In the Discussion Forum, share ways in which you have noticed the content, questions or insights from the previous session showing up in your lives.

After reading through so many thoughtful, intelligent posts I am afraid I don’t have much to add.

Receiving myself through a social other (people, climate, weather, country, atmosphere, etc) certainly reminds me of the false self as depicted in Merton’s and others writings.

And I thought this was what James was alluding to. But then in the next section (4. Desire according to the desire of another) he says “…I really want us free from the pop-psychology picture most of us tend to fall back on. This pop-psychology picture presupposes that somewhere, relatively independent of the accidents of the birth, background and upbringing, there is a real me. This real me is authentic and has its own desires…Well, this is nonsense. There is a real “me” but it is real as a project over time that is being brought into being through this particular body, born in this particular time and place to these particular parents. It is how this body has learned to negotiate over time with the “we” which precedes it and is around it. It is this body over time that is different from anybody else’s. The patterns of desires are what make us similar, not what makes us different.”

Sorry to quote so long of a piece. This is not what Merton would call the true self. The way I understand it Merton’s true self is before or without any influence by the social other. The self that was made for union ONLY with God. After a quick read through James’ four volumes I would say James’ idea of a real “me” is what we slowly grow into after acknowledging that we are forgiven and loved by Another other and slowly start detaching ourselves from the rivalistic social other.

Or maybe I have it completely misunderstood 🙂