Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.793163
Title: The unitive self and its importance for mental wellbeing, society, and politics
Author: Razzaque, Russell
ISNI:       0000 0004 8501 6051
Awarding Body: Bangor University
Current Institution: Bangor University
Date of Award: 2019
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Abstract:
The notion of an individual self - a point of locus from which the world is experienced - is the common assumption upon which almost all human thinking is built. Virtually all language is predicated on there being a self; a first person who is conveying the information being imparted. And yet understanding around it - what it is and why it exists - is limited. The purpose of this critical appraisal of my body of work is to shed light on these questions via an overview of my publications and my research, which has increasingly focused on such questions as it has evolved over the years. The aim of my research has ultimately been to formulate something of a theory around the notion of self; both its nature and purpose. My research has always been clinically orientated, with patient/societal benefit at its heart, and so the emphasis of this critical appraisal of my work will be on the practical utility of my understanding of the self, and the way in which such understandings can be of real benefit to people. The fundamental assertion of my underlying thesis is that the human mind developed out of language. In other words, language gave us the ability to construct complex notions in the abstract and this forms the basis of thought. Thought is the architecture and output of the human mind and the sense of self - the idea of being an individual person; a separate entity walled off from the environment by the physical parameters of our body, rather than being integral to it - then arose as an output, or creation, of the human mind. It is the thinking voice inside that we identify ourselves with and the whole series of barriers between "self" and "not self" that emerge as a result. Einstein described this as our "optical delusion of consciousness". This construction, I argue, nevertheless serves a profound purpose for us all. That purpose is for each of us to navigate our life stories towards a particular destination, and that destination, I claim, is ultimately a unity or, as I refer to it: the Unitive Self. This appraisal of my work will elaborate on what I construe this unity to be, and how I have understood it throughout my work, and in so much as it can be described with words, and how all "selves" - knowingly or not - are striving towards it all the time. This critical appraisal will begin by outlining the utility in having a sense of self for human beings and how, through my clinical practice and research, I have come to the conclusion that personal acceptance of it is fundamental to our wellbeing.2 After this I provide a more detailed outline of the development of the sense of self according to the conclusions I reached in my writings in this area, including my most recent book. 3 I shall follow this discussion with my hypothesis that nature's cycles move us inevitably towards unity, and, thus, though it may not seem like it sometimes, human behaviour is always fundamentally headed in the direction of connection and integration. Finally, I shall outline the implications of this situation from a variety of perspectives, notably, the psychological, interpersonal, societal, and, more widely, political.
Supervisor: Huskinson, Lucy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.793163  DOI: Not available
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