Why you are a different you at different times and how that’s both normal and healthy
• Reveals that each of us is made up of multiple selves, any of which can come to the forefront in different situations
• Offers examples of healthy multiple selves from psychology, neuroscience, pop culture, literature, and ancient cultures and traditions
• Explores how to harmonize our selves and learn to access whichever one is best for a given situation
Offering groundbreaking insight into the dynamic nature of personality, James Fadiman and Jordan Gruber show that each of us is comprised of distinct, autonomous, and inherently valuable “selves.” They also show that honoring each of these selves is a key to improved ways of living, loving, and working.
Explaining that it is normal to have multiple selves, the authors offer insights into why we all are inconsistent at times, allowing us to become more accepting of the different parts of who we and other people are. They explore, through extensive reviews, how the concept of healthy multiple selves has been supported in science, popular culture, spirituality, philosophy, art, literature, and ancient traditions and cite well-known people, including David Bowie and Beyoncé, who describe accessing another self at a pivotal point in their lives to resolve a pressing challenge.
Instead of seeing the existence of many selves as a flaw or pathology, the authors reveal that the healthiest people, mentally and emotionally, are those that have naturally learned to appreciate and work in harmony with their own symphony of selves. They identify “the Single Self Assumption” as the prime reason why the benefits of having multiple selves has been ignored. This assumption holds that we each are or ought to be a single consistent self, yet we all recognize, in reality, that we are different in different situations.
Offering a pragmatic approach, the authors show how you can prepare for situations by shifting to the appropriate self, rather than being “switched” or “triggered” into a sub-optimal part of who you are. They also show how recognizing your selves provides increased access to skills, talent, and creativity; enhanced energy; and improved healing and pain management. Appreciating your diverse selves will give you more empathy toward yourself and others. By harmonizing your symphony of selves, you can learn to be “in the right mind at the right time” more often.
Psychology professor Fadiman (The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide) and lawyer Gruber systematically explore the idea that all humans comprise multiple selves in this engaging yet dense work. Arguing against Freudian theory and the popular presentation of personality multiplicity as a dysfunction, the authors posit that the "selves" within a person are much more than just moods, rather they're "recurring patterns of mindbody energy, chemistry, energy, perception, and behavior" that manifest in behavior and physiology. They suggest one should reject the "Single Self Assumption" and instead focus on "what one is good at and wants to be doing" in order to cultivate the ability to be "in the right mind at the right time," address unmet needs, understand and accept variable behavior, and once one understands their multiple selves learn how to bring the needed parts forward so that the person as a whole functions like an instrumental ensemble. Though their process for evaluating one's multitudes is organized and meticulous, the authors' exhaustive pursuit of a fully realized theory of self overshadows the practical steps for self-reflection. Nevertheless, their efforts to reframe and destigmatize the idea of multiple selves will appeal to general readers interested in the nature of human behavior.