Anyone else would’ve felt like shit and gone home. Instead, Socrates went from person to person asking the same question: Do you know thyself?
There’s no playbook for knowing yourself. And that’s why knowing yourself can become another self-awareness softball to exercise your ego.
But Socrates must’ve meant something else entirely when he said know yourself. And he sure as heck didn’t mean starving yourself into a stupor, waiting to have your own little package of enlightenment delivered to you the same day.
Knowing yourself is finding out. It means knowing what you are capable of. It’s the opposite of spacey-ness. Knowing yourself is an act of finding. Being is what follows.
Self-awareness is thought of this rad quality that makes whoever has it look pretty divine. But we all know enough self-aware people who are delusional about their own self-awareness. And that’s the only thing they are not self-aware about.
While we all think awareness is the ultimate deliverance of enlightenment, that’s far from true.
Awareness is a quality you possess in the path to finding out who you are. It’s not something that only comes to you in a zany pretzel posture.
The paradox here is this: Knowing most often prevents you from finding out who you are. Knowing can make you believe there’s nothing more to find out.
Finding out is emptying the cup. It’s a whole different sort of awareness. Not to mention, courage. Transformation, we believe, is in filling the cup. But real transformation is keeping the cup empty. And this requires you to know one thing alone: The empty cup will quench your thirst.
One way to arrive at that realization is through art. Because in its very essence, art is finding out. But that’s for another time.
The more we know ourselves, the more afraid we get. There was a time when you would dance and sing like no one was watching. But everyone was watching. And after all the years of drinking from the fire-hose, you begin to feel everyone’s watching. When no one is. Because everyone’s drinking the same kool-aid.
What’s worse is you begin to feel only the crazy dance. You know so much about yourself, you have forgotten who you are. Knowing yourself has only brought you closer to a feeling of faux growth. A growth that has forgotten what it means to be free. Freedom is finding. Emptying.
There is no greater torment than not finding out who you are. And not just who you are, but what you are capable of.
This doesn’t require courage. It only requires a bad memory. As much as possible, never know yourself.
Keep finding out.