Today’s guest blogger writes on the self and self in relation to other. It was something that he and I talked about a few days ago. What I did was to go home and think about all that was said, but what he did was to write an excellent post about it:
We are in a constant struggle of finding our own identities and developing our sense of ‘self’. Ever since conception, we have been pining to find out our place in this world. The continuous bombardment of ideologies and disciplines – the indoctrination of morality and the notion of “what-we-do-makes-us-who-we-are,” shapes us whether we choose to abide by them or not. And that is the whole point of life; “to be or not to be” as Hamlet so eloquently asked in his most famous of soliloquies. Every action that we commit and others do unto us creates new stories and characters within our realm of imagination; where the fictional becomes factual and reality merges with the illusions. If not for the parents or for the peers or for the media, it is what we start to believe in that causes the fabric of the being to change. Sowing our first mask to hide away the creature that lurks within and to conform to societal norms is the first defense mechanism we learn. Acceptance or denial, we still crave for that moment in our lives where we are recognized by our social circle – be it positive or negative. And as those experiences start to wear away, we morph into new masks that slowly cause the creature that once was to become the wraith that it is turning out to be.
At the same time, we constantly try to find revelations about ourselves through the perceptions of others. We sometimes mimic certain qualities of the people we deem to be worthy so that there may come a point where we are considered to exhibit the same properties as well. The sense of self begins to become a plurality rather than an individual aspect. Influenced by decisions of the group and constructed within the confines of the circle, the self turns to multiple disjointed and fragmented personalities. Who we are in a group is different than who we are when we know no one is watching us. Our self becomes the subject of much debate within our minds that it begins to negate other aspects of development. Self-preservation turns into the preservation of one’s social status (which is directly correlated to the social circle) and that leads to a domino effect toppling over other parts of the individual self. We are all different in a group than we are as individuals. We dare not expose the individual to the group as there are too many variables to consider; the most important being the fact that there are copious amounts of conflicting ideologies present within the circle. So we choose to conform and mirror the group more closely so that we achieve a sense of balance and harmony.
Written by Arman Attarzadeh