What are some of the differences/similarities between the avocado and artichoke views of the self? What do you make of the feminist, existential, and non-Western critiques of the essentialist/avocado self? Are there any other problems with the idea that human beings are fundamentally rational creatures? What is the role of desire in the self? Is it really something separate from reason, as modernism, Christianity, and Islam assert? Can it be controlled? Should it be?
Differences and Similarities between the Avocado and Artichoke views of the Self
The avocado and artichoke views of the self are two theoretical approaches that provide distinct perspectives on the nature of the self. The avocado view, often associated with essentialism, argues that the self has a fixed essence or identity that is inherent and unchanging. On the other hand, the artichoke view, influenced by existentialism, suggests that the self is layered, multifaceted, and constantly evolving.
One key difference between these views is their understanding of the self. The avocado view sees the self as a singular and unified entity, characterized by a set of inherent characteristics, traits, or qualities that define one’s essence. In contrast, the artichoke view acknowledges the complexity and multiplicity of the self, suggesting that it is made up of several layers or dimensions, each with its own unique qualities and potentials.
Another difference lies in their perspectives on the role of choice and freedom in shaping the self. The avocado view often downplays the role of individual agency, asserting that the self is predetermined and constrained by its inherent essence. In contrast, the artichoke view emphasizes the significance of choice and freedom in self-creation, suggesting that individuals have the capacity to shape and transform themselves through their actions and decisions.
However, despite these differences, there are also some similarities between these two views. Both recognize the existence of an inner self, beyond mere appearance or external manifestations, and consider it as important in understanding one’s identity.
Feminist, Existential, and Non-Western Critiques of the Essentialist/Avocado Self
Feminist critiques of the essentialist/avocado self challenge the notion that there is a fixed, universal essence that defines individuals based on gender. Feminist theorists argue that essentialist perspectives on gender are overly simplistic and fail to account for the socially constructed aspects of gender identity. They argue that gender is fluid, variable, and shaped by societal norms and expectations rather than being determined by an innate essence.
Existential critiques of the avocado self reject the idea of a fixed and predetermined essence altogether. Existentialists argue that individuals have the freedom to define themselves and create their own meaning and purpose in life. They emphasize the role of choice and personal responsibility in shaping one’s identity, asserting that the self is in a constant state of becoming and is not constrained by any predetermined essence.
Non-Western critiques of the essentialist/avocado self challenge the universality of the avocado view and its reliance on individualism and autonomy. Cultures that prioritize collectivism and communal bonds may reject the idea of a fixed individual essence and instead emphasize the interconnectedness of individuals within a social or cultural context.
Additional Problems with the Idea of Human Beings as Fundamentally Rational Creatures
While the notion of human beings as fundamentally rational creatures has been a prominent idea in Western philosophy, there are several problems with this perspective. One issue is the assumption that reason is the only or primary basis for human behavior. It ignores the complexities of human motivations, emotions, and desires, which can often override or contradict rationality.
Furthermore, the idea of human beings as purely rational creatures overlooks the influence of subconscious and unconscious processes on decision-making. Research in psychology and neuroscience has shown that many of our choices and behaviors are shaped by unconscious biases, emotions, and automatic processes that operate outside of conscious awareness.
Moreover, the fundamental rationality perspective fails to acknowledge the role of social and cultural influences on human behavior. It fails to take into account the impact of social norms, cultural values, and ideological beliefs, which can significantly shape the decision-making process.
The Role of Desire in the Self: Separate from Reason or Interconnected?
The role of desire in the self has been a subject of debate within various philosophical and religious traditions. Modernism, Christianity, and Islam have often asserted that desire is separate from reason and can lead individuals astray, advocating for its control or suppression. However, alternative perspectives challenge this dichotomy and suggest that desire and reason are interconnected.
On one hand, modernist views influenced by rationalism and enlightenment often prioritize reason over desire and advocate for the taming or control of desires. They argue that reason should guide and regulate human actions to prevent irrational and impulsive behaviors.
On the other hand, some philosophical and religious traditions, such as certain strands of existentialism or Eastern philosophies, see desire as an essential aspect of the self that drives individuals towards authenticity and self-fulfillment. They argue that desires, if understood and harnessed correctly, can align with reason to guide individuals towards meaningful and purposeful lives.
In conclusion, the avocado and artichoke views of the self provide distinct perspectives on the nature of the self, with the former emphasizing a fixed essence and the latter emphasizing layers and constant evolution. Feminist, existential, and non-Western critiques challenge the essentialist/avocado self and offer alternative perspectives. Relying solely on reason as the basis of human behavior overlooks the complexities of human motivations and unconscious processes. The role of desire in the self is subject to differing perspectives, with modernism often advocating for its control and alternative perspectives suggesting an interconnectedness with reason.