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Thread: Being vs. Doing

  1. #1

    Default Being vs. Doing

    I wasnt sure whether to post this in this part of the forum or the psychology one, I read a while back about Eric Fromm's dichotomy between being and doing and his belief that social character was trapped in the doing mode, which could wind up making people neurotic since they couldnt relax and experience being at rest without experiencing a feeling of anxiety, experiencing and being cognizant (spelling) of all the marginal costs or trade offs in terms of time, effort or money, all the time.

    Now I post this right now because I'm experiencing this a little right now, I'll watch a film or enjoy a book but then wonder what I'm meant to be doing, when I'm not meant to be doing anything, I think the suspiscion that I could or should be spending my time better or differently has entered into my unconscious and is showing up as emotions, ie anxiety or unease, and thoughts, wondering what I should be doing.

    In part it could be because I've began to become precious about my leisure time and trying to balance commitments or obligations but I wondered if anyone had experienced anything like this and how they overcame it themselves. Its not particularly troubling, I'm not unhappy but its not the good life if you know what I mean.

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    I think we really do judge ourselves by over how much we "do" ... as if the value of our lives is based on what we accomplish. For people locked in that pattern, it's an unstable existence and sometimes you just have to step away and value living and yourself just because you're alive.

    (I think some people have the opposite problem. They sort of short-change themselves and others because they don't really do squat... or they just do what they feel like without any larger vision.)
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  4. #4

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    Good link Slippy, cheers, that's a good point Jennifer, I think there are those two extremes and its how you exist without being drawn into either of them.

    When I examine what's going on in my social centre, everyone's 30+ a tipping point has been reached were more people are marrying and settling in one place than not and experiencing a kind of Gullivar effect with more ties to place and purpose than not there's people who're complaining about being in a rut, wanting to move house, job, do flexible working, travel, combine all three, to be honest I feel like I swing between envying them and being happy I have less golden hand cuffs than they do.

    I think its tied into the whole dilemma about simply being versus doing and accomplishing, the funny thing is that what it takes to be or feel accomplished is a little funny because when I reflect upon it there's a lot of things done for symbolic purposes which dont add much to things (someone I know went off track on a third world holiday, they were almost kidnapped and had to return home early because they got an intestinal parasite which threatened their health and future ability to work, to me that shit, though they insisted that had they not had this experience they'd have felt like they "hadnt lived").

    I meet the opposite extreme through work, people who wouldnt go to the end of the road or fill out pass port applications because its too much like work, too much of a challenge to be bothered with. I think there is a class and family dynamics thing to it.

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    What I am, is a ghost. What I do, is haunting you!
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    That's a lesson that took me a very long time to learn. I always felt I had to justify my existence. Finally it sunk in that I am a child of the Universe and I have a right to be here. (That's a quote from an old hippie thing called Desiderata.) Notice it says "a right to BE here." Just be.

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    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I meet the opposite extreme through work, people who wouldnt go to the end of the road or fill out pass port applications because its too much like work, too much of a challenge to be bothered with. I think there is a class and family dynamics thing to it.
    Lark do you go on vacation? That seems way off topic-but bouncing off your passport comment, I notice I dont. I never have. Planning the vacation is a lot of work and money. But, funny, I dont feel like I am missing out greatly.

    Maybe because I have no Se, I just dont feel like I have to "experience" new things to appreciate them. I can just imagine them. It's often enough for me to visit a new place and just pick up a rock or shell from a beach on a business trip-then I take piece of that place with me. So I guess I am more "being"???

    I will enthusiastically explore the unexplored, but more for the pure novelty-not for a sense of accomplishment or achievement. The journey is important-so I can enjoy the journey by sitting on the sidewalk with my toddler and playing with chalk and be satisfied.

    Yeah, i am so not on topic...Sorry!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I think we really do judge ourselves by over how much we "do" ... as if the value of our lives is based on what we accomplish. For people locked in that pattern, it's an unstable existence and sometimes you just have to step away and value living and yourself just because you're alive.

    (I think some people have the opposite problem. They sort of short-change themselves and others because they don't really do squat... or they just do what they feel like without any larger vision.)
    Exactly. At the risk of sounding pat, it's important to strike a balance. All doing, all the time, and you may as well be a robotic forklift scurrying about a warehouse. All thinking and no doing, and the thoughts of all of the great philosophers would have been lost to us.

    (I think it's important to have hobbies that, in addition to being relaxing, aid your greater vision, though.)
    Dost thou love Life? Then do not squander Time; for that's the Stuff Life is made of.

    -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, June 1746 --

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Orobas View Post
    Lark do you go on vacation? That seems way off topic-but bouncing off your passport comment, I notice I dont. I never have. Planning the vacation is a lot of work and money. But, funny, I dont feel like I am missing out greatly.

    Maybe because I have no Se, I just dont feel like I have to "experience" new things to appreciate them. I can just imagine them. It's often enough for me to visit a new place and just pick up a rock or shell from a beach on a business trip-then I take piece of that place with me. So I guess I am more "being"???

    I will enthusiastically explore the unexplored, but more for the pure novelty-not for a sense of accomplishment or achievement. The journey is important-so I can enjoy the journey by sitting on the sidewalk with my toddler and playing with chalk and be satisfied.

    Yeah, i am so not on topic...Sorry!
    I dont think you're off topic and I'd be similar, although sometimes I like to put the work in organising a trip or tour just so when I'm on it I can think, yeah, did the work now I have the reward.

    What I was trying to convey was the sort of apathy, it wouldnt just be failure to have the will to organise but failure to even imagine or want to imagine anything different or novelty per se.

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    I am happy just being me, relaxing and doing nothing. But too much isn't good for me. I get in a funk after a while and mope.

    So I like to do 'not-doing' as relaxing down-time. But not all of my time.
    Doing and achieving things makes me happy too.

    I guess it's about finding that balance; not letting the pendulum swing too far.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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