I saw a post on facebook yesterday that made me think about the need to categorise ourselves. What is this human need that makes people do quizzes to see whether they are introvert or extrovert, a summer or winter person, a city of country girl, a leader or a follower?
This facebook post image was about Ego and Soul. One side had a list of what the Ego does/wants…the other side, the Soul.
I suppose this discussion is two-fold. What is it about the human need that makes people take these quizzes, want to name who we are, to put a label on what we think we represent? Are you an astronaut or a singer? Can’t I be both?
Are you Ego or Soul?
Back to the facebook post about Ego and Soul. Quite a few of the points about Ego, I held my hand up to. And that made me feel I was wrong – that I wasn’t a good person. ‘Oh no!’ I cried. I’m evil! Then… after flagellating myself, I looked at it again.
Aren’t we made up of more than one part? Don’t we need our ying and yang to survive? If I was all Ego, I’d probably self combust but if I was all soul, would I emotionally survive? Don’t we need both to be sane and whole? Now, I’m talking about people living their lives with all you have to do to get by. I’m not in a retreat and I’m not surrounded by like minded people all the time.
I’m a writer, a project assistant in a library and I make costumes now and then. For those different roles, I need different sides to me.
I could be all soul as a writer, but I don’t see the point of writing in isolation, with my arm around my paper or computer so no-one else can see. I write because I love it, but also I want others to read my words, I want to affect them in some way. Ego. And I need my Ego to drive me. I need my Ego to be a writer.
My Soul goes into my writing though. It pours into my characters. And I make my characters a mix of Ego and Soul because if they were only one, they’d be pretty boring.
I’ve just finished reading A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale. A native Indian character talks about two souls. She can see two sides in a person. And that is what the book explores. It is dangerous to separate ourselves saying someone is better than another. Societies become dangerous when they start doing that. We have our male and female sides and when one is denied, all hell can break lose.
I’m glad I saw this list asking which are you. It’s made me think again about how we segregate and departmentalise rather than looking at the whole person and the whole society. Isn’t it better to nurture every part of us rather than deny parts? Isn’t it better to nurture and celebrate our diversity than to strive to be one thing?
I’m introverted sometimes and sometimes I’m an extrovert, most of the time, I’m somewhere in the middle. I’m mostly optimistic, but sometimes, I lose hope. I have an Ego and I need it, but I also have Soul. And I’m not going to give myself a hard time about it. I’m actually going to celebrate that I have many sides to me.
By the way, I’d recommend A Place Called Winter.
Now to try and use this in my fiction…