I was thinking about the idea of ‘being true to myself’. I will grant for the sake of this exploration that my self is accessible to me and can give me useful guidance. But there are still forces acting on my self that are at more or less beyond my control or even awareness. These include my upbringing, physiology, class, and perhaps especially the ideas-environment my society (mediated by e.g. friends, church, the internet, ads, books, tv) provides me. My self is at least partly formed by these things, and perhaps is the sum of all these influences. So if I consult it, I’m not necessarily hearing from a more authentic or reliable guide than e.g. 3 News.
Maybe there is a Christian way to rescue the idea – maybe there is some immutable core or divine spark that is immune to these influences and therefore potentially reliable. If there is I suppose you would call it a soul, and consider it the part of my self that is e.g. connected to God and the source of creativity. But I’m reading Jacques Ellul’s The Subversion of Christianity, and if I understand him correctly, the Christian claim that God is revealed in Jesus means that there is no other connection to God, hence there is no soul of that sort, or self with special access to the ultimate.
Deleting the privileged self like this opens me up to social interdependence. Others are just as likely as me to have useful things to say into my life, perhaps more so. In fact, I haven’t got any choice but to be affected by others’ input. So maybe my energy ought to go into getting into a good social configuration, rather than to listening hard to my inner voice. Being married to Eliza, being part of St Michael’s Church and Steele Roberts Publishers fit with this.
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