Question from the Internet:
“Explain the sociological and anthropological perspectives of the self, how does society influence the self?”
The “self” is an evolving concept, it is what “I” consider myself at any given moment. The self is the observer that observes, attains reality, places itself into reality, defines its relationship with reality.
This “self” has an anthropological origin, the being we are born into, the being that gets a certain education, upbringing, a being that gradually starts placing itself into the world it feels. This “anthropological ‘self” is the “animal” that exists and acts blindly, instinctively.
Then this “animal self” gets a certain social influence and on top of the original “animate desires” for food, sex and family it also starts to act, exist through the socially acquired desires of wealth, power, fame, and knowledge. But this social influence does not elevate the “self” above the “animal level” yet, as even those social desires are used blindly, instinctively, for egocentric “pleasure/pain” calculations.
Nevertheless, since we are social creatures and we define ourselves through constant comparison to others, the social influence has a profound effect on an individual and can significantly change or manipulate how one’s original, genetic inheritance package becomes actualized.
Thus through a purposeful, directed social influence, we can develop the original animal into a Human being.
A Human being changes its perspective. Instead of identifying oneself against the environment, comparing oneself to others in order to become better, greater, stronger, wealthier, or more powerful than others — at the expense of those others, a Human being identifies itself with the environment.
When we start to become “truly Human” we start merging with the environment, attaching the environment to ourselves as our own integral part. A truly Human being gradually accepts, incorporates its Human and Natural environment as one’s own inseparable parts through a unique “Natural love” — selfless, unconditional acceptance, and service of others and the world around oneself.
Thus the “self-evolution” — through the right social influence in the purposeful environment — can develop us from a simple, instinctive “animal” that cares only about one’s own existence, against and above others in a completely egocentric, subjective manner, to a “Human being” that senses the whole reality as its own integral part, observing and attaining reality in a completely selfless, objective manner, elevating oneself above all the inherently egocentric and subjective, physical limitations of time, space and physical motion.
The Human being becomes Natural reality’s conscious, fully integrated, and at the same time independent observer and partner, identifying, justifying all the cause and effect processes that create, sustain and develop life. As a result, the “Human self” feels not only as a fully informed, harmonious “creature” in reality, but this “Human self” also identifies itself with the source and original plan of reality, seeing the whole process of evolution from start to finish.