Sorry About Your Car

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?

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3 thoughts on “Sorry About Your Car

  1. I feel as though the person who left this note would have tremendous guilt if he/she just drove away. I agree that this guilt is clearly constructed through the generalized other. If he/she told anyone that she drove away without leaving a note, he/she would have most likely been judged. The “me” in him/her was compelled to leave this note.

  2. I think this is actually an “I” response here. Whoever hit the car doesn’t have to tell anyone about it. Conscience (which I believe is an essential part of the “I”) can have a strong impact on people to do the right thing even if it isn’t easy. However, what needs to be taken into consideration is whether there was anyone WITH the person who hit this car. If so, then the situation is completely different and then what Panda said would be the most probable case. He/She would was probably embarrassed and feared judgment so made the note. Either that, or if the person’s conscience wasn’t very strong, that their friend’s WAS, hence a possibly reluctant note?

  3. The real question here is, can Quesadilla, the poster of this question which is somewhat equivilent to ‘why is there air?’, be prosecuted for not also blurring the reflection, which clearly gives the phone number 353-308-0583.

    Commonly asked questions, post graduation, by Major:

    Theology: “What would Jesus do?”
    Finance: “What do the numbers tell you?”
    Business Law: “What basis of law supports this verdict?”
    Accounting: “What reserve account needs to be debited?”
    Sociology: “Want fries with that?”

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