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11 posts • Page 1 of 1
Running away from yourself;
Wherever you go, there you are...
You can't run away from yourself.. etc.
I've heard these cliches many times but I'm not sure what people mean by that. What is your take on this matter? Does it mean that you should not get away from dangerous or disadvantageous situations?
To me it sounds like victim blaming.
For example, I've never been running away from myself--I've been running away from bad people and bad places and those were the best decisions I'd made. Not always because I didn't do my homework and I ended up in even worse places, but it was not myself who was wrong,.
I refuse to believe that say, when a Vietnamese boat person leaves Communist VN, he is running away from himself. And that wherever he goes, there he is. Of course, there he is-- but the place is better with better opportunities.
What is your take on this matter?
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
Well, that's the fundamental issue this site is about. The deepest planted axiom of American life, going back at least to Ralph Waldo Emerson, who first articulated it (and said quite specifically that going abroad won't solve your problems -- you're still met with the "same stern fact and sad self"), is that the individual is in control of his destiny. Problems and opportunities all lie within you and your attitude. External factors are of no real account.
Most Americans believe this at the core of their being -- far more so than the people of any other nation. Since the thesis of this website is the opposite -- that changing external circumstances can make a world of difference -- we regularly get visitors to the site, such as devildog, who lay the American conventional wisdom on us and suggest that personal initiative and attitude are the only things holding us back.
To me, the issue is unresolved. I've spent quite a bit of time abroad and haven't been happier. I have quite a bit of life experience suggesting that your external circumstances generally are a reflection of your internal mindset. On the other hand, from a societal perspective, I think the axiom is rather insidious. Encouraged to think that they are the masters of their fate, Americans have become so depoliticized and disengaged from public life that they've allowed virtually all of their institutions to become completely corrupted.
I think as the above poster said, that the statement is meant to keep people in their country and if they have a problem, to only blame it on themselves. and that statement, typically, I hear Americans usually saying it because Americans will typically blame themselves for their shortcomings or their peers will say that to that said person, that it's their fault for not achieving their goals. So, to many Americans, simply going abroad means their problems won't get solved (which is why many Americans doubt what Winston says about how many foreigners act in other countries).
However, when I am around actual Mexican nationals, typically they will tell me that if they have a problem, that it's ok to run away and go to a place where their opportunities will be better. That whole mindset of running away but you will never run from your own self is just basically saying in an indirect way that why should you run from the US when the US is the greatest thing ever. Just another of those types of ploys, and as I said, it's only Americans who say that shit.
This is unproven and unprovable.
Genocides, tsunamis, insidious and unfair discrimination that cripples people's lives are not proven to be "reflections of their mindset". The Armenian holocaust for one which involved horrendous rapes and murder of innocent children, etc were not a reflection of those people's mindset, was it now? If they were, that has to be proven.
And the Armenians went running like crazy from the Turks ( not themselves)-- some went to Lebanon, some went to Greece, etc. Should they have not run?
When I was moving to other countries my father would cynically say-
"you can't run away from yourself". But I was not running away from myself-- I was running away from a very bad ESL job market in the US and the dating market. Things did change when I moved.
My Dad used to call me a profligate and a big spender and why could I not save money, but he did not take into account the fact that he was living with my mother but I was living alone. So, they had two incomes and my mother was cooking for him so of course they were able to save more than me living by myself. Plus their taxes were lower to non existent as they were running a business and had huge write offs.
No mention of high rents in CA or high taxes was ever made by him.
When I moved to Saudi and/or Japan, immediately, my savings shot up because of lower taxes and a better job.
And my dating life changed once I moved to the Philippines. Again, it was not myself who was at fault.
The only thing that I would agree with as far as these axioms go is that :
1) If you are sick, then of course, if you move, the sickness will follow you. But again, even in those cases, a better climate takes care of the sickness. And moving to places where there are better surgeons and doctors will give you a better chance at recovery.
2) Your character does not change when you move-- if you are basically an angry person, then well, the anger often follows you wherever you go, but even then, not always, as you may generally still be happier and become less angry if you are surrounded by a friendlier society. If you are a worry-wart by nature, well arguably, that is hard to change. But again, if in that place you have a better religion then it will help you to worry less.
3) Karmically speaking, they say that if you go to this or that other place, your overall karmic "load/balance" will not change and you will still be balancing good and bad luck-- problems will just migrate into some other area i.e. you run away to the Philippines and find a nice girl there but then you will have bad luck with jobs and will have to move back to the US. This did happen to me. But only initially so.
While I'm a believer in karma, and the above may be true-- although I can't scientifically prove it-- we also have the ingenuity to fight karma and not accept it.
So, the above are theories and arguable axioms. They are not proven facts of life.
Can you imagine telling companies which are moving to China to save on labor costs- "you can't run away from yourself!"
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
It's a cliche statement which fits into the whole anglo cultural paradigm of encouraging people to keep a stiff upper lip, lower their head, and plow headlong into their problems no matter what sort of drudgery they have to endure. It's just a roundabout way of calling someone weak and implies they are running away from their personal issues if they don't conform to that. It doesn't take into consideration a person's lifestyle choices or ambitions.
Nazis also had a saying.."Arbeit Macht Frei" *Works makes you free It's not too different from that really.
The idea that you should dwell in a bad or mediocre situation and adapt to it for some elusive noble cause only makes sense if that is your best option out of many. Before the 19th century choices were limited for most people in the world even if you lived in a relatively prosperous colonial power like Great Britain. However, in the current century the freedom there is available to do what you want if you want to make your own reality.
I went to China, but now I'm in Malaysia. Looks like I'm running away from myself.
This theme was well explored in the Babylon 5 sci-fi series (season 3) where Dr Franklin runs away from himself, and eventually he finds himself.
I quit my boring cubicle slave job and now I'm Happier Abroad...
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Looks like you are running away from China-- or bad countries and looking for better places to live and work.
Ironically, if that is an Anglo trait, most Anglos are big on moving around and conquering the rest of the world- emigrating and populating continents. Can you imagine telling earlier American colonists conquering the West that" Oh, but you should stay in Boston, you're only running away from yourself".
It's just BS. Another way to brainwash people.
A brain is a terrible thing to wash!
My take: --- This saying relates to state-of-mind problems (boredom a/o neurosis), not physical threats like fire, starvation, tsunamis, crime, etc.
You might call them "first world problems".
Have you ever known someone who had their youth, health, looks, a roof over their heads, all the basics covered, yet they were still unhaaaaaaappy for no reason they could/would articulate?
Their misery is internal, not due to any external cause, therefore, they can't "run away" from it.
They crave and create drama to keep their own ennui at bay.
Pointing out all they have going for them only has the effect of them finding someone more sympathetic to their whinging.
There is no cure you can provide (while keeping your own sanity), and they don't really want one.
Ask divorced men about this.
не поглеждай назад.
"Even an American judge is unlikely to award child support for imputed children." - FredOnEverything
Well said! That pic is perfect to describe it too.
When is your latest trip report update coming?