Experiencing the Self: Relating with Self and Others

Home/ Experiencing the Self: Relating with Self and Others
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSHS3DP2014

Semester and Year Offered: Semester 1

Course Coordinator and Team: Dr Honey Oberoi , Vinod R

Email of course coordinator: honey[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in


Course Objectives/Description:

This course is geared towards enabling potential Development Practioners to develop a self reflexive relationship with themselves and to thus enter the challenges of their chosen field of work with greater commitment, fuller vibrancy and a sense of inner freedom. Enriched by insights from psychoanalysis, developmental psychology, existentialism, socio-political perspectives and engaged spirituality, this semester long course hopes to invite participants to traverse through an inner journey of Self reflection and mindful awareness. The course will help students appreciate the Self as emerging from deeply internalized relational presences and the emotional, often unconscious meanings associated with these inner presences or significant others (one’s parents, grandparents, siblings and others who have played a critical role in one’s growth) from the beginning of life, even as human growth unfolds over the long years of childhood and adolescence. Participants will be guided through a reflexive sojourn in which, as they would focus on how they feel and experience certain dimensions of their personal being, they would also be encouraged to become aware of the interdependent nature of their Self- the living representations and images of significant others in their inner world.

The course facilitators will encourage participants to recover for themselves the roots which tie them to their deeper sense of conviction towards chosen purists, and the daring yet awaiting desire, to relate with the poor, the rural and the socio-economically marginalized. A focus on internalized ideals as emerging from associations and feeling states, whether conscious or unconscious, and memories of sensitive experiential moments going back to one’s childhood, adolescence and young adulthood will help students to become aware of inner presences (“Objects” in the psychoanalytic sense, or the internalized population constituting the psyche) whose selves, lives and values they are hoping to carry forth, even as they embark on this particular professional trajectory. The psychic place that the rural and the economically poor occupy in the participants’ fantasies and imagination would be empathically explored and engaged with.

Course Outcomes:

On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Capacity to listen to and communicate with rural communities
  2. Capacity to engage with groups and form transformative collectives
  3. Sense of the multiple and complex motivations which guide their search and desire to turn towards the rural.
  4. Shift from a simple conception of wanting to help others to what they seek for themselves in turning toward the rural- a desire to know what survival feels, a need of resilience, an empathy with the deprived within themselves, and/or to know how one can be ‘rich” despite of being surrounded by much poverty?

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Unit 1— THE EXPERIENCING SELF: The first module addresses questions like who am I? What is my personal search, my relationship with the world in which I exist; and ideals I wish to pursue in my life? Who are/were those who symbolize(d) these ideals for me across my years of growth?

UNIT 2 THE REFLECTIVE SELF: The second module looks at the ongoing process of “becoming” in the search for authenticity, meaning & choice in the self’s turn towards the rural poor? What does it mean to me? Is it a choice in my sphere of a awareness? What do I want to take from there? How will participation with the rural help me to become a complete person myself? What do I in turn seek from them even as I desire to effect a change in their lives? What are my imagination and fantasies of the rural poor in India? What has it meant to me to engage with loss and how can I learn to survive the despair and angst which such work can bring me face to face with.

UNIT 3 SELF & WORLD: Third module re-examing myself by looking at the socially and culturally conditioned being. It explores questions like How would I “look” & “feel” & who would I be beyond my “hegemonic” internalizations? Examining my choices regarding work and the direction I choose to embark in life. How can I reach a fuller participation vis-à-vis the world in which I exist?

UNIT 4: GOING TO PIECES WITHOUT FALLING APART” AND MOVING ON BY LOOKING BEHIND: Preparing to enter the chosen field of work, this module looks at wholistic synthesis of all the above mentioned perspectives. Empathically relating to one’s conflicts, vulnerabilities, fears and insecurities, the module focuses on emotional strengths, gratitude, resilience and capacities while acknowledging the limits of one’s empathy & opening up to one’s compassion.

Assessment Details with weights:

  1. The diary of personal experiences and reflections to be taken up for further reflection and engagement (30%).
  2. Participate in experiential workshops, readings of selected texts & theoretical writings, review & analysis of films & literary stories and participative group work followed by Viva-voce (40%).
  3. Across the semester, students will be required to submit reflective and analytical writings about their participation in the course (30%).

Reading List:

  • Camus Albert. The Plague. London: Penguin, 1972.
  • Camus Albert. The Rebel. New Jersey: Routledge, 1970.
  • Erikson, H. Erik. Collected Writings. New York: Norton & Norton, 1999. Epstein, Mark. Going On Being. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2001
  • Epstein, Mark. Going to Pieces without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness. London: Thornsons, 1999.
  • Frankl E. Victor. Man’s Search for Meaning. New York: Beacon Press, 1984. Gottlieb, R. S. A Spirituality of Resistance. New York: Temple Univ. Press, 1999 Gurdiyal Singh, Night of the Half Moon.
  • Tenzin , the !4th Dalai Lama.. Awakening the Mind: Lightening the Heart. New Delhi: Harper Collins, 1995.
  • Gyatso Tenzin, the 14th Dalai Lama. The Heart of Compassion. New Delhi: Full Circle, 1997.
  • Hanh N Thich. Interbeing. Fourteen Guidelines for Engaged Buddhism. New Delhi: Full Circle, 1999.
  • Hanh N Thich. Our Appointment with Life New Delhi: Full Circle, 2001. Hesse Herman. Siddhartha. London: Penguin, 1978.
  • Kafka Franz. Metamorphosis and other stories. New York: Washington Square Press. 1980. Kakar Sudhir. The Inner World. New Delhi: Viking, 1978.
  • Kakar Sudhir. The Indians. New Delhi: Penguin, 2006. Mehboob Khan, Mother India.
  • Nandy Ashis. An Ambiguous Journey to the City. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2005. Nandy Ashis. Time Treks.
  • Winnicott, D. W. Collected Papers: Through Pediatrics to Psycho-analysis. New York: Basic Books, 1958.
  • Maturational Processes and the Facilitating Environment. New York: International Universities Press, 1965.
  • Playing and Reality. London: Taivstock Publication, 1971.