Life of Self-Creation: Beyond Compulsions and Conformities
As a habitual reader of Friedrich Nietzsche, I have realized that to understand his philosophy we need to energize his words with our life. His philosophy is not an armchair; hence, if you want to understand him you have to apply his ideas, take the risk of becoming a free spirit with the willingness for self-liberations and the courage to stand alone. Nietzsche has been misinterpreted and misevaluated like all of us but importantly as a philosopher of free spirit he has reminded us to embrace each and every aspect of human condition, as all too human. And, for him it is our responsibility as humans to create/recreate the meaning and purpose of our life. As Nietzsche reminds us in this seminal work The Gay Science that if we want become who we are, than we need to create ourselves so that we can live the life of our self creation.
Nietzsche wants us to learn about ourselves, acknowledging exploring both the opposite dimensions of being, our limitations and strengths, passions and dullness, intensity and disinterests for the purpose of self knowledge. After this honest, harsh, in-depth and critical self-evaluation process, he encourages us to engage in the difficult process of self-mastery and with our willpower create those values, purpose, dreams and destinations that truly reflect our self-awareness. Furthermore, he inspires us to create meaning, values and lifestyles that sustains and supports ‘who we are’ to ‘what we want to become’, from our being to becoming.
Significantly, I find the idea of creating a meaning of life as the most liberating concept that has been every thought about in both western and eastern philosophical tradition. I know many people would rather choose to explore and imitate their meaning of life from stable sources like culture, religion, traditions, established cultural norms, traditional ways of living, current trends and fashionable narratives. But, what shall we do when the world never plays out in the way we have assumed and the world we are compelled to encounter is radically different from the world we have been promised with. Therefore, holding onto fixed meanings, when realities change can become rather stressful. Besides, if life has no intrinsic meaning, we are free to explore and create our own purpose of life and we can also find a release from the chains of ideology, social assumptions, compulsions and conformity.
Moreover, take a pause and think, how difficult and depressing it would be trying to fit tight into roles and responsibilities tailored by some else without your measurement and size. Isn’t that life for most of us? When I create my own meaning, I can pull back from what people think of me and simply be-myself. I am free to think about anything to every other thing from my own perspective, regardless of prevailing opinions and social norms. There is no need to do certain things in certain way, it is not a compulsion to get married when you become 25 or get a job after your graduation, you can think differently, create new ways of living and follow your own life-styles. And, when our achievements fail to make us happy and content, we need to realize the life we are living is not the life of our self- creation, expression and strength.
Furthermore, living a life with our own purpose motivates us to get engaged and involved in social, political and ecological issues that matter to us and live a life with our own reference to time, value, happiness, achievements and success. We all have different brains wired for different things, hence when we choose to live the life for our self-creation, we can explore and embrace a lifestyle that allows us to follow our inner callings and live a life that reflects our ambitions and inspirations and there is no different between the life we living and the life have imagined for ourselves. Many people feel rather anxious, worried and depressed, when they find that there is a gap between life of their creative imagination and the real life, but we when live the life of self-knowledge, self-acceptance, courage and self creation, we don’t fall for mundane conformities, well for others conforming to the conventional ways of the world may be highly important but me it’s not part of me and my possibilities.
Living a life of self-creation makes me realize that my ways of living can be different from the visions and versions other people due to my lived experiences, limitations, upbringing, personality factors, level of motivation and learning differences. Therefore, I find it meaningless to imitate, compare or become jealous with the life styles other people and how they define success, failure, happiness and achievement. We are all free to live a life of our creation. And, just as the line from the song Barbie girl by Aqua reminds us ‘Imagination, life is your creation’, indeed let us become explorers of ourselves and apply our imagination and creativity to give life our own purpose, exuberance, analysis, struggles, values and meaning and embrace life as our self-creation, beyond compulsions and conformities.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. Nietzsche: The Gay Science: With a Prelude in German Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs. Cambridge University Press, 2001.
(Currently, Mr. Ojha is engaged as a Faculty of communication, critical thinking, academic writing and marketing research at different educational institutions. As a part of my creative writing interests, He regularly publishes opinion posts, poems and articles on a wide range of topics from death, disease, social issues, and humanism to post-religious spirituality. He may contact at email@example.com)