People Tell Themselves Stories and Then Pour Their Lives Into the Stories They Tell: or, The End of the Thoughts For…
The quote above, credited to “Anonymous” in the Interpersonal Communication Text I use to teach the course at Nova, is quite a profound thought. I’ve used it in the “Thoughts For…” section of my blog. I have decided to put that section to rest. This blog will discuss why and how it relates to the quote above, as well as what else is going on in my life leading to that decision.
I debated on whether to write this, and on how much to disclose. I am a therapist and adjunct professor, and as such, am supposed to keep a professional image. That, along with how writing might affect others, combining to compel self-preservation, curbed any desire to write on the topic in the recent past. Additionally, in practicing “Right Speech” I’m working at not talking so much. In Right Speech the goal is to refrain from speaking unnecessarily. With some of the reading I’ve been doing, it becomes increasingly difficult to determine what is and isn’t necessary. In fact, in reading Camus combined with recent events in my life, I’m beginning to feel there isn’t any necessary speech, unless it is to comfort another. I’m not at all sure this blog will accomplish that.
So that brings me to the explanation for feeling the need to use this quote again, and to write this blog. The more experience I gain in life and as a therapist, the more I believe we tell ourselves stories; that our “truth” is merely a product of our perceptions, which are colored by our experiences, which are filtered through our state of mind. By the time we accept it, it is no more the truth than any fictional story. Yet we buy into it wholeheartedly. Sometimes, we don’t even live the words we claim to be our truth.
Lately I have been dealing with one such story I’ve told myself, bought into, and wholeheartedly believed. My story has to do with love, and love lost (or killed, or a complete deluded idea to begin with…depending on my state of mind when you ask and your perception of my words). I won’t bore anyone with the details here, and previous posts will likely have made it pretty clear. But alas, it is only my story. As such, it is also unreliable. We all have our stories, and perhaps part of our misery is in believing them so fervently.
Camus, in his writing, puts forth that all we can really know is ourselves, all else is conjecture. He also discusses how we attempt to explain everything in theoretical terms. In my next article (hopefully posted to Psychology Today in less than two weeks) I will discuss how this applies to psychology, and how we might all just be better off realizing there is no clear cut meaning to things. This is what I am trying to grasp and apply.
At the same time, my job as a professor, my writing, and a speech I am giving at FIU in February on “Love, Sex, Relationships: Expectations and Reality,” require me to put forth theories, understanding, and answers to those seeking knowledge. You can see my quandary.
But in reality, how many are really seeking knowledge? I am becoming more and more convinced that the majority claiming to seek knowledge really won’t accept anything that contradicts their already entrenched beliefs. I am consistently confronted with people contradicting the knowledge they claim to be seeking. I’m not simply talking of any expertise I claim to have; I am talking about even the greatest minds on the subject. But hey, after all, even Buddha said, and I paraphrase, don’t accept anything from anyone, even him, that you don’t try and feel to be true. So, yet another paradoxical quandary: we shouldn’t accept knowledge that doesn’t ring true with us; yet we should continue to seek knowledge to understand ourselves; but that understanding of ourselves may be the exact thing standing in the way of increased knowledge. Geez.
So, I guess what I am saying is I have my story. Right now my story includes a feeble attempt at Right Speech. Yet at the same time I will make pronouncements regularly of knowledge I claim to have gathered, including all of the so called knowledge I am imparting above. This knowledge may or may not apply to you, and even if it does you likely will not apply it. And in truth, just like everyone else, I am probably just full of shit.