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12.04.2015

Who am I: How to find yourself

Who am I? Am I a soul inside a body or am I a body that has a soul? What the fuck. Finding your self can’t be that difficult, can it. I need to know who I am! Wait. Why do I need to know it? When did I start to ask this question and who gave it to me? Is there some divine thing that has cruelly decided to torture me with incomprehensibly complex mazes? If there is a god, wouldn’t he want life for me to be simple enough to be able to live?

I’m slowly getting tired of debunking nonsense. No, it’s not your fault, you didn’t ask for it; it’s just me growing up. Three months ago I was obsessed with all kinds of seemingly deep questions. I thought that if I answer them all, I’ll find peace. Figures that they weren’t even relevant and merely a procrastination of pursuing my goals.

To find my self, to know who I am. One of those questions.

Language is a damned fucktard

People go about having found themselves. The biggest gift I ever got was my self. You can hear a scientologist say it after OT-8. Most people who find their selves suddenly find out their purpose in life: to help others. Wow. Divine.

And a lot of others are on the search. Soul searchers eating magic mushrooms on the Amazon River on their journey to find their selves.

Wow, how deep. I wonder, what does deep even mean? But let me not distract you and my self. Wit intended.

Who am I? What is my self?

Well, do you realize the simplicity of the questions?

Language was created by man to describe things he perceived. Trouble on those poor folks who heard a word said before they perceived the thing it was meant to describe. There they go on and on, searching for something that would fit the word, reverse engineering it’s meaning. But it’s impossible.

Even more ironic the misery of those who have perceived the thing and heard the word, yet never made the connection between the two.

Both of these may ask: Who am I? What is my self?

Luckily, the words I and self are not so fucking complicated and the connection is easy to make. As we learn in school, I is the pronoun used by people to refer to themselves or their selves. Now I’m defining one word with another. Damn. Let’s take another approach: John beats Peter. Peter beats himself or his self. Is their a difference between himself and his self? How about the term ourselves? Why don’t we call it usselves? Hand me ’em headphones, bro.

Maybe there was some weird guy who made a distinction between the self and other things, e.g. super-ego? Nah, that sounds weird. Why would you change the meaning of a perfectly plausible pronoun like that?

Let’s face it. Self is just a pronoun used for a person in reference to the same person.

There is no secret meaning behind a word created by a man for a specific purpose.

So who am I?

No one knows what Liriope and Cephisus did, but whatever they did, it worked: he didn’t even recognize his own reflection.  That’s a man who doesn’t know himself. That’s a man who never had to look at himself from the outside.

How do you make a child know himself?  You surround him with mirrors. “This is what everyone else sees when you do what you do.  This is who everyone thinks you are.”

The Second Story Of Echo And Narcissus, The Last Psychiatrist

When you ask Who is Peter?, what is the intent of your question? You may want to know how that person behaves, how you perceive them. So if you ask Who am I?, isn’t the obvious way to answer the question by looking at your self from the outside?

Yet many people who search for their selves go inside, focus on their feelings, try to find something that will feel like their self. That’s nonsense. Self is a pronoun used to refer to the identity of a person. If you apply it to yourself, it may seem weird – since you cannot directly observe yourself, yet that’s the challenge you face. To observe and know your self.

Else the question would be How do I feel? or What am I thinking? And what else but your feelings and thoughts can you perceive inside? And if your self was truly defined by your emotions and thoughts, would it not make sense to try to always feel good and think well to be a good person? How does that work out for you?

Introspection is not reflection.

Inconsistent feedback

Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth.

– Alan Watts

Here’s a paradox: Some individualists don’t want to know what others see. They don’t want to see their errors. They want to be themselves or their selves, not realizing that they always are. How could they not be?

Your self is you. You are yourself.

One can only conclude that they don’t want to know their selves and instead believe in a fantasy persona.

Today, it’s easier than ever to know yourself: Take a videocamera and let someone film you. Or film yourself. You will know who you are then. Brutally.

The Last Psychiatrist wonders what Narcissus’ parents did to him so that he wouldn’t recognize himself. I dare to argue they destroyed his trust into the judgment of others. When your parents dismiss you despite your greatness or praise you for your failures, the feedback of other people stops to make sense. It loses the function to teach us how to improve and the only thing that remains is the feeling of approval or rejection, independent of your qualities. It becomes a fix, for the better or worse.

What else could be the resulting effect but a distrust and paranoia? And what would confirm the paranoia better than a world that continues to give you inconsistent feedback by only taking care of your feelings? Coddling by the state?

Is it not the easiest thing to dismiss every feedback about your self then as the attempt to manipulate you? Because you simply seek the people who make you feel the nicest? Is it not really hard to find out whom to trust then?

And that is assuming that you have already found out that honesty even exists and has a purpose.

Know yourself

I’m not going to paraphrase Old English Know thyself, not directly. It’s really beneath me to use so much cliché.

So how do you get to know your self? Take drugs and introspect? Really?

Your self is not separate from what other’s can see. It’s exactly what others can see.

Yet it’s not necessarily what they do see, choose to see and choose to tell you.

It’s a profound wish to trust somebody. When everybody is lying, it’s hard to do. And when you know they are, how would you be able to tell when they are not?

When you find out who you are, a lot of feedback starts to make sense in hindsight. Your observation validates the observations of others and makes you realize who were honest and who were the liars.

But before you have this point of reference, how do you get to know your self?

Two suggestions:

  1. Surprisingly easy, yet do you dare it? Film yourself in uncomfortable situations, but also in great situations. This gives you a feeling for the variety of your personality, your potential as well as your weaknesses. It will brutally expose your weaknesses; be prepared for it. It showed me that I was an attention whore and made me want to puke.
  2. Find people who have no interest in making you feel good. Talk to real men. Surround yourself with them. Avoid people who are hypercritical of everything as well as those who say everything is fine. Both are just two sides of a medal, compensating for the opposite treatment. You don’t want to be a stereotype. Good feedback is as important as bad feedback. Only dishonest or one-sided feedback is bad.
  3. Focus on success. Don’t listen to friends who like your art. Try to sell it. Customers don’t feel with the artists – at least they don’t feel more for one than for the other. Money from strangers is the ultimate proof of your qualities. Don’t listen to people who say you are attractive. Try to get laid. Test yourself to find yourself.

What successful and less successful steps did you take in your life to know your self?

Do you think there’s something else? Or have you just been chasing the meaning of a word you didn’t understand? Is there a soul? What does the word describe? Maybe you already know the meaning of the word. Maybe it’s not that fucking complicated.

So long.

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