The Daily ReTORt

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Monday, March 7, 2011

Know Your “True Self”

Charlie Sheen T-Shirt
Various philosophers and thinkers throughout recorded history have been credited with coining the axiom, “Know Thyself” – most notably Socrates, Plato and Xenophon.

Regardless of who said it first or when, the profundity and elegance of that statement echoes into the modern era and it needs to be heeded.

While the simplicity of this maxim opens itself up for wide interpretation, perhaps its most obvious message is “As best you’re able, identify your blind spots and weaknesses – so that you can make them apparent, thereby transforming them to strengths.”

However, such an approach to life opens oneself up to vulnerability since it’s impossible for a lone individual to identify their personal blind spots which they can’t see – forcing them to be reliant and dependent on others.

Additionally, the recognition of one’s weaknesses requires grueling honesty, desire, time and effort to affect the required change. But in both instances the risk is rewarded with a more balanced, thoughtful and fulfilling existence.

That’s not necessarily the case for individuals who ignore their weaknesses and play only to their “strengths” – in time they tend to become out of balance, one dimensional and shallow. 

While there are always exceptions to the rule, the person who is not self aware is usually destined to become completely self absorbed – and they don’t even know it.  We’ve all experienced these folks in varying degrees, because their personalities are found in virtually every profession.  Yet, they seem to conspicuously cluster within the ranks of professional athletes and actors.

The current poster child du jour for this self-delusional malady has to be actor Charlie Sheen who really believes that his habitual boozey-crack benders – combined with a pattern of physical abuse toward women and subsequent hotel rooms – somehow adds to the “pathetic, meaningless lives” (those are his words) of the public at large.


I wonder if that public at large truly feels edified by such SHEENanigans?  Is that how “meaningless” elementary teachers; “meaningless” ER nurses; “meaningless” soup kitchen volunteers; “meaningless” soldiers or “meaningless” firefighters really feel.  Probably not, because such individuals are more likely to “Know Thyself” by virtue of their professions which requires service for others.

The point is that Sheen can’t accurately perceive and assess his own personal worth because he’s so far removed from knowing himself – his True Self.  As a result, he can’t adequately and maturely assess the inherent value in others either.

Unfortunately, Sheen is not alone in this regard and it seems that more and more people are snared in this trap of selfish oblivion.  This brings to mind the following passage from a book by C. E. Rolt titled Dionysius the Areopagite,

“Spatial metaphors are always dangerous though unavoidable in Theology. In space, if ‘A’ is touching ‘B’ the ‘B’ must be touching ‘A.’ In the spiritual world this is not so. God is near to me (or rather in me), and yet I may be far from God because I may be far from my own true self.

Whether we know it or ignore it, each of us longs for something more than this life can offer because this life will ultimately end for each of us. And it’s our own unwillingness to “Know Ourselves” and that resultant need for the eternal, which forces us into an empty Sheenian lifestyle that seeks only “bi-winning” – whatever that means [see photo insert - NOTE: in a recent interview Sheen was asked if he was bi-polar and he replied "No, I'm bi-winning." If nothing else he is certainly acting bi-zarre.]

I guess this entire blog can be summed up in the following ancient warning,

“…Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” (Romans 12:3) NIV

The operative word being "sober" - please feel free to forward this along to Charlie if you’d like.

1 comment:

  1. As a fairly new "writer" I'm learning more about myself. You explain this process so well.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog, A Softer Voice. I appreciate your time and your encouraging comments. You my also enjoy Daily words of encouragement posted by a variety of contributors. Thanks again and God Bless.