True and False Self

People don’t judge others by their words or behaviour. They judge by the energy and intention that carries the person; that’s how like attract like. If authenticity and transparency is what drives someone in their expression, then authentic people would gravitate towards that; conversely, if someone is masking their true self by deception and haughtiness, others who don similar masks flock to that person. Perhaps that doesn’t come as a surprise, but what might surprise you is that it’s usually the same quality that divides people’s opinions of one. Take Russell Brand for example; he’s a controversial figure because he doesn’t shy away from who he is and who he was and he doesn’t try to appear as anything but what he truly is. This is a reason why I admire him, the fact that he speaks his mind and is humble enough to own his flaws and mistakes; however, this is exactly the reason why those who hate him do so. They say he’s ‘crazy’ and spews ignorance and misleads the masses. People are divided.

Take another example; Kim Kardashian. She’s loved and hated by millions around the world. Those who love her do so because she’s fashionable and business savvy and famous; those who hate her do so because she’s famous without merit and they find her public persona fake and airheady.

What you might discern is that people judge someone based on one of two things; their public persona and how they carry themselves ( by action and speech) or the intention behind their (perhaps quirky) demeanour. So you can have four possible outcomes in judging a person;

  1. You hate them  → because of their contradictory energy [ inauthenticity]
     or                     → because you project a trait you hold within yourself but that you suppress, onto them. [ projection]
  2. You love them  → because they are not a threat to your mask [ inauthenticity]
    or                     →because their inner energy and outward appearance are congruent. [authenticity]

People judge others the way they judge themselves; if they are honest with themselves and willing to take the painful journey within, then they would not judge at all, but simply relate. If, however, they are dishonest with themselves by trying to avoid the discomfort of consciousness and hard truths, then they continue that avoidance by looking outwards for distraction. Because they are running away from their feelings, they fail to relate to another person and see them for who they are. They view the world and all that’s in it through the lens of usefulness; the fear of pain forces them to use others as an escape route.

Authentic people 

  • Relate to themselves first, then the outward world.
  • Because of the congruence between their true self and public self, they embrace uncomfortable truths and look danger in the eye. They gravitate toward people of similar mindset with whom they can grow and explore.

Inauthentic people

  • Are shut off from themselves so cling on to external sources in a bid to quell discomfort. They are those who become attached to people and things fairly quickly, who can’t stand solitude, and who feel compelled to control the outside world because of a sense of inner chaos; this might be in the form of perfectionism, goal-obsessions, image-control, eating disorders, sociopathic tendencies, etc.
  • Because of the gross incongruence between the self they try to bury and the purported self, they live life guarding that battle. They gravitate towards people who they can use, control, or fawn over while secretly envying them.

Internet of the Mind

 

 

Basically, those who are looking for authenticity look behind the facades, whilst those who are looking for validation of the incongruence of their true self and public self, look for similar facades.

Ultimately, whatever one hates or love in another, is simply a reflection of oneself. Whatever one hates in another person is something one hates and rejects within oneself; whatever one loves in another is something one appreciates within oneself.

When one has become emotionally aware by overcoming the innate narcissistic tendency, one sees the world and every person objectively, without imposing one’s own projections and opinions on the object.

“The faculty to think objectively is reason; the emotional attitude behind reason is that of humility. To be objective, to use one’s reason, is possible only if one has achieved an attitude of humility, if one has emerged from the dreams of omniscience and omnipotence which one has as a child. Love, being dependent on the relative absence of narcissism, requires the developement of humility, objectivity and reason.

I must try to see the difference between my picture of a person and his behavior, as it is narcissistically distorted, and the person’s reality as it exists regardless of my interests, needs and fears.”
Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving)

Self-love=Narcissism?

 

My own self must be as much an object of my love as another person. The affirmation of one’s life,happiness,growth,freedom is rooted in one’s capacity to love, i.e., in care, respect, responsibility, and knowledge. If an individual is able to love productively, he loves himself too; if he can love only others, he cannot love at all. 
Granted that love for oneself and for others in principle is conjunctive, how do we explain selfishness, which obviously excludes any genuine concern for others? The selfish person is interested only in himself, wants everything for himself, feels no pleasure in giving, but only in taking. The world outside is looked at only from the standpoint of what he can get out of it; he lacks interest in the needs of others, and respect for their dignity and integrity. He can see nothing but himself; he judges everyone and everything from its usefulness to him;  he is basically unable to love. Does not this prove that concern for others and concern for oneself are unavoidable alternatives? This would be so if selfishness and self-love were identical. But that assumption is the very fallacy which has led to so many mistaken conclusions concerning our problem.

Selfishness and self-love, far from being identical, are actually opposites.

The selfish person does not love himself too much but too little; in fact he hates himself. This lack of fondness and care for himself, which is only one expression of his lack of productiveness, leaves him empty and frustrated. He is necessarily unhappy and anxiously concerned to snatch from life the satisfactions which he blocks himself from attaining. He seems to care too much for himself, but actually he only makes an unsuccessful attempt to cover up and compensate for his failure to care for his real self. 

It is true that selfish persons are incapable of loving others,but they are not capable of loving themselves either.

 


 

Fromm, Erich. “Self-love.” The Art of Loving. New York: Open Road Integrated Media, 1956. 64-65. E-book

Love and Its Disintegration in Contemporary Western Society

This is a very interesting, albeit long, discourse extracted from Erich Fromm’s renowned book The Art of Loving, on the effects of capitalism on Western society and the concept of love. For brevity, I’ll provide a summary of the main points broached by Fromm;

  • Capitalism has created a commodity-mindset where everything is appraised based on exchange value
  • Loss of individuality and human feelings
  • Herd mentality and consumerism
  • Love is approached in a mechanical and formulaic manner, void of real interaction.

 

IF LOVE IS THE CAPACITY of the mature, productive character, it follows that the capacity to love in an individual living in any given culture depends on the influence this culture has on the character of the average person. If we speak about love in contemporary Western culture, we mean to ask whether the social structure of Western civilization and the spirit resulting from it are conducive to the development of love. To raise the question is to answer it in the negative. No objective observer of our Western life can doubt that love -brotherly love, motherly love, and erotic love- is a relatively rare phenomenon, and that its place is taken by a number of forms of pseudo-love which are in reality so many forms of the disintegration of love.

Capitalistic society is based on the principle of political freedom on the one hand, and of the market as the regulator of all economic, hence social relations, on the other. The commodity market determines the conditions under which commodities are exchanged, the labor market regulates the acquisition and the sale of labor. Both useful things and useful human energy and skill are transformed into commodities which are exchanged without the use of force and without fraud under the conditions of the market. Shoes, useful and needed as they may be, have no economic value (exchange value) if there is no demand for them on the market; human energy and skill are without exchange value if there is no demand for them under existing market conditions. The owner of capital can buy labor and command it to work for the profitable investment of his capital. The owner of labor must sell it to capitalists under the existing market conditions, unless he is to starve. This economic structure is reflected in a hierarchy of values. Capital commands labor; amassed things, that which is dead, are of superior value to labor, to human powers, to that which is alive.

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