I got a comment from DFA on my last post, "Myself." It is a long comment. And as such, it deserves a response all to itself. :) Well, maybe I'm making up that bit about deserving recognition. But in all candidness, if you post a long and well thought-out comment, I'll take the time to respond to it in depth. So let's get started, shall we?
At least you can take your own criticism. I think that would bother me more than other people's criticism.
It does bother me more than other people's criticism. When other people criticize me, I only have to sit through whatever they have to say. When I criticize me, I have to live with it. It's all in my head, and ideas are the most insidious things to stamp out. Like Inception, you know?
Why do you suppose you feel a compulsion to know who you are?
I look at my friends, and they seem so sure in who they are. Granted, they're probably just as confused on the subject as me, but they seem so self-assured. I don't have that sort of confidence. I've taken all the personality tests - there's even one displayed on the sidebar of this blog - but just because I know the "what" doesn't mean I have the foggiest clue as to the "why." And I hate uncertainty. So I guess my compulsion comes from a desire to be certain about what would seem the simplest fact of life: who I am.
Or is it because you have hypothesized who others are and are observing them to determine, if they are indeed as hypothetically determined? Is this a hypothesis or empirical data?
Well, I have hypotheses about all my friends. While sitting in the corner, I watch people. And in the course of that watching, I start to form ideas about them. I try to figure out why they're doing things which don't make sense to me. The thing is, it's all kind of subconscious. I don't start out by thinking "I'm going to figure out what makes X tick." I don't even have conscious theories, until I try to explain them to people. Then, suddenly, everything I've observed coalesces into a hypothesis - which wasn't there until someone asks me to explain "X."
What are these "social graces" you speak of?
The set of skills necessary to generally get along with people. Commonly known as being friendly with strangers. I'm an introvert. Now, that doesn't justify my extreme awkwardness in groups I don't know, but it does explain part of it. I feel very awkward carrying on conversations with people I don't know very well. Some people have the charisma necessary to make themselves accepted in any group of people. I'm not one of them.
Is the point of life to know who people are?
No, but life is helped out by knowing people. Think of it as oil for the rest of the machinery of life.
I always envy people that can analyze themselves and others, I have no patience for it. But, I am interested in your thoughts on the subject. This way I can think about it, without performing a long boring analysis of people. That is really boring. It is so much more fun to discuss and do stuff with people than to profile and analyze them.
I definitely agree. Like I said, I don't do it on purpose or by design. If someone's on my radar, I just kind of ... collect information on them, I guess. Long analyses of people are really boring, I agree. That's why I don't generally talk with people about my observations, because they start thinking I actually stalk my friends. I don't. I just pick things up about them over extended periods of time. If I were trying to watch people, I'd be a creeper of the first order.