“To survive, according to Spinoza, is to become what you are capable of. He says, ‘If a horse is transformed into a human, it will be destroyed to the same extent as when it is transformed into an insect….’ Here we must quickly add: According to Spinoza, a human being “If he is transformed into an angel, he will be destroyed to the same extent as when he is transformed into a beast. Virtue is the manifestation of the specific powers of every living thing. Virtue for man is the state in which he becomes most human.” Erich Fromm – The Self-Defensive Man
Fromm’s words about “humanizing”, “preserving one’s being”, “being able to become what one is capable of” are for me, “dasein” (dasein = the one who is there) that Heidegger added to the literature, that is, “who is in the understanding of his existence – hence the one who takes responsibility for it”. – resonated with the interpretation of being “an existent” from a different perspective.
He also reminded me of the words of the impressionist painter Claude Monet: “I would like to paint the way a bird sings.” (I would like to be able to photograph a bird singing.)
Isn’t it just that kind of thing to be able to become what you are capable of, to be in a place where you can enjoy your own being, to be able to stay in the states where you feel most “humanized”? While the birds sing the music of nature by chirping, Monet takes pictures of nature with chirping colours. And he becomes the most suitable thing he can be, he manages to create the meaning of his life. Still, it doesn’t say, “I photograph like the song of a bird.” Still trying to get there. Presumably, Monet knew this, the most pleasant part of this adventure was being on the road…
As long as we exist, there is no definite height that can be reached; We are always reconstructing ourselves on that path, and the valuable process is; our effort to go where we can sing like a bird. Not trying to be what their gluttons want us to be, but trying to be what we want.
Big names like Monet are extreme examples, of course; We don’t all have to be very proficient painters, artists, or scientists. The precious thing is to do something like the song of a bird that we can feel naturally, add meaning to our existence, feel humanized, to try to be something “like ourselves” for ourselves.
Painting: Claude Monet – The Cliff Walk at Pourville (1882)