Human being capable of playing roles in a human society.
Note this implies quite a lot of capacities, that indeed also take some
20 years of education to fully acquire.
And more precisely - and also see self,
role - every sane adult human being in a human
society is treated as if one is a
as if he or she has a self, a history,
roles, responsibilities, duties, freedoms,
interests, and the ability to reason about himself or herself at least
as if all this is so, and as if there resides inside or connected to
one's body a unique entity that has all these properties, that has a
free will, and has minimally
adequate ideas about
and that can be held responsible for his or her actions, and
others, and be punished or rewarded.
To put what matters a little more precisely and distinctly - and compare
"Every man has three characters - that which he exhibits, that which
has, and that which he thinks he has." (Alphonse
1. Every person has a
sense of self, and this comes in three guises:
A. as what one is ......................... the
B. as what one believes one is ........ the
C. as one pretends one is .............. the
self is what one has made of oneself,
and comes from one's capacities, and decisions to - believe to - be a so
and so, and to
desire such and such ends.
Personality and ego
depend on the self.
4. The self can only be
experienced in part:
There is more to anyone than anyone can experience at any time.
5. The self changes
gradually, as it depends on learning.
That every person (if not insane or very
extra-ordinary) has a sense of
self is simply a matter of everyday experience,
in the sense that one experiences one's self
(or believes one does)
and others act, talk and
behave as if they experience their selves.
The self is far more comprehensive that the
roles it plays, so to speak:
What one believes oneself to be is one of the things
the self does - basically, constructing a theory about itself, and adopting
that, and one's self is created and built during one's life, and is
normally far larger and comprehensive than one can be
conscious of or show
at any particular moment.
It is important to see that, at least in ordinary
reality, people make themselves to a considerable extent - as is quite
clearly possible if what they believe they are, is, like their other
theory, which is continuously revised and updated, and depends on
their own choices and
And it is also important to see that one can only
experience part of what one is at any time, and, moreover, that what one
does experience is always in part effect of and in part
whatever caused the experience, and never the real thing, insofar as it is
not a simple bodily pain or pleasure. (And even that is in fact a message
of the kind "your toe requires attention").
It is also important to see that, in the terms of this
remark, most people mistake their
ego for their
self; that every adult who
is not thoroughly insane plays some role (father, mother, employee, Good
Christian etc.) nearly all the time, and tends to confuse himself or herself
with the roles one plays in society; and that very few adults dare to act, think or
feel out of the characters they familiarly play. (This last fact, which may
be named the lack of individual character, is one of the root causes of
human history being by and large a "record of the crimes and follies of
mankind" (Gibbon): Mass-murdering, genocides etc. are perpetrated by
perfectly ordinary and average people on perfectly ordinary average people
for perfectly ordinary and average human weaknesses. If ordinary human
beings would be able to create a just society, they would have done so long
ago. See: Coster and