The idea of the ‘self’ is like supernatural powers – it just ...


The idea of the ‘self’ is like supernatural powers – it just doesn’t exist

Not even our bodies are truly ‘us’, says a prof. In fact, the whole idea of being individual is bad for us

Sarah Knapton

John Donne, the English cleric and poet, wrote in the 17th century: “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

And now a British academic has claimed that human individuality is indeed just an illusion, because societies are far more intertwined at a mental, physical and cultural level than people realise.

In his new book, The Self Delusion, Prof Tom Oliver, a researcher in the Ecology and Evolution group at the University of Reading, argues there is no such thing as “self” and not even our bodies are truly “us”. ..

This article is reserved for Sunday Times Daily subscribers.
A subscription gives you full digital access to all Sunday Times Daily content.

Sunday Times Daily

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems?
Email or call 0860 52 52 00.