📰 A Multiple Self Theory of the Mind - David Lester, 2012

Author: journals.sagepub.com

Full Title: A Multiple Self Theory of the Mind - David Lester, 2012

URL: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.2466/02.09.28.CP..5

Highlights from March 7th, 2021.

As Mendlovic describes this, “each version of self includes cognitive elements as well as feelings, drives, values, and behaviors organized around a certain point of view.” Here, we have the first clear inkling of a multiple self. These different modes of the self, “appear, one after another and side-by-side in the consciousness.” The sense of a unified self is, therefore, “a fabricated illusion.” In object relations theory, outside objects are assimilated into the mind as new mental agencies, sub-structures of the ego. These internalized objects lead a life of their own.
Mendlovic borrows from the work of sociologists who have explored how individuals interact in the world. What kinds of social structures are created and how does the mind stabilize and protect the social structure, and how does change, when it occurs, take place? Do changes arise from inner forces or from outside forces?
The multiple selves originate from the inner experiences created by the infant as a result of its interactions with its mother and, later, others. Eventually, social structures are created to organize these multiple selves. However, later in life, new multiple selves can be introduced, and there is a need for assimilation and accommodation on both sides for these new selves to be incorporated.
The modern era has increased the trend toward the protean self because of the historical dislocation, the revolution in mass media, and the threat of extinction. Change occurs in society today too rapidly to be absorbed (assimilated and accommodated to), which can result in a fragmented self or impulses to renewal.
Lifton suggested that sources of the protean self lay in fatherlessness, homelessness, and the absence of clear mentorship, which renders us feeling personally adrift.
Robert Lifton's concept of the protean self noted that our sense of self has become radically different in the modern era in which we now “engage in continuous exploration and personal experiment”
I get involved in many things. I'm an expert in none of them…. In general … though I have a presence in many places, I don't really have a firm, predestined place anywhere, neither in terms of my employment nor my expertise, nor my education and upbringings, nor my qualities and skills…. I write mercilessly skeptical, even cruel plays —and yet in other matters behave almost like a Don Quixote and an eternal dreamer…. For many people I'm a constant source of hope, and yet I'm always succumbing to depressions, uncertainties, and doubts.
Our role (or subself) at work is often different from our role (or subself) at home. This shifting is especially common and strong in those who move between worlds populated by different ethnic groups or different social classes.
Bolen argued that Zeus and Hermes are two different life styles. Sometimes, an individual seems to embody one or the other, but both can occur at the same time in the same individual. They may complement each other or come into conflict.
If the archetypes can be described in terms of the Greek gods, and since each of us has the same collective unconscious (and, therefore, the same archetypes), why does each of us manifest only one or two life styles in our observable behavior? Bolen noted that, although the archetypes patterns are universal, not all are activated (activated archetypes) in each individual.
In making a decision, the committee members (god-archetypes) may engage in a contest, or one may rule. In an orderly process, all the god-archetypes have a voice and are heard, but an observing ego listens and then decides. If the observing ego is ineffectual, then the competing voices lead to see-saw ambivalence in the individual or to chaos.