17b | CR Note on liberty [1941]

12' to 17' Powerless.
12' The actual course of events is more often
then not different from my wishes, and my actual
achievements from my aims.
13' Unruly.
14' It appears as a mystery, after be-
ing subjected to 7'; hidden from oneself,
by clouds, veils, coverings. One feels
'the heavy and the weary weight, of all
this unintellible world.'
15' In consequence it becomes obvious
that in its self-being it is beyond the
reach of my action, shut off from my in-
fluence. I cannot really get there.
16' Recall to mind the criteria by
which one can distinguish what is in my
power from what is not, and the Stoic in-
17' As an object of contemplation it
cannot be held against thoughts that come

This meditation has its basis in common-
sense. Belonging, or a ense of ownership,
are commonly held to depend on the degree of
felt activity, control and liberty. Unin-
structed commonsense would, however, not agree
to the assumption that only in supreme self-
activity do we have something which is worth
being called our own. Why not be content with
the smaller amount of self-activity and control
which we find in what is ordinarily treated
as 'mine'? Simply because we really 'are' not
content with less than supreme control.
Our dreads, worries, solicitudes, angers, etc.
are as many abortive hankerings after com-
plete ownership. The aspiration for com-
plete ownership, which miscarries into un-
happiness when acted out in self-defensive
emotional reactions, carries to liberation
when clearly faced in meditation. Insight
into some of the 17 points reqdires that we
should dare to be quite free. At first we
may tremble a bit at our audacity, but this
high standard becomes increasingly natural
as growing pressure of increasing self-con-
trol is applied. For there is a contra-
diction in the growth of self-realization.
While we disown some belonging for the reason
that we have no complete control over it, our
very withdrawal is coupled with an attempt at
more self-control of other parts or ourselves,
at strengthening our hold over them.