What Lies Within

So naturally is it our tendency to pass judgment onto others and the world that the simple truth is forgotten: everything outside can be found within. When we spot a habit, attitude or action which we feel negative towards, the fact is that at that very moment we recognize an element in the outside world which exists also in ourselves. The modern point of view is that the more hidden that characteristic is, be it vanity, greed, sloth or any other vice, the greater our reaction of rejection towards it. The more hostile we are in our posture towards it, the deeper it is buried within our own psychology, far too far away to be felt by our finer sensibilities.

When a psychological trait exists in us and is very much to our liking, we adopt it proudly as ornamentation and decoration, hanged on the walls of our self-image and the persona we submit to the world. On the other hand, when the trait is distasteful and contradicts the self-image we have carefully painted of ourselves and the reputation we have built, the natural thing to do is sweep it under the rug at all costs or, if we have no choice, solemnly make amends. To make amends isn’t always the first reaction for most people, as we hope to take the easiest route and therefore hide and forget that the incident had ever taken place. A man or woman of character, someone who feels responsibility and obligation in being transparent and honest, regardless of the impact that it will have on their reputation and status, is a rare find in modern times.

Part of the task in remedying this sad state of affairs, where the self-image — a contrivance of the persona we present to the world — dominates our more noble inclinations, is to recognize what truly and undeniably exists within ourselves. Every man, woman and child has a murderer, thief, warmonger and psychopath within them. Everyone has the seven deadly sins lurking within their hearts and minds. No one is exempt or free of the forces which pollute this world. Every man-made system is open to corruption and is, even inevitably, headed towards that diseased outcome in which a cleansing fire is made necessary. They are open to corruption because humans, by their nature, are corrupt. But without fatalistic and unfair treatment on the matter, the remedy has been known, always and everywhere: that by accepting ourselves as part-beast-part-man, by coming to know ourselves, we can have a clear understanding of what we truly are and therefore be in a position to wholeheartedly approach the psychological diseases rampant in our times. Only in such a way can we sincerely treat the source and not merely the symptoms.

With time, the people, however reminded by religions and virtuous societies, forget the inner meaning and the inner need for such efforts in adopting disciplines and points of view which acknowledge that all the evil of the outside world already exists in our very own psychologies. Reformation is always in need, for when the inner meaning is lost, the outward form becomes corrupt, outdated and useless. Reforming and rehashing the old forms, in order to instill once again the inner meaning to the people of this world, is one of the noblest functions someone could partake in. It is in acknowledging the gravity within that we are made to rise against it. “Rise and rise again, until lambs become lions”, or so the saying goes.

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