ERIC Number: ED254460
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984
Reference Count: 0
Selfhood and Context: Some Indian Solutions.
Collins, Alfred; Prakash, Desai
In this examination of East Indian theories about the self, an overview of two Indian concepts of self, "atman" and "ahamkara," is presented. Then, in an effort to uncover common theoretical grounds for understanding India's diverse views of the self, comparisons are made between Western psychoanalytic theories (e.g., the theories of Freud, Erikson, and Kohut), and ancient Indian theories about selfhood. The major portion of the document focuses on the evolution of the Indian concept of self by presenting a review of early Indian literature of the Vedas and Upanisads, focusing on the career of the Cosmic Man image, Prajapati. It is suggested that Indian concerns and formulations are not simply ancient and textual and that parallels in contemporary Indian life are remarkable in their continuity with the ancient tradition. The conclusion is reached that Western ideals, and in particular classical psychoanalytic theories, of stable permanent individuality based on identifications with and respect for the unalterability of the environment are foreign to the Indian perspective; the Indian personality and world are more fluid, merging together at times. They then suggest that the two cultures provide contexts in which particular myths of the self are pursued--Western psychology has idealized a myth of autonomy, whereas Indian thought idealizes the myth of merging. (LH)
Publication Type: Reports - General
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Bernard Van Leer Foundation, The Hague (Netherlands).
Authoring Institution: Harvard Univ., Cambridge, MA. Graduate School of Education.
Identifiers: Erikson (Erik); Freud (Sigmund); Ideology; India; Kohut (Heinz)
Note: Paper from the Project on Human Potential. For other project papers, see SO 016 244-270.