Paulo Coelho 's Other and the Winnicottian False Self


In a book titled "By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept" Paulo Coelho speaks to the reader about the exercise of The Other:

It is described as such:

“What is the Other?" they ask.

The Other is the one who taught me what I should be like, but not what I am. The Other believes that it is our obligation to spend our entire life thinking about how to get our hands on as much money a possible so that we will not die of hunger when we are old. So we think so much about money and our plans for acquiring it that we discover we are alive only when our days on earth are practically done. And then it's too late."

And you? Who are you?"

I am just like everyone else who listens to their heart: a person who is enchanted by the mystery of life. Who is open to miracles, who experiences joy and enthusiasm for what they do. It's just that the Other, afraid of disappointment, kept me from taking action."

But there is suffering in life," one of the listeners said.

And there are defeats. No one can avoid them. But it's better to lose some of the battles in the struggle for your dreams than to be defeated without ever even knowing what you're fighting for."

That's it?" another listener asked.

Yes, that's it. When I learned this, I resolved to become the person I had always wanted to be. The Other stood there in the corner of my room, watching me, but I will never let the Other into myself again----even though it has already tried to frighten me, warning me that it's risky not to think about the future.
From the moment that I ousted the Other from my life, the Divine Energy began to perform its miracles.”

Nice try Mr. Coelho, Donald Winnicott beat you to it. A deeper explanation into the role of the false self and the freeing up of the true self would appear in the collectivized thinking that the false self endorses. If however one individuates in the true sense as per the Jungian way, there can easily be a meeting point between the true self AND the false false provided one's ego has differentiated the thinking AND feeling function operating within one's psyche - thereby allowing the complete language of the Self to ensue.  

As to why this book has a close association to me, I'll write about later..maybe...