According to James Hollis, in Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life, it is personal authority (PA) that sustains us to remain true to our deepest longings. Here’s how he describes it.
“What constitutes “personal authority”? Stated most simply it means, to find what is true for oneself and to live it in the world. If it is not lived, it is not yet real for us, and we abide in what Sartre called “bad faith,” the theologian calls “sin,” the therapist calls ‘neurosis,” and the existential philosopher calls ‘inauthentic being.” Respectful of the rights and perspectives of others, personal authority is neither narcissistic nor imperialistic. It is a humble acknowledgment of what wishes to come to being through us. If the ego does not step out of the way of that energy that wishes to live through us, the energy will trample us in pathological outbreaks, or something vital within us will die, even though our bodies may keep moving for decades. We all, privately, know this imperative summons every day, though we may flee it: find what is true for you; find the courage to live it in the world; and the world will in time come to respect you (though at first you may confuse others and scare them).”
As I’ve said before, my hope is that this blog will inspire, affirm and encourage my readers to find their own true longing and to have the personal authority to live it in their lives. On the days when this is easy, and when you need courage, remember Joseph Campbell and, “Follow your bliss.”