Altering the Self: A Note on Context and Philosophy

If you can think it, you can be it…

Ok – does that mean I can be anything I think that I can become? Context holds supreme value. If I think I am a unicorn…crickets. However, if I think I am I writer, I can be one. In fact, I am a writer as demonstrated by writing this very blog. Now, if I intend on being a successful writer…well, that takes a bit more time, effort, skill, and product. This is important:  Thought requires action as a follow-through.

Henry Ford is noted for saying:  “Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right” (Quote Investigator).

Excellent, but how do you apply the concept? As with many things, sheer belief is not enough. Belief in the self requires more than simply thinking, and one must act on their desires for effect in the material world. What that means is that one must apply their thoughts actively in their lives. In example, Steve believes he will become a brain surgeon. Steve knows he needs education and experience so that he may become a doctor. Steve toils away, challenging himself at university so that he has realistic tools that provide validation for his belief. Steve becomes a doctor because he believed in himself – but the only way he could make it happen was through action.

That initial belief in the self is a crucial element, but belief is not strong enough on its own and cannot produce results. Way back in Communications and Public Speaking, I learned about “self-fulfilling prophecies.” What one tells the self holds much authority with what that individual holds as true and/or possible. Consciousness is shifty like that, the more often we hear or say something is true, the more true it becomes.

“You predict something and then knowingly/unknowingly act to cause the prediction [to] come true” (KAAGMANDU).

In application, the concept works at improving or destroying one’s self-conscious opinion of what they can or cannot attain in life. This can be seen clearly in abuse. Imagine Molly has an abusive boyfriend who tells her everyday that she is unattractive, overweight, and stupid. Because Molly value’s her boyfriend’s opinion of her and trusts his judgement, she will eventually believe the negative comments are true and real. Molly’s judgment is clouded by outside prophetic limitations.

However, if she considered the statements with a positive manner, she could see that the boyfriend defeats himself with his claims. Molly cannot be completely unattractive or else she would not have attracted the boyfriend. Instead, the negatives listed are probably fears the boyfriend has in regards of himself. Abusive boyfriends often project their flaws on their victims. What Molly needs is a better self-image – and that goes back to what one thinks they can be. Molly can accept she is not a supermodel, and focus on her true qualities, hence altering her perception of herself.

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes” (William James).

William James’ quote caught my eye this morning on Twitter.Great quote, with excellent intentions. However, I wonder if people unfamiliar with James’ variant philosophies catch the meaning. And, I consider the dangers lurking in the Law of Attraction when taken out of context.

“Now the starting point is to see that Thought, or purely mental action, is the only possible source from which the existing creation could ever have come into manifestation at all…” (Thomas Troward).

I cannot accept concepts of the Law of Attraction. I’ve tried; I’ve read, researched, theorized, and exhausted myself searching for firm ground. I decided not to include a link because I cannot feel good about any of the sites I’ve studied. The main issue I hold is that struggle is necessary for growth, just wishing for something does not make it so.

I do recommend The Dore Lectures by Thomas Troward, but I caution that his look at Mental Science relies heavily on religious belief. Click HERE and read free online. Now, that’s not to say that there is no value in the theory of like attracting like – the fundamental holds true for implementing positive perception in life. However, perception must at one point come to terms with reality.

Ayn Rand said, “In order to live, man must act; in order to act, he must make choices; in order to make choices, he must define a code of values; in order to define a code of values, he must know what he is and where he is—i.e., he must know his own nature (including his means of knowledge) and the nature of the universe in which he acts—i.e., he needs metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, which means: philosophy. He cannot escape from this need; his only alternative is whether the philosophy guiding him is to be chosen by his mind or by chance” (Objectivism for Intellectuals).

And so…we must take a closer look at Metaphysics. What exists and what does not show face in reality. A deeper interest in reality has led me towards Objectivism. Ayn Rand developed Objectivism Philosophy and wrote novels that revealed societal issues, including The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Currently, I am about one-third through the latter, and I see numerous elements of corruption present in contemporary society as described by Rand in 1957.

The Ayn Rand Institute carries values of her philosophy and offers further study. Check out ARI and learn about Objectivism. Share your comments below. I watched Prof. Peikoff’s lecture yesterday, and I really like the sound structure of Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics, Politics, and Aesthetics as seen in Objectivism. Of intense interest is how to implement laissez-faire Capitalism – it sounds scary, but I think that’s false-morality talking. Definitely deserves a .

“Introduction to Objectivism” by Leonard Peikoff

 

I can think many things. I can imagine numerous thoughts. However, I must select which thoughts are worthy of implementing through action. What thoughts I will have in my reality, what is really possible. And here is where positive thoughts attract positive things. Whatever one looks for is what they will find. Why? because it was there all along, the mind just missed it because it was set to a different “channel.”

Altering one’s reality begins with altering the self, or how one perceives the self to be. Starting out basic, let’s set a sound, realistic version of who that self is, what that self can do, and how that self behaves. Think on it; really work it around in your mind. Then, realize that for the self to improve, that self must act on its desires, goals, and wants. Altering the self begins in the mind and continues through implemented action.

 

 

 

ShoutOut to SourcesQuote Investigator,

Friday Fictioneers “Backfired Awareness”

Friday Fictioneers * Rochelle Wisoff-Fields * Photo Prompt by Janet M. Webb * “Backfired Awareness” * 100 words * A. Shaffer * 29 July 2016

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“Backfired Awareness”

Brenda internally shook. Only a prank, she thought, things weren’t supposed to roll this way. The hoity-toity new mall in Southern West Virginia was an insult because none of the locals could afford the goods. Installing an Olympic-size swimming pool next to the food court — beyond absurd. Local activists hatched the plan, drained the pool, flooded the area. A statement, it was all just a statement. The Media, however, ran with it. The state of West Virginia was shut down, noted as a loss. That’s when they brought in the refugees, populating “Wild and Wonderful” with the world’s castoffs.

 

Hello Dear Readers and Fellow Authors…

This week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields called on Janet M. Webb for Friday Fictioneer’s photo prompt. In 100 words, Friday Fictioneer Authors craft “story” from a picture. For me, the excess water automatically makes me think of those in the Southern part of the state who are currently still devastated by recent flooding. This weeks output of rain has probably not helped them recover. Husband and I are closer to Pennsylvania, and while we have had much rain we are not in dire straights as our Southern brothers/sisters.

I wish that there was something I could really do to help them, but my allergy to the sun prevents me from being able to get in the car and race down there. Silly, I know, but I am lucky if I can tolerate a five minute period outside. Even something simple like taking my dogs out may result in an attack. I linger in bits of shade, trying to hold on to consciousness.

Needless to say, I offer much thanks to the Friday Fictioneer family and friends for the online connection. I cannot enjoy summer like everyone else, but I can safely stay inside, working on “story.” Keep on spinning, Saffron. I can create a reality where the Sun does not set out to destroy me, or imagine what it would feel like to be “normal,” spending a day on the river or — hard to imagine — purposefully laying out in the sun for a lovely, golden complexion. “Story” has a way of providing for the mind when reality lacks. “Story” lives in the art we express. We can find “story” in many places:  literature, theatre, film, COSplay, paintings, sculpture, photography, music, lyrics, and video games. Yes! I said, “video games” lol my all-time dislike {secret there is that I am terrible at ‘playing’}.

Click the BlueFrog below and read the other esteemed Friday Fictioneer stories. The concept is so interesting because one picture inspires endless possibilities<>. As always, if inspired by the photo prompt, please create a “story” all your own. Simply follow the links and copy the codes, and KaBam!…I, along with the other Authors, will read your “story” and offer feedback. Because, telling “story” holds rewards but so does knowing that someone reads your work.

Keep on creating!

Angie

Early Thoughts on #Brexit and Islamic Appeasement

10 Tidbits of Recent Concern

 

Hello Dear Readers…

This morning I am researching what is happening overseas. Curious, yes of course, but the way things go…if England is affected by something, there is a strong possibility that America will feel repercussions. I feel like if we research we will be better prepared to handle any outcomes.

That being said, there is much information available online. What can a reader trust? Personally, I trust no one. I find “truth” by comparing numerous articles and looking for similarities. Because, frankly, there is no hard “truth,” only subjective interpretation.

What can we really know?

1. That’s a hard one. However, one must be steadfast. Opinion cannot be accepted as it varies per person. “Facts” cannot be praised because they were ultimately written by a person. If every event has at least two sides to the story — or fifteen sides in the quantum world — then reading a story is not going to assist that much in “truth finding.”

2.  There is one thing I can extend a gram of “trust” to, and that is historical themes. A theme does not depend on opinion, it is a trend in history. Cliches are annoying but some are right – history does in fact repeat itself. Not in the sense that each event replays continuously, but in the way that humanity moves in a zigzagging pattern much like evolution. We go out with our ideas, but when the ideas don’t work, we come back home to sort out a new plan.

3.  Considering recent European events with this train of thought, I do not think that it is unexpected that Britain left the EU. I am not taking either side – I do not know their politics enough to cast judgment. What I am saying is that the trend of the EU was progressive – they tried to bring democracy and drop walls. However, reality did not embrace theory. What looked good on paper did not stand up well in the here and now. Historically, the reasonable action is to withdraw – “go home” and lick one’s wounds, and then…develop a new method.

4.  Taking history into account, there are time periods that act as a “reply” for past occurrences. Currently, the entire world is trying to figure out what to do about the Islamic culture. On my small scale, my advice is education. I’ve said it before and will repeat it here:  Educate the youth in hopes of securing a better future. First off, introduce them to Darwinism, Biology, and Genetics. Science confronts life situations with empirical data. Certain cultures refuse to read any book that is not religious. This is a huge misstep. Human thought, expression, and consciousness expands at escalated rates. Yet, some people do not know “science is real.” Some people fail to notice the damages brought on by incest, or marrying one’s cousin.

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5.  When I think about “historical replies” I cannot help but land on the dangers of appeasement, or giving in to a “bullying” force who issues demands for a select group. Uncontrollably, the image of Hitler comes to mind. It makes me uncomfortable because I saw comments yesterday that Atheist sites were being taken down from social media. The motivation:  Islamic culture. Supposedly, since the Muslims find Atheists offensive, the Atheist viewpoint is restricted. How is that just?

6.  Ah, it is most definitely not just. I find sporting events offensive, but does that mean that the sporting industry should be dismantled? Nope — it means that I make the personal choice to not watch sports.

7.  Social media should include all aspects of human preference. The moment one group limits another indicates that the first believes they are “better” than the rest. Guess what…we are all humans. We are all species. Not a single one is better than another. We are all forms of life. Darwinism illustrates the connection of species. If all cultures accepted scientific evidence then much of belief’s illusions would fade away.

8. Western culture is filled with individuals. Individualism is our bag. However, older cultures still operate under collectivism. Huge difference. Here is another historical theme – Individualism developed out of the Enlightenment. In America, we recognize the Enlightenment era as sloughing off tired beliefs that no longer rang true because of the empirical evidence presented by science. Collective societies have not learned Enlightenment lessons – they refuse to read or accept the science. So why, for Reason’s sake, would progressive thought kneel to backward society?

9.  Society cannot give in to backward demands. Society strives for the betterment of the human race just like evolution. Or it should. Religion and Science are expressions of human thought. One relies on belief, the other on empirical evidence. The individual gets to decide which one speaks louder to them. What’s important is that each person should have the right to choose for the self.

10. I am not religious. I prefer understanding reality through science. However, I see value in both as dependent on the person. Humans should be able to believe whatever they want to believe, or believe nothing and look for knowledge. The point is that it is personal preference. I think if everyone recognized the effort it takes in constructing the self, we could realize that each person has a great task before them. Each person is in charge of their own reality, and nobody…nobody…has any right to limit individual growth.  –Not a government, not a Union, not a Culture, not a Religion, not even Science.

Hate: The Embarrassment of Humanity

I avoid mainstream media as much as possible. Yesterday, Husband told me about the shooting in Florida. My heart cries for humanity. The lives lost – over fifty human beings – at the hands of terror is a horrifying truth to accept. But, looking deeper, the social factors at play here are also of strong concern. The message the shooter expressed is “My will is greater than yours – you deserve extermination.” There is not a single human voice that can authentically support this claim – all species are flawed. What is important is what we make of our journey. That journey is subjective, unique to each person, and there is no authority – not animal, mineral, or vegetable – that holds any inherent right over another. Not here, not now in the twenty-first-century.

We cannot allow these injustices ground to breed. We cannot turn a blind eye to violence, cruelty, and dehumanization. We cannot let fellow Americans be targeted by “wrath-worthy” vengeance. The fact that terrorism continues is an embarrassment to human progress. The fact that other people think they have a right to determine who a person should marry, love, or what have you is not only ridiculous, it’s rather childish. Why is Betsy’s life bothered if Tim down the street prefers Dave over Sue? Why does Betsy care? …she’s not in the picture. Why is society so nosy about people’s sex lives? Isn’t there enough reality TV to go around? Why is there so much animosity for groups of people who are trying to love and live?

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Why would any of that be motivation for terrorism? Now, as a rational individual, I have to say I cannot see a genuine reason for terrorism, period – other than to enforce one’s will over another. I don’t care if a god, a government official, a newscaster, or a peanut-butter sandwich whispered in one’s ear and said terrorism is okay… it’s not. It is never cool to dehumanize. Each human has inside the self the a priori understanding of right from wrong. When religion tells one to ignore those morals, something is up. When government says to reject those morals, again – something is wrong in Denmark.

What can we do?

1. I don’t know. I’m thinking. It’s been a long think, one rolling for years now. One thing I’ve recognized is the authority found in individualism. No, it’s not enough, but it is something, a starting point – a personal choice. Make the personal decision to reject hate – in all forms. Hate is a nasty creature; if let in for one group it will easily spread to another.

2. Heighten awareness by talking, posting, commenting, or participating in social issues. Raise the call to arms for justice but when arming the self: reach for love. Hate and terror breed more violence – violence is not the answer. Read MLK and hold onto his message.

3.  When you hear others negatively supporting injustice, do not silently absorb their message. If you feel strong enough to defend – by all means do, in a rational manner. If your voice is still soft, or if you notice entering into debate will only lead to harm: leave. Silence is powerful when others realize you will not tolerate barbarism. One cannot change another person, but one does not have to expose the self to negativity. If one person is able to refuse listening, then others may follow. They may admire your strength – regardless, by leaving you have improved your environs.

4.  Redirect conversations by implementing “good” stories or examples. If you do not have any personal examples, widen your circle – oftentimes, when one steps out of their comfort zone they learn valuable lessons. Personally, my go-to story when I hear people complaining about LGBT marriages – I ask them if they’ve ever attended a ceremony, and once the guffaws clear out, I inform them that the lesbian wedding I participated in, Septemeber 2013 was the most beautiful celebrations. This holds clout because I was a stylist for over twenty years and trudged through many a wedding. All brides have some shade of fickle, all weddings issue stress and drama, all weddings (typically) bum me out. Why? Well, I feel like marriage holds a lot of limitation, conformity, compromise, and domination. Yes, Husband and I struggle, lol…I am not an easy wife nor is he a basket of sunshine. Every bride that ever sat in my chair received my last minute getaway speech and promise of an Ocean City holiday if she just wanted the beach. Every bride save two – the two that married each other. I’ve prepped hundreds of heads for their “big-day” and only one couple – a same sex couple – demonstrated what I envision as a “perfect love.” Not only my Brides, but their maids were also delightful. The guests were all happy. The décor was fabulous. I actually stayed for the wedding, took a cabin, and shared breakfast with the whole bridal party the next morning. When I think of a happy marriage, their lovely faces come to mind.

5.  What do you think we can do? “We” as in society as a whole, “We the Human Race.” How can one person’s action affect the world? Let’s see…try to implement positive change where one can. I will keep thinking, and I hope you will, too.