A blank slate: that’s what we start off as. We get to choose what, and whom, we want to be as the end product. If we do not take the butterfly’s example, sitting wrapped in our cocooned mistakes until we learn, what is the point of living? We each want to emerge as our best self: a new and improved “Me”.
How do we lay out the bread crumbs to lead us to the new us when we are not sure who we currently are? You may argue that your previous trash can be laid out as the foundation of a combination of lessons to become our best selves. Michel Foucault states, “I do not feel that it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning.” This may be growing into a gorgeous, winged creature or something else on the entire other end of the spectrum.
What are our motivations behind which path we chose on life’s winding road? Part of this depends upon who we surround ourselves with: coaches, teachers, family, friends, people we look up to, and even teams we join. We can argue that what we chose is of a genetic nature. Another aspect is our motivation behind our actions: are we choosing to behave a specific way in order to gain a certain thing or out of pure selflessness? Just try to volunteer, or give back, without having any positive consequence. I would be shocked if you did not receive something from your act: maybe even just a good feeling in your heart.
Philosophers have many thoughts on what makes us a good, or a bad, person. Our moral character has been widely debated between individuals such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics. Our motivations behind our actions are composed of a multitude of things. These include why we choose to act as we do and what we hope to achieve due to our actions.
Are we being polite and not cursing in order to avoid punishment from our parents? Is religion’s afterlife the only reason we stay faithful to our significant other? Do we return a wallet simply because we know we will get to meet the famous individual that it belongs to? Did we adopt our rescue pet to impress someone into thinking we are a good person?
Each person will see these behaviours from their own viewpoint, as well as have different worries when rehashing how they just acted. Individuals have different emotions, cognitions, and wants. A person’s knowledge base will be at a different level than the person sitting next to them. We may not be aware of all the implications having a larger car has on the earth’s carbon footprint. There may be a chance we cannot afford a more environmentally conscious car.
When reflecting on changes Heraclitus had his own beliefs on how everything transforms. These altercations apply to nature as well as to individuals. We are provided breaks to celebrate holidays within different seasons while in educational settings. We shop for new clothes. As we physically grow, we see our fashion sense fluctuate. We find ourselves craving different foods and wanting to hang out with different individuals. Some of this is based on something we may never be able to explain, while other aspects of it happen due to whom we choose to hang out with.
Hence, it is important to realise that freewill and destiny play a part into whom we are in this current moment as well as who we will become. We slowly write our life’s script so that we advance into someone more than just a blank slate.