Social Roles: Individuality Behind The Smoke & Mirrors.

Screenshot (265)

It’s a vicious psychosocial cycle, but the best we can do is to practice seeing people outside of how we see them in their perceived social roles.

The real me is the one you can’t see.

If I told you what I was, would you believe me?

You might as well smile, because I can see through you.

-G.Kourtesiotis, 2017. Littermature, The Ugly Face Of The Mind.

A Game Of House

Some days are better than others, but I often wonder if I am the only one who walks around feeling out place everywhere I go.

I’m undoubtedly overthinking things, but I sometimes feel like a puppet on strings, or some play thing unconsciously immersed in an innocent little girl’s game of house.

^... The Matrix re-done?

Life is funny that way.

Just another doll all dressed up, on its way out the door and into the world.

Puppet-ly dolling about through the scenes of the street while making decisions that seem impulsive in moments, and intricately thought out in others.

“Where to go next?”

“Here is your order sir!”

“Is it time to feed the pet yet?”

What is it with the routine of Our Social And Working roles?

It is an interesting self experiment to go out into the world to observe yourself, and others in their daily social roles, alongside all of the behaviors that come attached with them.

Take it further, try to see, or put a guess on what you think a person stands for outside of the initial role that they have been identified with.

A simple example:

[action] You go into a coffee shop where a barista serves you coffee.

[thought] "She must like coffee A LOT to work here"

Or perhaps a very crude example:

[action] You go into a coffee shop where a barista serves you coffee.

[thought] "She has no real ambitions in life, stuck in here working in this dingy place for minimum wage"...

She’s The Boss!

Take practice in seeing alternative perspectives. Bridge an awareness to your initial thoughts while trying to find alternative viewpoints with whatever role you find someone in.

Another Example:

"Maybe she works here because...

She really loves tea; -- you know, that other coffee;

She simply loves that coffee shop smell -- an aromatic aficionado;

She really enjoys people facing -- an extrovert;

She needs an energetic environment to fuel her own energy -- energy dependent?;

She's working to supplement herself another income -- workaholic?;

She's in med school -- a real life-saver!

She doesn't really need to work, but she's working anyway to fill her time as joyously as she could-- retired, well off, simpler priorities in life?;

She's the boss! -- Maybe she owns the place;


Expanding On Social, Playing The Role!

Take it one step further, try to place them outside of their current role and into others based on what you think you perceive about this person.

This can get very creative with judgements and impressions that can be spot on, or way, WAY OFF.

Still, it’s a fun little game to play.

"She [insert current role description]... Therefore... She must/ she must be [insert alternative action/role]...

The Realm Of Endless Possibilities

Regardless of your own judgements, take notice how your thoughts are potentially viable possibilities for this person.

And most interestingly enough, all of these subjective thoughts truly exist, if only for a brief moment, within the realm of your mind.

^... Mr. Nobody? Schrodinger's cat? Endless realm of possibilities, anybody?

If you want to critique your judgmental accuracy, ask the person something that questions the line thought that you’re in. And given their answers, you will only find yourself fitting them into new roles.

This creates a new sequence of thoughts to define that person, in an endless repetition of the same pattern.

The Social Role And The Experience Is Already In Our Head!

Taking notice of my own examples, I automatically assume a female into the role based on my own preconceptions.

Despite there being no shortage of male baristas in the world, this is where my brain autonomously directed me within the visualized idea of what barista means.

Sorry ladies, it’s not personal, but it’s a personal example for me because that is what I have been conditioned and reinforced to notice in my experience.

Look, I go to Starbucks A LOT. I am served by various barista’s depending on the hour and day, and mostly, they are female. This has been my experience time and time again, which has conditioned itself into the role behind the label.

It’s what comes to mind because I spend quite a bit of time here there. Most of the things I write, draw, or design is spent doing that here there.

I can’t work at home, well sometimes I can, but having an office, or work space is critical for my own personal productivity.

It’s somewhere to separate my work from my rest, and play.

Wait, did I just separate myself into more roles?

Why is that?!

What’s the point?

I guess it’s how we’re wired.

Without sidelining ourselves into another tangent, our brain gathers all sorts of judgements and impressions from people.

Within this cranial scrutiny, society reinforces the judgements we form into the roles we see in others, and the roles we find ourselves in.

We try to figure out the individual behind the role, but we implement the role into the individual. It becomes generalized to a point, in the sense that the individual behind the role becomes diluted to fit the role itself.

Who or what are we then outside of the roles we continuously play?

It’s a funny relationship, and a complicated dynamic to say the least.

As soon as we pass a specific label on it being whatever it is that we see it as, we limit it to nothing more than how we see it.

Kierkegaard anyone?

Given the strong associations between sensory input and the social roles we encounter in our social experiences, it becomes very difficult to break away from the idea that something, or someone is anything other than what we initially set it out to be.

Unfortunately, this seems to be the way our mind is socially conditioned.

Whatever it is that you do for a living, there is good chance that most people will never see you as anything more than the role they attach you to.

You will always be:

[Insert name]

the white-collar banker;

the blue-collar mechanic;

the green-collar forest ranger;

the collarless starving artist;

Keep Them Guessing

In all of this, it is my personal preference to be a jack of all trades in hopes of assuming a limitless role.

But even in this, I am limited.

I am limited to being a haphazard worker.

Someone who tries his hands with many things, but masters none of it.

And though I could potentially develop a professional level of mastery in all of the projects I undertake, it would be irrelevant at face value once someone singles me into any one specific role within my jack of all trades ability.

The limits of the label live on, because they will only see pieces of the skill at any given time.

At face value, I can be defined as:
A jack of all trades --a haphazard worker.

In the moment of my own service, I am singled into the skilled label:
Delivery driver;
Fitness enthusiast;

“I’m like a jack of all trades, who’s a master of none.”

–The Grand Optimist, City and Colour

It’s a vicious psychosocial cycle, but the best we can do is to practice seeing people outside of how we see them in their perceived social roles.

Wait, didn’t I say that already? Oh well.

Life is funny that way!


Self Help Journaling

Ebook, Audiobook, Journaling Crash Course

Make It Stick, Write It Down. A Journaled Philosophy.

Cart is empty!