In a digital world of continual feedback, how can we be our authentic selves? With Instagram, Twitter and Facebook constantly feeding us information and influencing our belief systems, it may seem difficult to discover how we actually feel. Are we too caught up in everyone else’s thoughts to have any of our own these days? And how do we truly get to know ourselves? Poet EE Cummings may well have had the answer.
Cummings says being in touch with your feelings should come before all other external influences. He once advised that “whenever you think, or you believe, or you know, you’re a lot of other people: but the moment you feel, you’re nobody-but-yourself.” Citing poets as the ultimate “feelers”, Cummings explains that a poet is someone that puts their feelings into words, which – for many people – is a near impossible task.
He himself fought hard against traditionalists to pioneer a poetry style that was all his own, winning the prestigious Academy of American Poets annual fellowship in spite of harsh criticism against his form of art. His now famous adage, “To be nobody-but-yourself – in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight,” may be more relevant to us now than ever.