Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Another interesting thing that's likely a misunderstanding: the "I" creates itself through self knowledge

I got this from reading the description of Fichte's philosopher in Frederick Beiser's "The Romantic Imperative". It's not outlined there as such, but through some creative application of the ideas I produced it. Nonetheless, it's probably somewhat wrong with regards to Fichte's ideas themselves, albeit not in ways that I'm currently aware of. Or maybe so. In any case the mess up is likely to be as interesting as the full thing, at least on a limited basis. So without further ado here we go.

If the 'I' has to know itself in order to really create itself, what could this mean? Possibly that the 'I' isn't really a full 'I' unless the cycle of production where the potential 'I' is produced by the body completes itself by reflecting on its own psychological processes. The 'I' as 'I' isn't a fully aware transcendental consciousness unless it's self reflecting, reflecting on both itself and on the rest of the mind in general. This could be the case in that nature does not necessarily provide us with all of the connections in our head that we need. Certain of them may have to be developed. Or, maybe more likely, the connections are made as people develop and grow, so that self reflection and self knowledge come at a certain time and age. How could this work? Taking self knowledge away from the mechanics of the mind and applying it in a more conventional manner, the 'I' that has knowledge of itself also has self criticism, even if the knowledge in and of itself at a particular time is not overtly critical. Self knowledge as self criticism allows the 'I' to go from an undeveloped state of innocents to a deeper and more nuanced state of being. In that self knowledge marks and directs the 'I' through implicit criticism it also contributes to the creation of the 'I' as a true entity. The only controversial point, or at least the only point that wouldn't be obvious in regards to what others have said about the evolution of the 'I' would be does the self as a whole change from self knowledge?

I define self as existing apart from the 'I', the 'I' as I'm using it in this particular context being the core spark of identity and the self being the greater construct of habits, attitudes, inclinations, that the 'I' exists within. I can see my essential 'I' as changing, but what about the constellation of other tendencies that make up who I am? What type of food I've liked has changed a little bit, but not much. I still like spicy food, have liked Thai food since high school, Indian food as well. We're talking something like almost fourteen years now for these particular types of eats. Can self knowledge really change what I like to eat? I'd allow that some variation might happen, that I may go from liking one dish to liking another one, but how much would self knowledge really have to do with it? Maybe being more self conscious about what it is I'm ordering and trying out new things based on what I know that I like would be one way that self knowledge could cause an aspect of the self to develop and change. I suppose that taste as a whole and the development of taste could be put down to questions of self knowledge, meaning that self knowledge could have lots of impact on the self. Anyhow, the whole question is interesting, especially the unasked questions of when the self becomes the 'I' and is the 'I' really as autonomous as it seems...and if not what's up with it? Also, the connection between the self and the body, a la Wilhelm Reich, where feeling becomes embodied. *

*This would be something gone over in "Jung & Reich: the Body as Shadow" by John P. Conger, which I still have to get through. I know some of the general thought about how this works but not nearly enough, so I don't want to give the impression that I'm an expert in this area through that statement.

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