Tag: rational

Only one imperative

Why is it so difficult to just be yourself? I think there are two impediments to being you:

  1. We don’t know ourselves. We have spent so much time playing a role whether that be in your family or at work, we have completely lost touch who we really are.
  2. The second impediment is that society, in general, wants to categorize us by race, gender, ethnicity, profession, political party, and wealth just to name a few.

Impediment #1

We don’t know ourselves – If you are like me, you spend countless hours agonizing over what you do for a living, which means you become a role that you play for the majority of your waking hours. You become so focused on excelling at this role that your whole identity becomes wrapped up in it. Now if this role is aligned or a by-product of who you really are then you have hit the jackpot, but sadly for most of us, this just isn’t true. Instead of figuring out who we really are we just assume the role and spend the rest of our life living our life in that paradigm. Instead of pursuing our dreams we just assume the role of Doctor, Nurse, Data Scientist, Software Developer, Uber Driver, Mother, Father, Son, Daughter, or whatever. Most of our life is then spent living up to the expectations needed to fulfill that role.  It’s fucking madness and we do it day after day until we die. At some point, we realize this and become unhappy with these roles and begin looking inside ourselves for an answer.

Impediment #2

Society – In the United States, we like to think we are all born equal, with inalienable rights, to life, liberty, and happiness. Nice sentiment, but it’s mostly bullshit. Our society like the societies in most countries tries to categorize us by political affiliations like left or right, black or white, male or female, rich or poor, and so on. As people, we begin associating our identity to these groupings. I can say I am a Democrat or a Republican and as such, I believe this or that. You don’t even have to think about it just assume some group identity and you are set for life, and most people don’t think about it. Once you have been categorized you are more easily controlled and can be marketed to. Yes, you become a target audience for whatever propaganda the government or a corporation wishes to sell you. You might think I sound like some paranoid anarchist at this point, but hear me out. Look at your Instagram feed for a moment, notice how the advertisements are targeted at you based on your browsing history or Google searches. You, my friend, are a target market and Facebook or Google have already categorized you as someone who needs to see these particular ads.

The Door

What if there was a door that you could open that would help you find your true self and start living a life free from assumed roles and identities. The door is your own rational mind, your freedom of choice if you will. To begin exercising this freedom of choice you need to stop doing a few things:

  • Stop thinking of yourself as only a role – Yes, you may play roles, but don’t let those roles overtake a huge amount of your conscious mind. You are not a role, but you may perform a function related to a role, just remember you are not a fucking role.
  • Stop being categorized – People will try to categorize you as liberal or conservative, but don’t fall for that trap. Use rational judgment when it comes to any issue versus groupthink. I know it’s easier to just follow the herd and adopt their ideology, but if you make that choice you are abandoning yourself for the group. I don’t label myself as liberal or conservative and can still exist in this world. The more you affiliate yourself with these groups the less independent you become.

For me, you can’t just stop living as a role or allowing yourself to be affiliated with society’s categorization of you. If you don’t take action you will be pulled back into the Vortex or at the very least spend the rest of your life rebelling against it, and neither of those fates will help you know yourself. Finding yourself then requires you to start doing some things:

  • Spend time by yourself – Finding yourself often means that you need to be alone. This might mean you take long walks, practice yoga, read books, or try meditating. This time you spend with yourself allows you to think and also isolates you from outside influences. I started both meditating and doing yoga in the morning before work and it has had a profound influence on how I see the world, for you it might be just taking a nice long walk, listening to music, running, or whatever you can do by yourself.
  • Value your time – You can’t really become introspective and think for yourself if you spend countless hours watching YouTube, Netflix, or Hulu. The same thing applies to scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Let’s say you work 8 hours a day or more, then you spend the next 8 hours watching cable news, or one of the other forms of media I just mentioned. Each of these forms of media seeks to influence the way you think, and you know dam will that it does. You won’t learn anything about yourself watching all this shit, it will only detract from your goal of being yourself.

You are not a role, you are not some category, you are a unique individual that deserves to pursue things that interest you. Think for yourself, make decisions in your best interest. Do something today that will help you understand who you really are.

Namaste


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There is no escaping choice

I love this quote from Ayn Rand the queen of objectivism and rational thinking. To begin with, whatever you experience in your life is a result of how you perceive the world and the choices you make. If you think the world is a terrible place filled with injustice and evil, then this will dictate your experience. On the other hand, if you perceive the world to be one of great opportunity and just, this becomes your experience. Your own image, that meaning who you are based on your perception dictates the world that you experience.

As Ayn Rand mentions you have the power to choose, but you can’t escape the fact that you must make choices as you traverse this life. Well, you might say fuck it, I’m checking out because everything is just too difficult or this world is filled with injustice and I don’t want to participate. Fine, then you have still made a choice, there is no escaping that choice is the one thing you cannot run away from. Here is the thing while it is true that you are building the world in your own image, there are always choices that you make that can change your image of who you think you are.

For most of us, we have way more choice than we think we have, yet we don’t make those decisions that can help break out of our current paradigm. I am as guilty as the next person of repeating patterns of behavior that keep giving me the same shitty result. Here are a few choices that are available to most of us that we defer:

  1. What we do for a living – You’re not a fucking rock, you can change and choose to do something different. It might be a bit painful, but you do have a choice, your not and indentured servant. Realize that excuses like I’m too old, too young, or too stupid are just excuses. Stop thinking this shit, if you are still breathing you still have a choice to do something different for a living.
  2. Where we live – There are many people that are not happy with where they live, but never move, never even entertain the possibility of leaving and finding a better place to live. A stupid example from my own life is I lived in the upper midwest United States for 55 years before moving to a better climate. I lived with snow, rain, sleet, and gloomy weather six months of the year before finally realizing that I wasn’t a tree and could get the hell out of there.
  3. What we expose ourselves to – For many years I used to come home, grab a whiskey on the rocks and watch CNN, MSNBC, or FOX news for hours, polluting my mind with this distorted reality. Finally, I realized that I was exposing myself to this garbage and it was warping my mind, and for the last 3 years I have lived news free! Now, this is a somewhat mild example of exposure and a choice to do something different, but you get the idea. If you are allowing yourself to be exposed to some negative person, situation, or whatever then stop that shit.
  4. How we perceive this world – Yes and this is the mother of all choices you make every day, every moment. You can choose to view this world as some terrible place filled with violence, injustice, and inequality, or you can choose a more positive view. I’m not saying this is easy because your past along with your ego are fighting for control over your thoughts, but ultimately you can break from these demons.

Given you cannot avoid making choices, what choices will you make today, that will move your life forward, more in accordance with a life you can be proud of?


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About Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand (/n/;[1] born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum;[b] February 2, [O.S. January 20] 1905 – March 6, 1982) was a Russian-American writer and philosopher.[2] She is known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a philosophical system she named Objectivism. Born and educated in Russia, she moved to the United States in 1926. She had a play produced on Broadway in 1935 and 1936. After two early novels that were initially unsuccessful, she achieved fame with her 1943 novel, The Fountainhead. In 1957, Rand published her best-known work, the novel Atlas Shrugged. Afterward, she turned to non-fiction to promote her philosophy, publishing her own periodicals and releasing several collections of essays until her death in 1982.

Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge and rejected faith and religion. She supported rational and ethical egoism and rejected altruism. In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral[3] and opposed collectivism and statism as well as anarchism, instead supporting laissez-faire capitalism, which she defined as the system based on recognizing individual rights, including property rights.[4] In art, Rand promoted romantic realism. She was sharply critical of most philosophers and philosophical traditions known to her, except for AristotleThomas Aquinas and classical liberals.[5]

Literary critics received Rand’s fiction with mixed reviews[6] and academia generally ignored or rejected her philosophy, though academic interest has increased in recent decades.[7][8][9] The Objectivist movement attempts to spread her ideas, both to the public and in academic settings.[10] She has been a significant influence among libertarians and American conservatives.[11

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayn_Rand

Except to reason

Marcus Aurelius was if nothing else a rational man. In this quote he rightly espouses that nothing else should guide you in life but reason. Not emotions, greed, lust, or any other vile thoughts. In many ways this is the same philosophy that Ayn Rand used in her books The Fountain Head and Atlas Shrugged. When we seek to go down a path that is void of reason we are taking a big risk that could manifest itself into addictions, stupid decisions, and an all around miserable existence.

Let the stoics help guide you to a better place in your life. You are constantly bombarded by so many things that will challenge you, and if you can stay grounded knowing reason alone is your basis for living, then you will be at peace. Most people around you and in society as a whole will not live a life based on reason, and you quickly see what the consequences are for them.

If it is not rational, if you can’t use reason to understand it and guide your decisions then don’t do it. If you are reading this blog you are a person of reason, and it is your responsibility to be the rational person and set an example for those around you. This is even more important now when so much fear about this pandemic is all around us.

Be like Marcus Aurelius, be the stoic!

Namaste

 

If you would like to support this blog, check out the awesome selection of eBooks at:

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Marcus Aurelius (/ɔːˈrliəs/ or /ɔːˈrljəs/;[1] LatinMarcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus; 26 April 121 – 17 March 180) was a Roman emperor from 161 to 180 and a Stoic philosopher. He was the last of the rulers known as the Five Good Emperors (a term coined some 13 centuries later by Niccolò Machiavelli), and the last emperor of the Pax Romana, an age of relative peace and stability for the Roman Empire. He served as Roman consul in 140, 145, and 161.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Aurelius