My ideas are not I, my ideas are me

For the longest time, I thought that my ideas = me.  I placed so much of my identity in my ideas that when someone criticized or ridiculed or attacked my ideas – that they were criticizing, ridiculing, and attacking me.  I think it was a sub-concious – well actually, self-conscious thing that I did to myself.  I wouldn’t put ideas out there.  I am not my ideas.  Not even the sum of all of my ideas are me – but I believe that my ideas are a reflection of me.

Out of the abundance of the heart – I blog.  Out of the abundance of the heart – I project onto my online space.  Out of the abundance of my heart – I tweet.  I’m not sure that biblical writers had that in mind or did they.

The more I think about it – from a Jamesian perspective – the more accurate statement is “‘I am not my ideas, but ‘me’ is.”  The Jamesian “I” creates many possible and sometimes opposing “mes.”  So in theory – “I” am not my ideas.  “Me” is.   (I have a previous post about the Jamesian I and Me – as I understand it anyway)

I had posted in my triiibes.com profile that I’m open to people criticizing my ideas, but not me.  The more I think about it,  the more I think I don’t mind.  I can handle the criticism – of my ideas or me (actually, of my ideas and I).  I’ll amend that after this post.

Your blog – your ideas are “me,” not you (“I”).

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5 thoughts on “My ideas are not I, my ideas are me

  1. First I want to thank you for your deep thinking. You are the one responsible for making others think deeply; that said, I tend to disagree with your statement: “For the longest time, I thought that my ideas = me.” I’m not suggesting that that is not a true statement, but eventually you may see things differently and change your mind. I had to change my mind and here’s why: The voice of contingency which binds “self” to society and to “others,” can be used to argue for the legitimization of social and political institutions that practice the politics of emancipation, or the politics that sustain and promote justice, equality, and individual and collective freedoms.

    The(structured self voice) used to critique macro-level collective stories is a voice that speaks through the interdependent relationship of self/other. Developing the implications of this micro-level voice (a voice based in self/other interdependence) reveals not only a voice upon which to critique existing social and political power structures but also a voice upon which to ground individual freedoms and the emancipatory rights of “others”.

    The implicative affirmative of the not-me-self occasions “otherness” first in the form of the common values, meanings, viewpoints, definitions and expectations of the group, that is, the products of symbolic interaction. A second layer of “otherness” is encountered when the self engages the novelty, impulsiveness and spontaneity — the creative potentials of self-determination — in the self’s option to affirm, reject, and/or qualify the common values, meanings, viewpoints, definitions and expectations of the group. A third layer of “otherness” occurs in the “thickness of description” used to validate intersubjective positions concerning values, meanings, viewpoints, definitions and expectations of the group. And, a forth layer of “otherness” is occasioned when the “ought” (as in non-relative ethics and morality) is applied to intersubjective positions concerning values, meanings, viewpoints, definitions and expectations of the group.

    It is this contingency–the contingency which binds a person’s “self” to society and to “others”–which manifests the micro-level voice of the implicative affirmative of the not-me-self, a voice whose only claim to authority is a claim to contingency, a contingency without which it could not exist. Simpson (1995: 127) in response to the question: “Are we playing the right game?” (acting on the “right” collective voice), gives voice to the “meaning of contingency” when he states: “(It is)…the virtual ‘we’ of a humanity that is a negotiated, unfinished project functioning as an ideal community, a notion that makes a virtue both of being open to and willing to take seriously the conjecture that there is a disjunction between one’s own standpoint and the regulative ideal of the ‘good life,’ and of being critically respectful of the other.”

    In so far as this micro-level collective voice is both human and universal it provides the ideal basis from which to critique the legitimization of macro-level social and political power structures, as it provides the ideal basis from which to evaluate justice, equality, and individual and collective freedoms. Following from the right to my own contingency, and, following from the right of the “other” to their own contingency, arises the politics of emancipation which articulates the rights of Government and socioeconomic institutions to procure both the collective and the individual right to contingency.

    [Footnote. Giddens (1991: 215), in summary form, tells us what emancipatory politics entails when he states:

    1 The freeing of social life from the fixities of tradition and custom.

    2 The reduction or elimination of exploitation, inequality or oppression. (It is) concerned with divisive distribution of power/ resources.

    3 Obeys imperatives suggested by the ethics of justice, equality and participation]

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