26 April 2009


This I believe: Who we are as beings is who we have "wanted" to be, whether we exactly KNEW it, consciously, or not. On some level, a real level, we have created ourselves (notwithstanding that there are other levels, other forces, that are partially deterministic). To accept responsibility for our lives, the way they have transpired, seems we must recognize the implications of our decisions. Have we not created who we are?

Obviously I lean heavily to the self-creation side. I understand that many people feel controlled by events, that their lives have not been their own. I tend toward the autobiographical self: we write a story that comes true as we author it. We unfold a narrative that we nearly entirely ourselves create, or at least in reaction to those events which seem to come to us unbidden.

Which is it? Is the Universe purely chaotic? Or, do we in some way, somehow, exert some control--again, whether we are conscious of it or not?

Wouldn't it be a nice, possibly highly beneficial, exercise to begin thinking we have a great deal of control, and begin to act as if we do, and as a result, possibly influence the outcomes? But, when things do not SEEM to go our way, we take the attitude that that is okay, too?

Is this too much idealism? Or, is the reality (one reality) that there is power, much power, in positive thinking, and good storytelling--the telling of the story that we have chosen to make happen.

I understand that this kind of thinking brings up a host of philosophical, psychological, theological, and spiritual issues of what it means to be human, what is the I we seem to take as real, what is consciousness, and so on--what in social science is called "agency," a kind of sovereignty of the self.

Let me cut short this line of thinking by saying that the question of selfhood has been long recognized as problematic, including by the ancient Greeks. In the sixth century BC the Buddha claimed that the self is just a name or label given to something that does not really exist. So, if you reread what I wrote above about controlling at least some of our own destiny, the question comes up as to whom, or what, does the controlling. Perhaps it is a beneficial illusion to believe we as individuals actually DO control our life trajectories, in that there might be some power in the praxis.

In any case, it is late, and "I" need to retire for the evening (now 1 a.m.), so that "I" might dream of a "reality" to continue "writing" "my" continuing lifestory.

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