As I’ve mentioned in a previous post there is psychological research that strongly suggests we are inclined to view the negative actions of others as their autonomous choices, while we view our own negative behaviors as products of our circumstance. Today I am going to argue that we should really strive to not care about the actions of others.
Our inclination is to be preoccupied with the way that others behave, to be preoccupied with the circumstance thrust upon us by the whims of the world. When we have a fight we are naturally inclined to find fault with the conduct of the other party, while absolving ourselves of our own (often by sighting the conduct of the other party).
Ultimately we control only our own actions. I think that it is of paramount importance for our freedom that we do not forget this. We are inclined to act as if everyone else is an agent, while we are merely blown on the winds of fate – I think we should to the best of our ability try to reverse this inclination. We should always try to seize our actions as our own, for only in doing so can they actually become our actions. If we allow ourselves to be merely expressions of our external world, we have abandoned our freedom. At the same time, it is only our own freedom that we should be preoccupied with. Most of us I believe know the challenge of being our own master. Indeed, most of us have failed, maybe we even fail more often then not. When we are inclined to find fault with or take anger at the actions of others, what we often do is abandon our own freedom in our response to the actions of another. We want to displace the responsibility of our actions onto the agency of another – theycaused me to act in this negative fashion.
This may seem like a stressful proposal. It may seem like a burden that will lead to inertia. I would say that I do not mean to advocate that we need to be perfect though in our attitude. I think we should tryto act in this way, but that does not mean that we cannot forgive ourselves for not succeeding. For if we do not succeed it is because we were subverted by the world, and we have already acknowledged the power of the world to subvert. To will freedom is the definition of will itself, for we cannot willbut to stand against the world as it is. The goal should not be perfection but progress – we do the best we can, though some days that may not be very good.
Thank you for reading, let me know what you think,