The Fourfold Self

sq_fourfold_selfA recent post by Sandeep Gautam synthesizes several distinctions of the human being as self to come up with a nice fourfold model. These are the Materialistic (or perhaps Substantive), the Experiential or Experienced, the Remembered (or perhaps Visualized), and the Prospective or Anticipatory (or perhaps Envisioned). These can also be neatly labeled as “having”, “doing”, “being”, and “becoming”.

I have talked about Gautam before in my post The Fundamental Four of Sandeep Gautam. The fourfold discussed then was developed from evolutionary problems and drives but reminds me somewhat of this new fourfold, where Food/Foes -> Materialistic Self, Family/Friends -> Experiential Self, Focus/Frame -> Remembered Self, and Flourishing/Fun -> Anticipatory Self.

There are several other fourfold models of the self that are readily found. There is the ancient “Modes of Consciousness” from the Upanishads: Physical, Emotional, Intuitional, and Absolute. There is the anthroposophical model of Rudolf Steiner: Physical, Life/Etheric, Astral/Feeling, and Ego/“I”. There is the one by Friedrich Nietzsche: Deepest, Ego/“I”, Ideal/Higher, and True. And there is the religious or new age model: Body, Mind, Soul, and Spirit.

The problem with most of these older models of the self is the lack of consensus on the meaning and existence of the terms used in their construction, much less a way to know if the set is complete or not. Thus the fourfolds seem to be rather diverse and vague. I favor a more pragmatic and psychological approach in choice of models, plus those that can be easily mapped into Aristotle’s Four Causes, both attributes of which I see in Gautam’s models.

The comparison and contrast of these models to come up with a synthesis might still be a worthwhile future effort. There are also several fourfold models of the brain itself that could be entered in to the mix.

References and Links:

To Have or to Do? To Be or to Become?

[*9.130, *9.132]



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