Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Alice and the Mirror

Just as I had polished off the notion of making one's own true images, convinced that I am a peace-loving wisdom seeker, an acquaintance declared my temperament fearsome and my responses oversensitive. Are we the way we see ourselves from the inside or the way others see us from the outside? Which image of ourselves is the true one, valid and overriding?

There seemed to be many answers.

My initial response is that only I know what I am thinking on the inside as I commit thoughts to words, in writing or speech, or as I commit my being to action. Hence, the image I form of myself from the inside is the True Self, it is who I really am.

A friend replies, to the contrary, that I don't really know what I am. My intentions are hidden from myself by genetic predispositions, the unconscious and plain self-delusion. The best judges of who I am are those who observe my behavior. If five people judge me from the outside to be X, even though I protest with interior self-knowledge that I am really Y, I am really X.

Another voice says: neither, the true self can only be found by a therapist. The source is, you guessed, a therapist (not mine; I have none, although some think I should). Let's replace "therapist" with someone whom we vest with the potential to help us discern who we really are and what we really want to do and be in our lives.

Three options. Three doors. Which is right?
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