the pessimist strikes again: creating a you that isn’t you

The next thing to think about for this week is a weak attempt to ponder philosophical concepts loosely related to social construct.

I have recently come to a brief revelation that we constantly live in a dream and create a reality that isn’t what it is. How do we define “success” in life? What do we really mean when we say we’re “happy”, or that we “love” something?

An interesting read from francecannotwrite discusses the concept of falling in love with someone vs falling in love with the idea of someone.The line of thought on this subject was furthered by a strange occurrence a month ago, coupled with the discovery of a quote from Pinterest that triggered a two-week long (and counting) reflection of life: “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

The internal cynic struck and rained questions like such:
– Do you really create yourself, or do your impressions, experiences and environment create you?
– If you played a strong hand in the creation of yourself, what happens when you find out that this isn’t turning out to be what you really wanted to be?
– What do you do if you are decades too late to change the image you’ve created? Accept? It is always easier to passively “accept as it is”, isn’t it?

And all of a sudden these years before has been an illusion of the mind. We create an image for ourselves, fit ourselves into cookie cutters and grow into it.

Are you really good at what you proclaim to be, or are you choosing to be good at what you see society will accept with least resistance?
Do you really like sunsets more than the break of dawn, or do you like the memories associated with it?
Are you determined/ /chirpy/whatever adjective because you choose to, or because you have to?
And what happens when some day you realise that you’ve been forcing yourself into a character you do not favour, that your current profile is nothing you wish for it to be? Yet so much time has passed that even if you tried, nothing would really be different?

Those moments of rationality crack a hole in the illusions, often which brings no comfort to the mind. At some point, this rationality will be packed away and we will sink back into the dark pits of a never-ending dream. We continue to imagine that this dream created and lived in, is reality.

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14 thoughts on “the pessimist strikes again: creating a you that isn’t you

  1. Change the thoughts, change the person, easier said than done true, but not impossible, it takes practice, and desire. We become what we think about, sometimes we have to act different to think different…

    • Interesting. So a first step might be to think differently, but to think differently we also need to act differently, and our acts are governed oftentimes by our thoughts. Which then brings us to consider which to do first. Not impossible, indeed, it’s about how much effort/determination one has to make it happen.

  2. This “Vase” or “Worldly Vessel” or “Mindset” that we form as children (before 5 years of age) will continue to guide us (rightly or wrongly) through the remainder of our lives. The child who gets attention by crying will cry for attention throughout his life. The child who manipulates his parents into getting whatever he demands will continue to manipulate throughout his life. The child who rejects attention from his parents because evey attention he gets is negative will reject others throughout his life. Every once in a while a child in his teens will have a revelation about himself and make a change – – – but it is rare. I think Schoppenauer discussed the idea of our “self” in his “Will and Representation.” We are what we percieve.

    • Indeed Wally, you’ve hit the nail on the head. I am pretty much into reading Schopenhauer’s works and I’ve been thinking too about the validity of his philosophies. Is what we experience all but a matter of representation? I’m now thinking about what you mentioned – the “Worldly Vessel” – I was told I am quite a different character as a kid and today. How much has it been their misconception of the child they saw, and how much of it had been due to a revelation? And if along the way there was a revelation, would this individual have made the change, or acknowledged the revelation but not made a change? Just a lot of random questions 🙂

      • Yes, Life seems to be but a world of questions. But maybe that is what makes humans different. I am sure animals have questions also; however, ours become more abstract which begs even more questions. I enjoyed your post. Wally

  3. Great post! Causes my head to hurt a little 🙂 I’ve thought about success and happy and love (all the same things really) a lot. I don’t have the answers to your questions but I don’t believe it’s ever too late to shift directions and alter a course. I think it’s a requirement. Whatever the influences are that create who you are (I believe they are all the things you stated), I think the idea that you ever reach a point where you can say: I am ______ (whatever), is inconsistent with the reality of an ever-changing existence. We adapt daily and if we are driven to improve ourselves, we probably will. If we are driven to improve the image of ourselves, we might do that. Life is a process, and it only stops once per organism.

    • Thank you there and I’m sorry about the headache! 🙂 We are consistently changing, but how do we define ourselves as “better” than yesterday? There are the obvious cases eg. Yesterday I was a hot-headed prick, today I am in good control of my emotions; and there are the situations, for example, where one couldn’t tell if determination was good for a cause. Just maybe your determination (i.e. fixation on something) is causing you to lose out other opportunities. I too don’t have a definitive answer to any of my ramblings, so along this life process I’ll keep learning and hoping to find out! Thanks for coming by!

      • Maybe “defining ourselves” isn’t the key. It may be an unnecessary and potentially detrimental focus in itself. The definition itself is based on a learned definition of “good or bad” or “right or wrong”, like Wally mentioned. Maybe being a hot-headed prick one day is the good or right thing to be at that moment. And maybe having control of emotions was the bad or wrong path. With eyes open we can see our actions and identify opportunity.
        I do not identify with organized religion but I was raised Catholic. I think the lesson I learned about their self-destructive version of “good or bad” and “right or wrong” has been key to my current outlook on simply “living a good life” vs. working towards a defined version of a “good” human being.
        My 30 year old daughter identified herself as a dancer at a very young age. But instead of learning to focus on the artistic aspects of dance, she quickly identified with the “definition” of a dancer. It haunts her to this day. Like Catholicism, the dance community establishes an unattainable end-point creating a self-worth vacuum that cannot be filled.
        What’s the point? I’m not so sure, but I think we agree that fixating on something may exclude potential opportunities, and I think fixating on defining oneself narrows the field of opportunity to virtually nothing. On the other hand fixation can often lead to innovation, enlightenment, and pure joy.
        Sorry for the long rant, my brain is full but somewhat unorganized…

      • Don’t worry about the long reply, happy to hear your views anytime. PS. I like the way you write too. Something about it shows that you’ve seen and thought through much, that you acknowledge all the crap happening around us but you take a very practical approach to it. Thanks for coming back nonetheless!

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