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We hear and say this expression "be your self" frequently. And usually we intend somehow being honest and/or not pretending to be somebody else. But I am a little more curious about the meaning of self. What is the true myself. How can I be myself? How can I know and understand myself. I was wondering what philosophers, or thinkers in general, have said about the meaning of self and being myself?

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closed as not constructive by stoicfury Feb 3 '13 at 3:42

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I find "be yourself" troublesome. It's not as if your personality exists completely separated from everyone else and is then, after it has been defined, influenced by others. You are only you as you stand in contact with others. – Ben Feb 1 '13 at 20:32
Maybe there is a "self" and you discover some part of your true self in every encounter with other people. – Vahid Shirbisheh Feb 1 '13 at 20:37
@VahidShirbisheh I don't believe so. I think the "self" is formed as we stand in contact with others; it doesn't exist a priori or something. Imagine being all alone on this planet; what could your self be like...? – Ben Feb 1 '13 at 21:43
Is "self" not ultimately a stereotype of neurological activity? – mjsa Feb 1 '13 at 22:35
Unfortunately, this is not the type of question we are looking for on this site. I think it has potential, and with work could be a good subjective question‌​, but with so little development it will "likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion." – stoicfury Feb 3 '13 at 3:46

There was the great Russian philosopher Bibihin Vladimir Veniaminovich. He wrote a lot about this problem in his book "Мир" ("World"). There is another his book "Узнай себя" ("Know yourself").

He believed that we could find ourself only in harmony with World. I can't reproduce how deep his ideas.

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Is there any articles or books from him in English? – Vahid Shirbisheh Feb 2 '13 at 20:25
Unfortunately no, as I know. – sviter Feb 3 '13 at 5:24

This is more about the meaning of self. I can't say a great deal as I've only just begun to study this.

In the Indian astika (they accept the authority of the Vedas) atheistic philosophical school called Samkhya dating from the 2CE, has a kind of substance duality, they have purusha (usually considered as consciousness) which is contrasted from prakriti (that is matter), they are bonded together through desire into the state known as jiva and only released in moksha. Often purusha is translated as self, it is seen to be our true identity, it is not the thoughts nor the mental, intellectual or emotional activity that one normally have, nor the qualia of percepton itself, indeed these are seen to be prakriti.

(Mythologically, purusha is cosmic man, in the rig-veda sutra 10:90 he is dismembered to create this universe).

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