adjective \ˈsiŋ-krə-nəs, ˈsin-\

1 : happening, existing, or arising at precisely the same time

2 : recurring or operating at exactly the same periods

3 : involving or indicating synchronism

4a : having the same period; also : having the same period and phase. b : geostationary

5 : of, used in, or being digital communication (as between computers) in which a common timing signal is established that dictates when individual bits can be transmitted and which allows for very high rates of data transfer

[6 : all of the above.]

self as interlocutor

A few side-ways thoughts and remarks.

An important addendum to recent themes, by way of this post: “The Difference Between Being & Identity”, by Thomas Cotterill. Check out the discussion in it’s comment section though too. He takes the word ‘Being‘ to task,  an issue of misinterpretation s’all. Nonetheless and besides. Discovering new context, and reference to other philosophical histories, make for great conversations.

Where would we be if it never did happen? So many inter-relating themes oh so worthy of dialogue. And that I can only wade into but fleetingly online, ‘lest I never leave this damn be-damned computer, of course.

So. More pertinently (to my mention of it here); his post does point to a distinction between personae (the ‘false’ self-object) and identity (a ‘truer’ relational self-representation). Remembering the individual not merely as an individual agent in the world, but as a social actor, whom is accountable to others.


fracturing the self

This BBC series offers an accessible, sometimes also sensational, view of issues pertaining to Ego / Self Psychology history in the U.S.

Some of the content relates directly to those criticisms I breezed through in my prior post. The film speaks moreso to the manipulation techniques employed in marketing and public relations. For an approach to the political economic structure, in contemporary context, activists at Metanoia films created “Psywar“. The latter I will watch with you. Sort-of. Haven’t seen the last half of it yet.

The Century of The Self [on YouTube]

Another film by Metanoia reviews the drawbacks and misuses of Behaviourism in the U.S. (preceding Behavioural Psychology) and, later, in Canada. Touches on select State projects and a few broader political economy issues.

Human Resources [at the Metanoia site]

integrating the self

… As it pertains to a sense of well-being and the health of our societies.

Theories of maturation describe a developmental process which cultivates a ‘realistic’ Self-concept, learnt through experience of adversity and contentment in our relationships and environments. Though essential to our early childhood development, identity formation is considered a continual and dynamic process. Sometimes inter-related to a fluid ‘becoming‘; a Self must also fluctuate and evolve throughout a lifetime. This as a ‘healthy’ process. As opposed to dramatic rifts in personae, or perpetual re-invention, indicating there is personality crisis or conflict.

One could say that a given population, or ‘the social body’, likewise manifests a flexible and evolving cultural identity. And we generally refer to enforcement of inflexible (non-reciprocal / non-responsive) ideologies and systems as dogmatic. When speaking of individuals beliefs, this inflexibility promotes cognitive distortion which lends to disorderly thinking lending to self-ambivalence lending to ego compensation. Probably not a coincidence the West is so frequently described as ‘characteristically narcissistic’.

Mary Douglas observed congruities between societal systems, cultural expression, and the character of relationship to our bodies. This interests me. And it’s how we go about Being. As bodies. This is what it means To Be.

Organic holistic bodies as compared to Human Capital and it’s derivatives. The human as an object of query and study and conditioning. As a socio-political and capitalistic demographic. As an incorporated resource, for the acquiring of resources, that requires several dimensions of systemic management. We are even trained to manage the systems that manage our bodies.

Our politics also objectify ‘the individual’, as an emblematic ideal, meanwhile our systems objectify us as groups of numbers. Our societal structure assign us industrious identities and objectify the Other we are to compete with. To subsume and/or to war with. An objectified and thus content-less identity, not subjective experience, distinguishes me from you. Or it may not distinguish between us at all. Us from them. Depends upon the motivation and purpose of the query. Less like citizens then, we are one way or another, but a very malleable representational idea.

Euh…Well. I’ve been over some of this schtuff before.

In short: It becomes easy to mistake an idea of ourselves for an identity. Whether personally, as a group, or as a culture.

A whole and authentic personality is actually an embodied self whose experiences in the world continue to, flexibly and reciprocally, shape a perceptual identity. Meanwhile we are always becoming (our self) from within those folds of social relations, cultural prescriptions, and the societal structure. Therein lay some contradicting challenges beyond the narrow scope of individual choice and influence.

All considered, it begs we question the consequences of conformity. Does it not?

self belongingness

Rather than set a concept of Being (our embodied experience in-the-world) against the concept of Identity (which are actually concretely inseparable); I believe we need promote development and comprehension of empathy.

Pertains to the topic of an individual’s agency as a social actor. Beware the ego compensations for content-less ideas. No matter our laws or altruistic expectations, accountability is not genuinely possible among individuals with limited capacity for empathy.

Observation of our empathetic potential transverse all ‘categorical parts’ of the human creature. From neurology to a sense of belonging. Empathetic relationships significantly influence early life development and, likewise, the fundamental attributes of a personality. This shifts our expectations of our self and another self into a more appropriately interdependent and interpersonal context. As the above films also infer, I do believe this is greatly amiss in our societal espousal of cultural values.

Yeah; synchronous. The way I see it at anyrate. Just those tid-bits is quite a lot. Wanted to tie these threads together, quick-like, while the opportunity presented itself.

Oh and. A related wee inspirational someth’n to counter paranoia-inducing content.

By RSA Animate and Jeremy Rifkin: The Empathic Civilisation

self as an exploration

If interested in Being + Identity. Some interesting places to launch off from: Personal Identity, Identity Politics, Social and Political RecognitionPhenomenological Approaches to Self-Consciousness, Being and Time, Identity over time, The Live Creature and Etherial Things. Eh; just pick one then let intrigue lead the way.

The topic is also of interest to the Hindu philosophical school, Nyāya. And then, of course, in Buddhist philosophy:

“Since the Pāli Nikāyas accept the common sense usages of the word “self” (attan, Skt. ātman), primarily in idiomatic expressions and as a reflexive pronoun meaning “oneself,” the doctrine of non-self does not imply a literal negation of the self…. Similarly, since the Buddha explicitly criticizes views that reject karma and moral responsibility (M.I.404ff), the doctrine of non-self should not be understood as the absolute rejection of moral agency and any concept of personal identity.”


4 thoughts on “A Synchronous Self

  1. I like the idea of the constantly developing self as I feel this reflects my own life. However, my long experience suggests that most people are less capable of growth than your article would have us believe. Psychiatrists have noted how difficult it is to change even small aspects of a person’s behaviour. I have made progress mostly from spending many years in cognitive behaviour therapy. (I am a manic-depressive.)

    I have a few problems with other things that you have laid out here. I offer some criticisms in a spirit of helping you perceive what I see as counter-productive ideological blind spots. Then again, you may be fully aware of where your biases come from and feel comfortable in accepting them as your own subjective truth.

    Your use of language suggests a pro-Marxist / anti-Capitalist ideological stance, a ubiquitous bias on today’s university campuses. I regard this as a poisonous situation and advocate a return to a more fair-minded, balanced worldview.

    You appear to equate “human capital” with the body in and of itself. Human capital is not the body; it is “the stock of competencies, knowledge, social, and personality attributes, including creativity, embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value.” (Wikipedia) The body is just flesh and bone.

    You have mislabelled human resources training as “conditioning,” a highly emotive term for most people. You do seem to imply a negative rather than a neutral connotation. I see nothing wrong with providing people with the chance to earn an honest living. Unemployed Canadians embrace retraining programs that offer reintegration into the work force. (Do you see them as dupes of their bourgeois capitalist masters?)

    Your concerns with numbers and the individual seem exaggerated. I have no problem with being looked up in a database by an assigned number. This does not diminish me as a human being. How could a filing system do that?

    Where is the concept of competition without being subsumed or going to war? You create a falsely negative situation by leaving it out. Surely, your position reflects black and white thinking.

    Do you propose we eliminate the West’s successful capitalist system? What would you put in its place? My problem here is that I live in a free and prosperous Canada filled with reasonably happy people most of whom like things the way they are. Immigrants eagerly flock here from all over the world. Our cities are routinely ranked as some of the best places on Earth in which to live. As a society, we are not perfect, but the individual is free to pursue his own unique path to self-realization. What more could a person ask for?

  2. G’morning Thomas!

    I’m glad to hear you’ve benefited from cognitive behavioural therapy and agree that this kind of change is extremely challenging! However, let’s us distinguish between the concept of changing someone and the concept of personal growth.

    By imposing a change our internal mechanisms are therein forced to re-adapt, re-attach, and re-associate. This is rather more like management, or the sculpting of existing raw materials. Whereas growth suggests who we are can evolve from within the raw materials. This is rather more like sustaining a garden. Instead of crafting we provide. Psychologists are well aware of this difference; but they don’t all agree that the psychopathology itself is ‘curable’. In part, this explains the difference in approach.

  3. Lastly.

    It does seem that Wikipedia and I agree (at least according to what you’ve quoted).

    Within the body “competencies, knowledge, social, and personality attributes, including creativity… the ability to perform labor”. Em-body-ment. It’s the purpose for which these abled bodies are defined (worker / resources / profit) that is engendered by the label “Human Capital” which demonstrates the character of our cultural value for said bodies.

    A body is inclusive of all it’s categorical parts.

    My emphasis is intended to undermine perceptions of brain-body divide. It doesn’t exist. We can decide what our experience of life is, sure. Deciding reduces (and often suppresses) knowledge acquired experientially. To decide we are valuable does not endow us with a deep sense of being loved, appreciated, belonging. To decide we live well does not satiate hunger nor does it soothe pain. Etc. Etc.

    Does that better explain?

  4. Pingback: When Transcending Necessitates Transgressing | scrapaduq

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