The Pillars Of Personal Autonomy

Personal autonomy has four pillars. They are Writing, Reading, Dissimulation, Rejection.

Writing and Reading are the two sides of the same coin. An accomplished reader – this is she who enjoys fiction (non-fiction is irrelevant) and is able to reflect on her enjoying it – might just as well have written the fiction she is reading, that is if she had the requisite skills (skills as in map reading skills, financial modeling skills, car driving stills, etc.). An accomplished reader, she who construes and constructs what she reads as she reads it, does not need to write. On a personal level, Writing and Reading are the only relevant activities in a person’s life. Only literary fiction counts, self-absorbed, self-centred, autonomous literary fiction. Children’s, teen and young adult books, phantasy, horror, suspense, adventure, romance, SciFi, etc., they don’t. Not towards Writing and Reading as pillars of autonomy anyway. But children’s, teen and young adult literature will build autonomy in persons in those age groups, as may, if likely to a limited extent only, phantasy etc. in persons who absent such writing would not be reading at all.

Dissimulation includes everything related: ambiguation, fabulation, pretense, lying and posing. No person is under an obligation, to anyone, morally or otherwise, to be honest about anything about herself, to show who she really is (if there is such a thing as “being who you really are”), to disclose her name, her age, her face, her character (if there is such a thing as character), her past or her intentions. On the contrary, an autonomous person confidently leads a life of resolute concealment, relentless ambiguation, and energetic dissimulation. Confidently, because anyone claiming that a person should be honest about herself advances an ethically unsound position.

Rejection is a continuous process. The past, each past second, is to be rejected. Authority must be rejected. Beliefs, creeds and convictions must be rejected. As must emotions. Everything that went before is to be rejected (but not to be forgotten, ignored or disregarded). The dead don’t exist (just as death doesn’t exist to the autonomous life). Nothing of what lies behind is in want of our respect or mourning or requires our condemnation or denunciation. Everything must be rejected and the mind only occupied with the accumulation of everything in the actual moment, most of all: our morality.

Those who find they lack any of the pillars of personal autonomy shall not despair. There is no moral quality or virtue to being an autonomous person. And, even if it is likely that the person writing this has thought a lot more about things than you have, it is still only that person writing it.

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