( Five minute read:)
How often have you heard this question.
It is mostly posed with a form of some aggression.
Not so here.
SO I SUPPOSE THE BEST PLACE TO START WITH THIS POST IS WITH WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, AS YOU LIKE IT.
“ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE, AND ALL THE MEN AND WOMEN MERELY PLAYERS; THEY HAVE THEIR EXITS AND THEIR ENTRANCES, AND ONE MAN IN HIS TIME PLAYS MANY PARTS.”
We all have roles to play in our lives and these change as we move through it.
Do you find yourself thrashing against the tide of human indifference and selfishness? Are you oppressed by the sense that while you care, others don’t?
That, because of humankind’s callousness, civilisation and the rest of life on Earth are basically stuffed?
Many of those who dominate public life have a peculiar fixation on fame, money and power. Their extreme self-centeredness places them in a small minority, but, because we see them everywhere, we assume that they are representative of humanity.
“It’s all about political opportunism and humanitarian posturing,”
With the best will in the world it is unlikely that you will turn out as an adult with no unhelpful of unintended modifications – or what is called “conditioning”.
The true YOU is the one that finds life fulfilling in a deep sense rather than theoretically good on a purely intellectual level.
The personality is not YOU, you have a personality, so if you want your “self” to be aware of itself, you will have a long wait!
However, you, as an independent observer of your own internal processes, can become aware of what your personality is up to, how it is behaving and the impact on yourself and others.
As Fritz Perls said:
“Truth can be tolerated only if you discover it yourself because then, the pride of discovery makes the truth palatable.”
These days with technologies we hardly understand where we going never mind how we are.
It’s the culture.
Technology isn’t a section in the newspaper any more.
I think people are tired of complexity and they’re hungering for clarity, a simpler time.
The more we do things, the more they become a habit and the more that we think in the same way, the more these patterns of thought and behaviour become our identity.
The more that we depend on the masks and the safer that we feel as a result of wearing them, the greater the risk and uncertainty we feel of taking off our mask and interacting openly, honestly and authentically.
With the massive economic and cultural transformation driven by Silicon Valley are we no longer in control of who we are?
However if the personality is our sense of identity, but is not us, then who are we?
Our personality is like a piece of armour which is at the same time our greatest shield and also potentially our greatest prison. It enables us to deal with the outside world, but it can also insulate us from it – and from other people.
We are also not our personality, which has in large part been forged as a result of the experiences of surviving and protecting ourselves in the real world.
Take for instance, Politicians. given their image-conscious online life in the public eye .
Most millennials still worry about attaching themselves with a click to the wrong clique or hashtag:
“It heightens the level of uncertainty, anxiety and risk aversion, to know that you’re only a bad day and half a dozen tweets from being fired.”
Smart phones are dominating our sense of identity and we will if not careful end up feeling lost when they end.
You need to find an internal source for our identity, not an external one.
The old verities of who you are now seem quaint, but many millennials are now paralyzed by all their choices.
There was a time that we understood that not everyone was destined for greatness.
If you work hard and play by the rules, you’ll lose out to those guys who can wire computers to make bets on Wall Street faster than the next guy to become instant multimillionaires.
Or losers who have soured our sturdy and spiritual DNA with too much food, too much greed, too much narcissism, too many lies, too many spies, too many fat-cat bonuses, too many cat videos on the evening news, too many Buzzfeed listicles like “33 Photos Of Corgi Butts,” and too much mindless and malevolent online chatter?
Our quiet traditional virtues bow to our noisy visceral divisions, while churning technology is swiftly remolding the national character in ways that are still a blur.
Boldness is often chased away by distraction, confusion, hesitation and fragmentation. Or are we forever smaller, stingier, dumber, less ambitious and more cynical?
Have we lost control of our not-so-manifest destiny?
Misanthropy grants a free pass to the grasping, power-mad minority who tend to dominate our political systems. If only we knew how unusual they are, we might be more inclined to shun them and seek better leaders. It contributes to the real danger we confront: not a general selfishness, but a general passivity.
We’re a little bit scared of our own shadow. And, sadly, we see ourselves as a people who can never understand one another. We’ve given up on the notion that we can cohere, by holding together people with deep differences.
We’ve broken Iraq, liberating it to be a draconian state-run on Sharia law, full of America/ English-hating jihadists who were too brutal even for Al Qaeda.
We have to re earn greatness.
But that’s going to be hard to restore in the world today.
Young people are more optimistic than their rueful elders, especially those in the technology world. They think of themselves as global citizens but are more interested in this moments of crazy opportunity.
With awareness comes freedom.
As you become aware of your fixed attitudes, beliefs and values that may no longer be useful to you and you begin to understand that there were good reasons for you to have adopted them, you can begin to see that it is neither good nor bad that this is the way life is – and the way that you are – it is just a natural consequence of living the human experience.
The authentic self is the true self underneath all the conditioning that has been acquired through life’s experiences.
Being in touch with our true selves is about getting real, not living in a fantasy of who we could or should be, but living with what is.
Life has become more complex but we hardly ever notice it because technology has made complexity simpler than ever. Who you are and where you are is tracked and sold on to ever is interested. The Private who is dead and gone.
The only knowledge we need to have is the knowledge of where to find stuff.
Humans today are like most smartphones and tablets – their ability to solve problems depends not on the knowledge they can store but on their capacity to connect to a place where they can retrieve the answer to find a solution.
Technology will continue to evolve and the gap between what can be solved with and without it will only increase. That is, we will become more and more dependent of technology and the only intellectual disadvantage will be the inability (or unwillingness) to learn to use it.
One could also imagine that this IT-overload may prove too much for some — In short, people who are able to keep up with technology will outsmart those who don’t (even more than they do now).
So perhaps there is no need to know how you are but more importantly where you are.
Too much Google, too much Face Book, Twitter, clicking from one site to another, or for that matter reading with out pause, constitutes a kind of scattering, a distraction, an agitation of the mind.
Our reliance on Google Search, is resulting in unrealistic self-confidence in our cognitive abilities.
That’s right, we are all plagiarising the internet without even realising it.
You might think that all is this is just hog wash but in a few hundred years from now most of us will not know the meaning of the word where and if we don’t know where we are from there is little chance of knowing who you are.
If we look at western Europe it appeared that we are not building anything, but merely trying to hang on to something we have inherited, but don’t necessarily value.
With the immigration and refugee influx this will have to change.
What is the narrative that drives what we are building in Europe… and who is creating that narrative? Not us.
We have derived a narrative from a century of conflict, and the received narrative is shaped around not fighting with each other. Fully understandable. But, for my children’s generation the wars of the twentieth century are as remote as the Battles of Agincourt or Waterloo.
This is why I wonder if Europe needs a new driving narrative that helps us consciously shape who and what we want Europe to become.
The old narrative of solidarity no longer applies.
We have Razor Wire replacing open frontiers. The Dutch reverting to extracting gold fillings and the Belgians wanting concentration Camps in Greece never mind what ‘solidarity’ means to young unemployed people in Greece or Spain.
So, the questions remain.
Who do we think we are and what do we want Europe to become? And who will shape the narrative for a new generation?
Billions of decent people tut and shake their heads as the world burns, immobilised by the conviction that no one else cares.
Attitudes of fear and paranoia adopted by many have led to an increasingly hostile global environment.
Cherished and treasured human values are trampled beneath a host of vitriolic “we’re better than you” convictions. Our world is sick, however, facing political and environmental disaster on an unprecedented scale.
Many of the problems plaguing us stem directly from deeply-held convictions of social differentiation and exclusion, rooted in philosophies that justify heinous acts in the service of a ‘greater good’. We are what we do. We have to start doing better.
We have to start somewhere. Why not a World Aid Commission Of 0.05%. ( see previous Post.)
In this century we have had only three brief moments when a majority of us said they were satisfied with the way things were going:
Have a go at naming them.