Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself.–Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosopher and Chief Instructor, Cambridge International Clown College and Brewery
Very bright young woman who used to work for me posted a note to Facebook saying, “Remind me again why I keep trying to be someone that isn’t me…” I think that’s the universal human condition in a lot of ways, but that’s a large part of the problem.
When I seek enlightenment, I turn to Bob Dylan or Hank Williams. I misquote both at times, but get the idea back. My comment to my friend was “Be yourself but decide how much of yourself you want to be.” I base that on the idea of strategic openness. I try to be the guy with no hidden agendas in my dealings with the world, but that doesn’t mean I want everyone to see everything about me at everytime. Quite the contrary…I say what I think but try to say it when it can be heard. I’m not Barrack Obama with a bully pulpit, and I’m not Bob Dylan with a mystic connection to the world. Dylan is notorious, of course, for saying what he thinks but not in a way that reveals him. There are far poorer role models. Anyway, I referred her to this peformance of one of his most optimistic songs (NOT) from Subterranean Homesick Blues — the Dylanesque version of It’s a Wonderful World.
Dylan being optimistic
There are a lot of Hank Williams songs that fit this problem. You can listen to his stuff and what you hear is total exposure of self, and yet there’s just that bit of shadow over in the corner. Watch the center, but your eye keeps being drawn to the darkness. If you listen to something like I Can’t Help It If I’m Still in Love with You or There’ll be no teardrops tonight, you can feel the problems of concealing things that should be shown, and opening up the things that are best left in shadow. Well, he figured it all out pretty well…
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