Both Sides Now: Knowing Nothing At All
“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
I seem to attract and/or find articles that describe an aversion towards self-help, self-growth, mindfulness, etc. Articles from people who have grown tired of hearing the same upbeat, positive tune.
Although I can be considered as a part of those upbeat drummers, I also agree with those who have started to plug their ears.
I’m not falling off my own band-wagon here, I still have my beliefs as they are a necessary part of my Ego — explained by Jan Geurtz in his sequel to Addicted to love (“Verslaafd aan liefde”), which is called Liberated by love (“Bevrijd door liefde” — not (yet) translated into English). I do like to take in different points of view, though, which is probably why I like Joni Mitchell’s song Both Sides Now:
“I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all”
You see, it’s not so much the stories that we tell ourselves, it’s our identification with those stories. And it’s not so much that identification, it’s our judgment of it — mostly that something is “bad” — that creates our suffering.
“There is nothing intrisically wrong with those topics. However, it seems like we live in a world where everyone is trying to sell us a pre-designed recipe for how should this magical personal growth, which would lead us to a glorious state of colourful fulfilment and pure happiness, look like.
Some people are more certain of everything that I am of anything.
Jeff Barton very smartly noticed that ironically personal growth is mostly exactly this: personal. Meaning, there is no universal or general rule that would define it.”
Looking back at the stories I’ve written in this blog, you can see the same tendency with me: I’ve gone from beating hard on my drum about happiness being available to everybody, if they’d only apply certain “rules”, to confessing that I don’t have all the answers either. However, I do like to ask questions that get me to new realizations. Which I then throw overboard again, of course, when I dive into another pool of knowledge.
It’s an endless journey, a never-ending story, and generally referred to as this thing called Life.
Some people ponder more about it than others. I tend to exaggerate the amount of philosophizing about something that is mostly meant to be LIVED, and that is how I live it. I guess what I’m trying to say — once again — is whether you try self-help book number 116 or whether you decide to throw all that mumbo jumbo overboard, you don’t have to take it all too heavily. No guru or counter-guru can get you in or out of trouble. Only you can.
“You are not your own puppet, you cannot create from the sheer thin air your own values. You have a nature, a belonging, a desire to understand what you are. And you pursue this yearning with great pain and frustration. You will fall over, bite your own lip, break your own heart, and all the while you are discovering who you are, following, with a great appetite, that which calls your name, all the lights and sounds of your soul.
This is your calling, your responsibility, your deepest burden. But you refuse such a duty at your own peril. Because you are not merely following your bliss, but also your blisters, everything that compels you to become who you actually are.”
To be continued.