More Than Meets The -I-

The need for community it an intrinsic human desire.

When asked of the greatest commandment, Jesus  said, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”  Mark 12:30-31.

Written almost 1,000 years later, The Epic of Beowulf reiterates this same sentiment, as both the poor and rich value comitatus or community more than self, money or honor.

Valuing another’s life above one’s own, the group more than the individual, the future of descendants more than the present demonstrate the transcendent power of love.

Love for others is fundamental in Christianity and many world religions, but there are few historical references on self-love. Self- love is the foundation of loving others. It requires awareness, understanding and self-acceptance. It is more difficult to quantify, validate and understand- because we are not conditioned to consider it necessary.
Our values, priorities and wants display the divinity of our creation and define who we are. 

Society dictates that outward experiences and material possessions are proof of personal success. But success comes from self-reflection.

Social change beings on an individual level, from self-awareness and self-discipline. 

 

The prevalent theme in The Road to Character by David Brooks is developing character through committing to personal excellence.

Self-awareness brings about self-motivation and prompts individuals to becomes the best versions of themselves and serve a greater purpose in society. Self-motivated individuals, display determination, discernment and self-awareness. They are cognizant of their shortcomings and strengths without being limited by either.

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how,” Nietzsche (Brooks 23). Focusing on the how of life forces outward comparison and feelings of inadequacy.

Montaigne concluded, that much of the world’s uncertainty and unhappiness’s stemmed from human’s inability to grasp “elusiveness within themselves…the push for worldly splendor…are futile efforts by people who are seeking external means to achieve internal tranquility” (Brooks 229). But those who focus on the why of life find fulfillment and create sustainable change that lasts long after their gone.

Change can only come from an individual’s commitment to excellence and the power of transcendence- seeing the world as how it may be rather than what it currently is. So instead of looking to others, heed the advice of the musical great Michael Jackson and look in the mirror.

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change  

Man in the Mirror- Michael Jackson 1987

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