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Old 05-27-2012, 04:47 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 43,277,462 times
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Everyone thinks they are 'unique', and play up their individual 'personality', but it seems I mean 'clones' of people I know, or 'types' every day. Every time I meet a new person, I just think how they remind me of such and such. It just seems that people really aren't AS unique as they seem, and can broadly be divided into personality types, cultural types, gendered thinkers, ethnic thinkers - all based on perceived identity.

Without sounding hypocritical I feel I'm more individual than average. I've done things that very few people my age have done, I often have very original insights, and oftentimes I feel I can't totally relate to other people. I'm not special or anything - I know plenty like me, but I've also had negative experiences nobody else seems to have. Even being the only Australian to post with any regularity in the City data US section (perhaps talking out of my arse too lol) kinda demonstrates this.

Anyway, do you think it's true that we over-value our individuality? Mostly, we're just told what to think and we don't TRULY take a look at what we think, or the values and assumptions we hold, and question them. We identify us by a collection of labels, but there are probably others who identify themselves with the same labels. Some people seem defined by being female, black, atheist, liberal, Republican, an animal lover, a mother...I see myself as an individual first, an expression of being, who has to wear many hats and play many roles. I've never embraced any one label to any great degree, although some might describe me as a romantic, determinist, idealist, artist...

Also, how truly individual do you see yourself?
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Old 05-27-2012, 07:59 AM
 
Location: Kansas City, MO
3,572 posts, read 6,216,048 times
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Do you ever feel lost in your own mind?
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Old 05-27-2012, 08:09 AM
 
3,290 posts, read 4,949,310 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Everyone thinks they are 'unique', and play up their individual 'personality', but it seems I mean 'clones' of people I know, or 'types' every day. Every time I meet a new person, I just think how they remind me of such and such. It just seems that people really aren't AS unique as they seem, and can broadly be divided into personality types, cultural types, gendered thinkers, ethnic thinkers - all based on perceived identity.

Without sounding hypocritical I feel I'm more individual than average. I've done things that very few people my age have done, I often have very original insights, and oftentimes I feel I can't totally relate to other people. I'm not special or anything - I know plenty like me, but I've also had negative experiences nobody else seems to have. Even being the only Australian to post with any regularity in the City data US section (perhaps talking out of my arse too lol) kinda demonstrates this.

Anyway, do you think it's true that we over-value our individuality? Mostly, we're just told what to think and we don't TRULY take a look at what we think, or the values and assumptions we hold, and question them. We identify us by a collection of labels, but there are probably others who identify themselves with the same labels. Some people seem defined by being female, black, atheist, liberal, Republican, an animal lover, a mother...I see myself as an individual first, an expression of being, who has to wear many hats and play many roles. I've never embraced any one label to any great degree, although some might describe me as a romantic, determinist, idealist, artist...

Also, how truly individual do you see yourself?
Seems like you're the one doing all the labeling and assuming. Me? I am what I am and I don't really put any thought into "defining" myself. I love and am loved. What else is there, really?
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Old 05-27-2012, 08:20 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 43,277,462 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MOKAN View Post
Do you ever feel lost in your own mind?
Well, better lost in my own mind than the group-mind.

It was only recently that I truly realised I was part of group-think. The process of unconditioning has hopefully commenced.
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Old 05-27-2012, 09:00 AM
 
Location: FL
1,727 posts, read 2,095,841 times
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hmmm

I think you are fairly typical in wanting to view yourself as unique!

I will answer your questions as best as I can.

1- Yes we are all unique - I truly believe that
2- Many of us strive to be unique and pride ourselves on the fact that we THINK we are unique.
3- Yes, 1 and 2 probably contradict eachother.
4- Nobody can be labeled as one think. We can all be labeled by many categories.
5 - Labels can be harmful and they can be helpful. I believe we can all relate to other people on some levels and not on other levels.

For example:

I am female
Half hispanic Half Yankee
Non- college educated (well, took some classes - didn't finish)
Was a stay at home mom, now a working mom
Husband was a blue collar worker now somewhere between blue collar and white colar.
Was a soccer mom (the sport wasn't really soccer but the specific sport is somewhat irrelivent).
I've experienced mild forms of sexual harrasment in the work place
I've experienced mild cases of bullying in life and witnessed bullying at times. I've stepped in when I could.

Now because of all these things, I can identify with many different groups of people.
How many people have these same exact set of experiences exactly as I have, I do not know.
Even if there is anothe peson in this world who can identify with all these things, I am sure there perception of those events may have been different. the details of those events were most definitely different.

Therefore even if we are "the same" in many regards, we are also very different.
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Old 05-27-2012, 09:10 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
87 posts, read 117,998 times
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As a psychologist this phenomena interests me. We can only be unique, average or "an individual" based on what we know about social norms, regulations and expectations within our society. We can only be "different" if we understand what's "common." So, regardless of how we act and think, it only makes sense within a society that shares the same collective (un)conscious.

I think we all can have individual experiences that changes us in certain ways and that makes us "unique." I guess it depends how individualism is defined.
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Old 05-27-2012, 09:14 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 43,277,462 times
Reputation: 11862
Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Viking View Post
As a psychologist this phenomena interests me. We can only be unique, average or "an individual" based on what we know about social norms, regulations and expectations within our society. We can only be "different" if we understand what's "common." So, regardless of how we act and think, it only makes sense within a society that shares the same collective (un)conscious.

I think we all can have individual experiences that changes us in certain ways and that makes us "unique." I guess it depends how individualism is defined.
Very good point. It begs the question, what is the benchmark for being 'unique'? Having purple hair is not enough, imo, I think it's a specific combination of traits, but also an overall identity that seems very uncommon.
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Old 05-28-2012, 12:24 AM
 
Location: Kansas City, MO
3,572 posts, read 6,216,048 times
Reputation: 2550
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Everyone thinks they are 'unique', and play up their individual 'personality', but it seems I meet* 'clones' of people I know, or 'types' every day. Every time I meet a new person, I just think how they remind me of such and such. It just seems that people really aren't AS unique as they seem, and can broadly be divided into personality types, cultural types, gendered thinkers, ethnic thinkers - all based on perceived identity.

Without sounding hypocritical I feel I'm more individual than average. I've done things that very few people my age have done, I often have very original insights, and oftentimes I feel I can't totally relate to other people. I'm not special or anything - I know plenty like me, but I've also had negative experiences nobody else seems to have. Even being the only Australian to post with any regularity in the City data US section (perhaps talking out of my arse too lol) kinda demonstrates this.

Anyway, do you think it's true that we over-value our individuality? Mostly, we're just told what to think and we don't TRULY take a look at what we think, or the values and assumptions we hold, and question them. We identify us by a collection of labels, but there are probably others who identify themselves with the same labels. Some people seem defined by being female, black, atheist, liberal, Republican, an animal lover, a mother...I see myself as an individual first, an expression of being, who has to wear many hats and play many roles. I've never embraced any one label to any great degree, although some might describe me as a romantic, determinist, idealist, artist...

Also, how truly individual do you see yourself?
Since you recognize such specific types, maybe you could learn how to deal with each type very well and become a master of puppets.

But seriously, I think I actually see what you're saying. People's expression of individuality is often shallow and merely a facade. If you can see past that, good, that means you're good at reading people. (But are you good at interacting with them?) Personally, I used to be a better people reader but somehow have lost that abilty, especially with women. I see women who are only merely average (but attractive nevertheless) and automatically am intimidated by them even though many are nothing to be afraid of, but it takes me forever to see that, and since I'm rarely around women on a regular basis, I'm screwed. But really reading people and seeing them for who they are is good no matter whether it's men or women because that seems like a good first step of being able to interact with people, be more friendly and social and make friends. Maybe your ability to see through people is a good thing, yet it seems like you're speaking of it in a negative tone. But maybe it's to your advantage. Maybe you're being superficial yourself for thinking their facade or what you see as their "individual expression" is that important in the first place.

You say you see yourself as particularly individual and have a hard time relating with people - well, wouldn't your unique insights and perspectives provide you good conversation fuel to relate and share with others? Plus, it sounds like you need a dose of humilty. I sure to, and I've been conciously working on that. Sometimes it's better to look for similarities rather than differences.

Maybe you don't need to conciously worry about labeling yourself or not falling into a label. Just be yourself. Oh, and the "wearing many hats and playing many roles things" sounds a bit out there.

How truly individual do I see myself? Well, too much is what I've been figuring out. I think all the time I've spent thinking I'm unique has been hindering my enjoyment of life and setting me back - and not doing me any good! I think part of the reason I've gotten so detached from others and become so unable to relate is because I've got lost in myself. It's time to get out of myself, which I've been working on like I said.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3gtHKlBCOc
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Old 05-28-2012, 11:37 AM
 
Location: Gettysburg, PA
1,579 posts, read 1,519,460 times
Reputation: 2843
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Everyone thinks they are 'unique', and play up their individual 'personality', but it seems I mean 'clones' of people I know, or 'types' every day. Every time I meet a new person, I just think how they remind me of such and such. It just seems that people really aren't AS unique as they seem, and can broadly be divided into personality types, cultural types, gendered thinkers, ethnic thinkers - all based on perceived identity.

Without sounding hypocritical I feel I'm more individual than average. I've done things that very few people my age have done, I often have very original insights, and oftentimes I feel I can't totally relate to other people. I'm not special or anything - I know plenty like me, but I've also had negative experiences nobody else seems to have. Even being the only Australian to post with any regularity in the City data US section (perhaps talking out of my arse too lol) kinda demonstrates this.

Anyway, do you think it's true that we over-value our individuality? Mostly, we're just told what to think and we don't TRULY take a look at what we think, or the values and assumptions we hold, and question them. We identify us by a collection of labels, but there are probably others who identify themselves with the same labels. Some people seem defined by being female, black, atheist, liberal, Republican, an animal lover, a mother...I see myself as an individual first, an expression of being, who has to wear many hats and play many roles. I've never embraced any one label to any great degree, although some might describe me as a romantic, determinist, idealist, artist...

Also, how truly individual do you see yourself?
I think I'm rather normal, more middle of the range than most. To be truthful, I've always thought I was the normalest person I've ever met; I'd point at myself and say, "now *that* is someone that's normal."

I believe almost everyone would say they're unique. And that would probably be true to a certain extent--most of us can probably fit into some sort of broad category, but then all of us have our own weird quirks that probably few others in the same broad category as that person fits into have. You know those circle diagrams where there's overlap in parts of the areas of the circles (there's usually three of them); I feel our personalities are similar to those things only a diagram of someone's personality would be made up of thousands of those circles.

So am I normal? Probably. I'm not psychotic enough to have it keep me from being a functional member of society, so there must be something going right in my mind (though I feel an awful lot differently most of the time; but then--I get the feeling most everyone does). I'm definitely not as unique as I think I am. However, if there is someone else who is as obsessed as I am about a certain not very well-known individual that will be dead 123 years this September, we really need to talk; doubtless, there's a few of us out there, but I've yet to meet them.

You know why a lot of people you've met seem to fit into a category? It's most likely because they're just presenting to you their public persona. If you really got to *know* those people, you'd most likely find they're much different than what they appear to be in the social world. That's one of the reasons why I'm rather hesitant to let other people I know read the books I've written, 'cause then they'll get a glimpse into part of my mind I tend to keep hidden from others. I also want to get it published first (most likely will do the self-publishing route).
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Old 05-28-2012, 11:45 AM
 
3,269 posts, read 4,671,640 times
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OP: Please indulge me for a minute. I'd like to affix a 1-10 scale to this. Here it is:

The scale is as follows:
1 - Couldn't care less about being unique. In fact, has disdain for uniqueness. Desperately wants to belong to groups. Wears label(s) with pride (often "misguided" pride).
2 -
3 -
4 -
5 -
6 -
7 - Interesting person who has done alot, experienced alot, has philosophies of his/her own. Knows not to be delusional about it.
8 - Same as #7, but has done even more things and traveled more. Laughs at labels because they become more and more meaningless as he/she ages.
9 - Enhanced version of #8. Classy and humble re: their unique experiences and undeniable coolness. Perhaps a bona fide erudite man/woman, perhaps not. Mostly you'd need to coax out stories from them because, as far as the masses are concerned, their stories are too esoteric and, quite frankly, long (but interesting) and plentiful.
10 - Delusional. Thinks nobody understands him/her. Too cool for school and/or tortured artist. Thinks everyone is looking at him/her. These folks usually "jump" from #5 or #6 to #10, having skipped over #7-9.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Okay, I'd love to meet #8's and #9's, but if they're simply not strolling into my life, I'd much rather meet tons of #5 or #6 instead of folks who are #10, #1, #2. I see myself as a #6 and a half. Edit: I'm not saying the scale is the end-all-be-all. I added it so that I could best articulate my take on this subject.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Basiliximab View Post
You know those circle diagrams where there's overlap in parts of the areas of the circles (there's usually three of them); I feel our personalities are similar to those things only a diagram of someone's personality would be made up of thousands of those circles.
Oh! You just brought back a memory from math class ages ago. I think they're called Venn Diagrams. The part in boldface is quite lovely sounding, btw.

Last edited by grimace8; 05-28-2012 at 12:37 PM.. Reason: added "bona fide"
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