The Reified Self as Destructive Myth: Theory and Research on Self-Expansiveness Harris Friedman

In Western individualistic cultures, the self is usually seen as separate from its naturalistic and social context. Even in cultures that are collectivistic, a narrow sense of self is also common, though more often rooted in others than in the isolated sense of individuality. Many spiritual traditions see this reification of the self as the root of all suffering, the most destructive myth of all. A transpersonal theoretical model of the expansive potential of the self-concept is presented as one method for understanding and overcoming this limited view. The implications of recent empirical research findings (such as from cross-cultural data collected using various transpersonal measures in India, Japan, North America, and Uganda) will be discussed in light of this model.