THE IDEA OF SELF-DISCOVERY

Technological developments have long fascinated humans, not just in terms of how they help make our lives more efficient, but also for the vast potential they hold for influencing society beyond their immediate impact.

The idea of self-discovery

  • Self-discovery, as the name suggests, refers to the process by which a person is able to gain a deeper understanding about their own self
  • Their personality, characteristics, behaviour, values, motivations, flaws, emotions.
  • “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
  • This is because knowing ourselves helps us touch upon larger ideas of emotions and psychological growth, common to all humans, aiding us to develop a sense of empathy in understanding the world at large.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:

  • Abraham H Maslow devised a famous hierarchy of needs for humans, where only when one set of basic needs are met, can we then effectively work towards achieving other things.
  • So when a person’s needs of food and shelter are not met, they may find it difficult to go towards fulfilling higher needs, such as developing a sense of self.
  • At the pinnacle of this pyramid of human needs was the need for “self-actualisation”
  • It means an ideal stage where people actually live up to their potential and are fulfilled with their lives.
  • In this regard, self-discovery can be seen as the first step to self-actualisation.

Different methods of self discovery:

  • engaging in religious teachings that champion certain values,
  • meditation,
  • psychological counselling,
  • personality assessments,
  • quiet contemplation,
  • reflecting on one’s words and actions
  • interacting with and helping others.

Role of technology in the process of self-discovery

  • Advancement in technology in the form of Artificial Intelligence in contemporary time has become an external source of self-discovery
  • It replaced the former internal process of self-discovery through introspection and questioning carried out proactively in solitude.
  • The onus of questioning oneself is voluntarily given to artificial intelligence replacing the internal proactive method of introspection.
  • In contemporary times individuals are voluntarily feeding AI with their traits and allowing it to study facets of their personality.
  • As such AI is permitted to shape and influence individuals to understand their own selves.

Pros:

  • Technology has helped people access tools to move towards self-discovery.
  • It has made available information on subjects like psychology
  • It has helped connect people through means like the internet, allowing them to discuss these ideas with others.
  • The constant use of social media doesn’t let people enter a state of profound boredom, which may open the door to more creative and meaningful activity.
  • Cons:
  • At the same time, technology in the form of smartphones and the internet, have arguably taken hold of people’s lives in an all-consuming manner at times.
  • People might confuse their social media personas with their real selves and feel the pressure to conform.
  • They could also self-diagnose themselves with mental health-related or personality-related issues based on unverified information online.
  • Instead of putting in the tough work of questioning oneself and analysing our behaviour, people could go by simplistic explanations available easily.
  • The negative effects of social media addiction are also well-documented.

Way forward:

  • It is important to know what exactly technology has to offer in terms of the tools and information it holds.
  • The useful parts here can be taken to aid in the journey towards self-discovery, like mental health services from professionals, tips on how one can develop a balanced outlook in life, etc.
  • At the same time, outsourcing our distinctly personal sense of self and the process of evolving our understanding of it is not feasible.
  • There are certain elements of society that cannot be completely replaced by technology, and human understanding is one prime example.
  • Therefore, no matter how difficult the work of introspection and appraisal of the self may be, it is a task best left to humans, resisting the temptation of technology.

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

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