My Theory on Personality (or, Who the Fuck am I?)
Warning...This isn't one of those scientific theories
based on the results of surveys published in syndicated journals. This
is the kind of theory that you come up with after a lying around talking with your friends till 4:00 in
the morning, nominally playing D&D but actually trying to figure out who
you are, why you're here, and when you're gonna get laid.
You are Nobody. Nothing. You have no personality
(or at least, none to speak of).
...and think, that wasn't even an insult. Just a preface...
Ever notice how people change "personalities" depending on who they're talking
to? Ever catch yourself saying something, some quirky little figure of speech
or verbal twich, that you picked up from someone else? Wonder where you got
it, or why you do it all the time? Well, you probably picked it up from one
of your friends, or heard someone say it in public, and subconsciously thought
"hey, that was cool!"
...Ok, so that's easy...
Assume that since everyone
"picks up" mannerisms from the people they encounter, other
people make up a decent portion of your personality. So
John is mostly John, but with a little bit of Sarah, and Michael, and Zaphod
thrown in to the mix, too. He wouldn't be John, without the others. You wouldn't
be dem bones, without Professor Pi and Cletus the Foetus.
...And this isn't obvious because...
Take that a step further. Where do you draw the line between
John, and John+Sarah+Michael+Zaphod? Can you? I challenge E2 to show me a way
to determine just how deeply each person i've met has affected me (seriously,
folks, I've got some memories that need exorcising...). I believe
that you can't draw the line; you can't know how people influence you.
...But I'm still me...
There is no core personality; each of us is born with a blank
template. Maybe genetics has tilted our Etch-a-Sketcha little to one side,
but we're still blank when we pop out. Parents and environment set up a sort
of basic outline, and then we subconsiously fill in our own character as we
go through life. That's why you tend to meet so many stereotypes -- they're
just people who either haven't rounded themselves out yet, or who deliberately
chose to become a stereotype.
...So what you're saying is...
You are a composite person. I too, am a composite. I have no
personality, no existence, outside of my interaction with other, equally composite
people. Maybe that's why people go insane in solitary confinement(or maybe
not). Where it gets interesting, is when you live this philosophy. Meeting
new people and thinking to yourself, "what will I steal from you? That finger-tapping
thing? The quiet hesitation before you speak? Raised eyebrows?" Watching your
friends, and seeing which personality memes of theirs you've adapted, and
which ones they've adapted from you. I promise, you'll start to notice, if
you look for it.
Makes you wonder.