Tonight I was listening to a talk where the speaker talked about not going about life with a mask on. He referenced the KKK and how most of the members of that organization were normal people who would not normally do some of the acts by themselves. However, when they were adorned in their respective garb and with a large group, they did a lot of things out of their typical character. From my limited understanding of psychology, this is how the use of roles affects our actions. Stanford University did a very controversial experiment about how the role of roles (pun intended) affects our actions. They gathered multiple students to play out a prison scenario. Some students acted as guards and others acted as prisoners. After about a week the experiment had to be shut down because the “guards” were subjecting the “prisoners” rather harsh conditions. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment
How could such normal students and members of society do such heinous actions? Somehow when we take on the role of another person and are involved in a group, we can diffuse ourselves of responsibility. It’s amazing how these situations can affect our lives.
Also findings show that people, who have an anonymous identity, are much more likely to display vitriolic behavior.
So the question is who is your real self? Are you playing any roles? Are the actions of a person who is anonymous their real self? How is the true self supposed to be found and how can it maintain it’s true status if external influences such as culture, family, friends, and etc influence it?
I am not sure at what I am trying to get at. I feel as if too many people are too scared to say what they truly think and feel because it goes against the social norm. This prevention can be to our detriment and benefit. However, I do feel that who your true self is should also be the self you display to the public. People can’t wear masks, especially if the masks are mutually exclusive and display opposing values.
Along this vein, I think people sometimes are too afraid to find admit to themselves who their true self is. They are scared of their true feelings and end up lying to themselves.
I don’t know who my true self is or if it is even possible to discern the true self. The true-self could be static or dynamic. If it is dynamic, there is no way to pin point it down. But nevertheless, I hope to find my true self and not be afraid to have that true self be the same self I display to the world.