Explaining ‘Dazzled’…

William James (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910)

William James (aka, the unofficial love of my life.)

Hello All,

I am currently at The Center.

I just realized how difficult it is to work up a post whenever I’m here. Usually when I write a post I’m in my room with the partition shut, hunched over my desk with green tea or a cappuccino nearby. It’s personal, comfortable, closed in, certain. But being here I completely access my school ‘social self’.

I suppose I should explain what I mean:

William James (a man who is considered to be the greatest American philosopher and psychologist. Longtime readers of The Last Classic will know that I am very much smitten with this particular dead guy,) believed that we have a different ‘self’ for every situation, beyond just one self that is ourselves, that is, myself. Have you ever noticed that you act and think differently with your family than you do with your friends? You could say that one is your ‘family social self’, and the other would be your ‘friends social self’. James believed that we have a self for every person and situation we encounter. James once said:

“Properly speaking, a man has as many social selves as there are individuals who recognize him and carry an image of him in their mind.” (If memory serves, this is from The Principles of Psychology. I wrote down the quote in my little black book but apparently didn’t see fit to write exactly where it is from.)

Also, it has been proven that certain memories are more easily retrieved when certain stimuli is present. Like when a scent or song gives you a flashback from childhood. All of that to say – the state of mind that I am normally in while I write my posts is not easily accessed while I’m at The Center, which would explain why my writing seems a tad odd (at least to me.)

____________________________________

I am back home, sitting at my desk, with my green tea…ah, all is right with the world.

I had a brief conversation with Kyle. I really hope that we stay friends after I leave Texas, I can’t quite put a finger on why I feel an odd admiration for him. Not a romantic sort of admiration, just…I’m not certain how to describe it, I feel respect for him and, I suppose, very intrigued. He seemed much more comfortable around me today, hopefully I’m growing on him. He wore a blazer – a navy blue blazer with gold buttons on the cuffs, it looked like a smaller version of one that I had bought at a church yard sale last year ( the one I bought is very large, probably meant for a rather, ah, wide, grown man, it’s just the fabric is very lovely –  like the sort of fabric that can be found on the 1950’s blazers at Whistle Stop or Memories & Treasures, the world’s greatest antique stores and two of my favorite places in the potential multiverse…anyway, I used a seam ripper and removed the shoulder pads so it would look a bit better on me, turns out I just look like a child who decided to play dress-up.)

I was sitting in the study hall reading through my notes for anatomy and physiology when my blazer-radar (I’m convinced that by now I have a blazer-radar, don’t try to convince me otherwise!) caught the smooth movement of fabric in my peripheral. I looked up to see Kyle starting up the steps to the cafe.

“Hello, Kyle.” I said casually. He whipped his head around and grinned when he saw me. “How have you been?” I asked, watching for any signs of discomfort.

“Very well, how are you?” He said in his usual composed manner. My impulse was to be blatantly honest and say You look very charming today! And particularly handsome! But something (common sense, perhaps) made me feel that it would be a bad idea…

“Great.”

He turned back to the door for a moment as one of the managers asked him a question, and I thought the conversation was over. Next thing I knew he was leaning over the table, shockingly close to me, scanning my notes and asking, “And what is it you’re studying today?”

I had forgotten exactly how piercingly blue his eyes were. He must have been raised in an area with a large population, he just has a smaller space bubble than you. I told myself. Still, it was more than a bit unnerving having that smile and those eyes and, most importantly, that impressive blazer suddenly a mere five inches away. (I was sort of extremely jealous, his blazer was obviously of superior quality to mine.)

“Oh,” I said, “Just something I should have studied last week.”

I looked up at him again, feeling not intimidated, but somehow nearing overwhelmed (perhaps ‘dazzled’ is a better word.) The tables had been entirely turned! My shoulders were raised and I could feel a sheepish smile on my face the entire time. I continued the sentence when I had already completed it, “For anatomy and physiology today. How is the day so far?”

He smiled with his incredibly white teeth, “It has been great,” he said. Cue intense eye contact and suddenly extremely sincere sounding voice, “how about yours?”

“Fine.” I said pleasantly, I could tell I was blushing. Before I could say anything else someone asked for his help in the bookstore.

“Do excuse me.” He said before promptly leaving.

I looked over at the only other person in the room, a girl who I had never seen before. She was watching me and grinning. I chuckled uncomfortably and tried to focus on my notes with little success.

After his sort of shy behavior the past few weeks the last thing I had anticipated was his response today. Perhaps what struck me was how incredibly sincere and unguarded he was. I have a feeling I’m forgetting part of the conversation, usually I’m much better at recalling things people have said. I suppose the only way I can possibly accurately describe that minute or two, is, put simply, intense. I pride myself on predicting behavior. When I’m out in public I always eavesdrop on conversations and I’m able to predict where the tone of the conversation will go. So Kyle completely breaking from his pattern of behavior was completely unexpected. This brings to mind something Heather Madame said to me when we were talking several years ago about me being unable to wrap my head around why Ryleigh left:

“I guess people aren’t as easy to figure out as you like to think they are.”

I was offended at the time, because I still thought that no one was unreadable to me. I now know that everyone is unreadable sometimes, and some people are just unreadable to me.

Sometimes I have so much to say that I can’t seem to start on a topic before another one is much too eager to make itself known, so I find myself in a rut with a headache… I have a feeling I’m going to be up late writing a massive post. Because this one doesn’t feel even nearly complete.

Until I Write Again,

–Hannah-Elizabeth/Classic

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7 thoughts on “Explaining ‘Dazzled’…

  1. Regarding your admiration for James’ belief in a multiplicity of selves, please also consider:

    Roberto Assigioli, the Italian founder of “Psycho-Synthesis.” A contemporary of Freud and Jung, this was a very spiritually oriented style of depth psychology, that featured a belief in multiple, “sub-personalities.” Exactly what you are talking about.

    Also, James Hillman recast Jung’s “monotheistic psychology,” based on the superiority of a Self (in caps) into a “polytheistic” psychology, in which the psyche has many centers. Michael Ventura, a journalist and friend of Hillman, wrote: “The central ‘I’ is not a fact, it’s a longing – the longing of all the selves within the psyche that are starving because they are not recognized.

    I’ve also tried to write about a central tenet of Buddhist psychology – that if I look for a supposed “true self” or “permanent self,” I simply cannot find it. It’s an abstraction or thought, since if I look for something unchanging over the course of my life, it isn’t visible – body, thoughts, emotions, beliefs, interests, ideas, ambitions, affections – all are subject to change.

    Some people find this frightening, but the flip side is, I am not subject to any limiting idea: “you’re a loser,” “I am no good at math,” “unlucky in love,” – if there is no unchanging me, there is no unchanging loser, etc.

    Anyway, I’m obviously very much attuned to James’ ideas along these lines.

  2. I’ve always looked at life as a stage and we’re all actors. Like you said, you act differently with different people and situations.

    Hopefully, you’ll get another opportunity to talk with Kyle and get to know him better.

  3. I love when somebody opens up for the first time, and shows a new level of confidence and comfort with the situation. The multiple selves thing is interesting, I might just have to read more about this favourite man you yours.

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