Know Yourself
An impossible without God.

Author: Staff | Source:

"Know yourself." Enter your own soul, dive into the depths of your being: A journey to the center of the earth that has been the privileged way, since man is man, by all who have sought wisdom and authentic life and in fullness. And it is the way they yearn for, perhaps unconsciously, the millennial generation and the I-generation, educated in a world that has educated them to live on the outskirts of their hearts, attentive only to the next stimulus of the nearest screen.

Find yourself. It sounds so Kung-Fu Panda-like, sounds like a road-teen movie. And, however, if you are going to leave the region, you can leave your selfie-stick at home, because you start a trip not suitable for tourists. "The Heart is an abyss" said an old Egyptian hermit, already in the fourth century: it was not necessary to wait for Freud to know that entering the heart itself means swimming in waters in which one can’t stand up, it means diving in an ocean that you will never see the bottom , it means swimming on the high seas at night and alone. Because no one has said that looking for yourself ensures that you’ll like what you're going to find.

Michael Ende, in "The Neverending Story", tells us about 3 evidences that a character must cross to reach his destination. The second is a mirror that shows the Knights their interior, their true being: the main character doesn’t think it’ll be a hard test to pass, and yet... "Anyway," said Atreyu, "that door of the magic mirror seems easier for me to cross than the first."

“Mistake!” claimed Énguivuck, beginning to walk again excitedly from one side to the other. “Big mistake, man! I made sure that precisely the visitors who are considered especially spotless flee screaming from the monster who looks at them ironically from the mirror. Some of them had to be treated for weeks before they were even able to embark on their return journey. (...) For others it was less frightening, but they all had to beat themselves.

In this sense, they say that Oscar Wilde wrote in his diary these significant words of the poet Baudelaire: "Oh, Lord! Give me courage to look at my heart without disgust!". The famous literate, indeed, under a mask of libertine life, elegance, genius and unbounded humor concealed an anguished heart which despised itself, and which sharply perceived the contradiction between the truth that sensed and the life it wore. 

His famous novel "The Portrait of Dorian Gray" is not, in that sense, but the exorcism of something he was living. On a certain occasion, he told a friend this fable: "A man saw a being who hid his face from him, and he said," I’ll force him to show me his face. " He fled while he chased him, until he lost sight of him, and continued his life as usual. (... Years later) in a mirror he saw the being he had pursued in his youth. "This time you will not escape," he said, but he didn’t try to escape and stopped hiding his face. "Look!" he cried, "and now you’ll know that we can’t see each other again, for this is the face of your soul, and it is horrible."

In Kill Bill 2, David Carradine told Uma Thurman that what makes Superman different from, Peter Parker, is that while for Peter, his mask conceals his true identity, in the case of Superman disguise is Clark Kent: Superman is his true identity. Equally, I said, that life of a kind citizen and kindly mother of family, under a pseudonym... only a mask, which hides the dark truth of your interior: you are really Beatrix kiddo, a brutal murderer without scruples... “You would’ve worn the costume of Arlene Plympton. But you were born Beatrix Kiddo. And every morning when you woke up, you’d still be Beatrix Kiddo…I’m calling you a killer. A natural born killer. You always have been, and you always will be. Moving to El Paso, working in a used record store, going to the movies with Tommy, clipping coupons. That’s you, trying to disguise yourself as a worker bee. That's, you trying to blend in with the hive. But you’re not a worker bee. You’re a renegade killer bee. And no matter how much beer you drank or barbecue you ate or how fat your ass got, nothing in the world would ever change that…”

Something like this too happens to man: Fear Lurks, like Luke Skywalker in Dagobah's Cave, when he faces the enemy, discover that he has his face. To discover that evil is in himself, that’s its true identity falling from the dark side of the force, and that all its claims of virtue are but a ridiculous mask.

Many men have walked for years in search of their heart, to finally find only Tohu-Bohu: Chaos, disorder and emptiness, as the god of Genesis saw before creating the universe. And if something shows the outbreak, the Hollywood sex scandals that dress our news in recent weeks, or the discovery of even more cases of political corruption, which seem to sprout from the ground like mushrooms in fall.

Is precisely that there is something deeply ill in the heart of man. It’s not necessary, in any case, to go to those cases so extreme and so of newscast: you can perceive that virus in that torpor, weakness and inner fatigue that prevents you, again and again, to get up to straighten your life and take it to where you know you must go.

In that fatal psychological mechanism that dominates you and that you cannot get rid of-fruit, perhaps, from some wound of the past in that cowardice, in that fear of light that prevents you from facing some hard, difficult, uncomfortable truth, and that makes you live in the fold and the lie, in that disgusting envy you feel towards someone you should rejoice in, in that habit or addiction that binds you and you have ended up justifying and blessing within you, in that burning and irrational hatred, in that rancor that is consuming you inside... in that childish and narcissistic selfishness that leads you to always consider yourself a poor victim offended.

The same success of "Black Mirror" is because it’s not really about technology: that’s  just an excuse, a (black) mirror of the human condition, which shows us what happens when a greater (technological) power is put at the service of our pettiness, and how, for example, the most harmless type, endowed with sufficient power, could become an unscrupulous tyrant, in an "God-like" (U.S.S. Callister).

Yes, all human life is a string lying between the beast and the Superman, the scoundrel and the hero, and our freedom always plays in that dangerous balance. Behind our front of proud Prince Theon of the Greyjoy is always hidden a despicable Reek (it rhymes with weak!). And maybe Frodo would sympathize with Gollum so much if it were not because he began to perceive that there is also a Gollum lurking inside him, waiting for the opportunity to manifest himself. 

Therefore, our soul is a dark room, in which few dare to enter alone. And when there is no particularly horrible beast in him, it is precisely his emptiness, his shortcomings which torments us: Man is a spirit, and as such, he is made to desire infinity, not to be conformed to be nothing less than a god. "I want it all and I want it now". Any rework is always for him a monstrous frustration, any limit is an unbearable humiliation. One would have to doubt the sincerity or the sanity of whoever said not to find in itself insufficiency, limit, and desire of more...

All these internal contradictions can produce in man a deep sadness, like that portrayed thus the poet Pedro Salinas:

 "I'm sad tonight

Because I am what I am, like trees

Who enslaved to his trunk suffer?

Both sides of the roads

For those poor lives

They could kill, if there's any shock.

I'm so sad because I'm a man,

Because man is hurting,

It hurts, it hurts.

And that's only known

On the nights of January like this,

In which the snow removes

All your illusions to the future,

And the world already without lips

It seems all white, a conscience,

That coldly screams that crude light

That we are so many years old

With the complicity of many kisses "


In Interior hominis Habitat Veritas, said Augustine of Hippo. Yes, inside man inhabits the truth... but, as Nietzsche said, how much truth can a man endure?

Therefore, It’s not strange that evasion is the option that takes so many, fleeing the interior and the plague, living in the outskirts of his heart, deceiving and manipulating his conscience as the protagonist of "Memento", or living with appearances and falsehoods, as the Protagonist of Vanilla Sky ("It's only a mask if you treat it that way"). 

Despair is the fruit of realizing a terrible truth: self-redemption is a fraud. No one can save himself. No one can get out of the mud by pulling their hair up. The West has proposed two "do-it-yourself" redemption strategies, and both have failed. The first is the way of the Will: "Love it with great strength and your dream will come true." No matter what it is: professional success, quitting drugs, becoming a woman? It’s enough that you really want it, and it will happen. The second is the way of intelligence: change your ideas, and reality will change. Spread feminist ideology, and rapes and abuses will disappear from the face of the earth. 

And the failure of these strategies has consecrated the Twilight of the Heroes: The coronation of Deadpool. Humanity seems to have come to believe, as in the statue of Gaetano Cellini "L'Umanità contro il Male", that man is made of the same mud, of the same evil that tries uselessly to destroy.

That seemed to feel the philosopher Wittgenstein, when he wrote: "I can reject the Christian solution of the Problem of life (redemption, Resurrection, Judgment, heaven, hell) but certainly not for that is solved the problem of my life, because I am neither good nor happy. I am not redeemed (...) You need redemption. If not, you are lost (...) To know oneself is terrible, because at the same time it recognizes the vital instance, and its own insufficiency (...) as the insect hums around the light, so I around the New Testament "

This famous twentieth-century philosopher alluded to the gospel, but what vision does Christianity offer us in this problem? Christianity, indeed, knows it well, and gives it the name of "Original sin." It’s this reality that makes him exclaim to the prophet Jeremiah that of "nothing is falser nor sicker than the heart: What man can claim to know his own?" 

It's true that we find that "Tohu-Bohu", that chaos and emptiness in our soul, but Faith tells us that this abyss is not your deepest truth: it is neither the first nor the last word about your identity. It's not the first one. The first is God's loving look upon your being. "Before you formed in your mother's womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I had you consecrated. " You have been created because God looked at you and loved you, and loving you gave you existence. It’s not the last. God wants to realize in you a new creation, doing all the new things in your interior: "I’ll give you a new heart and a new spirit, I’ll remove from you the heart of stone, and give you a heart of flesh”. 

 He looks, as in the Prophet's vision, that valley of dry bones that is inside you, and sends his spirit, giving you a new life. (If evangelization has made a tragic mistake has been to present Christianity primarily as an entrance ticket to a cloudy sky that will begin when the palms... instead of explaining it as a healing process, as a path of enlightenment and divinization , which will culminate, yes, beyond our physical life, but it starts here and now. It’s possible, to live from now on, a life transfigured. Instead, we have reduced the way to "comply with the law," and our divinization, to "Die confessed").

In short, "Accept yourself" is a utopia, a cheesy phrase, a hollow mantra. Impossible without God. Impossible to peer into the abyss of your heart, with its entourage of fears, wounds, disordered tendencies, dissatisfied desires, guilt... without the company and the gaze of Christ.

Only from that love that accepts you where you are is it possible to be reconciled with oneself, and only from the strength of his spirit can arise, from that primitive chaos, a new garden of Eden. Because, as Oscar Wilde said, alluding to a biblical episode, "When one has weighed the sun in a balance, and measured the steps of the moon, and mapped out the seven Heavens star by star, there still remains oneself. Who can calculate the orbit of his own soul? When the son of Kish went out to look for his father's asses, he didn’t know that a man of God was waiting for him with the very chrism of coronation, and that his own soul was already the soul of a King "(...) 

Christ doesn’t really teach one anything, but by being brought into his presence one becomes something. And Everybody is predestined to his presence. Once at least in their lives, each man walks with Christ to Emmaus "

So, I encourage you, yes, to look for, but above all, I wish you to be found. Good trip!







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