Most of us are not one unitary self, as we think we are. Rather we are a networked bundle of ‘selves’ somehow getting by in the same body.
For example, Self 1, of a young lady might decide that she must lose some weight within the next six months or so. So, she goes to a gym that promises her to help her shed some specific weight within a specific time period. She then reads up a a lot on ‘diets’ and invests her time and energy in following those. That ‘self’ in her also buys a bathroom scale to keep a watch on her weight reduction program.
But ‘Self 2’, of the same young lady also likes to splurge on the latest ice-creams and chocolates and grilled ham sandwiches and that ‘Self 2’ takes care to load her refrigerator with assorted kinds of ice-creams, chocolates and sandwiches, which her ‘Self 2’ would like to enjoy when ‘Self 2’ would be bored or happy for some reason.
Similarly, ‘Self 3’ wonders whether a little infidelity would make life worth living. But her ‘Self 4’, conditioned by years of conditioning at school and home would only let such a thing happen over her dead body.
While all these ‘selves’ are fighting with each other, Self 5 desires to do well in her post graduate exams so that she would be able to crack the tough test for getting a prestigious job in the Indian Administrative Service.
Likewise, there are so many ‘selves’ in a person clamoring for attention and action. These different ‘selves’ existing within each of us, have their specific intentions, specific behavior patterns that result in actions (mostly predictable and repeatable) that take up our time. She fills up the day with many activities that lend a comforting support to her different ‘selves’ nested within her body. She is in a constant race against time to fulfill the intention of each self. Therefore, she becomes too busy maintaining her different selves, which might wear her down by the end of the day. In fact, she through her effort creates too many inauthentic constraints that impedes normal flow of life. The constraints she creates, both authentic and inauthentic, shape her destiny.
The point is we are psychologically ‘fragmented’ but most often we might not be even aware of such internal fragmentation. We might be simply too preoccupied with a confused whirl of fleeting sensations, memories, intentions, feelings, thoughts, behavior, must-do-tasks and emotions. Caught in such a vortex we are certainly prevented from seeing and noticing what needs to be seen or noticed. We are lost in a haze of preoccupation and anxieties for different reasons or we are numbed by the sheer sensory overload that comes from modern living. It affects our health and living. There are always too many things to do, so many people to see (physically) or interact over social media, so many meetings to attend, so many things to be told to so many people, so much money to earn, just so many deadlines to meet. Years might pass before we finally stop and look at these different selves within ourselves before we decide to create a new course of life based on focused attention.
So, the questions are:
What happens if the ‘selves’ weren’t aware of each other?
What happens if the selves simply knew each other well enough to form a community of strongly networked selves that help each other grow?
What happens if a person tries to create or design synergy between different selves?
How does one become a better spectator and player in the networked community of human society that constantly interacts with nature – both within and without?