Jan. 30th, 2011

chelidon: (Default)
Edited from a recent comment to a friend's journal:

"This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."
--(Shakespeare, natch)

Always a good way to live. Nobody but you has any right to say who you are, and how you choose to live. That, to me, seems to be an essential part of the core essence of self-posession.

And, of course, by extension, every being has the choice to look at others and, hopefully with discernment, to define who and what is "like me" and "not like me." Personally, I feel that there is way too much of the latter in the world, and much of it is erroneous, and that much of the purpose of the deeper aspects of religion and spirituality is to engender greater and greater levels of identification with more and more (shall I sunder the whole and become more myself by cutting off my arm? My leg? My eyes? My head?)

Towards that, I am reminded of a story:

"In a discussion between a wise man and a pilgrim, a point was reached where the wise man was brought to say, "I know who I am."

The pilgrim thought this curious and asked,"Who are you then?"

To which the wise man smiled and said, "When you know thyself, you will know."


Far better we define ourselves by who we ARE than by who we ARE NOT, but oppositional definitions are always much easier, require less self-knowledge, and do have power in them, but...they do bind us inexorably to that which we supposedly abhor or oppose, like dancers forever fated to respond to each other like tied marionettes -- when one moves or shifts, the other must as well. No thanks. It's almost always better in my experience to work to be more who and what you are, rather than put that same energy into self-binding oneself in supposed opposition to that which one has decided is "not-me."


And a few quotes:

"Don't be confused by surfaces; in the depths everything becomes law. And
those who live the mystery falsely and badly (and they are very many) lose
it only for themselves and nevertheless pass it on like a sealed letter,
without knowing it." -- Rilke, _Letters to a Young Poet_

-- Force, hatred, history, all that. That's not life for men and women, insult and hatred. And everybody knows that it's the opposite of that that is really life.
-- What? Says Alf.
-- Love, says Bloom. I mean the opposite of hatred.
--James Joyce, _Ulysses_

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