Nico Meijer Drees has been making paintings for decades. He lives on Vancouver Island. Here’s a statement by Nico on his philosophy of the self.

Philosophy of the Self

by Nico Meijer Drees

We are born helpless, but as soon as we can crawl we have a choice to move right, left or straight ahead. We set in motion the journey of self discovery. Under the guidance of parents, caregivers and teachers we learn to control our desires, our moves and we gain knowledge about who we are and how we should behave in- and outside the family.

While we grow up the subconscious part of our brain, which also controls our bodily functions, registers the daily activities associated with the change in daylight, change in temperature, sounds, smells and vision. The most important are the activities related to the intake of food and the “eye to eye” contact with adults.

In school we have to socialize, play games and make friends. We become students, are indoctrinated and learn to communicate properly. We memorize, do homework, get marks, pass tests, cheat and have to behave.

During puberty we get to know to which social group we belong and how to fit-in. We get ideas and learn to express them. Some ideas set us apart from others and so we may have to adjust our own. We express ourself more clearly using the knowledge collected in school and from personal experience.

As young adults we gain more confidence in our expanding “Selves” by observing and working with others. The society becomes interested in our abilities and expects us to contribute. There are choices to be made whether you like it or not, depending your ability, health and sex. Slowly our contributions gain recognition.

During this learning process we often meet resistance or are vilified. So we protect ourselves and build a “comfort zone”, behind we can safely withdraw to recover and regain confidence. This zone acts as a socially acceptable barrier, but also limits us to reach out.

Thus our activities become more focussed, and if accepted by the community, they are going to lead us on. We use our abilities and recognize activities that make us feel good.

So, we get to know our Self!