Thursday, November 12, 2009

Existential Viewpoint: Taking Responsibility

Seems like everyone is sleep-walking through their waking state or wake-walking through their dreams; either way won't do them any good – Waking Life

One bares the the responsibility of giving one’s life meaning. There is no fixed path, no proper way, and living a fulfilling life depends the individual. In the tradition of Existentialism,  free choice triumphs over determinism. Your life is like a ball of clay; you are what you make of it.

Start by taking control over your life course by realizing the meaninglessness in most activities of the everyday. Seek authenticity and become conscious of unconscious actions or rules you may follow. Once you realize these rules, you are free to consciously evaluate whether you want to follow them or go against them; the meaning of your actions are decided by you. Questioning the everyday and making unfamiliar the familiar is necessary in pursuit of this awakening. Deconstruct discourse, question the use of language, expand your awareness from self centeredness to realizing the fullness of life that surrounds you in the everyday. This shift in perspective is the shift necessary to  taking back reality, creating your own meaning, and realizing the possibility of possibility.

With freedom comes responsibility. If we lived in the eternal day portrayed in the movie Groundhog Day, our actions would not matter since we would have eternity to test the outcome of every imaginable action. As entertaining as this may be (for a while at least), we can only dream of such a reality. Reality as we know it must be faced with the freedom and boundlessness of a lucid dream, but with the responsibility of wakeful consciousness. We need to release blame from our mentality and see ourselves as agents of our own interaction rather than merely objects of external forces. All too often the object of blame is God. Realizing a metaphysical force does not dictate our lives releases the individual from using God as a scapegoat. When our lens of reality shifts, our actions follow. Going through life taking on the role of a victim and feeling like the object of various external forces only creates a distorted lens which is destined to cause suffering for ourselves and those who are in our presence. Taking full responsibility for the direction of your life starts with the awareness of individual meaning and agency.

For more on existentialism see: Existentialism: a guide for the perplexed

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