Thursday, March 09, 2017

Self-Esteem And God

There are a number of people who want me to work on my self-esteem. I have a very good reason to not follow the advice of these people. I believe the concept to be a lie.

First the person is given a code by which to esteem himself. Then he is told to take responsibility for his life as a function of abiding by this code. The result is inner colonization. The person is told what to be like. Then he is told to make that the meaning of his existence.

A person from former Soviet Union once stated that in the Soviet Union they controlled the body, whereas in the West they control the mind. Now I can think of various reasons that a government might demand of people that they work and follow the law. I can think of no legitimate reason why either the government or the society should control how the people think. The first tells people what to do; the second tells people what to want. There may very well be legitimate reasons why powers that be tell people what to do; but none that they tell people what to want.

Or what personality to have. Or what psychological structure to practice. Or anything along the same lines.

Really, what is a more profound form of enslavement: The one that tells you what to do or the one that tells you what to want? The first only controls the actions; the second also controls the mind. It is the one that controls the mind that leads to the most complete inner ensnarement.

Self-esteem is just one of the many phony beliefs that have been used toward that effect. It is of course not the only one. If I were to espouse a belief, I will do that with a belief that actually has some meaning, such as Christianity. I see no reason at all to espouse a fascist trend in psychology or anything along the same lines. If I am to believe in something, I will believe in God.

As for self-esteem, it is just another racket among many rackets that are out there. First you are told what to live up to; then you are told that doing so is your life. There have been many rackets through centuries, and this one is the one with whose ruinous effects we are dealing now.

Not only is self-esteem a racket; it also is a goose chase. There will always be someone out there to destroy whatever self-esteem you struggle to obtain. Much better to ignore the whole process and focus on things that are meaningful. Focus on God. Focus on your contributions to the world. Forget the whole self-esteem goose chase.

Self-esteem is a fairly recent concept, and one whose exponents see as being necessary for successful existence. If they had been right, then through most of history nobody would have been a winner at all. And of course there have been all sorts of successful people – and all sorts of good people – throughout history, including in places that did not encourage the concept. The claims of the self-esteem movement are refuted by history. And it is a sad state of affairs indeed if it takes someone like me to remind people of that.

I once knew someone who had a friend whom he admired because he thought that he had great self-esteem. His friend said, “No, I know myself through God.” I think that seeing one's reflection in a non-convex mirror is more valid than attempting to remold yourself without the help of mirrors. You cannot see the picture when you are inside the picture. You need a mirror. And there is no better mirror than God.

The problem with most mirrors out there is that they are convex. The person's perceptions are a function of all sorts of prejudices and are riddled with all sorts of errors. But if there is such a thing as a perfect, non-convex, mirror, then that is what it takes for the person inside the picture to see the picture – and of course as a part of that to also see himself.

Most of what has come out of the self-esteem movement is just wrong. Being a good person is not a function of how you esteem yourself; it is a function of how you esteem and treat other people. Romantic relationships are not about seeking external validation; they are about what you feel about the other person and not about what you feel about yourself. Bullying is not a result of low self-esteem; it is a result of aggressive attitudes. I see no reason at all why giving people strong self-esteem will make them better people. In fact I think that the opposite is the case. A person with higher standards will find it harder to feel good about herself than a person with lower standards. The person with lower standards will have higher self-esteem; the person with higher standards will be a better person.

Teaching a bully to have higher self-esteem is not the solution to bullying. They do not need to feel better about themselves, they need to have more respect for other people. With people who have been victimized, sometimes it is helpful to teach them to feel better about themselves. That however is a very slippery path. There will always be some potential bully out there to re-traumatize them.

I have a massive bullshit detector as a result of having lived in two countries with completely different ideologies. With self-esteem movement what we see is bullshit complete. It is a way to ensnare people and make them the tools of their own oppression. I do not even try to have self-esteem. I consider the concept to be a racket and say so overtly.

The position of the person who knows himself through God is a far more meritorious one than that of the person who esteems himself. He looks at himself in the perfect mirror and precisely sees himself. This gives the clarity that he needs to do the right thing and be the right person. Do not attempt to esteem the picture in which you are a part. See it – and yourself – with the help of a perfect mirror.


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