You don't seem backwards in any way that I can make out; why suggest it?
The reason I mention childhood self above is not because that has to be where self is either located or formed, it's simply where the discussion's taken us so far. I think that the self is something that in constant flux throughout life and can take a number of developmental pathways. They've been doing research in Faith Development at the Harvard Divinity School since at least the mid seventies that parallels the work they've been doing in Moral Development at the School of Education there (originally under Lawrence Kohlberg), and though they could do with people to translate their English into readability, it's all on the intellectually interesting side. They try to speak about "development" and "Developmental Stages" without suggesting that one stage is "higher" or "better" than those previous to it, which has always seemed to me to be a piece of magnificent slight of hand to me. They always make it sound true and noble while you're listening to them talk, but the distinctions that they make tend to evaporate when they aren't present to whisper in your ear. They were also, at one point, and may still be, reasonably firm about the notion of Adult Development. I am also a firm believer in this. Surprise, surprise, as they used to have Andy Griffith say (that was Andy Griffith, wasn't it? Maybe it was somebody on The Beverly Hillbillies.) People continue to develop after they hit 21. Coulda fooled me.
So no, I don't believe we did agree on the self as being the thing that develops in childhood. I did mention Jung a couple of times early in the thread, but people took the thread in other directions, as was their right. The notion of the childhood development of self simply seemed to develop on its own when the discussion veered into what the "true self" was. Perhaps others remember the history of the discussion differently and would like to give a more accurate accounting? I live to be corrected.
The actual question of the sense of the self is an interesting question in itself, by the way, though not the one I think you were speaking about. I think you were talking about what everybody's notions happened to be of what the self might actually be, sort of an intellectual accounting for the background of the self. Interesting, yes?
But what I was suggesting, as it crossed my mind just now was slightly different, that is, How do you account for the continuous sense of self (this is me) across a variety of different and sometimes conflicting mental states, opinions, feelings and thoughts and periods of time. The person involved will still say "That was me," at least most of the time, even though they were then a Democrat and are now a-political, were then a catholic and are now a hindu, were then celibate and are now polygamous, were then unhappy and now thrilled, were then a woman and now a man. The internal experience of such a person may still be that of the same "self." In fact, some of us would be surprised if it were not that person's experience. How can a person change virtually everything about themselves and still retain the same "self." Or, conversely, insist that who they are and what they are doing is not "me," is not "myself," despite all pictorial evidence to the contrary?
There are all sorts of practices inflicted upon children, Serenity, that I think should not be. I believe these are reflections of practices that are inflicted on other reasonably powerless populations in the society, like the poor, the mad, the physically handicapped, people of color. Sometimes these are completely reasonless and bizarre oppressions, sometimes these are misguided attempts at caretaking. Who knows all the reasons people experiment on other people?
A lot of kids get diagnoses they shouldn't get. The flip side of that is that there are lots of kid who haven't gotten diagnoses they should have gotten and which might have proven helpful. Until recently, for example, children could not be given a diagnosis of depression. There were no depressed children in The United States. A lot of children showed symptoms of depression, mind you, but they were not allowed to be treated for depression because there was no such thing as childhood depression. Children, in fact, occasionally killed themselves mysteriously for reasons that were a complete puzzle to their doctors because there was no such thing as childhood depression. And why was there no such thing as childhood depression?
Because everybody knew what a happy time childhood was for everybody. You'd have to be some sort of dolt to think there was childhood depression. And none of these doctors were dolts, no sir, because it said so right on their diplomas. It said, "Doctor." It did not say "Dolt." And there were no available doctors who wanted it written on their diplomas. It simply wasn't scientific.
Unfortunately there are kids who show symptoms that are very much like bipolar disorder, and you ignore them at their peril. The question about exactly how to treat them has not, to my mind, been resolved, so the question of whether it's wise to treat them or not isn't one I would care to tackle without a much closer look at the research. What does medication do to the developmental pathway? Is it less disruptive to treat of not to treat? How does this affect the mortality rate of this illness?
It sounds to me that you have some firm answers on this matter. Perhaps you've considered these questions, and would care to share your thoughts and information about them with me and with others. I wouldn't know much more about such stuff than behavioral management and some basic psychotherapy, depending in the actual clinical presentation. I know I don't want to over stimulate somebody in a manic state; I've seen what happens and I have great compassion for those who remember their experiences in this state and who have seen people they love in such a state. Having known friends in this condition was heartbreaking.
As for Pies, I thing that everybody's pie is a bit different. Doesn't that sound strange? But I think it's true. Everybody's going to have particularly heavy proportions of one ingredient and relatively lighter proportions of another. Depending on the mix, the actual flavor of the pie is going to differ, isn't it? If the genetic package is really great, and the childhood not so good, then the actual social matrix may play a relatively large part in the outcome, as may chance encounters with people in the person's life. The actual package of some not so great genetic packages can be a help in some cases, as, say, in Down's syndrome, where along with the various problems with retardation in learning ability and frequent cardiac problems, tell-tale tongue and palm markings, you will also find an almost universally sunny, kind and friendly disposition. Somehow that seems genetically coded in as well, and these folks are almost always pleased with other people and think decently of themselves.
I've known geniuses who would be thrilled to have that.
We can talk further at another time. A pleasure. Yours, BobK.