Mead’s Thoughts Of Human Interaction: Directions-read each statement and answer the question with the statement: 1. A concept that struck my interest in this week’s reading was Mead’s thoughts of human interaction involving significant symbols. Simply put, these symbols initially have to have direct meaning and that meaning must be shared within some group of individuals.
An example provided in the text is words turned into phrases or gestures such as handshakes or applauses. These symbols come to be through interaction which is how the significance of the symbol is met. With this background information, I began thinking of personal experiences within these symbols. I was doing my reading at a local coffee shop and as I was reading, I noticed employees putting chairs on top of tables and sweeping the floor. As soon as I witnessed this, I realized the shop was closing and I should pack up my stuff and leave.
This is a prime example of a significant symbol in the form of a gesture. This experience made me realize how often we use or interpret significant symbols to communicate, whether it is directly or indirectly. I also thought about how at times I get frustrated when people don’t understand me. Specifically family or close friends who know me well. At times I expect certain responses and don’t understand why I don’t receive them from these particular people in my life. I began thinking these situations may be a result of the symbols I use possibly not being significant to the other individual. My question to you is, can you think of a scenario where you understood an indirect significant symbol such as my example at the coffee shop? Or, have there been times where others failed to understand you due to not sharing the same significant symbols? If so and you’d like to share, please do!
2. One concept that really stood out to me was when the chapter was comparing Mead’s version and Cooly’s version. They are in a sense very similar observations — Cooley first coined the term looking-glass self and I feel like Mead went more in-depth with that perspective by explaining the concept of self through Me and I. Mead explains it by seeing oneself as an object — and that it is the capacity to be self-aware.
From that viewpoint, you are able to see ”their” perspective and he states that when we adopt their perspective, we are able to see ourselves as an object and we develop self-awareness. I feel like this is very applicable to my life as I have grown into my self-identity. I feel as if the concept of self is ever-changing — and I believe it depends on the season of life you are in, whether that be social status, marital status, occupation or education. My question for everyone would be doing you believe the concept of Self is changing and or can be changed? As well as do you believe Self is determined by where you are in life and how you others see you?
3. I had not thought about the components to self. The three being imagining how we appear to others, imagining how they evaluate our appearances, and lastly, we create a sense of self based on our imaginary understanding of how others evaluate us. What really caught my attention was the statements followed by the three components, “I am who you think I think you think I am.” It stood out to me and made me think about when I meet new people and when new people meet me.
I also think this is a strong statement because in today’s society we want to be accepted. I feel like this also makes us think negatively about ourselves when in reality we don’t know how others feel about us. Mead talked about how gestures carry meaning. I believe gestures are also what make us think about how others feel about us. For example, I can be very friendly or but sometimes when I meet people I come off as rude and they think I dont like them.
This is not the case, sometimes I’m just shy. In Cooley’s contributions, he spoke about primary and secondary groups with who we interact. It mentions the differences between the two. For example, my primary group would include my family such as my mom, dad, sister, grandma, etc., and my friends. These are people who I communicate with, have a strong bond, and hang out. An example of my second group would be co-workers, bosses, classmates. This is because our relationship is more formal and less intimate.
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