Know Thyself – part 1

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Oh so many years ago, a little known chinaman called Sun Tzu wrote these words:

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.

I write a lot on knowing the enemy, but not enough on knowing yourself.

To fix that, we shall have a Know Thyself series. Short little articles to make you think. As Sun Tzu talks about you knowing yourself, not me knowing you, I’m not going to write articles about the human mind or it’s infinite variations.

Instead, I’m going to pose questions and thoughts for you to think about. The main thing is to think about them. Dive deep. You might not get answers. And that’s OK. Answers are nice, but 80% of the benefit comes from looking for them.

Thought number 1 for the series comes from Carl Jung:

Until the unconscious becomes conscious, it will control your life and you will call it destiny.

Simple examples:

  • A man calls you a horse, you punch him in the mouth. A second man calls you a horse, you call him a jerk.
  • A third man calls you a horse, well, maybe it’s time to go shopping for a saddle.

What processes are running in the unconscious of your mind that direct your life?

  • If everyone you meet is an arsehole, consider what the common link is. Are your “destined” to be surrounded by arseholes? Consider that maybe it’s not them.
  • If you always date “bad boys” and wonder why they treat you like shit, are you “destined” to always be treated badly? Consider that you’re attracted to them because they treat you like shit.

Any time I hear somebody say they believe in destiny, I think of the Carl Jung quote. I think of how the future isn’t a place you’re going to, but a place you’re creating every moment. [1]

I also think of all the Darwin Award deaths. All the executed civilians, all the muslim beheading victims and muslim sex slaves. And then I get angry with the destiny believers.

Read it again and swim deeply:

Until the unconscious becomes conscious, it will control your life and you will call it destiny.

[1] – The future isn’t some place. It isn’t something you’re handed out, issued. It’s something you’re creating for yourself with every thought, decision, and action. Anything else is to declare you have no control over your life, and by extension, yourself. And the logical extreme of that is determinism and nobody being to blame for anything they do (because DestinyTM). Fuck that.

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