RE: Lies, Damn Lies, and Role Playing
Wed, 28 Feb 1996 15:29:17 EST

Timothy Anderson writes:
> Would it be too radical to suggest that
>adopting a "role" or a "core structure" is itself an exercise in
>self-deception and bad faith? The notion of constant role-
>playing implies developing scripts for hypothesis testing -- far
>too cognitive for a more experiential type like myself. If you
>ask me, to role-play and test hypotheses in this manner is
>several steps removed from experience. I would also ask the
>question posed by Beverly Walker: Isn't role playing a lie in the
>first place?

This is a very provocative idea. On the one hand, I believe that it
is very troublesome to speak of people having a "true self" or a "true
identity." Identities and selves are constructed through social
interaction and thus my identity always contains some element of my
relations to others. However, does this mean that "core structures"
are exercises in bad faith? That authenticity is a sham? I would
resist this interpretation. It seems to me that people are perfectly
capable of building identities that they would regard as central
aspects of themselves. I can build an identity as father, as scholar.
Even if my identity is not my true identity in the sense that it reflects
my unchanging essence or is independent of the social, I have n
nevertheless made that identity *mine*. And in making it mine, I can
speak of playing my role in relation to you with authenticity.
My role playing isn't just a sham.

Mike Mascolo