One for Fun

Calen created her one word meme based on Lore’s one word meme who based it on Leenda’s one word meme……..

1. Where is your cell phone? Errmmm?
2. Your hair? Brunette
3. Your dad? Raconteur
4. Your other half? Extraordinary
5. Your favorite food? Tapenade
6. Your dream last night? Puzzling
7. Your favorite drink? Pinotage
8. Your dream/goal? Abundance
9. What room you are in? Studio
10. Your hobby? One?
11. Your fear? Pseudocoma 
12. Your home away from home? Woodland
13. Where were you last night?  Home
14. Something that you aren’t? Organised
15. Muffins? Never
16. Wish list item? Thermals
17. Where you grew up? Nomad
18. Last thing you did? Eat
19. What are you wearing now? Warmth
20. Your TV? His
21. Your pets? None
22. Friends? Intense
23. Your life? Interesting
25. Missing someone? Sometimes
26. Favorite breakfast food? Yoghurt
27. Something you’re not wearing? Gloom
28. Your favorite movie w/one word title? Amelie
29. Your favorite colour? Turquoise
30. When is the last time you laughed? Yesterday
31. Cried lately? Often
32. Who will repost this? You?
33. One place that you go to over and over? Garden
34. One person who messages me regularly? Daughter
35. My favorite place to eat? Outside

Why not have a go?  Links back appreciated.  I’m wondering how long the trail is now.



I am an onion

Having written recently about being a bug and an alien, I was reminded of psychological and sociological research into the self-concept.

Shrek isn’t the first to use the analogy of an onion to describe his sense of self.  Ibsen’s Peer Gynt (1867) describes his own life in such terms:

You are no emperor, but an onion!

So now my good Peer, I shall peel you away,

neither tears nor entreaties will my verdict sway.

There goes the battered, dry outer peel-

the shipwrecked seaman on a lifeboat’s keel.

This one, the wanderer – scrawny and thin

still bearing the scent of the old Peer Gynt.

Next underneath, comes the gold-mining clown –

the juice, if there ever was any, is gone.

What an incredible number of peels!

Will one ever get the heart of the deal?

Damn it, we won’t!  For right down to the core,

there’s nothing but layers and layers and more.

Will one ever get to the heart of the deal?

In 1934, academic George Herbert Mead explored the concept of the self.  He distinguished between ‘I’ and ‘Me’.  He regarded our sense of selves to be socially constructed as humans are essentially social creatures. We are members of a society which to function efficiently must impact on the behaviour of its individuals.  The ‘me’ is what is learned in response to interactions with our environment, society and others.  The ‘me’ holds the ‘I’ in check, constraining behaviour within the functional boundaries of which the individual is a part.

The self is not so much a substance as a process in which the conversation of gestures has been internalized within an organic form. This process does not exist for itself, but is simply a phase of the whole social organization of which the individual is a part. The organization of the social act has been imported into the organism and becomes then the mind of the individual.

However, it does suggest that there is a heart of the deal, an ‘I’ that needs to be constrained.  This is not unlike Freud’s concept of the superego, the parent inside our heads, which constrains the impulses of the ‘id’ and the actions of the ‘ego’.

Freud held that many aspects of our personality are buried deep in our unconscious minds.  An idea that was incorporated into Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham’s Johari Window.  This is a tool to help better understand the self and one’s relationship’s with others.

The window has four panes.  The first being an area of commonality – what I know about myself that others know too.  The second is what I know about myself that others don’t know.  The third is a blind spot.  What others know about me, that I don’t see and the final pane is the unknown, what no-one knows about me, including me.  The tool may be an aid to becoming aware of the blind spots and what might be ‘the heart of the deal’.

You can try it for yourself, but will need several people who know you to cooperate.

The Johari Window

You’ll notice that the exercise is based on picking words from a prescribed list.  The list is a set of personality traits.  One problem with this, is it presumes that is how people view themselves and others.  That isn’t necessarily the case.  For example, I asked a Japanese friend to interpret ‘I am an artist, not a builder’ into Japanese for me.  But she replied that isn’t the way a Japanese person would describe themselves.  If our ‘self’ is social, then it would right to presume that there are cultural differences in self-perception.

In order to address this, M.H. Kuhn and T.S. McPartland devised a more open-ended tool for investigating self-perception.  It is known as the Twenty Statement Test and you are merely asked to respond to the question “Who am I?”  Responses are then categorised.  Kuhn (1960) suggested these:

  • social roles
  • ideological beliefs
  • interests
  • ambitions
  • self-evaluations

Various studies suggest that there are categorical differences in self-concept across social classes, gender, age and culture.

While supporting the view that the self is social, it doesn’t help us to understand if we are more like an apple with an inner core, or can get to the ‘heart of the deal’.   But so far, these discussions of self suggest that we are not one, but many selves.

The idea that we are multiple selves was suggested by Erving Goffman.  His thesis is very well represented in Jacques’ soliloquy in the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare:

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

In any given situation, we enter a stage wearing a mask, which represents our definition of the situation.  For example, in a work situation, I could wear the mask of the subordinate, but when I go to the club, where I’m secretary, I wear the mask of the superior.  Others respond to my self-attributions and wear masks appropriate to the parts they are playing according to their definition of the situation.  Problems occur when the situation is defined differently by the actors.  But groups generally work towards concordance, which is why in some situations you might feel like the child in the group, and in others, more like the parent.  You may have your mask given to you according to how the groups defines the situation.

Goffman is attributed with saying that the self is the sum total of all the public masks worn over a lifetime.

There is no heart of the deal.

When challenged to look more closely at our self, or multiple selves as the case may be, how might these thoughts affect your introspective processes?  Is it possible that we would have no self-concept at all if we didn’t interact with other people?


Break in the Chain

A couple of weeks ago, we started a haiku chain, with the aim of closing it again at the 21st haiku.  This is how far we got:

Mountain of paper noodles,

earthworm fodder to

keep mycelium running

(Safar Fiertze…Blisters Bunions and Blarney)

running down life’s path

many trails beckon my heart;

which one leads to me

(Calen….Impromptu Promptlings)

me and the old oak

communicate silently

at one with the earth

(Jane…Making It Right)

earth a pearl of blue

hidden in the shell of space

the pearl is my home

(Raili…Souls Gifts)

home is a feeling

of comfort and belonging

I found it within

(Linda…Spiritual Dragonfly)

within my heart
there exists no boundaries
and no exclusions


It’s worth pursuing, don’t you think?  So, if you’d like to take part, add your name to the comments, even if you’d like to provide another link in the chain.

A reminder of how it works can be found in the post Haiku Chain.

Meanwhile, I nominate:

Debbie at Spaceship China, a place where you’re guaranteed to always learn something new.


Please note:  All Rights Reserved – the individual haiku authors reserve their own copyrights to this material.

Featured Image: Created using Blender, following this tutorial.


Haiku Chain

Mountain of paper noodles,

earthworm fodder to

keep mycelium running.

One of my friends shared the TED talk below and I was really happy to see it as I’d been trying to explain this to some ex-colleagues recently and they looked at me as if I was mad.  It might have helped if I hadn’t been couching it in magical terms and wasn’t half as drunk as I was.  Anyways, moving swiftly on…..

I was shredding old school papers and PhD notes, which I’ve finally decided to let go of.  The paper will be used for mulch and I know the worms will do their work in a short space of time.  It’s a mindless activity, and as my mind wandered I remembered that I’d promised to start a haiku chain.

All this came about from a conversation revolving around the creative use of a poem to inspire another poem, making use of a word cloud.

The challenge goes like this:

Person 1 (that’ll be me)

  1. Create a haiku – no constraints
  2. Pick a person to create the next link in the chain.

Person 2 (that’ll be Calensariel, as she thought it might be fun)

  1. Create a haiku with one constraint
  2. The first word of the haiku you create is the last word of the previous haiku
  3. Pick a person to create the next link in the chain

Persons 3-20

  1. Repeat the instructions for Person 2

Person 21 (that’ll be the last person in the chain)

  1. Create a haiku with two constraints
  2. The first word of the haiku you create is the last word of the previous haiku.
  3. The last word of the haiku you create is first word of the first haiku in the chain.

And so the circle is closed.

Garden Fairy Ring.jpg
Fairy ring in the garden

A couple of ‘rules’ so that we get to keep track of the links in the chain:

  1. When you participate, you agree that others are able to share your haiku, using the credits and the link back to the post that you provide.
  2. Post all previous haiku on your blog, including all the credits and links provided.  Add your haiku to the chain.
  3. Credit yourself, and include a link back to your post.  You might need to edit your post and add the link in retrospect.
  4. Create a link back to this post.
  5. Have fun!!

Mountain of paper noodles,

earthworm fodder to

keep mycelium running.

(Safar Fiertze)

The Sandbox Challenge

Loosening-up exercises (from The Playful Way to Knowing Yourself)

If you were asked to choose seven words to describe yourself, what would they be?

  1. Wilful
  2. Wise
  3. Wild
  4. Curious
  5. Quiet
  6. Calm
  7. Restless

If you were asked to choose seven objects that have meaning for you, what objects would you choose?

  1. A Whitby jet rose pendant
  2. The painting my mother never liked
  3. A labradorite heart
  4. A kyanite pendant
  5. A small glazed clay sculpture made by a child
  6. A postcard of the Postman Pat cast of characters
  7. A hat with red horns and furry fire

If you were asked to choose seven colors that have meaning for you, what colors would you choose?

  1. Turquoise
  2. Purple
  3. Black
  4. White
  5. Grey(s)
  6. Green
  7. The juxtaposition of colours

If you were asked to choose seven places that have meaning for you, what places would you choose?

  1. The Cliffs of Moher (Co. Clare, Ireland)
  2. Newgrange (neolithic monument, Co. Louth, Ireland)
  3. Volubilis (Roman ruins, Fez-Meknes, Morocco)
  4. Small beach on Arranmore (island off the coast of Co. Donegal, Ireland)
  5. The river Shannon (Limerick, Ireland)
  6. A small bridge which provided shelter from the rain just outside Longford (Ireland)
  7. Inside myself

I suppose the real question is what have I learned from the exercise?  I describe myself with the qualities of a separate individual personality, not as a member of a community.  Meaning is given to objects and places through close, personal and important relationships, they are, in themselves, devoid of meaning.  It is the context within the patterns of meaningful interactions that they derive meaning.  They are the foci for defining memories.  I have assigned an intellectual meaning to certain colours – they act as metaphors for more complex ideas.  Why?  We give shape to an idea – why not colour?!

Just for Fun

As at least ONE of you is very much aware, Safar never was an ordinary person, having been accidentally born in a virtual dimension.  So as much as she is now firmly grounded in the realities of a different sort of revolution, she hasn’t forgotten the importance of play.  Have you noticed how adult play is regulated by rules? In fact, I used to impose them.  It isn’t good for anyone.  Perhaps we should have a debate about it one day soon?

Sooooo… as I am, to an extent, inspired by Charles Fourier’s thinking, particularly his ideas that play is an essential part of communal living, because I believe that stories are an overlooked aspect of creating a permanent culture, and because I am aware that many of my posts are  a little intense, I want to show you a different perspective (I am capable of many).

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