Life and Culture

Our Happiness and Our Inner Voice

I have a theory that we all have an inner voice which tells us the truth about our lives. This voice is like a conscience or instinct. It is not based on intelligence or knowledge or experience. Even young children may have it if they are conscious of their lives as individuals separate from their parents, siblings and friends. Indeed if we scrape our knee no one else feels our pain but ourselves.

It is by this voice that we can determine if we are truly happy or not. We can lie to others and even to ourselves in the sense that we can make rationalizations, but we cannot lie to our inner voice. We can lower the volume of this voice and so fail to hear it but we can never absolutely silence it. It is always there whispering. When we stop all sorts of distractions we go through in life, when our lives are at a pause, our minds are blank and all is silent, we hear the voice whisper. Some people who hear it try to ignore it again by going back to their distractions – their work, their pleasures, even real life dramas such as their pity parties, profound quotes, love tragedies, tantrums, and optimism based on dreams instead of real effort. All these distractions for one reason or another do not allow them to move forward; and so they are stuck because they fear that if they make even one step forward everything will fall apart.

Yet there are those who choose to listen. Of those who do some will choose to not be able to take the pain of everything and will become mad. These are the weak, the suicidal, those who break down emotionally. The inner voice, like the truth it delivers, is never kind. Then there are those who choose to be able to surpass their challenges and so overcome them, even if they have to do so at the tedious pace of one step up, one step forward at a time. These are the people who, I believe, after choosing to be courageous enough to be forged by all the fires of their earthly hell, come out smooth and strong. Thus their inner voice will tell them of their genuine happiness and of their flourishing life; and only as such will they be able to realize and fulfill the highest human potentials while the rest who fail will be satisfied with mediocre achievements and will fool themselves into thinking that they are no longer capable, or even desirous, of more.

It is due to this theory that I seek to tune up the inner voice in all of us – to tune it up so loudly that it becomes difficult to ignore. Some people will still choose ignore it and some will choose to listen and choose to go mad; but there is a hope that one of you will choose to listen and choose to go through your earthly hell for the rewards at the end of it.

The genuinely happy need no good news, they have already heard it. Therefore the good news presented here is for the pathetic and the sad, the inferior and the base, who have at one point in their lives heard their inner voice and did not like what it said. Yet if, by chance, you disagree with all this, I have expected it. I do not seek to make those who disagree come to agree with me. We each have our own ways. I think the one absolute truth in human life, as long as it remains human as we know it, is not death, for science may later on reveal the means to escape death. I think the one absolute human truth is the ability to choose. While life accidents such as genetic quirks and handicaps may make us unable to control certain aspects of our lives, these inabilities are not enough to hinder us from making choices in aspects we are still in control of. Further, while these life accidents may also make us more liable to be ignoble, the choice to give in to this likelihood is still necessary in order to be ignoble. Some of you may think science may also later on find a way to control us and so strip us of the ability to choose; but if that happens then science will have stripped us of our humanity and we become mere robots in human form.

The human being is capable of greatness depending on whatever individual desires and talents we are given, but the individual potential for greatness is hindered by two kinds of things: one kind coming from ourselves and the other kind coming from others who hinder us. Of the first there is fear of failure or the lack of courage to take risks. This fear or lack of courage can be due to a lack of belief in our abilities or even the belief in the lack of abilities. If these are the causes, then the fear can be remedied by adequate education either with the help of a capable teacher if we are lucky to find one, or by our own efforts. An adequate education will always start with knowing ourselves thus allowing us to focus on improving our strengths and minimizing our weaknesses. Some of us may rationalize our lack of a belief in ourselves by thinking we have no desire to improve even if the inner voice says we do. If so, then we must acknowledge the truth of the inner voice before we are capable of achieving anything.

Of the second kind there are people who seek to make our choices for us for various reasons which may be reduced to one thing – their selfishness. In seeking what they want for themselves, they make us live for their benefit. We are then not given the choice of seeking our own destiny, but we must serve their needs. We may be called upon to fulfill these people’s needs because they would rather not help themselves or do not want to exert that much effort. We may be hindered from any improvement so as to never leave them and so we prevent them from feeling loneliness. We may be hindered so as to fulfill their pleasure of controlling the people around them. These people are usually of the most cunning sort and their weapons are found in the social mores. They teach us that it is honorable to live for them and to follow their commands, and so it is our duty to fulfill their wishes even if they are not our own. If they find that their minions are trying to escape, they will use their most powerful weapon – guilt. As these people are cunning and may present themselves as simply the recipients of our good will – They will call us good! – or those who care for our well-being – They will call us their children whom they love and whose good they seek! – it is our inner voice which will tell us if we do what we do for them out of love or because we have chosen to be their disciple, or merely out of a false sense of duty and guilt.

Thus, in listening to our inner voice, we learn the truth of our lives and in acknowledging it and acting accordingly we will be able to become who we really are. Of the genuinely happy people in the world, there are those who desire nothing and so already have everything; and there are those who desire and are moving towards that desire. There is happiness in being able to walk towards our chosen path for our chosen paths are part of our nature. It is where we are being called to walk on. Some of us who are unfortunate – and there are many of us – may encounter several failures before we can walk on our chosen path or even realize which path is right for us. Yet even if we are already there, negative forces may pull us out and make us walk another path. Or we may be the most unfortunate of the unfortunates for we may die in the course of our efforts before we are even able to step on the path we desire. However, those plagued by thirst will seek drink and only those bound by chains, who will be thirsty as long as they are bound, will not risk death to seek what they need.

I think the Divine gives us the seeds of human happiness and excellence, but we still need to choose to plant them despite all the negative forces discouraging us. Once we plant them, in addition to the discouraging negative forces which will probably always be there, we need to exert effort in making the seeds grow and deal with the possibility of failure. Otherwise, if either we do not choose to start or choose to give up in the process, then we must be content with a handful of inedible seeds.

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