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The Other Form of Vanity

Know Thyself! This is, perhaps, the most often-heard quote when it comes to self-development and growth. Not that I am against these ideas. For one, these are inevitable fates one must endure as long as he lives. And, more importantly, what doesn’t grow, rot.

I, in any accord, do not wish to rot. So, I would like to configure this path to whatever is there for growth. As fancy as it sounds, the quote “Know thyself” makes it hard to believe whether it guides us to the complete enlightenment we all seek rather than an ulterior form of vanity. Before exploring this perspective on vanity, let us consider how we can know ourselves for one moment.

For starters, what are we really? I am here asking a metaphysical question to understand what my fibers are built of. I am not at all curious about how my physical body took its current form. How would that help me anyway? I am here. Now. And unless my desire to destroy my being get the best of me, it would be in vain to try to advance that research. Yet, my question is not an easy argument to settle. How on earth would I know myself? The abstract build of my being? The realm of my reality? How can I identify the constituents I sacrificed for the sake of conformity from the ones I chose to adhere to with audacity? Is there any authentic side of mine left? Or am I the result of the builds and constructs of my surrounding?

Given the hardship of my questions, I hope my reader would forgive my shortcomings in answering them. I am even wondering which part of me was inquiring about all these questions. (Because I am as well trying to avoid vanity of my own).

I have been told, as inevitable as growth and change are, vanity is also the risk waiting at every corner. And knowing thyself is a virtue, while vanity is a curse. Now, this does not help to make the quest any simple. At any moment I am unlocking this box of my unknown and unexplored self, it is more than probable to find something of use. I sincerely hope that all I would find is not rubbish. Yet, if I found that one valuable thing in me, would not I be closing the gap between me and my vanity? While becoming awake and more conscious of oneself, how can one utterly avoid the ultimate vanity?

For me, the two are faces of a single coin; Enlightenment and Vanity. Every day is everybody’s first day in life after all. Despite the mundane repetitions and cycles, the newness of the day poses a great challenge when it comes to enlightenment. That is a little relief, honestly. The unending quest for enlightenment will, perhaps, impede us from falling from vanity. But tiny bits of ourselves we get to learn from the days are still the mothers of vanity we conceive in every moment. Try to keep the virtue while fighting the vice. Or just wait on the edge of the coin protecting thyself from befalling on either of the sides. In any case, know thyself. At least, sometimes.

Originally posted at Nouveauable: The Bookish Hub.

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