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The majority of people face the problem of searching for their real self at least once during the life time. Though, the notion of the real personality cannot be fully defined because it is influenced by numerous issues. This research proposal sheds light on the psychological aspects of self-formation that determine the subconscious image of the real and desired self. The theory of archetypes that influence the universal layer of human subconsciousness, the theory of super ego proposed by Karl Jung, the theory of social determination, and their impact on the self determination process are the subject of the research.
Human attempts to determine themselves and find “the real self” are indispensable parts of introspection. Philosophers, ideologists, writers and psychologists propose a variety of theories that are connected with the theme of self-determination. This research is initiated by the article Finding and Loosing Yourself by Patrick Strokes (2014) who investigates into the already existing philosophical viewpoints concerning self-determination and tries to propose an entirely different perspective for the analysis of the issue. Strokes (2014) supposes that there is no such notion as the real self, there is only the personality that exists in the certain moment and circumstances. However, this idea lacks evidence and contradicts the basic principles of human psychology, which will be discussed in the current research proposal.
Strokes (2014) writes that the statements “I have not found myself yet” or “I lost myself” are absolutely incorrect because the personality is the result of numerous aspects in a specified moment as it was mentioned earlier. People change with the course of the time, and an individual might find “a new self” the next day without any efforts from his/her side.
People have been trying to answer the questions about the nature of their personality and about the ways of searching for their real self for many centuries. The Church, philosophy and ideology investigated into these problems. The philosophers of Ancient Greece paid attention to the spiritual life and development of people. In the medieval era, the Christian religion became to dominate philosophy in the questions of world view in Europe. Religion became the central idea that could give an answer to all questions. The issue of searching oneself in life was defined quite simple, and it could be introduced like by will of God (Hooks, 2013, p. 178). Though, despite the big number of ideas that attempted to answer the main questions of human life like “who are we”, there was no definite solution. The only thing that is evident that every individual needs to understand on his/her own, what is his/her real self and what is he/she trying to achieve by all those transformations people often undertake during the life time (Johnson, 2012, p. 7).
The problems about losing the personality or searching for the right one are mostly always provoked by person’s anxiety in the face of serious changes or by fear of not corresponding to the expectations of the others. The main principle in finding the real self is total accepting of the current state of things (Sohlberg, 2006, p. 92). Nobody can change the personality only because he/she does not like the existing one. A personality is a set of individual characteristics that were partly inherited or developed gradually through the life time. For this reason, a real self can be called a comparatively constant set of characteristics.
The hypothesis of the research proposal is derived from the negation of the ideas proposed by Strokes (2014) in the article. As it was mentioned earlier, he writes that it is impossible to find the real self in life just because there is no such notion, and in fact, such attempts lead to nothing. The author states that people create illusions in order to protect themselves from the necessity to accept the fact that they have changed.
It should be noted that the perception of “self” depends upon many details. Thus, it would be better to analyze the problem from the psychological point of view using the knowledge proposed by the science. According to the hypothesis, the real self is determined by three aspects that form the basics of the person’s subconsciousness: the social and cultural context, the archetypal, or universal for everyone knowledge about behavioristic patterns, and the notion of super ego.
It is necessary to introduce the notion of super ego proposed by Karl Jung that determines the way the person wants to look in his/her own eyes and in the eyes of the others. Super ego, or the ideal self, can be definitely called the issue people try to achieve, and this process is usually called the one of “searching for the real self”. The ideal self, in its turn, depends on two major factors that would be analyzed in the current research.
The first is the theory of archetypes that was also introduced by Karl Jung. It determines the profound cultural layer in the historical dichotomy that influences the concept of the self people want to find. First, it is necessary to define that an archetype is a subconscious pattern of behavior that is characteristic to a certain personality that was formed in ancient times and is reflected in the majority of myths and tales created by the human civilization. The examples of the well-known archetypes are the one of the Great Mother who gives birth and, at the same time, takes the life away or the Shadow that is the personification of all evil thoughts and powers of the human being he/she wants to hide in the subconsciousness. The Hero and the Damsel in Distress are also among the central archetypes in the theory proposed by Jung.
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