Welcome to the Willing Misfit Blog!

This blog consists of a series of articles about what it is to think for yourself, and to live a life based on your own conscious choices. While some of the articles are newly generated material, others are included in the ebook 'The Willing Misfit', which is available here for free download:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/137307

Monday, 21 May 2012

Responsibility Versus Obligation





When we use our minds to rationalize, our default logic is that of our society. The problem here is that social logic is a construct, and is based on the values of the society in question. If the needs of the individual are deemed less important than the needs of the social group, the logic that the group uses in their daily life will reflect this.

The concept of 'responsibility' when considered using social logic, is confusing, because responsibility to the group, and responsibility to the self are often conflicting issues. In social terms, 'responsibility' reflects obligation; a duty to act in a way that satisfies social expectations. For example, society expects a 'responsible' citizen to earn their keep.

In individual terms, 'responsibility' reflects an awareness and a recognition that the choices an individual makes shape their everyday life. For example, a 'responsible' individual makes choices that promote their own health.

The confusion really starts to kick in when we speak of concepts such as 'freedom'.

Using social logic, the saying 'with freedom comes responsibility' easily becomes a concept that denies an individual their freedom, because social logic seeks to tie the individual to an idea of 'responsibility' that reflects social obligation. 'You're only behaving responsibly when you do what society expects you to do' is how social logic defines the saying, and so apparently, your freedom can only be granted to you by your social group. This is freedom with strings attached: not actually freedom in its true sense.

A responsible individual, however, will grant THEMSELVES their freedom by taking complete ownership of the choices they make. Here, the saying 'with freedom comes responsibility' is defined differently. It's a case of true, individual responsibility being the KEY to freedom. You are truly free when you recognize and own the choices you make.

Most people hand over a large part of their choices to someone else. Often by pure dereliction of action, choices are made for them; they hand over control of their lives because they can't be bothered to take the responsibility. Others make quite rational choices when they delegate the responsibility elsewhere; they've known nothing else, and so perpetuate a social system that encourages the individual to entrust others with the choices that shape their life. And yet, whether the decision to relegate their choices elsewhere is a conscious one or not, it is ultimately their own.

To truly be free, we must find our own sense of logic. It's a good start to consider the choices we make every moment of the day, and to take responsibility for them.


Download the free ebook 'The Willing Misfit' at:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/137307
(or by clicking on the book-cover graphic at the top right of this page)

Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Mirror of Comparison

Standing alone, and living in the manner you think best, can be a difficult challenge. Society asks 'what makes you so special?' and there is the inclination in you to define yourself as something special and better, so you can manage the challenge. But as long as you pretend you are better or worse, you are creating an imbalance in yourself, and ultimately locking yourself into a relationship with society on its terms.



'I'M NOT LIKE THAT!' you say. The 'I' and the 'that' become opposing factors in a living, constant comparison.

When you lock yourself into comparison, you become a negative mirror image of that which you compare yourself to; define yourself in direct correlation to it, and by doing so, anchor yourself to the nature of it. In this way you can stymie from the start your efforts to be yourself.

You may have decided that society's values don't suit you, but if you then decide that makes them WRONG, and you RIGHT, once more you have the problem where you're locking yourself into relationship and comparison. Why anchor yourself, weigh yourself down with such attachments, when the only reward is a squeezing, weakening sense of superiority?

The alternative is actually not an alternative at all - because the very concept of an 'alternative' is a comparative one. What you can do is simply define your life for yourself, and get on with it quietly. If you are on friendly, open terms with those who still align themselves to social values, you might give them something to think about; and then again you might not. It doesn't matter. You must accept their right to do what they think best, and in doing so, you afford yourself the same right.

Download the free ebook 'The Willing Misfit' at:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/137307
(or by clicking on the book-cover graphic at the top right of this page)

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Packaging Our Children




As adults, we consider we know more about the world than does a child; that we're better qualified to decide what direction a young person's life should take than they are, because we understand what it is to grow up and function in the world, and they don't. But what if our idea of 'functioning in the world' is flawed? What if our idea of life is an adopted view, somebody else's old-fashioned values? Have we considered the possibility that our children might have a healthier grasp of life than we do? Perhaps, with the best of intentions, we're diverting them from their natural path, attempting to knock a square peg into a triangular hole.

Herded by our own parents into toeing the social line, we've struggled to function in the social context, and have learned about the pitfalls associated with such a struggle. Now, as experienced strugglers, we simply want to make sure our offspring negotiate their struggle in as successful a manner as possible. But hey, once again - what if the struggle is NOT the only way, and we're imposing a needless burden upon our children?

Socially contrived values; values adopted by default by a society's members, are falling out of alignment with our increasing awareness. Social values are slowly being updated, but still there are many institutionalized concepts that we cling to, because they appear to make the difference between a 'successful' life, and an 'unsuccessful' life. Like many other aspects of life that we deem to be important, the social definition of success is fundamentally flawed. It's based on outward appearances, an externally-driven measurement of how well we're doing. As long as we impress upon our children that this is what they must strive for, they are doomed to a life of unhappiness, for when they learn that it's up to society to decide whether they're successful or not, they're locked into a lifetime of pursuit that bears only the fruit that others decide they deserve.

At school, our children get the message that they must study a lot of material that is meaningless in their lives, in order to receive qualifications whose only relevance is to render their bearer a marketable product; an employable social asset. They're encouraged to define themselves by a paint-by-numbers set of options, to squeeze themselves into somebody else's idea of life.

The teen years are known to be difficult, and social reasoning has conveniently attributed this to dysfunctional behavior on the part of the teenager. I say 'conveniently' because we are quite aware, on some level, what is actually happening. Just as the child is beginning to gain a sense of who they are, their entire social support system insists that they toe the line. They are expected to cram their wonderful, newly flowering selves into a tiny constricted box - a preconceived idea of a functioning member of society. Of COURSE they're going to complain and resist and be difficult!

Download the free ebook 'The Willing Misfit' at:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/137307
(or by clicking on the book-cover graphic at the top right of this page)

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Good Stuff

We turn our backs on our good stuff; the way we would most like to live our lives (telling ourselves it’s a temporary measure, or worse, that our good stuff is a ‘pipe dream’) and focus on getting moneyed up.

A common misconception is that having money allows us to do what we want, that only rich people get to do what they want. Money-rich people are focused on keeping the money they have and/or making more, often to maintain a lifestyle that has swelled with their finances. Ask them if they’re doing what they want every day. They probably aren’t.

We also tend to bullshit ourselves by saying ‘just till I have enough’. We focus on getting a sufficient, regular income together before we feel able to entertain that most vital aspect of our lives: nourishment of self.

Putting the cart before the horse in this way can become a serious habit, and before you know it your main focus in life is survival for its own sake: an endless loop of working to survive and surviving to work. Ugh! Even cavemen knew better!

Download the free ebook 'The Willing Misfit' at:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/137307
(or by clicking on the book-cover graphic at the top right of this page)

Contribution




A social framework demands that each member contributes in a way dictated by the framework: they are expected to 'earn their keep'.

When an individual considers the concept of branching off into an alternative way of life; to live life he way they see fit, 'financial viability' is probably the issue that presents the most social resistance. Money underpins all the social definitions of independence, and if there's no clear financial plan in your bid to be yourself, you will appear to be irresponsible, even insane. People will ask, ‘If you choose to remain living among people, how can you not be dependent on society if you refuse to earn your keep in a conventional way?’ Society might well label you a ‘parasite’ if you don’t contribute in the expected fashion. And in the context of their logic, they’d probably be quite right.

But is that a reason for you to keep living a life that doesn't work for you? Must you keep running on the treadmill just to keep it going around?

The important thing to remember is that the best contribution you can make to the world is to be your true self. When you are your true self, you'll be motivated to contribute in a way that suits you; a way that IS you. It doesn’t matter whether or not the social group recognises the value of your contribution: many fine things in the world remain unappreciated and yet are splendid in their own right.

Download the free ebook 'The Willing Misfit' at:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/137307
(or by clicking on the book-cover graphic at the top right of this page)

Monday, 26 March 2012

Selfhood in Action




Don't make the mistake of defining 'Selfhood' as an easy way out. I certainly don't wish to discourage you from moving in that direction, but if your motivation is simply to avoid, your avoidance will continue to prevail, and prevent you from finding selfhood.

In many ways, the journey to selfhood requires a far greater effort than simply staying put and living through social values. Then why undertake such a journey? Because it's very rewarding to be in integrity; for your senses, thought and action to be in harmony with one another.

Of course, this state will not be achieved right away. Some will take years to find it, others perhaps less; still others, lifetimes. But the challenge of unlearning what you already think you know, and redefining a more truthful life for yourself is not small, as I'm sure you can imagine :-)

Imagine this: You spend your day in watchful alertness. Every thought, every action is considered, weighed, assessed; aligned to your own idea of truth. The assessment becomes easier - not effortless, because there are always new, challenging factors that require a rethinking, a realignment of your truth to your awareness as it expands ever outwards. Your truth is a living thing that changes and develops moment by moment.

Because you no longer operate through a convenient set of social values, it's necessary that you expend energy on this constant reassessing, but this is a most willing undertaking for a person in selfhood, because this is what thinking for yourself is all about.

Sound like it's too hard? it doesn't have to be. Participation in a society in alignment with its values requires a complex web of activity, much of which is carried out with some level of reluctance. When you drop these activities, a rather impressive amount of space, time and energy are now available in your life (you wouldn't credit it!), Which of course balances out very well, because the increased amount of energy required for just *being* from moment to moment, is there as you need it.

In selfhood, you are open to everybody. That means people in your immediate, day to day life, and everyone else, too. Walking down a crowded street, you are aware of every person you pass; open and ready to acknowledge, even interact with, each and every one.

Every action, every interaction, every realignment of truth, is a creative exercise, because it requires a fresh approach from the ground up. There's no convenient template that tells you how to act; what to say; who to be.

Download the free ebook 'The Willing Misfit' at:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/137307
(or by clicking on the book-cover graphic at the top right of this page)

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Happiness




That thing 'happiness' that everybody talks about isn't as elusive as you might think.

The word 'happy' has the same root as 'happening'. It means 'to be content with what IS, right now': what is HAPPENING. Happiness is not dependent on what has been or what may be…

… it is BEING WHOLLY HERE. NOW.

As small children we’re very present. Looking back you can probably recall the joy of just *being* you felt back then. It's not simply our growing up, and taking on responsibilities, that cause us to lose sight of that joy.

As we grow older we’re constantly trying to compensate for our lost sense of self. Our thoughts and actions are continually cast outward in search of things that will make us feel better, and as a result we live in a stream of distractedness. Never really present in the happening; in the now. Always wanting, wanting, wanting - trying to fill the hole. The wanting is the problem, the crushing of selfhood the cause.

Often what causes confusion is a mistaken idea of what happiness is. Our goals, dreams and desires lead us to measure our sense of what's right and good in our lives by where we're at with our passionate pursuits. This leads to the mistaken impression that happiness is a measurable quantity that fills up or depletes.

Happiness is actually a state of enoughness. *Where* you are, *what* you have, *who* you are: each has an unconditional sense of enoughness. You are not distracted or depleted by a need to be somewhere else, have more than you have, be more than you are.

And yet, passion, and the pursuit of goals needn’t prevent a state of true happiness. Can you persuade yourself that the journey is what’s important, rather than the goal? This is really NOT some kind of na├»ve, old-fashioned idea. It’s utterly and completely true – though social values might indicate otherwise. When you eat an ice-cream, is the all-important goal to finish eating it?

When a goal is just a direction, rather than a projection of self away from the present, you can focus on the now, and enrich your day-to-day, moment-to-moment existence.

Download the free ebook 'The Willing Misfit' at:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/137307
(or click on the book-cover graphic at the top right of this page)