Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Finding Me-More

Do you ever find yourself feeling lost? You are surrounded by people but you feel alone? You are amongst the people you think you know but you realise that you actually don’t know them as well as you thought you did and no one knows you as much as you would like them to? You feel lost and alone and desperately need to find yourself, but how do we find ourselves in an ever more complicated and super-fast changing world? Nothing stays the same and the same has become nothing. For example, traditional roles and responsibilities of men and women are changing, interfacing, interlocking and conflicting all at the same time to the point that one is not sure what it is to be a man or a woman anymore - beyond the biological differences and even that is changing and being exchanged too! What a ball of confusion.

Global interaction has heightened to unprecedented levels. With technology, we now have easier and faster travel, text messages, Instant Messenger, cable satellite TV and the internet. With all these we are more opened to an influx of cultural diffusion, intellectual osmosis and value exchange than any other generation in world history. We have so much information at our finger tips, door steps and even through holograms that call your name that it’s sometimes hard to decipher which is noise and which is not. Whichever way they all sink into your psyche someway somehow and when you need to dip into your chest of wisdom to address a problem, you are spoilt for choice. Which do you pick? Osama’s wisdom, Obama’s wisdom, Oprah’s wisdom, Dr Phill’s wisdom, the Dillai Lama’s Wisdom, Chopra’s wisdom, grandma’s wisdom, Socrates’ wisdom or the good ol’ biblical wisdom, amongst others.

Our options and choices on everything have increased phenomenally to the point there is almost no right choice or wrong choice anymore. No right view or wrong view anymore. No right or wrong response anymore. “Whatever makes you happy darling” is what Agony Aunt now recommends.

We now live in the age of relativism: there is no good, no bad, no ugly anymore. Everything is relative. Our social norms and values have become social plastercine we can mould to suit our predilections and with the unsexiness of traditional values, what we used to know as our social templates are fading and our world is becoming this 'free for all', 'anything goes' society operating on the mantra of: 'do what you like, get what you can, as long as you can get away with it' or 'what ever floats your boat mate, as long as it don't sink mine'. Now these are rights of free humans living in free societies and are signs of a progressive and fast integrating society. But my question is how do you find or define yourself in this amorphous social miasma?

How do you find yourself, where do you find yourself? Do you see and assess yourself against the mirror of the majority or through your courage to be part of the minority? Who’s right and who’s wrong, the minority or the majority and which camp should you join? Perhaps you should sit on the fence or just go ahead and blaze your own trail. The fact is that you can do one or all the above and still be right and wrong at the same time. So how do you know what the right thing to do is when there is almost no right or wrong anymore?

So where do we find answers? Schools nowadays teach almost everything. You can possibly get a PhD in Culinary Arts with a Specialisation in Sushi Making, if that's what takes your fancy. We go to school to learn answers to questions and to develop the techniques of finding those answers. Why does the sun come up at dawn? Why does it snow? How are children born? Why do people die? We even ask often in jocular parlance: why did the chicken cross the road? Like the chicken gives a toss why you crossed the road. In school, we are taught answers to many questions about the world, its inhabitants, its history and its future but hardly are we taught about finding answers about ourselves as individuals.

Often, many of us just go through life often repeating patterns and wondering why we find ourselves in the same position. We hardly step back and examine ourselves to find out how we got ourselves in those positions in the first place.Why do I think the way I do? Why do I feel the way I feel? Why do I react to things the way I react? Why am I afraid of this or that? Why am I the way I am? Why do I have the life I have? Often many of us go through life just acting, responding and reacting to things, people and issues without asking ourselves 'why?' We often judge ourselves base on the feedback we get, but even that we can ignore saying 'what the hell do they know about me, its my life anyway', but with all due respect, what the heck do you know about yourself - considering the reality that even you are subject to continous change?

I don't know about you but the more I travel, the more I read, the more I take in the avalanche of diverse views, news and information out there about who one should be, how one should be and how one should relate to the world and others, the more I get confused. Am I right or am I wrong? Are these views too old fashioned or are they too modern? Is it best to do this or to do that? Am I being a man or am I being weasel and what is the difference? What is a good man and what is a bad man? Who evaluates and who determines? Who am I and who does the world want me to be, and should I care?
Right and wrong is often a socially determined issue. We often assess our selves through the eyes of others. Our sense of self is often determined more by external factors than internal ones. It’s how we were taught. We seek happiness through our lives with others; we seek love in others hearts and we seek value in others minds. So where are you in the mix?

After years of studying sociology, politics and communications augmented by ardent people watching and character studying across the globe, plus reading everything in print I stumble on, I find I actually have more questions now than answers. But I realise now that it’s fine to study all the externalities but at the end of the day most answers lie within yourself -but that is if you can find yourself.

I realise now more than ever that before I become a family man, a husband to some kind lady who takes me in and a father to some choiceless kid who will end up needing me, that if I am to do the best for them, the world around me and myself, there is something I need to learn more and it’s not astrology, philosophy or physics, its me. I need to study myself more, understand myself more and learn me more if I am ever going to find me more.


Loomnie said...

Thanks for sharing your introspection. I guess that is the price to pay for reading so much, for traveling so much, for being aware of so much. To complicate matters for you a bit more, let me ask: Would you have yourself be another person? Would you rather not have had the experiences you've had, not be living the life you are living? Would you rather be that elementary schoolmate you see once in a while?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for Sharing all this, more so thank you for making all of us try to go inward,... introspection, self discovery is a road less travelled. The more we know ourselves, the better we relate to others.

Every day should start with a "ME" time...

TP said...

Thanks Anon.Can I quoute you on this "self discovery is a road less travelled"...poignant.

Naomi Moira Iwugo said...

too right... "the chicken does not give a toss why I crossed the road"...lol!

very enjoyable read this...



Anonymous said...

an ever inspiring read.
But it leaves too many questions unanswered...