I’ve been working on self-understanding. Hard as heck. Gets deeper and deeper.
Going through cultural influences was the most fun part. I had to find all of my idols and smash them one at a time (find their flaws) so that I could take the good without being tied to my false image of them.
Then it started getting more difficult. But I enjoyed that part.
Mostly people from entertainment. I had to find flaws with them to get past them to where I can appreciate them but not feel that they’re the all-good-guiding principles because I have my own path.
For example, I had Monty Python, Douglas Adams (Hitchiker’s Guide), Carl Sagan for a few examples.
I had to figure out where I differed from them ideologically so that I would not uncritically accept what they said simply because I enjoyed them.
Yes. For example, Monty Python (as a group) and Douglas Adams were both atheists. I enjoyed how they would mock religion and mythology because it was funny – and mocking absurd excesses can be funny – and yet, they’d gone further into nihilism than I would go. So I had to distinguish myself that way.
Carl Sagan was closer — he had the wonder of the universe and I appreciated that he was concerned about excesses not only in religion but in politics and sciences as well.
But I had to accept that he was terrible at history – as many science popularizers are — and, that he was a science popularizer: an advocate encouraging people to go into the sciences, with a strong emphasis on physics and astronomy.
So, I had to take him down out of the clouds into the only-human category.
Joseph Campbell (the Power of Myth, Hero of 1000 faces) was VERY inspirational to me for a long time. But I had to take him down for being sloppy and imprecise – and actually wrong in some significant ways.
Very difficult for me as I still have much of what he wrote/said as guiding principles “in general”.
To break myself of him I’d immersed myself into the Eastern Orthodox (Christian) church for about six years, studying Christian theology as deeply as I could or wanted to REALLY try to understand that yes, there are significant differences in ideologies and that sometimes those things can’t be glossed over and simplified.
I’m not part of it anymore — it was one of many life experiments so far. But it’s been fun.