Re: the missing self .

Robert Parks (
Wed, 16 Apr 1997 19:35:41 -0500

Tim Connor wrote, in a thread about "self":

>...since the process of construing is reflexive, it is itself construed,
>and the self as construct emerges from this reflexivity, through making
>distinctions between the reflexive construing and other processes and
>events. So I would agree that there is no presumption of an essential
>self in PCP, but this is something I consider an advantage, not a deficit.

This is a very important point, I think. We ask of ourselves that we be
"true" to our selves, and we thereby invoke an essential self with which to
brace ourselves against the exigencies of a pressure filled world. The
notion of an "essential" self, something beyond the person construing the
world, to which one can try to be true, is an essentialist notion. But
constructivism leads us down the road to an existentialist position, I
believe. Perhaps that is a problem for some, just as Tim's distinction
between "thing in motion" (essentialist?) and "a form of motion"
(existentialist?) invites us to see the world as process.

and it
>gives us ways of construing
>concepts of self in cultures that don't share Western assumptions.

This is important, because the task of a psychology that is true to humans'
social nature must remain open to the many different ways of constructing
ways of being human. This openness creates an awareness that we might
construct our societies and our selves in ways that are more satisfying and
coherent than we now experience. I would suggest, further, that the notion
of "practice" is
important to comprehend the way self construction is socially mediated.

Bob Parks