Muddle-headed Kay (mhw) wrote,
Muddle-headed Kay

This journal has been placed in memorial status. New entries cannot be posted to it.

  • Mood:

Not about multiplicity per se, but it made me think...

In an important sense, as social saturation proceeds we become pastiches, imitative assemblages of each other. In memory we carry others' patterns of being with us. If the conditions are favorable, we can place those patterns into action. Each of us becomes the other, a representative, or a replacement. To put it more broadly, as the century has progressed, selves have become increasingly populated with the character of others. We are not one, or a few, but, like Walt Whitman, we "contain multitudes". We appear to each other as single identities, unified, of whole cloth. However, with social saturation, each of us comes to harbor a vast population of hidden potentials - to be a blues singer, a gypsy, an aristocrat, a criminal. All the selves lie latent, and, under the right conditions, may spring to life.

Kenneth Gergen, The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life, quoted in Howard Rheingold's The Virtual Community.

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