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Through the Pane

Posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at 1:10 pm

Thoughts on who we are

Weldon Payne

Maybe we should write our own stories as Jean Paul Sarte said long ago. He, remember, turned down the Noble Prize for literature. Sarte, dramatist and novelist, as well, held that “Man exists, then defines himself by choice and action, adding that “Man is what he wills and makes of himself and therefore is responsible because he chooses for all mankind.”

The Frenchman believed that humans create an image of man as they want him to be and that we interpret “morality” as the way we want others to act.

I know he taught that life is nothing until it is lived and it is ours to make sense of, so, in effect, we create all values.

The pertinent question in the philosopher’s mind then would be “What if everyone acted as I am acting?” because, in his view, by our choices we create an image of others as we would have them to be.

Buckminster Fuller held that we do not create anything but that we “discover eternal principals.” But I don’t think he was totally disputing Sarte’s views.

But isn’t it true that through our choosing we write a major portion of our life stories?

Wait. Have you not seen masses of helpless humans struggling for survival? Yes.

Have you not at times wondered about the existence of choice? Oh, yes. At times it feels like we might have been handed a script at birth. Yet Mr. Proust insisted that “Freedom is a quality of life” and its highest form “is the power to use intelligence to reach self-chosen goals.” But do we all have this freedom?

Erich Fromm urged us to allow ourselves to be free – not just “from” but free to choose and to act and realize our own individual self, to have faith in this self and in life.

Mister Einstein counseled that a “curious order runs through our perceptions” and that finite man is imprisoned by his senses “but a glorious imprisonment to know that what is impenetrable to us really exists.” Well, yes, but not everyone has such insight.

Dawn follows darkness. Change is constant. Thought is actual, tangible and real. In varying degrees we are aware that “a curious order runs through our perceptions” and with luck we sometimes discern our perceptions as a unique story as it is being written.