Becoming an Individual in Rewriting the Soul by Ian Hacking Essay

1399 Words6 Pages
In a planet consisting of over six billion humans, finding individuality in oneself becomes an arduous task. There exists in man the desire to be recognized by others as an individual with specifically positive qualities. Therefore, based on the labels assigned to him, he creates his desired persona. This concept is exemplified in Rewriting the Soul by Ian Hacking through his theory of the looping effect, which portrays a cycle of mutual changes based on the influence of classifications and those classified. Humans are given labels and thus act appropriately to either maintain the favorable labels or diminish those which appear negative. This creates a fabrication based on the influence of others rather than a true self. The mimicry of…show more content…
As Hacking dives into the history of multiple personality disorder he brings up a certain concept to justify the transition from the 19th century version of the disorder to modern day’s picture. This concept he names the “looping effect of human kinds”(21), which is explained with the MPD example being that “the doctors’ vision was different because the patients were different; but the patients were different because the doctors’ expectations were different”(21). The doctors influence the patients only to be later influenced in return by the patients thus there will never be a concrete definition of MPD nor will there be a fixed prototype of the disorder as both are being constantly mutually altered. Consequently, a diagnosed MPD possessor will never truly know whether or not they have the disorder since MPD has no locked definition. In like manner, the looping effect affects all persons as their identities are continually being modified from external influences whether they chose to be or not. In the case of consciously changing themselves, people are specifically labeled and are assigned certain qualities of which they either view as pleasant or insulting. As a result, these people choose to modify themselves in the attempt of creating a new self that embodies the favored qualities and eliminates the unattractive qualities. This new self is nothing more than a mimic of surrounding influences, which present

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