In an attempt at clarity of our theme, [viz., the universal need for self awareness] and, as well, in an effort to encourage reader interest, we have elected, in this mini-essay, to employ the well-known academic metaphor, of the liberal arts academy.
College students are universally aware, that the grades, awarded to them are the result of a determination, by the respective instructor, (at times, somewhat subjective) of the student’s performance, and of his understanding of the course’s subject matter. The final accumulation and analysis of all such determined grades [in total] is known as the “Cumulative Index.” Despite the arguably, small amount of subjectivity, in the awarding of individual grades, the Index, in its recordation of the student’s total performance, is credited with providing a practical and acceptable measure of the success of his performance.
It is, not our intention, to present, in this writing, a redux of our oft-repeated , eternal theme, viz., that all of mankind, bears a continuing (evolutionary) moral responsibility to pursue self-advancement and enlightenment, in an effort to attain a richer life, and, as well, to constitute a more valuable member of his society, or nation.
We would also disclaim any intention to discuss the wide world of difference between an entity, deemed to be considered, “technically alive” by biologists ( manifesting function, such as, respiration, movement, nutrition and excretion) and the qualitative and complex “being alive” of homo sapiens, possessing the capability to pursue knowledge, and potential for advanced living.
Our present attention is, instead, focused upon the efforts of mankind, as a sentient entity, needing to maintain a fixed and personally acceptable, self-image of himself and of his society. This urgent need, by its nature, requires regular confirmation, and is the primary subject of man’s life-long, evaluative, inner conversation with himself. Not too very different from the metaphoric grading of performances at college he, often in retrospect, makes an evaluation (“grades”) his reaction to an event, statement, or change of circumstances, relative to his privately conceived persona. Often, as in the case of college grading, this expo-facto judgment may be somewhat subjective, specifically, in the case of mankind, colored by his available ego-defense mechanisms, or run through some personally contrived, protective filter.
Returning yet again, to our serviceable metaphor, while one’s perceived evaluation of himself, in his reaction an event (“grades”) may bear the color of subjectivity, a retrospective of a reasonable number of such behavioral reactions (“the Cumulative Index”) will serve to furnish a useful picture of the extent of difference, if any, between the held, perceived persona, and the cumulative, empirical evidence.
Such a regular, privately conducted audit of our characteristic behavior, particularly in reaction to stressful events, can be productive of a confirmation of our previous conception, or a practical and useful way to understand perceptions of us by others; even of greater utility is the possible enlightened invitation to engage in personal improvement.
Socrates preached, “Know thyself.”