Monday, October 22, 2007

the True Self

I've always had this kinda hang-up/guilt about not showing my "True Self" to the world. Like I'm living a lie, being two-faced. I've been thinking a lot about this recently especially now that my online persona and offline persona are interFACING with each other on Facebook.

I suppose this hang-up goes with the territory of BiPolar. I mean we can't, after all, go around shouting our heads off to the world that we are BiPolar. OK, if you've got a million bucks you can, but if you need to slot into most reasonable paying career spots, you gotta hide the secret from certain quarters.

But I've reached what I think is a fairly critical point in my thinking about the True Self (and guilt about hiding it.) Here's my theory:


Nada. Nutting.

Yeah, its a friggin' Fiction. It was Plato that started all the nonsense about True Selves/ Master Copies. He claimed that for every THING in the world, there was a Perfect unchanging Blue Print for that thing. So like all horses were just derivatives of the pure, unblemished Master Copy horse. And ever since this Platonic exposition, this kinda thinking has dominated Western thought. This ultimately is where the True Self concept comes from.

But, I repeat, there is NO fixed, defined, True Self. We are Works-in-Progress every single one of us. Shit, even on a cellular level, every single cell in the body is completely replaced every 24 hours. So where's the True Cell?

No, we live in a dynamic world, forever changing, and Platonic certainty is totally out of synch with reality. And with personality it is even more evident. Look at your tastes, interests, and, God Forbid, moods & outlook, from year-to-year, week-to-week and day-to-day (sometimes hour-to-hour with us BiPolar dudes). Which one is the TRUE taste, outlook, mood, interest?? Can it be pinned down??

As George Bernard Shaw said:

Life isn't about finding yourself. Like is about creating yourself.
So what does this insight mean for me?
It means that I don't need to spend the rest of my life feeling this debilitating GUILT that I am being a fake, non-genuine person. The mask is ALSO me. Choosing where to wear the mask and when to wear the mask is ALSO me. Choosing which mask to wear for which occassion is ALSO me. Yeah, it's all friggin' me. And it's changing every day.
Which is FCKN liberating if you think about it, because guilt sucks.
The emporer has no clothes, and BPG has not true personality...


  1. And there is one self, take it , hug it..........for tomorrow you are dead.


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  3. I'm with you here. No true self. We're all ephemeral works-in-progress, making it up as we go, occasionally hitting upon beautiful and amazing things like poetry and genetics. (Okay, some pretty horrific things too, but there's always a trade-off where life - and pharmaceuticals - are concerned.)

  4. If there is not a "true self" can you be still be "true to yourself?"

  5. well, there is no true self if you turned 105 while i was away going native...

  6. The cells renew themselves. Not to something completely different - my hair will not suddenly change color tomorrow - but into an increasingly worst copy of the original. (Also known as...age.)

    The spirit renews itself too. Depending on it's daily thoughts, it eventually becomes a very poor copy...or a masterpiece.

  7. We're agreeing right off the bat about masks. I don't think that the emotion I feel about that is guilt, mine is more like anger. As in, when did I sign up for a life where all the masks and ditherment was necessary? And it absolutely, immistakably is.

    I feel too, that this may be the moment to talk about the choices we make concerning: what makes us feel comfortable as humans and specifically, what gives a bipolar a feeling of stability, foundation and strength. Because if Plato is balogna (good one to pick on, since he really is the foundation of philosophy!:) and all those cells keep doing their own thing, maybe we should be grateful to human mind that it has continued to think of reasons to go on.

    Really, really interestingly you gave an author (Mr. Shaw) to one of the small pictures I keep right here on my is about creating yourself. Thank you, and as always (!) great minds think alike. Occasionally:)

  8. No True Self? Works for me.

  9. I think I am correcting myself by saying that Socrates was more the philisophical base before Plato. I think Plato was his student, and continued Socratical questioning after Socrates succumbed to Hemlock. I hope I'm making sense (remembering) correctly. I got asked to change my major from English to Philosophy, which I wouldn't do. So THAT would be embarrasin'!

    I'm writing this after you posted your stuff about Neitsche, above. I don't know about reincarnation, but I know after recently losing my Dad, I can't help wonder how things shake down after death. I am confident that it is fair, and that in particular is important to me.

    Frankly, and I'm sure this will sound crazy, when I look into my cat's eyes, it's like there is an incredible spirit inside, sort of caged inside. This one is Siamese and it is true what they say about them being incredibly smart. They say that about Maine Coon cats, as well, and my first beloved kitty was one! We had an emotional bond I guess it's hard to explain. So I know that marvelous soul went somewhere, and I feel we'll meet again. I like to think I'll see Dad in a way that we will know each other. Those things are a comfort to me.


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