Being and Becoming

My friend Noch Noch commented on “Forge Thyself”, and she made a great point.

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She alluded to the fact that self-improvement has to be balanced by, and informed by, the matching pursuit of greater authenticity.

When we try to say anything in words we necessarily imply that the opposite is not true. If it is the day, it really is not night. That is how logic works and it is perfect for expressing the truths of many domains of experience.

For some domains, though, and in particular for our inner life, that is not always the case. As Niels Bohr, one of the pioneers of quantum mechanics, said:

The opposite of a fact is falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth.

Profound yin truths may very well be balanced by profound yang truths.

My motto emphasises the yang, Noch’s “Be Myself” emphasizes the yin. They are not opposed. Being yourself and forging yourself are dancers, what really matters is the dance.

A dance exists in the interaction. As soon as we look at one partner or the other, the dance vanishes. The whole point of the dancers is the dance.

The idea of forging the self is not to make a plan and just impose it. Nothing will shape a goldfish into a rhino. The forging I speak of is a process of cooperation with being, an alignment with being that recognizes a current within being: the current of becoming.

To forge yourself is to align yourself with that becoming and take part in it, to actively participate in your becoming.

The Yin and Yang of Being and Becoming (Mark Kenski)

And from Noch Noch’s beautiful blog, I know she is dancing just as I am, even though I describe that dance with my motto “Forge Thyself” and she with hers “Be Myself.”

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4 Responses to Being and Becoming

  1. Noch Noch says:

    I’m honoured to have inspired your thoughts. I like the graphic here too. Its profound thoughts, and yes knowing ourselves is a cooperation from within us. A balance that only we can discover for ourselves, unique to us, make us the ‘limited edition’ as a friend of mine says
    Thanks for the sagacious thoughts.
    Lets all dance together
    Noch Noch

    • Mark says:

      The shortest path an airliner might take between us is almost seven thousand miles, yet we dance. Hearts and minds really are free from time and space, aren’t they?

      I hope you still like the graphic–yes I went back and re-made it. The first one wasn’t quite what I was going for.

  2. Kathryn says:


    I absolutely ADORE this…”The idea of forging the self is not to make a plan and just impose it. Nothing will shape a goldfish into a rhino. The forging I speak of is a process of cooperation with being, an alignment with being that recognizes a current within being: the current of becoming.”

    In a way it’s taking any notion of a “plan” that we have, and throwing it out the window, and in some sense surrounding to the “inner plan” that exists, but that we aren’t quite sure of. Our rational mind simply can’t comprehend this “inner plan,” which is where the cooperation comes in. We have to sort of give in, and surrender to that which is within. When we do – that’s when the merging and “becoming” begins to take shape.

    Anyway – I love, love, love the “becoming” & “being,” that you are writing about!



    • Mark says:

      Thanks Kathryn, you explained it better than I could have.

      The value of surrender is hard for the intellect to acknowledge, since it wants to stay in control. But it turns out surrender is what it feels like when the intellect yields to reality. You only lose an illusory and unsatisfying freedom, but gain a real one.

      It’s not a single massive surrender, it is a series of many small ones that combine to create a more productive relationship between the intellect and the other parts of yourself, like heart and soul.

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