Stress, anxiety and discontent are symptomatic of what is now an outdated mindset.
They exist in part because of our inauthenticity. We sacrifice too much of being who we are (a force of nature) in service of what our culturally conditioned and intimidated egos want. It’s the unhappiness we experience when we try to fit a square peg into a round hole.
Ideally, we would use this insight about our discontent and yield to the primacy of who we are over what our egos want. Indeed, ideally, we would be who we are and we would think freely and suffer less. But, as I also said in my recent post, our ego-driven mindsets are notoriously difficult to change.
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Realistically, under the circumstance, we must acknowledge that the best that most of us will ever do is compensate with distraction and excess for the suffering, anger and resentment that accompany our inauthenticity. In other words, no matter what, given the complex and conflicting forces that drive us and despite having satisfied the necessities of life, we’ll continue to try to drive a square peg into a round hole.
Again, realistically, in most cases in the competitive workplace, for instance, or on the home front, the rules are written. But these rules may not be an easy fit for our natural particularity, our idiosyncrasy, our difference. Furthermore, even in relatively privileged circumstances such as ours, the bonds of relationships can stretch thin or hang heavy, the competition for conceptual and physical turf can be fierce and unbending, and the punishment for failure in any of our agential roles can be unmerciful.
However, in this advanced study program in authenticating our autonomy and life and adapting to the framework of the authentic mindset, we have discovered how to live a life of our own design, to pursue a life we see fit to live and at the same time are fit to live.
We have learned to be in possession of our cognitive authenticity. As we liberate our thinking from the constraints of mimicry, conformity and timidity and from the now-outdated acceptance of insincerity and hypocrisy, too, we are able to choose and abide by the aesthetic, ethical and empirical standards with which we respond to the demands made on us.
Moreover, authenticating our cognitive independence helps us not only to manage our adaptation to the forms of life of the civilization in which we find ourselves but, importantly, to manage the primacy of being who we are (a force of nature).
Arnold Siegel is the founder of Autonomy and Life and the leader of its Retreat Workshops and Advanced Classes.