Val is a life-long practically oriented student of effective emotional and attitudinal responses to the many challenges of life.
Some bow to the spirit of collectivism, while you ascent to the spirit of your own eclectic rhythm.
-- Curtis Tyrone Jones
For a Full Size Mirror
Those whose curiosity prompted them in the past to take a peek at my "Profile" couldn't miss my great passion for personal sovereignty which also translates into some of my favorite writing topics.
What am I calling personal sovereignty?
In its nutshell, it's our birthright to deliberately choose our thoughts, emotions, attitudes and beliefs. Which means our freedom from a parrot-like imitating others' ideas and following some sterile beliefs and ideologies, as well as some senseless traditions.
It may be a sort of hard for some to figure where I am coming from with all this, because we may be using a completely different " technology of processing reality"; thus, what appears logical to me may be downright weird to them. But that's a risk I have to count with, while seemingly turning upside down so much of what has been accepted as commonplace for ages.
And yet, there is a hope -- which basically gives me the main incentive to write about personal sovereignty -- as to a soul or two some of these ideas may serve as an eye-opener, if not merely a little challenge to reexamine their place in this world.
Certain realizations may echo with a slight pain, but as long as they turn out to be "growing pains", their cause may be forgivable.
Now, let's start by facing some of those obstacles which may even block our awareness about the possibility of something like personal sovereignty, let alone inspire us towards attaining it.
As for politics, I am an anarchist, I hate governments and rules and fetters. Can't stand caged animals.
-- Charlie Chaplin
Once Upon a Time a True Self
Regardless of the place on earth where we are born, a name is chosen for us, along with a religion and a bunch of survival strategies which are to make us socially acceptable.
Has it ever dawned on you how society shows no respect for our choices right from that very start?
For example, while we may find nothing particularly admirable about our primary caregivers -- usually meaning parents -- we promptly get brainwashed into respecting them unconditionally.
And then so many carry into adulthood a painful emotional confusion over the discrepancy between that imposed respect and that distinct memory of not really being loved and supported in their most impressionable and vulnerable years.
Furthermore, even though in our entire lifetime we don't see a single political leader that we wholeheartedly recognize as one working for the good of the majority, we'd better wave that flag with pride and patriotism, because it's our homeland, and those are our beloved people who elected all those good-for-nothing creeps parading as our leaders.
Which brings us to any type of religious indoctrination adding to our "identity" with its strong and shiny label. For, it seems that without a deity of a "right-and-only" kind we would all be wandering around like lost sheep with no sense of love and morality.
Ethnical pride may make us blind to some basic truisms. Like, if we are of a Jewish ethnicity, that doesn't mean that we are automatically anything like Albert Einstein, Arthur Rubinstein, or any other famous "...-stein,...-berg, or...-man".
Indeed, why identify ourselves by referring to someone else's abilities or achievements? I simply don't get it. Isn't that true that every ethnicity has its share of village idiots, arrogant narcissists, or illiterate folks who are signing their name with an "X"? Developed countries like USA, U.K., France, Germany...or any other place with a considerable national pride are no exceptions.
So, let's cut through the crap of all those labels which are supposed to give us something like an identity. Why not see the illusion of any nation as simply a mass of different individuals forced territorially to share a language, customs, and laws of coexistence?
We did not "choose" to be born into that family, into that society, so why cherish it for more than it is? Over the many years it has become our habit, or "natural habitat", which adds to its suggested value for us.
Now that I am retired, sometimes I drive by a company that used to be one of the crappiest jobs that I can remember -- and guess what -- I can't help but feel a little nostalgic about it, remembering my coworkers and some bright moments spent there. A crazy mind's trick of habituation as it's capable of painting even devil in some rosy colors.
Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.
-- Lao Tzu
Told When It's Funny
Indeed, folks, we are so brainwashed by labels that we never question some obvious discrepancies between someone's acting and their advertised title. I have personally seen (socially) at least three bona fide psychologists of different schools being emotionally unstable, with broken marriages, or dissociated from kids.
Furthermore, I have seen an obese cardiologist; a guru who was much easier to imagine with a sign of a dollar on his forehead than with that red dot on his "third eye"; and also a whole bunch of unprofessional creeps whose sense for satisfying the customer had nothing to do with that impressive diploma on their wall.
Of course, not to forget a whole global community of religious freaks who never brought peace to this planet despite their mouthfuls of "love for all of the human race". And I won't even bother making a long story about domestic and global political leaders fooling people with every effective old trick in their book of deceit.
Individual sovereignty has been routinely insulted by "fathers of cultural paradigm" who see in customers just a brainless crowd. For example, think of the producers of those TV sitcoms placing a laughter soundtrack after every punch line---as if we are so stupid that we otherwise wouldn't know when it's time to laugh.
While I am mentioning culture, as supposedly something that gives a unique character to a nation, at a closer look there is nothing really "typical" and unique about it. We are all individuals with different tastes, and someone living in America may love classical over country music, read novels over sports reports, or meditate over demonstrating.
Again, it's those at the top in whose interests it is to clamp everyone under a label---be it a citizen, a believer, a consumer, a democrat/republican, a family member, a woman, a black, a Hispanic...
How far have we gone alienating ourselves from who we truly are, as individuals with a power to heal ourselves, to make ourselves happy, to choose our own clothes regardless of trends, and call something "music" because there is a harmony of tones in it, not because "it's popular".
Whenever regulations increase, personal freedom decreases.
-- Alan Wilson
Melting Pots in Kitchens of Shot-Callers
These days, that overused concept of "melting pot"---which signifies ignoring the personal sovereignty--- has reached the point of encouraging some to even try for a global new order.
These are the indicators of the oldest mankind's malady of downgrading the individual values--- as it's reaching its crazy stage. More than ever people are involved in politics while completely losing from sight their own inner "politics" of choosing within their mental hierarchy their incorruptible consciousness over those impersonal inner programs composing their social self-image.
Even we writers are encouraged to write what the reading public "want to know about". In other words, don't challenge their views, don't offer a new angle of seeing things---just write what "fits" nicely into their customary ways of perceiving the reality.
That, my friends, labels you, the readers as "closed-minded", as someone incapable of thinking out of the box. While someone may follow that advice and tell you "how to feed your dog"---someone like me may ask you "why you need a dog in the first place?" Does he fill your need for someone in your life who will love you unconditionally? Or obey you without protesting? Or depend on you? Or all of the above?
My questions like these may be altogether incorrect and out of place, but at least I made you think about it, didn't just accept having a dog as something universally desirable. If for only a brief moment you are bound to think what makes your love for your dog different from your friend's loving his dog.
Well, by asking all this I would treat you as an individual, not as "any" dog lover.
You've got to love yourself first. You've got to be O.K. on your own before you can be O.K. with somebody else.
-- Jennifer Lopez
Our fundamental biological individuality could give us a hint about an enormous value of our personal sovereignty.
For, no one else is called upon to breathe, eat, drink, crap, and sleep for us---so what makes them called upon to think for us? The holiest man alive is only another human who is taking his own path and knows nothing about the one that we might choose, if we started in earnest thinking for ourselves.
As we are born we come from one hole alone, and as we die, we go to another hole alone---and in between those two events, we might as well create our own intimate world that we would proudly call our life. Not living as an imitation of a role-model meaning anyone else's mind-style or life-style.
It is this hypnotically induced need to "belong", to be "one of", to "win approvals", which makes us strangers within our own skin.
You don't have to believe me, it's my own psychological speculation---that the most unhappiness in this world is stemming from this running away from our responsibility to be who we are, and seeking the protective wing of someone of higher-than-our authority.
Some of my other articles may have said it better and in more detail, but really, folks---if we are not using our own mind, who is doing it for us? Are we alive at all after giving up our power to others---or we are merely breathing into their lungs, with even god disowning us after we refused to be "in his own image" and create.
Creating, by the way, means producing "out of thin air", not merely plagiarizing something that others have done before. And that includes those best things of life---happiness, health, love, and harmony, which no one can give us, and which we can't buy using anybody else's currency. They are the only true measure of our having a genuine identity.
That's why, live yourself by striving towards your personal sovereignty. Anyone else's image doesn't look good on you. And, like Bing Crosby, a crooner of my young days used to sing: "If you want to be a Somebody---be yourself."
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© 2018 Val Karas
Val Karas (author) from Canada on April 14, 2018:
Neetu---I'm glad you find inspirational that line of my article. Yes, it's not easy to know ourselves, because the one that would do the knowing is never completely detached from its object of knowing. Just like a hand can't touch itself, so it's futile for ego to try observing itself. It takes an exteriorized and free consciousness to observe the interior of ourselves and tell apart all that we are from all that we are not.
Neetu M from USA on April 14, 2018:
I really like what you say about "You can't give of yourself what you don't have". How often we try to live up to expectations and then lose who we are. While I don't think we can fully know ourselves, we deserve to give ourselves a chance to follow our own intuition in that.
Neetu M from USA on April 13, 2018:
Thank you, Vladimir. I am glad you saw that I had no intention of being defensive, merely trying to understand this from a different angle.
Val Karas (author) from Canada on April 13, 2018:
Neetu M--- I didn't take it as a contest, and it's only that people sometimes appear to be in a defense mode when they are trying to make themselves more clear.
Anyhow, behind your words I am intuiting a deep soul, and now I will be happy to read your article(s).
Neetu M from USA on April 13, 2018:
Oh, and I meant to add in my comment below that I have also written about this in a hub called "You, Yourself and Others: Why your Relationship with You Matters", a few years ago, in case you want to read it. As a topic, it is of great interest to me, which is why I was drawn to yours.
Neetu M from USA on April 13, 2018:
I understand, Vladimir. I wasn't trying to contest anything. Just that I have thought about similar things in a different fashion and personal freedom from dogma and expectations of others/ conformity to something I do not feel defines me, is also one of my pursuits.
I may be coming from a different place in that I seek something I cannot find with the boldness you have. Good for you. I am glad you are in a happy place with yourself and in your world. :) :)
Val Karas (author) from Canada on April 12, 2018:
Neetu M--- Everything you say is right, but it doesn't talk about the message of my article.
Not in a single sentence did I mention "personal isolation", and personal sovereignty certainly doesn't mean that. And even less it means a "supreme power".
Well, you be the judge.
I married my teenage sweetheart, and our two grownup kids keep saying how they have never seen or heard of a better marriage. I've got very close friends of 40-something years, and I practically make friends everywhere in my neighborhood. Store keepers, cashiers in grocery supermarkets, people that I meet while walking in the park...
And, I'd better stop bragging about my big heart, as I am beginning to sense how I just might find another friend in you, LOL.
You see, when you achieve personal sovereignty, you don't drive people away from yourself---you set yourself free from drama and soap opera constantly inspired by the world.
You allow yourself to be you, not just a cheap imitation of all those voices of authorities, whether past or present that try to unconsciously hijack your thinking, your believing, and tell you what is appropriate to feel in each situation.
I love people because I can emotionally afford to love them without begging for their love, their approval, or seek a role model in anyone but myself.
We can't give of ourselves something that we don't have, and that goes for freedom as well. Being personally sovereign means allowing others to be who they are, because we allow ourselves the same freedom. The moment I become normative, I start losing my own freedom, because I start expecting others to live up to my expectations in order to make myself more comfortable in this world, expecting them to cater to my vulnerable ego.
If spirituality and self-discipline mean "power" , then yes, I've got it, but not over others, only over my own negativistic tendencies. Life is too beautiful to spoil it with crappy emoting. And it calls for something like personal sovereignty in order not to turn into an unappreciated gift.
What do you say? Do you thing all this is real? For, if you are tempted to call me a dreamer, go ahead, just say it softly enough not to wake me up from my dream.
Neetu M from USA on April 12, 2018:
I don't know, Vladimir, whether what you describe as personal sovereignty is really possible as a reality. Man was never, and has never, existed alone as "sovereign". In fact, in most living creatures, there is a social structure. Man is no exception. We are conditioned from birth, no doubt, and either fall into step with our predecessors or, if we are so inclined, carve our own paths. Rebellion is also part of life, part of breaking from established hierarchy, and it is often up to the individual to take a leap in a different direction. But even when we do, we need not to feel isolated. Sovereignty suggests supreme power, but power of one over one? With no regard to anyone else? I don't know if humans can live like that. Insular and alone, concerned only with self and no one else. We don't have to follow the past, but thinking only of oneself can rarely lead to happiness.
Val Karas (author) from Canada on March 29, 2018:
John---The more creative we are, the more sovereign we are in our mind and heart. And when it comes to writing, you already know that I am thinking along your convictions---it's just too easy to re-word someone else's information and present it as ours.
Well, we are not being normative here, and to each their own, and theirs is the advantage of seeing money which our creativity may never generate.
However, for all other aspects of our self-image, it simply feels so good to be loyal to our own creative drive---and I have recognized that in you, my friend, long time ago. You are one fine human being, John Hansen, and I salute you.
Val Karas (author) from Canada on March 29, 2018:
Larry---Thank you for reading and commenting---as always I am happy that you find my writing interesting.
John Hansen from Gondwana Land on March 29, 2018:
Hi Val. A very interesting and thought-provoking article from you as always. You have a way of making us re-examine ourselves, our beliefs, and what drives us in life (or is our purpose.) Well, it does me anyway.
Personal sovereignty is certainly something we should aim for. I am a quiet person who is often happy blending into the background, but I can confidently say that I tend to shy away from following the crowd and what is popular. If I did that I would be writing instructional and how to articles rather than poetry and short fiction. :)
I like to quietly do things my way, and the way I feel is best..not the way others say I should. I know a lot of people feel confronted by the truths you express but deep down I doubt they can really argue against them. Good work as always.
Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on March 29, 2018:
Always an interesting perspective.
Val Karas (author) from Canada on March 27, 2018:
Natalie---Thank you for giving a serious thought to some points offered in my article. Being a sort of individualist I usually stay clear of generalizing about the mentality of the masses, except in details that appear predominant.
So, in case of this melting pot I certainly agree with you completely, inasmuch as it has somehow become a national trend---maybe stemming from a nationalistic undue pride.
Namely, these days, or has it been from ever so, those excessive freedoms are questionable in a sense that we don't know whether to take them as an asset or as a liability. Don't you think that so much wrong for the health of the nation is done out of those freedoms?
You are a clinical psychologist, and you know how lack of a supportive guidance makes kids spoiled, confused, and oftentimes downright obnoxious and rebellious for no reasons except for some imaginary ones?
Besides, when politicians, as "parental figure" display an "anything goes" attitude, then "kids" are bound to follow that example.
Thus, the attitude of "I am as I am as I am", without an objective self criticism breeds this uniformity in the character of so many. Under an exaggerated patriotic umbrella of "I am American and that makes me right" they don't even bother contemplating an expression of anything that would stick out of that uniformity.
But then again, to place "all" Americans into that bag would be wrong, because there are many, many individuals---and you are one shiny example---who won't fall for that sheer duplication of a purely nationalistic, melting pot matrix.
Natalie Frank from Chicago, IL on March 24, 2018:
There are so many things here that ring true for me. The part about a melting pot has always been so.ething that bothered me even from childhood. It always seemed contradictory to say we are a country of immigrants but at the same time a melting pot. That seemed to say that we take all the beautiful bright colors we have and melting them together until there is nothing but muddy brown and absolutely nothing unique or special anywhere. Everyone should "fit in" and not stand out. And to a large extent there have been so many who have been taught that is what to strive for, to be a true American, despite our way of thinking leaving us with no real culture, or sense of identity that is something each unique individual, community, culture contributed to as they came here. And there are many in other countries that aspire to what they believe to be "American" ideals which often times amount to dress, fast food chains, materialism and the right to do as they please without concern for consequences. Don't get me wrong, I love this country and know many of the freedoms I have could not be obtained elsewhere. I just wish we could all embrace a bit more of the personal sovereignty you speak of which i think would make life more satisfying to everyone. Thanks for a truly thought provoking article. I plan to share it with friends.
Val Karas (author) from Canada on March 23, 2018:
Hello Michael, my friend---I'm happy to read your comment again, because you always say something interesting in response to what I write.
It's good this article reminded you of my previous topics, which is somehow attesting to the unchanging nature of my views.
Whatever path you have chosen for yourself, I know it's right for you, whether it has, or doesn't have anything to do with my themes---because you are a wise person.
However, you a kind of cut your comment short by just referring to a "story which I instigated a while ago"---but not being specific about its title. I am curious which one it was and how it affected your thinking. If you don't want to say it here, you can send me an email. Be well, my friend.
Michael-Milec on March 23, 2018:
Yeah, you have introduced yourself quite well, thus your readers know where from your life's philosophy comes from... A suggestion to achieve similarities as individuals we are prone to begin make changes as soon as we free ourselves from helplessness. Be rebellious because you might not like your gender, nationality, color, religion, political system, country , continent… So what now ? Use your brain and as soon as you discover that you have freedom and liberty given by the Creator, don't let no one to tell you what to do (?!), to "wash your brain". Yet during that wilder wondering you begin paying attention to that inner small voice, discovering your real being who you actually are, initiating that spiritual journey you alone know about. Really? From this point on my decision is while doing my best on earth, letting my actions, behavior and the traces of my work and love to continue a story you have instigated a while ago…