: The inner self that connects all of us on a deeper human level. I’ve found this true self when mentalizing back to before I had grown into an adult body, before I was associated with a particular social status and related privileges, and before I started to hold on to a variety of achievements and acquisitions. Then, literally as an alien in a foreign country, I became aware of what was left, what will always be left, and I mentally returned to the core of whom I am: The consciousness that is all and my origin of life. For all my life, I was looking for happiness. Then I found meaning. And when I accepted meaning, happiness became meaningless. That’s when I started to really enjoy life again; joy through the effort to create awareness-intelligently an identity instead of blindly assuming one that’s tried to be assigned to me. That’s also when I better understood what it means to be an artist.

When you experience meaninglessness, low motivation, and urges to give up, it is helpful to check the extra-future element and probe its awaring, for example, as follows. Ask yourself: Am I creating in line with life, the life that continues in all human evolution beyond my family, my party, my nation, my race, etc., or do I identify with such social constructs on which can’t be hold on to in the perishable physical world? If it is the latter, feelings of meaninglessness could stem from such a misidentification. One might feel that clearly when losing somebody close when having lost a job, or being rejected from a social group. We must die to our ego during a lifetime voluntarily. As we shift from socio-cultural group identity to a universally valid life membership, we will have found our purpose in life as well. The ego cannot be overcome by disabling the mind (as sometimes advertised in meditation classes). Selflessness is achieved by thinking awareness-intelligently about the egoless self, through non-transactionality in meeting others and focusing on a mutually beneficial future in all humanity’s interest.

Achieving a symmetrical, congruent (awareness-intelligent) identity

We can clearly feel that we separate mental awareness from bodily sensations and instead picture the wholeness and infinity of life. We can change our way of thinking. The most profound, impactful, and sustainable way to change is to change the layer from where thought arises: awareness. The human condition is no longer dependent on social identity alone. It learns to integrate the three modes of the intra-past, the inter-present, and the extra-future into increased and undivided awareness (for the detailed explanation, see https://www.mathias-sager.com/tag/awareness-intelligence/). As our thoughts and actions become more symmetrical (and our business and private cards more congruent), life will never feel like a lie again.

Becoming a genuine leader is founded on mastering self-leadership and being at peace with oneself and the world. To serve as a role model, one must be ready to give up their title and position. Too dissonant can a professional identity become with the aware self. How could one ever enjoy people who admire rather their title-based authority and social status rather than knowing about their creativity, vulnerability, and loving character in the first place?

#art #artist #painting #painter #abstractart #modernabstract #contemporaryart #soul #psychology #philosophy #society #culture #identity #Bewusstseinsintelligenz #awarenessintelligence

Comparison

Painting COMPARISON (M. Sager, Acrylic on canvas, each 30 x 40 cm)

It is tempting to ask “Which one do I like most?” But actually, I like them all …

We wish to be intelligent to perform tasks such as reading, calculating, solving technical problems, create music, understand nature, be a good employee or entrepreneur, and so forth. These may all be important to fulfill social roles. And, social comparison is a strong happiness factor. People tend to be content if they do well compare to others. Because there are always others who do let us appear compare unfavorably, the choice of a limited circle of easy-to-compare others might be a comforting self-protection strategy. However, such avoiding behavior also prevents from connecting to broader and more diverse walks of life. The measurements of traditional intelligence quotients have only amplified competition unnecessarily. It’s not necessary to compare to others and derive satisfaction from relative high scores in intelligence tests in areas we even don’t feel drawn to naturally as these, in fact, are not of most fundamental relevance to a soul-inspired human life. It is unnecessary to feel judged as a human being by culturally and commercially defined concepts of intelligence. Social comparisons are causing a lot of discrimination, feelings of unworthiness, and related suffering. What makes people really joyful is their capacity for self-determination, which means to be in the driver seat, to function mentally well, and enjoy psychological well-being.

#art #artist #painting #modernart #abstract #abstractart #contemporaryart #psychology #socialcomparison #Bewusstseinsintelligenz #awarenessintelligence

Identities: Obstacles to change

20210203_Painting IDENTITY_mathias sager Psychology & Art_60 x 60 cm

[This article was also published together with other authors at the ‘Skilled Helpers Collaborative’: tinyurl.com/dsja4q4h]

Transitions can be defined as “change from one form to another.” In physical life, change is inevitable. So, we (and all matter) constantly change. Our body that we occupied only a few years ago does not contain the same atoms anymore and might look quite different. All real estate erodes. Paradoxically, it’s that unstable matter that we shortsightedly consider as “real.” Wouldn’t it be more accurate to call “real” what actually is stable and doesn’t change, even in the long run? Isn’t, therefore, our soul more likely our real self?

The problem is that most people solely identify with their fragile bodily existence and not with their eternal spiritual being. We theoretically know that at some point in time, we’ll lose our stuff, and we’ll have to die. Because we tend to deny this for most of the time to satisfy the desire for stable security, change is rejected as well.

Seeing ourselves as spiritual beings solves the problem in that we get a real glimpse of everlasting life, even beyond our earthly journey. Therefore, I argue, this is the one big change we have to accomplish for a fulfilled life: to expect significant material losses and be ready to die during a lifetime to access our real self as divine beings.

What does it take to trigger such change? As explained before, we must, involuntarily or voluntarily, face loss and death. That’s why for many only major life events bring the necessary interruption in their protected sense of stable identity that leads to personal growth. Asking people about the reasons for their major transformations in life usually comes with narratives about some painful (because unexpected) material losses like, for example, losing a beloved one, losing one’s job, or health by getting sick.

Once awakened to this realization, going through change is still challenging. Social comparison and related peer pressure represent an essential factor for not wanting to change, respectively, to remain fitting in. I believe it is still very uncommon to live a spiritual understanding of life. It is popular to post spiritual quotes and be part of religious communities, but the courage to break away from the pursuit of status, prestige, wealth and material security is rare. The illusion that one can protect oneself against inevitable aging, loss and death with material things is too great.

No one is more hated than the one who speaks the truth.

Plato

It’s even difficult life situations, victimhood, and (relative) poverty that people defend against change. Research finds that people often justify the existing social system even when this comes at personal and collective costs. System Justification Theory posits that authoritarian ideologies and cultures, respectively ‘cultures of justification,’ which can also appear through inequalities in wealth in so-called democratic societies, motivate the often-unconscious belief of inferiority most strongly among individuals of underprivileged groups. What role a person takes in society seems less critical to her/him than a stable (and therefore seemingly secure) identification with whatever role.

In summary, it can be said that people with a worldview of an identity that seeks stability and security, regardless of its quality, prevent themselves (and others) from changing. In this way, they deny themselves access to their real selves, the spiritual self, and sooner or later they will be devastated if changes happen anyway, let alone regret not having thought about it earlier and changed voluntarily.

The thinking man changes his opinion.

Friedrich Nietzsche

If you’d like to “question” your worldview/identity and learn how to access a more humanly spiritual way of thinking, you can find a helpful self-reflection tool and supportive services on www.mathias-sager.com.#psychology#art#artist#change#identity#awarenessintelligence

Break out

Painting BREAK OUT (M. Sager, 2021. Acrylic on wood panel, 80 x 80 cm)

We know that

Santa Claus is a fairytale,

and yet

we keep it alive.

We know that

many regulations and laws are ridiculous,

and yet

we follow them obediently.

We know that

corporate sustainability is an afterthought,

and yet

we don’t insist on keeping them accountable.

We know that

our identity is a product of socialization,

and yet

we believe that’s who we are.

And all because if we want to fit in, we have to bend. [see last painting]

DO WE HAVE THE COURAGE TO BREAK OUT?

#art #artist #painting #acrylicpainting #painter #modernart #contemporaryart #modernabstract #figurativeart #breakout #liberation #courage #psychology #awarenessintelligence

BRICH AUS (M. Sager, 2021. Acryl auf Holzpanel, 80 x 80 cm)

Wir wissen, dass

der Weihnachtsmann ein Märchen ist,

und doch

halten wir es am Leben.

Wir wissen, dass

viele Vorschriften und Gesetze lächerlich sind,

und doch

folgen wir ihnen gehorsam.

Wir wissen, dass

die Nachhaltigkeit von Unternehmen eine Alibi-Uebung ist,

und doch

bestehen wir nicht darauf, sie zur Rechenschaft zu ziehen.

Wir wissen, dass

unsere Identität ein Produkt von Sozialisierung ist,

und doch

glauben wir, dass wir das sind.

Und das alles, weil wenn wir reinpassen wollen, müssen wir uns beugen. [siehe letztes Gemälde]

HABEN WIR DEN MUT, AUSZUBRECHEN?

#Kunst #Künstler #Malen #Gemälde #Acryl #Modernekunst #Zeitgenössischekunst #abstrakt #figurativ #ausbrechen #befreien #Mut #Psychologie #awarenessintelligence #Bewusstseinsintelligenz

FITTING IN

Painting FIT IN (M. Sager, 2021. Acrylic on wood panel, 80 x 80 cm)

If you want to fit in, you have to bend.

Fluffed up vs. ‘reality before appearances’

20201111_FLUFFED UP_acrylic on woodpanel 50 x 100 cm_mathias sager art
Painting FLUFFED UP (M. Sager, 2020. Acrylic on wood panel, 50 x 100 cm)

Fluffed up

As we deserve to be not judged by our past, we should not judge others according to the labels they are given. The socio-economic status of people doesn’t tell us much about their human qualities. Try to see people’s soul regardless of social personality appearances. Don’t waste your thoughts on interpreting equipment, façade styles, and fashions. They are not relevant to our true self, and they are gone as fast as they came. We are not our social personalities. Clinging to our social identity and old ways of thinking about ourselves makes us in any case matter less than we deserve. In that sense ‘reality before appearances.’

Excerpt from Awareness Intelligence (M. Sager, 2019)