Monday, December 6, 2010

Who Do You Think You Are?

I've been having so much fun pondering some of the questions that Sree put forth in Me? Yes, Me. that I decided to write down some of them today.

Humor and Fiction
Among folks like the great fiction writer Siggy Freud and humorist Eckart Tolle there are gazillions of perspectives on self. Who am I? How do I find the real me? Is self good or bad? Am I one or many? How can I improve my self-image? How can I better align my self-image with reality?

Regardless of its nature or origins, it seems that we humans are stuck with a sense of self. So, perhaps it would be fun to play with some assumptions and see where they lead us.
  1. Your self and your sense of self are completely mutable and can be reworked and changed at any time
  2. Whether or not your sense of self aligns with the perceptions of others is irrelevant in and of itself
  3. Understanding the disparity in perceptions can be useful in helping to facilitate and even better self, but the disparity doesn't imply anything wrong or bad, just the potential for change
  4. Ridding yourself of self is, well, silly. However, there may be implications of your sense of self that lead to unwanted circumstances. In that case, you simply need to decide which is more important to you, desired circumstances or maintenance of current self-image

What do you think about these assumptions? What if you could change self as you would change from work-around-the-yard clothes to evening formal-ware? What if all angst were based on the existence of a disparity in perceptions of self, rather than the actual disparity? What if none of it mattered? Or does it all matter?

Not A Runner
Iris is clearly not a runner.

She has asthma and gets winded easily. Her legs are of different lengths so that even a short run leaves her body feeling aches and pains that persist for days. Her skin hoards moisture, refusing to perspire, so she frequently becomes overheated, her face turning bright red. She's uncoordinated; tossing her anything to catch has a 65% likelihood of failure.

Forgetting about her physical limitations for a moment, Iris hates running. She can't understand how people actually like to run, let alone love to run. She can't imagine lasting a mile without breaking down and walking. Why would anyone run if they didn't have to.

If there were a non-runner aptitude test, Iris would score extremely well.

Iris is clearly not a runner.

And yet...
Ultimately, the challenge lies not in the disparity between your perception of you and other's perceptions of you; it lies in the disparity between your perception of you and an ideal perception of you. We often get so distracted by the disparity between self-perception and other-perception, that we never explore the notion of ideal-self. Instead, we spend time trying to align perceptions by either modifying self or modifying others.

In some ways, the development of self is the ultimate pursuit. You might consider developing self as you would a trade or profession. Study other selves and learn about what made them what they were. Join groups of selves that appreciate and value the self you want to be. Find great selves with whom you can study and train. Decide what you want your self to be, and go for it.

If you want to be a great humanitarian, don't calibrate your endeavors using your associates on Wall Street as the benchmark; instead, go study among great humanitarians. If you want to be a sensitive lover, exchanging tips with the Sunday football gang may not be the best way to go.

Delusion is Fine
Some seem to feel that the ideal perception of self is one that is totally aligned with reality. I suggest that this is not the case, at least not all the time. There are times when being completely delusional can be quite handy, and more importantly, there are times where the difference between delusion and reality is simply a matter of timing. Great accomplishments are often carried out by people whom others first perceive as delusional.

If your sense of self makes you happy and is strong enough that it is not disturbed by the contrary opinions of others, if it's not causing any harm save being annoying to people who think you're delusional, then why would you ever want to change it?

So maybe the more useful questions would be:
  1. Forgetting for a moment about how, who do you want to be?
  2. Why do you want to be that?
  3. In the light of why, how would you change who you want to be?
  4. Repeat...

Happy Monday,


  1. I want to be a person who laughs a lot because I like laughing. I want to have long term relationships with people, because I love to get to know them and to see how they changes over time. I want to be loving because I love to make more intimate relationsships and because I love the look at peoples faces when they receive love.

    I don't understand the 3. questions, I could change to want to be more intimate to experience more love, but that's just the same to me, so why would I want to change who I want to be, rather than just be more what I want to be?

  2. yes, they had me initially puzzled as well.
    It seems the 3 questions are simply towards being clear, exactly and specifically. On being more of what one wants to be. It fascilitates being motivated in the direction one wants to go, if one explores and gets clear on the why.

    Becoming clearer on why one wants to proceed with more and more, question 3 then invites oneself to explore how one can modify their behavior to optimally draw the more and more into ones existence. bw

  3. For example:- What specifically do you like/enjoy about laughing? (ie "why" do you like laughing?)

    What's 'Love' got to do with being intimate? (ie what do you mean by intimate?) "why" do you want more intimate relationships?

  4. Frack,

    I agree with you. If you're absolutely clear on who you want to be and why you want to be that, and if there's no room for refinement, then there's no need for the 3rd question.

    However, I've often found that when we dig into why we want what we want, we often enhance our understanding of what we want. For example, you may want to be loving and be totally happy with loving any- and every-one. At the same time, understanding the deeper aspects of what you love in people and why you love them may give you insight into the kind of lover you want to be or with whom you want to spend your time loving.

    It's not a necessary step, just an opportunity for refinement in understanding.


  5. I think that it's the How in question 3) which confuses me.
    1) brings me in my heart: who do I want to be. No reasoning, just feel what feels good, what feels right.
    2)Brings me in my head, helping my mind to understand what I want and why I want it.

    If 3 was simply:
    "In the light of the why, now who do you want to be?" then I'll be in my heart again - but repeating the process with new knowledge.

    "How do you want to change who you wanna be?" is a mental question.

    Frack Starbuck

  6. Hmmmm, First become clear on how one wants to fly, (or laugh,or be intimate,)

    The why expands the specifics, the depth of the vision.

    The third step is simply about exploring the action options one intends to take. imho bw

    yes, isn't it all mental, the game, and how we play or masturbate with ourselves? :)

  7. A rather random thought to have on Christmas morning, but I think of a papier-mache sculpture: seemingly solid and hard, but comprising only lots of individually insubstantial bits stuck together, hardened over time, covering up a core of ... nothing.


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