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#looking glass self

When I first got into astrology I was shocked by how reliable Aquarius’ were in the comments of pretty much any astrology content. They always had comments about how the description didn’t fit them and at first I was willing to chalk it up to how weird they like to be perceived. As I got deeper into astrology though I realized that the reason that they can’t see what others can see about them is because they are such a society oriented sign. They prefer to define themself by ideas and resent being nailed down. It’s why it’s very common for Aquarius placements to not realize they have certain traits or not recognize themself when you try to tell them about themselves (which I don’t recommend in general if you want to have friends). It doesn’t help that they’re fixed and the least flexible of the air signs so they can be a little stubborn when receiving new information. It can also work the reverse way, because Aquarius placements do not identify a solid self within their perception of society and ideas, they can both hear people talk about them and not recognize it and sometimes talk about themselves to others without realizing.

Basically, if you’ve heard of the looking glass self, most other signs will look at society and try to imagine how they look to others but Aquarians often stop at just looking at society and they call that “self”. They think of themself not as one person but of many ideas which is part of why they get upset when people try to pin them down. While it’s true that they might not be able to see how they come across to others it’s not so important that they do! (Also this always depends not just on their other placements but on the particular Aquarius in question because we all have free will and our charts don’t dictate our lives they just give us the skeleton or the blueprint). 

In summary, everyone is here for a different purpose and Aquarians aren’t necessarily here to be able to comment “me!” under posts on astrology pages lol.

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I'm writing a story about a character choosing to abstain from violence even when it's all around and all encompassing. A kind of nature vs nurture story set in a time where violence wasn't as looked down upon as it is today. From a sociological perspective is there a correlation between violence and the environment we grow up in?

Basic answer: Yes, there is absolutely a correlation between violence and the environment we grow up in. This is actually one of those situations that really blurs the line between psychology and sociology - what we call social psychology (we’re really clever, I know). 

In Charles Cooley’s concept of the looking-glass self, it is stated that everything we understand about our selves and our identities we learn through interactions with others. As we grow up, we learn what makes us feel good and what makes us feel bad. We like the result of eating a cookie; we don’t like getting yelled at when we eat one right before dinner. So, we learn cookies are to be eaten after dinner, or a certain length of time before dinner - an hour, maybe. Or, in a more complicated example, we learn appropriate responses to situations by watching others (primarily our parents, but also grandparents, aunts and uncles, older siblings/cousins, teachers, media we watch, etc). If someone upsets your dad and your dad responds by hitting that person, and everyone else condones that behavior, then what you will learn is - physical violence is not only okay, but expected. However, if your dad responds by hitting and those around him respond negatively, administering a social sanction (whether informal, like your mom telling him off; or formal, like the cops arresting him), then you will learn that hitting was not the appropriate response in that situation.

Another theory to consider is Kurt Lewin’s idea of authoritarian leadership. Here, Lewin developed a theory that there are three types of leadership. The authoritarian style involves leaders who are aloof, domineering, and often violent in some regard, whether psychologically or physically. The thing about authoritarian leaders is that they depend heavily on the use of force, intimidation, and unilateral decision-making, in a context that makes them seem legitimate. Authoritarian leaders will do anything to discredit or fight against, say, a democratic leader. So, countries in authoritarian leaders tend to experience a trickle-down effect of supporting authoritarianism in other situations, such as family life or the workplace. (Now, this isn’t to say that authoritarianism on a small scale can’t exist in democratic leadership styles, because they can - just look at the US.)

Depending on how your society is set up, they may also have hegemonic masculinity, like most current societies do. Hegemonic masculinity is basically a power-structure of masculinity that does two things: One, to be a man is to be powerful; and two, these are the rules you have to follow to be a man. It’s usually a very narrow definition of manhood. For example, in the US the ones at the top of this power structure are white, able-bodied, straight, cis-men. They aren’t connected with their emotions, they remain aloof in order to maintain control, and they are not afraid to resort to physical violence if need be.

The type, amount, and expression of violence is going to depend heavily on the society that you set up. The values, beliefs, and attitudes is incredibly important to create here. Who is it okay to be violent against, and who is it not? Is there anyone else around your character who doesn’t condone violence, and may help them develop their non-violent habits? How will others react to them not engaging in violence when the situation calls for it? Is it just a certain type of violence (say, physical violence) that your character is against, or is it all violence (say, psychological violence, body violence such as rape, micro-aggressions, etc.)? Remember that even if your character doesn’t like a certain type of violence, that doesn’t mean they won’t engage in others - and they probably won’t think of the other types as violence, and thus feel absolved of all sins by simply not doing one type of thing.

One last thing: Just because there is a correlation between growing up in violence and committing violence, that doesn’t mean that everyone who grows up in violence will commit violence. Personal choice is a huge factor here, especially if the violence was only in the home or school - if the rest of society condemns violence, the person may not commit it. But if it’s viewed as not just acceptable, but expected of the character, not participating will be extremely difficult and require a lot of thought and self-reflection.

-Mod Mix

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Do you ever wonder how it would’ve been if we were paler? If, by looking into this reflecting glass, we could somehow be different?

When the war broke out, Vesna and I were barely in our twenties but it felt as if we had lived in the southwest corner of the old country for decades, centuries. It was not an easy living for any of us: the rivers had dried up and the cost of desalinizing the ocean left us homeless for the sake of potable water.

Everyone in the west was nomadic. The desert had rendered us so. Still it was a far cry from the mountainous terrain where Vesna and I were born–or maybe it was the people who had made our homeland so unthinkably horrible. We may not have wanted for food or water, but there in the desert, we never wanted for safety… until the war broke out.

When it did, it came as a thunderstorm of poisoned water in the pipes and manufactured earthquakes. It was very hard for us to figure out where the fighting was coming from and who was attacking us, but slowly news trickled in that this was a civil war, that other nomads had grown tired of our rendered poverty and began to fight back.

Vesna and I knew nothing of the ethnic relations in this northern land. Nor did we understand how cut and dry the sides seemed to have manifested when we were neither ethnically indigenous to these parts nor invested wholly in the climate of politics. We were not from here.

But we were treated that way, all the same. When the lines were drawn and the sides settled, we found ourselves once again displaced by the people we had lived with for many years. Our nomadic tribe came to us at night, torches lit, faces half covered against the humidity. “You’re not one of us,” our leader told us. “We cannot trust your kind.” His pale forehead was smudged with soot and desert dust and his eyes looked ragged against the firelight.

“Where are we to go then?” Vesna asked, sheet covering her bare chest. We had been sleeping under the peaceful assumption that our lives would continue the tumultuous track it had always ran on–no way we could be caught up in the war. Yet, there we were, being forced out of the only place that had ever felt safe.

“We don’t care!” He responded.

“We’ll leave in the morning,” I interrupted because Vesna could never be trusted to speak when there were hands and feet and teeth and nails to be used in place of words.

“You’ll go now.”

“Now?” I questioned. “ Now, when there is not a star in the sky for all your smoke and when we haven’t a single idea of where to go or how? Now? You owe us the curtesy of at least one more night when we have shown you no ill will and this is how you treat us. Now? We will not go now. We will pack up and leave tomorrow, when we see fit, or we will not leave at all.”

“Very well,” he conceded, and the sound of his voice told me all I would ever need to know about these forty people. That they were caught up, just as we were, in the whirlpool of a war we did not declare. He sounded as if he never wanted to be the one to exile us, as if he had been outvoted. He sounded glad we did not fight as if we had confirmed that all the rumors about people our color had been just that–rumors.

In the morning, Vesna and I had packed only the essentials and walked west. We knew there was not water for at least 100 kilometers in any direction and so we travelled with the extra weight of knowing that this would be how we died. We did not talk for there was nothing for us to talk about. Besides, the heat was sweltering enough that we needed only the trek in front of us to levy all our energy.

By the third day, our canteens had run dry. At midday, I handed Vesna the last scrap of dried cactus root and she took it solemnly.

“Why does this keep happening to us?”

“Because we are too innocent to be unscathed by the harshness of living.”

“Yes, but why us? Why are we innocent? Why is it so hard to live?”

“Because people have long since decided that there is no other way to live. Only to hurt and be hurt. Only to subsist and exploit. People more powerful than we are have forced nature to bend at their own whim and we have been the by product of such terrible forces.”

“How do we stop it? How do we stop them?”

“ I don’t think we can.”

“Than we should just die here.” She’s yelling suddenly. “We should just lie down and die. What’s the point anyway? The world is fighting and we have been plastic in the ocean all our wretched fucking lives. Why should we keep going, keep breathing. What is the fucking point.”

“I don’t know.”

“You know everything.”

“I don’t know this. I only know that I don’t want to die in this deserted landscape and that I need more water and we’ve still got 15 more kilometers until the next well and the sun will blaze for another seven hours and I don’t know what else. But I can’t die here. I can’t let you die here either. We deserve better deaths than this.”

“Where are we going?”

“I’ll know when I get there. So will you.”

We kept walking. The well, when we found it, was dripping the last drops of water we’d see until Vieno stumbled onto us. Vesna would have died there. And if she had died, I would have followed her, head first, into the darkness of the other side. But Vieno found us and recruited us.

And we began to fight back. And eventually we won.

But there were many battles left to overcome before Vesna and I were ever okay.

She said to me, many years later: “Do you think it would have been different if we were paler?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean when you look in the mirror do you see yourself with pale skin and brown hair or do your see yourself with brown skin and black hair?”

“I see myself as I am.”

“ And you never wonder?”

“Wonder what?”

“Wonder what our lives would have been like if we looked different?

“No… Do you really wish you were one of them?”

She pauses to think about it. “No,” she says with a finality only middle age could’ve granted us.

“No, me neither


**this is set in the "many betrayals” universe**

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The Witch of Portobello, Paulo Coelho
During the recordings, I saw that things are never absolute; they depend on each individual’s perceptions. And the best way to know who we are is often to find out how others see us. This doesn’t mean that we should do what others expect us to do, but it helps us to understand ourselves better. I owed it to Athena to recover her story, to write her myth.
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Why does “Social Elevation/Transfer of Status” matter?

This is really important, in my opinion, because it might truly shape the perception of yourself as you grow up. 

As the idea of being attractive is reinforced throughout your life, you’ll begin to act and project that attractiveness. However, if you’re on the other side, which many of us might be. You were never explicitly told that you were attractive. Hell, there might even be a chance that you were never told that you’re attractive, which in turns leads you to act accordingly (e.g. you don’t know how to act attractive, or you don’t know how to convey attractiveness).

What I mean by this is, since you don’t associate yourself with “being attractive” you don’t know how to “act attractive”. And there is a really good chance, that if you don’t think you’re attractive, your social circle might not deem themselves as “attractive.” And since much of our behavior is learned, this creates a self-fulfilling prophecy, or a loop. You don’t “think” you’re attractive because you don’t associate with “attractive” people. And since you don’t associate with attractive people, you never learn how to act like someone who is attractive. 

When this is the case, you begin to find other things that you do know how to do (i.e. things that you’re good at) and start integrating those as part of your identity. I am by no means saying that attractive people only have that going for them. They don’t, but it is a part of who they are and can work it whenever they need to. 

In the theoretical world this might be deemed “the looking glass self” you see in yourself what others see in you. But you can only see it, and believe it, if and when someone brings it up. Otherwise it might go unnoticed. So to those who say that high school doesn’t matter or doesn’t affect you: you’re kind of wrong.

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 The foundation of Lacanian Psychoanalysis is founded in the idea  that once the subject views is own image becomes fascinated with its own image. This theory is rooted in  symbolic aspects as well. A child that views his own image becomes fascinated with its own image because he views its as an object outside of itself.

      One fascinating aspect of this theory is how the perception of reality and self acknowledgement of oneself is different in the stages of human growth. the teamed of self discovery is what stands out to me the most. This whole idea of the self and ego and being narcissistic.

    The ego itself is a result of narcissism. The self is a social construct in many ways due to external influences that determine how we feel and view ourselves. It is my humble opinion the images we see shape how we view ourselves and the physical world. “ The looking-glass” phase of child development views images as more than “a moment of child development”. It represents imaginary. Imagery allows for the human mind for formulate structure and without structure the images are blurs and unable to properly distinguish.

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If you are true to yourself, than being true to other people will come naturally.

But what does this mean? Well, I think that if you have no illusions about who you are, then you shouldn’t feel the want or the need to lie about yourself to other people. Some think that they are great stuff and consequently do all they can to impress others, while some automatically put themselves down, convincing others they are menial.

It’s hard to “act naturally,” as who we think we are is shaped so heavily by those around us. In fact, some argue that our perception of ourselves relies entirely on how others view us, the so-called “looking glass self.” Even if this is true, it is useful to think otherwise and give ourselves a reason to pursue what we think we might want to be.

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Sometimes I dream
that I can share my view of the world
with you like a web conference,
beyond my desktop,
where the best I can do is
an excel window and a scatter-chart trend
change in aggregate and enumerated happiness
plotted against instances of our interactions.

I want you to see
yourself through my eyes.
The flaws you see; the things you find in your dark.
and fable into false positives.
They dance in front me like fireflies;
I want you to watch them
mingle, two-step, coalesce, turn twice-helix,
flip over and tie themselves together,
multiply into eachother like negative integers
and project you into my life
like a positive affirmation.

I wish you could see yourself
like I do.
like a winning lottery ticket
instead of a check
you wish were more ‘pay’
and less 'reality.’

But who am I to say a damn thing…

This dream always turns into nightmare,
When you puppet-master-Malkovich
me in front of a mirror.
And see me how eye see myself.

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