Capable Capable
Capable Capable

Achieving our country

America is a unique experiment in a possibility based on nothing more absolute than its civilized vision to secure the blessings of liberty, equality and justice through the principles of liberal democracy.

However, achieving our country depends on all of us practicing responsible autonomy and core to this practice is each individual’s judiciously managed transformational refinement of the subrational responsiveness to which we are all subject.

Certainly, we all want others to accept America’s transformational terms. Unless we all temper our selfish and brutal instincts, how will any of us feel secure?

Yet, a land wherein responsible autonomy is practiced by all does not come easily. As are we, those others we expect to maximize the quality and integrity of their autonomy are set in their ways. Additionally, our competent and creative responsiveness to life’s challenges is sorely limited by our psychologistically conditioned programming.

Though declared by the law of the land to be autonomous—in control of our behavior, and though our ego has us convinced that our perspective is right and true, many of us have little practical control over or dedication to any refined behavior that is not motivated by our narrowly determined self-interest.

Moreover, many of us are not really looking to improve our autonomy. Our certainties, our prejudices, our apathies, our vanities, our willingness to take advantage of others, all make perfect sense to us. In other words, for the most part, we make our choices and decisions based not on our freedom and fairness but on the patterns of our determinism.

This is why we have chosen to study the art of autonomy and life, a discipline at once contemplative and pragmatic. It has us come to terms with our existence and finitude and to accept responsibility for the transformation of our subrational responsiveness.

In service of achieving our country, we are intent upon learning to manage our autonomy and life by relating our behavior to America’s transformational terms, aligned as we are with its historical civilized vision. 

We recognize the need to satisfy the demands made on our ego-function to insert ourselves into the civilized world and point to ourselves as we do it and to represent responsible autonomy as the central standard of national cohesion.

This active contribution to a humane society of our transformed responsiveness also produces a very private reward. In the light of life’s expansive possibility, our inability to transform ourselves often means that we uncontrollably and compulsively talk to ourselves and suffer over it. We dwell on the felt experience of a small and petty life even as we fashion a narrative that blames others for our disappointments. 

When we learn, though, to temper the antagonism and rivalry common to the intensely competitive environment in which we live, i.e., when we take responsibility for who we are, something extraordinary happens. As the transformational refinement begins to reshape our lives, horizons of opportunity present themselves. The suffering manifested in talking to ourselves disappears.

Are you open to developing your autonomy? Here's a plan of action! Examine our website  If you find it interesting, do the Retreat Workshop. Thank you for your interest. I appreciate it.  

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