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Know Thyself

Shakespeare once said, Life is but a stage and men merely players on it. In order for us to become main characters on this stage, instead of mere extras, we must be able to truly identify who we are as individuals first. After this has been accomplished we can find out how we can benefit our society. When complete self-awareness, self-knowledge, self-confidence, and self-respect are reached, than you can truly know thyself. In all of the Natural Sciences, be it physics, chemistry, or biology, the physical world is dissected and analyzed. Using a language of their own, the Natural Sciences go about defining and declaring what we are.

In biology the human brain is analyzed and studied; in fact when my parents were in medical school and were studying neurology, they were given actual brains to dissect. However these studies merely identify what is there physically, not the soul or the identity. Sant Kirpal Singh explains, Man is composed of body, mind (intellect) and soul. We are extremely careful to develop ourselves physically and mentally, but understand very little about the soul, which is the Power ruling both the body and the mind. I have a sixth grade sister named Nora, and she is going through what most young adults go through at her age, self-discovery.

She is neither an adult nor a child and is feeling lost and angry at the world. According to James Marcia there are four stages that one may or may not go through in order to find their identity. They are Identity Foreclosure, Identity Diffusion, Moratorium, and Identity Achievement. My sister has passed the Identity Foreclosure state where she accepts everything blindly and does not question her surroundings. She is now in the Identity Diffusion state in which she is still not looking for an identity for herself, yet she is beginning to question her surroundings.

In this stage she has a complete lack of self-identity and no commitment to her personal goals. Most teenagers at our age, about 16 or 17, are in a state of Moratorium in which we still do not know who we are, but we are striving to create an identity for ourselves. This is reflected in the clothes we wear, the music we listen to, and the groups we tend to hang out with. The last stage, which many do not even reach, is the Identity Achievement stage, in which the person is happy with their share in life and is committed to their own values and goals.

Henry Shaw once said, It is not only the most difficult thing to know oneself, but the most inconvenient too. Many people who lack a clear identity, and therefore feel insecure because of it, may turn to chat rooms or to gangs, where they can portray themselves as anything they want to be. Knowing thyself is extremely important to both the individual and society in general, for it causes the person to become more committed to their goals, and allows them to truly understand others. A society populated by individuals is much more prosperous than one populated by followers.

When you know thyself, you know your own limits and how far you can push yourself in order to achieve your goals. For example, a woman is very good at biology and is a horrible artist. If she knows herself and she knows her strength, she will benefit society more because she will realize that her strength is indeed biology not art and will therefore become a scientist or a doctor instead of being an artist. A psychologist by the name of Erikson believed that real love cannot possibly exist between two people until each knows who he or she is.

This is most likely the reason why high school relationships do not last very long. A relationship requires commitment, stability, and the ability to understand; if a person is lacking in one of these areas, then the relationship is doomed. However, high school relationships can help us define who we are, for they teach us about commitment, stability, the ability to understand another person, and bring us a step closer to self-discovery. Carl Jung once said, Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

There are many different possible ways that someone can become introduced to oneself, among them are near death experiences or deaths of a loved one. The death of a loved one could cause you to realize that life is fleeting and to realize what it is really about, or it can cause you to want to forget yourself entirely. Through your faith and your religion you may also be able to discover yourself, for the holy books give you step by step instructions on how to live.

It is said that if you believe entirely in God, he will grant you the sight. In all plays there must be the main characters, supporting characters, and the extras. If you are that extra, then be happy with the fact that you actually had a chance to be in the play. Maybe if you show that you are capable of indeed being a supporting character or a main character, then the director will elevate you to that position. Ram Dass says, When I dont know who I am, I serve you. When I know who I am, I am you.

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