For a long time, philosophers, scientists, thinkers, and ordinary people have tried to justify their existence. In this way, they tried to answer global existential questions, including the reasons for existence, the purpose in life, and so on. Each person has their own goals in life, however, life itself is not a goal. Despite this, it seems impossible for many to exist without any reflection. Taking life as a given, a person ceases to develop and set himself any global tasks and objectives. Thus, for every thinking person, it becomes important to justify their existence, to find the purpose of life.
To justify their existence, people turn to the eternal philosophical concepts: the inner self and the outer self. The inner self consists in the spiritual sensation of a person, his thinking and spirit. Each person hides within himself many emotions, experiences, and thoughts that form this self. It is often hidden behind the outer shell of a person and is most sincerely manifested when the individual itself allows it. Moreover, the inner self is the most truthful personification of a human, since it is hidden from the eyes of others (Heyes).
Thus, metaphorically speaking, this is the part of the iceberg that is hidden under the depths of the water. The external self, on the contrary, is the appearance of a person. In this sense, if the inner self is hidden from everyone, then a person is usually judged by the outer self. This is how he dresses, looks, walks, eats, and so on, that is, everything that people can see. Both of these selves are critical to justifying existence, as they represent all the many facets of a person.
Often, the actions of the outer self justify the inner self, when a person acts according to his principles. As mentioned earlier, the inner self represents a person’s spirituality, thoughts, and experiences that are hidden from others. Each person has some well-established norms that he develops as he develops in society. Thus, acting according to such moral principles, the individual justifies the inner self. Ethically, a person should always strive to follow his inner self and, therefore, act according to his will (Mitcham and Wang 5). Thus, the inner self is inseparable from the outer, influencing and shaping it.
The idea that as we grow older, we gradually surrender the inner self to the outer is not new and has been expressed by many philosophers. Ideally, our outer self should be subordinated to our inner self, since it is this sincere self that represents us. However, as each person grows up, it becomes more and more difficult to act according to the princes. «Little by little, I am giving over everything to him, though I am quite aware of his perverse custom of falsifying and magnifying things» (Borges, 246).
Thus, Borges shows how he surrenders to the will of his external self, forgetting Over time, a person begins to perform certain actions that are expected of him by others according to the external self. Borges stated: «I shall remain in Borges, not in myself (if it is true that I am someone), but I recognize myself less in his books than in many others or the laborious tuning of a guitar» (Borges, 246). This quote demonstrates how, over time, the philosopher began to move away from his inner self, more and more succumbing to the outer.
In conclusion, reasoning about how to justify the existence is critically important in everyone’s life. Taking life as a given, a person ceases to develop and set globally important goals. Thus, turning to the inner and outer selves, each individual can understand what the purpose of his existence is. By listening to the inner self, it becomes possible to perform actions without betraying oneself. In this sense, with the help of such concepts as the inner and outer selves, everyone can justify their existence and find a life reference point.
Borges, Jorge Luis, and Honorio Bustos Domecq. Labyrinths: Selected stories & other writings. No. 186. New Directions Publishing, 1964.
Heyes, Cressida J. Anaesthetics of existence: Essays on experience at the edge. Duke University Press, 2020.
Mitcham, Carl, and Nan Wang. “Interdisciplinarity in ethics.” The Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity. 2017.