When you were young, you probably don’t care much about what’s happening around you especially when you’re in an environment that’s not interested in important things either. Growing up in this kind of community, you will have a small chance of learning as well when it comes to crucial matters. School is a place to learn, though school alone is not enough to acquire other useful things and life lessons that are essential for our well-being and spiritual growth. In fact, most of the time schools offer you knowledge but also rob you of your individuality and also teach you to trade your dignity away over material goods and false security. They make you wear the same clothes and hairstyle all the time, force you to listen to one or very few people for years, and will also punish you if you don’t adhere to their standards.
“I realize today that nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself.” ― Hermann Hesse
Going back to my life when I’m still young and unconscious, I made mistakes many times. In schools and within the house, I sometimes even intentionally do silly things for no particular reason. I also sometimes do harm to others just to get what I want. For years, it went on and I never learned and it seems that I do not want to learn. Sometimes, thinking about those wrong deeds, I still feel disgusted and shame for my self. And sometimes, I still feel guilty and regretful remembering how bad those behaviors were. If I try to connect the dots, probably this could be because of my negative experiences and unfulfilled desires during my childhood. Or, it may be related to my suppressed emotions and thoughts that I projected those unhealthy behaviors to others; my so-called neurosis manifesting and wreaking havoc to other people.
However, thanks to time and thanks to philosophy, now things are very different. Through music, films, books, and other kinds of media, eventually I learned so many things about my self, my behavior and my thinking, and the kind of world I live in. And through the use of philosophy, I also contemplated and understood the meaning and the essence of some things and have found my purpose in some situations. This is why it is important that philosophy, along with science, math, psychology, and other disciplines, should always be made accessible to the majority; steadfastly grounded to the grassroots. For knowing yourself is not a simple task; you need to ask so many questions, think hard, observe, and of course, philosophize with others as well as to your self.
“Man, by his very nature and of his own accord, strives toward self-realization, and that his set of values evolves from such striving. Apparently he cannot, for example, develop his full human potentialities unless he is truthful to himself; unless he is active and productive; unless he relates himself to others in the spirit of mutuality. Apparently, he cannot grow if he indulges in a “dark idolatry of self” and consistently attributes all his own shortcomings to the deficiencies of others. He can grow, in the true sense, only if he assumes responsibility for himself.” ― Karen Horney, Neurosis and Human Growth: The Struggle Towards Self-Realization
Through philosophy, self-realization will come to you and it will help you eventually become stronger, psychologically and emotionally. It will also enable you to become a better person, more accepting and understanding of others. However, the battle is endless and you have to constantly prepare your self. The trials may come in many forms at any time and you know it’s not always going to be easy. Also, remember that patience is very important in this. Knowing your self takes a lot of time and facing it, you might discover fearful things or parts that are difficult to accept. No matter what, be grateful as it will show you the beginning of your journey into the deepest parts of your soul.