On Wednesday’s episode of “The Michael Knowles Show,” Knowles talks about how the self-love culture promotes self-centeredness and a lack of humility. Video and partial transcript below:
It’s just selfishness. It’s just self-centeredness that makes you miserable. That’s the problem. You think that selfishness and self-centeredness are going to make you really happy, and feel good as hell — that’s what the culture tells you. They don’t. They always make you miserable.
We used to know this. This used to be common sense but common sense is no longer common in a culture that exalts twerking in front of a giant inflatable butt. This common sense has been beaten out of us. Now, if you say that you are perfect the way that you are, if you say if you think you deserve all the happiness in the world, the culture tells you that’s exactly the right thing. Actually, you are giving yourself a recipe for misery. Guaranteed. The culture of self-love is a culture of delusion and entitlement. So what is the actual beginning of real love — not self-love — but actual love?
First of all, it’s not self-centered. That love is on someone else. You might hear this from a certain Jewish fella who walked around Israel two thousand years ago who said, love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself. Love the Lord your God. You’re loving your maker — that you’re loving with gratitude — you are loving the person who gave you this wonderful life that you have and then you, who are made in the image of God. Love your neighbor as yourselves, and you do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The actual beginning of real love is this humility and this gratitude. It’s a love of other: First of God, and then because of that of your neighbor, and what is your love of God? Your love of God expresses a gratitude for the life that God gave you, which you did not create.
You are, even if you’re an atheist — even if you’re an agnostic, even if you have some other religion — we can at least agree: You are not responsible for your life. You did not create your life. You were born into this world, and you were not responsible for that. And you’re going to live and you’re gonna do a lot of things, and then you’re gonna be taken out of this world. Most likely, you’re going to have no say in that either. Your life, at a fundamental level, is not your own. You can express gratitude for that, and that realization that you’re not responsible for coming into this world, and you’re probably not gonna be responsible for coming out of it, is cause for humility.
Saint Augustine, I think it was, said the four most important virtues are humility, humility, humility, and humility. That culture, that actual culture of real love — not self-love — would be Lizzo getting on stage in a sort of nice elegant dress, and then thanking all of her fans for listening to her music. She goes to the Video Music Awards and she says, “Hey this is lovely, thank you so much for listening to my music and making me popular, and I really like that and I really like all of you.” It would be Lizzo reminding everyone who’s in that room — who’s dancing around to the fun tunes — how lucky they are, how unbelievably privileged they are to be able to be in that room listening to fun music that they like, and to be in the greatest country in the world that allows them to do that. It gives them so much freedom, so much prosperity — is such a good protection of their rights, and how lucky they are just to live, just to be alive. What a time to be alive. That would be a culture of real love.
By the way, that’s what award shows used to be until like five minutes ago. Award shows used to, well not five minutes ago, [it] really started going downhill in the ’70s. But before that, the award shows were you would get up there and you say, “Thank you so much. Thank you, thank you to my country. I’m so glad to live in the greatest country on Earth, and thank you to God for blessing me with all these wonderful blessings. Good night.” That exhibited something called class. That exhibited something called grace. That was rooted in a fundamental humility. Then award shows became about entitlement.
You saw this a little bit when [Marlon] Brando went up at the Oscars. He didn’t go to the Oscars, he sent a Native American Indian to complain. And that was when things started to turn a little bit for the worse. Then you saw Michael Moore, he goes up at the Oscars and he complains. And now people just go complain, they get up there and they say, “everything’s terrible, Trump’s awful and all the people who voted for him were terrible and everyone.” [They say,] “it’s all B.S! It’s all B.S! I’m tired of the B.S. I need to love myself more! People need to love me more! Feel good, let’s all feel good.”
That’s not nice. People don’t like that.
You don’t have to take my word for it. Back in the olden times, you know like 20 years ago, people were happier. And 40 years ago, people were happier, and 50 years ago, people were even happier still. This is according to every survey that has attempted to measure happiness and satisfaction. Now it’s difficult to measure those things, because in many ways they’re unquantifiable. But insomuch as they are quantifiable, people used to be a lot happier.
And by the way, the objects of this sexual revolution — and the particular objects of this culture of self-love and the participants largely in this culture of self-love — are women, and they have become the most unhappy. Their happiness has dropped off most precipitously, both in absolute terms and in relative terms to men. This culture is poison.
Now what do we have? We have rising epidemics of misery, loneliness, drug addiction, and suicide. Not even just among older people, but among teenagers as well. Surging rates of teenage suicide — up 70% in recent years. Obviously, something isn’t working. Obviously, the culture of self-love, so-called, is not working. You know insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting different results. So maybe — eh, we’ve tried this self-love entitlement, [this] I-get-mine, self-love culture for a long time. Maybe let’s try something else. Maybe let’s try humility, or even modesty.