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Thread: "The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself"

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    Anna1921's Avatar
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    Default "The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself."

    Do you agree?

    Is this related to type?

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    Let's fly now Gilly's Avatar
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    I think I definitely have to agree.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    Anna1921's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    I think I definitely have to agree.


    I wonder if this is related to type. I know it has been said of EIEs, but I'm curious about others' feelings on the idea.

    For whatever it is worth, my first type test ever I was EIE. And it fit. But then so did several other types. In truth, I catch myself acting like all the types, at one point or another. I may be LII then SLE then ESI then IEE. It never stops, I feel. And I have such a hard time just . . . *knowing* myself. It is astounding and even a little bit strange. Perhaps not so strange, though
    Last edited by Anna1921; 03-29-2012 at 04:21 AM.

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    The Soul Happy-er JWC3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    I think I definitely have to agree.
    LOL! No shit? The guy who's made more type threads than a... keyboard that creates yarn? I dunno the point is that Gilly doesn't know himself and we all know it... And now I'm making fun of him for it... Because... he doesn't... um... know himself...

    There's a joke in there someplace, I swear.
    Easy Day

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    Let's fly now Gilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anna1921 View Post


    I wonder if this is related to type. I know it has been said of EIEs, but I'm curious about others' feelings on the idea.

    For whatever it is worth, my first type test ever I was EIE. And it fit. But then so did several other types. In truth, I catch myself acting like all the types, at one point or another. I may be LII then SLE then ESI then IEE. It never stops, I feel. And I have such a hard time just . . . *knowing* myself. It is astounding and even a little bit strange. Perhaps quite strange, even
    14 posts and yet you seem aware of the connection between this quote and my behavior...you must be an emerging lurker

    Diagnosing your type can be easier if you look not just at the behavior, which in both your case and my own would be doubting one's type, but rather the motivation behind it and the specific area of greatest doubt. For example, my oscillation on type comes mostly from a physical standpoint: I "know myself" very well in the typical sense of understanding my own motives, behavior, but I have a really hard time imagining, for example, what it's like to meet me in person. It's ironic, because I exercise a lot of control over my behavior and am very deliberate in my self-presentation, but I also have poor body control in some ways and despite having a "grip" on my behavior, I regulate it mostly with regards to the reactions I receive from people rather than thinking about what it's actually like to BE on the receiving end: my brain is something like a constantly evolving algorithm that is constantly computing others' reactions and juxtaposing them with my own coinciding mental and emotional state in order to understand what's going on and kind of "program" my behavior for the future. It's weird; I can know and describe very general ways that I think people see me in terms of their opinion of me or some specifics, but I have a really hard time imagining what it's ACTUALLY LIKE to be there seeing me, watching me talk and walk around and act. Even in watching videos of myself I feel like my perception of myself is skewed by the fact that I know it's me, and am therefore probably having a predetermined reaction to myself based on the fact that it's ME. So if I'm feeling self-conscious, I watch a video of myself and I think "Oh GOD I'm such an awkward dork, what the hell am I doing..." but if I'm in an egomaniacal mood, I'll watch the same video and think "GOD I look SO COOL, and I am fucking slick as shit, people must just be falling all over me, I am a God amongst men..." I know exactly how I might act in a given situation when I think about it, which I think is a HUGE part of self-knowledge, but I have no clue what it would be like to be the person there watching me. It's like no matter how much I control the specifics of my self-presentation, and no matter how well I know that I am still getting the desired effect, there is still this underlying doubt that it all fits together the way I think it does in other people's eyes right then and there.

    And funny enough, when it comes to Socionics, my main method of typing others is by recognizing physical cues, expressions, movement styles, and my direct impressions of a person's behavior. So not being able to have that kind of prolonged exposure to myself renders me completely incapable of self-typing, because I can't use my own method on myself. It's just not possible, not without the debilitating self-aware bias that comes from watching something you've already done as opposed to being there in the moment, watching and interacting and soaking up the infinitude of cues that just can't come across in a video.

    So what is it about yourself that you don't understand?
    Last edited by Gilly; 03-29-2012 at 04:47 AM.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    Anna1921's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    14 posts and yet you seem aware of the connection between this quote and my behavior...you must be an emerging lurker

    Diagnosing your type can be easier if you look not just at the behavior, which in both your case and my own would be doubting one's type, but rather the motivation behind it and the specific area of greatest doubt. For example, my oscillation on type comes mostly from a physical standpoint: I "know myself" very well in the typical sense of understanding my own motives, behavior, but I have a really hard time imagining, for example, what it's like to meet me in person. It's ironic, because I exercise a lot of control over my behavior and am very deliberate in my self-presentation, but I also have poor body control in some ways and despite having a "grip" on my behavior, I regulate it mostly with regards to the reactions I receive from people: my brain is something like a constantly evolving algorithm that is constantly computing others' reactions and juxtaposing them with my own coinciding mental and emotional state in order to understand what's going on. It's weird; I can know and describe very general ways that I think people see me, but I have a really hard time imagining what it's ACTUALLY LIKE to be there seeing me, watching me talk and walk around and act. Even in watching videos of myself I feel like my perception of myself is skewed by the fact that I know it's me, and am therefore probably having a predetermined reaction to myself based on the fact that it's ME. So if I'm feeling self-conscious, I watch a video of myself and I think "Oh GOD I'm such an awkward dork, what the hell am I doing..." but if I'm in an egomaniacal mood, I'll watch the same video and think "GOD I look SO COOL, and I am fucking slick as shit, people must just be falling all over me, I am a God amongst men..." I know exactly how I might act in a given situation when I think about it, which I think is a HUGE part of self-knowledge, but I have no clue what it would be like to be the person there watching me. It's like no matter how much I control the specifics of my self-presentation, and no matter how well I know that I am still getting the desired effect, there is still this underlying doubt that it all fits together the way I want it to in other people's eyes right then and there.

    So what is it about yourself that you don't know?

    I don't know. . . how I come across as a whole. That is, I relate to what you're saying in big ways. I am aware and controlled in how I present myself very often. I will try to explain how I go about this: when interacting with someone, particularly someone new to me, I watch them - their every expression, I register and adjust myself to. It is as if I can read their thoughts and steer their impression of me in this direction or that direction by tweaking my behavior, subtly but with an aim that I determine and continue to adjust during the interaction as I deem necessary. It is really as if I see myself through their eyes and then adjust my behavior to make the "self" I see through their eyes match the "self" I want them to see.

    I am different, different shades of my "self" (selves, perhaps), and while someone who observed me in all of them, one after another, would recognize them as "me" because my body and face and many mannerisms are the same, might yet be surprised at the myriad roles I play, not only in my lifetime but even in a day.

    And this changing of selves is what makes it very, very difficult to know which one is the real one. If, that is, any one of them is. Maybe each one is only a piece of the real self, and I cannot know the whole. . .
    Last edited by Anna1921; 03-29-2012 at 12:53 PM.

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    Let's fly now Gilly's Avatar
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    Well you are in an Fe quadra, that's for sure.
    But, for a certainty, back then,
    We loved so many, yet hated so much,
    We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...

    Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
    Whilst our laughter echoed,
    Under cerulean skies...

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    Ti centric krieger's Avatar
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    don't really agree. i think i have a pretty solid grasp of myself.

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    escaping anndelise's Avatar
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    In regards to its applicability to me, I disagree. I've come to learn way more about myself than I cared to.
    But I can say that before my 30's, that I had little clue about myself, and didn't really consider learning about myself.

    I know what my major values are and how I tend to react in certain types of situations/problems. These don't change, regardless of who I am interacting with, etc. Though I may somewhat behave differently depending on who I am with, this difference is a reflection of my basic interaction style/values.

    This does not mean that I know every single thing about myself. Some minor values/subvalues sometimes pop up and surprise me.
    IEE 649 sx/sp cp

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    lol, i take solace in the fact that since i'm always growing and adapting i don't have any obligation to nail down anything solid about myself. things became a lot easier when i just let go of it. i might notice certain things or have things pointed out to me but i don't need to hold on to those things and crystallize them as "me" if it doesn't feel right. knowing yourself is hard because you're a moving, amorphous thing. its not like memorizing the color and shape and detail of a chair. its more like grabbing a cloud as its moving. but thats okay because right in this second you're you and tommorrow you'll be you too. after all the time i've spent with typology this realization is what i've found most useful for myself personally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by labocat View Post
    don't really agree. i think i have a pretty solid grasp of myself.
    that is because you are boring

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    Quote Originally Posted by NewBorn STAR View Post
    that is because you are boring
    i'm pretty sure it's because i'm awesome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by labocat View Post
    i'm pretty sure it's because i'm awesome.
    oh yes

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly View Post
    Well you are in an Fe quadra, that's for sure.
    for sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anna1921 View Post
    Do you agree?
    Yes.

    You know too much about yourself to understand yourself and your ego gets in the way of honest reflection.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leckysupport View Post
    Yes.

    You know too much about yourself to understand yourself.
    that sounds orwellian to me.

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    cunnilingus epilepsy inducer
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    Quote Originally Posted by labocat View Post
    that sounds orwellian to me.
    lol, I'm mean there is too much "noise", you can easily build incorrect narratives of yourself based on the irrelevant.

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    Aren't we talking about outward forms. But what's real and lasting about who we are, is something else. Because of the ease of changing one's outward form and doing all of that little adjusting (which I do as well), it doesn't seem important. Or real. I think the real YOU is something else. The you that you need to know, is your soul, not its various manifestations. Can you strip away all of those externals and know the real you? I don't know. In those moments when I've felt close to achieving that, I feel only joy and love yet it seems so strange to say that that's all I am. Is socionics even part of who you are? I don't know. What ARE we?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kassie View Post
    lol, i take solace in the fact that since i'm always growing and adapting i don't have any obligation to nail down anything solid about myself. things became a lot easier when i just let go of it. i might notice certain things or have things pointed out to me but i don't need to hold on to those things and crystallize them as "me" if it doesn't feel right. knowing yourself is hard because you're a moving, amorphous thing. its not like memorizing the color and shape and detail of a chair. its more like grabbing a cloud as its moving. but thats okay because right in this second you're you and tommorrow you'll be you too. after all the time i've spent with typology this realization is what i've found most useful for myself personally.
    Knowing about one's self doesn't imply lack of growth and adaptability, nor holding onto things and crystallizing them if it doesn't feel right.

    Our thoughts, emotions, values, beliefs, understandings, and even physical form is constantly changing, but that does not mean that there is no pattern to at least some of the changes. Looking back on one,s life and reactions to events, over time, and one may notice a pattern to some of those reactions. One may even see if that pattern can help predict how one might react in future situations, which can help in decision makings of that type. For example, over many years and numerous situations, I've shown a very strong pattern of easily getting distracted and losing track of time When I,ve an appt to get to, even within just mere minutes between realizing its time for me to go...and the actual going. This has caused me way too numerous missed or late arrivals. So I try to work with that part of myself perhaps by avoiding getting involved in anything at all before the appointment, or setting multiple clock alarms to remind me a couple hours before, an hour before, half an hour before, 10 min before, and at time of estimated leaving time, or maybe have someone call me as a reminder, etc.

    I'm also aware that I often have conflicting values rearing their heads which often makes it difficult for me to make a decision involving those values. Some situations lend themselves to my likely choosing one value over the other, other situations may lead to choosing the other value, but I can almost guarantee a moment's to minutes/hours of internal conflict over what someone else may consider a simple decision. When I think I might be heading towards such a situation, I try to anticipate guidelines that will help me decide when the moment comes.

    These types of actions are forms of growth and adaptability.

    And if someone points out something about me, that doesn,t mean that what they pointed out is true nor consistent, as they are likely missing out on many relevant details. (same goes for when I point things out, too ) I feel no need to hang onto what they've said, but I'm more likely to see how/if it might fit, and if it doesn't, then it helps point me to figuring out how/why it doesn't fit, which in turn helps me better understand myself.


    Consider what you've said about yourself.
    That you take solace in not feeling obligated to nail anything down about yourself.
    That things became easier when you let go of it.
    That you don't need to crystallize what others might say about you.
    Were these thoughts of a moment that will completely change in the next moment, never to enter your mind again in any form? Or is this something you've learned about yourself?

    And, fwiw, I often joke that the most consistent thing about me is my inconsistency.
    And is that ever so true about me...at least for the past 40 years.
    IEE 649 sx/sp cp

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    Ti centric krieger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leckysupport
    You know too much about yourself to understand yourself and your ego gets in the way of honest reflection.
    ego gets in the way of reflection on anything. what are you comparing this to?

    i disliked your statement because it pretends to conveying a truth in paradoxical form. paradoxes sound profound, but they are usually just indicative of untruth. the reason why paradoxes are fascinating to people is because we are captivated by the exception to the rule, the rare instance in which things seem to contradict each other but under some novel interpretation don't. that does not give paradoxes the benefit of the doubt.

    Quote Originally Posted by leckysupport
    lol, I'm mean there is too much "noise", you can easily build incorrect narratives of yourself based on the irrelevant.
    again, how is this not true of any other thing you encounter in life? the only way to counteract noise is to expand your observation base to the point of having any variance due to noise cancel itself out in the broad aggregate. this point is not achieved where most things in life are concerned.

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    ann I'm not sure that I really disagree with anything you've said. its more a matter of being better off when I don't pressure myself in that way. I'm also speaking as someone who has given tons of effort trying to nail down solid things about my own essence or whatever and came out of it with mostly just frustration.

    also @redbaron I don't think I "need" to find my soul, I think life would be horribly boring if it were even possible to find it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kassie View Post
    ann I'm not sure that I really disagree with anything you've said. its more a matter of being better off when I don't pressure myself in that way. I'm also speaking as someone who has given tons of effort trying to nail down solid things about my own essence or whatever and came out of it with mostly just frustration.
    I can understand that.
    To be honest, if I hadn't needed to find ways to work around my mood/personality issues to raise a daughter with her own issues, I doubt I would have bothered taking the time to get to know myself.


    @op there are far more difficult things in life than taking the time/effort to study one's self.
    (There are also more interesting things one can do, as well, heh.)
    IEE 649 sx/sp cp

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    Quote Originally Posted by kassie View Post
    ann I'm not sure that I really disagree with anything you've said. its more a matter of being better off when I don't pressure myself in that way. I'm also speaking as someone who has given tons of effort trying to nail down solid things about my own essence or whatever and came out of it with mostly just frustration.

    also @redbaron I don't think I "need" to find my soul, I think life would be horribly boring if it were even possible to find it.
    "boring"? Then why are you trying to "nail down solid things about your own essence"? Isn't that the same thing as knowing your soul? Eh, semantics I guess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by redbaron View Post
    "boring"? Then why are you trying to "nail down solid things about your own essence"? Isn't that the same thing as knowing your soul? Eh, semantics I guess.
    essence = unchanging things about myself
    soul = the part of myself connected to spirit/god/the universe/the force/whatever

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    Quote Originally Posted by redbaron View Post
    "boring"? Then why are you trying to "nail down solid things about your own essence"? Isn't that the same thing as knowing your soul? Eh, semantics I guess.
    Quote Originally Posted by kassie
    i take solace in the fact that since i'm always growing and adapting i don't have any obligation to nail down anything solid about myself.
    (emphasis mine)
    IEE 649 sx/sp cp

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    essence = unchanging things about myself
    i don't think self knowledge is necessarily about unchanging things so much as it is about things that have inertia behind them in the sense that they aren't liable to change without considerable effort or a change of circumstances.

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    My ILE friend maintains that once you know yourself, you no longer know yourself. Or something to that..effect.
    And I would hide my face in you and you would hide your face in me, and nobody would ever see us any more.


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    Sometimes I feel like I'll never really know myself. At best it seems like I live myself in cycles or something and I don't even tend to recognize that except in retrospect and then things change again. On the other hand, there's also stuff about myself that doesn't seem to change much at all, so maybe that's "who I am", but those are usually the things about myself I find the most frustrating, like "Oh, still doing this same shit after all these years, huh, Adam? You dick!".
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    Quote Originally Posted by anndelise View Post
    (emphasis mine)
    yes well, I was only quoting what she had just said about trying, in the past, to do that, and becoming frustrated. My only point being that I didn't understand her comment about it being "boring". *shrug*

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    Quote Originally Posted by leckysupport View Post
    lol, I'm mean there is too much "noise", you can easily build incorrect narratives of yourself based on the irrelevant.
    I think I agree with you. At least, this has been my experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by redbaron View Post
    What ARE we?
    Some say we're all just little strings vibrating to the tune of the universe.
    Moonlight will fall
    Winter will end
    Harvest will come
    Your heart will mend

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    “Whether we fall by ambition, blood, or lust, like diamonds we are cut with our own dust.”

    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly
    You've done yourself a huge favor developmentally by mustering the balls to do something really fucking scary... in about the most vulnerable situation possible.

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    lol Parkster! so many people have a lot of time on their hands to create these things. haha

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    I think knowing oneself is most difficult. I don't know that I'd go so far to say it's the most difficult thing in life though.

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    i'd argue the exact opposite position, namely that no matter who you are, the self is the thing that you know best, because it is the only thing that carried with you wherever you go and which of all things you have the most information about.

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    cunnilingus epilepsy inducer
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    Quote Originally Posted by labocat View Post
    ego gets in the way of reflection on anything. what are you comparing this to?
    The reflection is directed towards yourself rather than something else you might have little emotional attachment to, I assume most people care about themselves more than most other things. For example you might have more emotional baggage attached to how you see yourself in general than how you see your keyboard typing skills (or some other area you care little about).

    I also think we evolved to survive and not to have accurate impressions of what we are, but that is another issue.

    i disliked your statement because it pretends to conveying a truth in paradoxical form. paradoxes sound profound, but they are usually just indicative of untruth. the reason why paradoxes are fascinating to people is because we are captivated by the exception to the rule, the rare instance in which things seem to contradict each other but under some novel interpretation don't. that does not give paradoxes the benefit of the doubt.
    It was meant to be aphoristic for stylistic purposes.

    again, how is this not true of any other thing you encounter in life?.
    It is true for anything you have too much information for and you have a lot of information about yourself.

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    Ti centric krieger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leckysupport View Post
    The reflection is directed towards yourself rather than something else you might have little emotional attachment to, I assume most people care about themselves more than most other things. For example you might have more emotional baggage attached to how you see yourself in general than how you see your keyboard typing skills (or some other area you care little about).
    as you point out yourself there are plenty of facts about oneself that are evaluated without emotional engagement. likewise there are facts about the world that are evaluated emotionally and facts that aren't. in this regard, world and self are on equal footing.

    I also think we evolved to survive and not to have accurate impressions of what we are, but that is another issue.
    accuracy of impressions is conducive to individual survival, so this is a very dubious notion.

    It is true for anything you have too much information for and you have a lot of information about yourself.
    it's just completely the other way around. the effect of noise influences on the aggregated averages becomes smaller as the amount of information increases. this is a basic mathematical fact. even if it wasn't like this, you could just ignore the information past a certain point so that your "extra" information doesn't burden you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by labocat View Post
    i'd argue the exact opposite position, namely that no matter who you are, the self is the thing that you know best, because it is the only thing that carried with you wherever you go and which of all things you have the most information about.
    If you were a pizza, would you know how you taste?
    Moonlight will fall
    Winter will end
    Harvest will come
    Your heart will mend

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    Ti centric krieger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by munenori2 View Post
    If you were a pizza, would you know how you taste?
    just that there are perspectives that aren't available to you doesn't mean that the perspectives you do know don't amount to anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by labocat View Post
    just that there are perspectives that aren't available to you doesn't mean that the perspectives you do know don't amount to anything.
    What ELSE can be important about pizza?
    “Whether we fall by ambition, blood, or lust, like diamonds we are cut with our own dust.”

    Quote Originally Posted by Gilly
    You've done yourself a huge favor developmentally by mustering the balls to do something really fucking scary... in about the most vulnerable situation possible.

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