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Be True To Yourself

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Intro to Philosophy

Second Paper

March 29, 2005

Be True To Your Self

The question, "What is involved in being true to your self?" is very complicated. There are many aspects to this question. First you would need to know what is meant by being true. Being true is the act of putting forth sincerity, or being genuinely faithful. It is honesty, seriousness, and earnestness. Next you would need to realize what it means to be a self. In class we discussed the difference between animals, rational animals, and people. This topic also came up in the reading about the concentration camps. Frankl quotes,

"Ð'...he (a guard) playfully picked up a stone and threw it at me. That, to me, seemed the way to attract the attention of a beast, to call a domestic animal back to its job, a creature with which you have so little in common that you do not even punish it. The most painful part of the beatings is the insult which they imply."

This shows how low the guards in the camps treated the Jews. They treated them like animals; they treated them as if they were not selves. The whole experience was extremely dehumanizing. I have never experienced anything so horrific in my lifetime but I have been through a dehumanizing affair. I was in high school when many of the boys would make comments about my womanly features in a derogatory fashion. Although they were just being playful and possibly trying to flirt, god-forbid, I would tell them off or sometimes just ignore it but it made me realize how insignificant those boys were and how that's not all I was. I was and still am more than the derogatory terms they would call me. It pointed out more important things like intellect, and intelligence instead of physical image. It also made them look like animals. The primal concern for animals is pleasure and survival, the same for rational animals but they also strive for success, and finally people, our primary motivation in our lives is the search for meaning. That is first nature to us.

The meaning of life is a very confusing question but to be able to answer it you must realize that it differs for everyone. There is never only one real answer. Everyday it can change for each individual. Everyone has their own way of living; they have their own thoughts and beliefs so therefore each persons answer to the meaning of life will be their own private version. Frankl determines that there are three different ways we can discover the meaning of life. "(1) By creating a work or doing a deed; (2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; and (3) by the attitude we take toward avoidable suffering." This yearning for the meaning of life gives a person the definition of a self. It proves that they can think for themselves and it shows they have significance and importance in this world.

There are many other subjects that relate with being a self; however topics such as instinct and sexual drive have nothing to do with being a self. They are a part of being a human being on this planet but they take no thought, they are "biological imperatives" that have no meaning. Instinct is a natural inward impulse. It is an unconscious, involuntary feeling, whether bodily, or mental, without a distinct apprehension of an outcome to be accomplished. The same goes for social conditioning, which is a majority of people who live in a common world with each other. They all focus their lives around each other instead of around themselves. You can't live as a self if you are living as someone else's self. It comes back to the fact that each person has their own meaning of life and each individual can only come up with his or her own meaning and

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