The island of the self

There is a pronoun that never goes out of fashion. It is so elementary that it consists of only two letters. Curiously, it is not the first word we learn as children, but it is the one we use most often when we grow up. As it is announced in the title, no one will find it difficult to guess what I am referring to. It is the repeated pronoun of the first person singular: “I”. Sorry, it is the phoneme that is repeated, but not its content. Behind the same term there are as many realities and as diverse as the billions of people who use it incessantly.

The Pope has spread another equivalent word. It is more lavish, incomprehensible and comes from cultured language: “self-referentiality”. It denounces the toxicity of self-enclosure, isolation, self-confinement within the limits of one’s own individual territory. It is the cradle of vices.

Unfortunately, too many people place (do we place?) only themselves at the centre of their thinking, doing and calculating. They only contemplate their own navel, their self. They pamper it, massage it, incense it… to the exclusion of all others who are not satellites of their “I-sun”. It is not only selfishness or egolatry… it is even poverty of words, of ideas, of interests, of fortune (living alone is a disgrace). How to clean this suffocating atmosphere of isolation, as proud as it is blind, as repetitive as it is boring…?

Paradoxically, the hygiene of self-latry does not involve fleeing, but going deeper, cultivating interiority. The manoeuvre – difficult to carry out – is easy to understand: it is a matter of turning the mirror of the self into a window that opens me up to the You (with a capital letter) and to others. Although prayer, religiosity, the interior life… are less (less?) popular today, the truth is that there is an evident outbreak of a search for depth. There is more talk of interiority, because it is a more neutral word, more suggestive, more politically correct… It is the exit door of a society that promotes above all the immediate, the apparent, the entertaining and installs us, without realising it, in superficiality: consumption without need, news without truth, urgencies without processes, lives without horizon, entertainments without fullness, wounds without healing, relationships without links, rites without encounters, work without meaning…

The healing manoeuvre can be neither resignation nor blindness. It is necessary to go deeper into ourselves; to explore that deepest zone inhabited by Someone, to listen to Him silently and allow Him to awaken our longing for the only thing necessary. There we meet with many, with all… Let it not be for the sake of trying. We will arrive at the great discovery: The island of the self… is the island of treasure!


Juan Carlos Martos cmf

(PHOTO: Ishan @seefromthesky)



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