Tuesday, April 26, 2011
陈凯再版/什么是你真实的自我？ What Is Your True Self?
Ayn Rand's "Fountainhead" Movie Clip 安. 兰德“源泉”电影片段 - 为自己的自由与幸福而生活
What Is Your True Self?
"Free Beings" vs. "Chinese" Series
A person's true “self” can only be sought and discovered through the person's willingness, wisdom and courage to face the truth, regardless of the consequences. In other words, he must pay a price for this self-discovery. But only through this self-discovery, true freedom and happiness can be achieved.
一个人真实的自我只有当他具有面对真实的意愿，智慧与勇气才能得到，不论这个真实会把他带向何方。 也就是说，他要付出代价才能发现自我。 但只有当他发现这个真实自我的时候，真正的自由与幸福才成为可能。
By Kai Chen 陈凯 （Written 10/31/2006, Reprint 4/26/2011)
What is your true "self"? Is it your skin color? Is it your cultural upbringing? Is it your ethnicity? Is it your religious indoctrination? Is it what you eat? Is it what you read? Is it decided by your being rich or poor? Is it decided by your gender? Is it decided by your age? Is it decided by your family, friends and surroundings?
To have dwelled on these questions, one has to come up with "no" to each, for even if we have gone through exactly the same experiences in life, no one will come to the same exact conclusion about life with others. Everyone will draw different conclusion on their own. For example, harsh conditions will crush some but strengthen others. Being rich does not mean being weak and arrogant and vile. Being oppressed does not mean one is fair-minded with a sense of justice. Being abused does not mean one is righteous and kind, etc...
We all spend life time to search this mysterious "self" and fulfill the meaning attached to it. We somehow know that without having grasped and understood this "self", we can never be free and happy. But what is it anyway?
Some people have never believed the notion of "being free" and true freedom. They assume that everyone is the product of outside influences and upbringings. They believe everything you have is from someone else. There simply is no such thing as "original you". Everyone is only a container waiting to be filled with materials from others, be they one's ancestors, culture, government, family, environment... So by this notion, no one is truly himself and therefore no one is truly responsible for anything.
This notion that we are not free is especially prevalent among the determinists of the world --- the Nazis, the communists, the socialists, the leftists, religious radicals... They conclude, as Lenin once concluded, that no one is and should be free and happy unless everyone else in the world is free and happy. This notion that individual freedom is impossible, until a couple of million years from now when the perfect society is established is as insane as it is well received among humans in the world today. Logically, silent desperation is the only state of being these lofty and "superior" saviors of the world have prescribed for mankind. I have experienced such people/creatures both in China and in America. Their whole existence is depended upon others' perception of them. And their entire repertoire of tools to ensure that they feel they exist is to please or demean others and to conform with majority. A lack of faith in truth and reality from their part is certain to blame. They have not found and will never be able to find peace in themselves, exactly because of this "others-oriented" state of being.
I have come to believe, through my own life experiences, that a person is born free with his rights only from God/Creator. Yet through his life time he has to encounter and overcome tremendous forces from outside to remain free. He has to have will, ability and courage to believe and pursue this true existence of himself, not the false "self identity" in others' eyes or created by others' pressures and demands.
-- What one has been through does not define who he is and his true "self". What defines one's true "self" is what he absorbs, acquires, interprets and concludes through what he has been through. --
I have met many who decide what to vote based sheerly on their skin color; I have met many who came to America but can only survive in their own cultural circle. I have met many who are determined/formed by their life experiences, never having made any sense of it in order to make themselves a free being. I have met many who are held hostage by their own hatred and prejudices toward others. I have met many who let their wounds scar their entire life without healing. I have met many who are slaves of their own flesh and blood from birth/race/gender/family background... I have met many who let their religious fervor devour their own individuality, reason and humanity. I have met many who simply give up on life/hope/future by turning their head back to look for some certainty in their past glory or misery. I have met many....
Thankfully, since I came to America, I have also met many who exhibit tremendous courage to have overcome life's tragedies to have created miracles. I have also met many who have overcome impossible odds, defying the will of the majority and their own cultural collectives, to have achieved freedom and happiness. I have also met many who through their every day life radiate life and joy from the very inside of their beings, brightening this marvelous world. I have seen miracles achieved here in America by athletes, by entrepreneurs, by ordinary people. I have seen what human society should be and what human beings should be. Every moment, I experience greatness and endless energy of life here in America. I have concluded that here in America, humans are believed to be free. Here in America, humans treat each other as free beings. Here in America, human beings are not the products, the creatures, the slaves of their environment. They are the masters of it. Here in America, nothing is impossible. This is all because here in America humans are free to discover the meaning of their true existence, their true 'self", to achieve their true happiness. Unlike in China, or in most other places of the world, this phenomenon of free beings achieving true happiness is not an exception here in America. It is a norm.
Then are all the people in America happy? Of course not. Then maybe one should examine the source of their unhappiness. Are they still trapped by their own skin color? By their own ancestors? By their own cultural tradition? By their lack of willingness, wisdom, effort and courage to discover and fulfill their own lives' meaning? I am constantly amazed by the answers/reactions people give me. Some constantly complain; some constantly make excuses for their own indecisions and inactions. Mostly, those who are successful will never brag or complain, they just go out there and do it.
So what is your true "self"? I will have to conclude it is that something inside of you that makes you absorb something while abandon other things from your life experiences. It is that something inside of you that makes you make all the decisions every day, be it big or small. It is that something that stops you from doing certain things while motivate you in doing other things tirelessly. It is that something that makes you get up every day, be it reluctantly or enthusiastically. It is that something that makes you love something/someone while despise other things/other people. It is that something that calls out your passion or dulls down your fire. It is that something that gives meaning in your own life or takes away the meaning from your own life.