'He who look inside himself awakes' claimed Carl Jung. And it seems we have taken his conclusion to heart.  From the World Economic Forum's statement, 'Self-reflection is the most important leadership tool', to our contemporary focus on self-help, attempts to 'know thyself' are very much the fashion. Yet critics argue self-reflection carries with it serious risks.  A 2018 Harvard study and The American Psychological Association both concluded that there is no link between introspection and insight, in some cases the opposite is true.  Furthermore, the biggest worldwide survey into stress identified that self-reflection was one of the greatest factors leading to anxiety, depression, and in some cases suicide.

Should we see self-knowledge as an aim not only misguided, but actively dangerous? Is self-knowledge in fact impossible for as Nietzsche argued we have to use the self to uncover the self?  Or is self-reflection a vital and rewarding activity that uncovers meaning and improves our ability to act well in the world?

Groundbreaking psychologist John Vervaeke, philosopher of psychoanalysis Isabel Millar, and outspoken sociologist Frank Furedi debate the value of self-knowledge. Joanna Kavenna hosts.

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