Philosophy Tuesday

Let’s dive deeper into Mr Rogers’ quote from last week… because it’s useful to relate to ourselves as though there are two “yous” within us*.  Or, in Mr Rogers’ terms, two parts.  Rosamund and Benjamin Zander call them your Central self and your Calculating self:

The Calculating Self is all about measurement.  It’s all about survival.  It’s looking out into the world and judging and assessing and positioning itself and looking for conditions of victory and strategizing.  In every moment, it presupposes that everything is a threat, and it looks to see how it can best position itself within a hierarchy.  In every moment, it presupposes that there is nothing but scarcity everywhere.  It’s always on edge, and it is a master at making itself heard – both within our head and out into the greater world.

The Central Self is what lies at the core of our being.  It is the authentic voice that speaks about the truth about who we really are and what we really want.  It is, in the absence of scarcity and threat, the free expression and actions of that which unites us.  Inside the Central Self resides our creativity, generosity, and, above all, our freedom.  The Central Self drinks in the world, surfs on the currents of life, and spews forth vitality and bounty.  It needs no strategies, no automatic patterns, and no identity (or identities), for it is its own pure self-expression.

The Central Self is our Authentic Self, and it is the Self to which Mr Rogers speaks to when he says, “It’s you I like,” for our Central Selves are automatically connected and related.  There, we speak the same language.

When we listen to our thoughts, it can be tough to know which Self is speaking.  Without care, we can cede control of ourselves, and our lives, to the conniving whims of our Calculating Self.  Not that the Calculating Self is bad – it’s a vital part of who we are and of our journey through life.  The key is to keep it being a part of, and not the main – or only – guide in that journey.

The more we are present, and the more we listen out there and in here and over there and everywhere, the more in tune we become with our Central and Authentic Selves.  We gain freedom and choice.  Our experience of life transforms.  And we get to know ourselves, and others, as the radiant beings we can be.

Just as could Mr Rogers.


* Though at times it sure can seem like there’s an entire committee trying to run the show…

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