Sense of SELF & Escaping Self-Deception

This page continues from here » Another Mind-Fucking Tragedy (14 Sept 2018).

» Sense of SELF Based Internally vs Externally

The thing that makes it easier with the dissolving and ultimate death of a toxic relationship .. is when you have confidence and self-respect for your own value and worth .. as a child of God ..

.. and knowing that you possess within yourself something truly divine .. upon which you can set your sorrows over the death of this relationship.

I have discussed this already on Page Five .. right after the section where I write, "Wow .. I actually feel like I am in love."

If your sense of self is based externally, then this makes the death of the relationship all the more distressing.

But the end of a relationship that it sucking the life out of you .. this is a net-gain for sure.

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» Resonating Naturally with the Existentialists

This idea, that we should base our sense-of-self on internal things, and not on external things .. this is an insight and a point-of-view that comes from Kierkegaard (1813-1855, Copenhagen), who is considered the father of existentialism.

I have found that I resonate naturally with these existentialists. I would come across and read something that would strike my consciousness in a cool sort-of-way, and then go research the author and discover that they were (yet again) considered an existentialist.

The label "existentialist" itself is not the thing .. because existentialism (as a life-practice to help you make better decisions) .. means different things to different people.

Some people who are today considered an existentialist did not even consider themselves one.

It is as if the process of learning about the existentialists and existentialism helps me better understand things that I already resonate with.

But existentialism is not like a religion .. where you try to conform to some set of lofty ideals .. of the sort that emmanate naturally and organically from one's own divine nature.

If I read something like what Wittgenstein did .. by specifically volunteering for life-threatening positions and missions during the war .. this kind of thing does not resonate with me.

I am not going to put my life in jeopardy because Wittgenstein says that such an experience helps to develop you .. as a moral sentient carbon-based life-form of the highest order. (God help us.)

But more often than not .. far more .. I find myself reading something about or by one of these existentialists .. and say, "I do that exact same thing myself."

And it is always something that I did intuitively .. not because I had heard of somebody else doing the same thing.

Sometimes it was a thing that I did not even realize that I was doing .. until I read about somebody else doing it.

» Self-Inquiry + Self-Love

Speaking of resonating naturally with the existentialists .. this 9-min Tedx Talk titled » How Can Practical Everyday Existentialism Help You Live Better .. this might be the best Tedx Talk I have ever seen .. for a number of reasons.

Ice cream is no substitute for self-love

That actually made me feel less alone in the world.

» Regrets, I've had a Few

Here is a good place to mention one of my regrets in life. The singer-girl, the California girl, the Valley girl .. who I met in New Haven .. she tried to turn me onto Kierkegaard.

But I dismissed this out of hand without even considering what she was proposing.

» Perspective and Conceptualization

I am not sure that the right words exist for me to explain exactly where my problem was. It is about » perspective .. the place from which you see things. Your vantage point.

Two people can be standing side-by-side, looking at the exact same thing ...

Beyonce and Jay-Z taking in Leonardo's Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Apeshit (16 June 2018)

Yet one will see something positive while the other sees something negative. How can this be?

I now feel like I have grown to see her perspective. I can see how much better it is. Certainly more evolved. Enlightened, in a certain sense.

I bet that Teal Swan knows what I am talking about (29 Dec 2018).

I am not onboard with everything that Ms Swan says there, or how she goes about attempting to illustrate her point .. but she obviously recognizes the importance that the concept and reality of perspective plays in our lives.

Ths is huge discussion, and I am not even sure myself how to approach it best.

» The Understanding that Comes with Firsthand Experience vs the Ignorance that Accompanies Preconceived Notions

See .. back then I interpreted her invite to study Kierkegaard together .. I interpreted this be a religious sort-of-thing. And it was .. because Kierkegaard explores such things.

But my idea of religion back then was very different than my idea of religion now. And here I could write untold volumes .. but I won't.

Suffice to say that her concept of what she was proposing was different from what I understood her to be saying. I can see that now.

She somehow saw things that I was noy yet able to see. A marriage counselor would probably term this a 'misunderstanding'.

It is not an uncommon thing for our mental concept of something to be different from the actual reality of it .. that you discover from actually exploring something firsthand for yourself.

» If I Knew Then What I Know Now

I now feel like I have arrived at the place she was trying to get me to join her in exploring .. except I have come this long, circuitous route .. that was painful at times.

Sure, I learned a shitload of stuff from going through these sucky experiences. It's hard not to. But I can see how her way was more evolved than my way.

Such things very much involve your values, and what your values are .. because different people value different things. And values can change over time, depending on a large number of factors and influences.

If you are trekking through the desert, dying of thirst, a million dollars does you no good. Now you would value a glass of water much more highly than any amount of currency.

Your values would naturally be different in a different situation. I could go crazy with examples, but you feel me.

Anyway, I now wish that I had entertained her suggestions to explore the insights of Kierkegaard's work, and not been so dismissive.

Just being honest. Regrets, I've had a few. How many do you want to hear about?

» My Experience of You is that You Seemed to Rise Up Out of Existential Things

You know, Miss Ariana .. I probably shouldnt tell you this .. but, fuck it.

See .. the gist of living in an existential sort-of-way is simply to let your experience(s) speak to you, and talk to you, as openly and as honestly and as clearly as possible.

And no, it is not easy .. because you are going to see and hear some things that are not very pretty. Downright nasty shit.

The Tragedy of Saudi Arabia's Wars (26 Oct 2018)

So, I am looking at this thing with you here .. and I try to wrap my head around it and figure out wtf. (And what is not the fuck, too.)

And I will not even mention the real, no-shit historically perilous times for democracy that we live in today ..

But my experience of you .. is that you seemed to » rise up out of existential things. Surely you can see how such a perspective would represent my existential experience of you.

This section here .. where I delve into the existential aspects of my relationship with you .. and how, from my perspective .. it appeared as if you rose up out of Existential things .. back when I was reading about, and learning about, Existentialism .. this section here could easily be its own page.

What title would I give such a page? Any ideas?

» I Regret Not Entering into Existential Things with the Singer-Girl

But the point that I want to make here is that .. Kierkegaard is considered the grandfather of this philosophical movement known as existentialism.

And the singer-girl .. the real, no-shit singer girl .. she was into Kierkegaard, and she tried to turn me on to Kierkegaard.

Kierkegaard, I could see, represented her approach toward life. I wouldnt call her religious .. but she was clearly an outstanding person from a moral perspective.

[ Much better than most girls who I had met at church. Sometimes you meet people at church who are not the nicest human beings .. when you get to know them.

I can now see that this should not have surprised me as much as it did .. because existentialism is very much about accepting responsibility for our actions ..

Each of us must design our own moral code by which to live say the existentialists

.. which requires us to design a moral code to live by .. one that is based upon our own particular value-structure.

And, no .. this is not easy. And you need to continually upgrade and refine your value-structure .. as you live and grow and learn more about life.

This is why I now ask myself "Does this girl make me feel good? Or does she make me feel bad?" And how much of each .. in order to determine if a particular girl is good for me.

"Does this girl appreciate me?" I will ask myself.

I mean, who wants to be with someone who doesnt appreciate them? Who wants to be with someone who can't stop telling you every 5 minutes another thing about you that they dont like? That irritates them.

Let me know if you ever find somebody who does .. because I know the direction to point them in. I know where they can find what they're looking for. ]

And I could see how big of a disappointment this was for her .. when I dismissed out-of-hand exploring Kierkegaard with her. (Tho I did not, at the time, fully understand why.)

It was like I had to grow and live real life and learn a lot of stuff about life and living and morality and ethics .. and I had to grow my balls big enough to confront some of the more serious questions we encounter along the way ..

.. and after all that I finally came to a place where I could see where she was coming from.,

During these years of concerted self-betterment and self-improvement and personal growth, I was not trying to be like the singer-girl. I did not even know how far ahead of me she was .. until I had made major progress along the road toward becoming a moral sentient being.

These kinds of things, where we endeavor to upgrade ourselves, these things appear reasonably easy and simple .. until you actually try to execute the plan. Then you think "This is way harder than I thought it would be."

It is not easy to admit when we were wrong .. because this is the basis for self-improvement, for self-loving, for self-care.

Out with the bad, dysfunctional shit .. in with the new-n-improved techniques and perspectives. I mean, who does not want to improve and develop as a moral, sentient-being?

Who does not want to represent well for the species found at the top of the pyramid of carbon-based lifeforms .. the apex of the evolution of DNA?

» This is Definitely the Right Place

I find it interesting that this section here, where I delve into errors in judgment that I identified in life when looking back .. I find it curious that this section is coming in a page titled » Sense of SELF & Escaping Self-Deception (14 Sept 2018).

This was one of my biggest mistakes .. looking back. There are others.

Speaking of the singer-girl and Kierkegaard, remind me to mention something about Fear and Trembling (1843, 1919 english) that I was pondering recently.

Abraham the patriarch leaving his home of Ur with his family as directed by the Living God Himself in pursuit of the promise.

There are a number of interesting insights and matching patterns that I have been thinking about.

» The Insight of the Poet and the Contemplation of the Philosopher

Speaking of the singer-girl who tried to turn me onto Kierkegaard and speaking of the SELF and of trippy coincidences and anxiety ..

.. this might be a good place to mention a book by Kierkegaard titled » The Sickness Unto Death (1849).

Kierkegaard says that everybody secretly harbors an unexplainable inner anxiety

Check out the description from the Amazon page for this book:

A companion piece to The Concept of Anxiety (1844), this work continues Søren Kierkegaard's radical and comprehensive analysis of human nature in a spectrum of possibilities of existence.

Present here is a remarkable combination of the insight of the poet and the contemplation of the philosopher.

In The Sickness unto Death, Kierkegaard moves beyond anxiety on the mental-emotional level to the spiritual level, where--in contact with the eternal--anxiety becomes despair.

Both anxiety and despair reflect the misrelation that arises in the SELF when the elements of the synthesis--the infinite and the finite--do not come into proper relation to each other.

Despair is a deeper expression for anxiety and is a mark of the eternal, which is intended to penetrate temporal existence.

Holy smokes. That's a mouthful. Food for thought. Produce to ponder. Much organic produce contained there.

Notice the phrase above » "radical and comprehensive analysis of human nature in a spectrum of possibilities of existence."

Because this sounds a lot like » 'forging the uncreated conscience of my race' .. and also like » 'thinkers who forged the modern sensibility' .. and also like » 'spanning the entire range of moral experience, from the satanic to the divine.'

Maybe I will return to point out some observations along these lines. But not right now.

He is saying that despair is a result of » inconguency (which he terms 'misrelation'). Such a concept very much mirrors my own observations in life. I could go into mind-numbing detail.

In a graphic sense, congruency is what happens when two (or more) patterns match.

I know exactly what he is talking about .. except that I dont use his same terms. He is being abstract here, where I would wax more practical.

[ I find this observation interesting because the quote that I have listed for Kierkegaard on my Philosophers page is » "All logical thinking employs the language of abstraction. It is easier to indulge in abstract thought than it is to exist." ]

Because Kierkegaard lived 150 to 200 years ago in another country located on another continent .. this means that his practical things will naturally be different from my practical things. Probably very different.

» Knight of Cups

Along the lines of Kierkegaard and the existentialists ..

Here is a 10-min video titled » Knight of Cups | Our Eternal Quest for Meaning - Kierkegaard's Existentialism (June 2017).

Knight of Cups

It is about the 2015 film by Terrence Malick, starring Christian Bale, and which is based on the Hymn of the Pearl.

I probably should check that out.

» You Can Only Go So Far by Yourself

Another example is this 10-min video I recently saw on the philosophy of Martin Buber (1878-1965), who was nominated 10 times for the Nobel Prize in Literature, and 7 times for the Nobel Peace Prize.

A number of the concepts presented in this video resonate with my own experiences. For example, at t=3:50, the narrator says » "For Buber, there is no such thing as growing as a human being on our own .. at least, not in any deep way."

Buber says there is no such thing as growing as a human being on our own (at t=3:50)

I mention this because I have already told you how my experience has been that » "You can only go so far by yourself."

Long before I ever heard of such an idea, I had found in my own life that I made much more progress as human being while engaged in fully functioning relationships with people.

Most of the time these were intimate relationships with members of the opposite sex .. but not always.

I do not agree with the specific terminology used here .. that we can make "no progress" (growth) on our own.

Solo growth is possible by a self-referencing individual who interacts with his work to impose form and order (at t=5:30)

Anthony Storr knows what I am talking about. We can indeed make progress solo.

» Developing and Tuning Your Solo Resonance Frequencies

And you will need a degree of this solo growth in order to attract a truly beautiful creature .. using natural resonance. (So they feel the real you and not some fake-pretend fabrication of something that you're really not.)

But my experience has been that there are limitations associated with how far we can go solo.

But I understand what Buber is saying. The really good stuff .. the juicy-juice of life .. comes from our deep interactions with other human beings.

Dove knows what I am talking about.

» Actions Speak Louder Says Marcus the Emperor

[ Here is another example of something that speaks to me .. about Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD) and his Meditations. His concepts resonate with my own experiences.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD)

Right near the beginning he says that Stoicism is based on the notion that » behaviors (actions), and not thoughts or words, should define virtue.

This 15-min video begins by saying » "Stoicism is an interesting, therapeutic, and calming philosophy." ]

This happened a lot .. where I would read something that spoke to me in a curious way, and discover that the author was considered an existentialist.

Eventually the lightbulb went on and I started looking more closely into exactly what this philosophy was all about.

When I first heard the term existentialism, it just sounded so pretentious. The ironic thing is that the philosophy itself is far from pretentious. Closer to anti-pretentious. Much closer.

» The Challenge of Honest Self-Reflection

Existentialism, for me, involves self-knowledge, which involves self-honesty .. neither of which are easy.

Dont lie to yourself says Dostoevsky (at t=3:45) in the Brothers Karamazov (1880)

You sort of start at a difficult place and go from there. There is a sense of nobility in such a pursuit. It's like you have to fight for every inch. And you do not win every battle.

The dog is the one who first got me curious about such things .. because I had been so impressed by his level of self-honesty after his days at Columbia.

He would say things to me that were so vulnerable and soul-bearing .. like it was nothing. It was just part of his larger narrative.

» An Impressive and Inspiring Sentient Being

And the way he does it is never demeaning. He never talked down to you .. even tho he is obviously way ahead of you .. in the area of self-knowledge and self-reflection and self-honesty and knowing thyself.

He was well beyond anything I had ever come across.

The dog always manages to build you up, and never tear you down. It is really remarkable. He knows how to make you feel like a million bucks. He knows how to make you feel good about yourself .. even when he is giving you shit about something.

It feels like you are talking to the very soul of this person. A very cool person. He was impossible not to like. Everybody liked him. Everybody wanted to be his friend.

When I first started moving in this direction of exploring self-honesty, I thought, "This aint as easy as the dog makes it look."

When you are committed to viewing life as honestly as possible .. it always reflects back on you, and it makes you look at yourself. Closely and honestly.

Jonathan Beale knows what I am talking about. But not the Donald.

» The Sometimes Staggering Honesty of Existentialism

I was very much struck by what Eric Dodson said at t=2:55 in this 17-min video titled » Why I Like Existentialism (2015).

See what he says here in a section titled » Honesty.

The second thing that draws me to existentialism is its moments of extraordinary, and sometimes staggering, honesty.

Existentialists tend to be more honest and straightforward than most people (t=2:55)

Existential thinkers are much more straightforward than average .. about many aspects of life that are hard to admit and discuss.

One thing about existentialists is that they are definitely not shy about discussing the darker side of life .. about exploring the sense of anxiety and dread that haunts us, for instance. Or examining the subtle ways that our mortality touches us personally, and shapes our experience of things.

I find that kind of honesty refreshing .. because it seems so much more REAL than average. So much more forthright and direct .. about the reality of human existence.

That is exactly how I feel. This is very much what it feels like to talk to the Dog. .. the sometimes staggering honesty.

» Might Not Even be Humanly Possible

That is a fascinating article .. for a number of reasons. Near the end, he writes:

"Nothing is so difficult," Wittgenstein wrote in 1938, "as not deceiving oneself."' His vision of the authentic self is perhaps always beyond reach, like the exemplars of authenticity with which he was familiar through the writings of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche.

I caught myself here wondering whether or not I agree with this notion that complete self-honesty might not even be possible.

I am not sure, to be honest. I mean, I certainly dont want to admit that it is beyond reach. But I know that, if this thing is not actually impossible ("beyond reach"), then it is not far from impossible.

Mission Impossible Fallout rock-climbing scene

If you are even heading in the direction of, and pursuing, honest self-knowledge .. then you have my respect. (Because I know how difficult it is.)

We are better at deceiving ourselves than others (at t=1:10)

Wittgenstein (1889-1951) was heading hard in this direction .. in the direction of honest self-knowledge. I can feel my respect for him.

Few things in life are as satisfying as an engaging conversation with someone who really knows themself in an honest and realistic sort of way .. and is able to engage on that level.

» Wittgenstein's Commitment to Escaping Self-Deception

Check out this remarkable passage:

Wittgenstein sought to facilitate character change by engaging in activities "that would change the way he looked on his life and on himself," including public displays of courage which might motivate self-development, such as being "placed in situations where his life was constantly in danger." To this end, in 1916 Wittgenstein requested one of the most dangerous roles in the army, the forward observation post in No Man's Land. This involved the two criteria he saw as the means of escaping self-deception: COURAGE and the askesis such an experience could precipitate.

This thing torques my cranium nicely. See .. I think that it is foolish to intentionally put yourself in a life-threatening situation.

"I would rather not do that," I can hear myself saying in his situation, "if I have any choice in the matter."

» The Effect of Being Forced to Confront Your Own Mortality

But I know for a fact that coming face-to-face with your own mortality, up close and personal, this does indeed give you a perspective on life that you simply cannot get any other way.

Sketch of scene at Dostoevsky's mock execution, Semyonov Place St Petersburg 23 Dec 1849

Even if you survive, you are still not going to be the same person on the other side of this thing. Of this experience. This personality-warping sort of experience.

So I can see that his intuition is indeed accurate in his approach .. even though I would never request such a thing for myself like Wittgenstein did. But this speaks to his sense of commitment and dedication.

Notice how he says you will need » courage .. in order to escape self-deception. I agree with him there. You do need courage. And more than just a little of it, too.

And sometimes I can hear a voice in the back of my head calling out and saying, "You do not have the balls for that. Dont even think about it."

You cannot possibly imagine the things you will encounter. I know I certainly couldnt.

How does Sean Hannity compare-n-contrast with Wittgenstein's approach to escaping self-deception? What say ye?

» Mom's Advice on Love

My mom once said to me, when I was very small, and while we were driving somewhere in the car .. she said, "Honey, you want to find a girl who loves you more than you love her."

I thought a lot about that over the years. I do not agree with her there. I still don't.

It reflects a mindset and a point of view that I find limiting and myopic. High-schoolish almost. I am way beyond such a mindset.

If I have to play such high-schoolish games with a girl .. then she is obviously not for me.

But I know what she is saying. She was having trouble with my dad.

» Wake Up

Girly, I was sitting in a booth by myself today at an In-n-Out. After I finished my double-double with grilled onions, I started reading a book that I had brought along with me to read while my friend was doing a little shopping at the stores in the center there.

I brought along my book on the Upanishads. It was talking a lot about waking up .. in terms of experiencing different states of consciousness .. which made me think about that song that you and Beyonce sang.

I dont want to get into right now exactly what kinds of things I was reading about .. but I simply want to mention it here, and I may return to elaborate.

But I was thinking about you and Beyonce today while I was at In-n-Out. Would you like to know what I was thinking?

I bet you would.

» Making It Your Own

This is the same song that you have retitled » R.E.M. (« Note no period after the 'M') You must really like this song .. because you recently had its title tattoo'ed behind your right ear.

Ariana's REM tat behind her right ear (at t=2:22)

When you retitle something like this .. this is a way of making it your own.

Remind me to talk to you about this song and this new tat. (Some things are not for public viewing.)

I know some things about this song. I have my sources. I possess investigative skills. I know things.

I'm just saying .. that I aint saying.

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This page contains a single entry by Rad published on September 14, 2018 9:14 PM.

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