The Self

I don’t know if you have ever observed this strange thing, the self. Often the more you look the more it does­n’t seem to be like it, and the more you look the more it isn’t it.

If you con­cen­trate on look­ing at your­self, you will find that your self will grad­u­al­ly sep­a­rate into many star­tling forms. So if I have to make a sum­ma­ry of myself, it ter­ri­fies me. I don’t know which of the many faces rep­re­sents me more and the more close­ly I look the clear­er the trans­for­ma­tions become, and final­ly only bewil­der­ment remains.

—nar­ra­tor, Soul Mountain

Out of the few things that I do well, it’s know­ing myself that I take the most pride in.

Or believ­ing that I know myself at least.

I often feel as if I know myself enough to under­stand the work­ings of my sub­con­scious. I think it’s ludi­crous when some­one tells me that they have me “fig­ured out” and this image they have of me isn’t the same as my own image of myself.

Yet how do I know which is cor­rect? As a human, one is nat­u­ral­ly biased when look­ing at any­thing, and when look­ing at one­self this bias becomes even worse. The most that one can do is rec­og­nize one’s bias, and present it so that oth­ers can under­stand the per­spec­tive of each opin­ion.

All that I can say for sure is that I will nev­er be cor­rect in what I think of myself. Everything that I speak about, when relat­ing to my per­son­al­i­ty, my ideas, my thoughts, my mind­set, might be total­ly wrong.

And know­ing this has become more impor­tant than know­ing myself.


  1. I once read a quote that was fair­ly intrigu­ing.. some­thing in the lines of “One does not find thy­self, but rather cre­ates it.” So as your entry sug­gest, any­one say­ing they fig­ured you out could in fact be par­tial­ly cor­rect — but only about that giv­en snap­shot of an ever evolv­ing cre­ation.

  2. Well said, but quite abrupt, just when you got me nod­ding and just when i saw my ‘self’ frag­ments too you seemed to have curled up into a shell — i would like to know more about your jour­ney to self.

    I too am a wan­der­er / locator/ finder/ searcher of my self. I too found myself in frag­ments, and found aspects of myself which I nev­er knew exist­ed, some were small­er voic­es that grew with time and yet part of me which I knew myself to be (or made to believe by oth­er’s judg­ments) no longer exist. it makes me won­der did it ever exist? have i changed as does a cater­pil­lar blos­som­ing into a but­ter­fly or a moth? if my self changes so fre­quent­ly, how will i tru­ly know that i know myself?

Leave a Reply