So I have avoided watching anything on tv about Michael until tonight. I just finished watching it and I had a few thoughts about his identity formation. I am sure that I could do more research on this, but I probably will not.
There were three ideas that stood out as people were being interviewed about him.
The first idea is the comment – “we made him.” His audience and fans wanted more and more of him-and more and more from him. The appetite of the fans pushed him to become more “Michael.”
The second idea is since he was six years old, he has experience people wanting him and in essence – telling him what to do. Since six years old, his life was governed from him – be there – wear this – do that. Which eludes back to the first comment – We made him and he didn’t really have much control of who he became. Now they talk about how Michael had strong opinions about the concerts that he put on and the light show and everything – but he did it for his fans. He did it for the people. He did it for the people that wanted Michael.
The third idea is that even Michael couldn’t even be Michael anymore. They show that I watched said that his PR people leaked all of the weird info about him. Michael was in total control of all the freak ideas out there about him. He kept creating buzz about himself. It got so big – this living for others or living out this persona that it got beyond even himself.
I’ve written previously about the pseudo self and this idea of living out an identity that you create. I’ve written about it here, here, and here. Michael so much lived out other people’s perception and expectations that Michael got lost in living out their expectations and lost himself. The stories that he released were weird, but then the weirdness slowly became a reality.
In identity formation, you are either formed or you form. Either way, your identity is sculpted. Michael was formed, and then he started to form an identity – but somehow was not able to form his self. He formed a particular functional self, and lost his real self.
Lest you think he’s a freak and a weirdo – we all in some way have done this ourselves. The difference is your identity formation won’t ever be made into an hour primetime show………and you have a well integrated sense of real self.