I aspire to be an independent thinker. One who adheres to a clear set of authentic principles, and can hold their own against the tyranny of the majority.
I long to be free from ideology and dogma, free from the imaginary boundaries and limitations of this group or that group in the time of the culture wars.
Why should I pursue endeavours purely to appease others or act in a way contradictory to my nature?
A term I feel particularly drawn to during this time of chaos is personal sovereignty. As Jordan Hall describes it,
Sovereignty is the capacity to take responsibility. It is the ability to be present to the world and to respond to the world — rather than to be overwhelmed or merely reactive. Sovereignty is to be a conscious agent.
To me, being a sovereign individual entails being in the driver’s seat – being in control.
It means having the awareness and insight to be able to cut through the noise and find the truth in a world that is increasingly politicized and divisive.
That is not to say, I must reject conformity or social norms at all costs. Rather it is to use discernment and reason to act on the most logical course of action.
This has become increasingly difficult in a time where corporations, the media and politicians are constantly fighting for your attention, dollars and votes.
Who to believe?
Who to trust?
Where can truth be found?
My hope is that the practice of mindfulness and Stoicism will allow me to see things more clearly, as they are – from an objective standpoint. To not be thrown around emotionally by the headlines, but have greater control and autonomy over my reactions to external events.
It is difficult to flow against the grain, to risk being wrongly accused and be viewed as an outcast. However, this is what a commitment to Truth requires. As Ralph Waldo Emerson reminds us,