Capable Capable
Capable Capable

Being at home in the world
Arnold Siegel —January 1, 2024

We want to be at home in the world. For many of us, we're not talking about the basic necessities of a roof over our head or food on the table. Here, we’re concerned with what it would look like, what it would think like, what it would feel like to be at home in the world. A matter of what it would be like for us to live with ourselves if we were at home in the world. 

However, whether we are particularly challenged or even if we’re not, we can find ourselves insecure, unfulfilled, dissatisfied, easily disturbed or ill at ease, i.e., unknown to ourselves misunderstanding what and who we are. As such, I believe that more than a few of us suffer a crisis of identity, a dispossession that begs for the attention of our ontology. An estrangement that calls for a paradigm-shifting philosophy to aid us with the authorship of our autonomy, thus the authorship of our life. 

Of course, to an extent we know how to be autonomous, albeit, not perfectly. But what is it that we know? What does it mean to be autonomous? What is it that we know how to be? To the degree that these questions remain unanswered, nor addressed and though we may search for “the answer” to being at home in the world in our practical lives, i.e., our families, friends, our work and hobbies, acquiring more stuff or downsizing to less, I believe the overarching and poignant experience of being at home in the world eludes us. 

Yet, if we better understood what it means to be required to live with our emancipated selfhood, the freedom given to us at birth to develop ourselves as the thinking, acting, speaking, listening and feeling author of our subjectivity, we would be set to know what we are and ultimately know who we are. Herein lies the key to being at home in the world. It lies in our taking up the challenge of personhood’s principled mechanism.

So, our concern is with the ontological refinement of the self, the means to develop the self-possession of the free individual in America. What is the self-possessed free individual? We refer to a new paradigm legally founded in 1789 with the ratification of the constitution, leaving king and cross out of the equation. This paradigmatic shift in identifying ourselves came about via America’s transformative experiment in emancipation, its liberal, democratic individualism, constitutional democracy and its self-possession. 

Dispossessed, we need know how we should govern ourselves, indeed, how we should know what we are and how we should know ourselves in our individuated character, i.e., who we are. As such, we look to center ourselves, not in our ego, but in the autonomy of the invented life-form of a monistically ordered principled person, i.e., a free individual who constitutes him or herself as a person who is its autonomy’s author. That is, we look to center ourselves in our knowing what and who we are. We look to create a life of our own design and experience being at home in the world. 

Our objective is to grasp disinterestedly the situation in which we find ourselves. To complete becoming the person we were given the form to be. Should we succeed with developing the self-possessed voice, mind, memory and consciousness of the principled person, it will get us half-way home with regulating our subjectivity to the satisfaction both of ourselves and the nation vis-à-vis its expectations of its citizens given its political experiment with liberal individualism and constitutional democracy. 

When we reference the authority of our philosophy it helps us to develop our functional responsibility for the authorship of our autonomy. Inclusive of its principled standpoint identity, this paradigm-shifting philosophy will support us with the intra- and intersubjectively realized independence of our agency, the morality of our character, the entrepreneurship of our autobiography, as well as the deliberativeness of our judgment and the progressiveness of our originality. 

Our virtuously intentional practice of authorial autonomy is the dynamic behavior that is key to our personal success with meeting the high bar of human behavior, i.e., to being a person of honor, courage and generosity; to be loving, kind, decent and compassionate with intimates; indeed, to be just, trustworthy and truthful. But it would also mean that we have a body and conditioning that enables living an autonomous life, i.e., to be the designer of our responses, to avoid victimization, to treasure no negativity, no hate and to practice no crime, no cruelty and no corruption.

The challenges are endless. Some are of the daily garden variety and some are of life itself. Yet, how we go about addressing those challenges will lead us to refining our sense of ourselves, our authentic ownership of ourselves, (to be the real thing) and ultimately, our rich and enduring experience of being at home in the world.

As we begin a new year, it is with hope, optimism and gratitude that I honor you and appreciate you in your effort to bring forth the substantive dimension of what and who we are. May you and those you hold dear have a very Happy New Year and a peaceful, productive, healthy and creative 2024!

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