This image may not quite be right but it is a religious theme and the book I’ve just been reading, The Curse of the Self, talks about the ways religions try to help us deal with the self. The author, Mark R Leavy, points out that Western religions focus on our controlling the self and Eastern ones try to get us to ‘quiet the self’.
In short, the book says that few animals have a ‘self’ and while in general it’s a blessing for us humans that enables us to plan, reflect, socialise and so on, that it can also get in the way. ‘If we cannot return to a time before self’, he says, ‘the only way forward is to a state of mind in which we use our self when needed but are not a slave to its every egocentric, egoistic, and egotistical whim’.
The book covers, intelligently, but in an easily digested manner, our place and views of ourselves in relation to our social groups, the terrible things ourselves can do to us and some suggestions for helping ourselves out.
It’s a book I’d recommend.