It occurs to me that the dominant model of showing up and traveling in life, at least in developed economies, is make something (important) of yourself through acquiring stuff: acquire an education, acquire a car, acquire a house, acquire titles (professor, lawyer, accountant, banker….), acquire a partner, acquire power-position-prestige, and, for women, acquire the look/trappings of youth/beauty.
That is one way to live. I say it is not a great way to live. You don’t have to believe me – look at your own experience, look at others: do you feel alive, are others you come across alive – full of zest / joy? In the pursuit of making something of themselves / acquiring stuff we become serious – almost always abandoning that which generates joy / zest for living.
What if the essence of freedom is not more? What if playing BIG involves less – the less that creates the space for freedom and aliveness? Interested? If you are then here is sage advice culled by Stefan Zweig from The Essays by Montaigne:
1 – Be free of vanity and pride.
2 – Be free from belief, disbelief, convictions and parties.
3 – Be free from habit.
4 – Be free from ambition and greed.
5 – Be free from family and surroundings.
6 – Be free from fanaticism.
7 – Be free from fate: be the master of your life.
8 – Be free from death: life depends on the will of others, but death on our own free will.
Consider that if vanity/pride have you then you will dance like a puppet at the hands of the people/situations/contexts that activate vanity/pride. Likewise for ambition, greed and fanaticism.
Consider that habits are drugs that send you to sleep and deaden you making you a member of the walking dead. Consider that family/surroundings can have the same tranquillising / domesticating effect.
Consider that beliefs, disbeliefs, convictions and parties can never incorporate the multi-facetedness and contradictions inherent in human existence. They strip your ability to meet each challenge / opportunity / context afresh – to think anew, to think originally, to do that which is appropriate to the person / situation / context at hand.
If acquisition hasn’t worked for you and you are up for playing BIG in life then give these eight freedoms the best you have got to give. Yet give of this best lightly. Do not approach these eight freedoms through your ingrained, habitual, habit of acquisition. Tread lightly.
If you are in the process of acquiring stuff to live your dream life then it is highly likely that you will have to walk this path and experience its limitations before you can cultivate/embrace the eight freedoms. These freedoms rarely appeal to youth and those stuck in youth. And that is OK.
Whichever path you chose I wish you the very best. Until the next time.