(Don't) Be Yourself

One of the smartest things you can do is learn how the culture you live in thinks, because you probably think in a very similar way. Charles Taylor has identified our time as "the age of authenticity", which sounds fine but in practice is self-destructive in its idolisation of the self. Here's a chunky quote from Taylor:

"I mean the understanding of life which emerges with the Romantic expressivism of the late-eighteenth century, that each one of us has his/her own way of realizing our humanity, and that it is important to find and live out one’s own, as against surrendering to conformity with a model imposed on us from outside, by society, or the previous generation, or religious or political authority."

Trevin Wax explains what this means from a Christian perspective here. I come across this mindset all the time: reading the news and social media, dealing with young Christians, in my own advice when I'm not thinking carefully, and when we're choosing paint. It's everywhere, so be wise to it.