Like potters' clay, we're thrown to be distracted by and
to brood over our internal states. That thrown-ness by
at bay. By "internal states" I'm alluding to (for want of better words)
our emotions, our mental state, our bodily
We place inordinate stock in, we're invested
heavily in what we feel, in what we emote.
with that. Of all the components that comprise what it is to be human,
what we feel, what we emote defines, in a certain sense, what we are.
Yet when I look intently in this regard at what I've invested in, it's
with a sinking, embarrassed sensation I realize if I've regarded my
feelings, and my emotions as the coin of the realm of
being human, then I've been dealing in counterfeit
currency for most of my life.
We're gladly willing to own as their author feelings and
emotions which produce pleasure, which result in feeling
good. As human beings, we
and even try to alleviate (with beliefs, philosophies,
therapies, and even with suppressants like drugs and alcohol) feelings
and emotions which produce angst, which result in feeling bad.
Furthermore, when we assert what we feel, when we assert our emotions,
we have it that we're acting consciously, that we're making
deliberate choices to be certain ways. We have it that the
feelings and emotions which produce pleasure and which result in
feeling good are the ones we control. We have it that we've no control
over the feelings and emotions which produce angst and which result in
feeling bad. We say those ones run us. Yet looking closer I see
they're all on automatic.
I have about as much control over my internal states, both those which
produce pleasure and those which produce angst, as I have over the
If I don't like the way the Hawaiian weather is right now, I can either
choose to wait a few moments and it'll change, or I can choose to
simply have it be the way it is. You can choose to wait for it to
change. You can choose for it to be the way it is. Only a fool chooses
for it to be the way it isn't.
I assert as human beings we're thrown to fixing our internal states, to
futzing with them, to alleviating them, to
voting for the ones we like, to impeaching
the ones we don't like. I assert when we interact with our internal
states this way, it's simply the
trying to avoid being a
One particular way of life with its own particular ramifications for
living is available in a world in which the
tries to avoid being a
a world in which the
believing it can, tries to regulate its own internal states.
Another possibility is revealed when I grant my internal states freedom
to be what they are, whatever they are, like the Hawaiian weather.
That's not easy. It calls for choosing a higher degree of
responsibility, a higher degree of intentionality. It requires I be
with, embrace, and work with
senior to my internal states.