[Previously on TTC: But to make headway, one has to make progress. One has to keep moving ahead . . . Be observed with eyes mindful of the past, not committed to it; with eyes engaged in the present and not bound to it, and with a mind focused on the future. Everything else is fanfare and nonsense. The quicksand of a life uneventful and not worth talking about.]
People have power over people. Their opinions matter in ways more powerful than the proverbial ‘who cares what others think?’ You and I may not care, but others’ opinion makes a difference because it has weight, much like the mass of all the planets orbiting the sun has gravitas. Planets may be far away from each other and seemingly irrelevant to one another but their presence is crucial to how the solar system functions, on which life on Earth depends.
It’s the same with people. The presence of others matter, as do their opinions, regardless of how far removed they are from you.
To make life even more complicated and a little more apt, let me add another ingredient to the mix: dark matter, that totally invisible yet crucial part of the universe. Throw it in and identify its influence. Let’s note how the power other people have on what we call our Self is similar to a force invisible, inevitable, and extremely influential.
I’ve been dealing with this pervasive gravitational power for a while now on account of my educational background. Having studied psychology at Arizona State University I am well versed in the intricacies of the human mind, its interactive processes, its secret reactions and influences. The agency people wield over family, friends, strangers and people in general, this extraordinary gravitas and power, is tangible.
More importantly, it can be analyzed and explained through a number of theories.
One of my favorite approaches on the subject matter is the notion of the Looking Glass Self, a theory developed by Charles Horton Cooley, a social psychologist of the University of Michigan.
Watch this space for Part 8