Who Is Your True Self?
Dr. Joshua Knobe has a fascinating op-ed in the NYTimes, in which he asks – who is your true self? How do you know?
He presents the case of Mark Pierpont, an evangelical Christian anti-gay crusader, who also happened to personally struggle against feelings of attraction to men. Many of us would say that Pierpont should “be true to himself” and stop fighting “who he is” and allow himself to feel and express his attractions to men.
But Knobe questions that assumption. Why is his gay feeling any more his true self than his Christian feeling? Because it’s “biological”? But one wouldn’t extend that claim to a heroin addict fighting her addiction – ‘give in because your addiction is biological, it’s your true self!’
Are our rational conclusions our true self (as traditional philosophy asserts)? Or are our most instinctual desires our true self (as modern culture often claims)?
This is a really interesting question for many of us, who come from a culture where the concept of “true self” almost doesn’t exist. When we leave the religious community we are faced with the challenge of determining “who we are”, which can be difficult to figure out without an internal framework to guide us in wrestling with that idea.
What do you think? How do you determine what is your “true self” in your attempts to create a new identity? Is it whatever feels good? Is it whatever is most logical and rational? Is it whatever your new community dictates? Or some other formula entirely?Printable Version