Somewhere out there, there is a perfect system.
It can turn a hobo into a millionaire, if he wants it. It can turn a leper into a movie star, or a sinner into a saint. These things exist; they are out there, and if we will listen to them, sometimes, they will help us become better.
Currently it’s about Scott Belsky’s Making Ideas Happen, but before that it was Edward de Bono’s Tactics. Last year it might have been Shunryu Suzuki, or before that, Krishnamurti. The master may change but the interest does not. I imagine that’s the same for you, too. You’re very clear about what you want, but not how to get it.
We are deeply interested in methods, in strategies, that transform us into better versions of ourselves. If we knew of the one perfect system, we would take it. But we never can. In a way, that makes us seekers.
Michel Foucault first wrote about these in the eighties. He called them Technologies of the Self– methods that help us transform ourselves, polishing the self and turning it into something greater and more capable– as the early Christians would say, something worthy of God and most capable of doing His will. But the sentiment is universal, not religious– and that’s only one way it manifests itself.
We are all looking for our ideal selves. We don’t know how to reach it, or even who he is, but we know that he’s out there somewhere and that other people have become theirs, so we should be able to find ours, too.
Does any of us really know that it’s out there, though? Is it just a feeling? How do we know it’s real?