I dont know about other cultures but I do think that we do not learn to see ourselves honestly in our culture. At an early age we are generally taught to mistrust our direct experience. When we decide in life that we want to attend in a more honest way we seem to have to wade through and discard much of what we have accumulated which can be a long discerning process. Whitney Smith writes in his book “Wild Culture” that “in everything you come across there is always a choice. There is a choice of either going deeper, or going away. If you go deeper you can go right into the thing until all you are seeing is yourself.” Than “you” it is complete. Well not really. Its actually the beginning.
My own experience is that there is a point where confrontation of what has been covered over is required in finding our way back to our essence. Ironically we have become socially conditioned to avoid pain so to experience what is authentic of our self and human experience requires that we consciously learn to enter into aspects of our experience that might be painful that we have avoided dealing with in the past. This involves awareness and when we are ready we are able to a let go of our habitual reactions that have insulated us from that. It seems to be an individual thing depending on how much we are prepared to focus in a way that is not about pursuing and expecting the same degree of comfort and security that has become our indulgent way. I am reminded of the movie “The Matrix”. Some individuals preferred the life of delusional hedonistic perceptions over dealing with the pain involved in living a reality experience.
Ultimately a consequence of a conventional way of living is that it perpetuates separation and disconection from self, others, other beings and the universe that is at the heart of our individual, social, relational and global problems. Ingmar Bergman wrote that “In solitude I have the feeling that I contain too much humanity.” I think that collectively, there would be benefits if there was more of an inclination to bare with some of this difficult and more realistic experience of humanity.