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August 1, 2021 / Congau

Maybe You Can

We are limited to what we are. We can only become what is already in us as a potential. A seed of an oak tree can only become an oak, never a pinetree, and a human offspring cannot be anything but human. That is a rather severe limitation, isn’t it? But it gets much worse when we are reminded that we don’t have the full range of possibilities even within the human species. Contrary to what most advertisers will have us believe we just can’t shape ourselves by picking freely from the supermarket of opportunities. Material resources surely place a restraint on us but that is not the main obstacle. Lotteries can be won, however unlikely, but the definite restrictions inside us cannot be overcome. Anyone cannot become an inventive rocket scientist, a great artist and maybe not even a top class waiter. Sure, hard work and diligence can get you far, very far, let’s say any profession is ninety percent hard work and only ten percent talent, or make it ninety-nine percent hard work, the remaining one percent is still an absolute obstacle. 

But why let lack of talent stop you? Many are those who have defied depreciating judgments and proven all wrong, or those who have reached more than far enough without having to climb to the top. Yes, really, what counts is your enjoyment of the activity, whatever anyone says and whatever the prejudice. That brings us back to the land of boundless opportunities, doesn’t it? Not at all. If anything it is an even greater restriction. 

You may have the capacity for a decent performance in a fairly wide range of activities, but how many of them would you find fulfilling? The flattering super-self of modern consumerism that is told he can do anything because his autonomy is without limits, is not really complimented when told such fairy tales. If the individual were to be given the respect that is properly his, he would be told that he is so special that he has a unique area of performance that belongs to no one else. Personal fulfillment is so personal that you cannot and should not expect to find it in a path that has already been throdden by so many others. Maybe you can indeed do anything but if you are to believe in your individuality, your goal is to find yourself and obviously you can’t do that just anywhere. 

The fulfillment of one’s potential is more than just achieving what can be done but to do what is truly good for oneself. For a plant and an animal it means blossoming and growing into its maximum health and strength, and for a human being it also means happiness. The pursuit of happiness is a self-evident urge that surely ought to be respected, but it does not imply the necessity of recognizing every choice as an acceptable choice. 

The range of options that is rationally available to any person is in fact quite limited, but that does not mean that the number of actual choices is low or indeed any more restricted than most people imagine. Within the field of natural pursuits and potential for happiness available to one human being the differentiation is huge. In fact, considered as an imaginable number it is as infinite as what would be found within a larger area. Inside a sphere as small as a dot there is a world of details and an endless diversity. Even if a person knew what was right for him and thought he knew what the stars were expecting of him, there would be more than enough to choose from making his life far from predetermined.

 At birth there are an infinite number of lives potentially available for one human being. That includes an infinity of both good and bad choices. (Infinity cannot be divided into parts.) It includes a range of potential lives that could make the individual a fulfilled and harmonious being. 

Just as Aristotle does not recommend only one form of government but considers what would be more suitable to different circumstances, a human being can find himself in a variety of conditions that, even if they are all favorable, require a different response. Moreover, at a crossroad one path is sometimes as good as another but will require different reactions further down the road. 

There are pluralities of rights and wrongs. Some things are possible, others impossible but all of it comes from within you, the unique individual. Don’t listen to them. Maybe you can or maybe you can’t.

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