Life is a challenging process that defines the character and nature of an individual. However, the choices made in one’s life are made in an atmosphere of self awareness and consciousness. All persons make decisions according to their will, purpose and intentions. The characterization of these is attributable to the individual’s inner self. Thesis statement: People are categorized as good or bad according to their choices, behavior and actions; therefore, the distinctions of the factors that are attributable to an individual’s nature are influenced by self. Hence, it is critical that the dual aspects of self; true or false self be carefully analyzed while attempting to understand their influence in human life.
The “self” concept defines the true self as the immortal factor of a mortal life; which is illustrated as the inner invisible person. Self is the microcosm that represents the macrocosm in all living beings (Jarayam, “Atman- The Soul Eternal”.) This aspect of a person imparts divine characteristics and possibilities, while illustrating the challenges in existence through critical experiences of pleasure and pain in earthly life. The true self cannot be adequately described as a tangible part of the human life, but can be describe as an experience through the choices made by an individual through positive attitudes towards life. (Roberts 5). The true self is the silent aspect of the individual that appreciates the consequences of the individual’s deeds, experiences and observations of life.
The understanding of true self is significant to the ceasing of all sensory activities that may influence the mind. However, true self cannot be understood, if the mind is not free from factors which are attributable to the human feeling of suffering and selfish desires. A clear state of mind is critical to understanding true self. The mind should be freed from all thoughts, senses and desires that may prevent the manifestation of true self (Rajneesh 17). Therefore, the understanding of true self is characterized by emptiness and void of emotional or sensory awareness. These illustrate true self as a state of absolute purity, where an individual is segregated from the world and transcends into a state of divine awareness.
True self cannot be quantified in relative or absolute terms. Therefore, it is illustrated as a state that can only be experienced and not seen or explainable in physical terms. True self has no defined location, nor does it have a definite mental and physical attributes (Jayaram, “Atman-The Soul Eternal”). However, it is a manifestation of an idea or a reflection in the individual's mind. True self is the ultimate deity that can be achieved by any individual seeking the divine experience and presence of life. Every aspect of human life attempts to fulfill the requirements of attaining true self.
The reality of true self does not preclude the forms, names or descriptions that may be perceived to illustrate true self in real terms. The reality of true self is limitless and unbound by human restrictions of the mind, feelings or senses (Rajneesh et al. 17). However, the reality of true self is beyond the perceptions of existence and non existence of its purported reality. People represent true self, despite their awareness or lack, thereof of the fact. Reality manifests fully without the constraints of the individual’s body, misery and limitations. The certainty and uncertainty of the world; its knowledge or lack thereof, not withstanding true self manifests in the reality of an individual’s real form, hence, reality in true self.
The achievement of true self cannot be without self awareness and control. People are aware of themselves and their surroundings. However, the achievement of true self dictates that an individual must ignore awareness for other things, other than self (Roberts 12). This leads to the achievement of pure awareness as per the objectives of identifying and understanding true self. Self awareness does not require relative objects but, it is absolute in itself; therefore, duality is not needed in the realization of true self. True self does not have symbolic or physical attributes that can be seen by the human eyes. Hence, the attempts to understand true self, as a divine concept of human existence, cannot be quantified in physical terms. True self is a spiritual out of body state that can be only understood through absolute devotion and adherence to the doctrines of true self.
True self does not signify the attainment of a new element in a person; hence it is merely a state of awareness and understanding of self. The removal of allusions and illusions of self imposed by desires, emotions and senses in life brings about the conceptualization of true self. True self already exists in individuals, and does not have a separate physical form other than the individual. The abandonment of restrictive behavior, beliefs and practices, are critical in the manifestation of self (Jayaram, “Atman-The Soul eternal”). These will accomplish the devotion and observation of true self in individuals. Therefore, true self cannot be described adequately, since its attainment is significant to absence of any sound or thought. The experience of absolute silence correlates with a state of non-existence, hence, attainment of true self.
True self implies a state of segregation from the worldly interests that an individual may have or desire. However, it is significantly difficult to achieve this state, since the prerequisites of true self are difficult to achieve in the normal world, where material interests and ambitions are the key motivators to human choices and actions. The realization of true self is relative to godliness and absolute relinquishment of earthly interests. These attributes are characteristic to the achievement of divine deity, hence true self. The Hindu concept of true self uses the individual as the benchmark for the conceptualization of true self and divinity. Therefore, the significance of individual choice, dedication and determination to achieve true self are critical in its teachings.
Non Self (False Self)
Non self or false self is characterized by factors other than those attributable to true self. The influence of the mind and sense in this aspect plays a significant role in defining the false self. External attributes and perceptions influence the degree and the extent to which false self is manifested in an individual (Rajneesh et al.14). For instance, a newly born child is without self-awareness, and initially notices the closet person; therefore, the child is characterized by false self, since the prevalent awareness is relative to its surrounding. Hence, the false self is a factor attributable to the relationship existing between an individual, the environment and other people in his/her life.
The human experience is critical in the manifestation of the false self. Life is characterized by human interactions and experiences which enable an individual to be in a position of making appropriate choices. The distinction between true and false self cannot be made without the learning process. The process enables a person to experience both the false and the true self; therefore, decisions are made given the individual’s perspective and experiences (Roberts 29). The false self is a factor of the social impositions and settings of an individual. The representation of the society, its needs, expectations, aspirations and limitations in a person contribute to the creation of a false self in the individual. False self aspires to influence an individual to reflect the society’s expectations and needs, but not the needs of the true self.
False self is significantly influenced by ego. The ego entails the need to meet and satisfy the expectations dictated by the society (Roberts 17). The ego does not aim at developing the true self of a person but seeks to conform to expected societal norms. False self is self serving and aligns itself towards earthly matters like wealth, public image, social status, fame and ambitions (Rajneesh et al. 52). However, these needs of the ego are not imposed by true self, but the demands of the society towards the individual. These demands, if left unchecked, lead the individual to become a puppet for the society to manipulate, where and when the need arises.
False self is constantly dissatisfied and often seeks to be reassured. However, society constantly makes demands of the individual, whereas moral obligations and definitions are constantly tailored to suit its needs. The false self has no control of its essence, which can be readily manipulated to suit the society’s ego (Roberts 10). Failure to conform to these demands makes the individual an outcast in the society, and is expelled as a non-conformist; therefore, segregation and marginalization are unavoidable. The central aspect of the false self is created and nurtured by the society. These acts as a control tool towards the individual; where appreciation can only be realized by doing as the society dictates.
False self is symbolic to individual limitations imposed by the norms of any given society. An individual’s attempt to identify with the society leads to following defined behavioral patterns; talking, walking and socializing in a certain way that conforms to the society’s moral ethics and codes (Rajneesh et al. 46). These limit the individual’s ability of independently actualizing self, while observing the prerequisites of true self. The individual’s dependence on the society’s maintained order, where chaos is not tolerated, inhibits the self’s ability to adapt to chaos and the real truth. Chaos is critical in the development of self, since it is through chaos that the real essence of self is realized.
False self is characterized by limitations and barriers to the achievement of true self. The imposition of rules and expected norms creates boundaries; where the portions of the mind are segregated and isolated in an attempt to maintain absolute control of the individual. The individual accepts the provided solutions to problems and dictated societal norms, while inhibiting their ability to see or think beyond these limitations. The false self is an imitation of the true self (Rajneesh et al. 27). Its manifestation is accomplished by illusions of what is right or wrong in the eyes of the society. False self mimics the true self by representing itself as the real self in societal terms.
However, false self is superficial, and not an aspect of the individual, but an acquired trait which can be abandoned at any time. True self, which is a part of the individual, cannot be acquired or discarded at any given time. The false self provides an environment for conflict, misery and pain, since it is easily influenced by factors like emotions, pride and perception (Roberts 49). These are attributes to the ego’s need for constant reassurance and attention; thus, when unavailable it provides a reason for stirring conflict in an attempt to satisfy the ego.
The true self and false self impress upon the independent ability to differentiate what is real and what is false. True self places itself above all human weaknesses, whereas the false self embraces all human factors as dictated by the society. The significance of the difference is critical in defining the individual’s spiritual dispensation, while observing human factors that attempt to influence self. True self is attained by choice which can only be realized through self sacrifice and abandonment of all human factors; which are characteristic to individual weaknesses and limitations. However, false self is dependent on society’s dictum to manifest and thrive; therefore, it is an acquired attribute rather than an inherent aspect of the individual.