Who are you? Good question. Harvard professor Michael Puett explores the idea of the “self”, and how what you believe to be your true nature may actually just be patterns you’ve fallen into. Puett’s latest book is “The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life”
Transcript – If we often ask ourselves okay, who am I? What’s my true self? What am I gifted at? What am I bad at? Oftentimes we’ll answer that assuming this one authentic self. So I’m just the sort of person who gets angry at little things but I’m also the sort of person who’s very good at tackling big problems. So that’s me. And then we’ll think through okay, what’s a good career for me? What are good relationships for me based on who I am? Now again suppose that’s all wrong. Suppose those are all simply patterns we’ve fallen into. So it may be empirically right to say right now on someone who gets angry at little things and good at thinking big. But that’s just because I’ve fallen into these patterns. That doesn’t mean that’s essentially me, that’s just who I’ve become. Now if that’s right the question you should be posing to yourself is not who am I. The question you should pose to yourself is what are these patterns I’m falling into? Why do I get angry at these little things all the time? Why do I seem to be what I think is at my best when I’m tackling big problems? And you begin to look at those little things you do on a daily basis that are sort of defining how we’re responding to the world. Why these little things make us angry. And you begin to alter those. Why for something we think is good, thinking big, tackling big problems. Well what is it that I think I’m good at there and what am I doing that I think draws me out of my more negative sides, my angers and resentments and getting angry at little things.