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Cooley - 822 Part Three Sec C-wP'rocesses of Socialization...

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Unformatted text preview: 822 Part Three, Sec. C-wP'rocesses of Socialization as a special cause of the strong ambivaience of the girl toward her mother who is seen, supposedly, as responsible for the daughter‘s being born without a penis. On the other hand, the special relation of the girl to the oedi pus conflict seems a most valuable in— sight. The giri is helped in giving up her ambivalent attachment to the mother by the sensualization of her relationship to the father. Because of the libid- inai nature of this second tie, she can never reach the boy’s level in the repression of dependent ca- thexes. Nor is her supere go as fully formed, since the processes of reaction—formation are relatively iittle invoived in her relation to the father, who intruded upon her possession of the mother. The reader may note that in describing how the girl takes the role of the mother “whom she has set aside,” Freud comes very close to the role concept of the internalized object. 1. The Social 5er BY CHARLES H. COOLEY IT IS WELL to say at the outset that by the Word “self” in this discussion is meant simply that which is designated in common speech by the pronouns of the first person singular, “I,” “the,” “my,” “mine,” and “myself.” “Self” and “ego” are used by metaphysicians and moralists in many other senses, more or iess remote from the “I” of daily speech and thought, and with these I Wish to have as little to do as possible. What is here dis— cussed is what psychologists call the empirical self, the self that can be apprehended or verified by ordinary observation. I qualify it by the word social not as implying the existence of a seif that is not acclaim-for I think that the “I” of common lan- guage always has more or less distinct reference to other people as well as the speaker—43m because I wish to emphasize and dwelt upon the social as- pect of it. 3 38 5k The distinctive thing in the idea for which the pronouns of the first person are names is apparently“ Reprinted from The Two Major Works of Charles H. Cooley: Human Nature and the Social Order & Social Organization (Glencoe, lit: The Free Press, 1955), Part II, pp. 168~70, I71, i79v-85, 187438, 189—92, 193—94, 196.200, 202ml, with the permission of The Free Press. The section on socialization would not be com. plete without Durkheim’s discussion of discipline. It undoubtedly suffers from certain obsolete psycho- logical premises. Nevertheless, it brings out a crucial point often overlooked by pseudo-Freudian educa- tional theories: discipline is indispensable to the equilibrium of the child. What the child loses in random frustrations he gains in the stabilization of the outside environment and of his own moti- vational system. As Freud might have put it: discipline is an aspect of the pleasure principle. In fact, it removes much of the sting of the im- mediate frustration by making the latter a prep- aration for and a guarantee of a future satisfac- tion. Discipline organizes internalized objects into a meaningful whole. Without discipline, unlimited de~ sires interfere with one another and condemn the personality to the boundless frustration of anemia. a characteristic kind of feeiing which may be called the mynfeeling or sense of appropriation. Almost any sort of ideas may be associated with this feel— ing, and so come to be named “I” or “mine,” but the feeling, and that alone it would seem, is the determining factor in the matter. As Professor James says in his admirable discussion of the self, the words “me” and “self” designate “all the things which have the power to produce in a stream of consciousness excitement of a certain peculiar sort.” This view is very fully set forth by Profes~ sor Eiram M. Stanley, whose work, “The Evolu- tionary Psychology of Feeling,” has an extremely suggestive chapter on self-feeling. I do- not mean that the feeling aspect of the self is necessariiy more important than any other, but that it is the immediate and decisive sign and proof of what “I” is; there is no appeal from it; if. we go behind it it must be to study its history and condi~ tions, not to question its authority. But, of course. his study of history and conditions may be quite as profitable as the direct contemplation of self~feei~ ing. What I would wish to do is to present each as» poet in its proper light. The emotion or feeling of self may be regarded as instinctive, and was doubtless evolved in con- -' nection with it I and unifying t' It is thus very ' the human race plan of life at in a vague thou individual, and of ideas, to bet becoming asso muscular, vist - ceptions, apps degree of col content; and, i time the feeli: but undergoe: as does any Thus, while rt teristic tone 0: self-sentiment ists in mature various sentin tive emotion of the genera loses that 131 causes us to pronoun. The socia' of ideas, 611 that the mini its chief song it; the specie the emotion: else in a we mind by a W( As conne- the self idea culiar or (iii that is the E pose and er tend to site be at once c variance wi mental corn to serve the activity, of 2 the general says Shakes “The Set! and self—to diversity is 1. h i5. I instinct, of rather than suld not be com- ion of discipline. i_obsolete psycho- rings out a crucial ~Freudian educa— spensable to the is child loses in the stabilization if his own moti- it have. put it: :asure principle. mug of the im— e latter a prep- future satisfac- ed objects into a £3, unlimited de- d condemn the tion of anemia. may be called itton. Almost vith this feel“ 7 “mine,” but seem, is the As Professor ll of the self, .ate “all the e in a stream lain peculiar 1 by Profes— ‘The Evolu- n extremely l Of the self if other, but n and proof it; if we go and condi. . of course be quite as if self~feei.. or each as- e regarded ed in corn nection with its important function in stimulating and unifying the special. activities of individuals.‘ It is thus very profoundly rooted in the history of the human race and apparently indispensable to any plan of life at all similar to ours. It seems to exist in a vague though vigorous form at the birth of each individual, and, like otherinstinctive ideas or germs of ideas, to be defined and developed by experience, becoming associated, or rather incorporated, with muscular, visual, and other sensations; with per— ceptions, apperceptions, and conceptions of every degree of complexity and of: infinite variety of content; and, especially, with personal ideas. Mean- time the feeling itself does not remain unaltered, but undergoes differentiation and refinement inst as does any other sort of crude innate feeling. Thus, while retaining under every phase its charac- teristic tone or flavor, it breaks up into innumerable self-sentiments. And concrete self-feeling, as it ex- ists in mature Persons, is a whole made up of these various sentiments, along with a good deal of primi- tive emotion not thus broken up. It partakes folly of the general development of the mind, but never loses that peculiar gusto of appropriation that causes us to name a thought with a first—personal pronoun. as :1: tr The social self is simply any idea, or system of ideas, drawn from the communicative life, that the mind cherishes as its own. Self—feeling has its chief scope within the general life, not outside of it; the special endeavor or tendency of which it is the emotional aspect finds its principal field of exer- cise in a world of personal forces, reflected in the mind by a world of personal impressions. As connected with the thought of other persons the self idea is always a consciousness of the pe- culiar or differentiated aspect of one’s life, because that is the aspect that has to be sustained by pur- pose and endeavor, and its more aggressive forms tend to attach themselves to whatever one finds to be at once congenial to one’s own tendencies and at variance with those of others with whom one is in mental contact. It is here that they are most needed to serve their function of stimulating characteristic activity, of fostering those personal variations which the general plan of life seems to require. Heaven, says Shakespeare, doth divide “The state of man in divers functions, Setting endeavor in continual motion,” and self—feeling is one of the means by which this diversity is achieved. _ 1-. it is, perhaps, to be thought of as a more general Instinct, of which anger, etc., are differentiated forms. rather than as standing by itself. Charles H. Cooley: The Social Self 823 Agreeably to this view we find that the aggres- sive self manifests itself most conspicuously in an appropriativeness of objects of commOn desire, cor- responding to the individual’s need of power over such objects to secure his own peculiar develop» ment, and to the danger of opposition from others who also need them. And this extends from material objects to lay. hold, in the same spirit, of the at~ tendons and affections of: other people, of all sorts of plans and ambitions, including the noblest special purposes the mind can entertain, and indeed of any conceivable idea which may come to seem a part of one’s life and in need of assertion against some one else. The attempt to limit the word self and its derivatives to the lower aims of personality is quite arbitrary; at variance with comnmn sense as expressed by the emphatic use of “I” in con- nection with the sense of duty and other high mo— tives, and uuphilosophical as ignoring the function of the self as the organ of specialized endeavor of higher as well as lower kinds. That the “I" of common speech has a meaning which includes some sort. of reference to other perm sons is involved in the very fact that the word and the ideas it stands for are phenomena of language and the communicative life. It is doubtful whether it is possible to use language at all without thinking more or less distinctly of some one else, and cer» tainly the things to which we give names and which have a large place in reflective though: are almost always those which are impressed upon us by our contact with other people. Where there is no corn- munication there can be no nomenclature and no developed thought. What we call “me,” “mine,” or “myself” is, then, not something separate from the general life, but the most interesting part of it, a part whose interest arises from the very fact that it is both general and individual. That is, we care for it just because it is that phase of the mind that is living and striving in the common life, trying to impress itself upon the minds of others. “I” is a militant social tendency, working to hold and en— large its place in the general current of tendencies. So far as it can it waxes, as all life does. To think of it as apart from society is a palpable absurdity of which no one could be guilty who really saw it as a fact of life. “Der Mensch erkennt sich' nur irn Menschen, nur ' ‘13 Das Leben lehret jedein was at Ser. If a thing has no relation to others of which one is conscious he is unlikely to think of it at all, and if he does think of it he cannot, it seems to me, re— 2. “Only in man does man know himself; life alone teaches each one what he is."—-Goethe, Tessa, act 2. so. 3. .; M i e a . 824- Part Three, S‘ec. C—Proccsses of Socialization gard it as emphatically his. The appropriative sense is always the shadow, as it were, of the common life, and when we have it we have a sense of the latter in connection with it. Thus, if We think of a se- cluded part of the woods as “ours,” it is because we think, also, that others do not go there. As regards the body I doubt if we have a vivid ray-feeling about any part of it which is not thought of, how— ever vaguely, as having some actual or possible reference to some one else. Intense selfuconscious» ness regarding it arises along with instincts or ex» periences which connect it with the thought of others. Internal organs, like the liver, are not thought of as peculiarly ours unless we are trying to communicate something regmding them, as, for instance, when they are giving us. trouble and we are trying to get sympathy. “I,” then, is not all of the mind, but a peculiarly central, vigorous, and Weli~knit portion of it, not separate. from the rest but gradually merging into it, and yet having a certain practical distinctness, so that a man generally shows clearly enough by his language and behavior what his “I” is as distin- guished from thoughts he does not appropriate, It may he thought of, as already. suggested, under the analogy of a central colored area on a lighted wall. It might also, and perhaps more justly, be compared to the nucleus of a living cell, not altogether sepa- rate from the surrounding matter, out of which in— deed it is formed, but more active and definitely organized. _ The reference to other persons involved in the sense of self may be distinct and particular, as when a boy is ashamed to have his mother catch him at some-thing she has forbidden, or it may he vague and general, as when one is ashamed to do some— thing which only his conscience, expressing his sense of social responsibility, detects and dis- approves; but it is always there. There is no sense of “I,” as in pride or shame, without its correlative sense of you, or he, or they. Even the miser gloating over his hidden gold can feel the “mine” only as he is aware of the world of men over whom he has secret power; and the case is very similar with all kinds of hid treasure. Many painters, sculptors, and writers have loved to withhold their work from the world, fondling it in seclusion until they were quite done with it; but the delight in this, as in all secrets, depends upon a sense of the value of what is concealed. it: =i¢ Bk In a very large and interesting class of cases the social reference takes the form of a somewhat defi- nite imagination of how one’s self—«mthat is any idea he appropriates—appears in a particular mind, and the kind of self-feeling one has is determined by the attitude. toward this attributed to that other mind. A social self of this sort might be called the reflected or l'oolcingmgiass self: “Each to each a looking-glass Reflects the other that doth pass.” As we see our face, figure, and dress in the glass, and are interested in them because they are ours, and pleased or otherwise with them according as they do or do not answer to what we should like them to he; so in imagination we perceive in an other’s mind some thought of our appearance, manners, aims, deeds, character, friends, and so on and are variously affected by it. ' A selfnidea of this sort seems to' have three prin— cipal elements: the imagination of our appearance to the other person; the imagination of his judg— ment of that appearance and some sort of self- feeling, such as pride or mortification. The com» parison with a lookingwglass hardly suggests the second element, the imagined judgment, which is quite essential. The thing that moves us to pride or shame is not the mere mechanical reflection of ourselves, but an imputed sentiment, the imagined effect of this reflection upon another’s mind. This is evident from the fact that the character and weight of that other, in whose mind we see our— selves, makes all the difference with our feeling. We are ashamed to seem evasive in the presence of a straightforward man, cowardly in the presence of a brave one, gross in the eyes of a refined one, and so on. We always imagine, and in imagining share, the judgments of the other mind. A man will boast to one person of an actionmsay some sharp transaction in trademwhich he would be ashamed to own to another. =3: 3% it As suggested in the previous chapter, self~feeling may be regarded as in a sense the antithesis, or better perhaps, the complement, of that disinter- ested and contemplative love that tends to ohliterate the sense of a divergent individuality. Love of this sort has no sense of bounds, but is what we feel when we are expanding and assimilating new and indeterminate experience, while self-feeling accom» patties the appropriating, delimiting, and defending of a certain part of experience; the one impels us to receive life, the other to individuate it. The self, from this point of view, might be regarded as a sort of citadel of the mind, fortified. Without and containing selected treasures Within, while love is an undivided share in the rest of the universe. In a healthy mind each contributes to the growth of the other: what we love intensely or for a long time we are likely to bring within the citadel, and to assert as part of ourself. On the other hand, it is on] persol Th: persor apply each < was it at the promo old I i notior. posses she w: also :1; and to to wh object will or this In of km whati should person meanii ideas v remarl iem bi abstrai not p: ‘lmy9? other ‘ each 13: how 31 it with could hecaus longed by ass how is which, the sat one’s s was at it aim: too, wi was ex end of “My; Ii to “my to her: her. A1 someth someth she Wot It se t other led the e glass, ‘e ours, ding as Jld like = in an— :arance, d so on, so prin» :earance iiS judg» of self~ he com— ;ests the which is to pride when of magined ‘ .nd. This cter and see our- .' feeling. presence presence ined one, magining man will one sharp ashamed elf—feeling ithesis, or t disinter— obliterate we of this at we feel ; new and ng accom— defending impeis us to it. The egarded as ithout and file love is niverse. In growth of for a long :itadel, and or hand, it Charles H. Cooley: The Social Self 825' is only on the basis of a substantial self that a person is capable of progressive sympathy or love. * tk $6 The view that “self” and the pronouns of the first person are names which the race has learned to apply to an instinctive attitude of mind, and which each child in turn learns to apply in a similar way, was impressed upon me by observing my child M. at the time when she was learning to use these pronouns. When she was two years and two weeks old I was surprised to discover that she had a clear notion of the first and second persons when used possessively. When asked, “Where is your nose?” she would put her hand upon it and say “my.” She also understood that when some one else said “my” and touched an object, it meant something opposite to what was meant when she touched the same object and used the same word. Now, any one who will exercise his imagination upon the question how this matter must appear to a. mind having no means of knowing anything about “I” and “my" except what it learns by hearing them used, will see that it should be very puzzling. Unlike other words, the personal pronouns have, apparently, no uniform meaning, but convey difierent and even opposite ideas when employed by different persons. It seems remarkable that children should master the prob— lem before they arrive at considerable power of abstract reasoning. How should a little girl of We, not particularly reflective, have discovered that “my” was not the sign of a definite object like other words, but meant something different with each person who used it? And, still more surprising, how should she have achieved the correct use of it with reference to hersolf which, it would seem, could not be copied from any one else, simply because no onelelse used it to describe what he- longed to her? The meaning of words is learned by associating them with other phenomena. But how is it possible to learn the meaning of one which, as used by others, is never associated with the same phenomenon as when properly used by one’s self? Watching her use of the first person, I was at once struck with the fact that she employed it almost wholly in a possessive sense, and that, too, when in an aggressive, sel§~assertive mood. It was extremely common to see R. tugging at one end of a plaything and M. at the other, screaming, “My, my.” “Me” was sometimes nearly equivalent to “my,” and was also employed to call attention to herself when she wanted something done for her. Another common use of “my” was to dem...
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