Discovering Yourself Through Ideas
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Politics and Activism

Discovering Yourself Through Ideas

Taking the path of destruction and recreation.

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Discovering Yourself Through Ideas
Universal Unity

What does it mean to discover yourself? Some might say it means to find a purpose in life. Others will say it means to believe passionately about something. Neither of these views is wrong, but I think they are far too simplistic. For me, the exploration of new ideas—no matter how painful and disturbing—is the surest way to discover one's self.

Ideas, especially when they are abstruse and unconventional, are not being taught to children in the American education system. Public schools are largely run by government institutions, and there exists an agreed-upon "Common Core" which all schools must adhere to. Because of this, many of us are not given a very diverse background in education. Even in college, students are not often exposed to profound, life-changing ideas.

Society isn't very conducive to self-discovery either; in fact, society can be very isolating. Social media is driving us further and further from authentic relationships and the news is often driving us further from the "truth."

Many of us fall into delusions about the state, about religion, and about reality. "America is all greatness and goodness," "God loves all of us," and "This life is but a passage to a better one in heaven." These are among the standard, default conventions served to us. While these ideas sound nice, they don't give the common person many options for what to believe.

I've always been one to question the norm, the traditional. I wasn't satisfied painting my house only one color, and I quickly found out that those who sold me paint failed to show me all the colors on the color palette.

So what did I do? I read, and I exposed myself to the most uncomfortable ideas. I didn't just read about ideas, I brooded over them. I worked with them and made them my own. I learned how they worked together. If one idea contradicted another, I had to make a change or let something go. I went through a period of destruction, which made me bitter and mad with delirium. I didn't know what to believe anymore, and my skepticism intensified.

This is all natural when discovering one's self. One must destroy oneself, only to rebuild anew. The process for me was painful, and it may last a lifetime, but at least I can say that I'm free to paint my house any color, not just with the colors frivolously sold to me.

And what are ideas anyway? I argue that all we are is a mind, and ideas are its content. Ideas are like images and words that represent things in the world. But ultimately, our ideas don't say much about the world—they say much more about ourselves. Our ideas paint a story of who we are; our beliefs, our desires, and our purpose. Ideas are everything to us and yet, they are often taken for granted.

History is rife with ideas; ideas that are common and trite, and ideas that are obscure and penetrating. The common ideas are the default—they are the ideas we assimilate from childhood, and those which the media feeds us with a spoon. The obscure ideas, the "dangerous" ideas, are the ones worth discovering. It is those ideas that lurk in the shadows. And it is those ideas which will reveal ourselves to ourselves. It is up to us to discover every color and to paint our house with those which reflect most who we are.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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