Common Sense Comes to Town!

Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world, for each one thinks he is so well-endowed with it that even those who are hardest to satisfy in all other matters are not in the habit of desiring more of it than they already have. (Descartes)

Choose Your Prison

Posted on | July 3, 2010 | No Comments

Various events shape our personality and weigh on the choice we make, whether they be common decisions of our daily routine, or crucial choices which have an impact on large parts of our lives. Our values, education, culture and past experiences combine with our psychological make up, and from this unique mix come forth our personality, our uniqueness.

Incidentally, these are also what we convey to our own children. From the first few crucial years of their lives our influence focuses their development on all these axes.  Our children will fully reach adulthood only when they will learn to cast away this influence and make the conscious decision to reject or uphold what we bestowed onto them.

Unfortunately this stage is sometimes not reached, this maturity, not gained. You have certainly met these persons; they are the one in whom the hatred of an ancestral enemy burns from generation to generation. All logic is completely swept away by grudge; in fact, the basis for this continued hatred often boils down to “I keep on fighting, out of respect for my forebears.”

By so doing the mind is locked inside a prison whose key has long been lost. What justified past gestures may not apply to present days. Respect is perverted into a servile lack of independence from our collective past. This does not mean we should turn our back on, or ignore events of the past. To the contrary, the study of history and social reactions in various times and places is fundamental to understand mistakes and avoid repeating them. However it so happens that the past, which we should make our own, is sometimes what ends up gaining possession of ourselves.

What happens then? We lose our personality, our uniqueness. We become caricatures, fanatical echoes of past conflicts. We lose our humanity, and our capacity to evolve beyond its present state, the real, not imaginary state of things, because of our inability to outgrow our past and fully grasp the nature of the times we live in.

I wish for my own children this ability to re-examine themselves and myself as well, and to reach their own conclusions. I hope they will be able to continuously update their conclusions given the experiences they will live through. I wish for them to be unique, and to become much more than what I am.

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