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Old 07-15-2012, 08:56 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 43,144,896 times
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Here's an article I just wrote. I would love to hear your thoughts, options, ideas.etc.

Being ‘True To Yourself’

How many times have you heard the identity-affirming encouragement to ‘be true to yourself’ or to ‘be yourself’, with the suggestion that one can somehow not be true, or honest to oneself? It is second nature to believe that some people voluntarily or involuntarily suppress the ‘real selves’ for some perceived benefit or out of some perceived fear. But philosophically, is it possible to be anything but what you are? If your life is the expression of the interaction between your innate genetic tendencies, upbringing and environment, is it conceivable that you life could have ‘turned out any other way?’ If one is easily swayed by peer pressure, is that not an innate part of one’s makeup?

There is one situation where the phrase could be applied to, from a literal, philosophical standpoint. That is the whole concept of ‘nurture’ or the environment suppressing your innate biological tendencies. A free spirit trapped in a stifling cage of conformity, or a spontaneous person leashed to a treadmill of routine, for instance, might constantly rail against their circumstance, but this very expression of discontent reveals something about their character. The false façade they present to their peers merely reflects state of incongruence.

From a practical point of view, I’ve come to the conclusion ‘we’ are nothing more than our story: we are not just the sum of our parts, but the sum of our experience, in other words, we are our lives. If the humanist materialist’s are right with their ‘rationalist’ explanation we do not exist before our birth or after our death. Our little Universe exists within the miniscule – compared to the age of the Universe – timescale of our mortal lives. How many truly appreciate this sober fact? That when we die, the Universe literally dies. Perhaps this is why it is so hard for us to imagine non-existence. The primal fear of death is the central point upon which all our actions revolve around. The central fact that we can die at any moment, and we must avoid this fact, motivates every action, even altruistic actions. Perhaps, love for children and family represents an even deeper unity of thought as a species that we don’t often recognise as being an expansion of consciousness and identity. We do, in a sense, ‘live on’ in our children, and we have, in a sense, existed since our very first ancestors. Does personal consciousness survive after death? Well multitudes of philosophers, theologians and millions of laypeople have contemplated – sometimes agonized – over whether life after death exists. Attitudes towards death – and the almost endless possible scenarios – seem as varied as individual conceptions of Existence itself.

Which leads us to the same old essential, nagging questions, which seem to return to us like a boomerang no matter how far we try to fling them from our concerns. But back to the original premise of this article: what does it really mean to be ‘true to yourself’ or to ‘be yourself?’ Does the question even make sense? Is it merely a figure of speech?
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:24 PM
 
Location: Tucson/Nogales
16,474 posts, read 20,009,944 times
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We are all a multitude of self's, many undiscovered waiting for the proper occasion for that self to assert itself. Discovering one's true self is a neverending journey, so how can anyone be true to oneself, when the self is so fleeting?

Many self's get buried along the way. Education buries a number of them, but also enlivens a number of them.

But I try hard to be true to my many selves!
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:48 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 43,144,896 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tijlover View Post
We are all a multitude of self's, many undiscovered waiting for the proper occasion for that self to assert itself. Discovering one's true self is a neverending journey, so how can anyone be true to oneself, when the self is so fleeting?

Many self's get buried along the way. Education buries a number of them, but also enlivens a number of them.

But I try hard to be true to my many selves!
There's the idea, which I've thought of independently, that we are all God experiencing the world from 7 billion different viewpoints. For some reason that reminds me of that. We wear different masks, our 'true identities' are fleeting, amorphous, gaseous, ever-changing...My true essence...where is it, how can I divorce it from it's influences? It is impossible.
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Old 07-17-2012, 06:37 PM
 
632 posts, read 629,325 times
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When I think of god I think of the book of revelations. Then I think of the epic battle between god the father and the father of fathers Odin. If it's a battle between god and his Christ son vs. Odin and his son Thor who he didn't put up on a cross. One father sacrificed his only son while other fathers son is the god of peasants who brings the thunder unlike any other.

A true battle of good vs. evil in the universe. True self vs. false self.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
There's the idea, which I've thought of independently, that we are all God experiencing the world from 7 billion different viewpoints. For some reason that reminds me of that. We wear different masks, our 'true identities' are fleeting, amorphous, gaseous, ever-changing...My true essence...where is it, how can I divorce it from it's influences? It is impossible.
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Old 07-20-2012, 07:16 AM
 
Location: Whittier
3,007 posts, read 4,871,695 times
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I think of Sartre and "Authenticity."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authenticity_(philosophy)

Simply (or not so simply), being true is being aware of yourself at the time of realization and becoming yourself through actualization.

Meaning, personally stripping down and away (Baconian) idols of belief, and accepting what and who you are after the fact. i.e. if your calling is playing music in a band, you should probably (quit your day job, rent a bus) do that if you want to be true to yourself. It's very difficult stuff; self expression and knowing your relationship between the external world.

Of course, you have to define things like self, truth, actualization and all of that...

And in a way, and personally, self-actualization is a scary ever-changing process that needs to be constantly monitored. It's not like one day and you're like BOOM! I know who I am... That's why there are a lot of parallels to this vein of existentialism and Buddhism.

I think the folk usage means something else. A lesser debased version meaning "stick to your guns" an ironic opposite belief in what you already believe.
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Old 07-22-2012, 01:22 AM
 
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I think that some people have more personna's then others. Peer pressure, acceptance seeking from others, and being 'confused' all play a part in someone who may have multiple personna's. I don't equate having multiple personna's to having multiple personalities, but I think an arguement can be made there. Many many people will behave differently around their parents/family, then they do around their friends on a night out drinking. I think as we mature and grow older, many of us (not all, and the use of 'many' here may be generous) get a better understanding of our true identity. But, I don't think there are many people who are truely the same person 24/7. Different roles (parent/child/co-worker) all play a part on how we behave at any particular moment.
I like the article you wrote. I again stress identity here as a comparison to being true to one self. But many people constantly make decisions that conflict with their inner morals, and yet they continue to do them. Perhaps someone can't control their compulsions, or their addictions.
I think that some people will display a more consistant version of themself, compared to the next person. But does that mean that the consistant person is more true to oneself then the inconsistant behavior patterns of the other person? What if the inconsistant person acheives more success or happiness in life, and being inconsistant is the means of how they acheive those goals?
Being true to oneself may simply mean that someone is willing to do whatever it takes to acheive a goal. And that person may feel that nothing is morally wrong with the means in which the acheive that goal. The only important standard then may be whether or not the goal is acheived, not how the person went about achieving said goal.

I love the concept of being true to oneself, but I think it is an old fashioned ideal. Also, it is possible that being true to oneself may restrict someone from achieving certain goals due to a potentially stubborn quality to remain true to oneself.
In my experience, people wear many hats, and many masks. To truely be successful by TODAYS standards, one must change their identity and vary the ideal of being true to oneself.
The whole concept of being true to oneself is extremely debateable.
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:53 AM
 
Location: Missouri, USA
3,925 posts, read 2,728,548 times
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I never liked the sentence "Be true to yourself." It's misleading. Some people are most healthy being a different person around everyone they meet. Some people are most healthy following others' lead sometimes. It depends on what the person wants. Masks aren't necessarily a bad thing. To truly be true to themselves, some people should do things that nobody but the people in question would likely view as being true to themselves.
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Old 07-26-2012, 10:40 AM
 
11,686 posts, read 13,083,410 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
....Which leads us to the same old essential, nagging questions, which seem to return to us like a boomerang no matter how far we try to fling them from our concerns. But back to the original premise of this article: what does it really mean to be ‘true to yourself’ or to ‘be yourself?’ Does the question even make sense? Is it merely a figure of speech?
My own thoughts are along the line of what tijlover has already posted.

I think the idea a single self to be true to a bit ridiculous. Just as our lives unfold and reshape themselves, so do we as people...as selves. My "self" is not something cast in concrete, though I think that religion, customary social attitudes and formal education (especially in earlier years) try to make us believe that we have such an unchanging self, or worse - should have.

I don't feel as if there is any difference between my "self" and myself, I am what I do.

Thus, being "true to yourself," first of all requires that we quite simply pay attention to what we are doing and thinking, and realizing that much of the time we are running in a rather messy "automatic" mode, i.e. habits, unexamined beliefs, conditioning we have not examined.
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Old 07-26-2012, 10:44 AM
 
11,686 posts, read 13,083,410 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
I never liked the sentence "Be true to yourself." It's misleading. Some people are most healthy being a different person around everyone they meet. Some people are most healthy following others' lead sometimes. It depends on what the person wants. Masks aren't necessarily a bad thing. To truly be true to themselves, some people should do things that nobody but the people in question would likely view as being true to themselves.
Perhaps it might be the case that the "masks" you refer to, aren't masks as we ordinarily think of them. Perhaps instead of being disguises one assumes, as at a party, they are actually unmaskings...revealing, not covering something.
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