Ponder this

Which is the true self, the one a person perceives him/herself to be or the one that others perceive?

The two aren’t the same. If they were, then people in general wouldn’t be concerned about whether the world “gets” them. 

When I look in the mirror, I see a different image than what others see. I physically see a flipped version, which is why I think I look weird in photos. But, though I recognize myself in the mirror or in pictures, what I feel I look like does not match the image I see in either one.

The person within comes through in a person’s writing. And if that person within doesn’t match the person that the world perceives, then is the writing a fictional representation of self? To the writer, no. To the world, yes.

The inner self, itself, is formed in part by a person’s environment. So maybe the representation of a person through his/her writing is not all that fictional from either point of view.

.

If you, Reader, know me only by my ink, would you recognize me in casual conversation at a random bus stop? And if you knew me in the world, could you recognize me by my ink alone? 

But maybe the greater question is, given something that I don’t remember writing, could I recognize myself by my ink alone?

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Author: uncaged

When Picasso painted a blue Seated Woman in a Chair, he was unconsciously thinking of me.

3 thoughts on “Ponder this”

  1. The person within comes through in a person’s writing. And if that person within doesn’t match the person that the world perceives, then is the writing a fictional representation of self? To the writer, no. To the world, yes.

    I sure don’t recognise myself in my writing. I don’t recognise myself in words at all. Because words are the blunt instruments I use to tell stories to others. My stories to myself are a fair bit richer than that. A lot of the narrative is essentially ineffable. You know what I mean. “The Tao that can be spoken …”.

    Getting into the question of fiction (or inauthenticity) is opening a whole new can of worms.

    Yeah, my own story of myself is something way beyond what I can express in words, but does that make it true? Or is it more like what Otto Rank and Joseph Campbell suggested? That I adapt narratives fundamental to my culture – or perhaps the human condition itself – into clothing I can use to selectively reveal what I’m comfortable with and hide what I’m not. Maybe I’m so uncomfortable with the inescapable fact of not only my physical death but the complete dissolution of everything I could conceivably identify as part of me that I need to construct mythical hero narratives that imply an eternal imprint left where I have passed. Maybe that’s central to the impulse that drives artists and writers.

    I don’t really think much of the concept of authenticity. It’s just another way of separating your universe into what you wanna identify as and what you don’t. I think those divisions are ultimately arbitrary, so authenticity becomes a self-defeating quest.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fascinating reply. I read this and let it soak in, and then I read it again a couple of days later.

      Maybe I read certain authors because of how I feel about writing, or maybe I’ve always felt about writing the way I do because of who I read. And what I feel is that writers unconsciously expose humanity for what it is— good, bad, hypocritical, self-sacrificing, all of it—and that in doing so, expose themselves. So authenticity is inescapable.

      Like

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