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Eastern vs. Western Concepts of Self: Constructing Who We Are

May 26, 2023 at 7:30 am - 9:00 am PDT

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Western concepts of Self tend to focus on the ego in defining one’s persona and on the careful construction of self-identity.  Eastern concepts of self, on the other hand, tend to emphasize the individual ego as an illusion and underscore the importance of fulfilling one’s duty to society.   How does this cultural difference shape our self-concept, how we relate to ourselves, and how we relate to society?

Join Mariya Hoffman for this insightful discussion on how the cultural metatheories of self impact how we view ourselves and our role in society.

In general, Western psychology tends to assume the existence of a coherent self, whereas Eastern psychology tends to deny its existence.  Neuroscience, for all its Western advancements, has yet to locate a coherent seat of self as well.

This creates an interesting dichotomy: We feel like a conscious, coherent self, but does that necessarily mean we have a coherent self?

People who grew up in Western cultures often feel the need to “find” themselves and realize their individual potential.  From the Eastern perspective, the very act of seeking a self may be seen as a wild goose chase.

This brings up many questions for us to tackle, such as:

  • What is a self?
  • How do we know if a coherent self exists?
  • What does the existence or non-existence of self imply for leading a meaningful life?
  • What is the role of the individual in society?


What is the ‘self’? The 3 layers of your identity



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May 26, 2023
7:30 am - 9:00 am PDT
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