Negating Oneself

Negating Oneself

Oscar Wilde wrote: "Know thyself was written over the portal of the antique world. Over the portal of the new world, Be thyself shall be written. And the message of Christ to man was simply 'Be thyself.' That is the secret of Christ".

How much television do you watch? Would you consider yourself an avid shopper? Do you trust the government? Do you have confidence in science and technology? Do you believe in the precepts of your religion? Are you comfortable with doctors and medicine? And how much do you rely on experts and mentors? If you watch a lot of television, have faith in your pastor, trust the government, think science and technology are neutral, have confidence in your doctors and the medicines that they prescribe, and don't question experts and mentors, chances are you do not "know thyself" and you can forget about "being thyself". I'll explain why.

Influential people generally don't "negate themselves" or "shoot themselves in the foot". Can you imagine a television network running a television show about the adverse effects of television? On the contrary, they'll do anything to "keep you glued to the screen". How about politicians and officials permitting an honest class about "the dangers of government overreach" to be taught as part of a curriculum? How about a religious sermon about the general pitfalls of religion? Or, how about a scientific framework about the "real dangers of technology and progress"? Or, a doctor that backs off from diagnosing or treating conditions he or she doesn't really understand, or not prescribing drugs whose adverse effect he or she does not know? And how about an expert or a mentor admitting that they do not exactly know how their "expert opinions" fit in a bigger picture?

In the "new world", we do not have any real alternative but to trust those who are more skillful, experienced and qualified than us. And yet, conflict of interest is inherent; For the most part, influential people are unable to tell the truth, because doing so would "negate their influence". Can you imagine a Neo-Luddite scientist? On a personal level, we can neither "know ourselves" or "be ourselves" because most of our conscious and unconscious assumptions about the world and ourselves are shaped by "the influential".
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