is there a true self?

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is there a true self?

Postby TheIdiot » Fri Sep 20, 2002 9:06 am

i have a question. i am renouned as being an exemptional lightwieght so people often comment upon my antics when off my head...one time after doing something execptionally twatish (when drunk) i am told by a "friend" that this is the real me and that alcohol reveals the true self...now, i've always taken this to be utter crap on account of the fact that part of me is how i chose to behave, but then i start thinking that if me when i am drunk is me without the constraints i put on myself then is this the real me? (i hope not)...but then i think...its not the real me because i have added a poison into my system??? what do you think?

do you think there is a true self?
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Postby Imagistar » Fri Sep 20, 2002 10:20 am

A toughie.

When we get drunk, we know we are making ourselves sick. A little alcohol weakens the superego, or the internal critic; a lot of alcohol damages the whole person.

This is not likely to deepen our agreeability.

More to the point is a quotation from psychiatrist Thomas Szasz: "The self is not something we find; the self is something we create."
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Postby TheIdiot » Fri Sep 20, 2002 11:33 am

"The self is not something we find; the self is something we create."
ok so which one is the real me - the me in my daily life where i create constraints on my self or the me that has no contraints when i am hammered, but has added to it the chemical?

are you saying they are both me? are you telling me i am myself when i am a work talking to huge corporate customer and trying to be all official...see i don't know...i don't feel natural when i'm doing this...i feel like breaking out and loosing all the "just bare with me sir" crap...umm
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Postby BluTGI » Fri Sep 20, 2002 1:49 pm

You are you. Which would you prefer your IDEA of a Real Self or Yourself?
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Postby Pangloss » Fri Sep 20, 2002 9:08 pm

Though there are many non-scientific ways of looking at the human mind. One way I often use is the lucid-dextrous dichotomy. The loss of inhibitions (weakening of the superego) brings lucidity, but at the expense of speed and dexterity. The self that is 'created' within yourself, is no longer subject to the mental constraints to behaviour imposed externally.
Idiot, I am a lightweight like yourself, however, one half-pint of whatever is enough to bring enough clarity to my thoughts without compromising the machinery at use. Before my Govnt and Politics A level last July, I got very very pissed. Though I didn't feel quite as sharp, the loss of all inhibition caused me to regulate myself at an absolute minimum during the exam. I ended up with the highest mark in my LEA, and all thanks to Is it the drink that is the poison, or the exam? Did my true self shine through?
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Postby Imagistar » Fri Sep 20, 2002 9:12 pm

All fascinating people -- Poe, Churchill, Mother Teresa -- invented themselves.

In Bronco Billy, Clint Eastwood plays a shoe salesman who, bored by it all, has the moxie (not to mention the good sense) to change his life by realizing his greatest dream. He becomes a cowboy entertainer.

Sondra Locke, playing a bored and miserable heiress, asks "Are you for real?"

Eastwood replies, "I am who I want to be."

Who is the "real" you? I suspect Bronco Billy would say, "That is not a question you ask. That is a question that life asks you. What's your answer?"
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Postby BluTGI » Fri Sep 20, 2002 10:13 pm

I agree Heavily with Magistar who put my point in a finer sharpend and elequent(okay i guessed at the spelling of elequent) manner.

You are you. You will be defined by what you do.

To Thine on self be true. Isnt it a imortal sin to lie to yourself in christianty/Hebrew Religion?

Clothes make the man because if a man says nothing does nothing but stand all we have to judge him on are his clothes. So the real self is What you look like + What you do + what you say. I would include what you think but I can't judge a person on what they think unless they tell me or unless they act upon their thoughts.
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Postby TheIdiot » Fri Sep 20, 2002 10:31 pm

right...so i take it you all don't believe that there is a true/core self? You believe that personalities are fluid?
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Postby Brad » Fri Sep 20, 2002 10:50 pm

I don't. You often hear, "Are we like apples or onions?" but I always liked Wittgenstein's the best:

"In order to discover the artichoke, we divested it of its leaves."

Or something like that.

Your discomfort with 'official' language and manners isn't because it isn't you saying it, but because it is a second language to you, a different language game. Have you ever tried to learn another language?

:x

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Postby TheIdiot » Fri Sep 20, 2002 11:00 pm

yeah, i think i see your point. are you saying that there is a core personalities, but that this can appear to alter due to the situation?
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Postby RealizedNothingness » Sat Sep 21, 2002 5:24 am

You made a statement saying, "this is myself without contraints" however this is incorrect. Alcohol does not just take away your ability to think about what you're doing, thus making you do thihnkgs you normally would not, rather, alcohol changes your thought process and makes you do stupid things, this is not YOU doing these things, it is the ALCOHOL doing them, therefore, you will not find nor create yourself with alcohol.
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Postby JP » Sun Sep 22, 2002 5:51 pm

You are you. You will be defined by what you do.


And I suppose that's the question: are we defined by the actions we perform or by the ideas that we think? Are these two entirely seperate things?

It is the way you act that will dictate the way you are defined by the "mit-sein" (the "others" - sorry, I gotta stop reading Heidegger). Like it or lump it, whether you decide to act simply to please them or not, this is how you will be judged, and judgement - as awful a concept as it may be - is almost inevitable in this sense. Unless you are able to explicitly manifest - verbally or through action - your ideas or other patterns of thought, then your own "ego" will be defined by the "others" purely in terms of the modality of your actions, and you will not be defined by what we could reasonably call your "inner-beauty". What you think, in the eyes of the others, is only important only to the extent to which these thoughts are expressed in your actions. In the eyes of the others, you are what you do.

But of course, we cannot discount the latent self - ourselves as we know ourselves to be - in defining "who we are". Most of the things we think, our most cherished beliefs and ideas, are never revealed in the manifest self (the way we present ourselves to others through action and verbal communication) and even when the latent self does expose itself in this way, it is virtually impossible to represent it properly. Our actions can never completely represent who we are, and I'm sure that we've all been involved in situations where we've been caught out by this discrepency. If I try to present my latent self to the world, I run the risk of having my actions being misinterpreted by those individuals that they were intended for, and of being completely misrepresented in this way. People may assume - via my own inadequecy to convey my latent self through action - that I "am" someone that I am not. They may only have certain pieces of my jigsaw puzzle, that they then attempt to piece together and form some conception in their own minds of who I - in the latent sense - really am. But of course, as I said, you rarely have the opportunity to provide people with all these pieces, and even when you provide others with some of these pieces via your actions, there is no guarantee that you haven't unintentionally misrepresented your self, or that they haven't misinterpreted these actions as meaning something else. Very often, for instance, you can say or do something without having a reason (unless you are of the Freudian train of thought that there is a reason behind everything you do) and people will read to deeply into it, adding pieces to your puzzle that were never there to begin with.

The dichotemy of the latent self and the manifest self isn't so distinct, however, as we very often - over time - begin to act in the same way that we think, and think in the same way that we act. In this sense the lines seperating thought and action - or the latent self and the manifest self - are indeed quite blurred. To suggest that the set of all our actions and the set of all our thoughts are entirely seperate entities would be to draw quite a long bow.

And to touch on self-deception/bad-faith (mauvaise fois) for a second, this would be to act in a way contrary to the way you think, and to think contrary to the way you act.

As for the issue of alcohol, I will agree that it allows us to reveal more of our latent self than we would otherwise be inclined to do so (as we do - for whatever reason - decide that it is no longer as necessary to wear "masks" of any kind in the act of socialising), but I do not believe that it necessarily reveals our "true self" (whatever that may be). If alcohol did reveal our true selves, then how come so many of us have a latent desire to slur our speech, stumble a lot and then pass out in a pool of our own vomit and the end of the night?
The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.
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