Thread: Why Your Self-Image Might Be Wrong

  1. #1
    Why Your Self-Image Might Be Wrong: Ego, Buddhism, and Freud

    Mark Epstein, American author, psychotherapist and practising Buddhist, talks for approximately three minutes.

    Any comments about what he said ?


  2. #2
    Forums Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    I've studied the difference between traditional Buddhist ideas about the self and Western ideas about the 'ego', which is a construct of a particular time in psychology. Personally I think that Western ideas of an eternal soul from Christianity have allowed the idea, that we have a sense of self-esteem or self-importance, to flourish, and that Psychoanalysis reified this into something separate from our corporeal selves. So much so that we have an ego which can be destroyed by means such as Buddhist practices. Many Eastern societies on the other hand have no such problems and tend not to belittle their own sense of self-worth as individuals.

    If we see that there is no fixed ego we can start to understand how we can change without having to destroy this 'me' which never existed in the first place. Modern science sees the ego as the go-between, the conscious self which thinks about the results of brain activity working below the conscious level, putting such things in the context of the world view it has developed. Buddhist practices are designed to work in this area so it's not surprising that people feel challenged by what may happen. Not only that, but the nihilistic elements which creep into Buddhism don't exactly help either, making people reluctant to let go.

    We need to see that the way we work on the ego doesn't destroy it, but rather develops it in ways that we understand and want to take on board. We are not losing anything but mistaken views about ourselves and the world we interact with. We gain in that we become more of what we could be as human beings and as individuals, not limited any more by the egos imposed by the culture and values we happen to find ourselves in.

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