Who do you think you are?
May 29, 2008, 12:56 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

I’m totally fascinated with how people present themselves and the judgements we make based on these impressions.

As Jean Paul Satre famously said “We are condemned to be free” meaning we can be anything we want to be, and certainly present ourselves however we want in a free, modern society…so what do we choose?  The same as everyone else! Even the individualistic “rebels” play to the same patterns – skateboarders or musicians conform to their own stereotypes while at the same time bemoaning homogeneity.

Personally I like to think I do my own thing, but recognise that I identify with certain communities depending on which hat I am wearing – be it as a father, entrepreneur, lecturer, employee, fisherman or whatever.

So why fit in? The way I see it, I often need to appear like those I am collaborating with as its in our nature to want to be with people like ourselves.  By reflecting back what they want to see I will receive co-operation to achieve my own goals.

So I guess my thinking might be individualistic but the image I project will never be as I need the acceptance of others to function…Can we ever get past how people look?

3 Comments so far
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You are only so free that you may present yourself to be someone doing what you are actually able to do. You might attempt to (and for a time, succeed at) present(ing) yourself as, say, a nuclear physicist, or a linux kernel hacker, but, unless you can actually do those things (in which case, you’re doing more than presenting) you will soon be found out.

In any case, I do not think free will is a coherent concept (from either a theist or atheist perspective), so… whatever. I present myself as a disbeliever in free will, I suppose.

Comment by scaryreasoner

Nice…so sticking with a group will depend on the value you offer (style vs substance!). I see where you are coming from with the no free will thing – we can only do what we have the ability to do, but we can learn new things and where does the motivation for that come from…?

Comment by waipori

You know, a friend of mine once told me a story about his father. His father applied for a job driving a fork-lift, and had no idea how to do it. He got the job. The day it started, he went up to some new co-workers and said, “Ya know, its been a long time, you wanna show me how these new contraptions work?” And they taught him. I know that’s not extremely relevant here, but scaryreasoner’s comment reminded me of that. Granted, you couldn’t do something like with science or technology. Still a funny story though.

To comment on your post, are we truly free to do anything though? Think about it. Most people have the mentality that some things are out of reach (and when I say some things, I mean stuff that’s reasonable but improbable)

I told someone the other day that I wasn’t going to work a normal job the rest of my life. It just wasn’t going to happen. That within three years, I’d be rich enough to do what I want. He laughed at me, but that laugh had a huge impact. It showed me the mentality of probably 90% of the world. It showed me that probably only 10% of the population chase their dreams, and the other 90%, only dreamers. There is nothing wrong with dreaming, but I don’t want to be stuck on the sidelines my whole life.

Excellent post.

Comment by Kelsey

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