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- Sociology & Anthropology
The Human Curse (Public/Private Self)
The Struggle is Real
Every human participant is torn into two realms of existence, an artificial public appearance and reality within privacy. People together form society’s guidelines and social norms through morals and general consensus. These guidelines represent what an individual endorses, although, when an individual is confronted with society one is forced to give up their rights which would have been present in private reality. Understanding reality is experienced differently person to person, the common denominator would be dreaming to inhabit a judge free life.
A great way of explaining the moment-to-moment changes in persona is the typical day in the life of a college male. He wakes up and greets his mother with an innocent appearance, heads to school and greets his professors as an intellectual, leaves to visit friends greeting them as a confidant, then proceeds to his girlfriend’s where he plays the role of prince charming. But the most important and consistent persona occurs in the car rides in between, where he is permitted to think out loud while listening to sports radio and reciting hip hop lyrics to none but himself. As described, the individual is met with different agents of socialization and conforms to social norms. The realness is missing in all public confrontations; only during isolation can a person’s true identity be experienced.
When an individual is secluded from society they have no fear of being portrayed as anything as well as they are not asked to view others objectively, so reality is lived under the comfort of isolation. Public appearance is relative to the public setting, but no matter what environment, an individual is always asked to be self-conscious. This idea is in place to protect surrounding citizens from disobedience on top of establishing a credible reputation for the individual.
Anxiety Settles In...
The public norms neglect the fact that anxiety is now the main variable to socializing. This is due to the surrounding pressure caused from one’s over evaluation of opinions on how they are portrayed outwardly. Everyone contributing to society is a victim of his or her own critical self-conscious. This battle isn’t fought against a third party, but within the individual. High levels of anxiety correlate with depression and shyness, two inabilities that jeopardize the drive to network themselves and become successful in today’s competitive world.
A general consensus that people form together as a society is, the idea similar to the golden rule, “Treat others they way you would like to be treated.” This adequately asks individuals to objectively view its civilization and to see the world as they would like to be seen. This conformist attitude is one of the roots to why people live in split realms of personality.
People are asked to portray themselves as objective citizens in public, but then correct themselves back as subjective when other’s opinions of them are not present. True personality shows authenticity and individuality but with it comes prejudice and bias, two ideas that are not welcome in society.
The Socialization Process
Another cause of the matter, public and private self, occurs at a very young age. A child grows up in a home, knowing that there is a difference between public appearance with others and private self with close family. Not only appearance, but sometimes morals and values behind closed doors may compare differently to society, which is often the case. The family of origin is an individual’s biggest agent of socialization and directly affects the ability to form relationship tools. People’s subjectivity is manipulated mostly by their home life. When traditional beliefs cut close to social order, such as gender, race, religion, and sexual preference, people manifest a prejudged bias and tend to cross the social boundary with discrimination.
People are identified these days categorically under social norms and where they lie on certain spectrums. Spectrums in the U.S. scale male to female, whites to minorities, heterosexual to homosexual, christianity to all other religions, young to old, and attractive to unattractive. Depending on where an individual falls in identity, represents how much a person’s public self needs to be "faked" in order to satisfy society’s grey areas.
Relevance to the Greater Good
The truth of the matter is that humans will forever be forced to fall in line with society’s two realm scheme, because an individual can’t afford to do otherwise. Sacrificing one’s self to society’s orders and judgments will always be the curse of a functioning civilization. Individuals must give up privileges to allow for a constitution of rights to be governed by the people as a whole. This goes along with the traditional belief that an individual’s private self is irrelevant to the greater-good's strive in reaching the human race’s full potential as a species.