Archtypicality

vanity
"Hooray for me, whoever that might be."

In this culture, in my culture, we describe individuals by associating each with one of a small number of exemplar descriptions, so-called archetypes. These comparisons don't even try to determine an individual's uniquenesses, but first attempt to classify according to some similarity, what they're like or not like. The sum of the resulting similarities stands in for an individual's description, their brand, even their identity. Failing to fit into some easily recognizable 'archtypicality' earns one the default label of "oddball," which means unclassifiable, an unbranded range animal without clear social identity.

Billions of individuals vie for this sort of social definition, each selecting from a tiny few exemplar patterns.
I, for instance, could try to shape my behaviors so that I might be easily recognized as a Loving Husband or a Wise Counsel. Of course I am not all either of those, and perhaps only a tiny intermittent bit of either, so I'll seriously consider richening my self image by slipping in hints of songwriter, poet, or cook, though I hardly qualify as even half any of those archetypes. Sometimes, I seem more weasel than primate. Others, certainly less devout than decency might demand. I claim to not 'be' anybody's mechanic, though I still find myself behaving as if I was at least my own mechanic, though anyone strongly identifying with The Mechanic archtypicality could instantly see through my self-deception.

I cannot seem to coherently sum up my own parts to derive a discernible whole for myself. I hold my public personnas, perhaps more delusionally than rationally. I hold my private personnas extremely close to my vest. These private convictions, though, tend to show to anyone paying close attention, as my words and my music will seem somehow out of synch. Not even this conductor is ever really fooled by even his own subtle incongruities. He does wonder, though, just how he might go about constructing and projecting a confidently congruent self. Just who is he this time, any time?

He seems to be something other than a simple sum of his parts. Some parts don't sum. A few seem to conjugate into forms no calculation could coherently combine. The more alarming ones seem to stand on their own and cast huge shadows over any additional or even subtractional operations. Of course the observers get to draw their own conclusions and they almost never collude to arrive at even distantly similar ones. The I that might pass for me seems remarkably obfuscated, at least a plural but more likely a collective, a starburst of distinctly different bits of dust.

If the word really was the beginning, where did the things that word described emerge? A word without an object seems just as disembodied as an object without a word to describe it into rough existence. I say I'm uncertain who I am because on my better days it seems as though better than half of me is still waiting on the invention of the word to describe it while the remaining portion's descriptions seem under contentious debate to determine if they really are as described. I stand somewhere nearer the middle of that persistent muddle, wondering in a language not quite yet fully concocted, trying on descriptors like a society matron might try on hats.

I admit that I'm suspicious when I meet someone who can crisply respond to my asking who they are. I've grown to accept that I open can-of-worms conversations whenever I ask, for there could be no possible satisfying response. If you declare yourself a cost accountant, a lot more must be disclosed before I'm even able to determine your authentic
archtypicality, if that's not a contradiction in terms for even a cost accountant. By the time we've delved more deeply into what that first label means for you, I will learn that you seem to be a unique one, typical in no way other than that no one else has ever been typical, either. I will lose the loose and easy label I might have aspired for you, but I will have gained a deeper, if unspeakable, understanding of what you as a fellow person might be.

Hooray for me, whoever that might be.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved










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