'What You See is the Real You,' Willard Gaylin

827 words (3 pages) Essay

24th Apr 2017 English Language Reference this

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         In the passage “What You See is the Real You,” Willard Gaylin argues against the way some people use the insights that psychoanalysis provides. He explains that psychoanalysis is used to explain the motives and purposes behind human behavior, yet it leads to the “tendency to think of the ‘inner man’ as the real man and the outer man as an illusion”. Gaylin supports his position with his discussion of how the real self is not the “inner” self, but what one seems to be from one’s character traits, attitude, and behavior. He also points out that intentions play no role in constructing the real self. Because of this, Gaylin convincingly shows that the self is affected by one’s attitude and behavior and one’s actions and that the intentions to construct the real self play no role.

         Gaylin’s argument is convincing because he claims that what we pretend to be, what we are perceived by others is the real self.

One’s real self can be distinguished through what one seems to be. According to Gaylin, “A man may not always be what he appears to be, but what he appears to be is always significant of what he is. A man is the sum total of his behavior. In other words, ignore what he is or has done, and focus on the behavior, character traits, and attitude that comes from him. For example, in the story Of Mice and Men, one of the main characters was thought to be a huge, scary guy because of what the others perceive him to be, thus they stayed away from him. Yet, he was the softest one out of all the characters even though his physical attributes say something different. Though due to the others ignoring his behavior and attitude, it lead to his death because they were scared of him. If the others had paid attention to his behavior and attitude more instead of his physical attributes, I believe that he wouldn’t have died and that he could of became one of their good friends. Before judging a person, take the time to look at how his behavior, attitude, and character traits represents them because that is his real self.

         The good intentions of a person are another form of self-advancement. Gaylin states that “You are for the most part what you seem to be, not what you would wish to be, nor, indeed, what you believe yourself to be”; therefore the intentions made by a person to construct his real self is to make them look good. In other words, he is doing good deeds to cover up for his bad side. For example, a boy supports his two younger siblings through mugging senior citizens. Sure, the money is used to support his siblings and not for drugs, but that still does not explain why he doesn’t find a job to earn money instead. The intentions in this act doesn’t construct the real self, but instead, it constructs the “inner” self as to making him look like a “good” boy and not a “bad boy”. In the end, instead of having good intentions to construct the real self, just be yourself in the way where you are who you are, not because of your deeds.

         I strongly agree with Gaylin that the ideas of the real self being constituted from behavior, character traits and attitude, and that the intentions a person as can make another person perceive him as a good person. According to Gaylin, “the inner man is a fantasy…like any fantasy, it serves your purposes alone. It has no standing in the real world which we share with each other.” Through all means, if you’re trying to make yourself look like a “good” person, keep it to yourself because it won’t change a person’s view of you that much. For instance, when the world found out that singer Chris Brown physically abused his girlfriend Rhianna, he apologized to the world with a video of him stating his actions. It made no difference. Fans weren’t able to stand watching their favorite singer knowing he physically abused his own girlfriends. Even after doing community service won’t change the views people have. In the end, being oneself and not having intentions is a good way to getting people to know your real self.

         In conclusion, Willard Gaylin argues in his passage, “What You See is the Real You” that some people are using the insights that psychoanalysis provides wrong. Through this way, people are thinking that their “inner” self is their real self, and the outer self is an illusion. I strongly agree with Gaylin that the real self is not constituted by the “inner” self, but by his behavior, attitude, and character traits. I also agree with him that intentions are made by a person to construct one’s real self into a “good” person. By doing this, one will look “good”, but one will never be their true self.

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