One should strive to be one’s self and be what one wants to be, no one knew this better than Emerson and Nietzsche. All great people, artists, philosophers, saints, and founders of great religions, are still subject to the bizarre streams of thought and temptations as everyone else. They still have bodies which defecate and carry out various bodily functions. But they have made something greater than these base things and have raised themselves to a better state. As long as one is alive one will be subject to base things. But great people transcend these base things through art and the intellect. As long as one is alive one will be attached to a body and be in the realm of mind. Mind is the realm of association of ideas and streams of consciousness. But great people go beyond mind and body while they are alive and participate in better things such as art and the intellect. These better things make life more valuable and interesting.
The great individuals of the past must have overcome doubt in themselves and all the economic hardships and obstacles to follow their hearts, pursue their art or writings and express their greatness. I have thought of many fears of danger and poverty which may involve being yourself and pursuing what one wants to do as opposed to what one must do to economically support one’s self. An individual must overcome all their fears of poverty and economic obstacles and pursue their art or writing despite economic insecurities in order to become great. A person can survive and be happy on very little.
An individual must transcend the times he or she is born in to become great. We are born into a particular time with particular norms. Individuals must transcend the time and culture they are born into to grasp what is universally true and good for all times. All great individuals are universal. Their ideas are universally true and good.
The antithesis between the existential doctrine to be one’s self and the religious doctrine to obey god and what is supremely good is solved in realizing that being one’s self and obeying the supreme good is what one really should be striving for and are really the same thing. Not simply being one’s self but being what one truly is and ought to be are the same thing. An authentic self is true to itself and one that is true to its essence. By following truth one is really true to one’s self and discovers what one should be which is one’s essence and is God.