Philosophy

A Case on the Self

“Order! Order in this court, please!” said the Honourable Judge, Ms. Rationality, as she pressed her gavel against the hard surface of the wooden table. She wasn’t one to lose her temper easily, but all of this ‘sentimental racketing’ was starting to get her slightly ‘exasperated’.

Fortunately, at the sound of her imposing voice and command, all of the senses, emotions and sentiments, as well as experiences and memories, understood it was time for the trial to begin.

And, setting aside all the ’emotional responses’, our Honourable Judge retook the word and with a solemn disposition proceeded to utter her speech, “I understand that everybody has much to say in regards to the matter at hand, but, if you may, we must follow a bit of order if we want to get this case solved. Thank you.

“So now we shall commence this trial. Ms. Consciousness, you have the word. Please, express the purpose and intent of your lawsuit.”

“Very well, thank you, Your Honour,” enunciated Ms. Consciousness as she offered a wryly smile to the jury. Other than her sardonic expressionism, she was quite the cross-looking lady, for her countenance reflected the weariness and stress of many mindful years.

“Greetings, everyone present,” said she, “I am pretty sure most of you are good friends of mine (and the ones that not are at least on-speaking terms acquaintances). After all, I am Ms. Robinson’s Consciousness (for better or for worse), acting both as an accuser and as my own lawyer in the following case.

“Thus, I am here to make known the VERY long list of crimes that Ms. Ariana Robinson has committed against herself and the populace at large. Crimes which thwart her self-image and affect the way she perceives and values herself as a person. And for that she must pay a considerable amount of remorse as well as respects and forgiveness to the parties she has transgressed against.”

“Sounds about right to me,” said the judge, “so who shall you call first to the podium, Ms. Consciousness?”

“Ariana Robinson herself, of course!” exclaimed the indicting lady, with every tinge of excitement that she held within. She was out for blood and the crowd could tell, reacting with plenty astonishment (at least those that could emote said sentiment) to her instigation.

“Alright. Please, may the accused come forth,” said the judge, trying to avoid any further commotion.

And there she was, the woman of the evening: Ariana Robinson herself, wearing a plain grey dress adorned with nothing save her for her hesitant smile and apprehensive gaze. The crowd at large was awed to silence at the sight.

It was only after a while of reflection that the stillness got broke by the plaintiff as she expressed, “I can see you’re quite nervous about this whole affair, Ariana, my dear.”

“Yes, I must admit this trial is affecting my nerves up a bit,” said the child with perceivable innocence.

“No need to worry, darling. Well, that is if you’re not guilty of anything,” responded Ms. Consciousness, giving away a deceitful simper.

Our girl replied with a simple yet light-hearted anxious chuckle. She was clearly not in her A-game for any of this.

“So let’s see. Ariana Robinson,” uttered our conscious lady, “I will be asking you some questions and I expect you to reply with a yes or no. Understood?”

“Yes, ma’am,” muttered Ariana.

“Perfect!” she declared. “So to start, Ariana, have you ever consciously manipulated people in order to obtain a personal gain or favour?”

“Uh… Well, putting it that way does sound terrible…” said Ariana, showcasing her doubt.

“I reiterate that I asked you a yes or no question. I expect either a yes or no in return,” snapped back Ms. Consciousness. 

Feeling belittled, our girl tried to express, “But that doesn’t allow me to elaborate on the implications…”

“Shh shh, please, keep your answers to a yes or no,” interrupted the accuser.

Ariana gave a short sigh and with a dry smile consented to the proceedings.

“Thank you. Repeating my question then, have you ever consciously manipulated people in order to obtain a personal gain or favour?” asked the lady. 

“I guess I might have…” replied a dubious Ariana.

“Ugh, I’ll take that as a yes. Now, have you ever been involved in situations in which you could have exercised your privileges as a rich, white woman to serve others but chose not to?” interrogated Ms. Consciousness, with an extra tinge of maliciousness.

“I… I think…” muttered Ariana, but she was again stopped mid-sentence as the intrusive consciousness gave her a nod of reprehension.

“Yes, I suppose,” admitted she at the intimidation.

The audience shuddered in resounding amazement as the words came out of her mouth. They were all in disbelief. Even Ms. Rationality herself gave way to a disappointed expression.

But Ms. Consciousness was thrilled by the reaction and, not wanting to lose momentum, she kept own with her strenuous interrogation, “Interesting. Now, I must ask, have you ever committed acts of injustice yourself?”

“That’s a rather vague argument…” attempted Ariana to replicate, but she stopped as suddenly as she heard her name being pronounced by the plaintiff in search of a fixed answer.

“Yes, I guess I have,” she confessed in defeat.

But Ms. Consciousness wasn’t going to put an end to her vicious guilt trip, and thus she began inquiring into private concerns. “So Ariana, do you often find yourself disengaged around people?”

“Yeah, but as you know, my autism affects…” said our girl.

“I think I have had enough of that excuse. Thank you,” interrupted her ruthless consciousness, “Moving on then. Are you known for being someone that has a pessimistic approach to life?”

“Sometimes, but that’s not something that defines who I am,” avowed Ariana.

But Ms. Consciousness wasn’t going to accept that as an answer and compelled Ariana to abide by her rules.

“I…” attempted as a response Ariana, but failing to overpower her mind, she said, “fine. Yes.”

“Very well,” offered the accusing lady in between a mischievous laugh. “Now tell us, do you enjoy indulging in self-deprecation?”

“Yes, but…” voiced Ariana. “But nothing,” interrupted her consciousness once again, fiercely expressing, “you and I both know how little do you think of yourself and how poorly you have acted against others. Or are you going to deny that?”

“I… Look, I understand your points, but…” insisted the accused in her meek attempts at a defence.

Yet the weight of her consciousness was too heavy upon her and, with a demoralised disposition, she said, “no, I won’t deny it.”

“So, you declare yourself guilty of all the aforementioned charges?” asked Ms. Consciousness, savouring every bit of her apparent triumph.

“Yes, I do,” whispered Ariana, indicating no means of objection.  

Everyone at the court couldn’t hide their bewilderment. They had no words to manifest, for their disgruntled and gloomy expressions said everything for them. Ariana simply sat quietly in her chair. Her head lowered down. Tears coming down her face.

But among the grievances, Ms. Consciousness found the will-power in herself to proclaim with great hilarity, “Well, there you have it, folks! She’s guilty of it all!”

However, just as the judge was willing to consent to this conscious partiality, a voice arose from the silence, saying, “wait, Your Honour. If you may allow me to, I’d like to offer my input into all of this. An aspect I believe is just if this is to be a fair trial.”

Ariana had finally risen up to ask for her judgement to be taken into consideration. The jury was impressed by the act.

But acting in the spur of the moment, her consciousness retorted, “how come you expect us to listen to your bickering?” Reflecting with her words how little did she buy into our girl’s sudden surge of confidence.

“No need to be condescending, Ms. Consciousness,” said the judge decisively. “Ms. Robinson is right. She hasn’t had a chance to speak. So now we shall listen to her defence.”

“I object!” shouted Ms. Consciousness, clearly exasperated by this turn of events.

“Motion declined!” declared Ms. Rationality, using every sense of reason found within herself. “Now Ms. Robinson, please, elaborate.”

“But, Your Honour!” vociferated Ms. Consciousness, unwilling to oblige to the imperious mandate.

Luckily for Ariana, the judge was a very reasonable lady and, dismissing Ms. Consciousness’ remarks, said, “I’ve had enough of listening to you talk. Now, please allow the child to defend herself. Plus, she has really nice rhetoric you could learn from.”

The conscious lady fell into an unpleasant state which bordered on anger. However, she knew better than to commence an uproar. After all, what could the girl possibly say in order to save herself? She was confident in her inability to lose this case.   

And that’s how, as humbly as she could, Ariana began her speech: “Thanks, Your Honour. Hello, entities at the court. I believe all of us here is acquainted with one another, since you all represent my emotions, sentiments and experiences. Therefore, I must first thank you for being in attendance to this trial; one which had been long overdue, but is now coming to fruition after an extensive wait.

“I understand I have pled myself guilty of all crimes presented, but the way in which Ms. Consciousness put them isn’t precisely correct. She is obviously making general statements about affairs without taking into account the context and intent behind each one of them.”

“Objection!” exclaimed her consciousness. “Declined!” responded Ms. Rationality, “and please, stop interrupting. You may proceed, Ms. Robinson.”

“Thanks, Your Honour,” expressed Ariana, “so, retaking my speech, I am not trying to excuse myself or to offer a sense of pity in regards to the transgressions I’ve committed. I believe doing so is both irresponsible and careless. Nevertheless, I do think that, if we must come forth with this trial, we must take into account the depth behind every action and thought that I’ve had thus far. For it is only in doing so that we’re able to fully assess if there are reasons for me to feel guilty or not, as well as motives for me to have pride or not in who I am and what I represent as a person.

“Now, the personal corruption I have faced has been a two-decade battle with myself and my impulses. Not to mention the many processes going on in my brain that affect my mental and behavioural responses, given that these force me into a reactive state lacking agency. And being so, it has been during most of those instances that I’ve made others feel negative emotional responses. But I do admit that in some of them I have been at fault for said sensibilities.

“As for the more personal aspects and the views I hold in regards to myself, I think that most, if not all, people face insecurities and views that cloud their introspective judgement of the self. But that’s because we don’t have a fully formed identity of being that fulfils the picture we want to portray to the world as ourselves. And at least I believe that striving for that shouldn’t be the ultimate goal of anyone. We are in constant change after all, even if we think we are following the same steps on the daily.

“And I am certainly aware of this particular scheme, given the many events I’ve been through. And yes, I do regret some acts that I have performed, but, ultimately, my life hasn’t been one of regret, but one of happiness. Yet I can’t say said happiness equates a sense of pride in myself.

“And that’s where my point lies in relation to the matters here discussed. I can’t take pride in myself, because I won’t ever know who I am, even if I tried my best to pinpoint my identity out. But if I am to take pride in anything, I’ll take pride in being, because that’s what makes up my here and now and the things I am doing and the human I am becoming.

“I acknowledge that I am a very flawed individual, but I am also someone that has her virtues. Thus, I just am as I let be. And, even though I still have a long way to go in the matter of being, don’t we all? After all, at the core of our humanity, we know we won’t ever be complete pieces of humanistic perfection. Opting, instead, to simply be human, with all the goodness and mishaps said humanity comes with.”

Once more was the crowd in silence. But that wouldn’t last for long, given that, slowly but surely, every single sense, emotion and sentiment as well as experience and memory, stood up and began to clap. And in their clapping, they cheered and in their cheering they rejoiced. They knew that Ariana had finally realised her truth.

Ms. Consciousness, however, wasn’t feeling as mellow and, giving a great sigh and a roll to her eyes, she inquired, “Ugh, are we really going to accept this overtly sentimental excuse of a response?”

“Yes,” admitted Ms. Rationality, sobbing. Ariana’s speech had clearly struck a chord or two with her.

“Wait, what?” expressed Ms. Consciousness, “that just can’t be. She even admitted herself that she’s guilty! And…”

“Hush hush, Ms. Consciousness and everybody,” expressed the judge as she regained composure and thus saying up next, at the end of the hubbub, “Thank you. Now, Ariana dear, I must say that was very beautiful. But I can’t offer a judgement before the proceedings of the jury. So Ms. Self-awareness, as representative of the jury, please do speak whenever you’re ready.”

And so came forth Ms. Self-awareness, a very kind-looking lady who wore a unusual pair of spectacles. She cleared her throat up a bit and then proceeded to say, “Thank you, Your Honour. The jury has found the accused guilty of all charges.” At the mention of this words, Ms. Consciousness offered a victorious grin. But the verdict wasn’t set just yet, as Ms. Self-Awareness had still a bit more to say.

Continuing, therefore, she uttered, “however, the jury admits that none of her offences merit a sentence, given that all of them were committed in favour of Ms. Robinson’s self-growth. Thus, this jury believes that you should acquit her of any and all charges.”

“But…” expressed Ms. Consciousness as she attempted an objection, only to be stopped by Ms. Rationality as she said, “No buts. Thank you very much, Ms. Self-awareness. And I must say that I agree with the jury. Therefore, this court absolves Ms. Robinson from any sentence.” And firmly hitting her gavel, she ended the trial against Ariana.

All of those present began to celebrate with lots shouts of hurray and a bit of the wine that had been brought by the good Ms. Impulse. All but Ms. Consciousness felt happy by the outcome.

But, as sensitive as Ariana was, she cognised the feelings of her consciousness and, walking straight up to her, she said, “I understand why you decided to have this trial. And it is a very noble cause the one you pursued. But we both know how hard it’s been on ourselves this whole affair of ‘living’. And the truth is that, for a long time, we have judged who we are quite harshly; but now I think it is better for both of us to accept that things have been and will be fine no matter what.”

“Yes, I think you are right. We are a team, after all, and fighting against each other won’t help solve anything,” conferred Ms. Consciousness, showcasing the warmth she had neglected.

Ariana smiled at the act and offered in response, “Yes, my dear consciousness.” It was then that they grabbed their hands and together walked away following the line of horizon, where the abstract realms that only the mind is capable of imagining laid undiscovered.

The End

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