Tuesday, August 28, 2012

You Cannot Be Yourself all at Once

If we say that a person is courageous, what are we saying about them? Are we saying that they are courageous every moment of their lives? That if you were to snatch them up at any random moment, you would find them being courageous? What about introverts? If we call someone introverted, does that mean that they are always going to prefer to be alone or that they will always find social interaction draining? This is not to wonder if we might sometimes catch courageous men being cowardly or to wonder if we might find an introvert acting as the life of a party. This is to wonder if there are not times when we might catch someone that we call "courageous" living completely apart from the whole gradient of courage or if we might catch an introvert in a situation where his reactions to crowds do not matter.

In fact, I think it is quite obvious that we can. Whatever we might say about a person, there are certainly times when they escape the entire concept that our description of them is based upon. In fact, I might say that whatever you say about a person is essentially an abstract fiction based on a handful of events. Courageous men are men who have displayed courage a handful of times and have not been caught similarly acting to the contrary. Witty men are men who frequently have moments of wit; they also spend eight hours every night being completely outside the whole game of wit. Sharpshooters spend the better part of their lives not even holding a gun.

This is to say, we exist right now. We exist in this moment. And there is only so much that we can do in a single moment. So whatever attributes make up your character, chances are that at any given moment you are not exercising a lot of them. In what way do you still have those qualities?

You could say that they continue to reside in your nature at all times. A sharpshooter is always capable of acting as a sharpshooter, even if he is not presently holding a gun. His conditioning is different, and that persists through every moment. Witty people are those who can always come up with a quick, snarky response when the situation calls for it, and that readiness is present even when the situation is not. This I would agree with, roughly.

What I think we should take note of is deterioration. The longer you spend away from an activity, the more your conditioning deteriorates. A Greek-speaker who never speaks Greek will become a rusty-Greek-speaker and eventually a former-Greek-speaker. In this way, your self is a balancing act. An undulation. You must repeat in order to preserve your conditioning in order to preserve your nature.

But then, you are never perfectly yourself. You are always yourself in different situations. This is you cooking. This is you sleeping. This is you blogging. This is you arguing. If you never repeated the same situations, you might not have anything to keep you grounded to yourself.

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