Know Thyself

Something I came across:

“To examine oneself and to seek to know oneself better does not equate to being a non-conformist or to toss aside moral principles and values; it means to truly instil in oneself values that are agreeable to us and to the wider world, which is possible only after careful examination of how we at the core experience and understand these values. What is extrinsic can only truly be accepted by the self after we have observed how it interacts with what is intrinsic and innate in us”

Freud On A Monday

I have spent just about the entire Monday morning reading up on Freud again, and I must say I’ve always been a big, big fan of his works on psychoanalysis, dreams, memories and how the unconscious mind affects the conscious mind. 

Lightly reading over Freud makes me think we should all spend time contemplating the causations of some of our actions and words, whether in an assisted or unassisted environment. His psychoanalysis works affirm deeply that what or how we are now is very much a result of what happened in our past, with our childhood playing an especially critical role in forming our personalities and behaviours. Pretty commonsensical? Not if we understand it at Freud’s level, and not if deductions and reasonings are based upon countless clinical case studies and observations.

I think there is a certain stigma in the country about visiting a psychologist, and rightfully so apparently. The common associations with it are not kind, and thus the field of psychology here is relatively small as compared to other first world modern societies. 

If we remove all stereotypes and stigmas that are too commonly heard, a psychologist is just someone who helps you better understand your psyche by providing data and analysis in order to come up with deductions and conclusions. By tapping into memories and behavioural observations, recurring problems in certain aspects of life can be bettered and potentially resolved through professional analysis and therapy. 

I don’t disagree that mentally strong individuals can resolve their own problems by themselves through self-examination and reflection; they probably can go deeper without assistance through their own mental capacity and handling. The only  potential issue is that there is no outside observer to record anything that may have gone unnoticed, or that is subconsciously avoided by the person himself. The helper (aka psychologist) is able to provide a non-biased account of what he thinks the problem is or where it lies, and go where the individual himself may be unwilling or unable to go.

I think the work of a psychologist is noble in helping people cure themselves of mental issues on both the conscious and subconscious levels. It enables for more wholesome living and could resolve many medical or social issues that could plague individuals as a result of poor mental health. I also believe there are more to dreams and strongly preserved memories than we know, and it would be exciting to find out the interlinkages in the psyche so that we can better understand the complex workings of the mind and assist those who may have psychological issues that they themselves are not even consciously aware of. 

For a start, we should all try to come clean with ourselves and face up to what may be haunting us most (consciously and subconsciously) as we go through our daily lives. That is the best way to get acquainted with ourselves, and the start of the resolution to any problem. 

As Freud has said, “being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.”

Resolution..?

I don’t remember having a New Year Resolution list for 2015, and checking back on my year diary and blog does prove that. I know that for many past years I’ve had resolution lists but I distinctly remember ending last year without any thoughts or preparation for the next one, and I never got round to making a list in January because too many things were happening and I probably was happy enough not to make plans for the year back then.

There’s nothing now for me to check on my progress for the year, so I’ll have to use my current mindset and state of emotions to gauge if I’ve gotten things right (or wrong, possibly). Hope my memory has enough of 2015 for me to do up a wrap up of the past twelve months. Ha ha. Here goes.

I think the past dozen months have been filled with plenty of lessons for me; I don’t think I’ve learnt as much in any single one of my past years as this one. Certain flaws of mine were made very clear to me, it swung at me in certain months of the year and yes.. it did hit me in the face pretty hard a couple of times. Many shortfalls were made known to me by incidents and upon personal reflection, and they did leave me pondering how I can work on these weak links and shape myself up. I’m still thinking about many of these points, and I hope to improve on them soon.

In very much a similar fashion, some perennial principles and truths about life were also slightly sighted on some of the fair-weather and stormy days. I developed the idea that some ways of the universe will always remain true and unchanging, even if the people, situation or times change. They are what anchors the course of things and life itself.

I started the year very strong, in the sense that I was very happy and had many things to look forward to. I was doing an internship with one of the ministries, I had results to look forward to, as well as scholarships and university placings to apply for. My friends were nice circles in my life, my parents were agreeable with most of the things I was doing, and I had a rough direction as to how I want things to be.

I think I’m ending the year pretty decent as well, in the way that I have realised and am beginning to understand certain things, and there are even more things to look forward to as I close the year and look at the next one ahead. I am starting to know why we should pursue our dreams, and what are some of the important things in life that we should strive to achieve and hold on to. Certain friendships and newfound ones require more attention (and gladly so), and there are many more people out there that I am looking forward to meet and befriend. I’m not sure if I’m doing things right, but I shall find out in time.

2015 sure seems like a good rough year that paves the way for glorious times ahead, don’t you think? As for 2016.. We shall see if there’s a need for a resolution.

 

 

The Shooting Star 

“I believe in speed, not endurance.”

The statement above isn’t really wise in the long run (pun, if you get it! Haha.) both literally and figuratively, because to go far you need more than just a brilliant streak. You’d need sustained brilliance, and that is how it ensures you do not burn out or die off too early. You can ask Usain Bolt, he’s the fastest man on earth but he sure has endurance and he trains on his endurance in order to train his burst and speed. 

However, some people are really like the statement above and they do believe in it. It’s not their fault, but that’s just how they are and that’s how they think. They are like a brilliant flash, and after that they fade into oblivion but leave a lasting effect.

Think of a shooting star. You never see them around much, but when you see one.. It illuminates the night sky and it illuminates your life too. It appears when you least expect it to, and many a time it appears when you’re dozing off after waiting too long hoping to catch it, but with the little bit of energy you have left.. You’re filled with joy and ecstasy as you see it grace the night sky while you hurry to make a wish.

And then, it’s gone. That’s it. It came, it shone, and it left without saying goodbye. But you’ll remember it for the rest of your life. 

Some people are like that. They are not for the long run; they are for the moment. They are not here to stay, but while they’re here they make a huge impact and make their presence felt. They’re like shooting stars. They are speed, not endurance.

I’m starting to think this post doesn’t make much sense, but I think we all sort of get the idea. I’m sure you have someone who came into your life, changed the way you see the world, and left pretty much as sudden as they came. 

The world had them in Bruce Lee, Elvis Presley, John Lennon and many more.. and we all have them in our own worlds, albeit at a scale smaller to the world but no less significant to us.  

Who in your life do you think would say something like that?

Competition?

(Here’s something I wrote on the theme of ‘Competition’ a couple of years back, and I thought I’d just share it just for laughs. It went a little off topic so I find it quite funny, looking back at it today)

The truth about competition is that it is everywhere – anytime, anyone, anyhow. It exists in every aspect and part of life and it is a question of the form it takes rather than the part it plays; the significance of competition in people’s daily lives is too overwhelming to be called a part: life itself can be regarded as a competition and understood as a collective experience of competitions continuous and sequential.

Mankind has achieved countless illustrious milestones and succeeded in numerous astronomical conquests since humans first walked on Earth but one opponent Man has yet to overcome and possibly never will triumph over, is death. This insurmountable obstacle creates an inevitable competition in life that no one can ever escape from – the competition against time. Humans are born into this world with one certainty in life, and that is death; nothing else in between is as definite as the end itself. This presents the general understanding and consensus that everyone has a limited time on Earth and what is made of life is what happens in between the twin poles of start and end. This sets Man in competition against the clock and though each person moves at a different pace from the next, everyone is aware that there are only so many years in life that each person can possess before Death comes to claim all that life has given and withheld. This is the truth underpinning life which drives progress – people want to move faster, know better and live longer such that everything invented ranging from the television to the steam engine to the airplane is done with the purpose to allow mankind to maximize the human experience and lengthen the duration of competition against the running down of time before age catches up and the battle is eternally lost.

As the clock ticks away, the next competition which comes alongside the ever present race against time is the competition against the self. As much as Man would covet escaping the hands of Death, Man seeks in equal magnitude to outdo and better himself. Everywhere in society the sight of people sloughing away trying to achieve more and climb higher in a never ending conquest to do better and be better reveals an underlying desire innate to humans to outperform themselves. This inborn urge to do well in tasks and affairs undertaken and to soar above challenges are but manifestations of the true inner want to rise beyond circumstances with the eventual aim to prove better than oneself. It is ingrained in the psyche of humans and lurking somewhere in the deep recesses of the mind that the ultimate rival and only opponent necessary to triumph over is the self and all other victories scored in everyday life are but points accumulated in the grand contest within.

While the competitions against time and self are both simultaneously in progress, many other competitions occur in people’s daily lives and tend to serve duo purposes of enforcing and distracting them from the two main ongoing encounters. Competitions can take the form of sports, where individuals or teams go up against each other in a certain sport such as in track & field, tennis or football; it can also take the shape of music and singing competitions, the outline of competing sale revenues in an insurance office or the shadow of examinations typical in school halls. Competition is undeniably a human construct with the specific purpose of satisfying the natural appetite to feel good about oneself and to better oneself. They were created to focus the mind and being for a period of time onto a purpose, that is to improve and eventually emerge victorious in the competition arena meticulously crafted. People are born with an inherent restlessness and a need for activity and purpose; competition is the exact creation to fulfill this need and bring calm and peace to the restlessness that otherwise would run rampant. The human mind has the natural tendency to question the causes and reasons for it’s own existence and this leads inevitably to frustration and unrest as the answer is metaphysical in nature and cannot be ascertained by mortal determinants. To make existence more bearable and give some meaning to life, humans create surmountable obstacles everywhere and the attempts to clear such hurdles and achievement of mini objectives are but small competitions against the self, circumstances and environment in themselves.

It is a revelation to realize the fundamental nature and beginnings of competition and how they are very much intertwined; it never fails to amaze how they arise out of each other. The lost cause against the unstoppable advancement of Death upon every human being creates the competition against time, which in it’s very nature breeds the competition against the self to better oneself and maximize the human experience; this manifests and materializes itself in the form of visible, tangible human-constructed competition such as sports and other competitive activities.

It is deeply ironic and paradoxical that the very unconquerable nature of Death in which humans have failed to overcome has been the main driving force of competition and progress. Even with the advent of technology and huge advancements in the field of genetic engineering and medicine, the two fundamental competitions that every human has against the ticking hands of the clock and with himself will stay constant in their presence, albeit conscious or subconscious to the mind. It is as such safe to propose that competition does not simply play a part in people’s daily lives; competition is the very essence life is made from and is itself one big competition; as long as humans do not triumph over death, there always will be competition in this world, either within or without.

Important In Life / Existentialism

(Greetings ladies and gentlemen, it’s a public holiday today so I hope everyone can have a hazy good time.. Ops, I mean crazy good time. For those living in Singapore and other parts of Southeast Asia, do stay in doors more to avoid the haze; it is prudent to take care of your health. Here’s a short post for the morning in between the rush.)

Ask any man what he thinks is important in life:
Some will say wealth and others will say health,
While some will say happiness and others may say
Family or friends or someone he loves everyday;

Ask any guru what he thinks is important in life:
Some will say compassion and others will say love,
While some will say nirvana and others may say
There is nothing so very important in life except today;

Ask me what I think is important in life:
I say it is freedom in life within and without any strife;

Think’st thou otherwise?

Existence

(A moment of peace and quiet amidst sentry duty. Two line spacings don’t work on my mobile WordPress, so three dashes shall have to determine paragraphings and breaks.)

There are infinite number of lives all around us:

The ants hurrying about beneath our feet,

The grass that continuously grow unbeknownst to us,

The birds that chirp and the bees that buzz by;

To the ants the task of carrying it’s food around

Is everything in life that matters to them

While for the bees the job of collecting nectar

Is all that is important for them in their existence;

We watch the ants and the bees at work:

We think what they go about everyday is so minute

That their lives of carrying food and making honey

Is nothing too much to be concerned about;

Yet to them:

All that was ever worth worrying about in life

Is whether food can get safely to their nest

And if they can stay alive doing what they do;

What do you think the Universe thinks

When It sees us fretting over our next promotion

Or our academic exams and all the little things

That seem all so important to us?

If the Universe can show compassion to us,

What more to say of us to those we see as less than us?