General Musings

A Moment Of Introspection

We are nothing more then the product of a sequence of mistakes.

It is easy to rejoice, however, when one is capable of admitting to those mistakes as it enables one to become morally conscious of the difference between right and wrong, and such consciousness strengthens our capacity to appreciate lived experience. We mirror our flaws with others when we interact with the wrong sort of people and in doing so we experience an epiphany of sorts that remind us of the spiritual trajectory that we should be taking in life, something we may not have otherwise become conscious of had we not made that initial mistake. Indeed, as Ralph Waldo Emerson would say, “[n]othing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.” There is no greater purpose than to hold close to your heart principles that you adhere to and learning to become self-reliant. Yet, how do we know if our observations of ourselves are genuine? How can we be sure that our mistakes are adequately understood?

…conforming can as Neitzsche described become a decisive victory in the battle against depression.

We are born and as our minds and bodies are too small and fragile to attain the necessary capacity for independence, our determined social and environmental circumstances gives us all the pedagogical and epistemic knowledge we need to form what constitutes as reality. This determinism is merely a matter of time and as we reach adulthood our cognitive abilities also reach a capacity that makes our minds a tool to enable autonomous thinking and it no longer becomes necessary to remain trapped in our infantile egotism where our perceptions of reality are given to us. And yet, when we reach this capacity for self-awareness, we also reach an impasse caused by an inherent fear to disconnect from that reality and it prevents us from transcending to the next stage of thought. The responsibility and the isolation from all that one believed to be reality is so profound that it dramatically changes the landscape of your existence, particularly of what constitutes your identity with your friends and family and how your choices are not a reflection of what you really want. The greatest struggle in this is that you actually don’t know what you want; you just feel that everything is wrong and so begins the subjective invasion of anxious or depressive feelings. And these feelings are painful. You become desperate to stop that pain that you seek external sources to save you from this emptiness of a free reality either by drug and alcohol abuse or by conforming, the latter of which is a continuation of others to think on our behalf as you did when you were a child so that you can relinquish any accountability to live a conscious reality. There remains an unconscious awareness hidden within this, as though we know that we have conformed and why we congratulate others for doing the same in as much as we ignore or even attack those who are not, a pitiable attempt to justify our failure to embrace our autonomy. It is not difficult to see why; conforming can as Neitzsche described become a decisive victory in the battle against depression.

Reality is empty. This freedom and self-awareness is a clean slate as all that one learned to be real was nothing more than information, synaptic transmissions that are not attuned to the real, emotional and aesthetical you, the ‘you’ that screams out in feelings that you cannot articulate. It is a language of words that describe external objects, but nothing that can describe you and your part within it. When we reach that state of self-awareness and decide not to escape but rather face what initially appears to be this dark and brutal abyss, we transcend that infantile reality and suddenly see the world anew. Indeed, losing yourself entirely, your identity and sense of being and belonging is no easy feat, but this existential crises can transform a person where one is ‘born again’ where we begin to experience the world anew and where our perceptions are no longer mindlessly automaton but conscious of each lived moment. We become absorbed by the endless beauty of freedom.

No one can see you; you are just an object because people treat themselves as one and because they are blind to this conscious reality, the isolation is ever more difficult because you can see them and yearn for others to see you.

We are a child or new to this independent experience and while we have attained the mathematical – for instance the epistemic and pedagogical, the words in language – we can now use the information as a tool to start creating our own words that describe who we are. We begin to articulate and voice what we really want, accept that our previous reality was not our own and start forming a new reality. Thus the process of learning moves to the next stage where we learn through our own mistakes because we have become conscious of ourselves, everyday moments becoming lessons that we can see and change rather than deny and even deceive ourselves. Thus one can only become aware of these mistakes once they have first transitioned and when we attain the necessary capacity to become conscious of lapsing into error or accidentally going back to a mindlessness where momentary fragments or pieces of who we once were reappear, we can see that when we utter something deceptive it is because we doubt ourselves or lack confidence in our own judgement and ability. We stop denying the causal reasons for our behaviour. The importance rests is our realisation, where we feel culpable for our actions and promise ourselves to change as we start learning with these new tools that enable self-reflective practice. But a conscious life is nevertheless challenging because it is existentially coming to terms with being alone or at the very least separate from the identity you were raised with. No one can see you, you are just an object because people treat themselves as one and because they are blind to this reality, the isolation is ever more difficult because you can see them and yearn for others to see you. This ‘seeing’ is an identification that begins subjectively, an attitude that reinforces our ability to feel empathy and guilt, to explore obstacles and decidedly create or change our approach to the external world. It is why learning to apologise to yourself is an important step that reflects on mistakes that have been made and motivates responsibility and a maturity to your approach in living, a maturity necessary to overcome this yearning for others. It can also repair the ruptures of our previous mindset that can continuously leaks into our new frame of thought and becomes a critical process toward improving oneself.

To understand these components of consciousness, introspection is an interaction with ourselves and our mental states, becoming cognizant of where our decisions to act come from and whether they are reasonable or influenced by previous experiences. Are we in this relationship because we admire, love and honour our partner, or do we sustain a relationship because it provides elements that synthesize our choices with societal expectations? Our ability to self-reflect is not always clear, on the contrary conscious experience is bound by the arrow of time and learning about the authenticity of our perceptions and our motivations requires experiential properties that facilitate access to this psychological substratum. We need to make mistakes, we need to interact and there is no justification for meditating for decades in a monastery as one will never gain enlightenment in doing so. It is no longer about being a part of the external world without consciousness where our identity is framed as a given, but rather being conscious of the external world and that you are a part of it. The infantile ego is restrained where one begins to appreciate and see the beauty in all of the external world. Nature. God. We experience love because we can sense others beyond our mechanical submission and freely see things for what they are and this changes not only our ability to heal the failures in others but also within.

I apologised to myself for making one such mistake, something I am broadcasting as an example of a moment where I lapsed from my principles. I have been working tirelessly the last several weeks as I manage two competing roles during a process of transition and it has indeed thoroughly exhausted me. While I am aware that my work is only for a short period of time and I am incredibly ambitious to move into a senior role within the organisation, my methods to reduce the stress was to escape into the virtual by aimlessly conversing with online characters in forums that I would otherwise never do; I even became offensive in my humour and that stands against who I am. When I should be patient and work through this busy period at work, instead I procrastinated from by principles by becoming silly. For that, I am sorry as much as I am certain that I will no longer go online without a purpose and certainly not to behave irascibly. We become conscious of our mistakes, we apologise for them, and we move forward with the intent of never repeating them. Thus, as the quote stated by Aristotle, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of wisdom.”

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