The Mind, its Function, and its Manifestation
The mind and/or human consciousness, in an overly simplified form, contain two constituent parts. Namely, the traits which can be said to materially exist in some form and the self-construction of the individual.
The materially existent traits can be further divided into two categories, ontologically functioning facets of personality and human thought tendencies. Facets of personality derive from a number of sources. They can be biological or socially constructed. Tendencies are similar in that they can also be biological or socially constructed, but the difference is that they define how an individual might make choices and their preferences rather than a facet of personality which dictates the person’s “qualities,” such as those relevant to virtue or vice. The individual’s tendencies might be said to contribute to their self-construction, but it simply aids in the creation of the self-construction rather than being a portion of it.
Self-construction is simply how an individual constructs their own identity inwardly. How an individual understands their own qualities and tendencies makes up their self-construction. What makes self-construction distinct is that it is typically not directly correlated with an individual’s materially existent traits. That is to say, an individual sees themselves different from how they actually are. It varies from individual to individual how related their self-construction is to their materially existent traits. When attempting to communicate with someone, understanding their self-construction is vital. When trying to get a point across, one must always ask “how is this individual understanding themselves to be?” When an individual attempts to assert something that runs counter to an individual’s self-construction or makes a claim that an individual’s self-construction is incorrect, communication typically breaks down.
As facets of personality and tendencies make up the category of materially existent traits, the synthesis of materially existent traits and the individual’s self-construction manifest as the individual’s outward presentation. In short, their identity. There are other factors, however, which impact how exactly that identity comes across. When other individuals engage, their identities are not experienced as they exist in reality. If person A engages with person B, person A brings to bear their own experiences, tendencies, and identity in relation to interpreting and understanding person B’s identity. The same can be said of person B in regard to how they perceive person A. This is important because it means that the identity as it “actually” exists is almost impossible to understand by anyone. For the possessor of the identity, their self-conception as a part of their identity may make them blind to some of their own traits. For someone trying to understand the identity of another, their own identity presents interference. It can be said that this interference manifests as one individual imposing an image on the other individual.
While a “miscommunication” between two minds is nearly impossible to avoid, (I qualify this impossibility with “nearly” merely out of good sense, I’ve never known two individuals to have a comprehensive and true understanding of each other) an awareness of this inevitable miscommunication can lead to some great insights in regard to interpersonal relationships. Though miscommunication happens naturally, one must always be on guard to it and be careful to police the image of another individual which their identity imposes. To allow one’s identity to impose too much an image on another person is an egregious violation of their own identity.