In The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins, one of the characters becomes aware of Buddhist philosophy during the course of the novel. At one point, he has the following exchange:
“The Buddha teaches respect for all life.”
“Oh.” She considered this. “Are you a Buddhist?”
“No. I’m an asshole. But I keep trying.”
His response resonated deeply with me. I work hard to be a good manager, a good parent, and a good person. Rarely do I live up to my own expectations. But then, why would I? I’m just another chemically-deterministic meat puppet with so much of my neurological wiring set in place before I was even aware of myself. Or put more philosophically, I’m just another fragile human overwhelmed by the world and my own desires. Or psychologically, I’m just another ego driven by an id that I can’t see or control. Whatever lens you take, anything I do to better myself is pushing a giant boulder up a hill and even the smallest change is worthy of applause.
However, that knowledge doesn’t stop me from want to change. My plan for my reboot of this blog is to be a place for me to record my thoughts about books and articles that I read and how they can help me keep trying. If by chance, those thoughts or links help anyone else, then all the better.
Because the best thing we can do is to help each other to keep trying.