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ysilverman's picture

I feel like I may have used up my...

Atlantic quotient for the week, but I am quoting it anyway, as I've found an article that felt just as apropos to our discussion, if not more so.

In "First Person Plural" Paul Bloom argues, much like we have done in class, that, in each of us, there exists a multiplicty of selves responding to different stimuli (and, of course, occasionally clashing -- causing problems like addiction, overeating, etc.). And, like Katie above, he also brings up the point that the way we see other people and the way we see our"selves" is very different. In fact, he argues, we see other people's choices as somehow being inherent to their nature, whereas our own are dependent in cirsumstance. Where exactly does the self lie? And does rationality dominate? And would it be better if it did? And, of course, in the end, what are we gunning for?

I think part of the problems lies in our definition of what exactly the self/(selves) is/(are) -- and in terms of what its needs and wants are. In a way, I think the thing about our social relationships in the world is that we look to them to confirm the stories our I-function is telling us about ourselves (or about the cohesion between selves that is being created). If friends' narratives about us don't correlate with our own narrative -- we are more likely to change friends than narratives. 

In many ways, this conscious usage of the world makes sense to me -- the part of us that creates narratives engages in the world in a way that confirms those narratives. That is why people find even innocuous lying/story-telling kind of annoying, and why confronting other people's "psychoses" make people so uncomfortable. While I agree with Sophie that our conflicting selves can help us -- do help us, in the end, because no one self alone has all of "our" best interests at heart -- the I-function revels in this internal conflict less. And I agree with Katie -- our relationships with others are really useful to us in that they define ourselves, and their relationships to others (or to us) are useful to us only in how that, too, helps us define ourself. 

We are all narcissists (to a literal degree, if not a diagnostic one).


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