Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Finding Yourself Where You Least Expected

I have been meaning to post this thought for some time, but life has been busy and I have been along for the ride for some time. Time to take this blog by the horns and give it some direction.

Or at least this blog post.

Have talked with some friends/siblings over the last months about 'finding yourself' and 'figuring out what you are put on this earth to do' and all the challeneges/joys/questions that follow in that stream of thought.

Here is a hunch I have had for some time, so take it as a somewhat developed thought/idea:

I do not have a true, pure essence (my 'self') that can be separated from who I am within the context of other people.

Now, for some of you this might seem obvious; for some it might not make sense; and for some, you might find me completely ridiculous.

Here's what I am getting at. I am one person when I am around my wife all the time, a somewhat different person around my sister, and even another around some of my good friends. I am all these things, not just one central thing that ties them together.

I have encountered and heard of many people (myself included) who wanted to find themselves by leaving relationships as opposed to embracing relationships. It seems that the notion of 'finding oneself' is to leave the current context they are in, in order to 'be with themselves'. And what I am saying is that there is no 'self' in a vacuum.

I am not saying it is a bad idea to spend time in silence with perhaps inner dialogue. But what I am saying is that we must embrace that we are defined by others and not just by ourselves. And that is okay. It is good.

This is why it should pain you when a friend/loved one moves away... or dies. They took part of you with them. Not some sentiment, but an actual part of you.

This gets into much of eastern understandings of reality, specifically in Hinduism (and on into Buddhism). There is a great essence (Brahman) and we are part of that (Atman). You cannot separate the one from the other. No man is an island!

I find this similar in much of Paul's thoughts of our oneness in Christ and also in Genesis's 'Image of God' that exists in all of creation.

There is no objective self, only the subjective self.

Anyway, there you have it. Chew. And perhaps spit up.


Shadow said...

sounds similar to some of the thoughts in C.S. Lewis' The Four Loves. I think you're right on about that; as humans, from the moment we are birthed we are in complete dependence on other people, to tell us what we are, what this place is that we've suddenly realized is there, and what it is we are to do. To think that given enough time we eventually do not need anyone, and somehow developed apart from all of that is, in my opinion, just silly.

secret said...


"we're one, but we're not the same. We've got to carry each other."