I recently read some articles that synchronistically spoke to things I’ve been thinking about lately. It is all too easy to assume that our own experiences are totally unique to us as individuals. In one sense they are. However, it is important to remember that all humans are essentially the same and that we mostly go through the same sorts of things over a lifetime. Civilization is built upon a scaffolding of the solved problems of all the humans before us. Can we use this same font of knowledge to help us as individuals become our best, most self-actualized, selves? Of course! The whole concept of ethics or moralities are such structures. Every single thing that you are capable of thinking is built upon these concepts, ideas, words, created by humans in the past and building upon their own foundations. This is our special magic power as “humans.” Homosapiens. Though, there is evidence that some other animal species develop some kind of continuity as well, consciously or not.
Many people do not set out to create a conscious idea of what that “best” self is, however.Their system of ethics or morality is at a pre-conscious knee-jerk level. “Well, of course, you shouldn’t kill people. That’s just wrong.” They are not incorrect in thinking this–yet they have not thought about why it is wrong. if it is always wrong, or consciously gone over the particulars of what exactly they believe and why, considering the sources from which those ideas came. Therefore these individuals may end up with conflicting ideologies and have issues with cognitive dissonance. Their morality systems come from their religions, their states, their parents, and or their peers. Again, there is nothing wrong with this specifically, but it means that their system of morality/ethics–their system of being–is not theirs. If your system of being is not yours are you you? Do you have a real “self”? As I said before, to some extent we cannot escape from the paradigm in which we find ourselves, being unable to formulate the thought of something different lacking the building blocks to do so. Who we are as individuals is to some extent formed by your family, peers, culture, history and very humanness. What is more, we have developed in such a fashion, with those beliefs because those beliefs and social patterns have to some extent worked. We don’t want to just throw out everything we have learned and gained in an effort toward rugged individualism. However, the danger is in believing that those structures are monolithic, perfect, unchangeable, superior, or etc. There is danger in lack of critical examination of all beliefs to know if there is something in you that says yes to this AND that you know perfectly why. Even if it is acknowledging that your only why is a fundamental belief, you should KNOW this.
Anyway, I’ve been having some angst. This angst comes from the gap between expectation and reality. Or–since I do try not to “expect” anything–between “hope” and “fact.” The truth is that I am deeply afraid. I am afraid not only for myself, but for the world at large, and I see this fear as a parallel symptom of a larger human problem. As afraid for myself as I am, I am powerfully aware that I have privilege and that so many people suffer far worse that I can imagine on a daily basis. Yet, in my “solution” the answer is to work on myself and to rise by lifting others (I will be writing more about this, but I have to start by laying a foundation of some other ideas.) To do this, I must do the rigorous self-examination and learn how to live what I call the “Open Art Life.” This means that, as terrified as I am for the world and the many causes that press upon my consciousness, the way out is also the way in.
This is again part of a longer more complicated discussion. Also, all of this sounds like pretentious bullshit. I don’t know how to talk about the important stuff without it sounding like utter hooey. But anyway, the long and short of things is that I’m working on myself, and I’m terrified. I know that a lot of this seems random and rambling (and maybe a bit crazy,) but I promise there is sense here. I was having some angst and feeling all alone in it when I came upon this article on
The short summation: I was having some angst and feeling all alone in it when I came upon this article on Lifehacker.com about something called a “Quarter-life Crisis” and I had an aha! Moment.