You are not the centre of the universe, you just think you are.
Hope will not change that which is or will be, and much of the reasoning we might use to justify having it is flawed. To hope is to express a preference that, all other things being considered, one thing rather than another might occur, and that the power of our positive thinking may in some way affect the outcome.
As soon as we categorise or label any event as having a particular emotional content, we are then ourselves emotionally committed. We have not only defined the event, but also our relationship to it.
This is our domain. We define each event in a uniquely personal way, particular to us alone, and have an immediate, visceral, instinctually emotional response to it.
When we decide if something is wrong or right a contextualising is taking place.
We apply labels of emotional value to our personal histories as well; to events in our past, our current situation, and our future.
Whether we like it or not, whether we take responsibility for our part in it or not, everything that happens is in a sense “supposed” to happen given the existing preconditions and the interaction between them.
At those times when events or persons conspire against us and our design, we may surrender abjectly and bitterly, or martyr ourselves in a glorious and righteous battle to the death.
“The finest trick of the devil is to persuade you that he does not exist,” wrote the French poet Charles Baudelaire, and this is true of our ego also.
We live our lives in such a judgmental manner, and it can be demonstrated in a simple and practical way by means of a short written exercise.
Reassuring ourselves that “Everything in the world is exactly the way it is supposed to be” is a simple way of short-circuiting an often unhealthy preoccupation with our opinion about things.
Reassuring ourselves the “Everything in the world is exactly the way it’s supposed to be” presumes to state that events in the world are directed by intelligent design, but this supposition is not an essential requirement if we think about the whole sentence in a slightly different and more accommodating way.
Constructing a personal vision of the world is a deliberate and premeditated act of forceful occupation, given the obvious need to impose that structure on occupied foreign territory.
This type of crisis – the gradual falling apart of our lives – is just as comprehensive and yet still mysterious. It is all the more powerful and frightening precisely because we have not been able to clearly identify what, exactly, has gone wrong.
Our lives are fundamentally unmanageable. We discern the elemental truth of it in the character and profile of dozens of events both serious and trivial on a daily basis.
Every detail of the world that i imagine, every furnishing and fitting, is populated by me with objects appropriated from the real world.
I do not consider my views or my perspective to be narrow or myopic, nor my goals and opinions to be essentially self-interested or ungenerous. But of course they are, for I make the fundamental mistake of confusing what is my own personal view of the world with the nature of the world as it actually is.
I am not, despite my best efforts, master of my world. I must apply discipline and concentration to the task of formulating my options and strategies, and exert great effort, guile, willpower, and determination in achieving my goals.
Constantly reassessing my place in a dynamic world does not have to be entirely unpleasant. It may open up new possibilities and opportunities for the advancement of my goals, the securing of my lifestyle, and the pursuit of my happiness.
I decide, for better or worse, what I am. I would prefer to have a fixed definition of what that world is as well, in both its constitution and its construction.