We tend to take it as a given that all life is experienced through the impenetrable “I”. “Why blame us?”, we say, “It is all we have, our own pair of eyes.” And there is merit to that, but when we begin to see reality itself as being viewed from a singularly valid vantage point, around which all the world swirls, we begin to lose something. We might think we see everything clearly but lose sight of ourselves.
It is not only the anarchists or the relativists (or the liberals) who hold true to the self-ish view of the universe. It’s not as simple as a political or a religious position. I can behold the whole world from my own point of view without subjecting my own position to the view of a higher authority, and I can be functionally a relativist.
The real problem with relativism, for which there are many, is really an inadequate view of the self. The self becomes absolute, a singularity in a world of variability, and it is impossible to accept any form of growth or maturity, or calling or higher purpose. Ironically, what is really lost in a culture that prizes self-expression and relative truth is identity itself. It becomes laminated into a flimsy cardboard version that we believe about ourselves, or a single pixel that is the pointer that interacts with everything on the screen.
In order to really know who I am I must be able to step out of myself from afar and see myself from the various perspectives that society, that reflection, and ultimately, that God himself holds. How can I know my ultimate identity O Lord, if I do not even know how you see me?
Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”
“Child,’ said the Lion, ‘I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own.”
C.S. Lewis – The Horse and His Boy