The concept of a whole person is an enigma that evolves within a culture . Often it is not a transitive concept and can only be conjuncted within it's social setting . In fact the realities of social fragmentation make most all concepts of a whole person universally inapplicable .
Literature is often a good tool for developing an understanding of a culture and it's inclinations . In a cultures folk tales , plays , and fictions you find authors making a deliberate attempt to portray the basic dramas of their society .
Greek myths are a vivid example of this ; they are literally frought with characterizations . In their development these multitudes of characters weave into an elaborate tapestry that depicts the developing Greek moral ethic . The intricasies of the analogous content are brought across in a multitude of forms . Names were very important and a major force in clarifying the concepts being presented . The multitudes of characters portray a multifaceted understanding of the human psyche . The chauvinistic banality of their culture and it's gods is graphically depicted against the backdrop of their developing ethics .
It is difficult for a modern man to construct a vision of a whole person from a strictly ancient Greek point of view . The obvious anachronisms envolved make such an attempt partially ludicrous . Contrarily the bulk of their characterization paints a vivid picture of their primative social state .
Of course while the Greeks were muddling through the multicolored quagmire of human frailty many societies where learning to master the powers they had developed through centuries of strict adherence to religious and social mores . The development of their socially biased realities make many Greek nuances seem decadent anachronism . Rather than deitizing their baser natures as the Greeks had thay had learned to master them and turned to new paths to clarity . Spiritual pragmatism and lack of comunication nullified the social attributes of many of these extrapolations on positive orientation .
Jung preaches that man has an innate need to assimilate all external sensory perceptions . I find this untrue . In fact I find it self abortive . Human beings have a complexity factor that is individual and must be protected from overload ; man's moral ethic is a tender and deludable feeling directed by empathy . In the hectic world of modern mass media this tender individuality can become dwarfed by the percieved need to obtain social acceptance . Whole civilizations have become deluded by the flow of their complexities into an outright denial of their moral ethics .
I find this partially estranged condition prominent throughout social history . Children are brought up to respond to a vast realm of presupposed social ideologies and are not allowed to venerate themselves until much of their conscious matrix has been established . This of course makes self evasion an easily attainable goal . Sometimes politically speaking the actual goal . The mind satiated by it's social framwork is the ideal tool for a socialistic or tyrannical government .
To me the value of social history lies not in it's application as much as it's illumination . All the fragmented pockets of human coalescence should instill an understanding of man's posibility factors . Man's inability to supersede his developing anachronism may well be the cause of his annihilation .
Modern man has learned how to use tact in instilling the acceptable social mores . Solviet psychiatrists have spent years on perfecting these social sublimations ; children learn how to make their personalities conform to the accepted mean . I think that the true nature of a well rounded being lies in an ability to reject the fragmental nature of these instilled mores and develop a more universally acceptable social orientation . Does the son of a ku klux klan member have to hate blacks ? The obvious answer is no ; contrarily socially acceptable orientation is a product of environment . This is the pitfall of man's evolution as a race ; his inability to rise above the quandary of his immediate surroundings with all of their overwhelming complexities and demands to become a cognizant and empathetic being . There in lie the keys to his future .
This does not necessarily define the well rounded person . A well rounded person must be able to cope with his immediate surroundings withoutan abject denial of his empathetic being .
I believe well roundedness lies in thoughtful orientation and a well centered understanding of self . One need not be socially active as long as they are thoughtfully cognizant . Obey the golden rule ; you can not allow your objective orientation to supersede your subjective empathy . You can't allow yourself to be thwarted or overcome by your peers into being something they might want to make you because temptation may overwhelm them and you will become a transient tool in their succession .
I've read this several times, Bruce; and it's a wonderful read all the more for the fact that I can read most of it without a dictionary (and reading glasses)
This is a lot of good thinking and I havent been able to formulate a proper response so far, so I'm just going to say how much I love this line and the thinking that lies behind it:
One need not be socially active as long as they are thoughtfully cognizant .
This puts the responsibility where it belongs...with each individual. Not in the manner of a habit like going to church or giving to worthy causes, but in the manner of living one breath to the next.
Not just breathing (without thought) but considering each action, questioning each knee-jerk emotional reaction.
Its amazing how many organized religions have forgotten how important individual thought and considered action is, since it is at the heart of most religious dogma.
Once the religious get organized, they seem to leave behind the divine in favor for the worldly. Much easier to enjoy at the moment, I guess.
Thanks for the food for thought, Bruce. I enjoyed this a lot!
A minor consideration perhaps, with this ethic of the self you seem to be considering, is the fact that a well-centered understanding of the self will lead to either of two things: a naturalized acknowledgement of a definitive nature (perpetuation of social norms as instilled by proximal milieu) or a dejected rejection of those social norms. I think it is pretty clear that you are advocating the latter; however, in considering that route one must acknowledge that once devoid of a valuating system, the individual is left with nothing beyond his capacity to choose. The problem is that no choice will import more than the others, and thus no choice can retain a truer justification (or any kind of justification). Merely a verification ipso facto by the choice's existence.
And then the world becomes a haphazard arrangement of things. This really reads as though you've read some foucault without reading his books on justice, punishment, and the history of sexuality. Not much of a comment though.
Very well written. The concept of free will is greatly misunderstood by those who even take the time to ponder it from time to time. It has been the subject of endless debate and opinion, but I feel very few have it "right". People for the most part are quite predictable (at least in hindsight) through their inherited and developed biases, neuroses and more serious distinctive perceptions not including the possibility of mind controlling parasites which are well documented in some populations. Know yourself? Be aware of the blind spots, and that you are blind to them.
we can't be what others expect us to be...because inevitably we will hate not being ourselves, but also we will let them down...
expectations are not a good thing...in this i also see the idea of poets who write about the ideal...and the ideal is seldom reached. it's a fairytale with a happy ending...and endings aren't always happy.
i liked a lot of the philosophy you put in this..and found it quite accessible with much i could relate to.
and i refuse to be a "a transient tool in their succession"
i stay put in my own world with my own shadow and my own realistic expectations...which is whatever will be will be.