Much of autonomy and life is about relieving this voice turned in on itself of its suffering. We do this by identifying ourselves with the concrete character in the story of our lives instead of with the unhappiness that attends the radically detached abstract character only psychologistically alive.
When this alienated voice, preoccupied only with itself, disappears, nothing is lost but the anger and despondency.
In fact, in the world, just as it is, we want to be heard, to detach ourselves from the painful, invalidating exiled-from-public-view conversation. Out here in the material world, we don’t want to be silent, inhibited, moody, suppressed. We want to bring ourselves forth as declaration. We want to stand for mercy over malice, kindness over cruelty, persistence over retreat, optimism over bad faith, care over indifference, tolerance over impatience, generosity over pettiness and solidarity over opposition.
Interestingly and happily, the practice of our values—the unique human products described above—is accompanied by activities in the brain that are emotionally rewarding. This is the kind of enlightening subjective experience that I mentioned earlier. It seems not felt, exactly, but rather “known,” appreciated, intuited, sensed.