I remember a time when I thought I knew all there was to know... and then I woke up. :)
Getting washed away in identifying with a personal essay or a story is, in my opinion, much like getting swept up in a new relationship or feeling like having to hold onto one that is long since gone the way of destructive. There is that intrinsic and inevitable (except for the sociopath) need for us to be seen, even if the picture is a mere sliver of the whole. In fact, for those of us who fall so readily on the rails of our own self-castigation, being seen sometimes keeps the illusion alive, like Dorian Gray, wondering if the person who loves us will ever see the horrid picture hidden behind a thin veil and if they once do, will we wither with their rejection of all that we are.
Here is where the negative criticality for which I have long taken a dark pride in grew out of, projecting that horrid image upon everyone around me from an ideological and experiential place of lack, of loss. The framing of conservative christianity requires that all that is good reside in god and as we are the simply the recipients of his good, so we possess none intrinsically. Understanding human nature is to delve into the cesspool of the depraved and come to the surface of disdain. It is all too easy to, once the basic principles of human nature are grasped, to engage in pondering the future and come up with a negative conclusion. That the basis inevitably would lead to such a conclusion was overlooked due to the continuation of being right so often. How indeed could such a basis be wrong if upon looking around and inside there is found all the things we seem to know we shouldn't do but do anyway. How indeed.
Waking to a world of positive possibility is not to deny the weight still held by the ideology-of-sin, no more than listening to the better angels of our nature is to deny our potential for destruction. The great truth of the human creature is it's ability to hold seemingly opposite points of view and feel the world vibrating between them. As humanity is no one thing, no single instantiation, so there is no single means of perceiving the universe and no innately correct way of building a future. There are, as Sam Harris has put it, rationally-based better ways of creating a net gain in human happiness, but each way is likely to find a view from the peak that finds many other peaks looking back upon it. We create our lives not from a system of denial or of rejection, but of wholeness and acceptance. We are not so much at war within ourselves as believing there must be a battle to be fought at all. There is in the eternal now a pregnant potential of genesis, of creation, in which the lives we live are authentically explored, resting upon the bed of our previous discontent and rising into the sun-drenched morning of continual renewal.
Let us not confuse self-immolation with enlightened thinking, as if the seeping blood from personally inflicted wounds did anything but soak back into the soil of our being. We are not washed clean by denial nor are we made pure by continual focus on our supposed failings. The glory of our existence is found in the continual awareness of the growing potential for expansion within the eternal now. The future lies in our intention, not in any single nature. Embrace the expansiveness within imagination.