Re: origins of "x self" construals

Devi (
Mon, 30 Mar 98 15:52:49 +0100

Jim Mancuso writes:

> I would go a bit farther than most PCP people in supporting the claim
>that every construction is built -- on the spot, millisecond by millisecond
>-- in order to set up an anticipatory construction against which the flow of
>input is assessed.

> This latter point is particularly important in trying to build
>explanations of self construction, for -- I would further claim -- it is
>very difficult to separate a self construction from any and every
>construction which we build. For example, even when I begin to apply all
>kinds of numerical constructs in order to add a column of numbers, my self
>construction is immediately implicated -- even if it comes down to becoming
>impatient about arriving at a solution, because I am getting inputs from my
>bladder for which I have no immediate, satisfactory anticipatory self
I'm not sure. Isn't there a distinction between the construction that
includes a self-construction because a self is doing the construing
(which is my understanding of what you're saying above, please correct me
if I'm wrong), and a construction which deliberately, explicitly and
self-consciously (!) examines the notion of "self" held by a particular

Note the inverted commas. I'm with you if you're implying that a self
cannot model a self (it will run up against undecidable, i.e. logically
contradictory assertions, Godel etc.); but provided we allow a notion of
a metalanguage, a self can certainly model a "self" which, perhaps, your
analysis doesn't allow for?

> Following this line [elaborations of which are available elsewhere] I
>cannot readily speak of "segmented" selves.
Why not? In a grid, "myself as I am now" as distinct from "myself as I'd
like to be" are just such segmentations, and so one must allow for the
same kind of segmentation in the day-to-day thinking-and-behaviour
construing that underlies such grid exercises.

> Using the complex person-defining construct systems which we develop,
>one would be capable of constructing millions and zillions of selves. Once
>again citing the grand master, something like, "There are an infinite number
>of constructions which one can place on an event!"
> Surely, when I have spent 7 or 8 hours trying to piece together a
>complex set of studies, or the results of a statistical analysis, have
>stopped for a nice dinner, and build a liesure self by which to anticipate
>my self for the next several hours, I will build an anticipatory self
>construction which is quite different from the one I build when I have spent
>an afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum and build the anticipatory self
>construction I will use for the hours I will spend at a Broadway Theatre.
If I'm following your reasoning, (sorry if I don't: I've just finished a
lecture to class of 450 students on conventional motivation theory,
enough to fuzz up anyone's sensorium!) here you're saying that we do
create distinct situational selves, but that there's no sense in grouping
or categorising them under generics such as "leisure selves" because
these would be as different from each other within the category, as they
are from selves outside the category? I could see that makes sense.

> What would be the value of speaking of my liesure self?
> Wouldn't we gain more explanatory power from asessing the person's
>construct system, and attempting to lay out those interrelated parts of that
>system which are applicable in the moment by moment construction of the
>peron's self?


Devi Jankowicz