Chief Attributes Of The Care Of Self

The Care Of Self

The Care Of Self

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Taking care of oneself or concern for the self always refers to an active state.  This is something much more serious than the simple fact of paying attention.  It involves various things like taking pains with one’s holdings and one’s health.  It is always a real activity and not just attitude. It is used in reference to the activity of a farmer tending his fields, his cattle, and his house, or to the job of the king in taking care of his city and citizens, or to the worship of ancestors or gods, or as a medical term to signify the fact of caring.  What is this self of which one has to take care and of what does that care consist? 

What is the self?  Self is a reflective pronoun, and it has two meanings. Auto means “the same,” but it also conveys the notion of identity.  The latter meaning shifts the question from “What is this self?” to “What is the plateau on which I shall find my identity?”  When you take care of the body, you don’t take care of the self.  The self is not clothing, tools, or possessions. It is to be found in the principle which uses these tools, a principle not of the body but of the soul. You have to worry about your soul – that is the principle activity of caring for yourself. The care of the self is the care of the activity and not the care of the soul as substance. 

How must we take care of this principle of activity, the soul? Of what does this care consist? One must know of what the soul consists. The soul cannot know itself except by looking at itself in a similar element, a mirror. Thus, it must contemplate the divine element. In this divine contemplation, the soul will be able to discover rules serving as a basis for behavior and action.  The effort of the soul to know itself is the principle on which just action can be founded.  To take care of oneself consists of knowing oneself.  Knowing oneself becomes the object of the quest of concern for self.

We must take care of self by examining our soul.  This entails several problems:

I. The problem of the relation between being occupied with oneself and worldly activity.

II. When is it better to turn away from worldly activity to concern oneself with oneself?

III. What is the relationship between being occupied with oneself and methods and principles of teaching?

IV. The problem of the relationship between concern for oneself and the knowledge of oneself.

V. The problem of the relationship between the care of the self and philosophical love. 

Taking care of oneself is not abstract but a widespread activity, a network of obligations and services to the soul.  It is never too late to occupy oneself with oneself.  We must attend to the self, retire into the self and stay there.  It is good to be reflective, set aside a few moments a day, or several weeks or months, for a retreat into self.  This is an active leisure – to study, to read, to prepare for misfortune or death.  It is  a meditation and a preparation. 

Writing is also important in the culture of taking care of oneself.  One of the main features of taking care involve taking notes on oneself to be re-read, writing letters to friends to help them, and keeping notebooks in order to reactivate for oneself the truths on needed.  Taking care of oneself is linked to a constant writing activity.  The self is something to write about, a theme or object (subject) of writing activity.  The concern with self involves a new experience of self.  The experience of the self introspection becomes more and more detailed. A relation develops between writing and vigilance.  Attention should be paid to nuances of life, mood, and reading, and the experience of oneself is intensified and widened by virtue of this act of writing meticulous details of daily life, with the movements of the spirit, with self-analysis. 

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Posted August 12, 2012 by dranilj1 in COGNITION

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