If you have not already done so, you may wish to read the
Introduction to Gnomica.
Saturday 14 July 2012
Read gnomica 1-50 here!
“Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.”
Jean-Paul Sartre (21 Jun 1905 – 15 Apr 1980)
He’s not my favorite guy, exactly, but in our hyper-narcissistic day and age this particular comment prunes some of the wild and ever luxuriant growths accreting on victimization-tales and pity-narratives.
For precisely these flourishing pity-narratives and victimization-tales strike me as not a kind of freedom arising out of the life you’ve lived or are currently starring in, but a predictably correct – and incarcerating – jeremiad about how unfair life has been, especially to you. If the world could just understand my suffering … and so somehow compensate (with money, of course, and some preferments) me for all those slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that have been hurled at me and still fill the air all about me!
Well, I think Sartre actually meant something rather different when he wrote of ‘freedom’: it’s not the excuses you confect for current consequences of “what’s been done to you” that create your freedom, but your acceptance of whatever it is that’s “been done to you” – however horrific that may well and truly have been – and your interior capacity to prevail over that which is, alas, what it is – regardless.
No, not easy!