The perception of the self in the Western psychology evolved mainly from the works of Freud, Jung, and Rogers. The Buddhist notions of self mislead manifestation, being a temporary gestalt formed by the interface of five skandhas or aggregates (form, feelings, perceptions, impulses, and consciousness). Each skandha is in turn a momentary pattern formed by the interaction of the other four. The fifth skandha includes eight consciousnesses, one of which results in the familiarity of the ego or self as Lilliputian, which Buddhist psychology rejects as delusion.
The concept of the Self takes many forms in Western psychology, but perpetually involves to some extent a dimension of “thingness,” the manifestation of a Lilliputian unspecified to reside within the individual, who is the thinker of thoughts, the doer of deeds, and the feeler of feelings. While radical behaviorism considers this notion of an “inner person” as an expounding fiction, most theories of personality in the West have authorized its being. The psychology of Buddhism, on the other hand, discards the belief of an inner self and proposes a radically different analysis, where thoughts exist without a thinker, deeds without a doer, and feelings without a feeler.
The origins of the notion of an inner self in Western psychology and philosophy are found in the idea of the soul in the Judeo-Christian tradition, whose idea was actually derived in part from the writings of Philo, a Jewish theologian, and Plotinus, a pagan neo-Platonic philosopher. Fundamentally the soul, mind, or self was viewed as an inner essence or entity, different from the body, in charge of voluntary processes, essentially a “little man inside of the head,” a Lilliputian within the individual, eventually responsible for the person’s thoughts and actions.
Sigmund Freud (1940) presented a complex model of this inner self in his pyramidal analysis of the human personality into id, ego, and superego, which became a distinguishing feature of his psychoanalytic theory. While the unconscious and non-rational id stood for the organic constituent of the personality, and the superego, another non-rational agency, for the internalized societal aspects of the individual, it was particularly the lucid ego, which functioned as the Lilliputian perpetrator of the personality. The ego in turn served as the imitation for the self in a number of theories developed by those who wrote in the wake of Freud.
The origins of the notion of an inner self in Western psychology & philosophy
Ms. Meenakshi Thakur(Assistant Professor)