Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened. – Winston Churchill.
We fear and hate many of truth’s disclosures because they’re often accompanied by narcissistic insults. What’s a narcissistic insult? It’s a bulletin from reality that, while capable of smartening us up, offends our ego. To avoid such insults, we cling to our illusions and limit our intelligence and inner freedom.
History records how truth has threatened our self-regard. People of the 16th Century ignored the new scientific findings and clung to their ego-gratifying illusion that the earth was the center of the universe. Three centuries later, Charles Darwin delivered a narcissistic insult when he considered the likelihood that man had descended from ancient apes, a prospect that horrified the proud architects of the Industrial Age. Four decades later, another profound narcissistic insult was leveled when Sigmund Freud contended, in The Interpretation of Dreams, that much of our mental and emotional life at any given moment is unconscious. Our ego, that self-centered me that pretends to know us intimately, was gravely insulted. George Bernard Shaw remarked soon afterwards: “All great truths begin as blasphemies.” [Read more…]