The Human Mosaic Complex

Image Source: Picture Mosaics

Image Source: Picture Mosaics

Analise Bruno, Writer

Humans value originality. We are innate to wanting to feel and be individual and have our own equally distinct and unique personality, or things that make us special. However, what I’ve always thought about is how interesting it is that we actually in no way 100% original at all. While we each may be individual human beings with original thoughts and sentience, in terms of other defining factors we are simple mosaics.

Mosaics are typically works of art that display pictures or patterns produced by arranging together small colored pieces of hard material, such as stone, tile, or glass- and in a way, I believe the human personality develops as such. Think about everything you do, the things you love, the spontaneous little things you do, talismans you have, preferences you have made- are they all 100% uniquely shaped by you? Or have other influences intervened? If you look closely at yourself, or even others, you may realize that their entire character is founded and built on the pieces of everyone they’ve ever met in a figurative beautiful piece of art. 

It’s not noticeable on the surface, because picking up slight nuances and preferences from others doesn’t have a huge impact in the long run, but it’s actually a really interesting and unique psychological concept to observe. For example, when I buy gum, I always choose the polar ice flavor because that was the flavor my grandmother would give to me everytime she came over. I crack my knuckles because my brother told me your hands stiffen if you didn’t and used to do it for me as a joke. I always grab a hold of people whenever I cross the street because that’s what my mom used to do for me as a kid. I never eat blue colored candy because I had a friend who told me it was too unnatural of a color to eat, everytime I have a bagel I think of my dad who used to get them for me after every skating practice, and when I laugh I exaggerate it with my diaphragm because my sister does. I read my horoscope every now and then because my bestfriend outlined my whole astrology chart for me, and green is my secret favorite color because I claimed so in Kindergarten. These aren’t starkly unique things about me, however, they are observable little things I have picked up and incorporated into my personality and way of being because of the influence from the people around me. 

Psychologist Alfred Bandura argued that humans learned most things through observation, and that we are generally inclined to incorporate what we learn from others into our daily routines. However, this mostly only pertains to basic things like speaking, behaving, brushing our teeth, cooking, cleaning, showing emotion etc. What I think is unique about the mosaic complex is that it relates to personality, something we often view as being individually oriented. While it may seem cool to be 100% original, I would have to argue that I think it is even more beautiful to look back and reflect on how our little quirks and ways of habit have been pieced together bit by bit by every person we have ever known and loved. Our self being is crafted by a bunch of small pieces into our one big personality, similar to how a mosaic is built using bits of everything. 

Our genetic makeup determines a great deal of who we are and turn out to be, but no one ever really seems to take notice that we incorporate these things into our mannerisms from the people we love because it is written in our nature to reflect those we admire, and I believe that in itself is quite a unique concept. The psychology of the human mind is a lot more deep than it may seem.