What does Mead mean when he says that the self is both a subject and an object to itself?

Mead was making the point that a major aspect of being a self, a concious being, is being able to think of ourselves as others would see us. He posits that this is neccessary for the development of our society as well as for each individual. We all exist as a part of a whole, and by using others as a frame of reference (where we reference ourselves in light of others) we are able to form a view of ourself in context.

I like to talk to myself a lot. I use it, as Mead states, to reason things out, almost like a have an imaginary brain friend. If I can see my thoughts as others see them, then I am better able to form arguments that will make sense to others.

I have been thinking a lot about some people I know with Asberger's Syndrome. They seem to be missing part of the ability to see themselves as others see them. They talk without noticing that everyone else is annoyed or falling asleep.

I think Mead was also trying to say that our sense of self relies on being a part of a society, a "team", and that the I comes from being in the team ... so, you could also say that the I or the me IS the team :D

I really like thinking of examples where we are only the subject or only the object to ourselves ... like when I draw and am absorbed in the act of creation, of placing my own perspective down onto paper (although even that has overtones of communication), and then I realize that I've been at it for hours and didn't eat. Or, from the opposite end, I take care of mentally ill patients for work, and some of them are there, but not there ... some of them have little or no sense of self left. Others have lost the ability to communicate, but they are still very much a self, and those are the ones who will fight you when you violate their privacy. Violence is the last way that they have to communicate with the rest of us.

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