I just picked up a book for my 15yr old daughter from the library. I needed some help from the librarian and then as I was leaving I said to her, “I have to tell you the book isn’t for me but my daughter”. Why did I say that, why was I worried that she would judge me for reading this genre of book?
The book was a fantasy book called Allegiant by Veronica Roth, hardly something to be embarrassed about? On some further reflection I always bring a book from my considerable library to the synagogue to help pass “slow” phases (what can I do, I love to read), and I always place the cover of my books face down so that others passing by don’t get to see the title of what I am reading.
My choice of books is certainly not in the mainstream and is of a very esoteric nature in many instances, which I guess makes me a little self-conscious. I don’t necessarily want to be associated as that loopy mystical guy, yet in many instances it is something I strive for.
Coming back to why I needed to say to the librarian that book is for my daughter; I think the books we read are a window into our soul, and strangely I was worried about what a women who I have never seen before might think about me. At this stage I have no fitting answers, to why I care.
I do however feel that what we read is a very important insight into who we are as a person. I only hope that I have a different view of judging a person by the TV they watch. While writing the above in a “free association” mindset I realize I think I have answered my own question within a Jungian persona point of view.
Like the persona we share with the world in terms of our personality such as extroversion or introversion, we are doing the same with the books we read and the TV we watch. If for instance most of the books I read are academic in nature then I am probably projecting an intellectual persona to the world. Therefore when I checked Allegiant out I suddenly felt a tension between the persona I project and this caused me enough discomfort/embarrassment/insecurity to try and justify it as in an ego defence.
As a student of the psyche this insight and my willingness to go deeper into the complex allows me to bring to consciousness something I didn’t realize was affecting me unconsciously. These insights are incredibly powerful as they help us bring to consciousness why we are feeling like we are feeling.
Today I am feeling anxious because I requested something very important from someone. I didn’t quite realize how deeply this important request was affecting me, through this seemingly innocuous statement to a librarian I have now placed my emotions in context. The need to protect my ego helped me see how much of my ego is attached to the request I made and how vulnerable I feel. What to do with this knowledge? I am not sure exactly but just realizing that I am anxious and why is actually powerful knowledge and is already causing me to relax 🙂