A simple proof that the correct answer to "What would Jesus do?" is "I don’t know":

1. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

2. When X works in mysterious ways, the correct answer to "What would X do?" is "I don't know".

3. Jesus is the Lord.

From 1 & 3, it follows that

4. Jesus works in mysterious ways.

From 2 & 4, it follows that

5. The correct answer to "What would Jesus do?" is "I don't know".


Christian techniques of the self

According to Foucault, in all societies there is a kind of technique that he calls "techniques of the self" (or "technologies of the self"); these are "techniques that permit individuals to effect, by their own means, a certain number of operations on their own bodies, their own souls, their own thoughts, their own conduct, and this in a manner so as to transform themselves, modify themselves, and to attain state of perfection, happiness, purity, supernatural power" (from his short essay "Sexuality and Solitude"; he elaborates the notion in a much longer essay entitled "Technologies of the Self". Both essays are collected in Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth).

The notion of techniques of the self is interesting enough, but what I find even more interesting is Foucault's application of the notion to Christianity. He first points out that each technique of the self implies some truth obligations such as telling the truth, discovering the truth, and being enlightened by the truth. These obligations are either instrumental to or constitutive of the transformation of the self. He then describes the truth obligations implied by Christian techniques of the self:

Everyone in Christianity has the duty to explore who he is, what is happening within himself, the faults he may have committed, the temptations to which he is exposed. Moreover, everyone is obliged to tell these things to other people, and thus to bear witness against himself... First, there is the task of clearing up all the illusions, temptations, and seductions that can occur in the mind, and of discovering the reality of what is going on within ourselves.

I think most Christians would not disagree with this description. But this is not the interesting part yet. As Foucault goes on:

Second, one must get free from attachment to the self, not because the self is an illusion but because the self is much too real. The more we discover the truth about ourselves, the more we must renounce ourselves; and the more we want to renounce ourselves, the more we need to bring to light the reality of ourselves. This is what we would call the spiral of truth formulation and reality renouncement which is at the heart of Christian techniques of the self.

It is not clear that most Christians would accept these words. They may not see themselves as renouncing their selves, for they, like most human beings, do care about their selves.

What Foucault's characterization of Christian techniques of the self captures is precisely Christians' ambivalence towards their selves --- they both care about and renounce their selves. There is such ambivalence because Christianity is both a salvation religion and a confession religion: one has to care about one's self enough to see the need of salvation, but one also has to renounce one's self as a result of confession. In most cases the psychological condition is just ambivalence, but in some cases it may become so severe that it would not be much of an exaggeration to call it a form of schizophrenia.


Self-ignorance and self-misunderstanding

The lack of self-knowledge may just be self-ignorance, but it can also be self-misunderstanding. If, for example, you are a stingy person but are not aware that you are --- you don't know that you are stingy, nor do you believe that you are not stingy, then you are just self-ignorant. But if you have the false belief that you are a generous person, then you have self-misunderstanding. This is an important distinction because which form your lack of self-knowledge takes makes some difference to how difficult it will be for you to gain the relevant self-knowledge.

It may appear that self-misunderstanding is a greater hurdle for self-knowledge, for you have to get rid of the false belief as well as acquiring the true one. The false belief stands in the way, and it seems to take more effort to acquire the true belief than in the case of mere self-ignorance.

There is, however, reason to think that self-misunderstanding is, at least in some cases, less of a hurdle for self-knowledge. If you have a false belief about yourself (such as the belief that are a generous person, when in fact you are stingy), it may sooner or later come into conflict with what happens around you (such as your repeatedly refusing to help your friends even when you can easily help them). The conflict, or rather your experience of it, can prompt you to consider the possibility that your belief is false and to see what happens around you as evidence for the opposite belief, that is, the true one.

By contrast, if you are merely self-ignorant, then even if what happens around you is evidence for a certain belief about yourself, you may not even pay attention to it. When this is the case, it is not that you dismiss the evidence; you simply don't see the import of what happens around you --- you don't see it as evidence for or against anything.