I saw this note on a car when I was walking home from class one day. The person who left the note had clearly hit the car in the picture, and left a note apologizing with their contact information (which I blurred out).
Mead suggests that the self is a combination of the “I,” which exists independently of situations, and the “Me,” which is socialized, and composed of messages we receive from others. The “Me” develops when we become aware of the other, or someone/thing outside of ourselves. When we make this realization, we can also develop a view of the views of society. In other words, we know how something would be viewed by society.
When I saw this note, I wondered what this person’s motivation was when she left it. She easily could have driven away without leaving a note. I believe that it was this person’s awareness of the generalized other that prompted her to leave this note. She realized that society would look down upon her actions if she were to leave without taking responsibility for the dent in the other car, which would then lead to feelings of guilt. On the other hand, young children who have not yet become aware of the other, show no remorse or guilt when they do something wrong.
Does our awareness of the generalized other force us to do the right thing?
Is the “Me” solely responsible for people’s good deeds, or can the “I” truly be moral?