People without a strong sense of self have difficulty retaining their own opinions, reactions, and decision-making with respect to events in the world. They will follow the most certain person in the room. Certainty gives the insecure comfort because it lends the impression that things have been thought through, contingencies have been accounted for, and that everything will be okay somehow. This may or may not be true but if someone isn’t relying on their own independent judgment, it matters not.
The tricky part is that there are people in the world who have thought things through, have made proper accounting, and can ensure some measure of order. These people are leaders, most of them natural born. Moral certainty is a superpower, in the right hands. It is a horror beyond words in the wrong hands, as recent history has proven time and time again.
Another tricky part is that most people base their sense of self in rubbish. They think that their favorite bands are their identity. Or their controlling mother or their absent father or their propagandized schooling experience make up who they are. They think the people they follow on social media are who they are. Those people buy the glamor brands and that’s important! Or people, through a bit of self-knowledge, discover something true about themselves and then harden themselves around the fact, never allowing change and casting a rigid pose over their lives.
Curiosity leads us to forming our own opinions, reactions, and decision-making with respect to events in our lives and in the world. We become curious about our own internal states and set aside the “spin” that someone else brings to bear on things. Everyone responds to events and facts a bit differently because we each have a unique part to play in helping the world. Some people will respond like great generals. Some like medicine men. Some like grunts. Some like priests. Some like worker bees. Some like teachers and philosophers. Some people will be archetypical and respond in consistently the same way. Some people will respond eclectically.
Mimicking someone we think to be of good judgment as they navigate the world is not something to be discouraged. But we do want to leave room for our own responses and to build up our own path, if need be, instead of simply walking theirs at every turn. The great thing about walking toward the truth is that now there are many hundreds of thousands of people across the globe making the journey. The unvarnished truth got out, with the brief period of free speech on the Internet, and now people are finding their bearing.
We want to watch for our very first response to things. What is it? The secondary and tertiary responses tend to be the voices of propagandists we’ve internalized. The first response is authentic to us. It may mirror someone we admire or it may mirror someone we disapprove of. We can’t control for that without sacrificing our authenticity. Best not to.
Our instincts are telling us a lot about what’s happening in the world today. People’s ancient wiring is “coming online”. Embrace your own! You will not lead yourself to ruin. Your marvelous psyche is here to help you. Drop the defensive stance and embrace curiosity.