The Lie We Like Telling Ourselves

pebbles

You need to go find yourself.
Discover your true self.
Realize who you truly are.

The fact that I haven’t puked inside my own mouth while writing these phrases means that I’m either getting used to how common they’ve become, or I’ve run out of puke in the puke chamber and now need to find another form of relieving the disgust inside of me.

I feel a great urgency to take a shit. Be right back.

We Stink

This isn’t a hit against the fact that you should “know thyself.” Indeed, it’s a prerequisite to individual growth. But while these two might seem similar at face value, they are worlds apart in meaning.

Know thyself implies that you should be aware of your strengths, your limitations, your weak points, your capabilities; so that in turn you don’t wind up killing people in the ER because your flimsy hands are better suited to more risk-averse situations. Go type on a calculator somewhere or something, I don’t know.

“Discover your true self,” on the other hand, (and this is why self‐help is no different than taking those flimsy hands and stimulating the bejesus out of your privates. Didn’t you get the calculator you prick?) implies that somewhere, deep down ‐ wherever the heck that is ‐ there’s a version of you that is who you were destined to be. A version of you that needs to be let out. A version of you that is who you were supposed to be before you got corrupted by society, and your teachers, and your parents and their crazy Christian values or whatever.

You just hit your girlfriend in the face but thank the Lord that’s not the real you. “I don’t know what came over me.” You just made your mother cry for the 15th time these past 3 months but she doesn’t understand, you’re just trying to discover the real you. You just cheated on your boyfriend and now that the guilt is eating you up, (scratch that ‐ the shame. No one feels guilt anymore these days) you break it off because ‐ surprise, surprise ‐ you need to go find yourself.

Do you know what this is folks? Do you know what all of this is? Narcissism. At its absolute finest. And you know what else? It stinks. Our whole society stinks. And we keep spreading the stink around like it’s nothing. It’s no wonder the Martians haven’t taken over yet. The damage control that will potentially be on their hands will be absolutely mental. And no, the nausea as a result of this stink is very different from the nausea Satre talked about.

The mind is primarily designed to give meaning. But how can this be so given that we live in a meaningless world? Well, I’ll tell you one thing. You certainly won’t find it between the pages of Unleash Your True Self Now! or whatever’s the title of the latest self‐help book.

There is no you. What this means is that you are what you do ‐ not that a version of you that you weren’t aware of suddenly sprung up and took over. “I don’t know what came over me but I swear that wasn’t me. Can we please just have dinner on Thursday so that I can show you who I really am?” i.e. can we have dinner on Thursday so that I can put on a show and make you believe that that is who I really am.

It also means that you are the one who creates meaning in your life. Choose. Because it’s not set in stone. Knowing thyself is fundamental in this. Whether to stop hurting people or not. To stop seeking an identity or not.

The fact that there’s no set you explains why you cringe when you think about the person you were 5 years ago. Change is always constant. Always. This is why common advice for a man wanting to talk to a woman is to just freaking do it. Because it’s not really you that’s doing it.

Existence precedes essence, my narcissistic friend. Keeping that in mind will, hopefully, keep you from trying to discover your ‘true self’. Both for the good of yourself, and especially for the good of others.

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