Knowing myself

So how might I know myself?

Love helps. I learned that in the counselling skills course: Love- but Carl Rogers thought himself a “scientist” so he termed it “unconditional positive regard”- with Empathy and “Congruence”- being naturally onesself, and not acting a role- together were therapeutic. I named my basic fear in my early forties- “The monster will get me”. It will get me, and I will die. This is very small child’s thought-process, possibly pre-verbal when first believed, and I dug further down into it. The monster will get me- if I am noticed, or if I show fear or anger, so I fear my fear and anger.

So I paid to sit in a room and be listened to, and puzzled out my neuroses.

Love helps, or harms. They would only force me to pretend to be other than I am out of Love, because they wanted the best for me, because they wanted me not to come to harm. So I am divided. There is a real me, which fears, and an imposed structure, a prison, which forbids my fear on pain of death. I make it myself, in response to my best understanding of what is outside me.

I might know myself by what I do. “Shadow motivation” means doing something to achieve what you want even though you are not conscious of wanting it. All the things I must not be, so I deny that I am, other people see because they observe my actions. The conscious bit, that falsely claimed to be “I”, would be better to observe than to think.

David Eagleman proposed that consciousness was useful when something new came up, to “think” about it. Someone else said it can lie convincingly if it genuinely does not know what the person is going to do. “Of course you can trust me,” it says, with a direct gaze, sincere smile and firm handshark.

Or humanity has not recovered from discovering agriculture. Being a hunter-gatherer meant dying aged twenty, but also just going out to get what you needed when you needed it. Farming means planting now so I may harvest in several months’ time, and even rotating crops so I may still harvest in several years’ time. Deferred gratification is a problem, when so many desires are immediate.

So I might stop bothering the conscious mind too much. Why analyse, when you can act? The brain shows little activity, performing an action you have learned well, and we have learned a lot by now. Analysis is useful for learning, but not for second guessing.

And yet I get back to the beginning: one thing I wanted from this was to know myself better, in how I related to you.

Monet sun setting

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