Christopher Hitchens had a wonderful excerpt about killing one’s younger self. Hitchens talked about how he was a Marxist as a young man. However, as he grew older, he came to realize the foolishness of his early beliefs. Instead of clinging to a lie, he discarded the previous idea so that he could grow as an intellectual.
Most people undergo a similar transformation. At some point, they realize that their ideologies were naive. The healthy response is to shrug it off with a laugh: to file it away as a youthful indiscretion. And yet, some people are unable to do so. They cling to a previous illusion, unable to break free. They become like the prisoners in Plato’s cave…chained to the wall of ignorance.
One such example is love. Most people grow up with an idealism that’s been cemented in a thousand Peter Cetera songs: “I am a man that will fight for your honor….”. They daydream about a future that’s been molded by these romantic fantasies. And then when they turn 40, this dream is usually unfulfilled. They feel like a failure. Rather than analyze the previous position, they become bitter about the prize they never received. They hate men, they hate women, etc.
Invariably, they fail to realize something – their initial position was based upon a lie. Their was no grand Wizard of Oz; there was only a charlatan behind a curtain. Their future happiness depends on the acceptance of that fact.
The human existence is like that of snake. We have to continually to shed our skin in order to grow.
See Related Article: Essay Review: “The Turning Point of My Life” by Mark Twain