By Athanasia Chalari (auth.)
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Additional resources for Approaches to the Individual: The Relationship between Internal and External Conversation
The relationship between internal and external conversation might take the form of a confrontational relationship. In everyday life, the individual faces a struggle between her inner orientations and social directions. This struggle does not result in a single decision that will place the individual on one or other bank of the river; rather, the continuous struggle forms the relationship between the individual’s internal needs and external forces (or internal and external conversation). Consequently, it might be argued that the relationship that I am exploring here, that is, the relationship between internal and external conversation, is located, in the framework of Simmel’s theory, in a constant conﬂict within the individual.
Goffman also observes that, during an interaction, the individual might focus her attention upon herself more than she should. This might happen in many ways; the pertinent thing is that Goffman identiﬁes this action. To apply this to the present argument, it might be said that, during an interaction with others, an individual might prefer or need to concentrate on her internal conversation which can range from daydreaming to self-monitoring given the appropriate stimulus. For example, Goffman discusses the phenomenon of embarrassment as a source of self-consciousness, as he calls it, or as a reason for the individual giving attention to herself.
Simmel maintains that this adjustment/sacriﬁce depends completely on the individual’s will,5 which is a completely personal and private orientation. Thus the degree to which the individual will follow social forms depends upon the individual and her inner resources. Society ‘expects’ each individual to ﬁnd a way to co-exist with others in a ‘meaningful’ manner. At the same time, the individual needs to be a member of a social circle (or of many social circles) that has different roots and trajectories.