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January 17, 2020 / Congau

Know Thyself

Know thyself, but why? To know your chosen identity? To know that you are good enough or bad enough? To know that you are guilty or not guilty, that your feelings are for real and that you deserve respect? Should you know yourself to pamper yourself, obtain the best comfort on the market and indulge in self-gratifying self-help for modern self-centered selfishness?

Know thyself! It was written on the ancient temple of Delphi and carries the weight of ancient wisdom. The philosophers of old taught us the maxim long before the self-indulging ego became a popular commodity. It is a recognition of the individual but not a mindless celebration of it. It is a tribute to freedom but not the kind of boundless license that is akin to slavery.

Know thyself! You are truly unique; that is your asset, but it is also your limitation, and it couldn’t be the one if it wasn’t the other. You can’t be just anything because you are already you. Most things you can’t do well, but in one thing you could potentially exceed: in being you.

But how sad; most of us can’t do even that one thing well. We are not good at being ourselves because we don’t know who that is. How are we to know? In our so-called free society, we may be allowed to choose anything and are sometimes even praised for divergent whims, but chances are you are just as far off from yourself than any dictatorship could take you.

If no one can tell you who you are, they say you can do anything, but that is just not true. Of all the hundreds of thousands of potential paths you could take, only a few of them are right for you. They don’t know which one it is, but neither do you, for you don’t know yourself.

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