Is there perhaps a modern or medieval English one-word for 'freedom from self' ? Other than Sanskrit words like nirvana and such..

  • 5
    If one-word is one word, then so is freedom-from-self.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 13:31
  • atonement/salvation Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 13:33
  • 7
    This unclear. What do you mean by freedom from self? You need to explain at length. Are you looking for a synonym of nirvana? Or something else? Be explicit.
    – Mitch
    Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 14:56
  • Death might fit here as might nonexistence. Commented Sep 28, 2015 at 19:57

10 Answers 10


(Self-)transcendence maybe?

transcendence: a state of being or existence above and beyond the limits of the material world


I think enlightenment is close to what you are referring to :

  • (Buddhism & Hinduism) A state in which the individual transcends desire and suffering and attains nirvana.



Nirvana is the word that Bhuddists cherish the most. There is Vimutti which is one step lower than Nirvana, but it is not widely used in English.

I believe self-liberation is the most approprate word as it is being used to describe a status of being free from oneself.

Liberation means: the act or process of freeing someone or something from another's control : the act of liberating someone or something


You can google "self liberation" and get a lot of hits for your reference.

Hope it helps.


I think it would be easier to answer this question with a better-conceived notion of the actual concept intended to be conveyed, but, in the hope of hitting the target with buckshot:

self-abnegation: could demonstrate freedom from the compulsion to indulge one's own needs and desires

dissociation: specifically, in the context of a dissociative or multiple personality disorder, in which some 'self' is suppressed in the wake of another distinct and emergent 'self'

dissolution: a fragmentation of the disparate parts of the self, perhaps in such a way that reintegration is unlikely to occur

assimilation: I'm getting whimsical here, but think of the Borg from Star Trek and their culture of assimilation, in which individuality is absorbed, dissolved and redistributed among members of the collective, though nothing recognizable of the integrated 'self' remains after

Of course, the entire idea of freedom from self seems as though it may embody a philosophical paradox, if freedom is a concept as experienced by an agent. In such a case, it doesn't seem to follow that a self could experience freedom after its own annihilation.


Selflessness - The state of being "devoted to others' welfare or interest and not one's own."


  • Why not just selfless?
    – JEL
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 0:59


Emancipate: set free, especially from legal, social, or political restrictions.

Disenthrall: To free from a controlling force or influence.


Perhaps (question is not precise enough)

Free will is the ability to make choices that are not controlled or constrained by others, fate or God. In Philosophy, this possibility to choose between different possible courses of action is closely linked to the concepts of responsibility, praise, guilt, sin, and other judgments which apply only to actions that are freely chosen.


Not as serious as most of the above, but you could use...

Disengaged - not connected to, not controlled by nor controlling anything.


In psychology you have the term dissociation which can refer to an individual who becomes detached or "dissociated" from reality in some way, perhaps through an out-of-body experience which I see as an example of "being free from self"

So you may like to use "dissociated" or "dissociation" for what you describe.



I am currently attempting to understand the process of approaching death, the combination of self-immolation and doing what is happening. I have always been puzzled by the apparent paradox of the fact that only ‘I’ can bring about my demise and the question how the last bit of ‘me’ is going to disappear.


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