Sunday, September 21, 2014

For this, I am responsible.

Epictetus notes some things are up to us and some are not. OK, so about the only thing that is up to us is our beliefs, our judgements, our opinions, and our thoughts. All else is not up to us, that is events, situations, acts of others, and all acts of nature. This sort of defines the wisdom spoken of in the serenity prayer. Now there is a potential power concept. 

In the words of Jules Evans, when "we try to exert absolute sovereign control" over something beyond our control, we are in for a world of hurt.  If we do not take responsibility for the things in our control, our beliefs and thoughts, and instead blame our thoughts on the outside world; those who we first developed or acquired these thoughts from; we will be in a different world of hurt to walk through. ( ,

So there we have it, some things are up to us and some are not. We are responsible only for those things that are up to us, the rest can go toot. Then the reciprocal opens us up to a world of hurt.

So we are responsible for our beliefs, for these I am responsible. Well now, a house cleaning is in order. God is a pronoun for a belief system will still work because that would place my belief system in control, but it really is anyway. The Stoics said our consciousness was a sliver of divinity. OK. so those two separate concepts lead to the same no god place.  It is all empty and meaningless until we apply a purpose. But since I am responsible for my belief system, I can change it to anything. What power. A heady experience, this Epictetus concept, and freeing.

Sugar and wheat and that long list of chemicals are not food. It is improper to eat between meals. Nobody knowingly does wrong, according to Socrates. So where does that all lead to? It points to no eating between meals. Everything can be build from first principals.

So, consider what bothering you; is it up to you or others by Epictetus rules or not? Is it our belief that is the issue? Then change our belief to Epictetus and away we go, with tranquility at our back and the joy of life in our heart. Remembering that there is a space between the event, and our interpretation, and that there is a second space between our interpretation and any decision to do anything or react; never forgetting the zero alternative, blanking, we have time to respond or not appropriately.

I have never seen before such a clear concept of we are responsible for our beliefs and can change them at will. We do not need to even see events that are not up to us, we certainly do not need to judge them good or bad, nor even have a response.


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