Relax, you’re just a puppet.

Arthur Schopenhauer supposedly said:

‘Man can do what he wants, but man can’t want what he wants.’

Fascinating, deep stuff.

Now I must say that I hardly know anything about the German philosopher from the 19th century, but historians tend to agree that he was somewhat of a pessimist.

So you could look at his quote in that light, almost concluding with a deep sigh that nothing really matters because we eventually don’t control anything.

It’s like we’re just puppets, following a script we didn’t contribute to, essentially unable to do anything about it.

And to me, that actually makes a lot of sense.

But is it a bad thing per se?

What if part of the Big Script (that is obviously quite vast and creative and brilliant) is the sense that we DO have control, and free will, and can change things because we want to?

The thing is: it doesn’t really matter.

Having free will is merely an idea that we can entertain, and it can feel very true but it can also feel really false.

Those opinions don’t really reveal anything, besides being an experience that seems true.

Schopenhauer’s famous message has been caught in words by many other people, in many variations.

For example, a different way to describe the same thing is:

‘You are free to do whatever you desire. But you are not free to choose your desires.’

Seems like a rather smart way to look at this.

Because it both captures the idea of having control and being capable of deciding the outcome of our lives, AND the notion that there’s something much bigger at play.

Like I said: it doesn’t really matter.

When you start to see life as a truly miraculous event that constantly creates infinite ways to experience it, it stops making sense to worry about that stuff.

For me, it seems really clear that I’m being lived, being done, and being moved all the time, fully, while there are plenty of moments where I still feel totally responsible for making certain decisions.

I’m not afraid of paradoxes.

‘Being lived’ can feel totally scary and out of any comfortable range of comprehension, but it can also feel really exciting, awesome, and quite comfortable.

It kinda takes away much of the rough edges.

It leaves an experience with less anxiety, less worry, and less personal agenda.

And that’s just one of the positive things about how life shows up right now.

(Photo by @pabels, for Unsplash)



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Marnix Pauwels. Author. Transformative Coach. Slowly getting to the place he never left. Exploring awe. How about simplicity?