Individualism, Attempts At Philosophying

When men are born, their habitat is already defined. Eventually, they will adapt to it, i.e., they acquire the required consistency that will help them to overcome the obstacles that life has. This way, mankind achieves such intrinsic nature that defines a concrete existence in time and space, further arriving to a propensity to act according to its own discretion, and not in concert with the community, becoming isolated and selfish in affections, interests, studies, and other dimensions. Finally, men become full of themselves, forfeiting any other purposes.

Individualism, Attempts At Philosophying

Thus, since the VIII century, individualism constituted a topic of controversy. Several centuries later, St. Thomas Aquinas says that the principle of individualization is, in sensible things, “matter”, while for Duns Scotus it’s only a philosophical form that he calls haecceitas, i.e., this, here, and that reduce to the ultimate essential reality of each individual, i.e., particularly distinguishable from one class, collection or series, indivisible, impossible to separate in parts without altering its character, without stopping being a mere being. Therefore, at least, the individual contains two principles: its nature and its individual entity, elements that exist only by a formal distinction, not by factual reality.

The individual is a real being, unlike its species, which is ideal. The problem that creates this concept derives from the relationship essence-existence, an understanding of the nature of the singular, and so further. With this value, the problem of individualism comprises the fields of sociology, psychology, and politics, invading existentialism.

Self-centered people creates a harmful environment, which typically leads to irreversible damage. Because society has been imbued with these people’s actions, it has been steadily adapting to such individualistic behavior, which in turn leads to societies being directed by monopolies and messianic pseudo-leaders. Often, development of such societies depends on unilateral theories, normally based on confrontation, created by the diversity of characters and conceptualizations.

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Visualizing your Goals

A goal is a very specific result that we want to achieve in a precise, future time. It’s an experience not yet lived, although firmly wished. Let’s recall from our first post about goals, that an objective or goal is a personal or perhaps organizational desired end point in development. It is usually endeavored to be reached in finite time by setting deadlines. Albeit goals, dreams and expectations are related concepts, there are important differences that will be discussed further on. As it often occurs with dreams, there are virtually no limits on the number of goals we may set, since goals represent, in essence, states or things that we wish to achieve in the future. Unlike dreams, though, goals require that we define them precisely, and we have to work for them in the present time, right now. Thereby, goals are nearer, within reach.

visualizing goals

Goals and Expectations

We should not confuse goals and expectations. Goals are the concrete and positive result of a fulfilled wish, and they provide satisfaction and success. On its side, expectations are focused on the behavior that we expect from other people. Setting a goal also means directing all our efforts towards achieving the goal, combining several tasks in order to attain it. However, to have an expectation reduces to delegating our wishes to the lucky concurrence of external factors.

Therefore, setting goals helps us to empower strategies, to create effectivity and to dominate the process of achieving whatever thing we wish. Besides, our goals create new opportunities, and improve our capacity for overcoming obstacles and conquering unexpected hurdles. As we move forward and reach the little goals that we had set, we also have the feeling of walking our paths faster, with a boosted self-confidence and a diminishing desire to return to the past. By the way, when we feel little or no desire to return to the past, we can be sure that we have improved as human beings.

Goals and Dreams

As aforesaid, a difference between goals and dreams lies in the time required for reaching them. Goals are closer. Besides, motivation also establishes a notorious difference between goals and dreams. We have more immediate and realistic motivations for reaching goals. On the contrary, dreams’ motivation is typically diffuse, sometimes very unclear.

However, dreams are the ultimate fuel of life, no matter how fuzzy they may be. As life moves on, we will feel the dream, approach the dream, dream the dream… we will be continuously reshaping the dream. Dreams are, after all, made of a very malleable matter. In life, we walk towards the sun, and our sun is composed of just dreams. Every step toward such sun kills a doubt. And each of such steps is a goal.

Organizing our Goals

We have to prepare a few lists for visualizing our goals and, in general, our action and thinking paths. When we write down our goals in a list, we are defining and outlining a plan to reach the goals. We are committing ourselves to fulfilling them based on practical aspects. On the contrary, the list of dreams contains relatively remote possibilities, excepting perhaps the first or second dream. In order to reach the first dream of the list, we have to conquer a chain of goals. In short, goals are the intermediate steps required for achieving the ultimate objective of your life.

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On Credit Card Points

After the season of parties, when you might find yourself feeling financially depleted and despondent, there is a tantalizing prospect that awaits – the opportunity to earn free international travel and indulge in luxurious hotel stays. This alluring possibility is made possible through credit card points, which can be exchanged for a range of travel perks and enticing goodies. As January brings forth attractive deals, you might be enticed to apply for a credit card that offers such rewards.

However, let’s consider the reality. I like credit cards, but credit card rewards may not be worth it for most individuals, unless they possess certain qualities:

  • Firstly, financial stability is crucial. If you are wealthy and have a firm grasp on your finances, the potential payback from these rewards could be more significant.
  • Secondly, self-discipline plays a vital role. It’s essential to have the discipline to manage credit card spending wisely, ensuring that you don’t fall into the trap of accumulating debt.
  • Lastly, being attentive to your financial situation is imperative. Keeping a close eye on your expenses, payments, and rewards redemption options will enable you to maximize the benefits.
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Colors of Life

After publishing my friend’s message and commenting on her intentions to take a vacations trip, I somehow wished to take a little vacation too. As I have no ties to prevent it, I adhered to my wish. I took a few days trip, totally disconnected from the Internet and the current rush of technology. Over there, I met up with a longtime friend and her family… It had been ages since I saw them last, so it was good to finally catch up, and we all had a good time and a lot of stories to tell. Thank God, they’re OK, in general. All of her kids have grown up nicely, already graduated, and have married. Except for the eldest daughter, who has a health problem. A few years ago, she was diagnosed with diabetes, and that fact did lead to many drastic changes in her lifestyle. Of course, now she follows healthier food and exercise habits, which is totally recommendable (and mandatory!). However, there are some changes which are too excessive and harmful, in my opinion. Despite her disease is medically controlled, and shes does not feel any physical problem (on the contrary, she externally reveals a spectacular health condition), her courage and joy have fallen considerably. She used to be a playful and lively girl, but now she decided to give up parties, to go shopping with her friends, love… and everything joyful, simply because she is afraid of suffering a sudden, unexpected diabetic complication or coma, amidst the happiness of the reunion. She would become a disturbance… others would see her weak and in panic, prey to fear. And she does not want to go through that. She is concerned about what might happen, and what her friends could say. In a sense, she fears rejection.

Colors of Life
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Happy Holidays and a Joyous 2024!

As we bid farewell to another year and embrace the enchanting holiday season, I wanted to take a moment to extend my warmest wishes to all of you, my incredible readers. You have been a constant source of inspiration and encouragement, and for that, I am truly grateful.

You can't stop the journey Christmas 2024

During this festive time, let us cherish the moments of togetherness and reflect on the lessons we’ve learned throughout the year. Remember, every challenge we faced has only made us stronger, and every setback has presented an opportunity for growth. As we embark on a new year, let us carry forward the lessons of resilience and determination, knowing that we have the power to overcome any obstacle that comes our way.

May this holiday season fill your hearts with love, joy, and gratitude. Surround yourselves with the warmth of family and friends, and let the spirit of generosity guide your actions. Remember to take a moment to rest, rejuvenate, read inspiring stories, and appreciate the beauty of the present moment. As we step into the new year, let us set our intentions high and believe in our ability to achieve greatness.

Embrace the opportunities that come your way, and never forget that you have the power to create the life you desire. Together, let us make 2024 a year filled with growth, success, and endless possibilities. From the bottom of my heart, I wish you all a holiday season filled with love, laughter, and happiness.

Thank you for being a part of this incredible journey, and I look forward to continuing to support and inspire each other in the coming year.

A Reader’s Happiness

Yesterday, a reader from Miami, USA, sent me a very positive and lovely feedback about my article Looking for True Happiness. She loved the succinct discussion involving economy’s views, a theme she feels is often neglected from essays on happiness. Thanks. I’d like to share with the other readers of You can’t stop the journey a very personal approach to happiness, courtesy of Mrs. Paula Marcenaro. In her email, she refers that life was really harsh for her after her parents’ death, when she was 14… that was some years ago, as she is now a shining and exquisite 60+ woman 😉 She had to work very hard in order to achieve her teaching degree and to bring up her six daughters. But now, she is very, very happy. All of her six girls are professionals, holders of high academic degrees. Nevertheless, she always kept her self-confidence. Self-confidence and an unbreakable faith in a better tomorrow allowed her to improve and achieve her goals. Self-confidence allowed her to endure others’ unkind critics, envy, and general problems.

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Three Gifts

A well respected landowner required the services of a woodcutter. Soon, a burly man volunteered for the job. The landowner explained that, in order to get approved to the job, any candidate should axe down, in a single day, a leafy and huge cedar that was in front of his house. Faced with the daunting task, the woodcutter replied: “For Gods, maybe. But I don’t believe this chore to be humanly possible, so I retreat.” A second woodcutter arrived asking for the job, but once he heard the condition, it seemed to him that the landowner had become crazy. Like this, many other woodcutters rejected the job. But one burning morning, other lumberer applied for the job. It seemed that the cedar was too large for his slight and somewhat dandified figure. The condition was the same, but this woodcutter’s response was: “Sure, Good Lord, I can chop down this tree, but I beg you the permission to start working not today, but tomorrow at dawn… that way, I’ll have enough time to open the trunks and put them to dry before the sun hides his face.” This response, firm and self-confident, convinced the landowner of this man’s suitability for working in his estate.

Cedar gifts

“The job is yours, but don’t dare touch a single leaf of this quaint tree with your axe… this is a lovely tree, whose shade gives shelter to my kids and peace to my family. You’ve passed the test.”

And so the years passed by, and the landowner never regretted of hiring the woodcutter. During all those years of strenuous work the woodcutter had not returned to his village, and had not seen his family. That’s why the landowner decided it was time for the woodcutter to rest and to return to his village. As a token of gratitude, a big farewell party was held for the woodcutter. It was a prize to the woodcutter’s fidelity and good performance. On that day, the woodcutter recalled many joyful things he had lived in the estate. His boss’ family presented him with a lot of objects and gold as gifts. He received plenty of gifts. Collected so many that he required one horse and two mules to carry his gifts. When he departed, he was accompanied to the outskirts of the estate by two pawns. They were talking about the best path that our woodcutter should take to reach his destination faster. The two pawns were of the view that the trail was the shortest path.

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Meditation Gems: Appearances

Let’s continue with our condensed Meditation Gems series. Today we’ll discuss appearances, an ancient concern. As far back as Aesop‘s fable, The Ant and the Chrysalis, the moral “Appearances are deceptive” is present. We have to acknowledge that self-confidence relies greatly on how we see ourselves. Whether this inner perception represents the stairway to a broader and successful vision of life, or is the path to ruin, depends solely upon ourselves. The things we think about and the things we do define our true identity. People afraid of failures skip from one idea to another almost endlessly, and thereby rarely get hold of success. Facing the hard circumstances of the real world, our fears would recommend to step back in order to avoid (possible) injuries. Self-confidence provides the fuel to fight these fears. The world belongs to brave people. Nevertheless, being brave does not mean to live recklessly, as self-confidence also allows us to realize our limits as imperfect human beings. The key word is balance. For self-confidence, bravery must join forces with humility. Being afraid of failure opens the door to appearances, but being unaware of failure leads to frustration. When the required balance is disrupted, desperate for filling up the void, we tend to recur to a harmful resource: appearances. With appearances we try to fill up the gap in our souls, related to our need for faking our limitations and guising them as “intentional” patterns in our life.

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On Regrets, Anger and Envy

In today’s fast-paced world, it is easy to get caught up in the past, dwelling on regrets and missed opportunities. However, it is crucial to realize that dwelling on regrets only serves to hinder our progress and prevent us from living a fulfilling life. Time is a precious resource, and we must use it wisely. By focusing on the present moment and looking towards the future, we can make the most of our time and create a life that brings us joy and fulfillment.

The image of regret: Maud Muller by John Greenleaf Whittier

Similarly, holding onto anger only drains our energy and prevents us from living a peaceful and contented life. Anger is a natural emotion, but when we allow it to consume us, it becomes toxic and detrimental to our overall well-being. Instead, redirecting our energy towards positive pursuits and finding healthy ways to cope with anger can lead to a more harmonious existence.

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Looking for True Happiness

It is very difficult, although not impossible, to win a race if we have to start down in a hole. However, this is the precise handicap which a lot of people face during their search for happiness. Because of such handicap, climbing out of the hole and arriving to at least the starting line represents an exhausting endeavor. Apparently, this is not logical… this is not how life should be. But truth be told, we can only start from the position we are right now, and we can only use the resources available to us right now. In order to achieve happiness we have to shut off perturbing messages, such as “I cannot”, “I’m going to lose”, “Maybe tomorrow is a better day”, and so further. We have to put all these miscreant ideas aside from our mind, to remove these slimy sentences which do not contribute to our goals. It’s easier for us to attribute the responsibility of our failures and defeats to others… those who taught us, for instance. Some people like to attribute to their parents and teachers an alleged fraud… everything bad has been their fault, not ours. They hold on to the past. They are losers. On the contrary, winners focus on overcoming each obstacle that rises until accomplishing their goals. Winners want to be happy and to bring happiness to all the people around them, sharing the love, their views on life, and perhaps, their goals.

True Happiness
True Happiness

 Some serious studies demonstrate that people from developed countries are not necessarily the happiest ones. A lot of nationals and residents of such countries manifest to feel unhappier than those of some developing or poorer countries. In this sense, let’s recall the Easterlin paradox, based on a study by professor and economist Richard Easterlin: Does Economic Growth Improve the Human Lot? published in 1974, while he was with the University of Pennsylvania. Basically, the paradox states that economic growth does not necessarily lead to more satisfaction. It’s obvious that people in poor countries become happier once they can afford basic necessities. But the important idea behind Easterlin paradox is that absolute income does not matter as much as relative income does. In other words, how much you make compared with others around you is what really matters. To put it in today’s terms, owning an iPad doesn’t make you happier, because you then want an iPad Pro 🙂

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