The Divided Self

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TitleThe Divided Self
Publication TypeBook
Pub Year1965
AuthorsLaing, R. D.
Keywordsfalse self
Notes "The component we wish to separate off for the moment is the initial compliance with the other person's intentions or expectations for one's self, or what are felt to be the other person's intentions or expectations. This usually amounts to an excess of being 'good', never doing anything other than what one is told, never being 'a trouble', never asserting or even betraying any counter-will of one's own. Being good is not, however, done out of any positive desire on the individual's part to do the things that are said by others to be good, but is a negative conformity to a standard that is the other's standard and not one's own, and is prompted by the dread of what might happen if one were to be oneself in actuality. [emphasis mine] This compliance is partly, therefore, a betrayal of one's own true possibilities, but is also a technique of concealing and preserving one's own true possibilities, which, however, risk never becoming translated into actualities if they are entirely concentrated in an inner self for whom all things are possible in imagination but nothing is possible in fact."
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