Self & Identity  

(Links to - *Rediscovering Mind; *Flaws of Perception; *What the Bleep Do We Know?; *Consciousness and Quantum Mechanics)

"I", "Me", "Identity", and "Self"

In the beginning, there was no "me", but "I" was there.

"I" started to interact with other objects in this world, using 'this body' as the media and the instrument. For each interaction, "I" obtained a position as the reference for others - distinguishing "I" from "others". Such a position became the "identity" of "I" for that particular interaction.

More interactions happened thereafter. Some interactions occurred repeatedly, which solidified/enforced the corresponding "identities" . Other interactions rarely happened again , and then the corresponding "identities" faded away gradually.

The collective of  "identities" constituted "me", and "me" and "I" constituted "self". The first construction phase was completed.

"I" Live in a "World"

Continuously, "I" interacts with the "world" as the life [of "the body"] goes on. For each interaction, "I" am either

  1. constructing a new "identity", if the interaction is new to "I", or
  2. invoking an existing "identity", if the interaction has occurred before or is similar to one previous interaction.

"I" Construct and Maintain  "Me"

New "identities" may be constructed if it happens so. The collective of "identities" are organized and maintained into a structure - "me".

An "identity" is constructed through

  1. reflected appraisals - "see self through others' eyes"
  2. social comparisons - "see self through comparing with others"
  3. self attribution - "see self through observing self"

"Identities" are organized and maintained through

"I" Invoke an "Identity"

"I" usually only invoke one "identity" at a time. Sometimes, multiple identities are invoked under certain situations.  Mechanisms determining which "identity" to invoke for a particular situation are (they are often overlapped):

  1. based on "salience" - the probability of a particular identity being invoked by self or others within or across social situations.
  2. based on "commitment" - the emotional significance and that others in a social network have for a person via his or her particular identity, and the extensiveness of interactions in a social network to which one belongs by virtue of having an identity.

"I" Utilize Criteria to Discriminate "Identities"

"Criteria about good/bad, right/wrong, preferred/not-preferred" may come from (innate or learned):

  1. instincts - direct sensual reactions towards the input from body sensors, e.g., things that are pleasurable/hurt, comfortable/uncomfortable at sensual level.
  2. religious belief -  should do certain things, and should not do others things - right or wrong, according to religious standard.
  3. personal belief (not religious) - prefer certain things happen or not happen, according to personal intellectual understanding. Such as the standard learned from social interaction - "what are the things people think well/bad of me?"

Based on these criteria, "identities" are discriminated, or at least are not treated equally by "I".  The feeling of inferior, disappointed, shame, guilty, and/or anger may be created by "I" toward some of the "identities", and these "identities" will be suppressed; similarly, the feeling of superior, proud, satisfactory, and/or likeness may be created by "I" toward the other "identities", and they will be enhanced. There are also "anticipated entities" or "fanaticized entities" that are not among the current "identities" but will be pursued by "I".