Herbert Mead. Analysis Is Mind, Self, Society

Sarah Kuntz 10/4/12 Essay 2: Herbert Mead, Mind, Self, and Society Herbert Gilbert Mead, the author of Mind, Self, and Society, is introduced by Charles w. Morris which gives a perspective to Mead before the accumulation of his essays. Mead was influenced by Charles Darwin and Watson’s behaviorism however he was greatly tilted to Watson’s behaviorism. Although he considered Watson’s views “oversimplified” he did refer himself to be a behaviorist. Mead goes further to mention, “the denial of the private nor the neglect of consciousness, but the approach to all experience in terms of conduct. In his essay the Mind, Mead simplifies the approach to understanding the mind in simple building blocks of gestures, symbols and language. Mead was trying to answer the age old question of how the mind arises. His answer was that the, “Mind arises through communication by a conversion of gestures in a social process or context of experience-not communication through mind” (p 50). These specific gestures then become the symbols and are communicated to others in an idea. Due to this communication is a constant adjustment to others and to their reactions.

The future communication becomes more eminent in the beginning of actions and reactions constantly occurring. In the essay the Self, the mind gives way (in the actions and reactions) to language and symbols which then possible for development. This development is our self and reference point for certain events in our lives, emotions and different sensations (p. 136). Mead goes on to discuss how the self does arise, “it arises through play, and games and the idea of generalized other. That organized community gives the individual his “unity of self” and the attitude of generalized other is that of the whole community” (p. 155).

Mead is explaining that our entire self reflects the tweaking of our self to match society. Furthermore, the final essay the Society, he brings accumulation of ideas of the mind and the self to relate it to society. Mead mentions that insects base their societies on physiological differences unlike the man who bases society on those around him. Man is seen to constantly change his environment by the way he uses it and create a community by a common language. What one does is defined by others, such as religion or economics. Both of these call for enormous amounts of identification and needs an audience to acknowledge this identification.

So as far as he is a self, and part of a community and his contribution is must be social (p. 324). Personally I understand Mead’s views on how the mind can be somewhat defined by behaviors into chain reactions. However this leaves the concept of deception and lying in behaviors. At times there is more to what meets the eye, and what is said and understood has multiple meanings. The human mind is so complex and defining it to just one behavior would still be simplifying the concept. I do agree with Mead on the concept of society. Society plays a very important role which man will always for the most part, mirror his actions.

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