I’ve been asking myself who am I a lot. I used to think I knew myself well, but now I’m not so sure about it. I realized that I couldn’t answer some of the questions I asked myself. As someone whose mind is filled with many thoughts and wonders, I have only just begun to face these thoughts. This confrontation is still in the puzzling stage in my mind. I think when I get over this bewilderment and try to own them, I will find answers to the questions I ask myself and then I will be able to ratiocinate.
For this, I thought I had to go through the self. I cannot descend into my own self without knowing about the human self. Therefore, I started a research frenzy from general to specific. Of course, I cannot fully explore myself. Because I can only accept situations that are beyond my control and live according to my reactions to them. But I want to explore as much as I can.
What Did The Psychologists Say?
For the first time, psychologist William James suggested in 1963 that this is an issue that needs to be addressed. He defined the self as the sum of all that one can answer and express one’s own questions. Just after that, in 1996, Pescitelli examined the self from a more social perspective, saying that the self is the state of being fully conscious of one’s self. For him, the self is divided into our social world and our inner world, which is our own space.
In 1997, Doğan Cüceloğlu said that the self mostly consists of internal conflicts. A conflicting self that is caught between what we know about ourselves and what people outside have made up for us, questioning them and trying to find themselves.
Lines of chronology and definitions like this can be poured here. However, no matter how logical these definitions are, none of them are at a level that can be accepted by everyone. Because everyone, even the most unaware of people, has their own definition of self. It is an indisputable fact that he will always be the most complex subject.
Tarot Card – The Chariot
Plato described the self with the allegory of the chariot. According to him, a two-horse chariot draws the human soul. One of the horses was white, the other black. The white one symbolized the most beautiful feelings, the happiest thoughts, immortality, loyalty, and nobility. The black one was the incarnation of Mr. Hyde in the novel Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. That is, it represented passions, sins, and hidden pleasures. Aside from the fact that the connotations of these two colors have not changed since then, there is some truth to this conclusion. In this case, our driver also becomes the mind.
The charioteer must please both horses so that he does not encounter an unstable and accident-prone situation. In this case, it is an imbalance that the white horse leads to morality while running after the pleasures of the black horse. We can call it wisdom that the mind can establish a balance without killing the black horse and listening only to the white horse.
In this case, suppressing our pleasures and avoiding sin is as harmful and unbalanced as our constant pursuit of logic and morality. The important thing is to maintain the balance between the two parties. Continuing to progress based on our experiences.
Unwinding The Path To Self Discovery by Duy Huynh
Yin and Yang
I want to talk about Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious. Frankly, it would be impossible to write about it and not talk about Jung. Jung argued that there are some codes in our minds and that these codes were handed down to us from our ancestors. It’s not even fair. When we question our behavior, we inevitably realize that we have these patterns, albeit rarely. Jung called this the collective unconscious.
As Jung and then Cüceloğlu state, collective consciousness consists of popular beliefs of the age and self-patterns created by society for us. We, on the other hand, are charioteers in conflict, stuck in between.
Pinocchio to Yourself
In what consciousness do the lies we tell ourselves to take place? This is where rationalization comes into play. We call rationalization our effort to put our actions and thoughts that we are afraid to admit even to ourselves (sometimes we are not even aware of it) into a logical and consistent pattern. We said knowing yourself, we said self, but we are not even honest with ourselves yet. Instead of trying to put a cover on everything and make it moral and logical, it seems like we would be less tired if we were at least honest with ourselves.
“Man is not a rational animal. Man is a rationalizing animal.” – Aristotle –
Freud likens the mind to an iceberg. He said that we are conscious of a smaller part of our mind than we think. The part we are conscious of is the tip of the iceberg. We do not have a completely rational control of this part either. And because we tire ourselves out that we’re going to rationalize everything, this invisible part of the iceberg may crack.
However, the most rational way to know ourselves is to go deep into the cracks and discover ourselves instead of trying to close the cracks. However, it would not be a logical approach to go into every crack. We know ourselves best. Only we can know which crack we should examine.
Who is the person looking at us when we look in the mirror? A stranger, if not someone we know everything about. But he is an outsider who is willing to be known without prejudice, without lies, with compassion and self-respect. Talking to this stranger means forgetting ourselves and listening as if we were helping a friend.
Then hold the reins tight, we are on a journey towards ourselves.
Article: Benlik-Kavramı ve Benliğin Gelişimi Bilen Benliğe Gereksinim Var Mı? (Self-Concept & Its Development: Need for A Conscious Self-Concept), Yener ÖZEN, Fikret GÜLAÇTI, 2010
Book: Safsatalar Ansiklopedisi, Immanuel Tolstoyevski, 2020