Humans have thoughts and memories. We seek to make sense of things. We think about the “why’s” and “how’s” behind who and what we are. We are curious about ourselves and others. We feed on other people’s stories, struggling to find similarity so that our experience seems less foreign.
Some psychotics, for example, appear to develop a “delirious atmosphere”, a perception that the world has changed and is sinister towards them. The line between what’s “normal” and “abnormal” is very thin, and has the potential to vanish just by pricking it with a fine needle.
Therefore, it’s logical that we not only seek stories around us, but solutions to our thought process dilemmas or problems. We strive to provide answers to our questions, find solutions to our problems and find the matching points with other stories.
Our story and our circumstance
But we can’t find answers to our deepest questions about ourselves in other people. Everything that happens in your life is perfectly shaped and determined for you. That’s precisely why it happens in yours and not in someone elses. Ortega and Gasset had already analyzed this in his wonderful book “Meditations on Don Quixote” from 1914, referring to the concept of circumstance (what surrounds us and its relationship to our body and mind).
We come into this world with a body and specific historical context, and everything interacts with your context in order for you to finally become the version of yourself that you like.
“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.”
If everyone had the same personal characteristics and the same circumstances, maybe there would be reduced injustices, but our stories would be greatly reduced, as well. We wouldn’t have those stories that are reflected in books, that make us dream and reflect, from generation to generation.
The wonder of true stories and false answers
Undoubtedly, there are unequivocal answers to certain things. Principles of addition and subtraction or the fact that the earth revolves around the sun are facts that seem to convince everyone. However, finding valid answers for everyone as it relates to life and decision-making on a personal level is much moredifficult.
Circumstances create unique stories, not universal answers.
Humans are made of stories from their encounters with the world. What a person has lived through compared to another, may seem similar in form, but not in substance. It doesn’t have the meaning that has marked the event for each of those people.
For example, graduation from college is for some an event full of freedom and satisfaction, and for others, something very uncomfortable because they’re feeling the indecision and sadness it engenders. From this example we can see that the only commonality we have is our desire to feel good; however, feeling good takes on different meanings for each of us.
That’s why there aren’t answers, but only stories. There are only a few hints that we can collect along the way, but they’re just that…hints. Sometimes we’ll succeed and other times we’ll fail, and sometimes we’ll betray our inner desires to please others.
Our story is a valid response to ourselves
So stop nitpicking and analyzing your life in comparison to others. Every time you do, you give up your individuality.
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