8. Self-awareness


3 Tamuz 5781

R. Luzzatto then (Mesillas Yesharim par. 3, chap. 2) touches on self-awareness, reminding the reader that Yirmeyahu was aware of the evils of his generation, saying that many were paying no heed to their actions and instead just kept doing whatever they were doing. Impulsiveness, as R. Luzzatto states, leads into wrongdoing.

The text can be easily applied to the present day. I find that resisting against impulsiveness in the current world is much harder than – say – twenty years ago. The temptation to write and send text, to buy without thinking, is much greater than before the advent of instant communication. Messages are written and sent immediately without thought. They do not take hours to write – compared to a letter – and also time to be sent through the post. The excellent advice of R. Luzzatto must be taken very seriously when it is easy to “just write”.

The author also notes that always acting on something, without leaving oneself the time to think about one’s actions, makes one not correct one’s mistakes. This too applies to today’s world. It is often seen that people avoid thinking. It is easier to read news on the telephone or to message someone. It is commonly seen that many cannot sit in the company of others without looking at their telephone. Many avoid sitting and just reflecting. Mistakenly, something must be done to occupy the mind and avoid self-awareness.

R. Luzzatto then points out that this must be the work of the evil inclination, since, if one sat down and thought about one’s actions, one would correct one’s mistakes. This is astute thinking, for it true that many avoid seeing and correcting their mistakes – very often not consciously so. The mistakes defend themselves by hiding into those parts of the mind that cannot be seen and sometimes take years to be discovered.

opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual.

Dr D Cohen