After spending some time introspecting, i.e. lying on my bed and stare at the ceiling, I learned a lot about my self. I was on my back, remembering old memories and retrieving relevances from some of my strongest memories that left permanent rewiring of my mind.
This semester, which covers diverse topics of psychology, I learned a lot about the importance of maintaining a stable sense of self, and really, deciding who you are and indefinitely the ultimate principles you hold for yourself and your life. With a lot of hindsight, you need the maturity out of life experiences to transition your self from moment to moment, from one role to another, from the present to tomorrow.
Ultimately, who you are is what you think of today.
Which is built on the thoughts from yesterday. And the day before. And the days that have long gone from the day you were born.
Every transient moment need some time-out, a space-time interval where we actually take a break from that particular subjective experience, then take a step back to see it in an objective way, and then rehearse the subject again later on, at another different moment.
(Note: The space-time interval is that space and time you take to learn through metacognition.)
Every moment passing by is like an experience whereby you are writing and editing your autobiographical self.
As I’ve mentioned under the reading section, I’m currently reading Ego and Archetype by Edward F. Edinger.
Well, doesn’t everyone question the meaning of life? I’m 100% sure we can all relate to what I’ve learned today.
So I’ve gotten to the chapter where Edinger talks about the concepts of individuation. Well, let me just summarize his previous chapters to the fact that his theories and understanding of the self is based on the Jungian theories, out of all the psychology of the self theories out there.
The Jungian concepts of the self have also proven very useful. It’s because of C. G. Jung that there are popular personality tests today, like the MBTI structure and the Four Temperaments of human personalities. I’ve taken those, you can check them out here.
Meaning of meaning
So. Edinger used the word “meaningful” into two different interpretations:
Then he said: “Modern man’s most urgent need is to discover the reality and value of the inner subjective world of the psyche, to discover the symbolic life.”
Man is in need of a symbolic life [...] Only the symbolic life can express the need of the soul – the daily need of the soul, mind you! And because people have no such thing, they can never step out of this mill – this awful, grinding, banal life in which they are “nothing but.” – C. J. Jung, The Symbolic Life
Well, the basis of Jungian theory is this concept of the psyche going through life within two reservoirs: The collective unconscious and the personal unconscious, whereby our collection of experiences, memories, and emotions shape us into individuals.
My meaning of meaning
I learned that the beauty of life is that we have all these multitude states of consciousness, whereby we play so many roles in our daily lives. We’re not just a student, we’re never just a teacher, we’re not just a parent, and we’re not just any thing. We’re always playing our parts as human beings, being “nothing but” human beings who constantly experiences life and interpret our episodic memories into meaningful moments, if, indeed, we translate them into meaningful moments.
The beauty of having senses of sight, smell, touch (pressure, pain, hot, and cold), taste (salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami), kinesthetics, and at balance… All these basic human senses help us to perceive the world in any way we interpret them, and everyday, we use them all to see signs and symbols in our own, meaningful ways.
Signs and symbols are things that help us guide our own ways. We human beings need these things everyday to guide ourselves in discovering the meaning of our lives. As Paulo Coelho prophecies in his famous mystical, metaphorical fiction, The Alchemist, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” The protagonist, Santiago, is constantly guided by omens. Don’t we all relate to these stopping signs and warning symbols every single day?
Edinger went on defining a sign as a token of meaning that stands for a known entity. A symbol is an image or representation which points to something essentially unknown, a mystery.
“A sign communicates abstract, objective meaning whereas a symbol conveys living, subjective meaning. A symbol has a subjective dynamism which exerts a powerful attraction and fascination on the individual,” explains Edinger. Knowing that I am literate in so many languages, I can say that I see the same things in so many different signs. However, these by-products of my private thoughts are dead, unless realized by some kind of subjective dynamism, which is fully alive. Signs are dead, whereas symbols are “spontaneous products of the archetypal psyche. One cannot manufacture a symbol, one can only discover it. Symbols are carriers of psychic energy.”
In other words, using languages, which are just system of signs, points only to my own interpretations of something that which already existed, merely a translation, unless I project them into another idea by symbolizing a part of my linguistic life into a meaningful mystery, that which hasn’t been discovered, thus proving my individualistic existence. Does that make sense?
Case study: Selca
For example, I can use my understanding of the word selca and translate that into something that will help me learn a desired feeling, particularly a feeling that increases our self-esteem. By that definition, selca is a desired behavior that leads me to realize my progress in my current weight-loss journey. Self-camera is a cheap and simple way to let us know how much we really love ourselves. It is like a form of suggestion to ourselves (autosuggestion), in that we can pose in any way we want to act so that we look good in front of the material object called the digital camera. In a way, it suggests confidence in ourselves, which is the most popular objective in any weight-loss journey, and metaphorically, in life.
Breaking it down further, if we can imagine the camera as a particular person’s eyes, then the objective of the weight-loss journey would be for that special someone. Also known as we can have confidence in ourselves and also in that person that which we are posing to in front of that camera. We confide in ourselves, we also confide in the other person at the end of the line. In the end, your picture becomes a symbol through which that positive, smiling, psychical energy carries a feeling of confidence is passed on to that special someone. Which is why we all get that tingling feeling just by seeing the images of our favorite celebrities.
From that, my friend, just by practicing selca, we’ve really created an augmented reality, sort of a suggestive happiness in which we capture a brief, yet meaningful moment. It has became meaningful because of that special someone, or perhaps for other reasons we have for smiling in front of that self-holding camera. Perhaps it’s for the lesser and lesser reasons to smile as we grow up. Perhaps it’s because the whole world is frowning so much in these harsh times, or maybe it’s just simply because there’s no reason to NOT smile, because a single smile can change anyone’s day, much as a penny’s worth can add up to a dollar.
Depending on how we perceive that smile – Is it positive? Or is it negative? Well, obviously if you’re human, we perceive a smile as something positive. If someone smiles at you, isn’t it a reflex to smile back at them?
Control creates meaning: Getting from “I” to “Me”
I skimmed through Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi once a couple of weeks ago. Right now, my notes says that his definition of a meaningful experience looks like this: When we have a purpose that justifies our strivings, and when experience is ordered, whereby we:
Posit some supernatural force, and
Have a providential plan.
He also defined his title, flow, as an experience in which we feel a complete engagement in a creative or playful activity. That sounds pretty much like a hobby to me. Or, in the case of selca, that of a playful novelty. How can we make them meaningful, then?
Csikzentmihalyi also mentioned that taking personal control of consciousness means having control of the quality of our experience.
Thus, through the many states of consciousness we human beings can all experience, we have the ability to choose how we can interpret nothing of value into something meaningful. Like a picture of ourselves, taking our own picture. Ha.
How can we make that picture into a symbol? What does the symbol represent? What does “I” represent?
Rene Descartes suggests that “I” represent:
a thing that thinks, and
a proof that God exists.
Those two, readily, gives the solutions to the respective points Csikzentmihalyi made when we create a meaningful experience. That supernatural force comes from God, and that our providential plan is a personal willingness to think our ways into that meaningful experience.
From reading Reality, Knowledge, and Value: A Basic Introduction to Philosophy by Jerome A. Schaffer, I also learned the perception theories of Descartes. He said:
It is certain that this “I” is entirely and absolutely distinct from my body, and can exist without it. [...] But to live is to let “I”, my self, co-exist with the body. Otherwise, the body dies, so dies the mind.
So, I think that this all just means having faith in God and trusting our own plans while staying positive with our perceptions of the external world and in our relations to others will ultimately make a series of meaningful experiences that leads to a positive, symbolic life, and that always having our chins up, sensing our bodies and let “I” control every actions we take, in other words, mindfully let our selves live in these bodies we entitle our selves, we automatically set our selves up to leading a life full of positive meanings to “Me” and the positive relationship between “I” and God.
Apparently my mental breakdown of literary definitions in psychology is a time well spent to create a reason to smile and experience my next few seconds, moments, and hours of my life in any way I want it to be. I believe in this freedom, this free will, that which is still a mystery to me.
But through the subjective knowledge in psychology, the positive knowledge and truth, tried and true facts, I believe that I am at this moment have created a positive experience in this post, which then becomes a symbolic life created upon your personal self, readers.
I hope it means something to your individual self, however you’ve interpreted my words; what I know of is that it’s definitely a positivething. Ha!
Got mistaken by a Korean that I’m Korean today. Again. And again and again. They always come up with sentences I don’t understand except that there’s always some “Hanguk” or “Hangul” in the sentence. I think I’m really going to keep on building my Korean vocabulary. It doesn’t hurt to add another language, after beginner’s Japanese, poor Mandarin Chinese, kindergarten Bahasa Indonesia, and imperfect English as first language.
Anyways. After all these years of training, I now want to learn the proper techniques of selca.
Here‘s a repost of selca 101 by POPSEOUL, with suggestions from celebrities, otherwise known as the best selca practitioners:
Rule # 1: Check yourself out.
Make sure that there is nothing stuck in your teeth, that your hair is in order and that the lighting is okay.
Common ways to check yourself out are taking out the princess mirror in your purse, using the reflector on your digital camera or taking a practice shot. Remember that the more lighting, the better but if you can’t get the right amount of spot light directed to you, try using the black and white option or any other color option in your camera.
Rule # 2: Never look directly into the camera!
The worst thing you can do for yourself is to look directly into your camera for it’ll make your face look huge! For a more slimmer look, follow these three simple tricks.
(1) Look up at your camera: By elevating your camera 20 cm, you are forced to look up, which makes your face look a lot slimmer and your eyes bigger. The key to this trick is making sure that your chin is down while your eyes are looking up to the camera. And make sure that you keep your eyes wide open- like you are surprised. From personal experience, it takes time to master this, but once you have it down, you are good to go!
(2) Look down at your camera: Instead of elevating your camera 20cm, lower your camera 20cm and look straight down at it while keeping your eyes wide open. Because you are looking down, you are forced to lower your chin. This creates the necessary angle to keep the face looking slim. Although this sounds easy, the results are not as flattering as looking up at your camera.
(3) Tilt your head: The hardest yet most natural looking pose is to tilt your head, looking like you are not conscious of the camera – although you are sel-caing. Because you are looking away from your camera, it’s most likely that you are not going to get the shot you want, so don’t get discouraged if you only get parts of your face or none at all! It’s all part of the sel-ca learning process. Once you become acquainted with your digital camera and you are used to sticking your arm out, you’ll have that perfect sel-ca shot in no time.
Rule # 3: Express yourself!
Showing off your perfect teeth is so yesterday. In today’s digital era, it’s all about expressing yourself, so take advantage of the fact that there is no film to waste and show off your wacky side to the world.
(1) Put on a funny expression: There’s no better way to show off your wild side than to take some wacky shots of yourself. Being able to take such shots, shows that you are confident enough to make fun of yourself and no, you won’t be considered a freak because the pictures are for your own viewing pleasure! So snap away!
(2) Accessorize: If you get bored with just putting on funny expressions, then try accessorizing to make sel-caing more entertaining. Common props used by everyday sel-caers are scarves, towels, hats, and wigs – we dare you to try something new.
Rule # 4: Practice, practice & practice.
To master the sel-ca technique, practicing on a regular basis is a must! The best way to practice is to take your digital camera with your everywhere you go and start snapping away whenever you have extra 30 secs to spare. You can sel-ca….
(1) while waiting for a site to upload: While you are waiting for your favorite blog, POPSEOUL! to load, take some shots right by your computer. It’ll take you less than 30 seconds to turn on your camera, elevate or lower your camera – lower your chin and snap!
(2) while shopping: While waiting for the shop girls to bring the clothes in your size, take some shots of yourself by the mirror in your fitting room. Unlike the face close-ups, you can take a full body shot with the help of the mirror but the downsize is that your camera is included in the picture. But hey, as long as you can show off your slammin body, does it really matter?
(3) while driving: Next time you are stuck in traffic, whip our your digital camera and practice your sel-ca skills. But please make sure that you are stuck in dead-lock traffic when you do this. It’ll be so sad to read that the cause of the car accident was “sel-caing.”
(4) getting ready to sleep: If you just don’t want to get out of bed or can’t fall asleep, practice in your bed. This post is rated PG, so nothing naughty of course! However, let me warn you that it’s a lot harder to get your sel-ca angle in bed, but it’s worth a shot.