Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Pindare

I am mostly the other I; (Nov. 19, 2009)

Are you trying “To be what you are?” as the Greek poet Pindare once said? This is not at all similar to “Be yourself” which has practically no meaning as if you were hibernating and then decided to exhibit your “true” self.

What you are is never stable or cast in iron; the “I” is constantly being constructed and conquered: the body, our family history, our relations, our social values, our prescribed set of morals, and our social status. “To be what you are” is not to accept your “destiny” or what is being “maktoub”; it is an affirmation of your creativity to the kind of existence we dream to be.  I am never aware of my capabilities, abilities, and deficiencies except when I am on a course to change through deliberate actions, a different daily pattern of activities that has a purpose for the other me that I want to be.

“To be what you are” is not denying how you were born and raised; you have to accept the premises of from where you are starting the change as the best objective capabilities and deficiencies to get where you want to be.  It is not even a matter of the will to change that usually has no tomorrow. It means the urge to acquire knowledge and interact with people and society to feel your reformed dreams and possibilities for a qualitative jump.  If you have no desire for continuing education then you might as well be one among the masses of invincible imbeciles, those holding the absolute “truths” simply because they don’t know any better. You might revert to mingling with the invincible hooligans in sport stadiums and activate mayhems for mythical power and mythical belonging and identities.

Traditionally, the subject “I” was correctly defined as the one subjected to his community traditions and customs, subjected to his mother, father and elder siblings. The subject was placed under and subordinated to the other adults in a community. The subject “I” is practically the object and has no special characteristics that distinguish him from the members of the community. The member of a community is subjugated by the two facets of power: first, the weight of determinism for manufacturing individuals such as laws and norms that channel heritage and obeying institutions and authority.  The second facet of power is extending supports, means, and dispositions to grow as a reflexive member who can exist by his own means. Thus, desires for autonomy have to be supplemented by the means in resources and knowledge to break through the support system.

A person is born with a double helix like the ADN helix: the first section determines his objective heritage and the second contains his potential for becoming another self. It is a phase that everyone had to go through; some like to be taken care of; they emulate their environment: They find in their community the means for their existence and their natural development.  Some go into an affirmative phase to separate and be independent and go their own way.

It is the second alternative that extended this modern term of “subject” to an individual who is trying to get free of his previous dependencies. To become autonomous is a process and not just a temporary state of mind; it is a quest to becoming “another extension of the self”.

Individual identity is fluid and constructed of many small decisions and by many tipping over actions that direct the trajectory of the person. If we could study a person’s trend in activities we discover that it is the little but consistent variations in activities that determine his change into another individual. The subject is ever “himself” when he is changing to some else. We start discovering our identity (characters and set of values) as we cohabite or co-exist with others.  Many couples grow and start looking at their partners in new perspectives: they are learning how they were and how they currently feel toward the characters and values of the partners. Living as couples is not just a mirror but a reflective teaching means of our evolving identity.

We are all intelligent. There are at least 8 kinds of intelligence.  Some are more intelligent than others in particular capabilities such as verbal, mathematical, abstraction, visual, auditory, socializing, interaction with others, or writing styles. Rarely anyone is ready to consider another man intelligent. If you want to be known as relatively intelligent then your best means is to antagonize everybody: enemies are more likely to be extended some forms of intelligence.

I think some have this distinct intelligence of synthesizing many components in their intelligence and they realize early on their correct social conditions and potentials: they are the ones who break through the quickest of their community traditions and fly to greener pastures or a life or harsher miseries.  Let us not be judgmental about another’ achievements; successes are mostly illusions; failures are real but worth the try by all means.

Note: this topic was generated from three long articles on the “conquest of the self” in the French monthly “Sciences Humaines” with the special issue on the art of convincing or rhetoric.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

April 2020
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