To Thine Own Self Be True

I learned from a legend last week. Let me explain. Project Freedom, a community organization based in Scarborough, hosted a talk on November 16th titled “Consciousness, Creativity, and Music” in UofT’s Earth Sciences Building. The event featured a lecture by the Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA - also known as The Genius, and rightfully so. If you aren’t familiar with Wu-Tang, you’re on time out for 10 minutes. Go sit in a corner. (I’m kidding. According to my older brother, they’re the best rap group of all time.
Dave Chapelle knows. Source:
GZA spoke about physics, philosophy, math, hip-hop, education, music, spirituality, and creativity. It was a lot to ingest, and even though I’m a novice in most of the things that he covered, I left the lecture inspired to learn more about the sciences and their connection to art (one connection he made between physics and rap; think of your thoughts as energy and your rhymes as matter). He said one thing in particular that I really needed to hear, and that has been on the forefront of my mind - a lack of self-awareness leads to clouded judgment in the choices that you make. I felt like the Genius was speaking directly to me. I am aware that I need to improve my self-awareness, but I hardly make a conscious effort to do so. I’ve been super uncertain about my choices lately, and I find myself desperately seeking answers everywhere except inwards. How can I expect to make choices that are good for me if I don’t even understand my character, desires, and all that makes me, me? I think that self-awareness, for me, needs to begin with a critical questioning of what motives, desires, and circumstances drive me to make the choices that I do. GZA mentioned that our actions always follow our thoughts, and so our thoughts shape our universe - if I don’t understand my inner self and my thoughts, how will I ever possibly understand my choices and actions? GZA dropped a classic line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet - “To thine own self be true”. Impossible if I don’t know my self. Something to think about, U of T.

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