A sociopath-leaning reader asked, "How are you able to determine your true self? Your true interests, your true you and not just a collection of identities you've worn?" My answer:
Good question. I guess I don't really expect there to be some underlying true me. I am partly my experiences. I am even more so my thoughts. I see my identity as being more a formula, less the numbers that get plugged in, and especially not the result of the formula. I am the way I perceive the world, the way I choose what I decide. Does that work for you? I know it's nice to think that you are someone or something definable. I call this the Harry Potter syndrome, people who want more than anything else to have some strange white bearded old man show up to their door and say -- don't worry, there's a reason why you are different, it's because you're a wizard, and not only are you a wizard, but you're a celebrity. Don't we all wish that we had that sort of defining purpose to our life. But we don't, I'm afraid. And those people that aren't like us are largely just amalgamations themselves. Or maybe you believe this: "People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates." Thomas SzaszReader's response:
I appreciate your well-reasoned response. Your example of the Harry Potter syndrome is right-on. I have always been unable to really grasp the Western culture, and especially American culture, desperate need to be succinctly defined, for their need to be truly unique, and their love of the ostentatious. For a while I thought my problem with the "masks" was that I never felt like their was a significant purpose and I have never been able to believe in a god or the other supernatural, though I did play the religious role quite well when I was a wee one.