How much of our lives to we control? | INFJ Forum

How much of our lives to we control?

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by KingOfSpades, Jan 9, 2009.

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  1. KingOfSpades

    KingOfSpades Community Member

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    I've always thought about how much of my life I really control. There are days when I have total control of my life and can conjure up new opportunities just by thinking about them (kind of like "The Secret").

    There are other days when I think I have absolutely no control over my life, that everything is pre-ordained, some force in the universe is pushing me forward and I have no say over where I'm going.

    Most days I try and strike a balance between these two extremes, and think I have some control, but not total control.

    Is there a force that intervenes in our affairs? Luck? God? Or do we control them subconsciously? How much of our existence can we really take responsibility for?
     
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  2. ZenCat

    ZenCat Waving Sage

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    I too try to strike a balance, King. I think that's the healthiest thing, if you can achieve it. Much of the past 2 years I have come to realize that I feel as though I have very little control over my life (which has a great deal to do with my husband's job). I'm trying to stick it out, and make as much of it mine as I can... but it's hard sometimes.
     
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  3. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    The Order of Shai Gar holds that the more understanding we have about the society around us, the environment around us and our selves, the greater control we can have over ourselves. The more we are able to control ourselves (not abstinence, but control), the more we are able to control our entire lives.

    The aim of TOoSG is to control our entire lives from moment of awakening to the end of our lives.

    Since I AM Shai Gar, That's obviously my belief. We can control our entire lives, if only we understand that we can never allow others to have any control over it.
     
  4. ZenCat

    ZenCat Waving Sage

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    This post looks suspiciously like advertising to me...
     
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  5. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    Oh no, I'm elucidating the beliefs of my religion :)
     
  6. FC3S

    FC3S Community Member

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    ENTPs also have the unique ability to make a deal with their conscience. They can successfully justify almost any wrong doing, thus ensuring that they will sleep well at night.
     
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  7. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    hahaha, ayup.
     
  8. FC3S

    FC3S Community Member

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  9. OP
    KingOfSpades

    KingOfSpades Community Member

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    A lot of eastern traditions emphasize cultivating awareness in our daily lives as a way of "gaining control" -- although what they mean by control is probably a bit different than the way someone raised with traditional Western norms may experience.

    Awareness -- learning to observe, learning to question -- is indeed helpful. The days in which I feel I have total control are the days I tend to be more aware. However, there are definitely those days where it does seem that something -- call it Fate, or God, or Luck -- has intervened in a way that I just can't explain.

    A few years back I was seriously out of luck with regards to work. I had been looking for a good job for years -- years -- and had bounced between different things never really liking anything. On a whim, I went to a function my company was hosting and ran into someone I knew from grade school. We exchanged emails, and got some lunch a few weeks later, and suggested I interview at his place, where I remain, years later (although not 100% content, funny how that works!!). But I had literally searched everywhere for a job. If I hadn't gone to that one function just on a random whim, that whole series of triggers would never have happened. Did I subconsciously create that opportunity? Did that opportunity arrive on its own accord? I'm sure we all have similar experiences in life....
     
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  10. slant

    slant Ruboobie

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    Nobody can have control of their life, at least the external part. There are things out of our control, such as political movements, religions, what other people choose to do and in what ways the effect us which we cannot completely control. Like a rock climber, we prepare for the predictable mishaps such as falling rocks and make sure we have our footing, but there is not much we can do other than that.

    What we do control is our own behaviours and thoughts. I realize that my attitude towards life is completely shaped towards what I want it to be like. I can interpret an event any way I want to. If a stranger flips me off, I can choose to react with the pre-programmed angry response, or I can choose not to react at all. You are in charge. Of course, such a tight leash on emotions and feelings can be self-destructive if you don't have an activity that releases them. Everyone has their own 'hobby' that works for them.

    How much control do we have over our lives? A small fraction. But it's molding that sliver into what we want it to be that is our challenge in life.
     
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  11. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    You can choose where you live, How you live, the people you influence and how others influence you. Religions are just people who can be talked around to your point of view if you talk good enough.

    That's what life is, people, history is the conversations and results of the conversations of people.
     
  12. FC3S

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    You have potential control over what you are aware of.
     
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  13. OP
    KingOfSpades

    KingOfSpades Community Member

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    I hear what you're saying, but to take an extreme example, I don't have control over whether a meteor hits the Earth. That's one end of the spectrum. Then you go down the sliding scale to the other end -- control over your physical body I suppose? There's a whole lot of life that happens in between. And, I suppose, a person who believed in total control would argue that we have control over that meteor.

    But do you have control, say, whether the country's leader declares war on someone else?

    Can you control your health? Can you control whether you get cancer or not? Go bald?

    Can you control the weather?

    Etc etc. I don't have answers to these, just thoughts about what it means to control things, to control life.

    In Zen, there's a famous koan -- If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? There's not supposed to be an answer, but the point of the koan (or at least how I interpret it) is that our perceptions affect our reality. There's that whole paradox in quantum physics where if you observe a particle in motion, you affect its trajectory (something like that, I could be way off!!). I haven't decided whether we have total control over our lives and our reality, but if that's the case, then surely we must possess some skill to "bend" reality to what we want it to be.
     
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  14. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    I said until the end of your life. You'd have controlled your life up to that point and your life would be the end result of how you wished to live it.

    Anonymously assassinate the leader. Also assassinate anyone else who tries to lead your country to war against your will... Or change countries.

    Excluding genetic disorders, yes.

    Depends on where the cancer develops. I don't believe that anyone under the age of 30 (in developed nations) should be allowed access to medical treatment for skin cancer, or lung cancer (if developed from smoking) or any other preventable diseases because there has been constant warnings and public service announcements informing you to wear a long sleeved shirt, put on skin cancer and wear a wide brimmed hat (baseball caps and beanies just don't cut it).

    Most cancer is preventable depending on lifestyle choices.

    There are new medical advancements to help that. Hair Implants.

    Your life is not The Universe. You can control your life and how you react to anything, you can read meteorological histories and predictions of every part of the globe, you then can choose where to live based on that.
     
  15. IndigoSensor

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    I try to have as much control over my life as I possiblly can. Of course, there is going to be many things out of my control, or kinds of divine planing. I just have to trust it is all happening for a reason, and that usually gets me through it, and proves to be true :)
     
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  16. OP
    KingOfSpades

    KingOfSpades Community Member

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    Can you control your death? Someone I knew (not very well) a few years back was hit by a car one day as she was going to class and died. Was that in her power to control? There's a part of me that says yes; there's a part of me that says no.

    Maybe I haven't explained myself well enough. I struggle to understand that gray area where chance plays a role. We all have experiences where our lives were altered because of "fate", "god", "chance," however you want to define it. My question is whether or not we, in fact, have control over those events which seem random yet definitely impact us, or whether or not there is really a force out there that we can't control which influences us.

    I gave that example earlier about my job and what not......people have millions of other examples I'm sure (how they met their spouse would be a common one I would guess)

    Re genetic disorders, I think that's an important point. You excluded control over that, but there is a huge debate in science concerning how much control we have over our genes (the "nature/nurture" stuff). Some people think we have a great deal of control whether our genes are activated for a certain purpose; other people don't think we have any control at all.

    I totally agree that we have no control over the thoughts of others, the actions of others, and I agree with you (and Shai Gar) that we are in total control of our responses.

    I guess I look back over my life so far and do see moments where random chance -- or even an intentional force that I can't explain -- played some role in affecting my life. I hesitate to just write that off.
     
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  17. mankycustard

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    Not one of us controls where or what we are born into. That is the main reason that I believe we do not have nearly as much control over our lives as we think we do. Behaviour patterns are built up from the earliest years that we are on this planet and I believe there is so much of our lives that depends on that environment.

    I trained to become a ballet dancer and my life was absolutely about control. I had a good physique for dance and I was convinced that if I worked as hard as possible then I would naturally become a dancer. I was willing to work 10 hour days and push my body to the limit. I was doing well but I had not realized that I was working against an autoimmune muscle disorder. When I reached the stage of having almost no control over my body, I learned a huge, massive lesson. It is not until you cannot use your muscles that you realize how many there are!! I've also had cancer issues and so your comments Shai just seem completely ignorant to me. I was incredibly health conscious and very, very fit. My life has been absolutely pulled apart by many things (mainly my health issues) that were totally out of my control. I know first hand that when you do not have your health, you don't have much control at all.

    I do think we can influence our lives and do a lot to help ourselves find some happiness but I do not think there is such a thing as controlling everything about our lives.
     
  18. slant

    slant Ruboobie

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    What you seem to be describing seems somewhat spiritual in nature.
    I just have troubles accepting religious, spiritual, and scientific beliefs because even with Science where there is proven 'evidence', the fact of the matter is that the reason Science, Math, English and Religion were invented were to keep up preoccupied, to keep a certain order. If we did not have these things to agree with, disagree with [ basically consume us] there would be nothing. But I cannot rightfully agree with any of them knowing that they are just devices designed to captivate our attention and put 'meaning' in life.
     
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  19. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    Yeah she was in control of that. I could show you how, but you'd need to tell me how she died? Was she Jaywalking? Crossing at a Zebra Crossing and not looking both ways before crossing? Did the car chase her down a dead end alley and then slam her into the wall?
     
  20. OP
    KingOfSpades

    KingOfSpades Community Member

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    I'm so sorry to hear about your health problems. I've been seriously ill once or twice and the world seems to stop for that period. I agree we're instilled very early on with patterns on how to interact with the world, and we build on those patterns in forming our personality. While very tough, I tend to thing it might be possible to change those patterns (but because we've used them for our entire lives, we hesitate to do so...). I don't think I've ever changed a pattern about myself though. I'm much less angry than when I was a kid though.

    I think it's fair to categorize my question as spiritual, but I'm not proposing whether the answer is necessarily spiritual. That's why I submitted it for discussion :) Science, too, explores the realm of the random in a variety of ways.
     
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