Our culture focuses on self-discovery. From our youngest years we are inculcated in the pursuit of “finding out who we are.” In a psychological sense, we do, indeed, need a strong and healthy sense of Self, of a sense of being that is separate from and unique as compared to others. Failure to develop a healthy sense of self can lead to all sorts of personality disorders, including narcissism and codependency.
Modern citizens of Western democracies, children of the Enlightenment, profess to be devotees of the scientific method of observation, hypothesis, empirical and repeated processes to test hypotheses, followed by more observation, and leading, so it is affirmed, to a logical conclusion. And yet, conversely, these same devotees of the scientific method insist on one empirically falsifiable notion: that with enough knowledge, technological know-how, and the scientific method, human nature is perfectable. Coupled with this belief in the perfectibility of human nature, is its obverse twin: all of human history and society are progressing to ever-more enlightenment and perfectibility. Thankfully, the ancient Greeks, and with them, all of Christian tradition, did and do not hold to such empirically false dogmas.
The evidence that human nature is both imperfect and wholly imperfectible is all around us. Murders. Theft. Adultery. Greed. Let’s simply run through the list of seven deadly vices, or log on to social media. Better yet: read a Twitter feed.