There are some things about human beings that we have become amazingly distanced from due to civilization, urbanization, and mechanization.  The fact that we are mammals that prefer to live above ground, we are diurnal liking daytime and sunlight, and we are by nature social/herd animals who for safety and emotional well being live in groups.  All of these things influence our perceptions of the world around us even in our symbolic thinking about things.  So does the fact that are primary sense is sight.  We make meaning out of the world based on these preexisting baselines of our physicality.  So light and up are good while dark and down are bad.  Not knowing something is bad as it is probably a predator coming to get you vs being able to see something on its way towards you so you can prepare and/or escape.  Things behind us bad as we can’t see them, things in front good.

Which is why all horror movies use darkness and hidden things and surprises as their motifs.  They scare us the most and give us shots of adrenaline even though we know it’s just a picture on a screen.  This is why we’re told not to dwell on what is behind us, because what’s in front of us is what’s important today.  It’s why Heaven is bright and light and above us so we can ascend to it and why Hell is below us and dark and infernal and we descend to it.  And all of this makes the concept of going into our own depths to figure out who we are and why we are as seem a scary negative process.  Just the words we use invoke fear “into” “depths”.  It implies leaving this place, going somewhere unknown, and that going is downward.  All tend to be fear or at least anxiety provoking.  Then there is the notion that bad things are in the depths.  Even though they are us, it would seem better not to know about them, which is why we have kept them “in the dark” and pushed “deep down” inside us.  Seeking the truth about ourselves is coded by our symbols and words with danger and fear.

Know Thyself

Diving Deep

Yet, if we want to continue to use this symbol system, going into the depths brings the things there to light.  Instead of monsters, most people find that there are pieces of themselves that have been neglected, shunned, tormented and bedeviled into submission for no reason other than someone said they should be.  The answers to who you could be if only _____ are there but hidden in a cloak of ‘not socially acceptable’ or ‘could get me in trouble’ or ‘know one will love me if they know.’  Living an authentic life means that, at some point, you will bring the light of “Know Thyself” to these parts of you, love them, apologize to them, and allow them the healing, acknowledgement and life they deserve.

Know thyself isn’t a goal, it’s a life choice. It means examining your life, being conscious about your choices, and constantly asking yourself why and why and why. It’s why I love the book “An Unknown Woman” by Alice Koller. It’s her autobiography of taking herself to an island on the east coast and sitting alone in the house with her dog and digging down to why for every preference and action and thought that she had until she got rid of all the programming everyone else in life had given. She found the root of her self and didn’t like it at all. So she changed it and started her life over, as an adult, consciously choosing everything she did from then on. It’s a ruthless process but when you can finally, truthfully ask the questions, when you can answer them without trying to hide what the actual answer is or change it into something else, then you have begun the amazing, soul nourishing journey to “Know Thyself”. Which is inscribed on the entry to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, Greece.