The Inward Manifesto

“In all known history of mankind, advances have been made primarily in physical technology; in the capacity of handling the inanimate world about Man. Control of self and society has been left to chance or to the vague gropings of intuitive ethical systems based on inspiration and emotion.”
~Isaac Asimov

The truth is…

It is easy to be human. There are billions of us to show you how. Not sure how to fit in? How to look? What to aspire towards? What success means? What will make you happy? Don’t worry.

Your parents will get you started, founding your principles and building your ideals. They’ll scaffold your emotional framework and establish the psychological paradigm from which you’ll operate for your entire life.

There’s television to influence you, academia to condition you, and culture to mold your perspective. There are trends to direct you, societal institutions to abide by, and constant social pressure to keep you on a narrow track.

There is a script for you to follow.

Personal ethics are no concern. Left untended your morality will grow by itself, framed by law, bricked by your environment, mortared by vague bias, and built up over a lifetime of experiences.

Don’t be addled by profound questions like “What is the meaning of life?” Religion is there to structure your beliefs. And if that doesn’t suit you, ancient spiritual traditions alternatively have prepackaged answers to mythic inquiries.

Don’t stress about what qualities to emulate, what etiquette to ascribe to, or behaviors to emphasize. Your character will be carved by your peers. After all, social validation is a sharp chisel.

Success, purpose, meaning, passion; these highly personal, individualized words will be defined for you by your environment. You’ll suspect that everyone else has them figured out. But few actually do, and fewer still break the mold in pursuit of those things. So no stress if you don’t either.

From qualities like tolerance, compassion, integrity, and patience, to ones like prejudice, aggression, pessimism, and greed; your exposure to these traits early in life will determine their prominence within you. The qualities that take root in your character are all a consequence of your life experience, all implicitly learned, and all unconsciously reinforced little by little.

You need never bother with the labor of introspection. You need never groom the terrain of your psyche. You need never question your most entrenched habits, your strongest held beliefs, or your most instinctive reactions. You’re perfect just the way you are!

There are idols to show you what perfection looks like, to depict unattainable wealth, and to define concepts like beauty, status, and success. There is culture to gently whisper what you want, what you need, and how to get it. There is propaganda to decree your opinions. There are advertisements to inform you exactly how much your dreams will cost.

If you spark no passion, it’s OK. Lacking such pursuits there’s media to keep you entertained. There is content to view, and talent to marvel at for a lifetime. For every skill and pursuit conceivable the bar has been set and clocked so you know just where the boundaries of your potential lie.

If your life lacks drama, there are plenty of sitcoms and television shows to live vicariously through. Finding no love? Watch fictional characters find it! There are plenty of distractions from a reality too daunting and harsh to cope with.

Not interested in conforming? That’s ok too. There are cliques that prioritize their nonconformity, and ones that define themselves by their rebelliousness. Rejection of the norm is a predictable contingency with regimented alternatives.

Finally, should you encounter melancholy or despondence while adapting to the status quo, there are drugs to dull the sting of incongruity. Natural eccentricities in personality are defects in an overly structured society that demands conformity. So there are pharmaceutical solutions to fix defectiveness, your own and your loved ones’, quickly and with little effort. Also, there are academically certified therapists to help you back in line.

If you’re lucky life will float you towards prosperity. Adversity will serve to strengthen, and will never overwhelm you. Altruism will blossom within you as hatred and fear wither. Wealth and happiness will befall you. And when the end comes you’ll be convinced that you were the architect of your destiny.

For the lucky many, the heedless life is a satisfactory one. These souls live with their blessings and fortunes, assent to their weaknesses and follies, and tolerate their sins. Their established identities admit to no possibility of amendment. They never feel the need to scrutinize themselves because there lacks the driving impetus of tormented suffering necessary to force an overhaul of their belief system. Then eventually, after many years, their belief systems become immutable, entrenched by habit.

But not everyone is content with the default life. Many feel a dissonance between what friends, family, and society expects, and what they aspire towards. They feel this dissonance as strife and isolation, and in severe cases it can lead to depression.

Fortunately there is a way to break the shackles of consequence. There is a way to live by design. It’s no easy task though. The ego clings tightly to the status quo, justifying its condition with its own familiarity. It uses sentiment to elude change. Certain patterns of thought struggle to maintain their relevance even when they cause conflicts that necessitate their change.

Sometimes it’s easier to live with our woes than to change. But those in great suffering have a larger incentive to change, and thus a higher likelihood to succeed.

To those souls lost, to the hopeless and weary, the isolated and miserable, those bearing crushing torment, let that suffering be a catalyst for salvation. It is you, standing in the fire, who has the greatest incentive to change. Torn down, smashed to pieces, it is you who has the greatest opportunity to rebuild yourself. Already slipped through the cracks, with your feet on rock bottom, you need only hike the stony path to freedom.

In walking this path, you will master yourself, and through self mastery you will master fear, pain, anger, despondency, loneliness, frustration and every other emotion. You will see them like visitors to indulge or neglect. You will be able to control their effect on you because you’ll be able to control the thoughts that cause them.

The effort you expend in understanding yourself is an act of separation. You gradually distance yourself from your ego, engendering unfiltered perception of its temperament and character. And from that position you’ll be able to enact deliberate change.

Through self mastery you will be able to implant new skills and talents, new perspectives, and new qualities of character at will. The reversal is also true. You will be able to phase out bad habits, derail oppressive patterns of thought, and weed out addictions, unwanted vices, and destructive tendencies. Free from the conditions that once bound you, you will be able to create yourself how you see fit.

Once untethered from your ego, you’ll feel no need to act in its defense in the presence of another. You will not take personally the comments or calumnies of others because you will know the remarks are harmless opinions that weigh less than air. How can you take personally the expressions of someone trapped in the paradigm of ego?

You will then learn how subjective reality truly is, and that the contradictory opinions and viewpoints of others in no way subvert the validity of your own. Self confidence will grow without the side effect of arrogance. Without the need to defend your own viewpoint, or to assert your reality upon another, the arrogance that blinds cannot survive. You will appreciate others more keenly because you will not compare yourself to them.

As you begin to define yourself, you’ll begin to understand others better. Since understanding is a pillar of love, your capacity for love, for receiving it and expressing it, will grow. Once you’ve adapted yourself to accepting people as they really are, and not hold them to an imagined ideal, they will love you for it.

Whatever way you are, be that way because you choose to be. Not because of an ingrained subconscious inclination, not because someone told you to, not because it is expected, and not out of a misguided resignation to a seemingly inherent defect. It begins with an admittance of fallibility, a forsaking of the ego, an acknowledgement that even your most deeply held beliefs might be holding you back.

Consider that the psychological framework through which you view your world, that you’ve constructed over a lifetime, might not be optimal for the life you’re living. Minor adjustments at this depth can have profound impacts on your quality of life.

For those who succeed, there is indescribable peace to be had, fulfillment, a sense of empowered control, resilience, confidence, a faith in the future, an optimism and understanding. The world unlocks. The advantages are innumerable in quantity and priceless in quality. The ones you develop, and the degree to which you develop them, are entirely at your discretion.

It is time for a mental triumph, for a psychological revolution. It is time for a cognitive leap forward. It’s time to evolve.

Thank you for reading.

-C

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