What Does Subjectivity Mean — And Why Am I Always Talking About It?

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I talk a lot about the word ‘subjectivity.’

It’s a confusing, maybe seemingly unnecessary word to talk about life purpose. Sometimes it feels clinical and therapeutic and like it should be kept in academia.

I get it. I feel it. And it’s still the most important word to understand Divinity, humanity, and conditioning.

Let’s take an example that we experience all the time—watching a movie. I watch a lot of movies. And I always identify with the protagonist—the subject of the movie.

Now, in some movies, that protagonist might do things that I’ve been conditioned to believe are “wrong,” like selling drugs or being cruel or even murdering people. But because I see the person’s point of view, their hardships, their experiences—I can empathize with them. I can see them as just another human being trying to figure out this crazy game of life.

I subjectify them.

Instead of reducing them to one attribute—like the fact they do “bad” things (which is, by the way, objectification)—I see more of their humanity, their perspective, their viewpoint.

They are the subject, and we identify with subjects. In contrast, we use or consume objects.

But it’s not just humans. Because subjectivity can be humanizing. But it’s bigger than humans. My dogs have subjectivity—they have innate ways of being, perspectives, values, purpose. As does every other animal.

And, if we take it further, we can choose to subjectify our money, our businesses, our homes.

Through seeing the subjectify—the aliveness, the life force—of all things, I begin to see the Divinity in all things. The Oneness.

When I’m talking about subjectivity and objectification, I’m talking about the extent to which we can experience Divinity—or life—in things around us or not. When we reduce things to one or two attributes, we are essentially Repressing their life force and seeing them as an object.

We can describe my remote by its color, its shape, and the way it benefits me—but that’s pretty much all we can describe it as. It’s an object. And I use objects.

Now, we can extend this metaphor far into just about anything—misogyny, homophobia, racism, classism, ableism, fatphobia, ageism—you name it. The reduction of a human being to just a few attributes. The stripping away of life force or subjectivity.

That’s objectification.

When something an object, it’s easy to use, extract from, and project upon. Because we see it as having less subjectivity than us. So, subconsciously, without even realizing it, we’re engaging in harmful behaviors because we see ourselves as having more or less subjectivity. Even—and maybe especially—when we objectify ourselves.

And this isn’t something we’re born with. No baby is born deciding that someone or some thing has more or less subjectivity. It’s taught. It’s conditioned. Based on the dominant narratives of that society. Or, said another way, based on whose subjectivity is prized and therefore force fed to everyone else.

And that means that from day one, we are conditioned to be someone else. All conditioning moves us away from our inherent subjectivity and toward the dominant narratives. And the extent to which our innate attributes diverge from those narratives is the extent to which we’re literally told to be someone else.

From day one, we’re conditioned not to trust our subjectivity. To dichotomize every aspect of ourselves in praise and shame.

Like my praiseworthy (i.e. prized by society) attributes are my intelligence, my strategic mind, my ability to write, my outgoing personality. My shameful (i.e. shunned by society) attributes are my sensitivity, my emotions, my intuitive sense, my sexuality, my feminine energy, etc.

And my whole life I’ve been dichotomized. Every aspect of me has been dichotomized. Splitting me into praiseworthy and shameful attributes. Like an object.

Subjectivity is a big world. And we’re just hitting the tiniest tip of the iceberg when beginning to explore our own Divinity and the Divine all around us.

For me, I often think of the seed of an apple tree. It’s born with every leaf, branch, and apple it could ever create already inside of it. That wisdom is just lying dormant in the seed. Waiting to unfold. And it will continue unfolding deeper into it until the day it dies.

If we knew that we had that seed of who we are deep within—our subjectivity—and that it explained all things and helped us to see our Divinity, wouldn’t life be easier?

Wouldn’t we realized we’re not fucked up or broken or wrong? That our shame is socially conditioned? That we can reunite the praise and shame and come back to wholeness? That we can trust ourselves again? And all of the answers to any question we could ever possibly have is inside?

We just need the key to unlock all of it.

For me, subjectivity is that key.

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