Capable Capable
Capable Capable

You are the promise of the new year

In 2017, America celebrates 228 years of its constitutionally grounded, democratic republic. Turning away from monarchy, separating church and state, electing representative leadership and lawfully organizing and monitoring its governing apparatus, America has built a great civilization, an economic, military and cultural Goliath.

Yet, we live at a time when the value of America’s democratically-realized, rule-based, communicative standards and norms—long declared to be among humanity’s most decent and ennobling commitments—is contested by a great many of us.

Still, it is not unusual for Americans to disagree with one another and what helps us to remain purposeful in challenging times is our commitment to our discipline and the voice of our autonomy.

Indeed, in privileged circumstances such as ours, we realize that disappointment, resentment, anger and fear are expressions of our determination. They can exhaust our emotional resources and compromise our ability to confront the realities of existence in a forthright manner.

But you are the promise of the new year. And as we ring in the new, in creative control of the subjective contents of our mind, we acknowledge our inescapable personal responsibility for choosing our outlook on the world, managing the integrity of the ego-function and giving honest expression to the struggle to have our lives matter, to make order and to care.

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