Response to essay - 'The divided self: does where I live make me who I am?'

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Response to essay - 'The divided self: does where I live make me who I am?'

Post by Daniel »

This is a brief response to the essay: The divided self: does where I live make me who I am? by Anandi Mishra.

"Still, I wonder if our psychology alters in accordance with the physical living spaces we inhabit – if ‘where’ I live makes me the person I am?"
__Anandi Mishra

Of course it does. In fact, it is a demanded alteration. If one does not adjust to the environment one is in both physically and psychologically then that person is going to have a complicated time of it.

As to what extent the changes of the environment upon someone, that will depend what position the individual is in relative to it. For example, Ms Mishra's account of the sights and sounds of her Delhi apartment seem pleasant in a city which has one of the highest crime rates in India. So, how she has 'psychologically positioned' herself to the environment accounts for much of her perception as noted in the essay. Needless to say, there are many in Delhi, Mumbai, or for that matter elsewhere in the world where there is little if any choice and even less so the possibility, financial or otherwise, of retreating for a time to Frankfurt or other foreign destinations. There are people in every city that will have been born, live, and will die in that city without having known any place, except via media, outside of their country. For them, the positioning is 'permanent'. Some of those children in the playground Ms Mishra writes about will eventually learn this.

Basically, the essay is about nature vs nurture. This has been one of the longer-running tennis matches of philosophy so I won't serve anything explanatory about it in this response. Besides, Ms Mishra's essay is lighter than most of the essays I've read on Aeon or Psyche. There is little that is confrontational about it. A simple question with a pleasant, thoughtful filigree.

Extending this on my part, we can see how the alterations and positionings of individuals and groups everywhere make for the circumstances we are witnessing. Pick any country, any major city, and you can see how psychologies are being altered. Positioning has become complicated in such a crowded field. Look at the news of the day and you'll get an idea.

Of course, let us be thankful that many of us can still have little moments now and then whether listening to children's voices in a nearby playground or pondering the inner and outer self from the privacy of a spacious balcony. Indeed.

Nice essay, Ms Mishra.