To know thyself

This one is about self* imposed constraints: the despairing constraints named “fear” and “disinformation”. The sort that make you loath your neighbour for no valid reason and waste your life wanting more than you’ll ever need.

Basic cornerstone of this post is that no government or institution is purposely funnelling fear and disinformation. They couldn’t. I honestly can’t think of any of the above that would be remotely organised enough to pull that one off properly.

Simply, I see fear and disinformation as the lethal by-by-products of greed, simplicity and a loss of natural intelligence and discernment.

Going by Paul Virilio’s* refreshing ideas, the speed of information is out of sink with how we naturaly process information and one individual can misuse mass communication technology to damage so many, destroy so much, in the blink of an eye by mere mistake or by following a basic “want” without even realising the leveraged risk implications.

The cure is to remain focused on oneself, I think. Despite all the seemingly valid reasons to soil our pants or be dissatisfied.

Perhaps limit and distill the information and relationships we maintain. Do our best within our “territories”. I’m already giving it a go, choosing my news sources and concentrating on improving what I do, experience, see.

I am carefully choosing books, my fave papers, blog posts that real people with real names share online and long walks. It’s amazing the amount of beautiful things by my doorstep that I hadn’t even noticed. I am doing this for a week after which time I believe it’ll be easier to block out what doesn’t belong in my life. Then look out for the unadulterated signs that really mean something to me and make decisions based on them.

Settling somewhere calmer than a big city is in the cards. It has been for a while. I can’t stand how I am blocking my natural insticts to experience at will every thought, every smell, every sound, every thing I encounter. It’s driving me nuts. I need a simpler life, a real life, not this permanently critical state of being that either experiences too much or not enough.

Will use this diary to record the process, as my cuaderno de bitácora. See if I can set myself free.

* When I say self imposed constrains I mean imposed by human beings on fellow human beings and their own selves.
*”The Administration of Fear”, Paul Virilio.
*I wrote this post in June 2012, WordPress allows date changes which enables a post to be “resurrected” from existing archives.


30 thoughts on “To know thyself

    • Oh, that’s so sweet (^-^’)! Much appreciated.
      Not contrary to the post, it would be if I wasn’t attaching my name and face and claiming responsibility for the funniness I write/publish here ; ).
      Loads of work still to continue with and hope to always remain true to myself as well as intermittently entertain readers and fellow bloggers!


  1. It makes perfect sense, I was fortune enough to spend a week attending various functions as a very temporary part of his inner group, my time spent with him was very brief, but personal. You are correct. His presence is complete. That is a most perfect word for what I felt. He is also 100% genuine, so real it is almost painful, if that makes sense… Thanks, me too, take care of you, Penny

    • Hi Penny, thank you so much and likewise. It must be great to have been in the company of HH the Dalai Lama. I attended two brief lectures not that long ago and he has this presence of peace and simplicity yet to be matched. I have met a lot of calm people yet his presence is somehow… more complete. Not sure if that makes that much sense… it does to me : ).
      Will be looking forward to your new posts and hope I can soon fly : ).


  2. “The cure is to remain focused on oneself”
    As a human who took this to heart some years ago, I can tell you it makes all the difference; once you know yourself, the outside world seems a playground rather than a universe of ominous dangers.

    But first, as you say, you’ll have to be rid of the ‘usual’ news sources. I’ve realized that what constitutes the news is rather an overrated batch of windbags and opinionated pundits, spouting judgements, who do nothing to further the case of intelligence in America. Like you, I also get my news from alternate sites, including blogs with content pleasing to my tender eyes. Once I distanced myself from the idiots, I felt a huge weight had been lifted, and I had more space in my head to resolve MY issues

    It was at this point that I was able to really appreciate the beauty surrounding me. Of course, living on a lake in the woods certainly doesn’t hurt my outlook, but I believe you can reach a satisfactory level of peace even living in a big city.

    Good luck!

    • Thanks for this lovely comment. I wish I was living in a peaceful place.
      I walk to work nowadays and always end up picking up speed almost running over everyone else instead of enjoying the walk. If I don’t, then I’m the one getting run over… (‘ ¬~¬)…
      I don’t mean to pick up speed, it’s just part of the rat race. Same happens I guess with information, we rush it through without pausing to reflect and almost get swiped by the popularity current and forget to “think things through”.

      I hope my post above will at the very least help the people being rushed, to find a little island in which to consider their own opinions. They might completely disagree with mine but at least this is a place where they can pause for a bit and see a new angle on things.

      Thanks again for your lovely comment (‘^-^),

  3. I love what you wrote here. Copngrats to you. Take the time to consider and reflect. Too many people don’t pause and consider. You may come to the same conclusion later but pausing is just the best thing to do. You are also right that there are many positive messages among the blogs. Like yours I enjoy the positive messages.

  4. Hi Al – thanks for dropping by my blog.
    While I fully agree with the injunction of the Delphic Oracle to “Know thyself” (γνῶθι σεαυτόν) I’m a little confused by your statement “Basic cornerstone of this post is that no government or institution is purposely funnelling fear and disinformation.”
    Isn’t that exactly what many governments and their intelligence agencies do every day? May I point you to an article I posted yesterday about ‘Gladio’ – a Europe-wide campaign of fear and intimidation that was well-documented and fully investigated by many major media sources including the BBC.

    • Hi there, I will have a look into it, seems interesting although I cannot help but think that it couldn’t have been very secret/subtle an operation if top media power houses are investigating it… Maybe they really do struggle pulling those stunts off (‘^-^). Will defo have a read though. Thanks for sharing.

      • Hi Alyx, nice to meet you and thanks for replying The ‘Gladio’ operation was secret until people were caught and prosecuted for bombing various public places like Bologna railway station and courthouses. I could give you many more examples – I’ve just finished postgraduate studies on this topic. This is but one event. My point to you, is how is the ‘know thyself’ stuff linked to your argument about government?

        • Hi there, well my thinking is that even if govs etc are at the source of disinformation, knowing ourselves seems to be the only way forward. Thinking for ourselves is the only solution. I doubt they are but cannot prove it either way myself. I would have to rely on what others say.

          I dont completely disagree with you. I know that, purposely or not, the economic crisis is succeeding in reducing population increase numbers. Whether this crisis is a natural by-product of greed or made up is a matter that is practically impossible to prove.

          All in all, and following everyone’s kind comments, it seems regardless of what those with influence and power do, WE, knowing and thinking for ourselves, are the key to surviving the offensive.

          Hope that explains it right and thanks for your comments : ).

          • Thanks my friend – I’m really happy to say I’m in complete agreement with your wise words. As you say, it is the only way forward.
            I say, “Life must be lived in full view” – this is a line from a brilliant song called “Your Hidden Dreams” by an English Band called The White Noise.
            Am very pleased to make your acquaintance.

  5. I don’t know… if personal experiences are a filter then yes, I am using personal experience to interpret what I see… I’m not sure that isn’t just as good a method.

    If I simplify things and go by facts only, even suppressing personal experience, then still news and programs remain as crude as initially perceived…

    My call is that ill-advised programmes have repercussions… on everyone. I sincerely hope I am wrong.

  6. In today’s world where anyone can publish anything, choosing our sources for news become even more important. Scripted reality shows are just that, scripted to follow a story line.
    As to all the news out there, I always keep in mind the following:

    “As human beings we all want to be happy and free from misery.
    We have learned that the key to happiness is inner peace.
    The greatest obstacles to inner peace are disturbing emotions such as
    anger and attachment, fear and suspicion,
    while love and compassion, a sense of universal responsibility
    are the sources of peace and happiness.”

    By Dalai Lama

    • Hey Keith (‘^-^) that’s beautiful! Have had a hard time processing this so comments such as this one really help *a bit teary now… sheesh*…

      There is only one thing… how does one integrate a sense of universal responsibility without feeling anger or fear at what happens around us (‘o_O)? I don’t think I have that much character *in fact, I’m more like a total selfish ….* (._. ‘) yet still manage to feel bad when something is unfair.

      • As Jack Kornfield writes in The Wise Heart:

        “Each of has encountered threatening situations which lead us to cover our innate nobility… We have forgotten our essential nature. Much of the time we operate from the protective layer. The primary aim of Buddhist psychology is to help us see beneath this armoring and bring out our original goodness, called our Buddha nature. This is a first principle of Buddhist psychology: see the inner nobility and beauty of all human beings.

        All beings are just trying to avoid suffering, when we get caught up in the search for happiness from outside sources, be the source people or possessions, is when we lose our footing on the path. Look at a group of small children playing, you will notice they are color blind to race, they may react if another child takes their favorite toy, but that is the complaint, the loss of the toy. When we lose sight of reality, and add our own filters to what we see, is when we become frustrated, disillusioned, fearful and many of the other symptoms you mentioned today.,

    • Very articulate, and precise. I’m so glad this topic is up, as I have been interested in being “analog in a digital world” for a long time. I’m not of the youngest generation that takes it as reality, this constant barrage of electronic choices…I’m excited when I hear of anyone making more discerning choices a, well, a choice. More power to you!

      • Hey, then I am certain you will like Paul Virilio’s book! Very informative and helpful in understanding how information sharing could do with “slowing down” to meet our natural pace.

        Natural intelligence and ethics seem to be the first, crucial survival elements, to give in, in this uberly-digitized world.

  7. Unfortunately, scare tactics (and there are very subtle variations of them when they deal with “self-image” in advertising) is undeniably used in business and government (as in a politically slandered Health Care system and state of Economy that are utilized as Weapon and Shield to persuade voters).

    HOWEVER… I agree with you, WHOLEHEARTEDLY, that the best remedy to all our fears is to “Know Thyself”. The source of all our heartache (though not all tribulation) is self-inflicted.

    ~ Michael

    • Hey all,

      Michael, thanks for stopping by. Though I understand everything you write, such as us being in control of how we choose to feel, I disagree with it: even if I can choose to control “heartaches” and how I feel, I can hardly ignore the fact that the aches wouldn’t be there in the first place if it wasn’t for other people without principles or a basic moral code.

      To illustrate the point: I recently failed to maintain the “news and programmes filter” I refer to in my post above and came across this:

      If the news report was right, I am unsure how they will spin this programme but there are very few ways to hide the fact that the basis is:
      1) to terrorize a human being,
      2) make him fear for his life,
      to make a point that (and this is the kicker) claims that the world will end are nonsensical…

      If I managed to write this well, and the news source was accurate, you should be:
      1) laughing, at the nonsensical ploy to attract an audience,
      2) wondering how any caring human being is going to sit through this programme without going through some sort of heartache… and worry that if someone is being treated this way, you, or even your loved ones, will be next.

      I will have to make a huge effort to forget this because I don’t know how to raise my concerns and whether there is anyone out there that cares to protect our basic Human Rights. All I can do is shield myself from these… fellow citizens… and hope that enough of us will feel the same way to moderate what is being done.

      Lengthy example there yet it paints the picture very well. Heartaches can be buried, they cannot be made to disappear and if we are honest with ourselves, despite the wish to just run away, the more we ignore them the more lethal they become.

      I would actually be very grateful for anyone’s input on how they interpret this programme. In fact, I would be tremendously grateful should you be able to constructively tell me I’m being stupid in how I am interpreting it. *It’s fine. I am stupid most of the time so hopefully I am being so here too*.
      I have tried all angles at interpreting this and it still reads somewhat sadistic/dangerous to me. It reads much worse than some existing reality TV programmes… I personally am so taken aback by it that I don’t know how to process it…

      Soz in advance, yet comments that are too aggressive or out of context won’t make it into the conversation.

      Please note that to me, the “this is the lesser of two evils”, “he is doing this to make a point” arguments don’t hold…

  8. Technology gives us simplicity at the cost of sleepless nights waiting for data to process…That doesn’t make any sense I suppose. I appreciate the comment on “critical state of being.” Ah yes, longing for the simple life, but somewhat tethered to the excitement of the “new”.

    • Hey, yeap, I suppose it depends on the reliability and relevance of the “new”. Sometimes what may appear exciting might have no relevance to our self improvement and be actually more of a waste of time. Complex topic…
      I can say the long walks are helping and choosing what I read is helping even more. I am getting more done than I did before and looking forward to continue the improvement.


  9. an inspiring adventuress you are, shining your light through you life, shining it thus for others to see, to find themselves reflected in your explorations, your resolve, your essential willing to find yourself and live life. groovy. I’m there, trailing my own path, seeing my journey, my questing, reflected. mucho groovy.

    • Hiya and thanks, I’ve never adjectivised myself as “groovy” though must admit it sounds great (^-^ ).

      I sometimes wonder whether I am doing this “know myself” to really find-myself or to purely cover-my-back-in-case-judgement-day-comes (so to speak)… I hope it is worth spending time getting to understand my purpose in life and how I fit into this ever-changing puzzle of a world…

      Love your blog by the way, it’s when I see ideas like these that I realise my originality has very restrictive limits (‘ -~-)! Looking forward to your new posts!


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