A devious self


These days when I think of the self, I am regularly reminded of this. I use ‘ego’ interchangeably with ‘self’. Ego as in egotism, not the Freud definition. The inflated view of the self that most of us refer to when we say ‘ego’. While the scientific-philosophical perspective is something I am very interested in, it is more the day-to-day reveals that are more frequent.  More

The entitlement of the self

IMO, Season 4 of Mad Men really took it up a notch. I think it’s because the human condition started showing up much more than before. Episode 6 – Waldorf Stories – offers quite the example. <spoilers> To quickly give context to the non viewers, a flashback shows how Don Draper, the show’s lead character and a fur coat salesman then, was hired by an inebriated Roger Sterling (partner at an ad agency) years ago. Don rises right to the top, becoming a partner at the new agency that Sterling, and others form. When the agency wins its first award, Roger feels entitled to an acknowledgement from Don. When he doesn’t get it, he asks for it. Later, in the same episode, Peggy, whom Don ‘raises’ from secretary to copywriter, also feels entitled to Don’s  acknowledgment of her contribution to the award winning ad. In the first instance, Don is gracious and acknowledges Roger’s hand in making him what he is, but in the second, he is furious at Peggy.

It made me think of entitlement. I have read many an article about the millennial generation’s sense of entitlement, but maybe it’s not a generational thing at all. Maybe, it’s just that this generation expresses it more than others, and this is being documented much more courtesy the web. A point of difference is probably what is being asked for – opportunity (millennials) and acknowledgment. (earlier generations) More


That I worship Bill Watterson and simply adore Calvin & Hobbes is not a secret. In fact, it mostly irritates people when i quote from that unique mix of humour/sarcasm/wit and profundity. But no, this is not a gushing post. A few days back, when a friend was talking about her kids, I told her to be thankful that they weren’t like Calvin. She said one of them does have imaginary friends. I am not sure about kids these days, but I simply cannot remember any imaginary friends I might have had in my childhood. To be very fair to everyone concerned, I am quite befuddled even when it comes to recognising real friends of that era and erm, a few eras later too.

But I wonder about the character of these childhood imaginary friends, and why they exist. Is it loneliness? Considering the minimal baggage that we have at that young age, are they confidants of doubts and thoughts that we think we can’t share with others, even if they are of the same age? Calvin has his club, theories about society and education, ‘scientific experiments’ etc which he shared with Hobbes. Is it because he felt that he would be laughed at, if he shared them with others?  Hobbes usually attempts to give him a more mature perspective on all the stuff he discusses. I’d like to ask the kids with imaginary friends about the conversations. :)

Maybe, as we grow up, our baggage grows and as we conform to the norms around us, we figure out that imaginary friends have to go? Or it is perhaps a need that gets filled or forgotten about amongst other priorities, as we acquire new real people – friends, relatives or any other relationships along the way, and maybe figure out that we can share different things with different people, and not have to reveal ourselves totally to everyone? And that takes away the reason for having an imaginary friend to whom we confide all?

Real people bring their own baggage, they perhaps shield us a bit, and tell us things that we want to hear. They perhaps validate our beliefs and thoughts and inferences, either because they don’t want to be the people who deliver the bad news or they don’t care enough. Of course, I am not taking away anything from the good friends that we manage to get, if we are lucky enough – the conscience keepers. But they’re human too, and their objectivity would waver, they’d have their biases. Perhaps, we should build an imaginary friend all over again, our own objective self, one which can show our own prejudices without fear of retribution.

until next time, object of my imaginary attention :)