▬ SIX ▬
We tacitly express who we are every day. This is communicated to the world at large through our personal preferences about the tangible and intangible elements that comprise our lives. This is communicated to the world at large through our persona or that part of ourselves that we show to the world or that we display to the world.
The persona, of the individual self, is the image, or the role and/or the personality that we project into the world. The persona is not the totality of the self and it is not the complete representation of the conscious aspects of the individual self, but rather it is an actor or a character that we adopt to represent us in the world of physical reality. This actor or character does change, or it is revised, over time and this actor can adapt and will display itself differently when it is with different people. When we are a different person in different situations, or with different people, we are essentially projecting a variant of our primary persona and/or personality to custom fit a particular situation or person.
Types of personas are beyond number and can include descriptives such as industrious or indolent, caring or careless, munificent or menacing, artistic or practical, and many other manifestations. Generally, a persona or an actor is a blend of multiple attributes, and an individual’s persona or personality will have characteristics that are unique to itself. One of several ways we express ourselves is through the preferences that we possess. We constantly make choices about what we prefer and what we do not prefer. These preferences or habits develop over the many stages of our lives and they can change as we change and as we grow older.
Personal preferences are expressed through our choices in food, clothing, and housing. Preferences are conveyed through our choices of friends and associates; and in how we choose to relax and to entertain ourselves; and in what we choose to value or what we choose to devalue. Our preferences, again, communicate what we prefer and what we do not prefer and that is an indication, at least a tacit indication, about who we are as actors/personas and as distinct individuals.
The general impression that is implied by preferences could range from a very distinctive and specific impression to a subtle and opaque impression. Preferences could indicate psychological intents, emotional temperaments, mental capabilities, physical capabilities, gender characteristics, and other features.
Our personas also communicate or relate to others, directly or indirectly, supplemental information about our physical and mental states. Our personas are physical and psychological representations of the individual self in the world. We can appear to be healthy or unhealthy; youthful or elderly; contented or hostile; reserved or irritable; attentive or lazy, and so forth. We can exhibit any of an endless catalogue of physical and psychological attributes and their corresponding energetic and emotional attachments.
The persona, the self as an actor in the world, expresses some aspect of our physical and psychological state; it expresses some aspect of our real internal personality and temperament; and it also expresses some of our ongoing attitude towards the world and/or our ongoing intent within the world.
Our reactions to external experience and internal experience can be represented through a variety of observable physical responses. There can be obvious physical reactions as expressed through macro-body postures or posturings. There can be reactions that include rapid micro-facial manifestations which are micro-expressions of the face that can range from extremely subtle gestures to very strong gestures. Our intent or purpose in any particular situation, via micro-facial expressions or macro-body posturing, can be observe directly as it is exhibited within a range from subtle to not so subtle.
Micro-expressions and macro-body postures are involuntary muscular reactions of the body. These involuntary muscular reactions are in response to and complement an individual’s emotional reactions. It is also possible that the individual may not be aware of these reactions and/or the individual may not desire that these reactions to be openly expressed.
Our reaction to experiences or events can be represented emotionally and/or psychologically. Emotional expressiveness can be a combination or a blend of expressiveness. An example of this: the emotion of happiness when it is connected to a hard-earned accomplishment, can then be further expressed through micro-facial manifestations of a variety of related feelings. Or: the emotion of extreme grief, when connected perhaps to a tragic event, can be accompanied by associated micro-facial gestures, body posturing, and then other articulations through a variety of feelings.
The persona can be alternatively viewed as an active principle or active extension of the individual self or the ordinary self. It is an assembly of active extensions or active faces of the conscious self as a diverse cultural being who is interfacing daily within a complex physical reality.
Another description of the persona could be understood through the conceptual mode of a first skin, second skin, and third skin. Baubiologie: an early 20th century German architectural, design, and ecological movement; promotes the concept of humans occupying three skins or three layers of coverings. Essentially our human skin is our first skin while the second and third skins are, respectively, the clothing that we wear and then the immediate housing that surrounds us. It is our second and third skins that become an extension or a further expression of our persona. We wear different types of clothing, shoes, and related accessories to complement different situations but we choose these items based upon individual preferences about color, quality, texture, utility, and style. Usually there are types of clothing that we prefer and types that we do not prefer; and our tastes can evolve throughout different stages of our lifetime. Clothing choices are functional and expressive; the choices are expressive because we usually choose the clothing that we prefer, of course, within the context of our particular culture. Those choices communicate something about ourselves.
Clothing and related items can be overt in their function and purpose, such as uniforms for certain types of service work, or protective clothing for perilous work, or business attire for an office setting, or any specialized attire for specialized vocations. Clothing styles generally vary between formal events, ceremonial events, sporting events, and family get-togethers. Ultimately an individual can exercise a degree of personalization in some aspects of whatever they wear, despite function or purpose, and that personalization will be a specific expression of themselves.
Informal, non-work clothing or casual clothing that we wear after work hours and on the weekends does tend to express a greater degree of our personality. However, whether the clothing is work-related or formal wear or in-between, our choices about specific colors can evoke emotional and psychological connotations. A predominance of dark colors or of bright colors or of neutral colors in an individual’s wardrobe can convey very distinctive and suggestive information about the individual.
Our housing choices are equally functional and expressive; they are especially expressive in terms of the elements of interior design and placement. Interior design and placement is defined as a purposeful arrangement of physical elements within an interior space; furthermore that arrangement could contain functional, aesthetic, spiritual, familial, and/or psychological value, meaning, and/or intent.
Functional value implies that our furnishing, objects, and equipment allow us to satisfy and maintain our daily human needs. A kitchen gas range for cooking, a couch for sitting and relaxing, or a bookcase for storage; are functional. And aesthetic values signify home items or elements that bring beauty and symmetry into our home. Formal and informal art objects, plants, colored and textured surfaces, distinctive furniture, different types of lighting, and purposeful/thoughtful placement of furnishings can evoke aesthetic value.
Spiritual value, in an interior design setting, can include, especially in Asia and India, a sacred space within a home that is devoted to daily devotional or prayer practices; and in western culture it can include a quiet space within a home for meditative or prayer practices.
Familial value in an interior space can include space designated for family gatherings; such as, a family room, a dining room, a media room, a game room, an outdoor cooking area, or a library.
Psychological value, in an interior design, implies the inclusion of furnishings, objects, and/or equipment that can have strong personal meaning or special significance. Furniture, photographs, antiques, and other objects that have family history attached to them, or objects that represent personal achievement, can have psychological value. These can also include special awards and plaques or objects associated with a person’s religious or spiritual beliefs.
What we surround ourselves with, inside our homes, and what we wear on our bodies do express some aspect or aspects of who we are because our preferences are involved. Ideally our clothing and the interior elements of our home, and housing choices, can suggest what is important and essential to us as a person.
What we surround ourselves with and what we wear may likewise indicate some deeper aspect or aspects of who we are. We may intentionally or unintentionally introduce elements into our lives and homes that may reflect what we aspire to and/or what we have sought to ignore.
Obviously someone with particular interests will usually reinforce those interests or values with their personal clothing choices and their interior design choices and housing choices. However is also possible for someone to take the opposite approach. A person who leads an extremely hectic work life and social life might, conversely, infuse their home with tranquil colors and objects; or someone who has a career in the arts might, conversely, exhibit more formal elements in the clothing that they choose to wear; or a person who cannot make sufficient time to interact with family members might, conversely, include copious amounts of family mementos within their work space.
A person can express themselves or who they are through artistic mediums. Artistic expression, formal and informal, can communicate our imaginative and creative aspirations in public and private settings to another individual and/or to a small grouping or a large grouping. Formal artistic expression would include visual art, sculpture, pottery, literature, architecture, music, interior design, and dance among other disciplines. Formal expressiveness in the arts communicates both personal values and cultural values, or micro and macro values. An informal artistic expressiveness primarily includes an individual’s subjective interests, hobbies, and passions. Informal expressiveness could include an endless list of personal passions; that is, cooking, sports, gardening, games, dance, collecting, travel, and others.
Formal creative expression deftly combines elements of our society and elements of the individual by expressing varying degrees of macro and micro interests. Macro, collective, or cultural elements, for formal creative expression, could include interests such as political, economic, community-based, ecological, and so forth. Micro, individual, or personal elements, for formal creativity, can include individualized choices regarding materials, colors, style, context, and so on.
Informal expression is often not meant for a large public audience and it can be a solitary pursuit or targeted for appreciation by an immediate audience of family, friends, and/or colleagues. Informal expression may or may not incorporate high formal aesthetic benchmarks but it can authentically express an individual’s creative and talented nature. Personal passions; such as gardening, cooking, or woodworking among others; can be performed with a great amount of focus on quality, intent, value, idealism, enthusiasm, and purpose.
Whether, formal or informal, creative expressiveness communicates information about the individual self to other individuals and to the community that surrounds the individual self.
The Asian art of Feng Shui and the Indian art of Vastu Shastra are concerned with placement and site positioning, whether interior or exterior, of interior space, buildings, and outdoor sites. The two spatial practices seeks to utilize auspicious or right or most appropriate placement via the balance of natural elements; earth, air, fire, and water; and/or these practices can seek to utilize sacred placement methodology and this methodology strives to align with the energetics or the life force of people and places. An ancient form of placement, geomancy, from western civilization seeks to balance human structures and activities with natural forces of the earth and its natural seasonal cycles.
The self in the world, as represented by its persona naturally seeks relationships with others. Individuals tend to work, to recreate, to exchange, and so forth, in group settings. A group setting can include, among others; a family grouping, a sports team grouping, a group of commuters on a train, a religious service gathering, or a collection of people who work together in an office.
There can be placement within a group either dictated by societal norms and/or either dictated by personal preferences. Placements within a grouping can, in some instances, provide information about the individuals in the group and the group as whole.
At a family dinner, with two parents and several children present, if placement is an elective choice then proximity and distance between a particular parent and each child could indicate different degrees or types of emotional and psychological attachments.
At a company board meeting, with officers and team members, placement of officers and staff could indicate a specific dynamic of power structures and allegiances. People who purposefully sit next to each other, at the meeting, could represent individuals, or a sub-group, with strong alliances within the overall group; while individuals who sit opposite each other or far away from each other, might indicate a sub-group with a divergent dynamic within the overall group setting.
In a high school classroom, with students and a teacher, the students may naturally situate themselves, at least, into three broad segments. Segment one, students who exhibit high interest in class content and instruction, are the students who situate in the front. Segment two, who exhibit average interest in class content and instruction, are students who prefer the middle section of the classroom. Segment three, who exhibit low interest or no interest, are those students who will inhabit the back of the classroom.
Placement, within the context of human social groupings as well as within human communities, homes, and other interiors; does convey information about the self to its peers and to its community.
Another essential element of the persona is a person’s name. While an individual’s name is pre-chosen by the parent or parents or relatives and obviously not chosen by the individual, it remains the formal and usually lifelong cultural designation for the individual self in the world. However, because of the numerous nuanced and distinctive personas and/or roles that we have in the world, in a sense a name or one name for one individual could be considered as inadequate; in order words, we have many roles in the world yet only one official name. Regardless, names for individuals; as well as names for locations, buildings, streets, countries, regions, and so on; tend to be culturally significant, appropriate, obligatory, and informative.
Although an individual’s name is important, particularly as a primary designation in the physical world, it may perhaps convey, in some manner, just as much about our culture and our immediate family as it does about the person. It should be assumed that the individual self’s name and of course the individual self’s persona/personas are only a part of the self’s totality.