Monday, May 8, 2017

I'm OK, You're OK

Accepting yourself "as you are" is a uniquely modern concept.  In previous eras, I suppose (not having lived in them), one simply found oneself within a complex social landscape defined by tradition and habit.  One could inhabit ones place with varying degrees of skill and enthusiasm, but the question of "self" acceptance did not evolve, could not evolve, until the notion of the "self" as a quasi-anti-social being came into vogue.

On some level, the question being asked is: how do I feel about myself as divorced from concrete social contexts, as a "Sein an sich"?

In a world where there is no givenness, there must be continual creation of the self, and of course since we evolved to be social animals, there is inherently some anxiety--the social emotion--created.  This is what I understand the Existentialists to have largely been saying, although I am not well read in their work.

We are up in the air.  The question is how we keep the freedom, but provide grounding, safety, and less arduous means of feeling a sense of self, belonging, and rootedness.

These are psychological and spiritual and sociological questions that are most usefully assumed to have good answers.  It is the second assumption, the one made after assuming we can survive our Scientism and the next 100 years as something close to spiritually alive beings.

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