Monday, March 24, 2008


At first I found it very difficult to define. When I had it most nearly in focus it seemed to me that it was something to do with accepting the responsibility for one’s life, something to do with feeling identified with it, and something to do with a sense of purpose. If you took the point of intersection of those three things, as it were, all in the most abstract sense, maybe you had it.

This is from Celia Green's Advice to Clever Children.

I find it necessary, often, to recall the boundaries of what I am responsible for, for very often my area of influence is much smaller than what I feel responsible for.
I think this was a sort of backhanded propagandist attitude, an argument that in my younger days I had no defense against- that if I am so smart, then I should be able to handle more, perform better under adverse circumstances, etc... This is a pretty effective way of paralyzing young people with some combination of intelligence & morals.

To be centralised you have at least to accept the possibility of finding yourself alone against the world; this is logical in a way, because to know your own mind you evidently have to let it tell you things, and you do not know what it will tell you until it does. So it is impossible to be sure that it will not tell you that everybody else is up a gum-tree.

At which point, many of us would climb up into the gum-tree too. A spot on one of the lower branches often seems more comfortable than being the only one on the ground. But in the long term, conformity for the sake of comfort simply fails; people still notice you aren't buying the gum-tree experience.

This is still a very secular concept, but I think it's more truthful, coherent, and therefore more amenable to Christians than the bulk of mainstream psychology. There's a strong push in the mainstream to "find yourself," which usually means labelling oneself with a variety of identities and diagnosis, all of which attenuate the ability to have relationships, whether with humans or with God.

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