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James' Concept of Self and Differentiations

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Introduction

According to William James, the concept of self is the most essential aspects in analyzing the behavior of human beings. This is because it forms the root for this process. Most importantly, before an individual makes a decision, he must consult his inner feeling, which is the “self.”

According to James (2001), the pragmatic self of each human being is what they refer to as “me.” It is a fact that, one cannot differentiate what he refers to as “mine” and “me.”  The feeling we get when we perform acts that we consider ours is the same feeling when we perform acts about ourselves. What we possess like children, houses and fame, are so imperative to us the same way our bodies are. In addition, they tend to stimulate the same feelings and acts of retaliation if attacked. Thus, are these bodies ours or they are “us”? There are individuals who have gone to the extent of renunciation of their bodies and referring to them as confinements from which they might be pleased to escape. It is noteworthy that human being fluctuate their actual self.

James (2007) affirms that, the differentiation of self includes the material self, social self, spiritual self and pure Ego. In every human being, the body is the deepest constituent of the material self. Besides, there are parts of the body that one regards as more personally ours than the rest. The immediate family also forms part of the material self. This is because when they die we become sad, as part of us would be lost. The social self refers to the attention that a person acquires from his peers. It is natural that every human being would want to attract attention of his peers. Thus, it is disappointing when an individual works so hard to attract attention, but in the end, it does not happen. The spiritual self refers to a man’s inner being; thus, it is the most cherished part of self. Lastly, pure Ego refers to the exaggerated sentiment of pride in ones superiority to those around him. This is evident in all human beings.

Conclusion

According to William James, the concept of self consists of the different feelings present in human beings. These are the innermost feelings that keep an individual up to date with the happenings in his life. Thus, the concept of self forms the foundation of a person’s interaction with the environment.

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