Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Know Thyself, Tame Thyself

Within each of us lies a shadow self, a dark side, a heaping serving of that which we don't really want to show the world and a small dose (or more) of the evil impulses which humanity has demonstrated since the beginning.  If we deny those aspects of our persona, if we attempt to ignore that they exist, we give those impulses power.  They lurk under the bed just waiting for an opportunity, when we are weak or afraid, to seize control of the narrative of our lives.

Instead we should each acknowledge that shadow self.  Name its characteristics.  Understand it.  In understanding our shadow selves, in understanding our personal capacity for evil, we tame them.  We gain control of them.  They may even be channeled toward a more full and virtuous life.

I don't believe in saints but I do think it is possible to live a good life characterized by virtue.  When we try to be a saints, if we try to be perfect, we are living in denial.  If there is a Holy Spirit, it is not in the business of cleansing the souls of homo sapiens.  Owning the "soul" that I do, it is best to make sure no part of it remains hidden from my controlling faculty, my mind.

As much as I can, I want none of my "soul" to remain feral and at risk of biting me on the hand, or worse.

I want to control who I am.
I want to be more a master than a slave of the narrative of my life.

Those require an understanding of the self followed by the taming of one's own monsters.

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