Update: December, 2016: Aliki has now finished her studies in the UK and has returned to Cyprus. She is currently employed at a financial firm and working towards achieving her certification in Chartered Accounting. We communicate on a frequent basis.
Post based on my original article of December 7, 2010.
Response to my daughter Aliki’s, 19, Facebook post, (aka “Jessica Garland”) – click here for the original post, which is at the bottom of this post.
“So, who are you?”
I know for sure you are NOT Jessica Garland, and I am asking you to believe me. You are Aliki Poullis, and that’s the truth.
Come out, and fear not. You are not a failure! And you are not alone!
Just by asking these questions you are positioning yourself way ahead of “the game”. You are on the right track. Don’t give up now!
This thing the “blind faith” you brought up is quite magical; it comes with practice. Falling down, getting up, bouncing left right and center, again “UP”, and so on.
At the end of it all it becomes clear: “YES”, it would be wise for other people to have blind faith in your own words, BUT only when you have developed integrity, validity, firmness, consistency, thoroughness. Study and learn these words well. And when you have demonstrated that you have created work – your OWN work.
Renowned people asking for your opinion would be yet another sign that you deserve “blind faith”. For example, I for one, for these reasons, and many more, I have blind faith to my mentor, Uncle Antonis, whom your mother rushed to shoot-down, concurring with my mother and everyone else in my extended family. (Although directly unrelated, understanding “why” people in general like to shoot-down such a person will reveal many truths. More on that later.)
There is no destination. Only the Journey matters. Study the poem “Ithaka” by Konstantinos Kavafis – some of the answers you seek are in there already.
Admitting you were wrong is not a tragedy. On the contrary, it’s a huge blessing! It’s a great virtue for anyone, and it takes courage. It takes guts and this is a very enviable trait to have! I am so proud of you!
You are wondering whether it’s the worst tragedy to never realize that you are wrong. That’s a fallacy. If you never realize you are wrong, it means you still think you are right. So, I guess you are referring to how OTHERS view you. Think of a drunken man. In his state he thinks he is happy, but you and I both know this is not necessarily true. So, how others view you seems to affect how you view yourself. Think about this thoroughly.
Reaching the existential questions you are asking means you have reached an important milestone; a deadlock. It’s time to regroup, go back in time, start filling the gaps and move forward on solid ground. It will take some research, and some fighting with megatone explosions, inside of you and outside. My own life is proof that not only this is doable, but it is immensely rewarding too, once you cross on the other side.
How do you define “failure”? Try to rationalize this. Ask yourself: “Who is a failure”. Then, see if you have the characteristics of such a person. You grew up in not-the-best of circumstances, yet you studied successfully during your teenage years, you finished a tough school, you passed university examinations, and you are now receiving higher education in the UK. You may have lonely moments – everyone does – but you are not alone. This is your first time away from home but you have friends around you who respect you and long to spend time with you. And you dare question yourself, and most importantly, you have bravely begun to question others too! This points to many other very important things, but “failure” it is not.
So, why exactly are you a failure? Think in terms of your expectations at this point of your life. What else would you need to have, so that you stopped calling yourself “a failure”? Try to point the finger to exactly what you feel is lacking. This exercise will prove very revealing to you.
As you pointed out, others want you to feel that way. “Looking back I realized that for a long period of time people defined me as a failure and I allowed myself to believe them and feel like a failure” is what you wrote. In due time those people will pay for the pain and agony they inflicted on you.
But for now, the important thing is to discover why you allowed yourself to believe you are a failure. What need are you fulfilling by not standing-up? What virtue do you lack before you can fight and how do you acquire it? Who or what stops your progress? What’s in it for them, and what is your cost? Do they even know that they have harmed you in the past, and that they keep on harming you? Do they have their own fights to fight perhaps? Are their own fights even relevant to the suffering they have caused you? In other words, should you even care that they tortured you because of their own internal conflicts? What were their motives then, and what are their motives now? Read this again, until you understand what I am saying.
Believe those who tell you the truth. “But how can I tell who is telling me the truth?” you will ask. Well, then, when it comes to the Truth don’t learn it from others, so you escape this predicament! Find out on your own. (On your way, watch for illusions, as even your senses may deceive you. You MUST use rational thinking.) Then, you would know whom to believe and whom not to, by means of believing those who tell you the truth, which you would know already. The Truth is a measuring stick. Read this again, until you understand it well.
A clarification: When we talk about the Truth, don’t think in terms of a soap-opera like, for example, the ones Cypriots view in Cyprus television! Such scripted “drama” is merely for massive consumption. People take-in and associate with anything that speaks about themselves, their own fears, their own “fights” and “defeats”, their wishful thinking, their own dreams and their own unanswered questions, both on the surface and at the core of their existence.
So, things like “my dad cheated on my mother”, and “my dad never cared about me” are soap-opera material and have little to do with reality, your quest for answers and your lifelong Journey about the Truth. Inevitably however, you must pass through even such material and study exactly why people behave in certain ways. That’s what you begun studying about your own self in your writing – so your quest for the Truth passes through your study of why and how people behave and act, as well as what is the effect of the environment on that behavior and actions.
In antiquity, Socrates first questioned “conventional wisdom”, and defended the idea of absolute truth with his own life. To this day, although science has progressed and is now providing many accurate measuring sticks, people still question the Truth because it suits them this way. It’s a cover-up for their own fears. Accepting the truth is hard work and people are lazy! Defining Truth at will, and devising Olympian gods is the easy way out, which only provides short-term gratification.What you want and need instead is long-term consistency and answers to important questions about yourself and about the environment around you. Such knowledge will show you the Way, bring you peace and allow you to start creating. Others die and never reach this stage, still believing in “Olympian gods”.
In your quest use rationalization and physical properties, because these are unmistaken. (For example, distance, time, temperature, color, speed, etc.) Not even under emotional stress one can question them. The hard part is to evaluate those things we *cannot* measure (yet). If there was a “pain-meter” or a “love-meter” (these are just examples) things would be much simpler. In your quest for the Truth trust your senses (but not entirely), and trust what is measurable, but not your feelings just yet. They can be deceiving.
Note that I am not asking you to agree with me. There is nothing to agree with, because I am talking about Nature, not ideas, not unproven theories. That’s the beauty about this thing, “the Truth”, as well as “Cause and Effect”, and “Before and After”. They are all unquestionable, Primordial, Universal principles. They are veils that cover ourselves, and others, and everyone else. Nothing and nobody can escape. This is a good thing! Think of the Truth as “a Protector”. Once you have discovered the Truth you will feel safe. No one can challenge you, because – by definition – no one can challenge the Truth. Think this through.
So, I am not asking you to agree with me, because there is nothing to agree with me here. However, I am asking you to please try to UNDERSTAND what I am writing. Without understanding my sentences, you will not be able to process them. If you don’t understand what I am writing it will be as if I have not written these lines at all. And your admission that you have allowed yourself to believe others that you are a failure, as well as your incredibly brave public admittance that you have been wrong where you thought you were right, would be in vain. (By the way, the subject matter of your admittance is not important. It might have been about issues with your friends. Or maybe about issues with your family in Cyprus. Or maybe about me. It’s not important at this very point.)
There is no “quick fix”, princess. Finding the answers can be a lifelong Journey, and that’s the beauty of it all! You want to MAKE it a lifelong Journey. We cannot choose and we cannot define on our own what is Right and what is Wrong. Nature has already done that. The discovery of how this is done, and with what processes, is what’s important and what is part of the Journey. Human Law is just an attempt to organize things and create a common rule, so that chaos in societies is averted. It is far from being an accurate pointer to Right and Wrong. (If this was the case, there would be no court appeals.)
Small steps. Building on what you know already, and moving on.
Read what de-facto-trustworthy people have to say. It is critically important that you study “Our Internal Conflicts”, by Karen Horney, ISBN 0-393-30940-1.
For a multitude of reasons, also read Rebecca Fada et alia: “We have found the culprit – Stone him to death!” off my personal blog. Study and understand the whole thing. What I wrote and why. What subject or subjects am I dealing with. Most importantly, whom did I REALLY write and published this for. It’s quite long, so plan your time accordingly.
You are on your Way.
If you were near, I would kiss you goodnight. Every night. Just like I kiss your little sister.
But you ARE near…
I love you, and I am here!
December 7, 2010
[ORIGINAL POST ON FACEBOOK, BY ALIKI POULLIS, AKA” JESSICA GARLAND”]
writing after a really long time…
by Jessica Garland on Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at 12:56pm
I’m wondering about right and wrong, truth and lies, happiness and unhappiness. Can someone define these words? And if there is a person on this entire planet that actually can, would it be wise to believe him? Do you ever stop and imagine if these words actually exist or if there are just illusions of your mind? Is it possible that what’s right for me is wrong for you or the other way around? If that’s the case, then how can we be 1, how can we be united? Maybe every man is on his own. Maybe we actually leave this world the way we came in to it: alone. Maybe we live in this world alone as well. Or, maybe, its the other way around. Maybe you are not alone. Maybe right and wrong actually exist. Maybe you just have to search long enough and deep enough to find them. After that you can define them as well. If you can, would it be wise for someone to believe you and have blind faith in the words he finds in you?When your destination is reached, you will find others there too. And as the time goes by, more and more people will join you. That’s when you’ll realise you are not alone. You were never alone. It was all in your mind, in the stupid version of you.Open your eyes. Remember where you are coming from. Let change come but not forget who you were. Really, who are you? Do you really know? Possibly not. The biggest tragedy is when you think you know something and you are right for something just to realise that you were wrong. Or even worse, never realise it at all.So, who are you? Where are you coming from? Where are you now? Where are you heading to? Take a deep look at the mirror. WHO ARE YOU? Is the person looking back at you, who you want to be, meant to be, have to be? Is the person looking back at you the person you really are? Or did someone else defined you? Look back. Where are you coming from? Looking back I realised that for a long period of time people defined me as a failure and I allowed myself to believe them and feel like a failure. Then i realised that feeling as a failure made me actually behave like one. So, if someone claims to have all the answers, would it be wise to believe them? I say no. Listen, but not believe. Eventually you will find your way if you could just open your eyes. Open your eyes. Keep them wide open and See. Open your Eyes. You are here. You are time. You are illusion. You are hope. You are truth. You are lies. You are right. You are wrong. You are the beginning. You are the end. You are life. You are death. You are darkness. You are light. You are everything. Would it be wise for you to believe me? So, who are you?