“I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, ‘Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence that you know.’ So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say.”
— Ernest Hemmingway
I like Ernest Hemmigway’s idea. It’s intriguing that we humans can become so overloaded with information or options that we become paralyzed. As our ancestors had limited data, we have not yet adapted to filter the mass into the crucial.
It’s a really hard problem, with so many different variables and value structures playing into each other. Any time we choose some goal, we must justify it, and then justify the justification. In the end, it all falls apart to whim and the nature of fun and the inner animal.
We choose the things we do, and we solidify their values in our neural patterns when we replay them day after day. Values themselves must be chosen, though. Even animal desires of hedonism request some authority, but thinking machines have no authority, they are what they choose.
If you choose to be a saint, you are. It’s not about fighting desires, however. For instance, to abolish sin within your mind, you must understand the causes and impulses, understand them from their point of view.
Understanding lets you break from impulses, because on some level they aren’t in line with your grander goals of life, and that’s where the mental suffering comes from. It’s not about fighting fire with fire, it’s about understanding the fire then adding water and removing fuel.
We human apes have an extraordinary brain, capable of self-reflection and rededication toward a new end.
We are nothing but our choices.
What will you choose?