Thursday, December 30, 2010

We are not the sum of our experiences

We are not the sum of our experiences, we are the sum of what we choose to be.

It has occurred to me that I've been looking at things in completely the wrong way. We assume that wisdom comes from experiencing the good and the bad and triumphs and the failures that we experience in life, and that somehow that brings enlightenment... but how can that be true when all of the people who I have come across that have claimed wisdom and enlightenment and have had the most and sometimes the worst experiences are never truly as happy as the "enlightened" should be?

Let's raise a purely hypothetical question. What if society is lying to you? What if all of this business about purposefully making mistakes and putting yourself in situations that you know are not good for you and drinking, smoking and partying your life away were not in fact a fundamental part of the learning experience that we associate with life? What if those that perpetuate these trends were just doing so because they themselves were already in so deep that they didn't really want to be the only ones? After all, misery does love company doesn't it?

Now that the hypothetical part is over and done with, why not ask a question directly pertaining to you. That's right, you, the person who's reading this. The one who probably found this on stumbleupon and decided to skim, right? Well, hey, when were you last actually happy? Yesterday? The day before that?

I'm done with the questions, so now on to the statements. For a while, I was into the party scene. Mostly when I was at Western Kentucky University, but these days it seems that everywhere is a party scene regardless of where you are. There is nothing wrong with having fun, and when I say that, I mean what I say--but are you really having fun? Are you really happy? It seems to me that people use drugs and alcohol as an escape--as a tool for fast action enlightenment, and as a medicine to psychologically and socially heal themselves. It's odd though, that prescriptions are called drugs and the substance used to clean a wound is called alcohol, but the fact is that if you pour whiskey on the wound, the wound is still a wound, and if you take drugs to alter reality, reality stays the same and your perceptions change for only a fleeting moment. It seems like this is a very popular medicine, but are you happy, or are you convincing yourself that you are? If in fact this fills you, then why do you feel empty enough to go back for more?

My point is this: I am Truman. I am my own person and I make my own choices. I have that right and it will remain my own long after the concept loses it's value in the face of all that remains. That is the only thing that I can take with me no matter where I go; but if I am to be empty, if I am to be lonely, if I am to be troubled, then I will be all of these things on my own terms, not society's or my friends'. Just my own. So if I am expected to act or react in a certain way in a feeble attempt to impress or cater to those around me, then I'll do the right thing regardless of what that implies, because I make my own choices and walk my own path, and maybe you should too. If you choose to.

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