As I pondered last post, Nietzsche concurred with folks like Solomon and Hamlet. They were all on the same page: there is nothing new under the sun.
The grumpy old philosopher claimed that there is a limited number of options in the world. Life consists of re-experiencing the same things, over and over again.
The thing is, I could sympathize with somebody who thought that Nietzsche was wrong. I could see how somebody could claim that life is comprimised of an infinite number of occurences. I’m not sure I’d agree with them. But as I pondered this, it occured to me:
it actually doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter whether there is a finite number of repeating events in the world, or an infinite series of events that are fundamentally different.
The reason it doesn’t matter? Well, I guess it’s because we’re doofuses.
We’re doofuses. There’s no way around it. We’re irrational. We repeat these same scripts, over and over. We have these early life events. And that pretty much sets up the menu for us of options. For our whole lives.
There was a time I would have qualified the above paragraphs. There was a time when I would have thought those things about some people… other people.
In a limited way, I was right. But I was wrong in a more significant way. I was wrong to exclude myself. And I was wrong to think that we get very far in this under our power.
There was a time when I considered myself above and beyond my past experiences. There was a time when I thought that being ruled by our past experiences was confined to a select, traumatized few.
I suppose it’s entirely possible that I’m just wrongly… accusing the rest of the world. It’s entirely possible that the only thing I was missing before is that I am one of the select, traumatized few.
All I really have to say is that not all that long ago, I would have looked at the things I was doing, the way I was living… and I just would not have seen how these are the result of things I thought and did before, dating back to when I was a young child.
So maybe it’s just me. But I think it’s all of us.
Even if there is an infinite number of possibilities in the world, I believe that we have a finite set of reactions. When left to our own devices, these reactions aren’t wise, they aren’t good, they aren’t based on things that we are aware of.
Regardless of the diversity of the things happening to us, the ways that we respond are quite limited, I think.
I guess maybe this post is even gloomier than my last. But, as I alluded to then, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. All is not as bleak as it seems.