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‘Be what you know you are’: a whisper that passes through centuries ~ Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D.

Updated: Jun 24, 2023

The act of realizing one’s own nature is the first step to take to be happy.

‘Be what you know you are’ is the whisper that has been passed throughout history, from Pindar through Nietzsche’s writings, where it is regularly used as an encouragement to both themselves and their readers.

People are whole beings made by body, soul, and intellect, with their unicity, and capable of accomplishing what they were intended to achieve by adhering to their own aptitudes, needs, and potential while drawing on the resources of their personality. To become who you are, you need to know yourself and your inclinations.

In response to the question posed by Chilo, the oracle of Delphi, who said the most important thing of all is “know thyself”, which means recognizing the limit, the finiteness of human nature, but also your strengths. It is no surprise, that the “Know thyself” is inscribed in stone at the entrance of the temple of Apollo in Delphi.

Socrates made it his motto and Saint Augustine urged everyone to look within themselves for the source of truth: "Noli foras ire, in te ipsum redi, in interno homine habitat veritas”

Thus, the most common and challenging questions that have been posed throughout history have their solutions within us. Who are we? Why do we exist?

Each of us has all the answers and knows where to find them if we don’t escape the inner search and let ourselves be fascinated and never distracted by external noise.

Children learn by imitation, and as they get older, they might choose to ask themselves what their purpose in life is. This purpose may not necessarily be something they receive from their family, but rather something they feel deeper in their "ego"—which is bound to come out, even in older age.

However, a will is important in carrying out what we were born to accomplish and in desiring to become who we really are. Genetic heritage plays a significant influence in shaping each person's destiny and character, as well as their preferences and taste.

The "inner peace" we experience as we "easily" get into the field meant for us is the primary sign of any positive development.

Behavioral genetics examines how hereditary genes influence our choices, differences in character such as introversion vs extroversion, and reactions to problem-solving.

What really guides our lives is the freedom and will to determine ourselves, and in continuity with Greek culture and philosophy hand down to us, our only opportunity to become "what we really are." These behavioral genetic studies are also important for determining some neurological pathologies, where there is a connection between some genes and the answers that each of us has in given situations.

This blog was already published in Sud Reporter by Prof Antonio Giordano, click here to read it.

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