Thursday, April 10, 2003

Bear with me... I'm a little tired, and it's kinda late.

That's probably not the best way to preface an observation of mine, but hey... best to be honest, I suppose. Even if that means a little self-defacement.

I hear people say "that's just how I am" quite a bit. It sounds to me like an excuse. Self-improvement is a big issue for me... quite simply, I'm not content with how I currently am. That's not to say I'm one big heap of self-loathing. That ain't right. I just know I'm not perfect. I dream of being a better person, and when I take steps forward, it feels wonderful. I know I am incapable of reaching perfection, and that doesn't bother me. It's the pursuit that matters.

This, of course, brings up a terribly sticky issue: how you determine what constitutes self-improvement? To what standard should you aspire, by what guidelines should you attempt to live? As I mentioned in previous posts (3/30), I mentioned my waning faith in philosophy, which is especially true of this issue. It's very easy to decide what's good for ourselves... since we know what makes us feel good (read: "feel good for a few days/hours/minutes"). It's also pretty easy to learn that what's good for ourselves is quite often not what makes us feel good immediately. Just ask anyone who's eaten a banana split in under five minutes. Or ever had a romantic relationship for any significant length of time.

It also brings up issues of identity. Are we nothing more than a sum of our urges? When I hear, "that's just how I am," it's usually in regard to being lazy, forgetful, mean, or something similar. Every so often, someone will use the phrase in regard to generosity or kindnesss - which may be a sign of pride - but that's not what I'm talking about. The thing is, I don't see things like laziness and whatnot as truly part of someone's persona. Certainly, they are part of us, but I see them as more temporary.

I see a greater design to the universe, apparent even in people. I believe wholeheartedly that everyone alive has a purpose, a predetermined function, on some level... but that we can - again, on some level - accept or reject said purpose.

It just seems to me that most times I hear, "that's just how I am" sounds like a rejection.

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