Thursday, November 7, 2013

On self-worth

There is a gnawing sense of restlessness aching through me as I sit and fill my days with contemplative practice, artistic expression and study of philosophy and literature. All these things seem to be worthwhile endeavors, but what is worthwhile? And why is it so?
I first must note that this line of questioning is nothing novel, for it is one of the most common questions ascending in the cannon of great thinkers. I therefore have no illusions that my contribution to the subject will have any time withstanding propriety. However, I can offer what I see to be some original insight.
The sense of restlessness arises out of a lack of self-worth, somehow by filling the void of time with things I deem worthy I feel incomplete. This is so because these activities, my art, are not producing anything of value external to me. (These claims are not necessarily true. They are only descriptions of an internal psychological state). What I deem worthy is thus weighed against what others deem worthy. Not only what others deem worthy, but what they also designate worthy. This distinction draws our attention to internal and external states. Deeming something worthy is an internal state that does not need to be stated or expressed in any concrete way. One may deem a piece of art worthy, but never act on the worth of it, or make decisions consciously that are grounded in some way on the worth of it. Designation of worth is contrary to this in that it is the deeming of worth coupled with the conscious activity of acting on the worth of said object, or though, or belief. An object, for instance a poem, is designated worthy when the perceiver of it acts upon it. That is, they utilize their recognition of the worth of the poem in some decision-making procedure.
Hopefully this distinction draws out the internal/external difference between worth. In this way, because of my solitude of expression (this is in large part why I have decided to blog) there is a sense of self-worthlessness. This leads to a sort of antipathy, and paralysis in decision-making, exactly because I am not designating these activities of any worth, although I deem them as such.
We all get caught in this frustration, always searching but never finding worth. It stems ultimately from a lack of self-worth. What would it mean to designate you worthy?
Simple, one must act on the primacy of the self. One must become self aware enough so that you act on that which is you (as an infinite being as noted before), while deeming that thing that is you of value, of worth. We all do this in a certain sense, but it becomes hard to do so when there is little reciprocity from others that what you do is of value. When the reciprocity lacks we often choose to do what others designate valuable instead of ourselves, we then become reflections of those actions and fall once again into self-worthlessness.
bread not bombs sticker on unexploded american ordinances in Laos 
The word responsibility comes from the word response. What is the proper response to one when they are expressing themselves as themselves, so that they may feel self-worth? In other words what is our responsibility to others so they may feel self-worth? The answer should be apparent from the assumptions made prior. We can choose to designate what they are doing as worthy. This would entail a sense of admiration for the unique expressions of the other, because in so far as it is an expression that they deem valuable and of worth it ought to be designated as such.
Are there limits to the designation of worth? I will leave this question up the tacticians of logic. My remark would be that the human spirit is of such an inclination that the designation of value aligns with our inner most selves, these selves being fundamentally good, worthy things, the limits are not transgressed by the multitude plurality of designators of worth.

Letting this argument unfold allows me to better understand why there is this gnawing sense inside me. What it fosters is a sense of self-confidence. Patience must be exhibited by those of us that choose to use their art to express themselves patience for others, but most importantly for the self, to designate their art of value.

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