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Run Away

August 25, 2010

In my post “Agony”, I explained in depth the three most primal options to any situation: fight, give up, flight; it is this third option that is most often taken for granted; in reality, this is the option that most people take! To quote from Agony, “We run away from our true selves, gaining ignorance through bliss, and pleasure through Denial. This is, unfortunately, the choice of the vast majority of the world.” Most of the choices in life that we have are either made by other people (Displacement), or ignored altogether (Denial).

In “Agony”, I approached this issue from a spiritual perspective, noting that “Although it is clearly the best choice for us, it is the greatest sin one can possibly commit, as we are gaining pleasure as the direct consequence of God’s suffering. That is because by ignoring God we are doing that which makes him suffer most, and thus gain the greatest pleasure from it.” But you should know that because the human Ego is a reflection of the divine (ergo we are made in God’s image), by running away from decisions we are not just ignoring God, but also ignoring ourselves. There is a price for everything, and the cost of running away from the issues in life is probably the most fundamentally costly of all: nonexistence!

Scary, isn’t it? But lest you be skeptical, let me clarify:

In accordance with Balance (and to a degree, with the Uncertainty principle) it’s impossible to fully appreciate every facet at life at once; to appreciate one idea more is to appreciate another less, and to prioritize one ideal more is to downplay another less relevant one. You cannot both love and hate the same entity at the same time, in other words. So to decide what aspects of life we should most appreciate, and what values should be the primary focus of our lives, we must prioritize.

We must decide what to accept and what to reject, and the extent to which values are accepted or rejected. It is for this reason that even if we run away from a decision, “by not deciding we have still made a choice”; that choice is to reject responsibility for that particular facet of our life. The problem with this is that even if you reject responsibility, someone has to take responsibility for that issue; by avoiding the issue, you are handing over control of your life because “you can’t handle it” yourself.

The prevailing trend in modern society is for people to shirk as much responsibilities as possible, handing most of the important duties in life over to society– let the public institutions deal with the mess. As a result, daycare centers, public schools, social services, public service agencies, the mass media, and the Internet will make most of the life-altering decisions in people’s lives, is raising people’s children, and is deciding who our leaders will be, and what the future holds. We are handing control of our lives over to Society, because we are unwilling to take responsibility for our own lives.

While I do believe that letting Society dictate our lives is not a good idea (to say the least!), there is an even graver issue here: by relinquishing control over one’s life to anyone can be a very bad idea; at least from the existential point of view, it’s almost as bad as not existing in the first place! My reasoning for this is (believe it or not!) quite sound in logic; it deals with the aforementioned causal accept/reject relationship, and in fact relates even to the very nature of reality itself.

To clarify:

When you accept something, you are acknowledging its existence; furthermore, the more emphasis that you put on your acceptance of something (the more that you believe in it), the more pronounced its existence becomes. On the other hand, the more that you reject something, the more you are denying its existence, and the more its nonexistence becomes pronounced. Notice one key word here: “Denial”. In my post “Denial”, I explained why that denial is a bad thing, and I would recommend reading it if you haven’t already, as it helps you better understand the contents of this post.

There is another (albeit less oft-used) definition of denial, which I will quote from Wiktionary: “A refusal to comply with a request.” What I am trying to illustrate here, is the primary cost of rejecting responsibility: by denying responsibility of your own life, you are denying yourself life itself! Not only is shirking life responsibilities putting too much trust in Society, but it is also a tacit denial of one’s very existence; perhaps even worse, you are relinquishing your right to an independent existence.

I’m not saying that independence is a good thing, or that dependence is a bad thing. Human being are their very nature social creatures, created (or evolved) to depend on each other to survive; evolution would say that complete social dependence (i.e. Socialism) is a logical inevitability. But I am certain that most people don’t realize what they are doing– don’t know what they are getting themselves into. They are so used to living in denial, that they have forgotten that they even have a choice in the first place.

Having seen the potential that every human being is capable of, and seeing what potential is not being tapped, I am certain that people so dependent on each other not because they want to, but because they don’t realize that they could do better; they don’t realize their own potential to make their own choices, because they don’t know any better.

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