Sunday, April 25, 2010
An old essay of mine on the meaning of life
Life as Storyteller
Life and its meaning: Life cannot give itself meaning without it being shared with other lives. Like how a statement cannot be its own proof, a single life depends on other lives to give itself meaning.
Why I tell stories: Stories are living things. They share with me the human condition, the anchor of my existence. Some may say my view of stories is fanciful, fake, deluded and unprovable; however, stories contain the realm of memories which gives our life perspective. A life without memories, for example, would not know what it is and what it should do.
Stories can be shared with others: When one shares a part of his life with someone or something, he is anchoring his life in another being. This shared life connects the other person to a perspective including that person.
People carry other people’s lives: By giving one’s life to another, one makes room to let in more of other’s lives into him. When a person dies for instance, the life one gives him dies but the deceased person’s life, which was given back, lives on.
A good story: A story that lives has the impressions and emotions and philosophies of the person or thing giving it. A fictional novel may share much of the author’s and his friend’s lives but it will take on a life on its own and share that with its reader. A bad story does not live and leaves the reader unchanged.
A full life: To have no life is to abandon one’s emotions, impressions, and desires. This person cease to be a person, and it is hard to say that person lives beyond the scientific definition. To have half a life is to either share everything one feels but reject everything given back or to share nothing but only borrow from others. The first is empty and self-centered because he is centered on what he can give and lets nothing into himself. The first needs something or someone to give is his inner world substance, a fixture, an anchor. The second is full and nowhere. He carries the burden of all the things they have taken but is unwilling to share it. By this, he is left with an ever increasing desire to give up on his burden in a reckless way, namely suicide (read Myth of Sisyphus for more details). The full life is the middle path. It shares but not with absolute dedication to only giving and receives likewise (study Buddhism for more details about the middle path).
Ignorance: It is possible to be ignorant of what the full life is and still have it. Many people have a full life at least for a good portion of their lives, but some imbalances may occur to make hidden prejudices, depression, and anxiety (maybe even Angst). It is helpful to know the full life and understand how to think critically about oneself, actions, and desires so that the full life may be maintained or re-attained.
Dedication and Loyalty: Though the definitions of dedication and loyalty overlap, they represent part of the two half system of a full life. Dedication represents the reason that makes something or someone important, or weighted, in one’s life. Dedication can be for a task or profession. It really has to do with what gives your life importance. Loyalty is the part that ties one to life. Loyalty can be towards a person. Responsibility to one’s life and close ones is a by-product of loyal reasoning. Both reasonings reinforce the other and allows for the two-half system to work.
Fiction: a written work of fiction both includes the life-emotion of the writer and a unique life-emotion of its own. This allows a work to share this force with others and inspire new works.
Why I wrote the Indistinct Emotion: I had been reading Pluto which had many characters who were expertly portrayed with immerging emotions and conditions who dealt with sorrow of others and learn sorrow for themselves. They dealt with hate, learned it, wanted to know if their hate would ever go away, and conquered it. They dealt with Post Traumatic Stress from fighting in a war.
To make this clear, Pluto, the story I read, had a life of its own because it was a good story. The characters’ lives all contributed to the story, each in their own fashion. I shared the emotions of each of the characters who were seeing and learning certain strong emotions for the first time. What I absorbed in totality was the story. This story gained a life of its own inside of me and inspired the work Indistinct Emotion, which is about that life-emotion I felt from that story.
Emotional Education and State of Mind: Aristotle thought educating the emotions meant having the right emotion for the right situation, for the right person, with the right amount and so on. I would disagree with such “education”. I would say translating it as education is wrong because it is training. The difference between education and training is that education moves you out of ignorance to a broader understanding, while training reduces your actions to the prescribed. My opinion is that people learn new emotions for new states. Because circumstances for new emotions come from unique points in people’s lives, rationally trying to act in the most virtuous manner is impossible until they are changed by their emotional education.
I generally seek out adults because they have that changed-ness of having emotional education that I haven’t had yet. I read books because some of the authors know things none of the adults in my life know. This passion for emotional education has brought me great change, so that I act in the way I understand as acceptable.
I use the word acceptable because I am often not concern with good and bad as I am with not causing harm. The good and bad come only as an after-thought of trained responses. For an example, spankings and brief alienations have instilled fear into my inner selves (I will cover my multiplicity of being later). Connecting with others is my means for sharing life-emotions and developing new inner selves who guide and change me. Compunction at causing harm comes from a sensitivity to pain it causes our inner self of our shared life-emotion connection. Also, for those I have made little or no connection, the life-emotion of all my sharings has developed sensitivity to strangers, people of the past, and hypothetical people. Therefore, I am not in the sway of moral training in my interactions as I am reverent towards to the understanding of others.
Introspection and Maturity: I spend much of time study myself, speculating at the great questions of being, and synthesizing what I have learned. Often, through introspection, meditation, and meta-cognition, I test my fabricated inner voice against the faculties of doubt and its ever changing voice. I test my feelings against rationality and my theories against axioms.
Through such activities, I passed questioning my role in society, having found the presence of mind to change it when necessary. I have met the questions gain and growth, having developed the power to put my will behind what I truly choose. My ego was inspected from all sides; questions of death and decay suited as starting points of development of a sense of self. I once had a great fear of the lost of self that would occur if I lost a bit of my brain or ability to use some of my faculties. I question the meaning of living if I was going to die and all my labor would be eventually erased. I compared the deep understanding and Angst of the mortal to that of a hypothetical immortal’s ignorance.
In order to pass such difficult questions of ego integrity, I spread my sensitivity to very air around me during my introspection. My body became both vessel and expresser. I became something little concern in the sense of being because I was less tangible and more here-and-there. Now I developed multiplicity of being. I could make multiple voices speak in my inner world and my vague self could embrace the voice these egos. Through multiplicity of being, I had freedom of being. I could be change through my own will.
I had such an inner culture that during pep rally I was able to stand with people yelling around me tranquilly. I was in repose. I could work hard. I could find peace and rest with my own will in my mature life.
My life is no longer just about the great questions but about searching or waiting for those emotions I have yet had. I await happiness, love, sorrow, and fear. In my vague self, who transcends personality in times of introspection, I can emit a strong presence. This strong presence is a skill or development of my frequent self-study. My present concerns are what I wish share with those who can appreciate them or to those I respect like my teachers. Even though I am very sensitivity to the life-emotion and its ebbs and tides, I am seeking for great emotions like happiness to originate in myself.
I want the great feelings of life-emotion to originate inside me because I want to be changed by them. I seek out others and offer my passions for this endeavor. However, my multiplicity of being creates a gap of misunderstanding between others and me because I lack the same “practical concerns” like death or benefit. I can intellectualize most of what happens into my expanded sense of self. I know not what is to be feared in the external world of individualists. Death and benefit are but finite things that ignore unity and infinite expanse of self-meaning.
While wanting this connection to be made with more and more people, I am bombarded with accusations that I have my head in the clouds and that pondering things too esoteric leaves one without food and family. I am ambivalent about these accusations because first I do not know what to think about food and family in the sense of practical necessities and second I feel at distance with the person who made the accusations. I have on these occasions tried to either meet them halfway and provide them a way to better understand that “what is practical” is an enigma or I listen, absorbing the feelings of sincerity in their argument no matter how big the differences in our certainties.
In the end, I am not sure if maturity is the act of taking less and less for granted or finding one’s multiplicity of being. I am not always very esoteric, though I sometimes want to be more. It is by sheer multiplicity that I have inconsistencies day to day.
If this portion is inconsistent or confusing is because it is hard to explain my sigh of existence and the very distinct aspects of mature vagueness. It is also possible that I may be deluded for some psychological reason, but maybe my understanding may change so that I will know that.