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What am I? And Why Do I Suffer?

An Anatomy of the Human Condition: Models of Man and Suffering

Iqubal Birdi

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The book is about the human condition: suffering, emotional and psychological distress, identity, existence, and reality. It examines these issues at the physical, biological, psychological, sociocultural, linguistic, discursive, and spiritual levels, comparing and evaluating, as well as integrating where possible, a broad range of approaches and theories to provide a holistic understanding of the person. This book accomplishes the following: • charts a range of cross-disciplinary approaches and theories relating to human nature, experience and behaviour (including biological, psychological, social-cultural, linguistic, spiritual and existential); suggesting, within each of these how they may be seen to relate to the human condition, suffering, and to reducing emotional and psychological distress • discusses current postmodernist/post-structuralist concerns about the essence of what we are (i.e. whether we really are essential and substantial individuals, or whether we are merely sociolinguistic and sociocultural constructs or subjects) • incorporates eastern philosophies and psychologies (e.g. Buddhism and mindfulness)in relation to what we are, reality, the mind, the self, and suffering • identifies, in its conclusion, a number of elicited principles and practices a person may incorporate into their daily living to reduce suffering and increase psychological and emotional well-being • and offers a schematic representation of its general concepts in relation to the human condition, its levels, components, and processes, which can be used to refer to or underpin understanding and for readers’ further discussion, exploration and researches