Friday, October 8, 2010

“You”, “They”, “Me’, “We” and your Identity

Is there are a “You’? Or are you really a ‘They”?

Is there a “Me”, or is me really a “We”?

The process of constructing an identity is highly complex as we assimilate values, personality traits, skills, talents and so much more into a singular whole. (see article “On the Development of Identity” on this site)

In the long course of experience we eventually come upon a list of things that define ourselves. We select from that list some key elements, that is, we choose priorities, we choose biases.

Though we want a rich and balanced personality, to avoid confusion in defining our identity we must be a little one-sided or biased. We have no choice because if we say, “I am equally this and that and this too”, then we become paralyzed by the equality of all the elements, we cannot make up our mind.

Thus, in a sense, imbalance is the key to resolving the problem of identity and personality. So first we amass experiences and develop a self aware list of factors that define “me” – this list actually is a “we” for it is complex and plural, definitely not singular at all. If we were to select only one trait to define ourselves we would suffer -- because life requires a set of traits to define who we are, so that we may have a guide to act in many situations and show the many sides of our persona. You cannot simply define yourself as “extroverted” or “creative” or “passionate”, this is not enough to live through the many issues of life.

Once we have developed a list then we can develop a focus, and say what is primary and what is secondary. This way we sharpen up the definition of our personality.

There is no single word or concept that will define you. You are a complexity, a manifold whole, a personal Diverse, if you will. You might refer to other people as your models or mentors, the idea being you share multiple traits with this or that person or this combination of people. In the end though you are absolutely unique so the only singular word that can be used to categorize you is your NAME. Only your name will properly describe your uniqueness in its totality.

Multiple Minds
Another interesting issue in trying to sort out “you” and “we” is that of your multiple minds. The Human brain is composed of many departments or sub-minds. These include reason, imagination, emotions, subconscious, memory, judgment and wisdom, general management and doing. (see article, “Our Mental Diverse is compose of many Minds” on this site)

Our identity is over time developed by our powers of decision and judgment. We watch our behaviors, learn from experiences and identify our key personality features. The mind of judgment does this with objective distance, it accesses information and makes decisions. This mind based in our prefrontal cortex slowly builds up a model of who we are. This model becomes a sub-mind in itself. It becomes “me”, it is invested with an ego, perceptions, methods, values, morals and more. It begins to speak on its own.

It dialogues with your judgment mind as it works on refining and developing this model of who you are, it can correct this mind or accede to its wishes.

This identity mind also comments on the behavior of other minds – logic, reason, memory, emotions. It acts like a conscience but it is a leap past it, it is one’s full identity, so it is has more opinions than just conscience.

But identity mind like all sub-minds is a temporary state of affairs. For example, when wisdom or judgment has done its work, we fall back into the behavior of logic or creativity. Our wisdom passes, and we are subject to the whims of other sub-minds who have their own one-sided programs. Wisdom is thus a temporary state of mind. The best wisdom can do is sit in the background and comment on the proceedings. But as we become more adept at juggling our inner Diverse, this background behavior can be very effective at limiting extreme behavior.

This also goes for our sub-mind we might call the "general manager", its job is to coordinate all minds for successful brain activity and for the completion of projects which require multiple inputs. It too has to remove to the background as emotions or logic do their jobs.

Identity mind has to face the same democracy of sub-minds and has to accept its own limitation in this competing plurality. Each sub-mind is going to have its own particular slant on what your identity is and will express this in its own inimical way. This creates a tussle in the system about the nature of one’s true identity.

In a mental Diverse, there are no simple, singular answers to the issues of identity. This makes identity development a complex and difficult affair, at the same time having a mind that is diverse gives us great latitude for experiment and adventure, endless activity, interesting variety, ceaseless recombination, fresh new vistas, and unexpected leaps and even revolutions.

Cage Innoye
Axxiad News 

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