As I was walking through the marketplace in the afternoon I saw a large group of people congregated around a man giving a lecture. I also saw my friend sitting at a table right next to them. Although many of the other tables farther away from the group of students were vacant, he was sitting as close to them as he could. When I asked him why he had chosen to sit at that particular table he told me that he likes to sit really close to strangers because no one else does and he gets funny reactions when he does it. I thought this was very interesting because Jake’s personality is already one that leads towards social deviance and this kind of response is not unusual for him. This insight into his personality made me wonder if his actions are influenced by his “I” or his “Me”.
Mead’s theory of the I and the Me is a branch of symbolic interactionism that talks about what part of us influences our decisions. Is it the more natural part of ourselves that reacts to situations, or is it the socially constructed part of ourselves that influences how we choose to present ourselves?
Jake’s personality is very different than many others here on Oxy’s campus, he chooses to be recognizable by the fact that he is and individual. He chooses to ignore societal standards and behave in a way that makes him happy. However it is unclear whether he does this despite peer criticisms or critiques, or because of them. I believe that Jake receives positive feedback from people who see him acting deviantly and that influences his “I”. This in turn influences his Me to act on his impulses which usually result in deviant behavior.
However this may not necessarily be the case. Therefore I am asking these questions:
1) Is it even possible to determine if it is the “i” or the “me” that is influencing a situation?
2) If a person is acting solely from their “me”, does that make the action in-authentic? Or does the fact that you are in possession of your “me” make anything that your “me” influences you to do authentic?