Self-identity is an issue that affects many people in the world. A good understanding of self will lead to a more reformed world where people understand their identities and therefore able to take care of self. The essay that follows is a summary of how self-identity operates. Self-identity is a fundamental need that people need to come to terms with. The essay will give a summary of two articles, how they are related and a broader picture of what the two articles present.
A remodeling of the past requires one to understand the future, which begins with assessing the past. Critically thinking about the path life takes enables one to realize that they are not tied to the time that is running out but taking each day as its own and living it the way you want it and not conforming to some decided path.
In the formulation of self, an activity that is encountered in a day-to-day course is choice. Because of this wide variety of things to choose from, consequences also arise. One of the things that people have to choose from is lifestyle. However, looking at the subject of lifestyle broadly, one can realize that in these modern times lifestyle is already something that has been chosen and people just have to follow.1
For any given individual, lifestyle is governed by life chances. The habits of someone’s lifestyle revolve around the social status of a person, cultural styles and the made of activities the person engages in. Relationships with others are also one of the wide varieties of choices this entails a person’s relationship with others.
1Giddens, A. Identity: a reader. SAGE Publishers, California, 2000, p. 32
All kinds of relationships tend to approximate to pure relationships, which rely in the domains of sexuality, matrimony and lastly companionship.
Lastly, the body forms a vital part of self-identity and self-actualization. The body is a form of an action-system, which forms a significant feature for self-identity. Bodily appearance is the physical appearance of the body. Demeanor is what determines how an individual perceives himself or herself.
Sensuality is the ability of the body to relate to pain and pleasure and finally the regimes in which the body operates. In current modernity, bodily appearance and demeanor are highly considered. Bodily regimes and sensuality are the basis on which modern social life operates. A good analysis of body sense gives a good understanding of these two issues that are related to self-identity.
In the current modern world body, regime and sensuality are not given the option of the plurality of choice as it has been defined along the perception of modernity, which has led to things such as slimness and youthfulness that have led to the development of anorexic individuals.
Anorexia is a condition that has been associated with dieting and the current views on body appearance. Anorexia is a search for identity in a world where plurality of choice is ambiguous. The making of self-identity in such a setting is intact embodied in a risk culture.
The article by Foucault is an analysis of sexuality and the restrictions that accompany it. Due to the profound altercation in the principles of the western culture, the difference between knowing self and taking care of self has been altered.2
2Giddens, A. Identity: a reader. SAGE Publishers, California, 2000, p. 32
There has been an alteration to the two principles of knowing yourself and taking care of self. To know self is to retrieve past experiences from the subconscious mind that painful and other conflicts went unresolved. A successful psychoanalysis can get an individual to remember the events of the past and restore the identity of self. Through such an analysis, the ego develops an awareness of the self and through such the power that once belonged to the self is restored.
Foucault tries to bring out the fact that retrieving “lost” memory from the subconscious mind would net help define self identity nor will it bring an understanding of self which literally means taking care of self. For him, searching our psyches as a way of understanding self is a futile task because these memories only serve to remind us of the who we have become after these experiences as opposed to giving us a basis of how an individual can take care of self.
According to him, the meaning of the self is not as important as the methodologies people apply in order to understand self. What is sought after in psychoanalysis is not self-knowledge but self-care. Foucault only tries to show that individuals have the freedom to choose from the past events that best suit them rather than using the completely past plus undesirable experiences to understand self.
It is his belief that even the deepest of memories cannot bring us to uncover our identities. This quest to understand our past is in itself a method of self-care. He believes that creating new experiences is what life is all about and the capacity to use these new experiences is where our identity lies.3
3Foucault, M. (1988). Technologies of the Self: A Seminar with Michel Foucault, Massachusetts press, Ernherst, 1988, p. 53
Evaluation of both articles shows that in pre-modern days individuality was not existent. People were defined more on the lines of social status, sexual category or lineage. The self-identity search is a modern thing. According to Rainwater who is a therapist, self-identity is a large criterion to be dealt with and needs to be broken down into much finer details. Self is something that an individual is responsible. The self is not what one is but what they make of themselves.
The self is a trajectory point where an individual familiarizes himself or herself from the past to the unpredictable future. The self is also a continuous process it’s not static. The self is something that keeps on happening. Self is also about the evaluation of time and finding a way to control it. The self also takes into account that the body is not a passive object but forms a fundamental part in actually understanding the self.
A moral sense that comes with self-actualization is that quality of analyzing yourself and being true to this self. This would require one to understand their emotional distress that hinders us from knowing your true self and this would lead to care for self according to Foucault4. A good understanding of the passages of life also enables an individual to come to terms with the value of self.
4Foucault, M. (1988). Technologies of the Self: A Seminar with Michel Foucault.: Massachusetts press, Ernherst, 1988, p. 53
The transitions that come with these passages are a much broader way of coming to terms with self-actualization. Lastly self is an internalization of individual principles and how they help to define the person you are.
These two articles lead to a critical evaluation of self-identity and what it entails. An understanding of the past gives an individual a good understanding of self and therefore an urge to take care of self, which is the fundamental message that is brought about in both articles.
A broader picture that is brought in both articles is that a good understanding of self and care will lead to a better world in the modern days on issues such as anorexia and obesity and would lead to a more reformed world where people are able to come to terms with their self identities and therefore take care of themselves as a way of familiarizing with their self identities.
Foucault, M. Technologies of the Self: A Seminar with Michel Foucault, Amherst. Massachusetts press, 1988.
Giddens, A. Identity: a reader. Thousand oaks, California: SAGE publishers, 2000.