David Hume has a strong reputation in philosophical circles for having one of the unique intellectual ideas in history. The concepts are relevant in today’s world, where people are grappling with various social, political, and economic issues (Landy, 2012). His ideas on self or personal identity, in particular, may be used to assist victims of virtual conflicts and problems.
It is impossible, according to Hume, to come up with a straightforward way of expressing oneself. Instead, people shape their own identities based on their experiences (Spirada, 2016). As a result, it would be possible to formulate a specific concept of may be termed as self or the consciousness of personal identity. The philosopher further indicates that to have an idea of self, humans must have an impression that matches the same concept. Since it does not exist, it may be daunting to express self. What many people may point to as self is hence momentarily and will change as time lapses. In conclusion, Hume indicates that humans are a collection of various perceptions which succeed each other. The identity or the mind of a person is hence fictitious (Landy, 2012).Whenever self is expressed, the philosopher indicates that it is either an indication of pride or humility. They will also either imply whether a person has love and hatred for self or other people.
Hume’s philosophy can be applied in the contemporary world where virtual tensions and issues have escalated. As Schwartz and Halegoua (2015) explain, many people are influenced by what they see and hear on the online platform. It applies in particular when they view the information on the social media. Leung (2013) adds that the element of revealing personal information to other social media users creates concerns amongst the people; it is associated with intrusion of privacy and confidentiality. Since the firms offering the related services may require the data to identify the users, it may be difficult to remain anonymous. Besides, the platforms are designed to help humans to interact and share ideas; it means that it is necessary to offer basic personal information. Some of the issues that are associated with the online platform are bullying, identity theft, and low self-esteem among others.
Undeniably, the virtual platform has allowed people to develop their character. It is indeed possible to express a personality that does not exist in real life. It can also be referred to as an independent character. The formation of this type of personality is beneficial to the online users because individuals have more freedom than in real life. They also have a chance to come up with an influence that they are comfortable with since they can limit the amount of information to reveal to the world. On the other hand, they may live in denial of the reality. Leung (2013) asserts that it is possible to create a personality that creates a remarkable following and influence on the platform based on illusion or lies. It may be an indication of an underlying psychological issue that needs to be addressed. Nonetheless, there is a need to address the tensions associated with the privacy and confidentiality of the individuals using the virtual platform. The reputation needs to be protected so that the ideal relationships can be created on the online and offline platforms.
Hume’s philosophy of self is applicable when people create different identities on the virtual platform. It is clear that what is regarded as self can be changed because of the anonymity offered by the platform. For instance, it is possible to get a significant following on the social media platform than in the real world. Such a person may hence be said to have different identities or an evolving definition of self. They must, therefore, understand that other social media users create the impression that they create to the world or that through the status update or by using certain words does not define their identity. There is a chance that they may evolve and have different personalities in the future. With this comprehension, the issues of low self-esteem or experiencing negative impacts of bullying can be minimized.
Additionally, Hume’s suggestion that individuals either express hatred or love is applicable in reducing virtual tensions and issues. For instance, the online users can be comforted by the fact that when bullied or intimated, the person expressing the feeling has a problem with their concept of self (Leung, 2013). They will also either express pride or humility based on how they define themselves or values. It is also worth noting that such a position will change as they get different personal identities. It is hence unnecessary to go through the psychological turmoil because the issue will reign momentarily. Still, the users can form their own identities despite the fact that they may be perceived differently in the social media platform. They can, for instance, imply that they are confident even after being bullied or intimated by the online users. It will eventually create a different aspect of self.
Even further, Hume’s theory can be applied to help individuals in the virtual world to extend their knowledge of their identity. As Landy (2012) explains, the philosopher argued that humans understand the concept of self through imagination. It involves habitual association of ideas and impressions. As this occurs, humans can extend their knowledge of their immediate perceptions and in the process form beliefs, rules and ideas. It implies that the individuals in the virtual world have a choice to create a new reality of their identity. They can, in fact, use their power of imagination to move beyond the personalities or characters that are constantly bullied on the online platform and instead create likable identities. The result of the process is easing tensions and issues that are associated with the virtual world. More so, Hume’s argument that an individual’s identity evolves after creating relationships with other people can be applied in the virtual world. The aspects of affection, love, sympathy, and compassion are developed in such a process. The virtual world allows individuals to express these emotions. They can hence find the transformation that they or the society needs.
Apparently, virtual tensions and issues can be minimized by applying David Hume’s concept of self. They can find the transformation that they may require as they try to achieve an ideal identity. Moreover, they have a chance to relate with others on the platform as they express their emotions. Therefore, it is necessary to consider easing some of the societal tensions or issues virtually as this strategy poses one of the most effective strategies for increasing efficiency and effectiveness in the process of problem-solving.
Landy, D. (2012). Hume’s theory of mental representation. Hume Studies, 38(1), 23-54.
Leung, L. (2013). Generational differences in content generation in social media: The roles of the gratifications sought and of narcissism. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(3), 997-1006.
Schwartz, R. & Halegoua, G. R. (2015). The spatial self: Location-based identity performance on social media. New Media and Society, 17(10), 1643-1660.
Spirada, C. (2016). Self-expression: A deep self-theory of moral responsibility. Philosophical Studies, 173(5), 1203-1232.

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