The Self-Knower: A Hero Under Control

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The self-knower has become a hero within many contemporary cultures. This hero goes by various different titles, including the self-insightful/' the self-actualized/' the autonomous and mature/' the representative of independent thinking/' the morally virtuous/' and many more. The common denominators of civilization's preoccupation with the self- knower are (1) the mundane, popular literature that draws our attention to our inner being and (2) the remarkable intensity of therapies and quasitherapies that promise insight into the true core of our inner being. A characteristic example from an extensive, week-or month-long training course would read, Come because you want to discover your self ...Through Mr. X [the group leaderl, we can realize our true identities ...This gives our lives sense and perspective. We have tried to trace the logic underlying the diverse self-knower movements and have found three common themes underlying them. For one, the varieties of theories and treatments associated with self-knowl- edge are interested exclusively in the appearance of the self-knower. Each representative of the self-knower school has its own set of criteria for identifying the self-knowing person, and in tum, each member of the self-knower school represents certain convictions about how individuals should be evaluated. For instance, if someone manifests warmth and char- ity, that person is likely to be pronounced healthy, adjusted, and self- knowing.