The Person Known Only to Him or Herself
I’m in the process of completing a series about dealing with the wildly erratic cognitive dissonance we’re seeing on the streets by who are reputed to be our better educated young people. They have aroused strong reactions among the generations who could be either their parents or grandparents, but who also for the most part are likely not of their “class”. Their class family tree is generally confined to 20% of society economically, and at one time also regarded as the upper 20% socially. The elites.
My suggestion about how to deal with these wildlings is that we develop a process of removing them, for only a very short while, away from all external associations which generally reinforces their condition, into an environment where they can do no harm, including unto themselves. A quiet time, a very quiet time, with no one to whine to, or curse, or throw things at. Those who are not truly mentally ill will withdraw unto themselves, and in the words of the common sense generation of another time, “give themselves a good talking”.
This is actually an ancient and universal practice that seems not to have been “invented”, as psychologists claim to invent treatments, but have rather naturally arisen from within Man’s dealing with the world around him. In other words we’d been doing this for thousand of years before anyone ever started taking notes and writing it down.
The Japanese (where I lived for a spell in the 1970s) said it this way:
Every man is made up of five men.
The first is the man that is known to the world-at-large
The second is the man who is known to the society in which he lives;
The third is the man who is known in his associations
The fourth is the man who is known in his most intimate circle; friends and family
And the fifth is the man who is known only unto himself
My solution for curing the cognitive dissonance of these “elites” is based on requiring the “patient” to re-acquaint with his/her inner self, since all their behavior is externally created.
I’m not sure how medieval Japanese might have viewed that “first man”, just a nameless, faceless man in the streets of Tokyo, perhaps. Today in America, it would be that letter marked “Occupant: in the mailbox, or all those unrequested spam hits, or robo calls, offering a product or service, or simply wanting to access to your computer. And of course, there’s also the legitimate people; the Bureau of Vital Statistics, who keep your birth records that legally prove you even exist as a person, your drivers license down at DMV, and the dozens of other agencies who type your name into a file which automatically turns it into a number. All these describe our modern “world at large”. (I had a friend, dead now over 10 years, who told me he intended to deny the government that last check mark by his name, so when they had to finally close his file it would be marked “cold case”. I kind of liked that idea.)
Of course, celebrities also fall into this category, where we know them by name but they don’t know us.
The “second man” is found in the community in which he lives where everyone knew his name, and recognized his face. Some would also have been part of the smaller groups, but where different social rules applied.
The “third man” was the one known at the office, his colleagues, or business associates, or neighboring farms; people he saw regularly outside the home.
The “fourth man” is the man known inside his home; his family, as well as his best and closest friends and confidants. The people with whom he shared secrets.
About the “fifth man” the Japanese parable never stated just where a nobleman’s mistress, or concubine, or his little 11-year male attendant fit in, the fourth or fifth man? But since those institutions always belonged to only the cultural elite 20%, and not the 80%, I’ll let you be the judge.
But this question provides a segue into just how “alone” the man who is “known only to himself really is”, for both philosophical moralists and atheists believe the man known only to himself isn’t really alone.
Christianity insists that the man known only unto himself must be sharing that space with some essence of morality; right and wrong, virtue and vice, good and bad, and that both must be recognizable, so that a choice can be made between them.
Since most Americans still profess a religious faith, this picture probably depicts the sort of contest that goes on inside a kid all through his life. It’s one that is implanted very early while the child is still under the charge of his/her parents. (Two parents are best, if you didn’t already know.)
But that may be true only in America today, and possibly not for long. In nations that still permit religion, it is a diminishing minority, by design, and in others strictly prohibited.
Even in societies where God is strictly prohibited, an “upper class” child of a ranking party member still faces “moral” choices, since their society teaches “service to the state” much as service to God is taught. Killing, stealing and lying and still wrong, only punished on earth, nowhere else.
And as we know, even the Ten Commandments really didn’t apply to the Christian royals and aristocrats because they believed they had special cards they could play with the Church the commoners could not afford. It was no different for the Soviets, or today, the Communist Chinese ruling class. Rank is rank. Privilege is privilege.
Still, certain natural laws always come into play, and Nature, using devices that are exclusive to it (but working in God’s service, in my humble opinion) always throws those systems down. Always.
What seemed to survive and has been able to regenerate itself without the help of government has been that angel standing on the right shoulder of the “person known only unto himself”.
But since every “pro” has to have a “con”, and children still need to be taught at early ages, and since atheism cannot abide a devil, they must provide a stand-in. You might think a school-teacher, but they change with the seasons, so I’m submitting as the best moral substitute for the Devil on the spoiled rich-kids’ shoulders would be The Therapist.
This is likely the Devil you will have to get off little Emma Gonzalez’s or even littler David Hogg’s shoulders; that therapist Mom had been seeing since 1988. While schools and professors have been filling their heads with their mush, and their closest circles of friends engraving it into their psyches, it’s that $200/hour therapist who’s making all the pieces fit.
The family priest of the 20%. What a gig!
Just know that little foot-stomping 19-year old goes into that padded cell, that “known only unto his/herself” is not alone.