chapter  6
The Self as a Locus of Linguistic Causality
Pages 12

Fundamental to social ceremonial is the proper use of the words: the actor must be able to deliver the lines correctly. The conventions which facilitate social action are largely verbal. But what is the self if not an identifiable locus of communication? What we term "personality" is largely a locus of word possi­ bilities. When we expose our self-esteem to possible undermining by others in a social situation, we are exposing a linguistic identity to other loci of linguistic causality. We have no idea what words are going to spout forth from another's self-system. The self-system in this sense is an ideational linguistic device, in a continual state of modification and creation. We sit comfortably in our armchairs pouring forth conventional symbolic abstractions. In this shadowy monotone, we exercise and modify our fragile selves, while our pet cat sits purringly by, convinced probably that we are only purring too.