Autonomy - PhMuseum


Eirini Lachana

2017 - Ongoing

“How happy is the little stone

That rambles in the road alone,

And doesn’t care about careers,

And exigencies never fears” (Emily Dickinson)

My self portrait series started by my deep inquisitions about free will and emotional autonomy.

If autonomy means “self-rule,” then we also have to raise the question of what is included in that “self” and what is not. Take,for example, the emotions: American philosophers like Ralph Waldo Emerson have considered the emotions to be an essential part of the self. Emerson’s idea of autonomy was that individuals based their decisions on individual desires and emotions. By contrast, Gandhi’s idea of Swaraj excludes the emotions from the self: for him, the self refers to the powers of reason and compassion, and the emotions are seen as external forces which must be quieted in order to achieve true autonomy. So if a person is autonomous, does that mean that she listens to her emotions, or does it mean that she masters them?

I don’t have the answers to these deep questions but i definitely know that it isn’t possible to be truly autonomy without moving a finger to change something in oneself, without growing and developing as a person. It’s all about thinking for yourself and acting on your own desires, you are able to make your own choices and go your own direction.

By this I mean the directional trend which is evident in all organic and human life – the urge to expand, develop, mature – the tendency to express and activate all the capacities of the organism and the self. This tendency may become deeply buried under layer after layer of encrusted psychological defenses; it may be hidden behind elaborate facades that deny its existence; it is my belief, however, based on my experience, that it exists in every individual, and awaits only the proper conditions to be released and expressed.

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