Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Know thyself (3)

In several of my more recent blogs, I have used the word introspection. My “weird” conclusion was that I probably know others better than myself. This conclusion is, however, consistent with a 2018 article in The Atlantic: People don’t actually know themselves very well. Its subtitle confirms my earlier conclusion: “Chances are, your coworkers are better at rating some parts of your personality than you are”.

Many, if not most, people will claim that they know themselves (very) well. I know that I am a complex person, although not complicated. In general, I am a “what you see is what you get” person – a.k.a. WYSIWYG. My introspection revealed several “firewalls“, apart from an occasional and already known hidden chamber.

My lack of being able to “read” myself may explain my interest in astrology (eg, my blogs of 2014, 2015, 20162019). The reading of myself by others then becomes fascinating. Several years ago, I got a gift from my then girlfriend: a reading by a psych. My reading did not go well as the psych claimed that I was blocking him. I suppose my “firewalls” are not only internal.

Perhaps, the discrepancy between external and internal mindreading has to do with the triangle deedswordsintentions. I think, feel and believe that we focus ourselves primarily on our (good) intentions, while others can only view (the consistency or discrepancy between) our words and deeds. We may just believe that we are (fully) consistent while we are not (always).

The Atlantic: “But the truth is that no one has perfect self-awareness—you probably believe more than a few things about yourself that are false.” Note: bold and italic marking in quote by LO.

While taking a short break from writing, I suddenly realized why we don’t know ourselves very well. It has to do with the words of Michael Kiwanuka in last Thursday’s blog: we are all busy with self-acceptance and our identity. As long we haven’t accepted ourselves, we pretend to be a better person than we know we are.

The Pretender is a 1977 classic album and song by Jackson Browne (lyrics, video). This song is clearly not about hope, if only for the last three lines: “Say a prayer for the Pretender, Who started out so young and strong, Only to surrender”. Hence, I will close with another classic song about hope, love and pretending.

I noticed two relevant quotes, which I like sharing with you:

  • “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007), American writer,
  • “Perhaps it’s impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be.” Orson Scott Card (b.1951), American novelist.

Better Man (2014) by Paolo Nutini 
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

She makes me smile
She thinks the way I think
That girl makes me wanna be better

Note 1: all markings (bolditalic, underlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.

Note 2: for part one, see my 2018 blog and for part 2, see my 2019 blog.


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