There's at least one contemporary expression that I don't fully understand. And honestly, I'm also pondering it in light of yesterday's riots and insurrection in our Capital and what was happening psychologically, both for President Trump and his virulent supporters.
Was that distorted self-love, or is self-love always a distortion?
At any rate, here it is: "You be you."
What exactly does this imperative mean?
A word from St. Clive
There are times like these when I wish C.S. Lewis were still with us. Because he grasped the inherent problem. If "you be you" is a form of self-love that implies "and don't give a *whiff* [substitute your word] about others," that indeed is a problem.
It evokes the age old question of whether self-love is a Christian virtue. I, like St. Clive, have some doubts.
"To love his neighbor as himself, he may then be able to love himself as his neighbor; that is, with charity instead of partiality." C.S. LewisOr as he phrased it a bit more creatively in The Screwtape Letters, where the devil Screwtape is describing the aims of "the Enemy" (or God):
“The Enemy wants to bring the man to a state of mind in which he could design the best cathedral in the world, and know it to be the best, and rejoice in the fact, without being any more (or less) or otherwise glad at having done it than he would be if it had been done by another. The Enemy wants him, in the end, to be so free from any bias in his own favor that he can rejoice in his own talents as frankly and gratefully as in his neighbor's talents--or in a sunrise, an elephant, or a waterfall.” C.S. Lewis
Would about the scandalous behavior of our President and how it affected his mob? I think it's "you be you" and self-love gone wild. Would these insights help us today in undue the serious defects in American life? I think so. At least, one can hope.