“Be true to yourself” is b.s.

One of the biggest lies we have told ourselves in the 20th and 21st century West is that we are born naturally good and we need to learn to accept ourselves for who we are and do no matter what.   Tolerance of ourselves, even before that of others, is effectively a law in Western cultures.

Are we really willing to be consistent with this idea?  If I am to be true to myself, to what my most inner desires push me towards, I would have little regards for others, I would be a glutton, greedy, selfish, unfaithful, and much more.  Do I really want to be true to myself?  Or should actually desire something better?

At the core, the push to “be true to ourselves” I believe is consistent with the shift in Western society and other post-religious societies that have removed the Other (God, the super-natural, the “Bigger than Ourselves” world) and replaced it with Self.  We are at the center of the universe and as such we need to pretend that our brokeness is actually greatness.  Our failure is actually success.  Our messed up families are actually “modern families”.   Second is First (runner-up).  Our embrace of falsehood is actually “my own truth.”

I ask again, are we willing to be consistent with that idea to the end?  If so, would we be able to have a logical counter-argument to:

  • the murderer who says, “he felt that it was the right thing to do…”
  • the glutton who says, “I just could help myself…”
  • the teacher who says, “I don’t think the Holocaust actually happened…”
  • the judge who says, “this law really means this…”
  • the cheater who says, “but I just loved him…”  (this last one is already a goner in our societies)

The answer will be found in our willingness to recognize the existence of absolute truths, valid for every human, available for discovery by every human, applicable to every circumstance, and generated outside of ourselves not inside of us or among our communities. 

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