We Are Objects Manipulated

Autumn in Seattle

“We are all objects manipulated and fashioned by ourselves and will be endlessly doing so.”
– Martijin Schirp in reference to You Must Change Your Life

Flashes of clarity. Brief patches of a straight-forward existence. Circles of bliss.

I hang onto these little moments of truth, they get me through the confusion and chaos, both planned and unplanned.

I can’t ignore the desire to change things, shake up my existence and rearrange a few pieces, from purely a mental perspective. If I can look at the world from different angles using new lenses, then everything will change. Sometimes I get the feeling that I’m missing something. Not literally but figuratively. The more I study spirituality and creativity and growth, the deeper I understand this beautiful mess.

Hence the flashes of clarity, mere fairy scratches upon the surface.

I choose to believe that I am always growing into myself. I am transforming from the camel to the lion to the child, à la Nietzsche, on my way to the great philosopher’s conception of Übermensch aka Superman aka Overman, “one who has superseded the bondage of the human condition and reached a liberated state — one of free play and creativity” (highexistence.com).

Doesn’t that sound lovely?

Even while overwhelmed with gratitude, I still want to edit my existence. Change is inevitable, like the shifting of the seasons, the dying of the leaves. We can transform haphazardly according to how the wind blows, or we can evolve mindfully. Into truer versions of ourselves.

So how do we turn those flashes of clarity into days and weeks and months of it?

I don’t know, that’s what I’m trying to figure out. But I have some ideas.

I think we grow by reading certain books and having conversations and stretching our minds.

I think we learn by asking questions of others and ourselves.

I think we expand by submitting to vulnerability and new experiences.

I think we shine when we love ourselves, unafraid of our power.

I think we excel when we work hard and persevere for weeks, months, years.

I think we change when we visualize it and keep the faith.

What do you think? How do you cultivate personal growth?


  1. I think this is brilliant. Really powerful and humble. I’ve been wrestling with this myself, and I’ve had a lot of similar questions. One thought I’ve had about those ever-elusive flashes of clarity is that we can create days, weeks, and months of illumination by focusing on one ‘flash’ at a time; really living in the moment and striving to stretch and understand and have passion for even the most mundane experiences, since they are also a part of our lives for a purpose. It’s only in retrospect that we can recognize and appreciate the accumulation of light. Earlier tonight, I read this poem:

    Before He sent His children to Earth
    Gave each of them
    A very carefully selected package
    Of problems.

    He promised, smiling
    Are yours alone. No one
    Else may have the blessings
    These problems will bring you.

    And Only You
    Have the special talents and abilities
    That will be needed
    To make these problems
    Your servants.

    Now go down to your birth
    And to your forgetfulness. Know that
    I love you beyond measure.
    These problems that I give you
    Are a symbol of that love.

    The monument you make of your life
    WIth the help of your problems
    Will be a symbol of your
    Love for Me,
    Your Father.

    -Blaine M. Yorgason


  2. As a professional philosopher, I’m on board here. Conversations that stretch our minds are my choice for personal growth. I’d pick different books than the list (check your link by the way), but that’s a matter of my training more than anything else. Seems to me you can only exceed your own limitations — grow, that is — by challenging yourself with material already beyond those limitations, be it books, movies, paintings, musical compositions, etc. In short, I really appreciate this post. It resonates.


    1. Thanks for the tip on the link. Instead of fixing I deleted it because I haven’t actually read any of those books myself, I just appreciated the concept of the list. And I’d be curious to know your favorite books for personal growth and transformation? I am creating a “master list” so to speak of all the books that have shaped the lives of people I admire.


      1. Well again, my (academic) training has led me down some oddball paths when it comes to growth and transformation. Among my favorite books of this sort, I’d say: Thomas Kuhn’s “Structure of Scientific Revolutions”, Ludwig Wittgenstein’s “Philosophical Investigations”, Paul Feyerabend’s “Against Method.” The influences on my writing (stylistically and structurally) are pretty different though — mainly punk rock music. And we might even say my interests in those books resonates with my musical obsessions.

        And now I’m curious about your list.


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