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October 10th, 2005


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02:03 pm - The self is like a diamond as big as the Ritz
Reading Cosmic Trigger, I came down with something. It's one of those things about RAW's work: it's got infectious ideas. I may not be convinced that these ideas are good, but they certainly resonate.

Anyway, RAW partitions off his personality into several facets. He seems to define them by a captialized word: Shaman, Skeptic, Mystic, and Poet.

I never planned to pick this up. At some point, though, probably about two or four months ago, I started doing this. I talk about things, though, I've begun to slip into this (rather useful) method of describing what's going on.

The Magician, for instance, is the one who has no fear, who laughs. He's not as strong as he used to be, but he's my first line of defense when things go wrong. He tests the waters when he knows there are pirhanas in the river, dances with tentacles, and sings in the rain.

The Shaman rarely bothers to come out, but his interest is perked by certain things. He's never been a big part of me, really. Well, not since I realized that DJ Conway was full of more shit than anyone I'd ever read.

The Scholar cuts through the bullshit, and is probably half the reason that the Shaman went into hiding. The Scholar pointed out early on that Shamanism has no place in Celtic religion as I practice it, and so the Shaman decided he wasn't going to be very important either. These pieces can fight it out, too, and sometimes come to understandings.

The Historian is slightly different than the Scholar, and he gets hung up on little hour-long documentaries on the Falkland Islands war, recreating and reenacting things in an accurate manner, and any map that shows troop movements (regardless of battle or time period).

The Priest turned tail and hid recently. He's afraid of coming out. Of all the roles that are played within me, this one has had the hardest time with everything recently. Gods, I want him back.

There are other parts of me, more complicated and less complicated parts. But for now, this is a good start.
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: "Everybody's On the Run", -JB

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From:chronarchy
Date:October 10th, 2005 06:08 pm (UTC)
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Hehe. It's actually a reference to a Jimmy Buffett song.
From:ceolnamara
Date:October 10th, 2005 06:36 pm (UTC)
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may i be blunt?
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From:chronarchy
Date:October 10th, 2005 06:39 pm (UTC)
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Have I ever stopped you before?
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From:creature_tamer
Date:October 10th, 2005 06:49 pm (UTC)
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Please don't take this the wrong way, but I worry a little whenever you talk about how neatly compartmentalized you've conceptualized your personality. I keep thinking about the movie "Raising Cain" and how the main character slowly developed multiple personality disorder without his "main" personality even being aware of it.
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From:singingwren
Date:October 10th, 2005 07:09 pm (UTC)
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I know what you mean, but I wouldn't worry too much. I sometimes do the same thing, but it is only to put things in perspective and not completely isolate one from the other. It helps me understand my own motives, or suppose, or at least wink and pretend I do. ;)

My sides are not so intelligent and focused as Mike's (HA, I WISH I had a scholar ;P), but it's the same idea. It's all about different approaches we take toward life, different choices we face. It's helpful to learn which aspect of you makes which decisions, because then when you make your choices you can learn to cut through bias and hear what ALL of the sides are trying to say.

For example, my Martial Artist side has this bizzarre, stern, samurai-code thing going on, one that completely clashes with the rest of my personality. It smacks of sharp discipline, is demanding and unforgiving, and somehow holds ridiculously high standards for everyone (including myself) while remaining (to the rest of me) disgustingly humble. This is the side of me, I've realized, that really steps up when it's time to make progress. When I need to get lots of work done, or when I need to lead in difficult situations, the Martial Artist always strides forward and sharply issues an order. I used to let it basically take control in all leadership situations, seeking to control progress with a firm hand while appearing simultaneously capable and self-assured (and thus intimidating) and humble and down-to-earth.

I still tend to do this a lot, but once I REALIZED it was the Martial Artist in me I learned to let other sides speak too. For example, the Friend in me realizes that there are times when standards are appropriate and times when they are not. The Magician in me acknowledges that there are times when being modest and self-deprecating is harmful and foolish. Of course, the Magician, the Friend, and the Martial Artist are not DIFFERENT personalities; they are simply different sets of experiences, different semi-categorized tendencies toward how to handle a situation. If I were taking things in one context, for example, I would handle it more like a Friend than a Martial Artist... it is not that the Friend side of my personality is taking over, it is just that I am tapping into the attributes the archetype "Friend" embodies, which are more useful to me than those of the Magician in that circumstance.

It is true that these sides often clash, but until Mike starts arguing loudly with himself and letting each side completely take over I think we are all good. There's nothing wrong with compartmentalizing your personality as long as you realize that these compartments are not complete, and that each one is somehow linked or connected ot the other. They are distinct but not separte, I guess you could say. A

fter all, most of us have way more than ONE motive for doing the things we do, and therefore I think it wise to analyze the distinguish between the sides of our selves that have different views.
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From:creature_tamer
Date:October 10th, 2005 07:22 pm (UTC)
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I see, and this is probably something I do to some extent (though I don't give my personality aspects formal names and identities). I might behave one way with family and friends, another way with co-workers, and yet another way with clients, etc.

Maybe the key question here is whether you can get these aspects working together and pooling their resources instead of being at odds with each other. If they set aside their differences and combine their talents like Voltron, what could they not accomplish?
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From:chronarchy
Date:October 10th, 2005 07:18 pm (UTC)
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Ooh, that sounds nifty!

No, really.

I've considered it, though, as a possibility. I will have to rent this movie, as I've never seen it, but I can see the potential for it.

However, each "compartment" as you call them has a definite job. I've never really seen them as being overly neat, really, and they tend to ebb and flow and manifest themselves in situations where a certain sort of personality is needed. Sometimes two or more might become active at once, and they can fit within each other like those silly Russian dolls.

I do lots of different jobs for lots of different people, though, and the necessary ego, humility, and work ethic is different for each sort of job.

When I act as a worker for OSU, for instance, a large ego is a hinderance. Customer serivices is not something where you want to be "right" all the time.

On the other hand, if you're a magician and you're not "right", you're in danger of a lot more than nothing happening. Ego is a primary tool of the Chaote.

When I'm playing the generic "guy", there's no need for work or humility. . . I'm supposed to be watching a game on TV or playing a video game. My ego is flexible, tied to my team or my skill or my brand of beer. This one has it's uses.

When I'm working as a priest, though, I settle into a single paradigm, one in which there is a definite need for humility and hard work. Ego is a stumbling block here, one that I need to put away.

Then again, I need the magician in ritual, too, so he becomes a part of the priest, as does the seer and the bard.

One skill everyone learns about church is that it's a place where you act differently. You dress differently, you speak more politely, and you sit quietly (if that's the sort of church you attend). Basically, that's all these things are: changes in action and thought pattern that are partially controlled by the person, and partially controlled by the environment.

If you want to see how difficult it is to override the environmental factors, go into a church and try to curse.

In the end, these aren't really personalities as much as they are facets of who I am. I can look through several at once, if I need to, and so far as I can tell, they react to me and my situation only. Sometimes they react without me needing to tell them to, but if they do that, it's because they've been trained to.

When I get the first words of a particular prayer out, the Priest shows up. When I grab a sabre, the athlete comes out to play. When my hand touches a bag of runes or I watch a flight of birds, the seer shows up. In all, I'd class them as natural reactions to subject matter and learned behavior.

When I say that certain prayer, I know I will move through a set of actions and thoughts that naturally follow. When I have a sabre in my hand, four years of learned behavior takes over. When I look at birds flying, I'm reminded of the practice of augury, and my body goes through the motions of trying to decipher it all.

Make some sense?
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From:creature_tamer
Date:October 10th, 2005 07:30 pm (UTC)
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Oh certainly, and see my above response. I just think it's a little worrisome if certain personality aspects are being assigned "blame" for particular actions that you regret. As you'll see if you decide to rent "Raising Cain," this gives the other personalities carte blanche to commit atrocities because they can just blame it on the whimpering child huddling in the corner. But I don't want to spoil the movie.
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From:singingwren
Date:October 10th, 2005 10:01 pm (UTC)
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If you want to see how difficult it is to override the environmental factors, go into a church and try to curse.

*giggles* I seem to remember you doing this right off the bat, actually. And me for some reason bringing up Queen of the Damned, which I also got elbowed for. Whoops, damn amoral heathens. Good thing we were talking quietly.

We did just fine after the initial confusion, though, and what you say held true. Once I had determined that I was Christian and there to pay homage to God, cursing do not cross my mind. It would have been Wrong. I was very muchly so comfortable settling into the religious environment, or at least I was up until I was suddenly thrown into an alarming social gathering in the middle of service that involved frantically shaking everybody's hand and wondering what was going on. I was definitely riding a new horse down an icy hill there, hahaha. Hopefully, whenever we get our asses... er, buttocks to Mass, I will be better prepared. :P
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From:smithing_chick
Date:October 12th, 2005 02:28 am (UTC)
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It takes a bit more than what Mike's talking about to develop MPD. OK, it takes a *lot* more. That character had suffered some serious trauma to end up the way he did, which is how MPD typically develops.

Really good movie, though. One of my psych profs & I spent an afternoon discussing how possible it would have been to do that.

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From:chronarchy
Date:October 10th, 2005 07:26 pm (UTC)
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Shamanism is, im my opinion, an overused term. It belongs to a specific ethnic culture, and I've always believed that while similarities exist between cultures, I believe that this is tied to the way the human body works, not to any similarity in culture.

Beyond that, though, shamanistic practices have little relevance to the Celtic world. I've yet to see anything that really shows that the Celts had any sort of active shamanism going on. While there are some things that may match up with various shamanistic practices, they are decidedly rare, and often require some creative stretching in order to reach their goal of proving "shamanism". The most commonly cited example is the bull-skin dream diviniation, but I've yet to really see the evidence as any sort of real proof of "shamanism". So, in general, it doesn't really fit into my primary paradigm, and so has been mostly dropped from my worldview (several people will, in fact, note that the term "Celtic Shamanism" makes my skin crawl).

Regarding the Priest, well, he was doing well for a while. Events in the past two months, though, have sent him packing. I can't quite explain it. But he's reappearing every so often.
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From:fred_smith
Date:October 11th, 2005 02:08 pm (UTC)
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I have seen it many times, especially in myself. The Magician Self is not the best of me, but when the world attacks, I hide behind him and find tremendous comfort in his triangles, charts, circles and chants.
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From:chronarchy
Date:October 11th, 2005 02:42 pm (UTC)
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It's a strange part of the self. I imagine each person has one. It's just that some people's magicians are just charlatans.

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