A MODERN AND WORLDLY PERSPECTIVE
Capable Capable
Capable Capable

Author the life you are naturally fit to live
Arnold Siegel —March 9, 2020

As you know, the philosophic art of autonomy and life is an inspired and inspiring way of knowing and engaging the world. It addresses what it means to be individually in possession of your life, and It provides a discipline in the process of authoring the author of your life. Why? So you can lead a life of your own design—one that is a better fit for who you are.  

Of course, knowing who you are is critical to being autonomous. Importantly, our philosophy helps you to know who you are. It places self-knowledge and self-possession in a recursive relationship. Helping you to master this relationship has always been our goal. 

Self-possession is a stand, too, a philosophic stand that must be reinvented, renewed and reinvigorated over and again as it meets resistance. Resistance from within—our own hard wiring, habits and inertia. Resistance from without—competing claims about what is meaningful and important. And resistance from circumstances themselves—electrical outages, phishing emails, unexpected financial downturns, etc. 

Self-possession also demands a particular kind of practice—systematic, incremental and repetitive practice that, in due course and overtime, shows up as valued qualities of character, for example, receptivity and grace, timeliness and style, refinement and effectiveness, appreciation, courage and resilience. This coming together of sensibility and emotional resource empowers our ability to author the life we are naturally fit to live. 

If being individually in possession of your life meant nothing more than sensing and acting in accordance with your personal nature, we’d not have a civilization, would we? Moreover, the license to do whatever we felt like doing whenever or wherever we felt like it probably gets old soon. 

Clearly, our perspective is not on autonomy and life in isolation. We are addressing autonomy in its form as situated in America. We are subjected to a very demanding environment that manifests a socially constructed autonomous subject together with its transcendental authority, emancipated mind and its efforts to live a life of its own design. We are constructed this way not because of a divine plan but because the autonomous subject is the responsible identity on which pivots the course of individual life as well as the course of the nation. 

Our philosophy, designed as I said, to help you to master the relationship between self-knowledge and self-possession, takes place on the creative edge of ontological transition and is a radical shift in the emancipated mind. What do I mean by ontological transition? Ultimately, this is a philosophy of the transformation of the human being into America’s autonomous subject. Our philosophy would have us act in recognition of the constitutionally sourced subjection of our citizenship while at the same time recognizing that the authorship of life begins with the authorship of the author. Indeed, the manifestation of our autonomy is an entirely natural process and our nature is the agent of our authorship.

Given the variability of nature among individuals, mastering the philosophic art of autonomy and life is not to say any life is ours for the asking. Indeed, the point is to pursue authoring the life you are also naturally fit to live. The engine driving the authorship of your life is not only your wielding of the principled mechanism of America’s autonomous subject but also the mechanism of your nature. That is, critical to the authorship of your life is the matter of taking responsibility for utilizing your natural fitness, e.g., your physiological and cognitive capacities, as a means of leverage. Follow the form of autonomy in America and let your nature lead the way.

Not least, the likelihood of achieving satisfaction with the authorship of your life, in your own mind, is a matter of coming to understand that who you are is one of us, despite your unique singularity. Then again, with this understanding in place, it is a matter of matching skills, experience and natural fitness with the operative demands of the functions with which you are engaged. Trying to skillfully fit to a purpose with a nature inadequate for the function is an example of attempting to author the life you are not naturally prepared to live. Instead, I think you will find love, meaning, belonging and contribution in this philosophic art. It asks you every day to address how the emancipated mind must struggle with itself in order to be individually in possession of the life for which it is responsible, not only for its survival but also for its flourishing. 

Arnold Siegel is the founder of Autonomy and Life and the leader of its
Retreat Workshops and Advanced Classes.