Mental freedom: Who has control-the rider or the horse?

  • Wiesner J
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This paper has been reproduced and modified from a PhD dissertation (Deakin University, 2013) written by the author titled ‘Freedom and Conditionality: Analysing Mental and Yogic Models of Freedom’. It is a cross-cultural, crossdisciplined work based on an exploration into Eastern and Western concepts of mental freedom. The thesis methodology included a critical analysis and examination of various theories relating to emotional life. To achieve this aim textual exploration and empirical research was carried out. The empirical data collected included questionnaires and interviews pertaining to life-experiences in terms of emotional well-being, which is discussed in context as “mental freedom”). This paper is taken from the results of the research, in particular Chapter Five of the thesis, which will be published early next year by Cambridge Scholars Publishing under the title ‘Freedom Beyond Conditioning: East West’. The paper discusses key elements related to emotional well-being in particular Sigmund Freud’s philosophical approach to certain aspects of his theories, including the life and death instinct and the organisation of the personality. The paper also introduces key Eastern theories in respect to Yogic traditions, which it relates to Freud’s id, ego and superego and theory of dynamic (psychical) energy. The paper concludes that certain elements of Freud’s theories and Eastern philosophy share important parallels that relate to the individual’s ability or inability to achieve mental freedom.




Wiesner, J. L. (2014). Mental freedom: Who has control-the rider or the horse? International Journal of Dharma Studies, 2(1).

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