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Personal growth literature and the timeless quality of human nature July 1, 2018

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Concept of personal growth.
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Sometimes when, through a period of time, we have delved into a lot of personal development and self-actualization materials, including very old commentary, it may seem that there is really nothing new in much of it.

And the reason is likely that individuals, the people such material is written about and directed to, do not change, even over countless centuries.

As Erich Hoffer writes:

“It is the individual only who is timeless. Societies, cultures, and civilizations, past and present, are often incomprehensible to outsiders, but the individual’s hungers, anxieties, dreams and preoccupations have remained unchanged through millennia…

“…If in some manner the voice of an individual reaches us from the remotest distance of time, it is a timeless voice speaking about ourselves.”

It is the individual, rather than any particular society as a whole that is “nearest to our understanding; so near that even the interval of millennia cannot weaken our feeling of kinship,” Hoffer observes. (1)

Historical examples are numerous: ancient philosophical texts, such as the writings of Roman and Greek philosophers, playwrights, and poets; centuries old religious tracts; wall paintings in the tombs of ancient Egypt.

(1) Eric Hoffer, Reflections on the Human Condition, Harper & Row, Publishers, New York, 1973

Dennis Mellersh

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