Mankind has a bad habit of believing in one’s own self-serving bias to such an extent that even when we are found in error, we cling desperately to our preconceived notions. This is known to psychologists as “belief perseverance”. Man’s overconfidence in preconceived notions is truly laughable when taking into account man’s own ability to recognize the folly of the inflated ego. The individual has the ability to recognize Hir own ego as often misleading and superfluous, yet individuals insist on crowning the ego and foregoing humility. Humility is an essential aspect of the Magic(k)al arts and the Craft as a whole in the sense that we must accept that we are mere microcosmic organisms in a much larger picture—we are a small speck in a much larger universe. Confirmation bias is the “tendency to search for information that confirms one’s preconceptions” (Exploring Psychology, Myers, D.G.). By narrowing ourselves into the grasp of confirmation bias, self-serving bias, and belief perseverance, we limit our capacity for growth and evolution. Growing and keeping an open mind go hand in hand. Understanding that you can learn from others is essential in our eternal search for a higher truth. There are those whose egos prevent them from learning valuable lessons from others, when much is to be attained. Even the guru would do well to understand that our immutable search is infinite and perfection cannot be attained.
Individuals who understand their own motivations for searching for a truth larger than one’s self are a step ahead of the glamour seekers and trend riders. Men and women cannot easily escape the frightening fact that most of our driving motivations are extrinsic by their nature. We are afraid of the consequences of not doing this, just as we seek the rewards that accompany the path. There is no shame in admitting this aspect of extrinsic motivation. However, one may want to re-evaluate the Self if there no aspect of intrinsic motivation, due to the fact we were all born different and thus came to search for something greater than what the masses tried to sell us truth.
When faced with the innermost desires, innermost fears, and innermost secrets of Self, many flee in cowardice. Many people who are truly honest as to what’s inside of the Self find that it is not all glamorous and good. There is a terrifying aspect of the ruthless self-searching we are required to undergo in fulfilling our path. Ours is the road less traveled for a reason. The good news is that others need not know our discoveries of the Self when we come to know the most brutal and grueling aspects thereof. We brethren of the Skull have always been in every society, creed, and culture of earth throughout history. We are those who are not sated by the truths of the masses. We had a desire to look deeper into ourselves, our souls, and the soul of the collective. We brethren of the skull are those who ate of the forbidden fruit of knowledge and lost our innocence because of it. When looking into the shadows of Self, be vigilant, honest (with Self), and always keep in mind that our search and path is eternal. It doesn’t end, even in death. Face the skull aright and strive to become the essence of both grace and blasphemy, sun and moon, light and darkness.