I’m inspired to be a better person.
This happens every now and then — I suddenly find myself inspired to improve myself in some manner that is not physical or even strictly educational in nature. The frequency and sincerity of such urges is, in fact, a big chunk of the reason I started using the term “apotheon” as an online monicker for myself years ago.
Part of the inspiration, this time around, was the fact that I have been reading the Sam Harris book, The End of Faith. The last couple chapters of that densely intellectual book served as the trigger event for a building inspiration to embark on another odyssey of self-improvement.
Maybe odyssey is too strong a term. Maybe it’s more like “turn over a new leaf” than “odyssey of self-improvement”. I guess it’s time to change the title of this thing.
The explicit and masterful linking of mystical introspection with rationality really caught at my imagination, and prompts me to engage the recently neglected spiritual faculties of my brain in the task of self-improvement.
Another influence in this decision is my recently growing interest in marksmanship practice. The longer I was in the Army, the more the practice of marksmanship became a sort of spiritual practice itself. It got to the point that basically every time I fired a shot on the range I was snapping into, and back out of, a sort of “zen” state, as though I was no longer merely an individual person going through the mechanical motions of aiming and pulling a trigger, but rather as one with the rifle, the bullet, and the target, simultaneously. It was an “in the zone” moment, a state of “hack mode”, a moment of satori. Working on getting back into practice with shooting, and planning to do a lot more of that in the near future, reminds me of that experience.
Oddly enough, a third factor in helping me feel thusly inspired is ESR’s recent demirant, We are not sheep.
Anyway, there are two distinct outward components of my inspiration to improve myself:
I will try to remain ever-cognizant of “brotherhood” with other humans. This will be an interesting task, considering that I don’t intend to abandon my tendency to employ sound judgment in evaluating the words, actions, and motives of other people. There is a definite sense of connectedness between us all that is too easy to ignore, though, and I wish to cut down on that tendency to dismiss my kinship with other humans.
I will try to apply a better directed sense of rational evaluation to my dealings with others. For instance, when engaged in discussion with someone who appears to disagree with me, I will not only look for the point at which our respective perspectives diverge, but also the underlying reasons for those disconnects in our understandings of circumstances. Those underlying reasons are not the ego identification with one’s position, fallacious thinking, and confirmation biases that all too often dominate my recognition of the nature of disagreements; they go deeper than that, being the motivations that produce these roadblocks to reasoned discourse in others.
Wish me luck.