New Book: The self in each of us is key to civilization

REGINA, Saskatchewan - Sept. 15, 2020 - PRLog -- Psychologist Lloyd Hawkeye Robertson's new book, The Evolved Self: Mapping an understanding of who we are, describes an exciting new process of mapping the self that will be useful in psychotherapy, but it will also be of interest to those interested in politics, religion, humanism, cultural studies, gender relationships and personal self-development. Using units of culture called memes, Robertson mapped the selves of eleven individuals from four countries representing three genders. In addition, the book includes clinical case studies, a psycho-historical account of the evolution of the self, an examination of the experience of self in collectivist cultures, and the description of a paradigm from which psychologists invariably operate.

Robertson concludes that a culturally evolved self incorporating feelings of constancy, individual volition, uniqueness, productivity, intimacy, social interest, reflectivity and emotional intelligence is at least 3,000 years old. He says people with this evolved self have a capacity for objective observation and forward planning not enjoyed by their ancestors, but that societies took steps to control them:

"The development of the major world religions occurred around the same time during the first century BCE. These religions dealt with concepts such as justice, humanity and temperance along with the subjugation of the individual to the collective will. Societies that had such people prospered, but their abilities and their inherent individuality made them a threat."

All of the people Robertson mapped from various cultures had selves containing both individualistic and collectivistic elements. He says that the European Enlightenment of the 17th century did not change this self, but embraced the notion of an objective reality that could be discerned by the individual. It thereby released societal constraints on the self, leading to the scientific revolution and a change in our own self-definition:

"We think of ourselves as a rational, thinking species," said Robertson. "Psychologists are in the business of teaching their clients to apply these skills to themselves in the process of therapy. In this broad sense, the practise of psychotherapy is cross-cultural."

Robertson explained that he thinks of each individual client as a "culture of one," and psychotherapy includes getting to know that individual culture. He warns of forces in society that strive to treat people not as individuals but as representatives based on ascribed religion, race or gender. The Evolved Self: Mapping an understanding of who we are is published by the University of Ottawa Press.


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Tags:Self, Memes, Psychology, Culture, Evolution
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Page Updated Last on: Sep 15, 2020

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