Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.
And so say all of us.
If only I had time to master myself.
Time and energy and inclination.
Today, so far I have been more selfs than Mr Benn could ever hope for in a lifetime.
Self as mother/nurse/cook/student/ear/buddy/pink fluffy goddess (the latter is obviously what I am after peeling away the dull tawdry layers of my banal life).
Bombarded by demands, sucked in by the daily propaganda of what I should look like, what I should eat, what I should buy… Brainwashed into how to live by the great big steam-rolling marketing machine closing in behind me. My unconscious permeated by the drip drip drip of advertising images on every corner of every street of my mind. Who I really am exists only in my imagination. I am not real. Just a molten mass of shifting particles. But a mass that extends only so far before it is yanked back by id v super ego all star wrestling . I see my self as that flock of starlings on the horizon. All the little birdies fluttering and fighting for their place, but as one, a cloud of thoughts all pushing and pulling in a vaguely similar direction, until one disparate notion takes the whole gamut off at a tangent.
Too busy existing and fighting for air to enjoy the luxury of treading water… deep Zen breathing, monks and nuns, standing room only.
To thine ownself be true.
Master self. Self. Self. Self.
Impossible. Self is an uncontrollable epidemic. Spreading and seeping into the troughs and peaks of what comes next. A pack of cards. Turn over the next one. Ace of diamonds, how do we deal with that self? Three of clubs – self, master that.
I am not in control. The dealer of the cards is.
Self monitor. Now that’s a different matter. That entirely consists of self flagellation.
No you don’t, put it down, you don’t need that, put it back, wrong wrong wrong, guilt guilt guilt.
Someone once suggested to me that to be contented I had to be my own best friend. Ha. Fat chance.
How can I be best friends with someone who doesn’t pass muster? Doesn’t make the mark. Born of original sin. Bad to the bone. I might not be able to master that. Get thee behind me Satan, but I can certainly monitor it.
And what does all this have to do with my Independent Study?
Who am I, what am I for. Identify me. My identity constructed and moulded, dismantled and patched up along the way. But not by me.
Constructed by others.
Constructed by stuff.
Objects, paraphernalia, detritus, I’ve seen it in the cardboard boxes under tables at auctions. A collected life in a box. That was her, glass paper weights and lace doilies. That box over there? A life of shells and horse brasses. And so on. Ad infinitum. Who lives in a box like this?
If I could self master, if it were possible to construct me it would have to be better than a cardboard box of cake slices and candlesticks….. wouldn’t it?
Nb, just received an email from an Art Dealer in London enquiring about the Ibrahim paintings from Help the Aged.
Will they or won’t they end up in a cardboard box. That is the question…