I really did not ‘know’ who I was for most of my life. Indeed my understanding of Self is continuing to grow even now. If one observes their emotions and probes the source of each, one may find the point where a wave of misunderstanding is propagating from one’s distant history into the present moment.
Of all of the gifts which evolution (or ‘God’ if you must) has given us, “thought” is most significant. Other animals can run, jump, play, sleep, fight and procreate but of all life’s creatures we have as our strongest ability that of thought and reason. It follows then that as thinking entities, thought will provide our greatest return in life. It also follows that by utilizing thought we enhance the satisfaction we find in our more basic processes. As an example, in thinking about what we eat and we may discover a more healthy, enjoyable, long term practice instead of simply eating the first edible thing that happens along our path. In this case, thought enhances a basic impulse.
Most animals operate on impulse and only react to situations through instincts (analogous to our emotions). We have the ability to think through these emotions.
I personally am not ready to give up my positive animal based joys however at the least I can think through their processes. In doing so I might determine if a particular activity which I have been repeating is being true to the Self which I have determined that I am.
If I feel a slight or potential threat from another must I rush to an automatic response which has its root in a million plus year old wave or can I think through the situation and determine the response consistent with the Self I have decided that I flow from?
Substitute the “I” above with “we” or “our group” and determine if something like war is really necessary or unavoidable.
Laws are a crude attempt at civility and we tend to accept ‘culture’ over law.
Can we not become a culture of thinkers?