An argument presented by sociologist George Mead regarding the “I” and “me,” is affecting us all on a daily basis. Balancing the “I,” or spontaneous, impulsive part of yourself with the “me,” experiences from social interaction self, is what creates each individuals personality. Every choice made, creates our sense of self and pokes at the question who are we? This starts to get super philosophical and overwhelming, yet it’s a question we should all ask ourselves at least once a week. Your brain is operating 97% automatically; I think we can all use 3% to think about ourselves once in a while.
Does the amount of “I” actions vs. “me” actions come from biological epigenetics or our social environment? According to scientists that debate biological determinism vs. social determinism, it’s probably a mixture of both. Once you start to think about “I,” you’re really thinking about “me,” which is kind of a perplexing concept. Spontaneous, impulsive actions are probably a result of epigenetics whereas past experiences that influence current social choices come from “me,” or social determinism. What if as a social experiment, people were only spontaneous and ignored the social norms that they usually use as a guide. Would they loose friends or gain popularity? Or what if spontaniousness was the social norm? In the TV show Unbreakable, Kimmy, the main character, was in an underground bunker, isolated for her whole young adult life. Looking back at the series, it was a big sociological experiment. Kimmy made the spontaneous decision to move to NYC from her small town and start a new life. She doesn’t know current social norms or really what’s happening in big cities at all which makes for a pretty humorous TV show. But the point is, she has to learn all the new social norms, and adjusting isn’t very easy. She’s definitely more spontaneous and uses more “I” actions than the typical person would. And she does so subconsciously because she was raised in a different social environment.
When I evaluate myself comparing my “I” actions vs. “me” actions, I think I tend to stick with social norms rather than always being spontaneous. I’m not as outgoing as some of my friends, yet I am social to a point. Finding the balance between the two has often been difficult for me because I tend to take less risks or impulsive actions than I wish I would. Part of our decision making process comes from our genes and perhaps people that are more inverted have parents or grandparents that are also inverted. We all know that one family where the parents are very generous and kind but their child makes poor choices and isn’t very kind. Parents like that raise their child in a good environment, and have genes that are positive, but their child can still end up in a bad place. This makes me question all the nature vs. nurture debate, but I suppose families like this are anomalies. I ask each person to consider their “I” and “me” and ask yourself who you are vs. who you want to be.