Baldwin makes the above statement in his essay, “The Fire Next Time. ” By saying this he implies that unless you allow yourself to be influenced by your surroundings, you will never improve who you are. If someone else always is given responsibility for your actions, then you do not fully understand the consequences and can never grow as a person. A person is guided through by life the experiences of his or her past and can only make judgments based upon those past actions if they know the outcome of those past actions.
If one has never had to deal with the outcomes of personal actions because that person has always placed blame or responsibility on another individual, this person will not always make the correct, responsible decision. This can often lead to outcomes that this person will ultimately blame on another individual. This often causes a lack of personal growth, which can result in an individual thinking that no matter what he or she does, it is never wrong and if the outcome was not what they expected, it was caused by the interference of someone else.
This lack of personal growth is what Baldwin is referring to when he states that they can “never grow up. ” By not learning from life it as if they are experiencing each event for the first time, as a child would. By not accepting responsibility for their actions, they go through life as if always a child. Baldwin goes on to say, “That man who is forced each day to snatch his manhood, his identity, out of the fire of human cruelty… knows, if he survives his effort, and even if he does not survive it, something about self and human life that no school on earth – and, indeed, no church – can teach.
This statement is meant to reflect the personal growth obtained through trial, even if the outcome of the event is a failure, there is something learned from just trying. True-life lessons are often the most important lessons to be learned. To realize that what we do has an impact on all our surroundings, is a lesson that can only be learned through taking responsibility for the actions we make and the outcomes of such actions. “He achieves his own authority, and that is unshakable.
This is because, in order to save his life, he is forced to look beneath appearances, to take nothing for granted, to hear the meaning behind the words. ” We need to realize that the way that we look at our surroundings can influence the decisions we make. To make biased views of those around us is to make biased decisions about them. By looking past the outside appearances to the truth inside our surroundings, we see the role that the object, or person, plays in its environment. By ignoring the differences in appearance we would be able to remove the barriers that we place between ourselves and that which is different from us.
By doing this, a person would have undergone a personal improvement that adds to the total growth of the individual. By viewing others as one would view oneself, a person can see past the stereotypes because of someone’s differences and realize that we are all fundamentally the same. “If one is continually surviving the worst that life can bring, one eventually ceases to be controlled by a fear of what life can bring. ” By taking responsibility for one’s actions and not blaming others for his or her shortcomings, one can learn to accept them.
Its not as likely that one will be as afraid that they will make a mistake or be because of them. This allows someone to be more open in life and allows him or her to gain the experiences of life. Instead of keeping to oneself, afraid that what ever they do will be seen as wrong, reflecting the person’s character, one can be more open with others. No longer fearing that they will think poorly of him or her, a person will be more likely to learn about both the good and the bad that his or her actions cause.
Then this knowledge can be used to influence future decision, turning negative situations into a future good. In conclusion, I feel that it is best to go out and experience life. Make each decision carefully using your past experiences as a guide. Don”t be afraid of what others think of you, it is more important to think well of yourself. Others may just be trying to discourage you because you may be different. Rise above the differences between others and yourself, and try to live each experience to its fullest extent, if you have never suffered, you have never lived.
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