Before I started delving into the readings assigned for this blog post, I took a glance at the reading schedule (formally known as “2016 Schedule” on the ENGL 299 website) and had a feeling that I was going to be writing about the chapter entitled “Subjectivity”. Well, here I am, writing about subjectivity.
We can all deduce from this chapter that “self” and “subject” are two different components that make us “who we are”. And I’m sure quite a few of us, including myself, were left questioning the notion of uniqueness and if we are truly and innately unique. During my time reading this chapter, I kept trying to formulate my own definition of uniqueness and if it is an actuality, especially in today’s world with the plethora of identities and ideologies we are able to take on with the help of the World Wide Web. To be honest, I don’t think anyone will ever be able to define “unique”. However, on page 38, Nealson and Giroux said something that sent me down a pleasant existential rabbit hole: “from the very beginning, it seems that the supposedly free “self” is already a responding subject””. This statement submerged my mind in the timeline of existence and made wonder about all of the times mass groups of people got together to protest and fight against something they felt wasn’t “right”, the “subjects” they were responding to. More specifically, my favorite topic of discussion: the beat generation and, after that, the counterculture. I thought about the rise of suburbia, corrupt politicians, protests against the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, music gravitating from an acoustic sound to a more electric sound, drugs, the list goes on. These were pivotal cultural movements people were either supporting or going against and I’m mentioning this era in particular because a lot of people felt the need to be unique or to be heard. Much like the 50’s and 60’s, there is a lot going on in our world right now, a lot of subjects, and, with the growth of technology, we are just responding on a larger scale. Some us respond differently than others and that’s just how it is. But, I think that we are all trying to find some sort of truth. I believe that the self is inherently a seeker of the truth and that we are all just trying to find our version of the truth, whatever that may be and wherever that may reside inside of you, and I guess that makes us unique. I’d like to bring this entry to a close with a quote:
“All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie” – Bob Dylan
I like your sense that the “self is inherently a seeker of the truth and that we are all just trying to find our version of the truth, whatever that may be and wherever that may reside inside of you, and I guess that makes us unique.” The key here is that you allow for different versions of the truth: you are opening yourself up to a multiplicity of truths and experiences. The power of that idea isn’t in the individual uniqueness it might inspire, but in the consensus-building it inspires. For better or worse, when we find our truth, we want others to share in that truth. This is how a counter-culture arises, but it’s also how dangerous ideologies can form. This idea can remain powerfully positive, though, if we take seriously that idea of consensus: we don’t want to aggressively define the truth for others, but rather work to convince them, to argue with them, and to be open to their arguments as well. All the truths don’t add up to one big lie but they do add up to one big and complex argument that we need to be very vigilant in maintaining.