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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The undiscovered self


Echo chambers keep us from true individual identity 

Society consistently pushes ideals on us and has done so since the founding of civilization. Even in present day, we see no change in the influencing of society.

In fact, I find it to be much easier to fall into these views than any other previous point in history, due to the information age and the seemingly unregulated access to information.

Granted, this is not a particularly unique or enlightened view. People have always known about society’s pressures and have vocally expressed their viewpoint on the subject.

We accept the values that society gives us since it’s easier to just take something and internalize it rather than to dig into the Earth and create something new. The most prominent and seemingly the fakest message that is praised and paraded is to “be yourself.”

This idea of “being yourself” is fake because societal rules of looking, talking and acting  a certain way affect how authentic you actually are.

We all like to believe that we know ourselves, and because of this, we are tolerant of others being themselves as well. I, like anyone else, am guilty of holding this false belief.

We all like to believe we are good, loving and tolerant people who accept differences, but we only tolerate the differences that we deem “acceptable.” It is in this tolerance of only what we deem as acceptable that we fall into collectives.

This is dangerous since we begin to identify with others who share those same views on justice and views and form collectives.

While our intentions are good, the outcome is the development of an echo chamber, most commonly seen today in our political scene, that allows for the constant reassuring your beliefs, leading to the destruction of the individual.

We are equally to blame as society is to the destruction of the individual. We are no better than the society we swear to hate and despise.

Our inability to understand this hurts our individuality because we begin to confuse and conflate what society wants for us and what we want for ourselves.

As Carl Jung says in his book “The Undiscovered Self”, the inspiration behind this article, “Just as man, as a social being, cannot in the long run exist without a tie to the community, so the individual will never find the real justification for his existence, and his own spiritual and moral autonomy, anywhere except in an extramundane principle capable of relativizing the overpowering influence of external factors.”

We are social beings by nature. We need a sense of community and camaraderie. The solution isn’t the isolation of the individual but to question ourselves in the way we approach or have preconceived notions of others—regardless of what our own echo chamber tells us.

This means that we need to find the proper balance between isolation and individuality. Rising above the noise and making the decision for yourself is needed.

As God said to Moses in Exodus 3:14 when Moses asked for his name “I am who I am, and I will be what I will be.”

The story shouldn’t be taken as fact, but the message should be taken as a form of insight. Only you as an individual can become what you want to be and only know who you are.

So, remember to ask yourself if you are becoming the person you want to be or becoming who someone/something is telling you to.

Your own authentic identity should be the only one that matters.

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