Monday, April 6, 2009

Pain, Performativity, Performance

I found Ryan Claycomb's lecture to be fascinating, especially the concept of identity. This started with the idea that we are made of the series of stories we tell or think about ourselves. He said that most might find that remark unsettling but for some strange reason it made perfect sense to me and didn't disturb me at all. Then again I a writer and a firm believer of Mel Brooks' quote, "Every human being has hundreds of separate people living under his skin. The talent of a writer is his ability to give them their separate names, identities, personalities and have them relate to other characters living with him."

This quote came to mind during the lecture and made me realize why I wasn't surprised that I found so much of the identity concept interesting. Another such idea was that there is no authentic self just different characters or selves that we take on in different situations. This is actually similar to something I was learning in my Psychology class about the idea of congruence. Where a person is psychologically healthier the more the different sides of themselves, real self/ideal self/ feared self/ social self etc., are consistent or similar. Ideally one should be the same person no matter who they are around. However most of us act differently around friends, parents, and teachers.

The other part that really interested me was Antonio Demasio's three tiers of identity the proto-identity, core identity, and meta-identity. People in general fascinate me, which is probably why I keep taking random psychology or sociology courses. I like to see why people do what they do and who they are. While I have had the idea of people h acing different identities and "masks" that they were, it was interesting to see it sorted out like that and elaborated on.

One thing that stuck out especially was the mention of someone who had a PHD in both Math and English or Literature. Those two subjects take two different sides of the brain and I was extremely surprised that one person could achieve that level in both. I know people that are in school for math and computer programming and those in school for writing and English. Both people seem to be lacking in their opposite field; math majors misspeak or say the wrong things and English majors take minutes to add numbers. That is why I find it so strange and remarkable that one person could have a PHD in both.

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