The Perpetual Rapture Of Being One’s Self

borges

Reading the short collection of college lectures given by Jorge Luis Borges, Professor Borges: A Course On English Literature, I came across a statement from the Prof that really struck me. Speaking of the characters created by English novelist Charles Dickens, Borges tells his class that “the characters Dickens creates live in the perpetual rapture of being themselves.” Does Borges here not describe Heaven? How much more could one ask than to be allowed to fully express one’s self and to live fully as one wishes to live?

 

Is not this the ultimate aim of the eternal, been-there- done-that- got-the-T-shirt fight for freedom? this perpetual war we fight against ourselves? this never-ending insanity cursing each generation to throw the most horrid obstacles in its own way?

 

When I was in high school, my own English Lit teacher taught me that there are three kinds of conflict in human life: 1) man against nature, 2) man against man, and 3) man against himself. I wish I had started a list of great information and advice I’ve received in my life-time, for this nugget would make the top 100 at least. But what I did not realize, until some time in college, is that if humanity was wise enough, we could actually almost eliminate the last two types of conflict. And with those two struggles side-lined– just think of how far we could go to combating the diseases and other trials nature throws at us!

 

Think of the day to day lives of the majority of people in an industrialized nation… Most of us are not dealing with the final stages of cancer or starving to death or shivering shelterless in the cold… For most people, most of the time– our greatest source of unhappiness is other people. As Sartre said, “Hell is other people.” We are unhappy with how we are treated at work. How we are treated at home. How we are treated in the marketplace. How we are treated by bureaucracy. How we are treated on the road or on the phone or even by our waitress.

 

On top of all that… many of us spend too much time hating ourselves… blaming ourselves, criticizing ourselves, supressing ourselves, disappointing ourselves…

 

We don’t need nature to come in and ruin our lives with some terrible disease… We’re doing a good enough job already making this world an inferno.

 

Our inability to learn to love ourselves and our fellow man makes us all man-haters at one level or another. The poison of self-hatred we swallow… the venom of world-hatred we spew– All this ends up absorbed into our bones like some sort of vile radiation, eating us away from the inside out.

 

What is so hard– what is so friggin’ hard– about living the life we want to live, and allowing others to do the same? Why are we so hellbent on misery? Why do we curse our children and our children’s children to suffer most from the two types of conflict we could do the most to end? For most of us, for most days, it is not Nature attempting to keep us from being our truest selves– it is man, it is ourselves.

 

We are strangled by fear, pinned down by it– a thousand fears, a thousand Liliputian cords. We convince ourselves we are only responding to threats, to hurts. But who inflicted the first hurt? Who caused to reverberate down through history the cycle of revenge, and revenge of revenge, of fear and of hatred? Perhaps it was a coconut falling on the head of monkey’s uncle who thought it was some other monkey playing a mean trick. Must we then be forever forced to duck and cover and lash-out in a endless cycle of pre-emptive and retributive strikes — because we are afraid of falling coconuts?

 

We just want to be ourselves… to live our precious allotted minutes in the way WE choose to live them– not in the way that benefits some king or class. We want to spend time with who want, when we want, sharing what we want. We want to lie next to whom we want to lie next to, ingest what we want to ingest, and dance the way we want to dance. We want to be able to spend time getting to know ourselves, and to express that Self we find. Presently, in this sorry state of civilization, we would find that Self, if we find it all, cowering in some darkened corner of our soul.

 

To be free ourselves, must we allow others to likewise be free? Must we allow others to dance their own dance? If so… then pass the bottle, brother, and try not step on myReading the short collection of college lectures given by Jorge Luis Borges, Professor Borges: A Course On English Literature, I came across a statement from the Prof that really struck me. Speaking of the characters created by English novelist Charles Dickens, Borges tells his class that “the characters Dickens creates live in the perpetual rapture of being themselves.” Does Borges here not describe Heaven? How much more could one ask than to be allowed to fully express one’s self and to live fully as one wishes to live?

 

Is not this the ultimate aim of the eternal, been-there- done-that- got-the-T-shirt fight for freedom? this perpetual war we fight against ourselves? this never-ending insanity cursing each generation to throw the most horrid obstacles in its own way?

 

When I was in high school, my own English Lit teacher taught me that there are three kinds of conflict in human life: 1) man against nature, 2) man against man, and 3) man against himself. I wish I had started a list of great information and advice I’ve received in my life-time, for this nugget would make the top 100 at least. But what I did not realize, until some time in college, is that if humanity was wise enough, we could actually almost eliminate the last two types of conflict. And with those two struggles side-lined– just think of how far we could go to combating the diseases and other trials nature throws at us!

 

Think of the day to day lives of the majority of people in an industrialized nation… Most of us are not dealing with the final stages of cancer or starving to death or shivering shelterless in the cold… For most people, most of the time– our greatest source of unhappiness is other people. As Sartre said, “Hell is other people.” We are unhappy with how we are treated at work. How we are treated at home. How we are treated in the marketplace. How we are treated by bureaucracy. How we are treated on the road or on the phone or even by our waitress.

 

On top of all that… many of us spend too much time hating ourselves… blaming ourselves, criticizing ourselves, supressing ourselves, disappointing ourselves…

 

We don’t need nature to come in and ruin our lives with some terrible disease… We’re doing a good enough job already making this world an inferno.

 

Our inability to learn to love ourselves and our fellow man makes us all man-haters at one level or another. The poison of self-hatred we swallow… the venom of world-hatred we spew– All this ends up absorbed into our bones like some sort of vile radiation, eating us away from the inside out.

 

What is so hard– what is so friggin’ hard– about living the life we want to live, and allowing others to do the same? Why are we so hellbent on misery? Why do we curse our children and our children’s children to suffer most from the two types of conflict we could do the most to end? For most of us, for most days, it is not Nature attempting to keep us from being our truest selves– it is man, it is ourselves.

 

We are strangled by fear, pinned down by it– a thousand fears, a thousand Liliputian cords. We convince ourselves we are only responding to threats, to hurts. But who inflicted the first hurt? Who caused to reverberate down through history the cycle of revenge, and revenge of revenge, of fear and of hatred? Perhaps it was a coconut falling on the head of monkey’s uncle who thought it was some other monkey playing a mean trick. Must we then be forever forced to duck and cover and lash-out in a endless cycle of pre-emptive and retributive strikes — because we are afraid of falling coconuts?

 

We just want to be ourselves… to live our precious allotted minutes in the way WE choose to live them– not in the way that benefits some king or class. We want to spend time with who want, when we want, sharing what we want. We want to lie next to whom we want to lie next to, ingest what we want to ingest, and dance the way we want to dance. We want to be able to spend time getting to know ourselves, and to express that Self we find. Presently, in this sorry state of civilization, we would find that Self, if we find it all, cowering in some darkened corner of our soul.

 

To be free ourselves, must we allow others to likewise be free? Must we allow others to dance their own dance? If so… then pass the bottle, brother, and try not step on my feet–cuz you ain’t never seen moves like this… There’s only one of me in the Universe, and will never be another. I am utterly unique. I am a musical instrument– only one of which was ever crafted by the Maker’s hands… Nothing will ever produce a sound quite like me… sometimes I sing in notes sublime, sometimes I am quite shrill, I know. But high or low, long or short– each note is mine, and when all is functioning properly, each resonation through my core is an ecstasy.

 

What of security? What of the eternal police-state? In a world in which everyone is allowed to pursue their own happiness, people will no longer have to grasp at happiness, lunge for it, steal it, or search for it in fumes or potions or injections. All our excuses for violence and war and repression will evaporate. People busy with their own joys will not covet the happiness of others.

 

There is not room for envy or hatred when one is experiencing the perpetual rapture of being one’s self. There is no room for lack, only for subtance. There is only room for all the Universe, and not a millimeter more. feet–cuz you ain’t never seen moves like this… There’s only one of me in the Universe, and will never be another. I am utterly unique. I am a musical instrument– only one of which was ever crafted by the Maker’s hands… Nothing will ever produce a sound quite like me… sometimes I sing in notes sublime, sometimes I am quite shrill, I know. But high or low, long or short– each note is mine, and when all is functioning properly, each resonation through my core is an ecstasy.

 

What of security? What of the eternal police-state? In a world in which everyone is allowed to pursue their own happiness, people will no longer have to grasp at happiness, lunge for it, steal it, or search for it in fumes or potions or injections. All our excuses for violence and war and repression will evaporate. People busy with their own joys will not covet the happiness of others.

 

There is not room for envy or hatred when one is experiencing the perpetual rapture of being one’s self. There is no room for lack, only for subtance. There is only room for all the Universe, and not a millimeter more.

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2 thoughts on “The Perpetual Rapture Of Being One’s Self

  1. Your thoughts are beautiful.
    There’s absolutely no need to be at war with yourself, for if you loved you, you would be able to love others without expectation. People seek feelings and fulfillment that already exists inside.
    Please keep on sharing your words :)

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