The word “human” is often referred to as the conscious being and probably so far, the only one. Consciousness, as the French philosopher Henri Bergson defines it, is historicity. It is the capacity of being aware of time. Moreover, humans live consciously in the time and have a special relation to it. This is why, we invented the watch, the calendar and timetables; but also we have deadlines, memories, projections and so on.
Consciousness is memory, a link between the past, the present and the future which allows us to go back and forth and to anticipate the future while looking back at the past. in Bergson’s words:
“In reality, the past is preserved by itself automatically … the pure present is an ungraspable advance of the past devouring the future. In truth, all sensation is already memory”.
Is this ability a heavy weight? Isn’t the cause of constantly saying to ourselves “what if”?
Mainly there are two consequences of this: resentment or pro-activity.
Resentment is the sum of negative feelings like regrets, remorse, jealousy and persecution. What if I did this instead of that? What if people hate me? What if I am fundamentally stupid? What if I will never make it? All are legitimate questions which can become psychologically lethal if one is entangled in this obsessive attitude, feeding all kinds of negative feelings. We can easily desire to be constantly feeling bad.
On the other hand, these questions can become the way to a better living only if there is a desire to change and face the new. Bergson said it better:
“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly”.
The word “sincere” comes from the Latin sin cirus meaning without beeswax as referred to pure honey. Later, this word was used for a person who speaks their mind, who doesn’t fool others.
One can be sincere without telling the truth only if they are unconsciously wrong at the start. In comparison, a liar doesn’t believe their own lie, unless repeated all the time, a perversion called mythomania.
Generally speaking, orators are not sincere: they speak to provoke a certain reaction and not to communicate their thoughts. Therefore, sincerity’s requirements are mostly transparency and sometimes authenticity. For sociability causes, one tends to wear a mask for protection or for manipulation; society often tells us to be less sincere to fit in.
Are we all mythomania?
Mythomania is an abnormal or pathological tendency to exaggerate or tell lies.
If we take this classical definition, can it be adapted to our virtual social behavior on social media? Is an airbrushed photo or a well enhanced profile considered as mythomania? Let’s face it, most people won’t admit they used Photoshop for their photos, not they would admit that they lied about their profiles. Obviously, there is a worse example like identity theft. Is the thief a mythomaniac or aren’t we all?
The paradox is we have all been raised for higher moral values such as sincerity and authenticity. We all went on retouching innocently our photos and marketing ourselves on a larger identity. Maybe the question worse asking here is: are we all, not mythomaniac, but schizophrenic? What if the latters are both social disorders? Are certain types of societies the creator of those disorders, better known as psychological issues?
The easiest way to answer would be to say they are psychosocial. Let’s go further and say they are epigenetic, genetically wired by our culture to be mythomaniac. Epigenetic studies the impact of culture (social behavior and nutrition) on our genes. Would it be an option to explain collective disorders?
Henri Bergson was a French philosopher (1859-1941) and one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century. His philosophy revolves around motion, change and evolution.
His work in Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness showed the fundamental difference between time as perceived by consciousness (la durée or duration) and the objective mathematical time read on a watch. Consciousness doesn’t perceive the instant or the objective present, for it is infinitesimal. It perceives a duration which can be very long or very short.
For example, if I am working unwillingly for one hour on my blog, time doesn’t fly. On the contrary, if I love what I am doing on my blog, I will not feel the time passing by. Although, the time, in both cases, is one hour and the same according to the watch, I live it, thus perceive it, differently.
Bergson analyzed the awareness that man has of his inner self to show that psychological facts are qualitatively different from any other, charging psychologists in particular with falsifying the facts by trying to quantify and number them.
Based on this analysis of the subjective time versus the objective time, he somehow criticized Albert Einstein for keeping the theory of relativity external to the human mind without taking into consideration one’s inner perception of the time, which is also relative.
Consciousness is memory and therefore a link between past and future through its duration. This empirical complexity is what makes human free beings, forever preserving the past and anticipating the future.
Imagine sitting alone, thinking of death, of hardships, of a scary phenomenon. Imagine all this happening to you or to your loved ones. Don’t you want to cry over your thoughts?
Hell knows where these thoughts come from. Is it imagination? Worse: is it intuition? Or is it a mental health issue?
Specialists (and I asked some of them) believe that professional help is needed in case of total disturbance of daily activities due to these thoughts. If not, then one can and must know their origin. It’s hard to tell most of the time whether these thoughts are imaginary or intuitive. They are intuitive if the thought becomes reality.
What is less known for common people is the normality of these dark thoughts. A “healthy” mind would have light and dark thoughts. All depends on one’s background and experiences and their interpretation of life.
One of the best ways to deal with dark thoughts is to try to know the cause of their emergence. Is it because of guilt or a feeling of failure? Is it because of deceptions in the past and fear of the future? We know the answers only if we choose to focus and understand. Once we know the cause, the solution is around the corner.
For heavier cases, speaking out is the path to remedy. Also activities such art, sports, yoga, meditation or any kind of activity that keeps the mind busy and helps boost self-confidence can help soothing the pain.
I noticed that dark thoughts emerge in my lonely boring inactive times. Martin Heidegger, the German philosopher, underlined the importance of boredom to reflect on the essence of life in his philosophical masterpiece: Being and time.
I have been trying to keep myself busy with what I like to do and to reflect on my dark thoughts in my alone times. I noticed that all of them have one origin: the fear of a future deception and loneliness. However, these thoughts have become much lighter and some images they brought disappeared.
It’s New Year and the pressure of making resolutions pushes us to have a list of desires we want to achieve. It goes from losing weight to finding the One, blooming careers to earning more money. Deception is prior to success usually.
The reasons to failure are countless but it is less about the lack of discipline then lack of clarity. New Year’s resolutions are whether too vague or too many. Starting a new year with new tasks, added to the daily hustles of life, implies dropping them.
Instead of having bucket lists of what to do on the upcoming year, there are two main attitudes that one must have, not only for the year ahead, but for their life.
Know what you want: perhaps it is the most difficult part of life to deeply know what one wants and what makes them happy. Then narrow the list to one or two resolutions; the lesser they are, the more chances are to succeed. No matter what the desire is, one must know that it takes effort, sacrifices and discipline in order to be satisfied. So, losing weight for example means food restrictions and sweating. Earning money means more risk taking, more investments and maybe more work. I can pick so many examples and they all require discipline. Imagine then having a whole list of resolutions what would be the result? Needless to say that failure will definitely be around the corner. Logical, isn’t it?
Let go of toxic people (and everything that bothers you): most of the time good intentions and strong will are there but people around us can be a little too negative. Toxic people are the ones who will break you, discourage you, and scare you from the unknown. I’m not taking about the good friend who gives an honest opinion and tries to show you the obstacles. I’m talking about the negative vibes brought constantly by some people. Shut the door and keep them outside. They might be the ones behind your mid-year resolutions failure. Logical too, isn’t it?
And to you beautiful people, I want to wish you a happy New Year, at least better than the one before. I hope that your dreams become reality in 2020. Peace and love for everyone and thank you for making me part of your blogging life.
My desire for this year is to grow this blog. What about your resolutions?
This question keeps coming back: how come can we put ourselves in other people’s shoes and predict their future and we can’t do it for ourselves?
The alter ego: as in the other me; the other one who is similar to me and yet so different. Same in humanity and different in humanity too, relationships are meant to be difficult. So are the relationships we have with ourselves.
Imagine someone asking you for an advice regarding their life. Foreseeing their future in general, pinpointing their talents and their flaws, predicting about their love affairs etc., is all so easy. However, one can’t do it for themselves.
To be intuitive about one’s own life, this requires an internal journey to meet the inner alter ego. Seeing oneself from the inside out requires facing the veil of emotions and some undesirable truth. It’s never too objective to be clear.
That’s why we can be deceived in trying to foreseeing our own future but never ever bored.
It was grey outside, but the landscape stretches out so far. It was bigger than he could recall. The trees are almost black and crows are looking at him. Then he sees his mom and dad. They look so young, smiling at him. He ran to them and hugged them tight. He doesn’t know how long the three of them stayed like this. It is such a warm feeling.
– I’m sorry if I made feel so sad and so embarrassed all your life but please understand me that C was dying anyway. I wanted to spare her the pain!
– You are forgiven my dear, no more sadness, no more sorrow. We hope that you are fine and happy here and that the staff treats you well. Anyway, you look so beautiful and strong!
– Thank you mom, thank you dad. Yes I am fine and they are all very nice to me. I paint a lot to save the world. Look how great it is now!
– That’s true, it is wonderful, and you’ve done such a great job.
And the sun pointed out in the sky. The green colors were bright. Crows gathered to witness the magic work of a great artist. Suddenly birds were singing and flowers blossoming. Everybody was joyful. They stayed there forever, for an eternity that no one can take away from him. It was an eternal instant of shapes and colors and melodies. It was the eternal instant of love!
The Man in White and The Woman in blue, alongside the whole staff in white and blue stood by The Artist’s bed. He was motionless; “no pulse” said The Man in White. The Artist died in his sleep; he died for a trip that never existed, he died for a dream that was dead before it was born, he died for a world that never knew him! Outside, it was an early spring!
The Man in White kept asking about an eventual visit of relatives of The Artist. Usually visits are booked in advance. No one announced anything. So what was this trip he mentioned? The Man in White has been worried about The Artist: the latter hardly leaves his room, he rarely talks. These were serious signs of some troubles. “So again, no trip, no eventual visit, no random movements that could alert the security guys who were already on alert”, he thought.
Reading his mind, The Woman in Blue has been worried for days now. To her, The Artist, who is a patient like all the others, is no ordinary guy. She remembers a woman bringing him to this place many years ago. She did say that he lost his parents and was in many foster houses. Many foster parents refused to keep him for being crazy and a murderer. Then, he has no parents, no sisters and brothers, and no foster parents of course, no relatives. And that trip was an enigma wrapped in mystery. Or was it imaginary?