Protopia is hard to see because it is becoming. It is a process that is constantly changing how other things change, and, changing itself, is mutating and growing. It is difficult to cheer for a soft process that is shape-shifting. But it is important to see it.*
Belonging so fully to yourself that you’re willing to stand alone is a wilderness – an untamed, unpredictable place of solitude and searching.**
Protopia, as a state of becoming, is we are all born and reside. It is a state made up of character and personality. Character is who we are becoming over the long haul, personality our ways of connecting our characters with those of others and our world.
I was reflecting once again on this conversation between May Angelou and Bill Moyers:
MOYERS: Do you belong anywhere”
ANGELOU: I haven’t yet.
MOYERS: Do you belong to anyone?
ANGELOU: More and more. I mean, I belong to myself. I’m very proud of that. I am very concerned about how I look at Maya I like Maya very much. I like the humour and the courage very much. And when I find myself acting in a way that isn’t … that doesn’t please me – then I have to deal with that.**
Angelou is using character words rather than personality words. She is describing how she is both, in Brené Brown’s terms, braving the wilderness towards becoming the wilderness.
I love working with people on their talents and strengths, the elements of personality, but I know these must work with our characters. It’s not one or the other. It’s both.
For this reason, we can never say this is who I am, only this is who I am becoming.
(*From Kevin Kelly’s The Inevitable.)
(**From Brené Brown’s Braving the Wilderness.)