Gaining control

On one of my bookshelves, I have a bust of Socrates. From time to time I walk by that shelf and my eyes fall on the sculpture. Whenever this happens, I take a moment and reflect on what I'm doing right then. What would Socrates have to say about it? Would I do the same thing, and do
it in the same way, if he were standing beside me, watching me?

Sometimes this brief meditation makes me rethink my plans. At other times, I simply go on without any alteration. But on the whole, I've changed: the habit helps me to step out of the flow of daily life, reflect more often on what I'm doing, thinking, feeling — and if necessary, adjust. It ascertains that the contents of my reflections are applied frequently and consistently.

In this function, it is not unlike a control technique as used in many areas of engineering. But there is more to it than that: it also shapes my relationship with myself, the way I interact with the tendencies and dispositions that shape my character (for the better and worse).

For example, I have experienced my 'inner voice' becoming more clearly
audible: I'm better aware of my thoughts in a given situation. And much to my own surprise, what this inner voice has to say isn't always good, that is, it's really not well thought-out many, many times. It's
simply bad advice. But, astonishingly, more often than not, the better options are clearly recognizable. (Or to put it differently, I know better than my inner voice by far — but how can that be the case, seeing that it is my inner voice?) And sadly enough, I've still found myself following it's corrupt counsel again and again.

Since I'm more alert to this nearly inaudible whispering, since I've
started forcing it out into the open, I have gained control, bringing my own considered thinking back to guide my feelings and actions. That's easier now: I can actually consider what it says, challenge it — and correct it, with all the determination and firmness that is required. You should know your inner voice, and shape it, if at all possible. Take care.
Copyright © 2007-2012 by Leif Frenzel. All rights reserved.