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 feelings, our opinions.
We place inordinate stock in, we're invested
heavily in what we feel, in what we emote, in
what we opine. There's
with that. Of all the components that comprise what it is to be human,
what we feel, what we emote, and what we opine 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, my emotions, and my opinions 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. We have it that our opinions are the
right ones. 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.
And no one in their right mind considers holding
opinions they themselves regard as wrong.
Furthermore, when we assert what we feel, when we assert our emotions,
when we assert our opinions (which we invariably blend
into and neglect to distinguish from "the truth"), 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 a higher degree of responsibility, a
higher degree of intentionality. It requires I be with, embrace, and
senior to my internal states.