Today I wish to write an article about: Get this, philosophy.
Namely, about one of the bigger failings of worker’s organisations, which is to say a lack of discipline. We live in a very unpleasant culture, because we believe in ridiculous ideas regarding self acceptance.
Imagine if people believed in that nonsense in the 1950s, when you had kids with polio and the doctors said “Oh don’t worry, you’re good just the way you are.”
No. Make vaccines. Shut up.
So, enough about self-acceptance. Rather, consider the alternative: Self-improvement. Don’t let people insult you like that, telling you “Oh yeah you’ve peaked, just give up, it’s all downhill from here.”
Supposedly this is meant to build self-esteem but I’m not precisely sure on what planet that checks out. No, what we need is more stoics. Stoicism is built on accepting things, but only things you cannot resolve. Because obviously, if you’re upset about something you cannot resolve, then you’re basically adding insult to injury.
But it is also about learning how to define everything within your actual realm of possibilities. Stoicism is powerful in how instead of saying “Achieve the things you want.” It rejects this ideal, and says “Become the person who achieves such things.” It’s a wonderful ontology in this sense. You do not arrive at accomplishment, accomplishment arrives at you. You are the port, not the ship.
But it does require belief. Biggest obstacle to discipline is to think it doesn’t work, or that you’re too weak, or some other lie you tell yourself. Obviously you can do it, you just won’t enjoy it very much. But then comes something wonderful, namely resilience, wherein you learn to enjoy your lack of enjoyment, because in doing so you produce strength of character, and strength of character permits satisfaction at one’s tempered spirit.
By learning to govern your mind, you find a wonderful circumstance in which your emotions no longer control you, but rather you control your emotions. You can channel them into passions, and labours, and motives. You can begin to inspire yourself and develop radical new changes to your life. You can permit yourself newfound agency, if simply you choose to do so.
It’s not a switch you turn on and suddenly you’re there, it’s rather an exercise like any other. It takes years, perhaps even a lifetime. But the rewards are immense. Especially with regards to thinks like pain, doubt, embarrassment, fear, guilt, whatever else.
You can feel these things, you can even suffer because of them, but you can also maintain your own deliberations when dealing with them. You can become conscious of how emotion is separate from thought and action.
Right now a lot of pseudoscience and psychologism (not to be confused with psychology which is a science) revolves around validation. Everyone from parents, to therapists, to village idiots, are always talking about the importance of validation. This ignores the premise of how, when people validate you, they are in fact addressing you as an invalid.
If someone insults your honour in this way, do not thank them, rather, politely rebuke them, tell them you have no need for their approval. That you are perfectly capable of existing in accordance with your own nature.
Carefully consider your thoughts, don’t just think your thoughts, but think about your thoughts. Your thoughts shape your emotions, and your emotions shape you. The temperament of yesterday defines you today, and little by little you can steer yourself into any number of directions. Happiness, peace, clemency, joy, depression, fixation, rumination, paranoia, you name it.
Courage is a good example of an emotion which is entirely produced by thought. Courage is not a chemical in your mind, rather, courage rewards you with chemicals in your mind. It is rather the rational discipline over fear, which permits you to act even when you are afraid. No one feels courage, they think courage. “It’s alright, I can do this.”, “It’s not as bad as I think it is, I’ll be fine.”, “I just need to manage this one task, and everything will be okay.”, “Just steady your focus, and you’ll get through this.” etc.
Inner dialogues like these are what produce courage. Suddenly your breathing is a bit less shallow, your hands tremble a bit less, and you increase your odds of navigating whatever emergency that may befall.
The same is true of anger, and anxiety, and depression. You can weaken your emotions by reigning in your mind, and making careful deliberations. By examining your situation, and looking for evidence that contradict your emotions.
Anger can be resolved by acting in good faith, and assuming the best in people. Anxiety can be resolved by imagining the worst possible outcome of what you fear, and realising that this too, shall pass. Depression can be resolved by through careful recollection of the past, when things seemed just as hopeless and turned out fine. Emotions are the no man’s land between the conscious and subconscious mind, and you are in control of your conscious thoughts, just as how your subconscious are in control of your emotions.
These are equal forces, and through careful focus, you can create an inner balance, and temper yourself. In doing so you can negate wants, desires, fears and impulses, and find happiness and purpose through the good you do for others, and the fulfilment of modest needs.