Paper Example - the Artichoke Idea of the Self

Published: 2023-01-09
Paper Example - the Artichoke Idea of the Self
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Race Philosophy Religion Human development
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 637 words
6 min read

In the field of philosophy, there exist two main theories which try to exhibit the nature of human beings. The two approaches are namely the artichoke, also known as the protean view as well as the avocado theory, similarly known as the essentialist idea of the self.

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The protean idea of the self can be traced back to an ancient Greek belief that there exists a protean person who can adopt various forms. The theory is directly related to an actual vegetable known as an artichoke, which is a layered edible plant that lacks an inner core. As the vegetable plant has no emotional essence, it is metaphorically used as a depiction of human beings who are defined as dynamic living things which can change rapidly based on different circumstances or experiences. Hence, the artichoke idea of the self is based on the theory that the human race is composed of layers (Mitchell, 2018). According to this particular idea, such layers are genetic elements as well as the specific environment in which an individual has been brought up or spends a significant portion of their time (Mitchell, 2018). Moreover, as the artichoke view of the self argues, each human being has a different side, which is only depicted at specific times or when required (Mitchell, 2018).

For instance, individuals are customarily comfortable when they behave in a natural way around their close friends or family members. However, when around different people such as colleagues at work, people tend to exhibit a completely different side of themselves contrary to what they would display around friends and family. A good example is that of a person who maybe talkative and fun loving while at home or around friends but is focused and reserved while at work. Therefore, according to the protean theory, human beings change as a result of the experiences they encounter in life (Mitchell, 2018). However, the artichoke idea of the self suggests that human beings control their lives and create their paths regardless of change taking place as a result of experiences or encounters in life (Mitchell, 2018). Hence, as human beings are in control of their lives and have the freedom to choose their paths, they tend to acquire a sense of purpose in life, thus make sound decisions as independent individuals (Mitchell, 2018).

In addition to the theory of layers, the protean approach of determining the nature of human beings is based on the idea that change is a good aspect for the human race rather than something terrible (Mitchell, 2018). According to this particular theory, the difference should depict the ability of the human race to cope in an environment which changes continuously (Mitchell, 2018). For instance, the human world changes every day as a result of death, births, or even climate change. Therefore, as the human race is always experiencing change, the artichoke idea of the self suggests that humans should thus be well capable of adapting to the changes taking place around them.

Hence, in conclusion, regardless of the existence of many arguments, based on the information depicted in this paper, the artichoke idea of the self is crucial in explaining the nature of the human race. As exhibited, the protean theory suggests that human beings lack an essence which depicts individuality. Instead, as society changes daily, members of the human race create layers to adapt to the changes taking place effectively.


Mitchell, H. B. (2018). Roots of Wisdom: A Tapestry of Philosophical Traditions. Cengage Learning. Retrieved from,+H.+B.+2015).+Roots+of+Wisdom:+A+Tapestry+of+Philosophical+Traditions+Vol.+7).+Stamford,+CT:+Cengage+Learning.&ots=B-nGmOm-xr&sig=bh7t9kDiFY_o87eZ3HruCGay784&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

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