Read an Excerpt
Identities for Life and Death Forever Daily Message CalendarBased on the book Identities for Life and Death: Can We Save Us From Our Toxically Storied Selves?
By Robert J. Pellegrini
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Dr. Robert J. Pellegrini
All right reserved.
Chapter OneJanuary 1
When our identity is toxically, dehumanizingly storied, we play out our roles accordingly on the stage in the theater of real life. Such conduct, driven by diabolically death-oriented energy (a) nourishes our evil inner wolf, (b) is systemically detrimental to our body, mind, heart, and soul, and (c) causes within us an inescapably sick feeling of which we may be only minimally aware - having adapted to the effects of habitual engagement in such activity.
When our identity is creatively, humanizingly storied, we play out our roles accordingly on the stage in the theater of real life. Such conduct, driven by inspired, life-oriented energy (a) nourishes our good inner wolf, (b) is systemically beneficial to our body, mind, body, heart, and (c) causes an inescapable feeling of well-being within us, of which we may be only minimally aware - having adapted to the effects of habitual engagement in such activity.
A toxically-written self-script is one storied in such a way that heartbreak causes us to become bitter and callously dismissive of others' pain and suffering. Our own grief thus becomes food for our evil inner wolf, thereby poisoning us systemically in mind, body, heart, and soul.
A creatively-written self-script is one storied so as to accommodate the inevitability of heartbreak. No life is without the sadness of personal loss. The key to managing creatively such events, is to eventually accept them as humanizing experiences that strengthen our capacity for understanding of and compassion for others during their times of pain and suffering, and our inclination to help them during those times. Our own grief thus becomes food for our good inner wolf, thereby vitalizing us systemically in mind, body, heart, and soul.
When our thinking, the way we perceive the world, our feelings, and goal-directed actions follow from a sense that we are what we own, what we look like, what we wear, the people with whom we affiliate, the motor vehicle we drive, the place where we live, what we do and how well we do it, and so on, we are living our lives by a toxically-storied self-script. This sort of ego-oriented identity-defining narrative theme feeds our evil inner wolf.
When our thinking, the way we perceive the world, our feelings, and goal-directed actions follow from a sense of connectedness to God – the Source of all creative inspiration, and a drive to actualize to the fullest our potential to become and do all the best that we can be and do as we work to make the world a better place in our own way, we are playing out the role of a creatively storied self-script. This sort of spiritually and humanistically-oriented identity-defining narrative feeds our moral inner wolf.
In this context, dehumanizing individual or group identity-defining narrative themes are referred to as "toxic" insofar as they strangle development of human potential. Such themes are characteristic of the self type referred to here as "Deathism" insofar as they are death-oriented. The goal of this project is to weaken the influence of toxic, deathist narratives on the self-scripts of individuals and groups.
In this context, humanizing individual or group identity-defining narrative themes are referred to as "creative" insofar as they facilitate actualization of the potential for human beings to become and do all the best they can be and do. Such themes are characteristic of the self type referred to here as "Lifism" insofar as they are life-oriented. The goal of this project is to strengthen the influence of creative, lifist narratives on the self-scripts of individuals and groups.
The more we live our life by playing out the role of a toxically-storied self-script, the deeper the sense of emptiness, meaninglessness, hopelessness, and perhaps even despair we tend to experience. This means our inner evil wolf is winning.
The more we live our life by playing out the role of a creatively-storied self-script, the greater the sense of personal fulfillment, meaningfulness, hopefulness, and joy we tend to experience. This means our moral inner wolf is winning.
When we perform acts of kindness, accept others as they are and focus on becoming and doing the very best we can be and do to make the world a better place in our own way, we are playing out important themes in a creative identity-defining self-script. Thus enacting our role on the stage in the theater of real life feeds our good, moral inner wolf.
When we show patience, search for the good in people, act lovingly with unselfishly compassionate understanding toward people as a matter of routine, we are playing out the role of a creatively-storied self-script as we live our lives. This feeds our good, moral inner wolf.
Who are we? We are each and without exception, an embodiment of the potential to actualize our potential to become and do the very best or very worst of what we can be and do – for good or evil, respectively. By the choices we make, we nurture the actualization of our potential to be and do good or evil, as we feed and starve our inner wolves accordingly.
Whatever power we may have to determine how much of our potential we fulfill - for better or worse, for good or evil, we exercise through the choices we make in life. And the most significant such choices we will ever make in this regard, involve the story lines we choose to assimilate as our identity-defining narratives.
Perhaps the most significant step we can take toward taking control of our lives, is to remain persistently aware of how the choices we make in life are determined by the story lines we choose to assimilate as our self-scripts for the way we play out our roles in real life. And we are greatly advantaged in our quest to fulfill the very best of our human potential, by remaining persistently aware of the difference between toxic, death-oriented story lines and those that are creative, or life-oriented.
The book Identities for Life and Death evolved out of a number of philosophic principles. One of those principles is the humanistic idea that it is society's moral obligation to not just permit but to actively promote the development of every human being's potential to become and do all the best he or she can be and do, so as to help make the world a better place - each in his or her own way. Creative, humanizing self-scripts which feed our moral inner wolf, help us to grow our lives in such directions. Toxic, dehumanizing self-scripts strangle not only our potential to grow our own lives, but our capacity to help others grow their lives creatively.
Our experience is as much a function of what is inside us as it is a function of the environment outside ourselves. Our identity-defining narratives play a powerful role in affecting how we perceive the world, by operating like a set of cognitive filters through which we view the world. Those filters are woven out of our needs, wants, wishes, dreams, hopes, beliefs, fears, etc.
When we view the world through the prism of a toxically storied self, our thoughts, perceptions, feelings, and actions are dehumanizingly death-oriented and thus driven by and most responsive to motives and emotions like sadness, anger, hatred, resentment, bitterness, revenge, contempt and callously self-righteous contempt for others. When we view the world through the prism of a creatively storied self, our thoughts, perceptions, feelings, and actions are humanistically life-oriented and thus driven by and most responsive to motives and emotions like joy, love, forgiveness, and compassion for others.
To quote Shakespeare, "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players." And until the curtain comes down on the final act of the production in which we are cast on the stage in the theater of real life, there is time to revise the script by which we play out our roles.
The development of a life is all about choices. And the choices we make are powerfully determined by the story lines that shape our identity, and thus how we play out our roles in real life.
Who are we? We are mere mortals defined by self-scripts that prescribe for us to "get high" on narratives of life or death. Toxic self-scripts lead us to prefer the highs we can get from self-destructively addictive chemicals and activities. Creative self-scripts lead us to prefer the self-strengthening addictive euphoria that comes from helping to save, heal, and grow our own life and the lives of others.
A creative identity-defining narrative is one which incorporates an understanding that anger, hatred, resentment, and revenge are swords one wields by the blade.
Sylvester Stallone's movie character Rocky Balboa has become a legendary cinematic icon of what is referred to here as a creatively-storied identity. Here's a guy who has the heart, soul, courage, and stamina to persist against all odds to surmount the challenges he takes on to be and do the best he can be and do.
Need an uplift? Watch a Rocky film.
As a narrative to guide the process by which we choose just which story lines to assimilate as components of our destiny-shaping self-script, the following observation by British statesman Winston Churchill offers one representation of a creative, humanistically-oriented perspective: "We make a living by what we get—we make a life by what we give."
A fundamental premise of Identities for Life and Death is that self-scripts defined by negative emotion like anger, hatred, and resentment are systemically toxic to the one in whom such feelings are aroused. Confucius encapsulated this idea by suggesting that before we embark on a journey of revenge, we should dig two graves.
To live a creatively storied identity, is to script one's own role in life as defined by persistent awareness that the road to success at anything worth achieving is paved with failure. Our evil inner wolf is nurtured well by allowing failure to demoralize us.
In the 2006 edition of "Rocky Balboa," Rocky tries to inspire his own son with these words, that sound like an important component theme mantra of what is referred to here as a creatively-storied identity.
"The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows.... You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you can hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep movin' forward; how much you can take and keep movin' forward."
Much if not most of the component of our own life experience over which we have control, is determined by the story lines we assimilate as our identity-defining narratives. Who we are or think we are, is the product of those story lines by which we are self-scripted to think, perceive the world, feel, and act in either creatively humanizing or toxically dehumanizing ways. Creative self-script themes facilitate our personal growth and vitalize us; toxic themes stultify our personal growth and devitalize us.
Throughout enactment of the production which is our own life, we encounter a variety of characters such as our parents, siblings, friends and acquaintances, with whom our relationships have been defined by all kinds of story lines - both creative and toxic, for better or worse, for good or evil. But what comes with adulthood, is the need to recognize that we and not any of those characters must now be prepared to assume the multiple roles of head writer, leading actor, director and producer of the production that is our own life.
As head writer, leading actor, director and producer of the production that is our own life, we must be prepared to accept personal responsibility for all our thoughts, perceptions, feelings, and actions as we play out our role in that production. Regardless of how our relationships to significant others in our life may have been scripted and played out in earlier acts and scenes - for better or worse, for good or evil, this production belongs to us now and not any of them.
As head writer, leading actor, director, and producer of the production that is our own life, we have the power to revise our life script at any point where we become dissatisfied with how it's working out for us. Given our life circumstances and the viable alternatives realistically available to us, we may have little or no control over the venue in which the production of our life is playing. But we certainly do have control over how we act out our role in that production.
As head writer, leading actor director and producer of the production that is our own life, we have the free will to choose a goal direction in life toward which we learn to work hard because it is what we want to do. Should we fall short of our ideal achievement of that goal objective, we must learn to accept and embrace as much as possible what we need to do as we continue working toward the ideal or redefine our goal direction.
Excerpted from Identities for Life and Death Forever Daily Message Calendar by Robert J. Pellegrini Copyright © 2011 by Dr. Robert J. Pellegrini. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.