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Mental growth through positive disintegration.
KAZIMIERZ DĄBROWSKI, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
University of Alberta
ANDRZEJ KAWCZAK, LL.M., Ph.D.
Department of Philosophy
Loyola of Montreal
Department of Psychology
University of Alberta
MICHAEL M. PIECHOWSKI, Ph.D.
Department of Microbiology
University of Alberta
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Preface - K. Dąbrowski——ix
I. INTRODUCTION-THE METHODOLOGICAL STRUCTURE
OF THE THEORY OF POSITIVE DISINTEGRATION-A. Kawczak——1
1. The Development of the Theory of Positive Disintegration——1
2. Basic Assumptions of the Theory——2
3. The Core of the Theory——5
4. The Problem of Valuation——6
5. The Descriptive-Normative Nature of the Theory——11
6. Empiricalness of the Theory of Positive Disintegration——14
7. The Philosophical Outlook——15
II. OUTLINE OF THE THEORY OF POSITIVE
DISINTEGRATION - K. Dąbrowski——17
1. The Concept of Positive Disintegration——17
2. The Clinical Basis of the Theory of Positive Disintegration——18
3. Levels and Types of Positive Disintegration——21
4. The inner psychic Milieu——24
III. POSITIVE AND ACCELERATED DEVELOPMENT
- K. Dąbrowski——27
2. The Developmental Instinct——27
3. Biologically Determined and Autonomous Mental Development——29
4. One-sided Development——30
5. Differentiated Potentials of the Developmental Instinct——31
6. A Basic Factor in the Transformation of Psychological Types——31
7. The Potential for the Transcending of the Biological Life Cycle——32
8. The Three Factors of Development——33
9. How are the Higher Emotions and Needs Developed?——35
10. Development Through Processes of Disintegration——36
a) Somatic Illnesses——36
b) Conflicts, Stresses and Psychoneuroses——37
11. The Role of General “Psychopathological” Dynamisms in Psychoneurosis——40
12. Two Clinical Cases——42
13. Differentiation of Developmental and Non-
developmental Symptoms and Dynamisms——49
14. Correlation Between Developmental Traits and
15. The Developmental and Nondevelopmental Elements in Psychoses.——54
16. Mental Health as a Group of Developmental
Potentials and Dynamisms——56
a) Older Concepts——56
b) Universal and Multilevel Development of Mental Health——59
IV. THE INNER PSYCHIC MILIEU - K. Dąbrowski and
M. M. Piechowski——62
2. Varieties and Levels of Inner Psychic Milieu——63
3. Main Dynamisms of Inner Psychic Milieu——64
4. Inner Milieu vs. Outer Environment—Interrelations——81
5. Inner Psychic Milieu as a Condition of Multilevelness of Stimulation and Inhibition——84
6. Inner Psychic Milieu in Psychoneuroses——85
7. The Inner Psychic Milieu of Outstanding Individuals——89
8. The Concept of the Inner Psychic Milieu in the Context of Some Psychological and Psychiatric Schools——90
V. HIGHER EMOTIONS AND THE OBJECTIVITY OF
VALUATION - K. Dąbrowski and M. M. Piechowski——92
2. The Empirical Basis of Valuation——93
3. The Levels of Neuroses as Indicators of Levels of Development——99
4. The Concept of Higher and Lower Levels of
Functions in Biology and Psychology——101
5. The Hierarchy of Values and the Hierarchy of Aims——105
6. Eminent Men as Indicators of the Direction of Development——107
7. The Consequences of Attaining Higher Levels of
8. The Directive Role of Higher Emotions——111
9. Final Comments——114
VI. IMPLICATIONS OF THE THEORY OF POSITIVE
DISINTEGRATION - K. Dąbrowski and A. Kawczak——116
2. Psychiatry and Psychotherapy——117
4. Philosophy of Man and Ethics——121
5. Philosophy of Science and Humanities——124
7. Sociology, Social Anthropology and Social Philosophy——126
9. Pastoral Guidance——128
10. Concluding Remarks——129
VII. GENERAL HYPOTHESES CONCERNING MENTAL
DEVELOPMENT-K. Dąbrowski and A. Kawczak——130
1. Positive Disintegration.
2. Primary Integration.
3. Abilities, Creativity and Development.
4. Inner Psychic Milieu.
5. Secondary Integration.
6. Psychoneuroses and Development.
7. Psychoses and Development.
8. Autonomous Development.
VIII. THE CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK OF THE THEORY OF
POSITIVE DISINTEGRATION - K. Dąbrowski and A. Kawczak——162
This book represents a synthesis of over thirty years of research of the problem of positive disintegration. It has been preceded by a number of books and several dozens of papers published in Polish, by two books in English (40, 48) and a number of papers published in various languages particularly in French in Annales Médico-psychologiques. The most important parts of this book include the chapters on higher emotions and valuation, on the inner psychic milieu, on empirical hypotheses and the conceptual framework of the theory of positive disintegration.
This book was difficult for the author to write and will be difficult for the reader, but, of course, these difficulties are different in each case. For the reader the main difficulties may arise from the use of—I dare say—revolutionary concepts dealing with problems on the borderline of psychology, psychopathology, education, sociology, moral philosophy, political science, and even theology. This barrier will be crossed more easily by the most rewarding type of readers, namely those who are in the process of universal mental development and have not fallen victims of an early “professionalism.”
Various schools in psychology and psychiatry which a priori reject all theoretical approaches that go beyond the methods of natural sciences and reject the contributions of humanistic psychology will not accept the views presented here. These views refer to such phenomena as the inner psychic milieu, multilevelness of emotional and instinctive functions, direction and control of human activity by higher emotions in cooperation with the intellectual dynamisms, the attempt to separate and remove from psychiatry most of the forms of nervousness and psychoneurosis, not because they are pathological, but on the contrary, because they represent accelerated human development. The controversial views discussed in this book also refer to the very concept of positive disintegration which is considered here to be of fundamental significance.
Some specific concepts and approaches have been developed in this book in a way which runs counter to the usual practice, to
mention only the concepts of personality, adjustment and maladjustment, subjectivity and objectivity, regression, empirico-normative compounds, etc.
Let us now consider some possible objections especially those which have been raised in the course of writing this book. The first objection concerns the lack of conceptual precision. The author, together with his collaborators, tried to develop a number of new concepts or to modify some antiquated concepts. The chapter entitled “The Conceptual Framework of the Theory of Positive Disintegration” gives the result of this effort. The new concepts are approached dynamically, as though “in the process of growth.” Consequently, they cannot exhibit a very high degree of precision. I do not think, however, that they are inferior in clarity to many other generally accepted concepts in this field. In the near future an encyclopedic vocabulary of the theory of positive disintegration will be completed. It should represent another step forward in the direction of conceptual clarity and precision.
The second objection concerns antirelativism in matters of value.” It is this writer’s opinion that empirical evaluation of emotions and instincts is inseparable from an empirical study of human development. It is being contended in this book that an empirical investigation of multilevelness of emotional and instinctive functions is possible. The higher is the level of those functions in a person, the higher is his authentism, his self-control the capacity for identification and empathy. This means that the higher is the level of universal development of a group of individuals, the more unanimous and objective are their value judgments. In the same way in which we can describe and measure emotional and instinctive functions, we can describe and measure the various hierarchies of aims associated with specific levels of emotional and instinctive functions. The point which deserves special emphasis is that there exists a distinct empirically testable connection between definite levels of mental development, especially between levels of emotional and instinctive functions, on one hand, and definite aims and norms of conduct, accepted by a person, on the other hand. These levels of emotional functions, aims and norms are accompanied by experiences of values which are not accessible to empirical verification, comparable in precision to the testing of levels of emotions and instincts. The higher is the level of a fully rounded mental development, the richer and more systematic are the accompanying experiences of values.
“Antirelativism” represented here with regard to developmental levels of emotions and aims implies the rejection of relativism with
regard to value judgments. This is of utmost importance in matters of moral, social and philosophical controversies. If there are significant differences in the degree of mental development of human individuals, if these differences are distinctly observable in the sphere of emotions and instincts, and consequently, if there are developmental differences between the manner of valuation characteristic for primitive and for mentally refined individuals, then there is no reason to put on an equal foot the opposite conceptions of what is right and what is wrong. The relativistic idea that value judgments of each human individual count the same, the idea that there is a kind of “equality” in valuation among men, is not only completely mistaken, but leads to manslaughter on a mass scale, and even genocide.
Insofar as the theory of positive disintegration includes general hypotheses about mental development, they are the subject matter of continual analysis and experimental verification, apart from clinical confirmation which, to a large extent, has already been carried out.
A number of such new concepts as the inner psychic milieu, inter- and intraneurotic differences between levels of functions, the interpretation of psychoneurotic processes as prophylactic, have already been discussed in previously published books and papers. The structure and function of the inner psychic milieu was thoroughly discussed in the recent version published in French in “Annales Médico-psychologiques” (49). One of the chapters in this book, written by Dr. A. Kawczak is devoted to an analysis of the theory of positive disintegration from the standpoint of methodology and philosophy.
The author wishes to emphasize once more his feeling that while clinical studies are quite advanced, experimental research with regard to this theory has not yet progressed enough. The author is convinced that the majority of problems and hypotheses presented here will undergo substantial modification. He will appreciate it as an expression of the fact that this theory is “alive” and that it will be included in the creative process of transformations and perhaps become a marginal element within some future more complete, wider theories as well as the subject matter of creative work of individuals better prepared for this task.
The main difficulty in the writing of this book was associated with the necessity of giving up most of the traditional, well-elaborated concepts and approaches. Among the usual practical consequences of such an approach is animosity, silence, violent criticism, and even obstacles in research at certain places. These difficulties have been and probably will be overcome, mainly owing to the helpful collabora-
tion of many friends without whom no undertaking of this kind could ever be accomplished.
I wish at this place to thank my closest collaborators in the preparation of this book Drs. A. Kawczak and M. Piechowski. I owe them the participation in many laborious analyses of the text, in repeated methodological refinements, particularly important in the formulation of hypotheses and definitions of concepts, in creative discussions, and even in changes of certain ideas. Without their cooperation this book would be substantially less rich in content.
I also wish to thank Sister Dr. Alvarez Calderon and Dr. H. Lackner for their great creative contribution to the discussion of hypotheses and concepts and Mrs. M. King, Dr. T. Weckowicz, Dr. R. Arvidson, Dr. Y. Eylon for their very fruitful and creative, although of necessity limited participation in these discussions.
THE METHODOLOGICAL STRUCTURE OF THE THEORY OF POSITIVE DISINTEGRATION
1. The Development of the Theory of Positive Disintegration
Professor Dąbrowski outlined some of the leading ideas of the theory of positive disintegration first in 1937 in his study “Psychological Bases of Self-Mutilation,” in which he discussed the factors which cause a disharmony of mental structures and functions and stimulate the development towards a new integration. The theory itself was presented first in 1946 in his paper “Psychic Integration and Disintegration” (in Polish). In 1948, the paper “The Concept of Mental Health” (in Polish) unified the theory with the idea of mental health conceived as the capacity for positive development through the processes of positive disintegration.
In a series of papers published after 1948 in Polish, French and English, mainly in “Annales Médico-psychologiques” he developed the concepts of the dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu, particularly those of the third factor disposing and directing center, feeling of guilt, inferiority feeling toward oneself and the ideal of personality. His main work, “Positive Disintegration” was published in Polish in 1964. It represents the as yet most exhaustive discussion of the theory, The extensive study, “Mental Hygiene” (in Polish) published in 1962 includes a formulation of the concept of personality and the methods of its realization through the process of positive disintegration.
Two systematic presentations of Dąbrowski’s theory in English were published by Little, Brown and Co., Boston: “Positive Disintegration” in 1964 and “Personality-shaping Through Positive Disintegration” in 1967. Professor Dąbrowski also contributed a chapter, “The Theory of Positive Disintegration” to “Morality and Mental Health” edited by O. H. Mowrer and a chapter “Psychotherapy Based on the Theory of Positive Disintegration” to the “Handbook of Psychotherapy,” edited by R. M. Jurjewich.
The work on the present book started in 1964, shortly after the arrival of Professor Dąbrowski in Canada. The crucial problems, extensively discussed in this book are:
1. The concept structure and function of the inner psychic milieu.
2. A discussion of the role of normative-evaluative elements in the theory.
3. Explicit formulation of empirical hypotheses concerning mental development.
4. Analysis of the conceptual framework of the theory.
The full text of the book was discussed in detail by the authors, but the responsibility for specific chapters is divided as indicated in the Table of Contents.
2. Basic Assumptions of the Theory
The theory of positive disintegration rests on the assumption that there exist empirically verifiable differences between levels of all mental functions comparable to the difference between levels of intelligence, measured for several decades by means of objective tests, which determine the so-called intelligence quotient. Consequently, mental development is assumed to consist of a transition from lower ranks of the scale towards higher ranks. This view may be illustrated by the example of the emotional growth of a child who at first reacts egocentrically, without the ability to recognize, understand and appreciate other people’s feelings, concerns and desires. Syntony, observable in small children, does not result from a grasp of a situation, but is comparable rather to the gregarious instinct in animals. Many human individuals never go beyond this level of syntony. However, sensitive children may gain increasing ability for understanding of other people’s feelings, understanding of their own role in relation to other people and gradually may develop more conscious and refined forms of affective life up to the level of empathy and identification with others, or what Martin Buber calls inclusion. Transformations and growth of analogous nature are observable in all mental functions. They increase our orientation in the world, deepen and refine our syntony with the surroundings and result in the formation of a self-conscious and self-determined personality.
The process of mental refinement, of growing ability to understand the world around us* and in us, and to act in harmony with
*When we speak of understanding the world around us we usually mean purely intellectual knowledge. This is not the specifically human understanding which results from the refinement of emotions, particularly from empathy, identification, imagination, etc.
this growing understanding is a fundamental fact in human mental life. The appreciation of this fact of mental growth and of the full range of its implications constitutes the key for an understanding of the basic and most complex facts in the mental sphere, particularly for an understanding of what is mental health and mental illness, what is culture and education, for an understanding of works of art, of moral and political reality; briefly of anything that belongs to the domain of the humanities.
If this fact of the growth of understanding is the first fundamental thesis of the theory of positive disintegration its second fundamental assumption is that mental development, that is to say, this process of transition from lower to higher levels of mental life, is not a matter of harmonious, peaceful and painless transformation. It takes a great deal of tension, inner conflict and struggle, anxiety, and even despair, before the process of climbing up to higher levels can be successfully achieved. Enduring, lasting harmony and inner peace are possible only at the two extremes: either at the beginning stage when the individual is consistently primitive, thoughtless in his actions, and free from inner conflicts: or at the highest level, when once having attained a very high level of refinement of all basic functions and having integrated them into a coherent, unified structure (called by Dąbrowski ‘personality') the individual is no more susceptible to slipping down to substantially lower, primitive feelings and reactions. In all individuals capable of actions on a higher level, but incapable of remaining consistently at this higher level, there is a continual climbing up and slipping down which means not harmony and peace of mind, but inner struggle, tension and nervousness, sometimes distinct psychoneurotic processes.
Lack of inner conflicts, characteristic for the beginning stages of mental development is called primary or primitive integration. The state of inner harmony, typical for those who have attained higher levels of functions and integrated them into a coherent structure, is called secondary or personality integration. The whole period of transition is called developmental or positive disintegration.* At first it usually consists of a loosening of the primitive structure because of conflicts of a horizontal nature, i.e. conflicts between drives and experiences of the same level of development, hence the name of this phase “unilevel disintegration.” As soon as the individual is capable
*Disintegration is not necessarily positive, leading towards higher levels of functions. Sometimes disintegrative processes take a nondevelopmental form and may end in dissolution of mental structures (negative disintegration).
of acting and reacting at a higher level, as soon as he feels that some modes of his thinking, feeling and acting are higher, more refined than other modes, conflicts of a vertical nature arise, that is to say, conflicts between higher and lower levels. This indicates the beginning of multilevel disintegration which is at first dominated by spontaneous, slightly conscious or unconscious forces, and its second phase is directed and controlled by highly conscious, autonomous and self-determining developmental processes. The self-directed phase of multilevel disintegration gradually takes the form of conscious and deliberate organization of a new harmonious structure at a higher level which culminates in secondary integration.
The whole course of mental development is called positive disintegration, because it is characterized by disintegration of mental functions and structures and because these disintegrative processes have a developmentally positive role. Mental development of this kind is only partly correlated with the transformations of mental functions dependent on the biological life cycle which ends in senility and mental deterioration.
It should be noted that the description of the five stages of mental development discussed in the theory of positive disintegration represents the sequence of transformations which occur only if the developmental forces are sufficiently strong and not impeded by unfavourable external circumstances. This is, however, rarely the case. The number of people who complete the full course of development and attain the level of secondary integration is limited. A vast majority of people either do not break down their primitive integration at all, or after a relatively short period of disintegration, usually experienced at the time of adolescence and early youth, end in a reintegration at the former level or in partial integration of some of the functions at slightly higher levels, without a transformation of the whole mental structure. This fact may become more understandable, if we take into account that mental development of man is a phenomenon different from everything we encounter in nature and that it is controlled by forces specific to man which give it a character irreducible to purely biological laws.
One of the most significant aspects of the theory of positive disintegration is a systematic unveiling and psychological description of the specifically human mental forces which shape higher stages of development. Dąbrowski calls these forces dynamisms and ascribes to them a disintegrative power which may easily generate psychoneuroses. The reader may consult the following entries of the last chapter of this book which contains definitions of the main dynamisms:
astonishment with oneself, authentism, autonomy, creative instinct, developmental instinct, dissatisfaction with oneself, disposing and directing center, disquietude with oneself, guilt, inferiority feeling toward oneself, inner psychic transformation, neuroses, personality ideal, positive conflict, psychoneuroses, responsibility, self-perfection instinct, shame, subject-object in oneself, syntony, the third factor. Among dynamisms particularly significant for the specifically human course of development are the third factor, inner psychic transformation, autonomy and authentism, personality ideal.
To bring out the essentially new aspects of mental reality at the stage of multilevel disintegration, Dąbrowski introduces the term “inner psychic milieu” (cf. glossary) as a collective name for all higher level developmental dynamisms and thus allows clearly to distinguish the two main qualitatively different stages and types of life: the heteronomous, which is biologically and socially determined, and the autonomous, which is determined by the multilevel dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu
3. The Core of the Theory
It may be useful for further consideration to emphasize the following crucial points:
(1) Mental development, that is the transition from less refined to more refined functions, is a result of the processes of disintegration.
(2) There are two, qualitatively different phases of mental development:
(a) The lower or heteronomous which is unconscious or only partly conscious and is determined by biological forces or the influences of the external environment.
(b) The higher or autonomous which is self-conscious, self-controlled and depends increasingly on deliberate and authentic acts of choice, that is acts resulting from increasing and refined understanding of the environment and of oneself.
(3) The direction and substance of the autonomous development can be ascertained:
(a) As a continuation of the trends observable at lower stages (e.g. trends towards an increase in consciousness and self-determination, in control over oneself and the environment, in conjunction and codetermination of
intellectual and empathic insights and emotional involvement, etc.).
(b) As a growth of those qualities which are beneficial for further development.
In view of the above outline of the theory of positive disintegration any methodologically conscious reader will raise the following questions:
(1) How is the claim to the objectivity of the so-conceived mental development and the distinction of lower and higher levels justified?
(2) How is the normative-evaluative aspect of the theory related to its empirical-descriptive content?
(3) How can this theory be empirically verified?
Let us consider the above questions one after another.
4. The Problem of Valuation
A special chapter in this book “Higher Emotions and the Objectivity of Valuation” explains the main ideas which led Dąbrowski to believe that value statements are related to facts in basically the same manner as descriptive statements, although this relation is much more complex due to the involvement of the affective side of mental life, and due to its being only partly dependent on purely intellectual insights. The objectivity of valuation results from and is proportionate to the development, cultivation and refinement of higher emotions. It is possible to ascertain, through a careful examination of a case, whether a concrete act of moral evaluation is a result of a grasp of the full significance of facts to be evaluated, a grasp founded on reflection and empathy attained through refined emotional and intellectual processes or the outcome of impulsive, automatic responses, determined by innate drives and inclinations or by prevailing standards and social patterns, accepted without interiorization and inner psychic transformation.
Moreover, Dąbrowski rejects the widespread view that value statements should be divorced from scientific theories. He maintains that an adequate theoretical description and elaboration of the most important aspects of mental life, particularly of mental development and mental health, is impossible without an incorporation of elements of valuation into the structure of the theory. It is mainly the distinction of higher and lower levels of mental functions and mental structures which introduces the evaluative element., into the theory of positive disintegration. From the point of view of this theory the
moral aspect of human life is no less real than the phenomena of hunger or thirst and our moral convictions may have a relation to reality analogous to our convictions concerning hunger and thirst, i.e. in both cases we may be right or mistaken, be within an adequate grasp of facts or depend on a false or inadequate image of reality.
What are those aspects of reality which determine the truth or falsity of a moral pronouncement?
The objectivity of moral valuation is related to and dependent on the development level of mental functions, particularly of higher emotions. An act is morally good, inasmuch as it is a result of a thoughtful and authentic transformation of stimuli, retrospection and prospection, empathy, identification, etc. in general, if it comes about from an adequate understanding of other people and understanding of our role in relation to them. The more advanced and autonomous are our mental functions, our grasp of reality, particularly our capacity for higher empathic forms of syntony, the greater is our ability to evaluate in a way which does justice to facts. The more automatic, impulsive and primitive are our mental processes, the greater is the risk of our acting in a way contrary to what we would recognize as valuable, if we would have more insights and reach higher levels of mental refinement.
It seems that Dąbrowski’s ideas on moral valuation, considered from the meta-ethical standpoint, are in principle compatible with a majority of meta-ethical theories which do not concur with cultural relativism and ethical skepticism. It is the present writers opinion that they show definite kinship with John Dewey’s refined version of utilitarianism, with his continuum of ends-means, with the idea of continually growing horizons within which valuation takes place and also in the determination with which both authors denounce the dangerous bifurcation between the method of science and the method of ethics. Prima facie it may seem that Dąbrowski considers the developmental aspect as the sole and final criterion of valuation and that his conception of morality does not care for utility, security, happiness, etc. Moreover, it has clearly an antihedonistic overtone. However, the way he argues in favor of the developmental criterion shows that he is not insensitive to considerations typical of any refined utilitarian position.
On the other hand, there are important differences between the two approaches to valuation. Dewey was not concerned with the differentiation of levels of mental functions and did not take into account criteria of valuation other than satisfaction. Dąbrowski believes that in proportion to the formation and growth of higher
emotions, valuation becomes independent from and even opposed to biopsychological utilitarianism. At the highest level valuation goes beyond and above basically utilitarian considerations. He claims that at a high level of development utilitarianism itself abandons its utilitarian standpoint and culminates in the acceptance of a hierarchy of values neither derivable from nor justifiable by the sole criteria of satisfaction. He likes to refer to the famous passage in J. S. Mill’s “Utilitarianism” in which Mill gave up the basic tenet of utilitarianism: “It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question. The other party to the comparison knows both sides.”
Dąbrowski’s conception of valuation is in some ways similar to the doctrine of natural law. Both assume an objective validity of moral norms, both regard self-perfection as the task of man. Dąbrowski assigns the crucial directive role to higher emotions. They are highly complex mental dynamisms, a kind of psychological compounds which unite intellectual and intuitive insights with affective involvement and commitment. This concept of higher emotions seems to deal with the psychological aspects of the power called synderesis by St. Thomas Aquinas. It might be very interesting to try to interpret Dąbrowski’s theory of valuation as a modern vindication of the scholastic doctrine of connaturality. However, Dąbrowski avoids characteristic pitfalls to which the doctrine of natural law is exposed. First of all, he does not make use of the concept of man’s essential nature and thus avoids difficulties inherent in it. Consequently his conception is not tied to the Aristotelian system of meta-physics.
Another differentiating point is that the theory of positive disintegration does not presume as much about the state of perfection as does the doctrine of natural law. It outlines with deliberate vagueness what is to be ultimately attained and indicates, in a Deweyan vein, that only in the process of coming nearer and nearer to the presently recognizable “ideal of personality” we may become more aware of its real content. Moreover, the doctrine of natural law is rationalistic and intellectualistic. Dąbrowski’s approach is empirical and assigns to higher emotions the directive role. The doctrine of natural law is rationalistic in the sense characteristic of great rationalistic metaphysical systems (Plato. Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz) that is to say, it believes the human reason to have the power to reveal all significant truth concerning human nature, ultimate goals, etc.. Dąbrowski’s approach is empirical. He starts with
clinical observations, derives his concepts and hypotheses inductively from experience without assuming any underlying or “supra” reality. If he speaks of personality integration as the developmental goal, he is still empirical in the sense that he relies on what is empirically accessible, because it has already been attained by outstanding individuals. In his “personality ideal” (a developmental dynamism) he consciously and deliberately allows some degree of vagueness and emphasizes that the contours of the next developmental stage may reveal themselves more clearly once the immediately preceding stage will be fully attained. Thus he avoids the overconfident assertion of some rationalists, all too willing to be specific about the endpoint of development.
Rationalism of the doctrine of natural law is frequently combined with psychological and ethical intellectualism. By the former we refer to the view that the intellect may or does exercise ultimate control over human activities, by the latter the view that the intellectual function is higher than in the emotional. In opposition to both views, and in accordance with new discoveries in neuropsychology (Hess, Orbeli, Mazurkiewicz) Dąbrowski maintains that the ultimate direction and control is at every level located in the emotional function rather than in the intellectual, and that instead of the unjustified claim concerning the superiority of one function over another we should turn our attention towards distinction and analysis of the hierarchy of levels of a given function and the hierarchy of various conjunctions of functions.
The very points of difference between the theory of positive disintegration and the doctrine of natural law indicate the kinship of Dąbrowski’s approach with the existentialist ethics and existentialist philosophy in general. Certain passages in his writings, read, indeed, like leading existentialist thinkers, Kierkegaard, Jaspers, Heidegger, Sartre. Kierkegaard’s “Fear and Trembling,” “Either/Or” and many other works are masterly descriptions of some states of multilevel disintegration. His claim that “truth is subjectivity” shows striking correspondence with the way in which Dąbrowski exposes the inner inconsistency of those who in theory deny value judgments any objective validity and at the same time do evaluate in their daily life.
Heidegger in his analysis of the necessary structures of human existence and its decay under the impact of impersonal modes of living seems to have observed, although from another perspective, the same fundamental truths about man which Dąbrowski discusses under such headings as primitive integration, negative adjustment, inner psychic milieu, inner psychic transformation, the third factor, autonomy
and authenticity. Dąbrowski’s remarks concerning the program of development and work towards the realization of the ideal of personality show striking similarities with Heidegger’s acceptance of one’s own past and guilt and engagement into a final project.
“Réalité humaine” as distinguished by Sartre from the concept of “human nature” is, in many ways, Dąbrowski’s starting point. There is clearly noticeable kinship in the manner both authors approach the problem of authentic choice, responsibility and “surpassement.”
In studying Dąbrowski’s theory one might well arrive at the conclusion “L'homme est condamné à se développer” which could be taken as a paraphrase of Sartre’s “L'homme est condamné à être libre.” However, even if the agonizing inner struggle characteristic of the existentialist thought may be identified as aggravated states of multilevel disintegration, there is a fundamental difference between the horizons opened by the two approaches. Sartre exhibits a striking moral helplessness. In contrast to the theory of positive disintegration he does not see the validity of what can be recognized and appreciated as valuable at higher developmental levels. He emphatically denies that there is any objective hierarchy of values. His “surpassement” is rather a matter of arbitrary choice than a program resulting from and ascertainable through growing syntony and insight.
Those remarks about the relation of the theory of positive disintegration to existentialist philosophy may well be supplemented by the information that Dąbrowski was a careful reader of Kierkegaard and Jaspers, who are among his favorite writers, but was not acquainted with the thought of Heidegger and Sartre at the time when the theory of positive disintegration took shape.
One more point concerning Dąbrowski’s conception of values requires clarification. Whenever we encounter evaluative elements in a social theory, whenever its author expounds developmental programs, the temptation arises to interpret his pronouncements as inspired and determined by the culture of the society of which he is a member. In his “Introduction to Positive Disintegration”* J. Aronson writes indeed ” … what can be meant by … being at ‘higher or ‘lower' levels? The answer may lie in cultural relativity. … The concept of patterns of such functions which moves in a direction regarded as ‘higher' by other individuals within that culture is possible, even intriguing.”
*Kazimierz Dąbrowski Positive Disintegration. Boston: Little Brown & Co., 1964. p. xxvii.
However, this standpoint, well known since Westermarck as “cultural relativity” is just something that Dąbrowski rejects. The new hierarchy of values which is authentically worked out by an individual during the process of positive disintegration, represents a standard applicable not only to individuals, but also to societies, types of culture and their levels. There have been various types of culture of a nondevelopmental, regressive nature which deliberately aimed at decreasing human sensitivity, understanding, autonomy and authenticity. Ancient Sparta, German Nazism and other totalitarian systems of the present century may serve as very good examples. Working consistently within the framework of cultural relativity, the psychiatrist would have to come to the absurdity of considering moral adaptation to such cultures as a symptom of mental health. The theory of positive disintegration leaves no doubt that the opposite is correct, and introduces the concept of positive, i.e. developmental maladjustment. Adjustment which is a symptom of mental health is, largely speaking, adjustment to what ought to be and not to what is. As no culture is perfect and incapable of further growth, and as development results from lack of adjustment rather than from an all-too-perfect adjustment, the idea of simple, unqualified social adjustment as a symptom, or even criterion, of mental health is due to a fundamental error. It is one of the basic assumptions of the theory of positive disintegration that valuation when it expresses only the point of view of a culture, is unauthentic and unobjective.
5. The Descriptive-Nonnative Nature of the Theory
We shall now consider the second question. How is the normative-evaluative aspect of the theory related to its empirical-descriptive foundations? From the standpoint of the theory of positive disintegration there are two qualitatively different types of mental life: the heteronomous, determined by biological or environmental factors, and the autonomous, self-conscious, self-determined, and self-controlled mental development of man consists essentially in the transition to and deepening of the second type of life. This statement has a twofold sense in the theory of positive disintegration. It is descriptive, because it gives an account of transformations of mental functions discernible in empirical observation. It carries, at the same time, an evaluative connotation because the more autonomous factors and forms of mental life which gradually emerge and assume control, are considered not only later in time, but also “developmentally” higher, and therefore, more beneficial and desirable.
The twofold sense of the statement discussed here is a consequence of the twofold, descriptive-normative meaning of the term “mental development.” This term denotes certain, generally observable processes and, at the same time, connotes a favorable, positive evaluation. The terms positive and developmental, although not entirely synonymous, may be used interchangeably throughout the theory of positive disintegration. It is possible to separate and bring out the descriptive, nonevaluative aspect of the term development. However, to use it in this restricted sense would not remain without negative consequences for the whole theory. Its twofold meaning is not an arbitrary personal preference or a result of methodological carelessness, but stems from the conviction that this is the only way adequately to depict the two aspects of man, his being and becoming. It is a fact that man undergoes mental development and it is also a fact that this development is good for him.
This approach should not be interpreted as a dogmatic, unwarranted positing of development as a kind of ultimate first principle which serves to justify all other norms and values, but is not justifiable by itself. In the chapter “Higher Emotions and Objectivity of Valuation,” Dąbrowski offers several reasons to support his claim that mental development is beneficial and recommendable for man. He does not exclude the possibility that some lone-range consequences of development may, be undesirable and development, therefore, may require conscious control and perhaps a change of direction. However, this will be possible if, and only if, man advances enough on his road toward the second type of life, that is to say, toward autonomous, self-determined levels of mental development. Thus the basic desirability of mental development is not put in question; the very assumption that mental development may prove harmful makes the efforts to reach its higher self-determining stages so much more recommendable.
Mental life at its first, more primitive stage, is determined by and subordinated to biological forces and influences of the social environment. A theoretical comprehension and elaboration of this stage in purely descriptive terms might be basically possible. However, as soon as the third factor emerges, as the processes of inner psychic transformation grin in intensity, as soon as the dynamisms of autonomy and authentism start operating, the situation changes essentially, a new quality arises. Things cease to remain under exclusive control of biological and social determinants. Self-conscious, autonomous choice between alternatives becomes real. From this point on further development is no longer an outcome of the play of factors
heteronomous to the individual. He has to take his development in his own hands; his further growth, its direction and progress ceases to be simply a resultant of forces beyond his control. From now on he has to choose and determine what he is to be. Consequently, the questions “What is good for me?,” “What should I do?,” “What ought to be?,” i.e. the evaluative, normative aspect appears in all its urgency. This fact involves consequences of fundamental significance for any theoretical attempt to give an adequate account of this stage of mental development. It would be pointless to strive for a purely descriptive, normatively neutral theory of higher, self-conscious stages of mental development. What in the realm of facts involves self-determination and valuation as its most essential part cannot be fully comprehended and elaborated in the realm of human knowledge, if the procedure remains purely descriptive, value-neutral. In order to understand and rationally control the self-determined stages of development we also have to include into our conceptual framework and our set of hypotheses, next to the descriptive, the evaluative-normative aspects of human reality. Otherwise the theory will miss something essential, something that is perhaps the most important component of the facts and processes under investigation.
Thus, a theory of more advanced stages of mental development cannot resign itself to just describing what takes place, it must distinguish clearly enough higher levels from lower levels in the sense of being able to say which are more advanced, more “developmental,” and therefore, more valuable.
We already discussed the problem of the criteria of valuation, and consequently the standards of what is higher and what is lower. Let us emphasize here that the inclusion of the evaluative-normative element into the theory of positive disintegration does not mean that the study ceases to be empirical and free hand is given to smuggle into the theory Someone’s moral prejudices and subjective points of view. The nuclei of what is valuable at a higher level are inherent in the reality of lower levels. Thus an increase in consciousness of one’s actions, observable at lower levels, is equally characteristic of mental growth at higher levels. The same can be observed with regard to self-control, participation of “one’s own forces” in the transformation of stimuli, retrospection and prospection transformations of syntony, etc. In general, the roots of mental development at higher levels can be found in earlier stages.
It is equally significant to observe that examples of what may be characteristic of higher stages of autonomous development are
offered by all eminent, universally developed personalities. The study of their personalities, although by itself not a sufficient ground to establish a hierarchy of values, may serve, if combined with other considerations and criteria, discussed in the chapter “Higher Emotions and the Objectivity of Valuation,” as a highly indicative empirical source of insight and verification.
6. Empiricalness of the Theory of Positive Disintegration
Concerning the third question, that is the verifiability of the theory, it must be said that the present book is mainly an attempt at a formulation of the theory so as to give it a structure similar to the structure of theories presently established in sciences. As J. Conant indicates in his well-known paper “Concerning the Alleged Scientific Method” the formation of scientific theories and their growth includes three essential stages:
(1) a careful observation of facts;
(2) formation of broad conceptual schemes;
The genesis and present situation of the theory of positive disintegration conforms entirely to these requirements. It was conceived not earlier than after two decades of clinical work of the author during which he carefully accumulated files with data that seemed to be of significance for an understanding and theoretical elaboration of mental disturbances. First he tried to explain them by means of current theories and only when it became clear to him that this effort cannot be successful, he made his first attempt to interpret clinical data from the standpoint of mental development. Biographical studies on the role of nervousness and psychoneurotic states in outstanding personalities followed. The developmental significance of psychoneurotic symptoms became increasingly evident. Then, after years of further clinical work and successful testing of the first intuitive insights in his psychiatric practice, the second stage followed: new concepts were introduced and broad conceptual schemes were set up. Although the first more comprehensive accounts of the theory, in 1964 (in Polish and shortly afterwards in English) did not present it in the form of a series of inductive generalizations, it must have been clear to any careful and methodologically conscious reader, that the content implicitly included a great number of such generalizations, potential scientific laws. Discussions concerning the scientific status of the theory that followed the publications of the two books in 1964 led the author to a series of attempts to bring out more explicitly its inherent hypotheses. The hypotheses presented and explicated in this book
are certainly not all that can be derived from the theory. However, they seem to the author of the theory and to the present writer to incorporate its essential content.
These hypotheses must be submitted to the process of systematic experimental verification. Although some experimental research has already been done in Poland and in Canada, the main work still awaits realization.
It is certainly possible to show that the way the hypotheses are formulated in the present work allows substantial improvements in terms of precision and degree of empiricalism. A variety of possible reinterpretations were considered by the author and his collaborators. We are not completely satisfied with the present formulation. However, it seemed to us that to press for much further clarification at this stage, without simultaneous experimental research, would easily prove more harmful than advantageous. We both believe that scientific theories must he empirically oriented and that too much emphasis on precision without experimentation may yield a kind of paper work, a coherent abstract structure, devoid of empirical relevance and consequently of scientific significance.
7. The Philosophical Outlook
In my preceding remarks I dealt mainly with methodological questions and some philosophical issues of special concern to a metaethicist and a philosopher of science. I wish to supplement my comments with a brief review of the philosophical outlook emerging from the theory of positive disintegration.
1. An adequate grasp of the essential constituents of human existence is possible only from the standpoint and through intense and accelerated mental development. This development must be multidimensional and multilevel. It is multidimensional and fully rounded, if it is not restricted to the perfection of one or some capacities and skills. but includes a transformation and refinement of all basic aspects of mental life, especially innate drive, emotions, intellect, volition, imagination, moral social, aesthetic, religious sensitivity, etc. It is multilevel if mental transformations consist not only in quantitative growth and replacement of some elements with others, but if such new insights and new qualities are acquired which make man capable of overcoming his hereditary and social determination and to progress toward a self-controlled, creative, empathetic and authentic form of life.
2. The problem of the relation between essence and existence in human life is given a new interpretation. In partial agreement with
the scholastic philosophy and with some existentialist writers Dąbrowski stresses that it is existence which belongs to the primary “givens” of human life. Although essence does not precede mental development of a person, it is attainable in human development as a self-chosen, self-determined gradually shaped structure of mental qualities, attitudes, commitments, interests, concerns, and projects. If these mental qualities autonomously chosen and confirmed through the painful processes of positive disintegration are once organized into a cohesive structure of secondary integration, it gives a human person his unique, unrepeatable and lasting individuality. It may be said that this autonomously shaped personality is a kind of compound of existential and essentialist elements.* Thus, the two great philosophical trends essentialism and existentialism are reconciled and synthesized in a new way. It is not important whether we call this philosophical synthesis an essentialist existentialism or an existentialist essentialism. The significant thing is the transcendence of those existentialist viewpoints which one-sidedly stressed the aspect of becoming in man with total disregard for the aspect of being and ended in obsessive concern with nothingness and despair. The new synthesis questions one of the basic tenets of existentialism, namely its claim that man has continuously to choose himself. In opposition to this Dąbrowski points out that certain choices are final and have lasting value.
3. It becomes evident that philosophy conceived as the search for wisdom cannot succeed as a purely intellectual endeavor. Authentic wisdom involves more than intellectual knowledge. It presupposes developmental transformations of the emotional and instinctive structure of a human person. It has to draw from empathic insights and deep emotional, imaginational and intuitive resources. It has to spring from the drama of personal development and distressing experiences of the process of positive disintegration.
4. Human and social reality appears to be submitted to the law of positive disintegration. If progress is to be achieved, if new and' valuable forms of life are to be developed, lower levels of mental functions have to be shaken and destroyed, and a sequence of processes of positive disintegrations and secondary integrations are necessary. Consequently, human development has to involve suffering, conflicts, inner struggle. Positive maladjustment, challenge and rebellion are as good a part of any culturally growing society as creativity and respect for the law.
*The question of “existentio-essentialist compounds in human personality developed by Dąbrowski in Chapter 37 of his book The Dynamics of Concepts, submitted for publication.
OUTLINE OF THE THEORY OF POSITIVE DISINTEGRATION
1. The Concept of Positive Disintegration
Disintegration involves loosening, dissociation, and even breakdown of the structure and organization of psychic functions. The notion of disintegration is in fundamental opposition to the concept integration which implies unification, organization and coordination. It seems that the expression positive disintegration is per se paradoxical. This is due to the fact that the standard use of the term “disintegration” has implied abnormality, emotional disturbance, and mental illness. At the same time integration has meant normality, mental development and absence of disturbance.
Upon closer inspection of the phenomenon of disintegration in our environment and especially in our human milieu, particularly that of a high level, we find that disintegrative processes take a very positive role in the development and mental growth of man.
One of the phenomena of disintegration, observable in, every human being, and considered perfectly normal, is temporary disengagement from conscious mental life, commonly known as sleep. Another state in which a disintegration of mental functions is clearly noticeable is that of fatigue. In this state the processes of consciousness become dissociated from the normal current of our psychic life. We tend to isolate ourselves, we need solitude and absence of stimuli. Another group of facts of disintegration are the phenomena of contemplation, ecstasy, improvisation or creative inspiration in which we become to ourselves, as well as to others, a new and different person, strange, isolated, invoiced in various types of psychoneurotic experiences.
The process of disintegration is also noticeable in the case of serious internal conflicts which lead to stupor and immobilization, to the weakening and diminution of awareness or its hyperactivity. Among such states of disintegration, we can also include states of existential
anxiety, existential “spasms” in which we find ourselves estranged from others and undergo experiences of psychic or emotional
depletion, emptiness and “nights of soul.” These types of disintegration are most common in psychoneuroses.
Many eminent personalities have, in fact, undergone short or long periods of psychoneuroses related to periods of creativity and accelerated development. It is easy to notice that individuals who have passed through very strong and difficult emotional experiences show greater understanding and appreciation of other people and their difficulties than those who did not have such experiences and spent their lives in a well integrated and “adjusted” manner.
The above-mentioned observations indicate that the processes of mental disintegration are not necessarily harmful or negative. We have also found a high degree of correlation between aptitudes and nervousness, as well as a conspicuous correlation between the content and course of psychoneurotic processes in outstanding personalities and the growth of their creative capacity and creative output. All this, together with the data accumulated in clinical and experimental research, brings us to the definite conclusion that the processes of mental disintegration play a useful, positive, developmental role.
In this book, the term positive disintegration will be applied in general to the process of transition from lower to higher, broader and richer levels of mental functions. This transition requires a restructuring of mental functions.
2. The Clinical Basis of the Theory of Positive Disintegration
The author’s clinical experience and investigations demonstrated the existence of positive correlation between outstanding abilities and periods of psychic disequilibrium (especially psycho neuroses) and of negative correlation between mental deficiency and neurotic behavior. Clinical studies that support this conclusion can be summarized as follows:
(1) Psychiatric examinations of 170 normal children carried out in public schools, schools of fine arts, and the Academy of Physical Education, by the Institute of Mental Hygiene and the Children’s Psychiatric Institute in Warsaw have shown that about 85% of the subjects with I.Q. from 120 to 150 have various symptoms of nervousness and slight neurosis, such as mild anxiety, depression, phobias, inhibitions, slight tics and various forms of overexcitability.
(2) The examination of about 75 mentally retarded children in Poland and in Canada has not revealed traits or syndromes which can be properly called psychoneurotic. The absence of
psychoneurotic syndromes in mental retardation has been confirmed by many other studies and is generally accepted.
(3) It is recognized that the great majority of highly gifted children, youths and adults, show very strong and very clear psychoneurotic components. L. M. Terman claims that his studies show the opposite, but in his research he did not include psychiatric examinations and did not take into account levels of emotional development analogous to the levels of intellectual development.
(4) We know from Rorschach that individuals of the ambiequal type achieve in their personality structure a high degree of harmony, psychological richness and creativity. Most people
of this type display at the age of negativism (2-3 years) and especially at puberty psychoneurotic symptoms of mental disharmony and psychic disequilibrium. Thus disharmony and disequilibrium appear to be conditions favorable in the development of individuals of the ambiequal type.
(5) The presence of infantile traits in the psychic make-up of adults is generally considered an inferior and negative condition. Yet in creative adults we very often encounter the presence of some infantile traits like overexcitability, nervousness, animistic and prelogical thinking, together with some neurotic traits. These traits are almost always present in the personality structure of eminent and creative men. They can be easily detected in their works.
(6) In so-called normal people during and after periods of stress one usually observes some manifestations of creativity, subtlety, and syntony.
(7) In creative men of talent and genius one encounters much stronger states of mental disequilibrium than in normal people; for example, emotional and imaginational overexcitability, states of high tension, strong inhibitions and profound anxiety and other traits of neurotic character.
(8) Cases of depression and schizophrenia in individuals with high intelligence and high creativity have been reported where the symptoms of disintegration disappeared after frontal lobotomy. Any signs of reflective thinking and creativity also disappeared and the victims of the operation stabilized at the level of automatic vegetative functioning.
In summary, on the basis of clinical experience, testing, observation as well as longitudinal evaluation, on the basis of the analysis of the
biographies of eminent personalities, we find a fairly high positive correlation between mental disintegration, nervousness and psychoneurosis on the one hand, and accelerated development and creative abilities on the other.
The consequence of these observations was a hypothesis that in normal individuals every manifestation of development is, to a greater or lesser degree, related to disintegration, and that in very creative individuals development is strongly correlated with inner disharmony, nervousness and some forms of neurosis.
According to this hypothesis, which eventually evolved into the theory of positive disintegration, experiences of shock, stress and trauma, may accelerate development in individuals with innate potential for positive development. In this view, lability of the autonomic nervous system (vegetative sensitivity), mental excitability and light depressions in combination with certain dynamisms of multilevel disintegration such as astonishment with oneself, feelings of guilt, feelings of inferiority towards oneself, and most important, the third factor, make up the dynamic elements of a positive mental development of the individual. These dynamic elements contribute to the formation of a rich inner psychic milieu.
These forms of increased sensitivity, and the dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu, denoting a great richness on one hand and a lability and disequilibrium of psychic functioning on the other hand, are expressions of a rich hereditary endowment, of a capacity for inner transformation of personal experiences, and of a psychic plasticity necessary for positive development. These symptoms are predominantly psychoneurotic, but they indicate, except for a small percentage of cases which end in involution, that what is happening is a process of positive human development—not an illness. One could even risk a statement that creative development without some nervous, neurotic or psychoneurotic dynamisms is hardly possible.
Thus, in contrast to most psychiatric theories formulated so far, the theory of positive disintegration regards the states of mental disequilibrium, nervousness, neuroses and psychoneuroses as basic forms of potentially positive or even accelerated development. Reorientation from regarding mental disturbances as pathological to investing them with the highly positive status of a developmental phase requires a new categorization of these disturbances. The problem is to distinguish a positive from a negative disintegration, and a positive from a negative integration.
1. Psychopathological processes can be divided into two categories:
(a) Negative disintegration or involution. Here belong organic conditions and severe psychoses.
(b) Positive disintegration. Here belong many forms of maladjustment, nervousness, and the great majority of psychoneuroses.
2. Integration can be either negative or positive:
(a) Negative integration: (1) a psychopathic structure which shows strong organization of drives with subordination to them of intellectual activity. A psychopath has no internal conflicts: (2) besides psychopathic integration there exists primitive, or primary, integration present in many normal people with a low level of emotional and intellectual functions. They can evolve away from this primitive integration only through disintegration.
(b) Positive integration: it is a result of positive disintegrative processes occurring in normal people during periods of mental growth. Positive, or secondary integration, can be partial or global, encompassing the whole personality structure. We call it respectively partial, or global, secondary integration.
3. Levels and Types of Positive Disintegration
The process of positive disintegration includes five clearly distinguishable stages or levels: primary integration, unilevel disintegration, spontaneous multilevel disintegration, organized multilevel disintegration and secondary integration.
The first stage, called primitive or primary integration, is characterized by mental structures and functions of a low level; they are automatic and impulsive, determined by primitive, innate drives. At this stage, intelligence neither controls nor transforms basic drives. It is used in a purely, instrumental way, so as to supply the means towards the ends determined by primitive drives. Disintegration of this primitive structure is possible only if there are nuclei of psychoneurotic traits, or sensitivity, which are acted upon by very strong positive influence of a highly developed environment.
Unilevel disintegration begins with loosening of the rigid structure of primary integration. Among the first symptoms of disintegration are increased sensitivity to internal stimuli, vague feelings of disquietude, ambivalences and ambitendencies, various forms of dis-
harmony and, gradually, the appearance of nuclei of hierarchization. This process of hierarchic differentiation applies to both the external stimuli and to one’s own mental structure. At the beginning this hierarchization is very weak. There is a continuous vacillation of “pros” and “cons,” no clear direction “up” or “down.”
As soon as the process of hierarchization becomes more pronounced, the difference between that which is closer to “more myself” and that which is more distant (“less myself”), between “what is” and “what ought to be,” becomes clearly distinguishable. The individual passes then to the next developmental stage, that of spontaneous multilevel disintegration. This is the time of the appearance of such developmental dynamisms as astonishment with oneself, disquietude with oneself, dissatisfaction with oneself, feelings of shame and guilt, feeling of inferiority toward oneself. The individual searches not only for novelty, but for something higher; he searches for examples and models in his external environment and in himself. He starts to feel the difference between a higher and a lower level. We can notice the formation of the critical awareness of oneself and other people, awareness of one’s “essence” as it arises from one’s existence. Spontaneous multilevel disintegration is the crucial period of positive, developmental transformations.
Organized multilevel disintegration which is the next stage, exhibits more tranquility, systematization and conscious transformation of oneself. The developmental dynamisms which distinctly appear at this stage are: “subject-object” in oneself; the third factor, self-awareness and self-control, identification and empathy, education of oneself and autopsychotherapy. The ideal of personality takes more distinct contours and becomes closer to the individuals. There is a pronounced growth of empathy.
The last stage called secondary integration consists in a new organization and harmonization of personality. The main dynamism active at this stage are: autonomy and authentism, disposing and directing center on a high level, a subtle highly refined empathy, activation of the personality ideal. The relationship of “I” and “Thou” takes on a new dimension. There appears a growing need to transcend the sensory, “verifiable” reality toward the empirical reality which can be attained through intuition, contemplation, and ecstasy rather than through the senses.
It is being contended here that every human individual, and especially those who are talented and undergo an accelerated process of development, exhibit in their lives the phenomenon of partial disintegration which may become a part of a general process of positive
disintegration or culminate in partial secondary integration, or in negative disintegration.
The more accelerated is mental development, the more universally gifted is the individual, the more positive psychoneurotic symptoms he exhibits, the more there is likelihood that his disintegration will take a global character. The lower the level of his development, the less universal is an individual’s growth, the more frequently partial disintegrations and partial reintegrations will be observed in an individual.
What is partial disintegration and partial secondary integration? We encounter them incessantly in daily life. If we feel hurt by somebody and react aggressively, we do not exhibit partial disintegration. However, if we make an attempt to analyze the circumstances in which we were hurt, if we try to understand the conditions which caused the other man to hurt us, we may refrain from reacting violently, we may find some reasons, which excuse his behavior. It will become much more understandable, and less hurting, possibly we may even experience feelings of friendliness toward the man, and become aware of his difficulties and troubles. This attitude will eliminate the possibility of aggression and will generally increase our ability to understand people. It will allow for “openness” to the difficulties experienced by other people and for a subtler, more sensitive and farsighted behavior in the future.
What took place in the above example was an inhibition of the usual, “integrated” manner of response. In this way we broke down our mental structure of a low level and attained a partial integration on a higher level. It follows that the lower levels of mental structure are organized more rigidly and operate more automatically than the higher ones.
Let us consider another example. S., high-school student, grade nine, was given unjustly a low mark in a subject which he knew quite well. He seriously experienced his failure which, most likely, was caused by the lack of attention on the part of the teacher or by his momentary negative attitude toward the boy or by some other accidental circumstances. The pupil’s first response was to refuse to go o school, to show aggressive feelings toward his teacher, to be rude to him. After some time S. reconsidered the matter. He came to the conclusion that this kind of injustice is not necessarily a result of a conscious, deliberate wish. Following the advice of his parents and the conclusions of his own deliberations he decided to refrain from any impulsive response and to do more homework. After a few weeks he received a good mark. The teacher thought the problem over and admitted before the class that the former mark was not just. This
inhibition, the internalization of this unpleasant fact, the ability to control a violent response, careful thought and reconsideration of the response led to a partial secondary integration on a higher level.
A variety of circumstances which cause fear may lead to mental disintegration, but at the same time, especially if the individual is capable of empathy, they turn his attention to other people’s feelings, give rise to the feeling of responsibility for other people and the growth and refinement of empathy, then this low, primitive form of the self-preservation instinct is under control, we begin to experience fear about other people, and sometimes even show existential anxiety. If the developmental nuclei are strong enough, lower level fears are replaced by fears of a higher kind, by altruistic feelings and empathy. This process culminates in a partial integration on a higher level or in further, higher stages of partial disintegration.
The more there are partial disintegrations and partial secondary integration, the deeper currents arise in the mental structure, the stronger grow the connections among those currents, until a final stream is formed which takes the shape of the global process of positive disintegration.
4. The Inner Psychic Milieu
In order to understand the process of positive disintegration it is necessary to consider the formation and growth of the inner psychic milieu. By this term we mean the totality of development dynamisms which operate in a hierarchical or nonhierarchical order, sometimes in cooperation, sometimes in conflict with one another. In proportion to the growth and hierarchical stratification of the inner psychic milieu we can notice at lower levels the vacillation of the disposing and directing center and its growing stability and identification with basic constituents of personality at higher levels.
Inner psychic milieu is a dynamic mental structure which appears significantly only at advanced stages of mental development, basically at the time of multilevel disintegration. At the level of primitive integration, strictly speaking, there is no inner psychic milieu. It arises later to the degree as developmental dynamisms are formed, particularly those of an autonomous nature such as the third factor, inner psychic transformation, authentism, personality ideal, education of oneself and autopsychotherapy, the ability for meditation and contemplation.
An extensive discussion of the inner psychic milieu is presented in Chapter IV. Here we shall restrict our analysis to a brief description
of a few selected dynamisms which are of special importance in the accelerating and shaping of the process of mental growth.
One of the first dynamisms which usually arise at the time of transition from unilevel to multilevel disintegration is the feeling of disquietude with oneself. It is a feeling distinctly different from the feeling of disquietude about oneself which has its roots in the instinct of self-preservation. Disquietude with oneself, on the contrary, is an early expression of the instinct of self-perfection. It includes elements of wonder, surprise, and consists in a vague feeling that something unexpected and not entirely appropriate takes place in our mental structure. This feeling is a distinct symptom of the process of growing loosening and disintegration of the former primitive mental equilibrium. It expresses an introvert attitude which turns an individual’s attention away from external objects toward his inner mental states. The feeling of a disquietude with oneself signifies an important breakthrough on the road toward gradual formation of an authentic personality.
Another dynamism which takes a crucial role in the shaping of the direction of mental development consists in the ability and the drive to take a selective, critical attitude in regard to both innate tendencies and environmental influences. As hereditary determinants constitute one. and environmental conditioning another factor, we call this new ability the third factor and maintain that it is a decisive and indispensable force, if the individual is ever to attain the level of a truly autonomous and authentic personality.
The dynamism of the third factor arises from cross-influences of the first two factors, but represents a new ability, irreducible to its sources. The third factor affirms and accepts some innate drives and some social patterns while it denies, rejects and relegates to atrophy other drives and stimuli. It is critical, evaluative and selective. The shaping of a free, independent and authentic person is unthinkable without activation of this specifically human ability.
A pronounced activity of the third factor lies at the foundation of a more intensive operation of the synthetic dynamism of inner psychic transformation This is a dynamism which puts an end to the stereotypy of conditioned reflexes and habits. It selects stimuli, internalizes only those which stand the test of evaluative scrutiny. It subjects stimuli to an intensive process of “reshaping” in the workshop of other dynamisms, the transformational forces due to empathy, memory, imagination, retrospection and prospection, intuitive and discursive thought. The response resulting from inner psychic transformation
depends less on the kind and strength of the stimuli than on the quality and depth of the inner psychic milieu, on the level of attitudes and commitments, aspirations and beliefs of the individual. The phenomenon of inner psychic transformation is the reason why human behavior cannot be tortured into and explained by the mechanistic “S-R” approach.
POSITIVE AND ACCELERATED DEVELOPMENT
Our approach to the problem of mental development is in some ways related to Hughlings Jackson’s theory of the evolution of the nervous system. According to Jackson (55) evolution of the nervous system was characterized by changes from simple to more complex, from a better organized to a less organized, and from automatic operations to voluntary ones. We differ with respect to his second point. In our opinion, what is “less organized” is often marked by transitory disintegrative processes leading ultimately to new levels of organization.
Our criteria of evolution are given more precisely and in greater detail in the chapter on higher emotions.
2. The Developmental Instinct
The developmental instinct, in our view, is essentially a “mother instinct,” roughly analogous to Monakow’s “hormé” (63). There is, however, this difference that the “hormé” is more specifically involved in embryonic development and does not transgress the biological life cycle of the human being, while the developmental instinct leads mental development beyond biological automatisms.
The developmental instinct, as we understand it, is not reducible to biological forces, is not “ready” in the embryonic structure, but rather goes beyond the biological life cycle of the individual, and allows him to transform his inherited psychological type. The developmental instinct can be clearly seen in what we call accelerated development and especially in the development of eminent personalities. It is recognized by an early appearance of developmental nuclei. Usually, the potential for accelerated development is marked by the presence of multiple forms of overexcitability, of nuclei of positive disintegration and of the inner psychic milieu, as well as of special abilities, talents and interests.
Throughout the course of life of those who mature to a rich and creative personality their primitive instincts and impulses with which they entered life undergo a transformation. For instance, when the instinct of self-preservation changes, its primitive expression disintegrates, and it is instead transformed into the behavior of a human being with moral values. Similarly the primarily biological force of the sexual instinct is transformed into lasting and exclusive emotional ties. The transformation of the aggression instinct transposes it into the area of moral, social, and intellectual conflicts of values.
The realization of these tendencies results in a disintegration of the primitive impulsive nature of instinctive forces. The process of transformation takes place under the influence of a developmental dynamism which we call the developmental instinct. Stimulated by this instinct man progresses through a disintegration of predominantly biological drives to a higher level of development—the cultural human being. The very fact that man overcomes his biological drives demonstrates that the power of the developmental instinct is greater than the combined power of primitive drives. The developmental instinct acts against the automatic, limited, and primitive functional patterns of the biological cycle of life.
Within a given individual, the developmental instinct can depart from the dominant direction of development to initiate directions which at first were marginal, but which can later become for this individual dominant directions of growth. The symptoms of such a process of transformation may be observed when the individual becomes weary of stereotypy, automaticity, conformity to the monotony of daily life and conformity to the same internal and external responses to the same stimuli. The individual begins to feel a need to free himself from the one-sidedness of his psychological type, the need to break through the typological fetters, to free himself from the common pattern of development, to break the stereotypy of former connections between stimuli and responses, and to search for originality and creativity necessary for such a breakthrough. This process allows the emergence and development of his own autonomously shaped psychological type. At this point the individual becomes capable of transcending his biologically determined type and even his biological life cycle.
Such needs, and efforts directed towards fulfilling them, lead to internal and external conflicts, to positive maladjustment, to disintegration and to neurotic and psychoneurotic dynamisms.
3. Biologically Determined and Autonomous Mental Development
Mental processes described above indicate that there are two general kinds, or better, two levels of mental development: one, taking place in conformity to the universal laws of development of the human species, to the biological cycle of life, and another, which takes an accelerated form and transcends the cycle of biological transformations. The first passes through the stages of childhood, maturity, aging, and culminates in death. It is characterized by gradual psychobiological integration of functions, growing biological perfection, activities typical for universal phases of development (acquirement of psychosomatic and intellectual skills specific to man, adjustment to the external environment, engagement in commonly practical, sexual, professional, and social pursuits). The second form of mental development consists of the transcendence of those activities, in some degree of maladjustment to the universal phases of development. It is characterized by mental hyperexcitability, that is to say nervousness, frequent disintegration of functions, psychoneuroses, social maladjustment and accelerated process of mental transformations.
In the first kind of development mental hyperexcitability and maladjustment appear usually in specific developmental phases and in situations of stress. They vanish when a biological phase or a grave experience comes to an end. In the second kind of development, the contrary is true: hyperexcitability, maladjustment, creative projections become permanent, or almost permanent elements and manifest themselves not only in difficult periods.
The first kind of development is biologically determined, universal, and ordered in a narrow and rigid way. Development of the second kind is an expression of individual differentiation, autonomy in relation to the laws of biology, authenticity, creativity, transformation of the innate psychological type. It involves maladjustment to the environment and the biological cycle, and thus to a certain extent a transcending of this cycle.
In the first kind of development we usually observe an average level of intellectual functions and some degree of emotional underdevelopment. In the other kind of development we usually observe above average abilities, emotional richness and depth, as well as inclination to psychoneurosis. The individuals who manifest the second kind of development are from their childhood maladjusted, talented, experiencing serious developmental cries. They show a tendency toward mental hyperexcitability, toward dissolution of lower
levels in their drive toward higher levels. Hence, they exhibit disturbances and disharmony in their internal and external environment, the feeling of “otherness,” strangeness. In this group we can find bright children, creative and outstanding personalities, men of genius, i.e. those who contribute new values.
Striking examples of the second kind of development can be easily noticed. Historians seem to agree in their judgment that Abraham Lincoln was the greatest president of the United States. For many years he experienced grave mental disturbances, anxiety and depressions on the borderline of psychosis. He frequently exhibited attitudes of uncertainty, hesitation, inhibition, marked sensitivity, ability for identification, autonomy and authenticity. However, the last years of his life were characterized by inner harmony, ability to make clear-cut decisions, farsightedness, humanitarianism, and control over his “pathological” dynamisms.
Another case of autonomous mental development which breaks the biological life cycle was the Nobel Prize winner, outstanding American writer William Faulkner. He was depressive, maladjusted, both as a writer and as a man. Introvert, withdrawn, psychoneurotic, he created in his novels a wide gallery of disintegrated, and even asocial figures that went through dramatic transformations toward higher levels of humanity. The manner in which he focused his attention on psychological problems and depicted them in his writings make him a representative of world literature. In him were combined literary genius, maladjustment, mental disturbances and insight.
4. One-sided Development
Apart from the two kinds of mental development there is a third kind of mental development. It is manifested in psychopathy and paranoia, that is to say, in mental processes and structures integrated it an asocial or antisocial, sometimes even criminal character. We find this negative type of development in its less successful form in individuals inhabiting prisons, in its more forceful, one-sidedly perfected form among political and military national leaders, labor union bosses, etc. In this last case grave affective retardation is usually associated with above average intelligence subordinated to primitive drives. Leaders of criminal gangs belong to this group. Two eminent psychopaths Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin displayed this kind of mental structure characterized by lack of empathy, emotional coldness, unlimited ruthlessness and craving for power. Toward the end of their lives both exhibited growing suspiciousness and criminality
which marked the transition from psychopathic primitive integration to paranoia and dissolution. Uncontrolled, pathological suspiciousness, persecution mania, delusions and oversensitivity to external conflict characteristic of the last phase are the usual symptoms of transition from a psychopathic structure to a distinct pathological process.
5. Differentiated Potentials of the Developmental Instinct
One can already observe in a child one and a half to two years old certain fairly well differentiated potentials of the developmental instinct. These can be expressed through various differentiated forms of psychic hyperexcitability such as sensual, psychomotor, emotional, imaginational or intellectual hyperexcitability.
The first can manifest itself through a need and active search for sensory experiences, gentle touches and caresses. This can be later developed into sensual emotionality and a strong sexual drive. Psychomotor hyperexcitability is often expressed through general hyperactivity, domineering, discord, antagonistic attitudes. The potential for emotional hyperexcitability can manifest itself by a great syntony and sensitivity. These represent nuclei for further growth towards a high level of empathy.
Imaginational hyperexcitability can provide a basis for the development of prospection and retrospection, that is to say, the ability to use one’s past experiences in the planning of the future.
Intellectual hyperexcitability, accompanied by other forms of overexcitability, especially emotional and imaginational, together with some potential for intuition, can lead to an early development of special interests and talents.
Early observable nuclei of a mixed psychological type (schizothymocyclic, introvert-extrovert) indicate the potential, along with some of the above-mentioned elements, for an early development of the inner psychic milieu.
Early observable manifestations of special interests, talents, and abilities are yet another indicator of developmental potential.
6. A Basic Factor in the Transformation of Psychological Types
The coexistence in the developmental potential, for example, of emotional, imaginational, and intellectual hyperexcitability, or coexistence of introvert and extrovert, schizothymic and cyclothymic traits, enables one to transform his basic psychological type, that is to say, it permits the elaboration of a much more complex, multidimensional and rich typological characteristic.
In the life experiences of individuals, who show such potentials for transformation, we will see, in the schizothymic and introvert types for example, a need for contact, for understanding others, and for empathy. In the extravert and cyclic types, we will observe a need for introversion, solitude, isolation, quietness and exclusiveness of emotional bonds. We will then be dealing with a combination of mental traits characteristics of contact introversion or meditative extraversion, both conducive to accelerated development. Another example would be the existence of needs for activity and organization on the part of an individual already characterized by emotional and psychomotor hyperexcitability, sensitivity, subtlety, richness of emotional experience and a tendency toward emotional exclusiveness.
It is from such potentials that arise the nuclei for the development of higher emotional attitudes, nuclei for transcending one-sided structures, for the development of authenticity, empathy, self-awareness and self-control.
7. The Potential for Transcending the Biological Life Cycle
Psychic hyperexcitability, traits of mixed psychological type (which are, at the same time, the nuclei of the inner psychic milieu), intuition, strong interests and talents, all provide a basis for the slow development of tendencies towards transcending man’s biological life cycle. This process is expressed by gradual elimination of automatic, rigid, instinctive stereotypes, and replacing them with dynamisms which are more creative, more individual, more exclusive, more supratypological.
The individual who passes through this process thereby expresses his strong developmental tension, his weariness of all that is too automatic, too common, too ordinary in mans biological life cycle. He experiences growing discomfort with his belonging to a definite age and a definite developmental phase. He dislikes the automatic imposition of certain reaction patterns which are expected to be manifested at his age, whatever it is, such as excitability or depression, sexual interests and tensions, the will to power, ambivalences, cyclic feelings of inferiority and superiority: i.e. the usual ordinary content, hierarchy, and evolution of reactions associated with various stages of a man’s life.
The individual with a rich developmental potential rebels against the common determining factors in his external environment. He rebels against all that which is imposed on him against his will, against the typical influences of his environment, against the necessity of
subordination to the laws of biology. At the same time there may arise a positive or negative attitude with respect to some of his own hereditary traits and inborn inclinations.
The individual begins to accept and affirm some influences and to reject others from both the inner and outer milieu. There arises a disposition towards conscious choice and autodetermination. Self-awareness and self-control increase: retrospection and prospection become stronger; imposed forms of reality begin to weaken. The individual seeks his own higher identity, chosen and determined by himself. He does not want to be content with only one level of mental life which has been imposed on him by his social milieu. He searches for his own hierarchy of values and is sensitive to the distressing, negative facets of life. When he has a happy experience, he remembers the sad fact that it will not endure. He tries to overcome his sensory and logical world by striving to create, in imagination, a better world. He attempts to go beyond a sense-oriented, rationalist empiricism, since he recognizes it to be only one level of reality, and attempts to reach the higher level of synthesis, intuition, existential and transcendental experience.
8. The Three Factors of Development.
We have already touched several times, albeit superficially, on the topic of the three factors in the development of man. The first of these factors involves the hereditary, innate constitutional elements which are expressed in the developmental potential, in a more or less specific way, and are already recognizable in a one year old child. They can often be clearly perceived in a child from one to three years of age.
The early differentiation of such a potential could not be explained, despite its plausibility, by environmental factors. Within a family that is cultural and well educated, that manifests love and responsibility for the children, we cannot explain the differences in emotional or imaginational hyperexcitability, the differences in mixed typology, the differences in interests and talents among the children by reference to environmental influences only.
Innate developmental potentials may be more general or more specific, more positive or more negative. General excitability, nuclei of the inner psychic milieu, general interests and aptitudes are examples of general and positive potentials. Specific forms of hyperexcitability such as emotional, imaginational or sensual hyperexcitability, as well
as specific interests or aptitudes, such as musical, choreographic or mathematical aptitudes, constitute specific and positive potentials.
Constitutional psychopathy, nuclei of involutionary psychosis, hereditary forms of mental retardation are examples of general negative potentials. Aggressiveness, criminal inclinations, constitute specifically negative potentials.
Environmental influences collide with those potentials, strengthen or weaken them, but their outcome always depends on an individual’s hereditary endowment. We can distinguish three main forms of the interaction between innate potentials and environmental influences:
(1) If the developmental potential is distinctly positive or negative, the influence of the environment is less important.
(2) If the developmental potential does not exhibit any distinct quality, the influence of the environment is important and it may go in either direction.
(3) If the developmental potential is weak or difficult to specify, the influence of the environment may prove decisive, positively or negatively.
If heredity may be called the first and environment the second factor, it is necessary to take into consideration the activity of a third factor, i.e. all the autonomous forces. What is their source? How are they developed? What is their genesis? Such questions are difficult to answer. We can only suppose that the autonomous factors derive from hereditary developmental potential and from positive environmental conditions; they are shaped by influences from both. However, the autonomous forces do not derive exclusively from heredity and environment, but are also determined by the conscious development of the individual himself. They appear at various developmental periods; they can be described and differentiated.
In most gifted individuals who show accelerated development the autonomous factors can be found and described fairly accurately. As mentioned earlier they are found where we detect developmental potentials, and where we find appropriate social conditions for development. They appear under conditions of inner conflicts, expressing themselves through the development of the inner psychic milieu and the elaboration of a hierarchy of values. The autonomous factors develop and are partially expressed through the development of astonishment with respect to oneself and the external environment, dissatisfaction with oneself, disquietude, feelings of inferiority towards oneself, and feelings of shame and guilt. They are further expressed as the dynamisms of subject-object in oneself, self -awareness and self-
control, autonomy, empathy, and the development of a hierarchy of values arid of a program of development, as well as the activation of one’s ideal of personality.
All these dynamisms which are more or less autonomous, or which read to autonomy, are more specifically expressed and embodied in the third factor described in chapter IV.
All such autonomous factors, taken together, form the strongest group of causal dynamisms in the development of man. They denote the transition from that which is primitive, instinctive, automatic to that which is deliberate, creative and conscious, from that which is primitively integrated to that which manifests multilevel disintegration, tending towards secondary integration, from that which expresses reality at one level to that which expresses multilevel reality, from that which depends on biological reality to that which expresses moral autonomy, from that which “is” to that which “ought to be,” from the empiricism of one level to multilevel empiricism which includes intuition and transcendental experiences.
The autonomous factors form the strongest dynamisms of transition from emotions of a low level to emotions of a higher level.
9. How Are Higher Emotions and Higher Needs Developed?
We believe that we have prepared the reader, to some extent, to answer for himself this question. We can summarize once again that our higher needs and emotions have their sources in the three-factor system which we have just described.
Positive inner psychic transformation occurs where children and youth do not have all the things necessary to fulfill all their basic needs and where conditions do not lead to the feeling of complete security. This transformation is more likely to occur where the individuals have only partial satisfaction of their basic needs and where stimuli exist which provoke at least partial dissatisfaction, hierarchization and postulation of an ideal.
The author wishes to emphasize that, in his opinion, such transformations cannot take place when there is complete security, and when all basic needs have been satisfied. For the development of higher needs and higher emotions, it is necessary to have partial frustrations, some inner conflicts, some deficits in basic needs, some difficulties in the realization of the needs arising from the biological life cycle. Higher needs must be stimulated and cultivated simultaneously with the care given to the so-called basic needs.
It is also necessary to have some sadness and grief, depressions, hesitations, loneliness, awareness of death and various other painful experiences which lead us to replace our bonds to what is common, sensual, easy to replace, superficial but direct us to that which is individual, exclusive, lasting, etc. Hierarchical stimuli are also needed, as well as sensitivity to multilevelness within oneself and insight into the dynamics of one’s own ideal.
This means that in the process of fulfilling basic needs, there should remain some dissatisfaction to make room for introducing conditions which would permit the realization of human authenticity, and under which appears and matures awareness of and sensitivity to the meaning of life, to existential, and even transcendental concerns, hierarchies of values, intuition, even contemplation.
Unpleasant experiences, and particularly existential shock and anxiety assist the growth of sensitivity to other people and to one’s own development. They may easily have a decisive influence upon this development. This does not mean that we can discount the possibility of a positive developmental impact of joyful moments, intense experiences of happiness, either past, present or anticipated.
We lay special stress upon the creative role of “negative” experiences, because their developmental role is often overlooked and misunderstood.
10. Development Through Processes of Disintegration
(a) Somatic Illnesses
Somatic illnesses bring about a basic change in our needs and interests, in our life program, as well as in our relationships with the external environment. The immobilization involved in chronic somatic illnesses, the interruption of regular work, financial difficulties, or even poverty, creates a situation very different from that preceding the illness. Those so afflicted become a burden to themselves and to their environment.
Even those closest to the patient become consciously, or unconsciously, impatient with respect to the patient and his illness. Sick people, often develop increased awareness and recognize that the situation imposes difficulties on others. The relationship to oneself and to others becomes unsettled. There occur dramatic and even tragic changes in the reevaluation of one’s life and in interpersonal bonds. New relations with others are formed with difficulty.
People with a more or less primitive psychic makeup manifest irritability, aggressiveness, as well as a greater subservience to their
external conditions in an attempt to ensure the good graces of others. People of this category are also more subject to mental breakdown.
In cases of rich developmental potentials, there develop new aspirations, new forms of activity, new talents, or there is a revival of previous ones. New developmental spurts can occur, new sublimatory and compensatory tendencies can develop, new interests and abilities, new attitudes and new ways of knowing.
Many crippled people show creative compensation, in accord with the Adlerian concept of social compensation for inferiority feelings. Keats said “I never showed such creativity of thought and mood as when I began to develop tuberculosis.” Many people with somatic illnesses deepen their attitudes towards death. Death becomes an issue very near to them, thus necessitating new attitudes and new adjustment on their part. Under such conditions, suicidal tendencies can lead to death by the sick man’s own hand.
The approaching, or immediately menacing, clearly perceived physical deterioration, pain, physical and mental suffering, the approaching end of one’s life lead the individual to become more introverted, lead his interests towards what is experienced as more essential needs. Most often these are the higher levels of emotional life which acquire a priority over one’s more ordinary needs. Here, among others, we find one of the sources of the appearance and development of higher emotions through stress and frustration, through emotional tension and reflection.
(b) Conflicts, Stresses and Psychoneuroses
The majority of the mentally retarded, as well as those with psychopathic mental structure, do not experience inner conflicts, though they are often involved in external conflicts.
Disappointments, suffering, inner conflicts, breakdowns, force one to depart from peaceful adjustment to automatic activities such as daily routine, pursuit of money, pleasures of eating, primitive joys, or superficial, easily resolved conflicts.
Frustrations and inner conflicts change one’s relationship to the ordinary, everyday, narrow reality and lead away from it. They provoke the rise of different emotions to more refined and empathically transformed levels. Under such conditions different needs appear, different issues have to be resolved; new stimuli arouse emotional responses different from those existing till then, different from those associated with needs common with a group. The interests and experiences of the individual become much more exclusive, unique, unrepeatable, much more complex and controversial. Previously they
were infrequent and on the side now they become the main component of his life.
With respect to the psychic developmental potential, we are dealing apparently with three phenomena which are three aspects of one process.
First, psychic hyperexcitability, general or more differentiated (emotional, psychomotor, intellectual) provokes conflicts, disappointments, suffering in family life, in school, in professional life, in short, leads to conflicts with the external environment. Hyperexcitability also provokes inner conflicts as well as the means by which these conflicts can be overcome. Second, hyperexcitability precipitates psychoneurotic processes, and third, conflicts and psychoneurotic processes become the dominant factor in accelerated development.
One of the elements, arising from the collision of the developmental (i.e. the potential for disintegration and psychoneurosis) with the external environment and one’s own stereotypes is frustration. We are accustomed to believe that frustration is a negative factor in development, detrimental to the individual and to the group. However, it is our opinion that this interpretation is erroneous.
It is clear to us that continuous frustration without the corresponding development of inner psychic transformation, self-awareness and self-control will have a negative outcome. However, the development of these factors which are important dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu makes positive use of frustrations. If developmental dynamisms are very strong the frustrations can be very intense. Thus suffering, maladjustment and even some forms of breakdown are necessary events in development.
It seems odd to us that a high threshold of frustration tolerance should be considered positive for development. In our opinion, such a viewpoint is not accurate. High frustration tolerance is characteristic of psychopaths, of the mentally retarded and individuals characterized by very primitive development. On the contrary, in our opinion, a low threshold of tolerance to frustration characterizes sensitive, subtle, and creative people, those who manifest “contact introversion.” *
It is deeply human to experience one’s own affliction and to empathize with that of others. This capacity always depends on lox or medium threshold of frustration tolerance.
*Contact introversion is this type of introversion wherein exist certain traits of syntony allowing a mental contact with others. This shows a certain slant of the introvert type towards extraversion
Another aspect of reaction to frustration is the problem of maladjustment. In our opinion, much too often in psychology, education, and psychiatry, adjustment is discussed as positive and maladjustment as negative. In the attitude of adjustment, we can easily isolate two forms. First we can see a form of adjustment to the low level of reality of everyday life. This is a noncreative, nondevelopmental, automatic adjustment. The second form of adjustment is adjustment not to that which is actually present, but to that which arises as a new, higher level of mental life. It may be called adjustment to that which “ought to be.” In this form of adjustment there is an element of development and creativity connected with autonomous hierarchization of needs and values. Only this second form of adjustment is truly developmental. However, this adjustment of a higher type is, at the same time, a positive maladjustment to lower levels of reality.
What is the source of the phenomenon of positive maladjustment? It arises from psychic hyperexcitability particularly emotional, imaginational, and intellectual, from the nuclei of the inner psychic milieu, and from the instincts of creativity and self-perfection.
Collisions with the environment within a smaller or larger social group, at the period of early childhood, and throughout later life cause the development of positive maladjustment. In people endowed with a favorable potential these collisions create a basis for an elaboration of a program of development.
Positive maladjustment characterizes all forms of creative and positive development and characterizes also most of the psychoneurotic dynamisms which we consider to be positive and creative.
All the phenomena discussed above, that is to say, positive psychic hyperexcitability, low frustration threshold, maladjustment, are marks of the process of positive disintegration, i.e. the process of psychic loosening, disintegration and even possible breakdown. In some cases disintegration has a negative character leading to psychotic dissolution. But in the vast majority of cases, the phenomena of disintegration point to a very great developmental potential. They form the basic dynamisms of mental growth, of sensitivity and creativity; they indicate the possibility of rich positive development which an individual could be capable of.
Astonishment with respect to oneself, disquietude, feelings of inferiority, shame and guilt, the achievement of autonomy through conflicts, difficulties and stresses, as well as many other psychoneurotic dynamisms create the picture of unilevel and multilevel disintegration. This disintegration which, in most opinions, manifests pathological
phenomena, leads, in our opinion, to psychic richness, to empathy, to authenticity, until secondary integration is reached in its partial or global forms.
11. The Role of General “Psychopathological” Dynamisms in Psychoneurosis
Psychic hyperexcitability is one of the major developmental potentials, but it also forms a symptom, or a group of general psychoneurotic symptoms. We have already described the significance of this symptom for development as well as its creative aspect. Beyond this symptom, we will describe some general dynamisms which have been considered psychopathological but which, in our opinion, are positive in psychoneurotic processes because they tend to promote personal growth.
Among the general psychoneurotic symptoms we will discuss broadly the tendency to disquietude. Disquietude can arise wish low, medium or high psychological tension. What is the source of disquietude? It appears to be based, to a great extent, on psychic hyperexcitability, particularly of the emotional and the imaginational type. Since it develops an attitude of prospection, emotional and imaginational hyperexcitability gives rise to uneasiness about the future. Disturbing affective experiences, frustrations, disappointments, and suffering experienced in the past excite uneasy thoughts about the future. Those feelings constitute an important part in the lives of individuals endowed with favorable developmental nuclei.
An individual endowed with rich emotional sensitivity, capable of deep, exclusive and lasting emotional relations, experiences states of disquietude with respect to his past, present and future. He expresses disquietude with respect to the painful experiences which might be the share of his immediate family, his friends, etc. The problem of sickness and death, connected in his prospective imagination to the situation of his loved ones, will be a source of disquietude.
Existential disquietude, disquietude related to the authenticity of people and of the civilized world, disquietude with respect to falsity and truth in individual and social life are very common phenomena in human experience. This disquietude arises in proportion to the general level of culture, sensitivity and aptitude for prospection.
We will now briefly discuss the phenomenon of “illusion” which we often encounter in nervous and psychoneurotic individuals. Illusion is a tendency to modify the perceived object. This tendency involves lively activity and even creativeness of imagination, it involves poetic
and artistic conceptions, and even sometimes eidetic elements. This is a phenomenon very closely bound to imaginational hyperexcitability, and to aspirations for high development and modification of low unilevel reality. This is also connected with very strong emotional hyperexcitability, with poetic and elevated moods.
It is necessary to underline that either a very sad mood (hypothymia) or a very happy mood (hyperthymia) can never indicate, by itself, a pathological state. The capacity for profound experiences (great sadness or great joy) is certainly not pathological. Neither is the intensity or duration of sadness or happiness to be considered an indication of pathology. Inhibitions, anxiety and phobias combined with sadness may lead to the formation of psychoneurotic syndromes. Nevertheless we can say that, in general, inhibitions, anxiety, etc., are related to intensive positive development; they are also related to stronger feelings arising from internal psychic conflicts, on the way to much higher levels of development.
Euphoric syndromes often represent a defensive and developmental character. In maniacal exaltation we are dealing with the acceleration of thought processes, with a weakening of the influence of inhibitions, very often with an increase in ability for synthesis, with the genesis of new concepts, with syntony, with the transcendence of routine, petty, everyday considerations. This may also lead to appreciation of rare and unexpected aspects of everyday life.
States of depression enhance self-analysis and self-criticism. They give rise to the feelings of inferiority and guilt, they cleanse from excessive self-assurance and self-importance. With respect to pathological weakening of volition, we should like to underline that decision and action must be approached from a multidimensional point of view. Some individuals who have a tendency to hesitate in everyday life situations, where this is regarded as low will power, can in a difficult situation, arrive very quickly at responsible decisions. Frequently the label of weak will is applied to people who hesitate, who are subtle and delicate, who are unwilling to harm others by rash decisions. Yet such people often display a capacity for determination when it does not bring harm to others, or when it is in defense of others.
It is very difficult to regard excessive strength of volition as a pathological phenomenon. This problem also has to be subject to a multidimensional point of view. Kuniewski* wrote that a heightened
*W. Kuniewski Wstep do psychopatologii ogolnej. Warszawa: Ksiaznica Atlas, 1922.
ability to endure pain is often encountered in psychopaths. The term “psychopath” is often used to describe a variety of conditions, including not only “moral insanity,” but also a variety of psychoneurotic states. Many psycho neurotics, i.e. those who often have high moral development, also show a great ability to endure pain. Many of them have even undertaken ascetic exercises in order to develop higher tolerance to pain. The deviations of volition (parafunctions of volition) need to be differentiated.
In some cases of stereotypy, in which we see a special kind of inhibition and excitation, in periodic but chronic disturbances in the balance of excitation and inhibition, and in the antagonisms between excitation and inhibition, we can often detect their developmental character. The interplay of excitation and inhibition very often fulfills a positive role in disintegrative processes of development.
In obsessions and compulsions, among the many forms in which they are manifested, we can observe many types and levels-from vulgar attitudes and reactions like aggression, primitive and obsessive fear, to attitudes and reactions on the highest level of great empathy. We can speak about pathological impulses when an individual thoughtlessly, and against his own and the interests of his milieu, performs acts contrary to his own moral principles. On the other hand, we can also observe compulsive tendencies that are partially or highly conscious which often manifest extreme self-sacrifice, heroism, or suicidal decisions motivated by high moral aims, etc. One cannot thus consider every compulsiveness as pathological. A differentiation of levels of compulsiveness is necessary.
12. Two Clinical Cases
It seems that one of the best ways to justify our view that the majority of psychoneuroses are neither harmful nor symptoms of mental illness, but, on the contrary, indicate positive, very frequently accelerated mental development, is to discuss two clinical cases.
S.M. was 23. He studied history and theory of art at the university and at the same time he attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Prior to that he changed his major several times.
For some years he had symptoms of excessive nervous excitability, he was depressed and began to think of the danger of mental illness. During few months his condition became more aggravated. He went through periods of “psychical spasms” almost always evoked by preoccupation with some moral problem. On one hand, he considered himself normal; on the other hand, he thought of himself as one overly concerned with moral issues.
He went to look at the places of execution (he lived in Warsaw); he experienced the tragedies of the past as something of actual validity, something authentic. He was hypersensitive to blood. He thought that those who pass away are being consecrated for him, so that he becomes responsible for the continuation of their lives. At times he felt that such experiences were dangerous, but something attracted him to them. He was often concerned about the moral value of art. He separated the domains of higher value, which had for him a most real meaning, from those domains of lower values, with which he was in psychic warfare.
Moral human problems were of such fascination for him that he wanted to discontinue his studies in art. He was interested in the fate or destiny of man, in his crisis in medical, psychological, moral, educational, or legal aspects. He experienced deeply and adversely, any such attempts at new types of education which, in his view, were contrary to human dignity. He experienced these confrontations somewhat like shocks.
Examination, internal and neurological:
Wide eye pupils, strong eyelid trembling, blood pressure 130/100, red dermography increased. Chwostek on both sides strongly positive, abdominal and muscle reflexes increased, eye-heart reflex inclined to arrhythmia,
Outstanding affective and imaginational sensitivity, fairly well developed ability for transferring psychic experience into vegetative nervous system. Strong preponderance of higher levels of psychic life, considerable capacity for inner psychic transformation (when he came for treatment he was looking for help in changing himself, he understood that individual development requires universal attention to human values, and that it cannot be achieved alone). Inner psychic milieu distinctly in hierarchical order. Outstanding intelligence with more facility for the theoretical than the practical. Some original traits in thinking. Multidirectional abilities. Reality function well developed at higher levels of mental life, and poorly developed at the lower, everyday level.
A young man of outstanding and multidirectional abilities, of increased affective and imaginational sensitivity, of inner milieu built on recognized hierarchy, with dominant elements of highest dynamisms of mental life, considerable ability for inner psychic transformation,
creative capacity. The dynamisms “subject-object” in oneself and the third factor are manifested by his careful observation of the changeability of his own states, by their evaluation, and by his selective attitude (positive to some states, negative to others). This is also manifested in his attitude to his own artistic work. Moral values which he put on the highest level fascinated him, so that he subordinated all other values to them (thus placing his disposing and directing center on a high level). His highest values were global and humanistic. The whole organization of his life was based on these dynamisms together with constant retrospection and prospection in relation to himself and to the world around him. All these characteristics, with concomitant decrease in activity of the instinct of self-preservation and strong multilevel disintegration (feelings of responsibility, “excessive” syntony, dissatisfaction with himself, process of subject-object in oneself, the third factor, definite localization of disposing and directing center at a higher level)—all these indicate the development of insight, of a wide scale and deep penetration of aims and firm nonadjustment to lower levels of reality.
Psychasthenia in an individual of higher psychic structure and highly developed functions. Good prognosis.
It is difficult to suggest here a specific program of treatment. Rather, a program of self-development and auto-psychotherapy is advisable. It is important to have the patient realize the whole importance of his own development, to help him in a more universal personality growth, in control of his rather violent emotional reactions, development of a greater understanding and capacity for a more balanced view of constellations of lower psychosocial level, with some compassion for those who are morally endowed but in a limited degree.
S.M. has outstanding multidirectional abilities, high psychic sensitivity, distinct empathy. The hierarchy of his inner psychic milieu was marked by dominance of the highest dynamisms of mental life, creative ability, and considerable capacity for inner psychic trans-formation (he shows a constant need of self-development, of increasing his insight, of enlarging his understanding of others).
On the other hand, he demonstrated disproportional development of certain dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu, such as dissatisfaction with oneself, feelings of inferiority with respect to himself, the dynamism “subject-object” in oneself, and also the third factor. In
clinical diagnosis it may be considered that S.M. Suffered from psychasthenia but retaining his reality function at a high level (refinement and subtlety) but with weakened reality function at a lower level. In this connection let us pose the following four questions:
1. What are the essential characteristics of S. M.’s personality?
2. What specific psychoneurosis is here represented?
3. Is it correct to call him ill?
4. What are the advisable therapeutic-educational methods?
The first question can be answered as follows. S.M. represents an outstanding, positive personality development at the level of advanced multilevel disintegration. He is very sensitive, with increased affective, imaginational, sensual and mental activity. In connection with the process of multilevel disintegration, his inner psychic milieu is strongly developed and differentiated with definite hierarchization. He manifests a strong attitude of meditative empathy and responsibility towards others. He also demonstrates a highly educated awareness in the service of a well-developed moral personality. Creativity is present, with reality function definitely developed at a higher level, and somewhat lacking at the low level. S.M. represents, in the great majority of his symptoms, positive nuclei of personality formation, nuclei which are being actively developed and realized.
With respect to the second question according to established classification we could distinguish here psychasthenia with “pathological” empathy. What do we gain by such a definition of the case, from the point of view either of etiology or of dynamic diagnosis and therapy? It seems that such a classification has little value.
In answer to the third question, we can definitely say that S.M. is healthy, and especially healthy in the sense that he realizes his own model-norm or personality standard. His maladjustment to lower levels of actual reality, but adjustment to reality of a higher level, his empathy emotional tension, plasticity and creativity, and his responsibility and moral sensitivity are connected with the acceleration of his developmental process as demonstrated by the strengthening of the main dynamisms of his inner psychic milieu. At the same time we observe weakening of his instinct for self-preservation.
Let us now consider the fourth question. Our recommendation is that this patient not be given psychiatric treatment. Should the patient take up a professional psychiatric or clinical career, he would have exceptionally good chances of healing others, because of his great creative potential, empathy and psychic responsibility, insight and flexibility. One could only venture to give some advice to the
patient, on the basis of a global diagnosis of his rich personality, as being well on its way to advanced development. This development may be modulated through increased awareness and self-awareness, through a better understanding of his own mental condition, through auto-psychotherapy and periodic contacts with a psychologist or psychiatrist of high psychic maturity and capacity for an understanding of such individuals and of developmental processes.
The next case is taken from the abundant clinical material of Janet (56) and concerns a 20 year old girl, Irene. Unfortunately Janet does not give the exact life story of the patient, her interests and most important emotional attitudes in her normal period.
Irene became sick in despair over her mother’s death. This happened in dramatic conditions, with her as an eye witness in a small workman’s room, with strong nausea blood vomiting and several other unpleasant symptoms. The young girl was fighting with the thought of her mother’s death, bringing herself to final exhaustion by remaining the last 60 days without going to bed. Instead, she periodically left her dying mother to work in order to earn their living. After her mother died, she wanted to resuscitate her body, bring back respiration, and in her efforts she caused the body to fall down from the bed. After a time following the funeral, Irene exhibited strange symptoms. She developed somnambulism and played dramatic scenes of great artistic perfection. She brought to life, in all detail and with great skill, all the drama she had lived through lately. She was narrating the content of these tragic scenes, putting forth dramatic questions and answers to them (tragic dialogue), listening to her own questions, introducing a tragic spectator of the drama, taking up a variety of postures, according to portrayed roles. She usually united words with actions which cave an unforgettable effect. When the show was about to end she made ready to take her life. She talked with her mother and made the decision to die under a moving train. So she put herself on a railway, as if waiting impatiently for the train, and expressing horror in her face and posture, showed deep experience as if it all were happening in reality. The train came, she then got up—and some scenes were reproduced again identically. After a time she became exhausted, and returned spontaneously to her former state of consciousness and continued her ordinary daily tasks.
We observe here first of all exceptional concentration of feelings towards her mother, with a weakening of the instinct of self-preserva-
tion, with simultaneous strong vitality (care for the home), with capacity for sacrifice, for heroic acts in the performance of her duties. She lived under such great pressure and exhaustion that there followed a mental split, a disintegration. This state of tension found its outlet in two life patterns: one in ordinary reality, the other in the content of dreams.
We know nothing of the patient’s intellectual standing. From the description of the case we know that Irene was making her living, that she knew how to administer artificial respiration, which would exclude mental retardation. It appears that she had not adequate mental transformational abilities. Due to this limitation, high mental tension led to a split into two personalities which-it seems to me-was a safety valve against suicide or schizophrenia. As we have pointed out, her emotional tension, empathy, sense of duty were of a high level, but the dynamism of inner psychic transformation was comparatively weak.
From the standpoint of the theory of positive disintegration the symptoms are characteristic for unilevel and borderline of multilevel disintegration with the exception of the moral sphere. The patient shows distinct mental excitability, the need for strong and lasting emotional bonds, great moral sensitivity and a distinct hierarchy of moral values that indicate the beginning of spontaneous multilevel disintegration.
The patient needs the support of a warm human environment, assistance in working out a program of further education and in the sublimation of her emotional life. The development of artistic abilities might help the patient to find a sense of life.
As we know, Irene became ill as a result of her mother’s death under tragic circumstances. Irene reacted here in an affective manner, underwent a shock and consequently developed somnambulistic symptoms when she was reenacting the tragedy with great artistic ability.
Let us discuss the same questions as in the previous case:
1. What are the essential traits of Irene’s personality?
2. What specific psychoneurosis is represented here?
3. Can we call her ill?
4. What are the appropriate methods of therapy and education?
With respect to the first question, we notice that Irene has a rich personality. From the point of view of totality of emotional attachment, she represents a rare case of high moral values. The strength
of exclusive feelings is exceptional; the sense of responsibility for her mother is very high, and her capacity for sacrifice is at a very high level. The protest against fate, against the biological reality of death, is very strong. One can, therefore assume that we are dealing here with a disposing and directing center not yet completely consciously formed, but localized very high. There is a tendency for adjustment to normative values, to that which “ought to be,” rather than to the actual reality. There is rather weak inner transformation in an undeveloped inner psychic milieu, with, however, a high potential for growth.
Positive disintegration is mixed, with definite preponderance of unilevel disintegration, and a considerable potential for multilevel disintegration.
Irene gives the impression of distinct possibilities for secondary integration, for development of socio-moral personality under proper educational conditions. In conditions wherein she would be left without proper therapeutic and educational help, we could presuppose development of suicidal tendencies, mental illness, or resignation from the so-called normal life.
With respect to the second question, it appears that Janet’s own diagnosis of hysteria would be confirmed by any experienced psychiatrist. The basis for that appears in her strong somnambulistic conditions, dual personality, strong suggestibility, exceptional emotional tension, dramatization with elements of ecstasy, and incapacity for adjustment to external conditions.
Is such a diagnosis prone to give a negative impression of Irene’s mental structure, or does it place her at a high developmental level?
The capacity for so high a level of feelings, their constancy, high level of autosuggestibility, strength of subconscious dependence on moral values, responsibility and sacrifice with respect to others, and will power indicate, in our opinion, positive personality traits. Furthermore, she does not exhibit the majority of traits characteristic of character hysteria such as lying, showing off, putting up false appearances, etc.
This is a case, we believe, representing a rich developmental potential, and which, assuming proper conditions, could give rise to accelerated development. In our view, symptoms of such emotional tension, which resemble ecstasy, symptoms of somnambulism, resisting tragic conditions: all of these give a picture rather contrary-from the point of view of totality of character and personality—to the group of characteristics on which we usually depend in the diagnosis of hysteria. Exclusive attention to the so-called typical symptoms without
attempting to correlate them with healthy personality traits gives, in our opinion, a basis for a merely schematic diagnosis that omits the rich aspects of personality structure and its developmental possibilities.
That is why we shall briefly answer the third question by stating that Irene is a healthy person in the sense of realization of her own personality standard. Neither her maladjustment to actual reality, nor her strong emotional tension, nor again her somnambulism or “excessive” feeling of responsibility and sacrifice are indicative of a pathological personality.
Let us now go on to the fourth question regarding appropriate therapy. From the view that Irene is a healthy person it follows that she should not be treated as a medical case. On the other hand, she should be given able assistance in her education, above all self-development, which would aim at positive, perhaps accelerated growth. In this respect help in working-out, definition, formation, and establishment of an educational program which would provide her with a disposing and directing center at a high level is of fundamental importance. The other fundamental aspect is a slow and multilevel development of the principal dynamisms of her inner psychic milieu. Of fundamental value, also, would be the formation of deeper intellectual capacities which would bring discrimination into the emotional and moral aspects of her life. Of great importance would be a friendly, noble interest taken in her total development such that she might find some compensation for her abruptly ended attachment to her mother. In this connection, it may be essential to discover and develop some of her more important interests and abilities.
This would be, perhaps, the best way to raise and to sublimate her very interesting positive tendency for autosuggestion, to bring her higher emotions to fulfillment.
13. Differentiation of Developmental and Nondevelopmental Symptoms and Dynamisms
Both in the case of Irene and of S.M. we are confronted by the problem of diagnosis and differentiation of symptoms and dynamisms, usually considered pathological, into those which have a negative, involutionary role and into those which are, in our opinion, positive, that is, developmental. As an example of a differential diagnosis of this kind we will analyze the two cases.
S.M. exhibited mental hyperexcitability, especially of the emotional and imaginational type. As we have already stated mental hyperexcitability is the basic component of developmental and creative
potentials. Creativity, ingenuity, empathy, identification, autonomy and authenticity cannot develop without this foundation. Mental hyperexcitability constitutes one of the most important factors in the rise of the inner psychic milieu and of the tendency to transcend one’s psychological type and the biological life cycle. In this way mental hype hyperexcitability, and especially emotional and imaginational hyperexcitability are one of the most important factors in the drive towards realization of higher forms of mental life.
The fear of mental disintegration and illness which we find in S.M. is a characteristic feature of positive developmental transformations, especially in early phases of multilevel disintegration. It is a symptom of the formation of the dynamism “subject-object” in oneself. Anxiety which takes the form of “moral spasms” also points out to it and to the rise of the instinct of self-perfection.
S. M.’s distinct capacity for empathy and identification is an expression of a strong instinct of syntony and of the feeling of responsibility for himself and for others. What is usually considered an excess of the above tendencies is not a pathological deviation, but the potential for, or even the beginning of, an accelerated positive development.
In his need to subordinate all of his capacities to moral imperatives and programs we find a distinct need of hierarchization of values and an ability to make sacrifices. His pronounced ability to engage him self in a struggle for ideals, his inclination to derive his principles from the feelings of empathy and ideas of humanism prove his great potential for accelerated mental development. It would be a serious error with harmful consequences to interpret any of those qualities as pathological.
Concerning the case of Irene we noticed that she exhibited strong emotional attachment and the feeling of responsibility for her mother. She was dedicated to the task of taking care of her mother and keeping her alive. The tension of her struggle against her mother’s death was heroic. In her emotional relation to her mother Irene did not think of herself, but was always ready to sacrifice herself. Among other things she succeeded to control the biological need of sleep. This clearly showed her ability for hierarchization of values, self-sacrifice and heroism. These qualities are certainly not normal in the statistical sense, yet would it be justified to consider them pathological?
Irene exhibited a low threshold of resistance to frustration. From our point of view this does not represent anything pathological, but c n the contrary, a symptom of accelerated and deepened mental development. Concerning her symptoms of somnambulic dissociation,
disagree with the standard psychiatric view that they were expressions of a pathological process. Her great emotional tension, associated with a high degree of exclusive feelings of love and identification with her mother, while other forms of sublimation were not open to her, could find an outlet only in positive maladjustment through dissociations or disaggregations as in her case, or it could have ended in suicide or psychosis.
The somnambulic dissociation evidenced a process of growing mental health rather than illness. It allowed her to stay with her mother. It also allowed saturation with these grave experiences which were so close to her. It gave her a chance to fully experience her deep inner feelings, but, at he same time, to continue her “normal life” in the phase of transition to a “normal personality.”
It should be emphasized that individuals who have a rich psychic life, marked exclusiveness of emotions, empathy, emotional and imaginational hyperexcitability, may show dissociations of various kinds and levels. We can mention as examples of dissociations sates of contemplation or ecstasy, mediumistic or spiritistic experiences, states known as anorexia nervosa, and any form of authentic self-perfection through positive disintegration, (e.g. the development of the inner psychic milieu, especially of the dynamism “subject-object” in oneself, the third factor, activation of the ideal of personality, tendency to ecstasy). The development of the partial death instinct which may find an outlet in extreme forms of asceticism or suicide is also an expression of this process.
We conclude that there is nothing pathological in all those symptoms, but that in the majority they are genuine symptoms and dynamisms of an accelerated and deepened process of mental growth towards higher levels of mental functions and structures.
14. Correlation Between Developmental Traits and Psychoneurotic Syndromes
Psychoneurotic syndromes are relatively well classified. In order to show the developmental components in psychoneuroses we shall consider in more detail psychasthenia, neurotic depression, and anxiety neuroses.
In psychasthenia, as in other psychoneuroses, we distinguish two groups of people: hose who turn to hospitals and sanatoria, and those whom we meet in everyday life, especially in cultured environments. In the first group, we meet those with real symptoms of Psychic asthenia, while in the second group we rarely see such severe
symptoms, through we do meet physical or somatic asthenia, lack of adjustment, and even lassitude with everyday life. To this second group belong many artists, writers and thinkers, to mention only Proust, Kafka, Chopin, Kierkegaard, Shelley, Slowacki, Norwid, Pascal, Puvis de Chavannes, Keats, Gibran, Einstein. Their great need for relaxation after creative effort gave an impression of easy fatigability. Their psyches seemed to be asthenic because of excessive sensitivity. In reality, they were characterized by physical but not psychic weakness. Their exhaustion was due to the disproportion between mental and physical activity. This means that intracortical activity is carried out at the expense of subcortical centers. For this reason these individuals demonstrate excessive inhibition, hesitation and weakness (or even lack) of reality function at a low level. Not infrequently they are reluctant to end their work. At the same time they have a very strong reality function at a higher level.
Let us now consider psychoneurotic depression. The individual with such a neurosis is characterized, in general, by emotional and imaginational hyperexcitability and a very great fatigability. This leads to irritability, greater suggestibility, low frustration tolerance, dissatisfaction with others and with oneself, and very weak adjustment to reality. An individual with psychoneurotic depression has a very strong empathy towards his close friends and his family; his emotional bonds are exclusive and also, for this reason, he is psychically vulnerable. The depression is often expressed by a natural desire for isolation, by inhibition, by weaker contacts and even by a conscious (or unconscious) temporary flight into sickness. As we have already underlined, in depressive syndromes and symptoms we may find positive regression in order to rest and relax before attempting new, more authentic and more elevated activity. A good example is the case of the depressions of Antoine de St. Exupéry, a prominent French pilot and writer.
The symptoms of psychoneurotic depression are often present in puberty, menopause, and post stress periods. They include a tendency to isolate oneself from actual unpleasant experiences and very often tend in the direction of “near-pathological” relaxation after a very strong trauma or stress. These depressions may replace suicidal tendencies or serve as an introduction to further intensive transformation and creative work.
Depression plays an important role not only in isolation from the external world but also in isolation from oneself. The isolation from oneself is expressed by the feeling of inferiority towards oneself and by feelings of shame and guilt. In depressive but creative people
this attitude takes analysis and self-criticism as a starting point for inner psychic transformation.
In conclusion, we should underline that we have not discussed here the so-called endogenous depression which is constitutionally determined. We have concentrated on those types of depression which depend on all factors of positive development, i.e. hereditary potential, influence of the environment and autonomous mental factors.
Let us briefly discuss anxiety neurosis. In the last chapter discussing disquietude, we have already indicated the multilevelness and creative character of this type of “anxiety.” Disquietude towards oneself and disquietude towards others, as in an apprehension of the threat of pain and evil, characterizes all sensitive and creative people. On the basis of our clinical experience, we can say that the highest levels of anxiety inhibit lower, more primitive forms of anxiety. This may occur through reflection and capability to transmute anxiety about oneself into anxiety about others. Many anxiety states often express a greater concern for others than for oneself and especially a very strong concern for higher values. Anxiety is often an expression of the impossibility- to immediately “force one’s way” towards a higher, more developed, hierarchy of values, in order to discover the answer to one’s problems and worries. The individual then feels a desire to arrive at higher levels of the hierarchy of values, but at the same time finds that it is impossible for him to do so immediately. Such anxiety can encompass even deeper concerns when it becomes existential or when it is an anxiety about the reality of the sought hierarchy of values and of finding in it a refuge and protection.
As we have already mentioned, anxiety psychoneurosis may be expressed at many levels, especially at higher levels, while lower levels are expressed by nondevelopmental neurosis hypochondria and sexual neurosis.
We have also indicated that an anxiety psychoneurosis can express itself at the existential level. In this case, an individual feels a need to arrive at a philosophy concerning the ultimate realities of life, the meaning of living, the meaning of development etc. This expresses a loosening or breaking of emotional and intellectual attitudes and aspirations in the borderline area between what is knowable and unknowable, in the area of existential and transcendental realities.
At this point it seems appropriate to quote two opinions concerning psychoneurosis, in particular, anxiety and depressive psychoneuroses. The first is derived from the writings of Paul Abély (1, 2):
“It seems that to be a good psychoanalyst, one must submit oneself to this test of liberation and it is important that one must get rid of
one’s complexes and relieve the subconscious. But is it not possible that in so doing we take the risk of depriving a human being of a personal treasure which nourishes perhaps his dynamics and his genius? I shudder at the thought that such elite members as Molière, Mozart, Beethoven, Goethe, August Comte, Baudelaire, and many others, could possibly have been subjected to such a ‘frustration'.
“I have known in my life, especially in artistic milieus, many young neurotics of great talent who, happily remained such.
“I have even heard an inaugural and presidential address at the occasion of the Strasbourg Congress, an excellent conference by Professor Nayrac on ‘The anxiety of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry'. He said something of this nature: ‘This anxiety was of a particular type. It bore a quality promoting personality development. Such anxieties are instrumental to elevation and greater self-development. Thus a doctor must approach them with prudence and respect'.”
The second opinion comes from Marcel Proust, drawn from one of his novels, “Du Côté de Guermentes”:
“All that we have great comes from neurotics. They are the ones, and not others, who have founded religions and created masterpieces. This world will never know how much it owes to them and especially how much they suffered in order to produce it. We are delighted by their subtle music beautiful paintings, by a thousand subtleties, but we do not know the price they paid for their creations in terms of tears, spasmodic laughter, rashes, asthma, fits of trembling and, most of all, the ever-present fear of death.”
15. The Developmental and Nondevelopmental Elements in Psychoses
We will discuss briefly schizophrenia, paranoia and borderline syndromes between psychoneuroses and psychoses.
Abély (1, 2) has already described with considerable insight, the borderline forms between psychoneuroses and psychoses. With respect to schizophrenia, he has described a group of intermediate syndromes which he termed schizoneuroses. These are characterized by dissociation of self-consciousness, by disintegration of self-control, by weakening of the instinct of self-preservation and of the reality function, as well as by an insurgence and development of a delusional system. Such disintegration brings about a gradual dissolution of the reality function with respect to oneself and to others.
As compared to psychoneuroses, schizophrenia is characterized by negative disintegration and, more specifically, by dissolution and involution. What are the essential differences between psychoneurotic processes and schizophrenic processes?
We can discern in schizophrenia, already in the hereditary and innate potentials, emotional hyperexcitability that is not channeled in any particular direction. In the very early expression of these potentials we fail to find any strong capacity for inner psychic transformation and no nuclei of mixed psychological type. In the very early social contacts of those who are potential schizophrenics, we find a much greater psychic vulnerability than in those who will develop psychoneurosis. We also find greater and less positive psychic infantilism and, as mentioned above, a weaker capacity for inner psychic transformation. In such cases, expressions of instinctive functions are weaker. An ability to transform them, is especially low, adjustment to reality of a low level is difficult, if not impossible, there is no distinct ability for organization of higher levels of reality. On the contrary, in psychoneurotics one frequently observes a distinct ability to organize higher levels of reality.
A potentially schizophrenic individual cannot withstand the effects of collisions and conflicts with his environment, especially during more difficult periods of his childhood. This leads to breakdown, dissociation of personality, and thus to negative disintegration.
The lack of contact with reality is compensated by delusional symptoms, by flight from reality, by dissociation of personality, by pathological symbolization, by hallucinations, etc., due to the impossibility of enduring the pressures of the negative factors.
It is understandable that the developmental potential existing in susceptible individuals, overwhelmed by negative potentials and experiences, expresses itself with great difficulty but we believe that under very favorable conditions it could find positive expression. Under optimal conditions, the individual could even attempt to overcome his pathological elements. Creative abilities, great syntony, emotional shocks which could break the existing schizophrenic systems can serve as positive forces of development. Such was the case of Clifford Beers, who felt very high empathy towards his fellow inmates, who had a talent for painting, and who thanks to his logical thinking was able in a crucial moment to identify his brother and thus dispelled his delusions about meeting his brother’s double. This led him to psychic regeneration at a higher level (48).
The case of Jack Ferguson, an American psychiatrist, was quite similar (48). He developed paranoia, but, at the same time, he was endowed with another set of dynamisms leading to positive development and great empathy with others. In the early phase of his psychosis he was driven by strong professional ambition but later it yielded to the global desire to serve his patients. In this case we
see two sets of dynamisms in constant struggle; on the one hand, the complex of suspicions, delusions, and aggressiveness and, on the other hand, empathy, need for development, and sacrifice for others. This struggle culminated in the victory of the forces of positive development towards reintegration of his personality on a higher level.
A process similar to that just described can be seen in the case of Franz Kafka. Kafka organized for himself a “pathological” world of higher levels of reality by transferring his interests to a systematically organized world of dreams. From this dream world he derived all his creative energy. This world was so systematically organized and unified that it became the main field of his experience and activity. This permitted him to descend, in a more or less organized manner, to the realities of everyday life, which were for him a somewhat peripheral aspect of his own life. If the everyday realities became too difficult to cope with he could always later escape to his world of dreams.
We can say that the psychotic, and especially the schizophrenic world may include in its content some creative and prophylactic elements directed against the process of dissolution and involution. Conditions of everyday life if adapted to the developmental needs of their potential will permit those individuals to return to everyday reality with a new stock of strength derived from higher levels of their creative world. There also exists the alternative possibility of their being able to organize their own symbolic world well enough to permit a partial communication with everyday realities while retraining mostly in their own inner world.
16. Mental Health as a Group of Developmental Potentials and Dynamisms
(a) Older Concepts:
The author is convinced that many of the old concepts of mental health are erroneous, or at least, inadequate.
For example, mental health conceived as “mens sana in corpore sana” (healthy mind in a healthy body) is erroneous, if we but pass beyond the primitive, statistical and static approach based on average characteristics of human beings. We may have a very high level of mental health, high level of autonomy and authentism, high level of thinking and feeling, high level of creative possibilities along with various somatic illnesses and even along with psychoneuroses.
The concept of mental health based on psychic well-being is also clearly erroneous. Fairly stable feelings of well-being are characteristic
of psychopaths, patients with general paralysis, and some cases of organic brain damage. We also know that a happy disposition is characteristic of some groups of mental retardates.
An incapacity to feel sorrow and sadness, and to be periodically depressed is characteristic of some mental retardates who do not have sufficient potentials for normal development and who lack basic sensitivity. To say that mentally healthy individuals are those who have a permanent feeling of well-being is just as erroneous as the converse that permanent feelings of sadness would constitute mental health.
Some of the older concepts of mental health were limited to considering only the efficiency of some mental function, or group of functions (e.g. adjustment, productivity, intellectual abilities). But we know that, for instance, physiologically, sleep is a periodic lack of efficiency. We also have healthy states of psychic fatigue in which psychic efficiency is diminished. During periods of accelerated development such as puberty, we are dealing with symptoms, over a brief or long period, of decreased efficiency with respect to some functions (e.g. adjustment, equilibrium, well-being, social relations) and increased efficiency with respect to other functions (creativity, hierarchization, self-reliance, reflection). Another point to consider is that the efficiency of psychic functioning is not necessarily concerned with all aspects of mental life, with all of its functions. Many creative individuals manifest efficiency on higher levels of psychic functions (on a higher level of reality), and at the same time very low efficiency with respect to the practical level of everyday life (low level of reality).
Not infrequently productivity is used as a criterion of mental health. Yet one-sided type of work, although productive and efficient, leads to stereotypy and narrowness of mental development.
As mentioned earlier, very often capable, creative, talented men in poetry, music, literature, or painting are quite impractical. Marcel Proust had not only a great ability to penetrate into complex and subtle problems of characters he chose as his heroes, but he was also capable of catching their individual, unique or even pathological content. He was thus very highly developed with respect to the creative aspect of the reality function, represented in a high level of his creative synthesis, but little efficiency with respect to practical matters.
Kafka arrived at a special kind of efficiency which allowed him to synthesize his dreams and to interpret his everyday life from the viewpoint of his dream. This proved to be decisive in his creativity.
Such development of the reality function has a mark of being universal and systematized on a high level. It is important to note that the development of the reality function on a high level has a clear creative application to many phenomena of everyday life (i.e. to realities on a low level) and to the life of societies and nations. In this way creative writers are capable of discovering new meanings in the everyday reality. By removing themselves from this reality they can - from a higher vantage point - see more readily important details, events, trends, and their significance. The oddities and impracticalities of creative people gain thus a deeper meaning as necessary to secure better observation and better insights.
The concept of integration has been held to be characteristic of healthy mental activity. However, there can be various kinds of integration. Integration on the lowest level of mental development certainly does not express mental health. It can rather be termed negative integration. Neither can psychopathic, narrow integration, where intelligence is only a tool at the service of primitively integrated drives, be termed mental health. Some delusional “integrations” which encompass all mental life of the individual do not denote mental illness. If we want to use the term “integration” to denote mental health, we must approach the concept of integration from a teleological point of view, as a goal to be gradually achieved through positive disintegration affecting lower levels of mental structures and functions.
We have already discussed in a preceding chapter, the developmental significance of adjustment. “Multisided” forms of adjustment to unilevel reality, adjustment to the requirements of everyday life, express rather nondevelopmental activities. The individual who is always adjusted is one who does not develop himself, who is neither autonomous nor authentic. To progress in development it is necessary to understand different kinds and levels of needs of everyday life. That is to say, it is necessary to adjust only-partially and to subordinate such adjustments to developmental needs in accord with a hierarchy of values and in agreement with the requirements of one’s own personality and its ideal.
Apart from a partial adjustment to the ever-changing conditions of unilevel reality, the mentally healthy individual will demonstrate maladjustment to the lower levels of reality while at the same time, manifest a tendency to adjust to higher levels or reality, i.e. to the requirements of his ideal of personality. This means that such an individual will demonstrate positive maladjustment, i.e. maladjustment to “that which is” and adjustment to “what ought to be”; maladjust-
ment to that which is “less myself” and adjustment to that which is “more myself,” maladjustment to that which is negative, nondevelopmental in other people and adjustment to that which is hierarchically higher in them.
Another error is involved in the discussion of the notion of “healthy” or “normal” in statistical terms. The dynamic developmental approach to the problem of mental health is not compatible with the statistical approach. We can consider a statistical approach to be valid only with respect to grouping physiological characteristics associated with mental health. It is hardly possible to approach the dynamics of mental health on a statistical basis. Particular statistics obtained for different groups, as less developed and more developed (i.e. mentally retarded, “ordinary” people, eminent people, individuals on different socio-economic levels), as those differentiated more by biological characteristics and those differentiated more by psychological and moral characteristics could not be reduced to one mean common to all these groups. This becomes even more poignant if one considers the consciously self-determined, unique, authentic individual who has developed his own standard and model of mental health.
(b) Universal and Multilevel Development of Mental Health.
The achievement of mental health requires specific potentials for the development of all main psychic functions. The complete lack of such potentials as empathy, self-awareness, or hierarchy of values leads to crippled mental development, such as psychopathy. There is thus a necessity to view mental health as the potential for positive development of all basic mental dynamisms. We cannot imagine a healthy human being, who could develop only his intellectual abilities without the parallel development of emotional sensitivity. Neither can we imagine that a mentally healthy individual is one who fully develops the aggressive, sexual, and self-preservation instincts, without concomitant developmental of multilevel emotional life and intellectual abilities. A unilateral development of a limited group of potentials leads to atrophy of other potential human functions.
Another potential indispensable for mental development is hierarchization of every function and every group of functions, which is prerequisite for the realization of personality and its ideal. This aspect of mental growth is a very fundamental one. It involves, on the one hand, the fact of development and, on the other, the ideal of development. We cannot understand true development without overcoming and moving away from lower levels of our mental qualities, i.e. lower levels of instincts, of consciousness, of syntony, of authenticity,
and of the creative instinct. The higher levels of all these qualities may be reached through the process of multidimensional positive disintegration and secondary integration. The higher the level of the dynamisms described, the clearer is the program of development, the clearer are the structures and functions of personality and its ideal.
In the process of multidimensional disintegration, the individual goes beyond his biopsychological developmental cycle, his animalistic nature, his biological determination and slowly achieves psychological and moral self-determination, The human individual, under these conditions ceases to direct himself exclusively by his innate dynamisms and by environmental influences, but develops autonomous dynamisms such as “subject-object” in oneself, the third factor, or personality ideal. He slowly transforms his own psychological type, unfolding consciously his potentials for a mixed type through self-development and auto-psychotherapy.
In this process of development through multilevel positive disintegration, the human being develops positive maladjustment to “what is” and an adjustment to “what ought to be.” This positive maladjustment is basic for the development of mental health.
Mental health depends on the nuclei and development of conflicts, especially conflicts within the inner psychic milieu. This is associated with the experience of sadness, frustration, suffering, feelings of insecurity, the need for positive maladjustment, the necessity to increase one’s self-awareness. Sadness, dissatisfaction with oneself, astonishment and disquietude with oneself, feelings of inferiority towards oneself, feelings of shame and guilt expand and deepen one’s own awareness. They are connected with states of alienation, anxiety, loneliness, obsessions, depressions, “dark night of the soul,” and, in some cases, with periodical illusions, hallucinations, and the borderline of delusions. Apart from the last three, all these processes are neurotic or psychoneurotic. Yet, paradoxically, without them one cannot transcend the sequence of the biological life cycle or one’s psychological type.
Multilevel development is impossible without the participation of many psychoneurotic dynamisms. Under some conditions, especially when both positive and negative potentials are of more or less equal strength then in consequence of grave life experiences may appear psychotic disturbances. In such cases the individual develops himself on the borderline of the process of dissolution and reaches his secondary equilibrium after passing through a state closely resembling psychic catastrophe. As examples of such development, we have only
to name Clifford Beers, Wladyslaw Dawid, Feodor Dostoevsky, Jack Ferguson, Franz Kafka, Soren Kierkegaard, Abraham Lincoln, John Stuart Mill, Isaac Newton, and many others, who carried out their creative work on the borderline of psychoneurosis and psychosis.
In conclusion we can say that the development of mental health, means development through positive disintegration, through positive maladjustment through transcending the biological cycle, through transcending the psychological type, in the direction of personality ideal. This means that mental health is directly related to the development of the inner psychic milieu, to the development of autonomous and :authentic factors through education of oneself and autopsychotherapy, through nervousness, neurosis and psychoneurosis, and in some special cases, through mental states very near to psychic catastrophe, i.e. through some psychotic states.
Mental health expresses itself through an evolution from primitive integration, through positive disintegration, to secondary integration, from primitive adjustment, through positive maladjustment, to secondary adjustment to the personality ideal, from an integrative balance at a low level, through mental imbalance, to secondary balance at the level, of personality. This sequence is a transition from a primitive state of apparent mental health (more truly a pathological state), to greater and greater degree of mental health achieved through the development of a multilevel inner psychic milieu.
C H A P T E R I V
THE INNER PSYCHIC MILIEU*
The concept of “inner milieu” has been used in science for many years: in physiology to describe conditions of equilibrium and disequilibrium in acid-base reactions occurring in tissues; in describing equilibria in the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems: in explaining the phenomena of regulation of bodily warmth, etc. The concept of an inner milieu within this scope was defined by Claude Bernard, Canon, Menninger and others. However, the concept of an “inner psychic milieu” (internal mental environment) has never been introduced.
In its initial form the concept of the inner psychic milieu was developed by the author and applied to psychology and psychopathology. This concept forms an integral part of the theory of positive disintegration (33, 35, 36, 38, 41, 48, 51). The present article gives the results of further analysis and development of this subject.
Inner psychic milieu is a complex of mental dynamisms characteristic for a given individual. The dynamisms operate on one level (unilevel interaction) or on several levels (multilevel interaction). The dynamisms interact either synergistically or antagonistically (inner conflict). When the mental dynamisms are co-operative we observe that one central dynamism (or a group of central dynamisms) is higher and directive while the peripheral dynamisms are lower and subordinated to it. Occasionally the directive power of the central dynamism is lost. This occurs through either spreading, or decrease in intensity. In such cases, although the inner milieu is deprived of a uniform dominating factor, it may instead possess several directive factors.
*The greater part of this chapter was published as “Le Milieu Psychique Interne” in Annales Médico-psychologiques, 1968, 2, 457-485.
2. Varieties and Levels of Inner Psychic Milieu
In a general outline, we can distinguish four kinds of inner psychic milieu: primitive, disintegrated, integrated and pathological.
(a) Primitive inner psychic milieu integrated on a low level. This kind of inner milieu has its disposing and directing center (see below) united with the principal urge or several urges. The dynamisms indispensable for mental development are not found in such a milieu. There are no conflicts here. The disposing and directing center automatically, or almost automatically, assumes its role, it yields to different urges depending on the emergence or satisfaction of basic needs. There is no consciousness of oneself, or if so, only on a very primitive level. The loosening of a primitive psychic, or psychosomatic structure, occurs only periodically through light conditions of amphotony, also called vegetative dystony (imbalance of the sympathetic nervous system resulting in flushing, waves of warmth and cold, etc.). We find this kind of inner milieu in psychopathy, in some cases of oligophrenia, in some aspects of paranoia, and among very primitive individuals.
(b) Inner psychic milieu with loosening (disintegration) of structures and functions. The loosening (disintegration) of mental structures and functions may be moderate, considerable or quite extensive (global). It appears under conditions of mental tension, strong emotional experiences, internal, and external conflicts. It is evident in developmental crises (periods of adolescence, climacteric, etc.), especially among people talented in arts and literature, among neurotics and psychoneurotics as well as in certain psychoses of fair or good prognosis.
We encounter here all the essential dynamisms of the inner milieu, to be described later. We shall mention here: astonishment with oneself, anxiety, feelings of inferiority towards oneself, feelings of shame and guilt, the third factor, disposing and directing center on a high level, personality ideal, etc. This type of inner psychic milieu is found in individuals undergoing the process of positive disintegration, and it is fundamental for positive development of the human individual. Such milieu appears in multilevel positive disintegration and is especially prominent in accelerated mental growth. This type of inner psychic milieu develops on the borderline of mental health and mental illness (in the common meaning of these words) and possesses dynamisms which until now have been considered pathological. In the author’s opinion, positive, accelerated development depends entirely on the presence of this type of inner psychic milieu.
(c) Inner psychic milieu on the level of secondary integration. Here we observe a hierarchical, well-shaped organization, where the processes of positive disintegration are not anymore bound up with tension or strong conflicts. Instead these processes are rather calm and are evoked only through affective memory.
The disposing and directing center is closely tied and identified with the whole personality (as the highest mental organization recognizable in human development), and is subjugated to its ideal. On one hand, we have here an aptitude for profound empathy and identification with others; on the other hand, self-awareness, autonomy and authenticity, and a sense of identity as a distinct human being.
On this level we have dynamisms which belong to the third group of dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu, as will be described later.
(d) Pathological inner milieu may be pathologically integrated (as in pathological or primitive integration) or pathologically disintegrated, that is to say, dissolved.
Pathologically integrated milieu does not have differentiated dynamisms other than the most primitive. Pathologically disintegrated milieu allows to distinguish differentiated dynamisms, but they are pathologically changed. They eventually dissolve. Here no regular relations exist between dynamisms.
In both cases, that is to say, in pathological integration as well as in pathological disintegration, the element of self-awareness is absent, and pathological or semipathological functions develop under the influence of automatic dynamisms that are either integrated or disintegrated.
3. Main Dynamisms of the Inner Psychic Milieu
The main dynamisms of the inner milieu may be divided into three groups: unilevel, multilevel and dynamisms of secondary integration. Unilevel dynamisms are characteristic of unilevel disintegration. Here belong ambivalences and ambitendencies, a multiplicity of “wills” resulting from disintegration of the union of the disposing and directing center with any primitive drive. In unilevel disintegration there occur collisions between many disposing and directing centers of opposing interests, hence ambivalent feelings and irritability.
The characteristic feature of the inner psychic milieu in unilevel disintegration is lack of experiencing of values on many levels. Hence fluctuations of mood and feeling, emotional instability.
An individual caught in unilevel disintegration meets with great difficulties in his development in view of the tact that no new qualities
appear to him (hierarchy of values) that would open a new direction of development. When a new quality does appear it can change the directionless conflict between ambivalences and ambitendencies and give it a direction by introducing multilevel relations.
Multilevel dynamisms fail into two categories:
1. Dynamisms which are characterized by spontaneity and lack of definite organization. These dynamisms operate in the first phase of multilevel disintegration.
2. Dynamisms which reshape, assimilate and organize the process of positive disintegration.
To the first category belong: astonishment with oneself and one’s environment, disquietude with oneself, dissatisfaction with oneself, feelings of inferiority toward oneself, feelings of shame and guilt, positive maladjustment, creativity.
To the second category belong: the third factor, self-awareness and self-control, education of oneself, auto-psychotherapy, inner psychic transformation, “subject-object in oneself,” empathy and identification with oneself and with others.
The following are the dynamisms of secondary integration: Feeling and attitude of responsibility for oneself and for others, autonomy and authentism, disposing and directing center on a high level, and personality ideal.
A. The dynamisms of the first group.
Astonishment with oneself and disquietude with oneself
Astonishment and curiosity play a considerable role in gaining knowledge of the external world. We may assume the same in self-knowledge, provided we have the ability to use astonishment and curiosity in the inward direction. Disquietude with oneself is a new and fundamental element of such inwardly directed astonishment because it introduces strongly dynamic and emotional elements, which bring about loosening, and even disintegration, of stiff habitual behavioral patterns. In contradistinction to disquietude about oneself, which is merely an expression of the self-preservation instinct, disquietude with oneself is an expression of our cognitive and developmental drives.
Astonishment with regard to oneself and disquietude with oneself are the first dynamisms which shatter the secure structure of primitive integration.
Dissatisfaction with oneself is manifested by the formation of a “dualistic” transformative attitude. This attitude is the seed from
which will grow the highly emotionally charged dynamism “subject object in oneself.” The dynamism of dissatisfaction with oneself is an expression of an inner opposition to one’s own structure. It is an expression of division (or at least distinction) between what judges and what is being judged. It is a manifestation of an emerging inner hierarchy which discriminates that which is “lower” from that which is “higher.” Such discrimination takes part in the development of an authentic hierarchy of values.
Feeling of inferiority with regard to oneself. This dynamisms is also an expression of the loosening, and even breakdown of the existing psychic structure into several functional levels. It expresses an increasing differentiation (a multilevel differentiation) within the hierarchy of values. It is directly related to feelings of dissatisfaction with oneself. This dynamism brings about consciousness of unfulfilled tasks, of unrealized possibilities, which are projected against the image of one’s personality ideal.
A feeling of inferiority with regard to oneself, or to potential self-fulfillment, is expressive of strong developmental endowment. It does not correspond to Adler’s concept of inferiority. Adler related the feeling of inferiority to aggressiveness, external conflicts and envy. His is a concept of inferiority in relation to the external environment. In contrast, the feeling of inferiority in respect to oneself is a concept
Legend to Figure 1.
This schematic diagram illustrates the main relationships between dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu in multilevel disintegration. The dynamisms placed in the lower part of the diagram represent the spontaneous phase of multilevel disintegration. Creative dynamisms appear very early and develop along with the appearance of new dynamisms and into the later phase of multilevel disintegration. Creative dynamisms together with inner psychic transformation, empathy and identification represent dynamisms present in all stages of development of a multilevel inner psychic milieu. The diagram depicts them as merging with inner psychic transformation and empathy but it is to be understood that they continue to operate even on the level of personality—the highest level of development.
The arrows indicate the primary relationships between certain dynamisms. Thus positive maladjustment is the dynamism from which emerge the broader and stronger dynamisms of self-awareness and self-control. In turn, the dynamism of self-control together with the third factor give rise to the disposing and directing center on a high level. It is this center that will ultimately coordinate and integrate all dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu with the personality ideal which in its full fruition produces personality.
The third factor is the central dynamism in the development of personality but for the sake of clarity it was not possible to indicate on the diagram all its ramifications.
of inferiority in relation to the inner environment (inner psychic milieu). With the appearance of inner conflicts appear feelings of dissatisfaction with regard to missed or lost opportunities. There also emerges a need for inner psychic transformation.
Feelings of shame and guilt. The feeling of shame expresses a shattering of one’s self-assurance with respect to the inner milieu as well as to the outer milieu. In fact the loss of self-assurance with respect to the outer milieu is here dominant. The feeling of shame manifests a strong condition of oppression and anxiety. This is apparent in the presence of feelings of inferiority toward one’s own looks or appearance, feelings of inferiority with regard to public opinion, in a tendency to be away from public sight, in a tendency to flight, to Monakow’s (63) “ekklisis” (tendency to move away from an object), etc. Shame has strong somatic components which find their expression in vegetative disequilibrium (blushing, trembling, psychosomatic stiffness, heart arrhythmia, and the like).
The feeling of guilt is in part an interiorized shame of considerable tension. It expresses a retrospective reliving of experiences of one’s own moral failures, real or imaginary. It is also connected with the feeling of inferiority with regard to oneself and dissatisfaction with oneself.
The feeling of guilt springs from the disappointment in the confrontation of one’s thoughts and actions, with one’s own hierarchy of values and one’s own personality ideal. Furthermore, it is related to feelings of responsibility and need for expiation. The feeling of guilt is a condition which may produce considerable tension. Often it occurs in conjunction with Kierkegaard’s “Fear and Trembling.”
Positive maladjustment like the feeling of guilt is also an expression of a strong developmental tendency. It exhibits an inner protest against any form of forced adaptation that does not correspond to the hierarchy of values and aims subordinated to one’s own personality ideal. This dynamism results from a desire for accelerated development aiming at that “which ought to be” as opposed to “what is.” Therefore, it forms the basis of a very sound attitude, provided that it is conscious and in close touch with other positive dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu.
The dynamism of positive maladjustment acts through the loosening or breakdown of lower levels of psychic homeostasis to allow its reorganization at a higher level. It effects a change of values. This change comes about through disintegration of externally acquired values that have become too stiff and too narrow. Before this change,
and on a lower level, automatic psychic adaptation of those values was a rule. Now it is no more possible.
Of all the dynamisms of the first phase of positive disintegration positive maladjustment is the most important indicator of a potential for accelerated development.
Creative dynamisms are connected with the process of disintegration in general, and with the process of multilevel disintegration in particular. Creativity develops under conditions of emotional upheavals, tensions and external as well as internal conflicts. It grows from an insight into the contradictions between the inner and the outer world. Creativity can be regarded as a desire to build a new reality through an expanded awareness. The expansion of awareness makes it possible to go from an initially vague and only intuitive presentiment of a new reality to a more definite structurization of it.
The growing need to break the barriers of routine, to liberate oneself from automatic experiences in order to achieve inner autonomy, the urge to disapprove of “what is” in order to replace it in oneself (if only in part) by that “which ought to be,” finds its expression in creative processes. The increasing recognition of that “which ought to be,” is nothing else but an adjustment to a new hierarchy of values.
All forms of positive disintegration are accompanied by increased inner tension, depression, anxiety, development of retrospective and prospective tendencies, curiosity and astonishment with regard to one self and to the inner environment. Creativity is an important outlet for the increased tension of inner conflicts. In this role creative dynamisms are the forces of defense against mental illness. They help in the task of reorganization of a disintegrated mental structure. But there also appears a desire to achieve a richer, truer personality. One realizes that one’s present status is primitive or one-sided. This realization is an initial mark of autonomy and authenticity to be achieved later in the developmental process. An enhanced awareness and sensitivity, with regard to what is going on in oneself, a desire and need to break down patterns of behavior, the presence of inner conflicts, and anxiety-are conditions generated by positive disintegration. They constitute the necessary elements of personality development. In this process of advancing awareness of self-development it happens at times that the creative instinct is transformed into an instinct of self-perfection.
Together with these elements grows an inclination towards intuition, phantasy or magical thinking, reaching to inspiration, even ecstasy. In this way finds its expression the desire and need for a new
synthesis of disorganized functions, for new insights into the nascent hierarchy of values. At the same time, for the sake of the continuity of personality, there appears a tendency to control functions which have been broken down, there also arises a need of rest and quiet indispensable for an initial synthesis of internal experiences.
Up to this point we have described processes which prepare the ground for developmental process ultimately leading to secondary integration. In the early, preparatory phase, moral valuation may be involved, but is not yet a necessary condition. With the advance of multilevel disintegration moral dynamisms gain importance. Ultimately the formation of personality, that is to say, the achievement of a new level of reality can only be- accomplished with the definite participation of moral dynamisms.
B. The dynamisms of the second group.
The dynamisms of the second group reshape, organize and assimilate the process of multilevel disintegration. Those dynamisms prepare the inner milieu for secondary integration.
Self-awareness and self-control. The conscious feeling of distance toward one’s daily tasks, if leading to calmness and moments of reflection, indicates the appearance of dynamisms of self-awareness and self-control. Their role grows with the increase of inner quietude and relaxation, in other words under conditions of retrospective and introspective concentration.
The essential features of these dynamisms are: awareness of personal identity as a continuity of past with the present; awareness of personal distinctness from the external world; awareness of one’s own activity; a feeling of individual uniqueness and of the importance of certain personal traits and characteristics, i.e. the feeling that some of them are transient in development while other ones are permanent.
The growing awareness of personal identity is strictly connected with multilevel disintegration and becomes its function. The dynamism of self-control has more transient nature since it is gradually replaced by the main dynamism of a higher order: the disposing and directing center on a high level.
There is a close connection, even overlapping, between the dynamisms of self-awareness and self-control and the dynamisms “subject-object” in oneself and inner transformation of stimuli to be described below. Self-awareness and self-control have some part in Al previously described dynamisms. As the growth of personality continues the coordination of different dynamisms depends oneself-
awareness and self-control. Ultimately this coordination will be the task of the disposing and directing center on a high level.
Dynamism “subject-object” in oneself is the practice of inner self-observation for the sake of mental development. It involves constant, objective and dynamic self-exploration in which the observer and the observed are both present in the same inner milieu. Here the mind learns to grasp all the essential elements and movement of inner life and develops this particular watchfulness that enables one to sense the direction of events occurring in the inner milieu.
The recognition of one’s inner self (subject) as that which feels, thinks and desires, brings about a sense of one’s uniqueness and personal identity. This leads to understanding through experience of one’s own essence. In consequence it leads to the understanding (and perhaps even an experience) of the essence of another.
It is due to this dynamism that the individual begins to be interested in his own inner life, and as the dynamism assumes increasing importance so this interest grows, both consciously and subconsciously. Thanks to this factor evolves certain readiness and alertness of the cognitive and developmental instinct in the service of the growth of personality. The ability to discern various aspects of one’s inner life develops through observation of the action of different dynamisms, their correlations and their operation on different levels.
The dynamism “subject-object” in oneself plays an important role in multilevel disintegration by participating in the development and fluctuation of inner tension. It also influences spatial and temporal changes in the inner psychic milieu, which result in its more defined hierarchization and the establishment of a new disposing and directing center on a higher level.
Syntony, Identification and Empathy. Syntony is an ability to feel something in common with others, to understand them, and to be willing to help. Identification with others is a deeper, more defined more conscious and more self-controlled ability to understand others and to he ready to help them. Empathy is the highest level of syntony and identification and is the result of a universal development in which the key forces are “subject-object” in oneself, the third factor, self-awareness and responsibility for oneself and for others.*
Starting with an initial expression of syntony found in communal Words such as -we” and “ours,” through various situations, like those
*The problem of differentiation of levels of syntony, empathy, and identification is treated elsewhere (53), and also in Chapter V for syntony and empathy.
of a dance hall, those expressed in a community protest, in strikes, in a joint fight for a common cause, we observe an upward gradation of levels of syntony. The higher the level of the inner psychic milieu in an individual the higher will be his syntony. The achievement of a high degree of syntonization is brought about by multilevel disintegration. We are dealing here with an increased ability to share the emotional states, needs and mental attitudes of others who may represent various levels of development.
On a lower level of disintegration these reactions arise from an undifferentiating identification with others. Identification at this level is reflexive, but not reflective, that is to say, it is a matter of automatic responses, not reflection; it is superficial, it arises easily and easily ceases to operate. Only in the later phases of multilevel disintegration we find much greater ability for understanding others. At such level empathic feelings towards others do not necessarily involve approval of their morality. There is also no inclination to follow patterns of behavior of which one does not approve. Here identification with others is always associated with readiness to assist them in their difficulties and their struggle toward higher values. This applies to personal and individual relations with others as well as to social relations. In the latter case identification with others takes the form of participation in the strife for higher goals of a society or a nation.
The attitude of good will towards others is an expression of reflective syntony. The degree of syntonization arrived at through multilevel disintegration activates the memory of one’s own experiences and makes their translation to others possible. By drawing from the storehouse of one’s own experiences and suffering one can understand and help others who undergo similar trials. Such manner of identification with others is the only possible one: it grows from self-acquired knowledge in the developmental of personality. It is a manner of seeing others as individuals with a potential for inner growth.
The Third Factor is called such for the following reason. Mental development of a human being is determined by three factors, of which the first is biological (primarily heredity), the second is external (heteronomous) and the third is internal (autonomous). The first factor is in most part the genetic endowment that an individual inherits from his parents plus all lasting effects of pregnancy, birth defects, nutrition, drugs, etc. The second factor represents the influences of the external environment, mainly family and social milieu. The third factor represents the autonomous forces of self-directed development. In this sense the term “third factor” is used to denote the totality of the autonomous
forces. In a stricter sense of a dynamism the third factor is the agent of conscious choice in development. The third factor assumes gradually an essential part in human destiny and becomes the dominant dynamism of multilevel disintegration. It is a dynamism that coordinates the inner psychic milieu. In fact the third factor is the outcome of the changes and their consequences produced by the dynamisms of the first group. We might recall here that those dynamisms are rather spontaneous and lack definite organization being the moving forces of the first phase of multilevel disintegration which is directed primarily towards breakdown of primitive structures.
The third factor gradually sets apart, both in the inner and in the outer milieu, those elements which are positive for mental development, and therefore considered higher, from those which are negative and therefore considered lower. It is this factor that denies and rejects certain inferior demands of the inner as well as of the outer milieu. At the same time it affirms and accepts positive elements of both milieus. The third factor is thus the dynamism of conscious choice.
The third factor, then, is a discriminator of events in respect to their value. It builds the basis of striving for perfection. The active presence of the third factor can be clearly seen, for instance, in the lives and writings of St. Paul, St. Francis of Assisi, Soren Kierkegaard, Abraham Lincoln, Dag Hammarskjoeld, Albert Schweitzer, Pope John XXIII, and many others. It may be said that in the transformation of the creative instinct into the instinct of self-perfection the third factor is the most influential dynamism.
The third factor fulfills the additional role of organizing autonomous and authentic factors in personal development. In the philosophical aspect of it, as in existential experience, it takes part in the segregation of what is “less myself” from what is “more myself.”
In summary we attach two meanings to the concept of the third factor: one broad and one strict.
1. In the strict sense the third factor is a dynamism which carries out the functions of affirmation, negation and choice in relation to the inner and to the outer milieus.
2. In a broad sense the third factor is the central representative of the autonomous factors like “subject-object” in oneself, self-awareness, self-control, identification and empathy, inner psychic transformation, and even those of the spontaneous phase of multilevel disintegration like negative adjustment and positive maladjustment which in addition to their own function perform the role of “third sub-factors.
Inner Psychic Transformation. This dynamism grows within the framework of multilevel disintegration in cooperation with all other developmental dynamisms.
A stimulus received by the nervous system evokes a reaction. The absorption of the stimulus constitutes the process of its interiorization. The reaction evoked by the stimulus constitutes the process of its exteriorization. The events that take place in the inner psychic milieu between interiorization and exteriorization constitute the process of transformation. This means that nothing is taken from the outside that would not be molded by the dynamism of inner psychic transformation. Similarly nothing leaves the inner psychic milieu without the active participation of this dynamism. The higher the level of the inner milieu, the more thorough is the process of inner psychic transformation of stimuli.
There arc many ways in which the dynamism of inner psychic transformation operates. Stimuli are intellectually and emotionally differentiated into many levels, observed, compared and associated with previous experiences, which results either in their affirmation or their rejection. Different kinds of experiential content are assimilated or eliminated. Discrimination in the worth of stimuli and experiential content is set against the personality ideal. Such discrimination depends on the growth of hierarchical organization of the whole personality. In other words the chief role belongs here to the third factor. In establishing the correspondence between interior and exterior stimuli the process of inner psychic transformation always involves some active role of consciousness. In fact the expansion and deepening of the processes of inner psychic transformation depends very much on the work of consciousness. Thus by assimilation of the new and unknown into the structure of the growing personality, grows the content of consciousness.
The process of inner psychic transformation is, therefore, a process by which is carried out the elimination of all those reactions, habits, urges, mental structures which in the process of developmental disintegration fail to agree with the personality structure. Especially subject to elimination are those factors that do not fit in with the personality ideal, since the individual gradually identifies with it. Dynamisms that are discriminated against on the basis of these criteria are either of lower level (to be replaced later by dynamisms of higher level) or those that in part just operate in part on a lower level. In other words, a dynamism operating horizontally on some lower level will be subject to total elimination; on the contrary
a dynamism operating vertically, i.e., one that is active on all levels, will be subject only to the elimination of its lower range of action.
A necessary part of inner psychic transformation is prospection and retrospection. Prospection, among other things, is seeing what “ought to be.” Retrospection is looking back at oneself to see what has been achieved, what of the negative and hindering inner growth has been eliminated. This looking back and looking forward may achieve striking clarity in exceptional states of mental uplifting.
The dynamism of inner psychic transformation is not only engaged in reactions occurring between the inner and the outer milieus. This dynamism is also active in the transformation within and of the inner psychic milieu itself. It is this dynamism that carries out the labor of transforming one’s innate psychological type by the introduction of some traits of the opposite type. In the long run this dynamism can effect to some degree liberation from the inevitable sequence of the biological life cycle (e.g. retaining mental alertness in old age).
Stimuli received in the psychic milieu may be such that they will evoke a reaction, a change within the bounds of the inner milieu. Of course, in such case there is no exteriorization. This implies nothing else but inner developments independent of the outer milieu since no exteriorized reaction occurs, and in fact, none is required in such case.
In meditation, at times of deep inner quietude the process of interiorization becomes isolated from external stimuli. Inner silence, by definition, is a state of mind when the reception of external stimuli is shut off. When this occurs the inner spiritual dynamisms become strongly activated and become all-important in the process of inner psychic transformation.
Education-of-oneself and autopsychotherapy. The action of the third factor leads to certain characteristic changes. The, individual becomes less affected by influences from lower levels, he begins to feel the need to direct his own development: but more, he becomes conscious of being able to direct his own progress towards an integrated personality. Thus the third factor generates the dynamism of education of-oneself.
Education-of-oneself requires a significant degree of authenticity and a stronger than ever reference to the personality ideal. It is a dynamism that makes one take his fate in his own hands. It brings about the realization of personal development according to a definite program built on a hierarchical scale of values.
Autopsychotherapy is the process of education-of-oneself under conditions of increased stress, as in developmental crises, in critical moments of life, in neuroses and psychoneuroses.
Autopsychotherapy is an indispensable component of the dynamism education-of-oneself. This is so because before the individual can reach secondary integration he experiences various inner disturbances and conflicts. These conflicts occur not only in relation to the external environment but also in the inner milieu. Although we recognize that these conflicts have a positive side to them insofar as they result in the development of personality, still the individual has to cope with them. The ability to cope with such conflicts constitutes the dynamism of autopsychotherapy.
As man’s development comes closer to secondary integration, conflicts that would earlier produce neurotic and psychoneurotic symptoms are dealt with by the dynamism of autopsychotherapy in such a way that these very conflicts become the creative medium of self-perfection.
The dynamisms of education-of-oneself and of autopsychotherapy operate on the basis of a dualism of subject (that which educates) and object (that which is educated in oneself), a dualism of negation and affirmation with respect to oneself and the environment, a dualism (discrimination) of split levels: higher, i.e., those defined by the personality ideal, and lower, i.e., those determined by primitive structures and functions. Here one might get the feeling for the philosophical dualism of higher and lower, of good and bad, of spirit and matter.
The dynamism education-of-oneself is a function of a very high level of development. It follows, then, that this dynamism has to be strictly connected with the disposing and directing center on a higher level (see below). The presence of both these dynamisms is a sign of approaching maturation of personality.
C. The dynamisms of the third group.
Let us now consider the mixed dynamisms operating on the borderline of multilevel disintegration and secondary integration. They are not easily differentiated from those dynamisms that begin to emerge as the personality grows towards a more defined structure. In particular, such dynamisms as self-awareness, self-control, inner psychic transformation and the third factor, although begin to operate at the phase of organized multilevel disintegration, their action extends over to secondary integration. In the transition from one stage of development to the next the action of dynamisms already in operation overlaps those that now achieve dominant role.
The disposing and directing center on a high level and the personality ideal are the dynamisms preparing the integration at the level of personality.
Responsibility for oneself and for others. Increased self-awareness and self-control tend to increase the sense of responsibility for one’s thoughts, deeds, desires and experiences in the context of one’s own life and in relations with others. Thus the integrative dynamism of responsibility for oneself and for others grows within the framework of the preceding group of dynamisms. We shall briefly point out the relations.
An increased knowledge of oneself and of others, an increased sense of personal identity, growing identification and empathy towards others, develop sensitivity, as well as emotional and intellectual refinement. In consequence other individuals are approached and experienced as subjects. This means they are recognized as individuals endowed with inner life that in all its aspects is treated with a depth of understanding and of respect. The sense of one’s own uniqueness and personal identity requires that others be treated as autonomous, authentic and inviolable individuals. The influence on others, or any educative or corrective action is exercised only at their bidding. On this level one discovers the freedom of another individual and one finds it impossible to enter it unless invited by the other. The responsibility for others is fulfilled by example, by attention to the needs of others through empathy, and by constant readiness to assist others. In friendship and love there is a commitment on a very high level. This commitment generates a deep sense of responsibility for oneself and for the other.
The search for better solutions and their realization, on a higher plane constitutes in the dynamism of responsibility a component derived from the dynamism of inner psychic transformation. The dynamism of responsibility becomes a function of the growing personality. As such it also becomes a function of the disposing and directing center on a high level. Since the personality ideal is the goal of personality development the dynamism of responsibility is clearly a function of that ideal.
Autonomy and authentism. These two dynamisms are at once the codeterminants and the result of a high level of development in the processes of multilevel disintegration and secondary integration. Autonomy results from the work of the third factor. While the third factor is a dynamism primarily concerned with the discrimination between higher and lower in mental development, autonomy is a
dynamism of inner freedom. Inner freedom signifies independence from the influence of external stimuli and from the influence of inner stimuli of lower levels. Besides the third factor, also the dynamism of inner psychic transformation has a fundamental role in shaping and operation of the dynamism of autonomy. The same applies to authentism.
In the process of becoming more autonomous the individual consciously and deliberately ties himself with the highest levels of his personality (and of his personality ideal) and engages in struggle with its lower levels. In order to achieve his true self the individual becomes his own guide towards a more clearly grasped personality ideal. He becomes a self-determining agent of his own development.
Authentism has four characteristic components. The first component is confidence of going the right way towards the realization of one’s own personality ideal. The second is universality of inner growth which means that all aspects of personality are being developed. The third is awareness of one’s uniqueness. The sense of uniqueness comes from an understanding that the essence of one’s own mental functions is unchangeable, irreplaceable and unrepeatable. The fourth is an awareness of having arrived at a solution of the relation “I” and “Thou” based on uniqueness and unrepeatability of individual traits and of commonality of highly developed qualities (e.g. empathy).
Man becomes more truly himself having passed through a variety of painful experiences, having exercised his own will and having made his own choices. An advanced degree of autonomy is prerequisite for the development of authentism in self-determination. The conscious choice of definite values and the direction of one’s actions dominates over compulsive behaviour. The compulsion to act in a certain way loses its quality of being biologically determined and acquires the character of self-determination. Thus the individual becomes, at this newly attained level, free.
The individual separates his independent and affirmed self from the stereotyped, rigid, routine-ridden self which was subject to primitive urges. The authentic self can thus be distinguished within the whole of man’s mental structure.
The mental structure is never totally free of reactions and impulses of lower levels. However, at times of sublimation of thought and feeling to a high plane the individual becomes free and his authentic self comes closest to his personality ideal. Here, and not for the first time, we touch upon the experiences of people striving for inner
perfection. Many accounts of mystical experiences are very clear examples of the discovery of the authentic self.
Authentism is a human dynamism par excellence. It results from the achievement of a high level of self-awareness and cultivation of emotional life.
Disposing and directing center. This is a dynamism which coordinates, plans, organizes and governs the activity of the psyche in a definite domain at a given time. On the level of primitive integration it is identified with the dominating drive or group of drives. In other words it is determined biologically. In unilevel disintegration mental structures are loosened or broken down into various dynamisms. Between themselves the dynamisms are loosely connected and often mutually contradictory. Here we are dealing with a multiplicity of disposing and directing centers which represent conflicting dynamisms or complexes of strivings and emotions, so that we speak of many “wills,” For instance, it is rather common during puberty to have the conflicting feelings of inferiority and superiority present at the same time. Similar pairs of conflicting dynamisms are: egocentrism and alterocentrism, depression and excitation, syntony and asyntony (isolation from others). These conflicting groups represent antagonistic disposing and directing centers. Besides conflict and antagonism different disposing and directing centers can confront each other, or they can cooperate and join together.
In multilevel disintegration, the stage of the formation of inner psychic milieu and of a hierarchy of dynamisms, there appear various disposing and directing centers; each representing antagonistic levels of the inner structure: those which are determined by primitive drives and those which are closer to the emerging personality.*
Disposing and directing centers that at first are united with drive or a group of drives begin with time to free themselves and gradually gain control over those drives. On a high level the disposing and directing center is not identified anymore with drives but becomes the controlling agent of development.
Through the work of dynamisms that coordinate positive disintegration and through the work of dynamisms of the third group (dynamisms of a mixed type—disintegrating and integrating) gradually arises at a higher level a harmonious integration of various disposing
*By personality we mean here the highest empirically recognizable structure of the human psyche. Personality is the aim and the result of disintegrative development. Its final form appears in the process of secondary integration. (48).
and directing centers. Eventually it leads to the setting up of only one center. Such supreme disposing and directing center is characterized by an increased identification with personality and is a function of its ideal. Ultimately the disposing and directing center becomes identical with personality.
Personality ideal. On a low level of development a personality ideal is an imitation. It is represented by popular heroes of sport, film or stage. Personality ideal as a developmental force emerges in the process of multilevel disintegration. Various hierarchically related aims directed towards full development of personality constitute the material from which is built a personality ideal. Personal development that has a universal character, that is, development that involves all aspects of man and his psyche, necessarily implies a multiplicity of aims. As the individual goes through a process of positive disintegration his different and multiple aims get more and more interrelated and converge. Subsequently, their synthesis and fusion into one goal, which in its structure combines uniqueness of individual qualities with universality gives what we call the personality ideal. A very strong and necessary component of the personality ideal is the development of a relation to others as subjects.
This ideal is not completely specified. Although its closer elements (those that are more immediate and more attainable) can be rather clearly distinguished, and are accessible to empirical study, its more distant elements are less clear and more elusive. The synthesis of proximate and distant elements cannot be easily expressed in precise terms, but rather has to be grasped intuitively. The personality ideal as a whole, although not immediately amenable to empirical study, has nonetheless a strong dynamic character, and therefore, it is a very real and a very powerful factor in the development of personality.
As personality grows toward integration its ideal comes out in a more concrete outline. Insight into its nature and its power, come in moments of high emotional tone, concentration, meditation, and periods of creative inspiration. It then becomes the greatest reservoir of strength, a source of the strongest creative dynamisms in the strife for inner perfection. Perfection, then is synonymous with the attainment of the highest levels of personality development.
The activation of creative dynamisms aiding towards perfection is otherwise called the dynamization of the personality ideal. The personality ideal is the moving force of all that contributes to the full development of personality. It is accompanied by a strong tension of particular dynamisms and their complexes, especially those which
belong to the second and the third group of dynamisms of multilevel disintegration.
All the described dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu are decisive in the development of man. Appropriate understanding of such dynamisms, their level of development in individual cases, and their interactions, is necessary for the proper course of psychotherapy.
4. Interrelations between the Inner Milieu and the Outer Environment
We observe in essence two kinds of interrelations between the inner milieu and the outer environment, namely: interrelations based primarily on automatic elements, and interrelations based primarily on reflective elements. These interrelation depend in each case on the level reached by a human being in his inner development.
On a low level of development we have the beginnings of an inner milieu expressed only by hesitations in behavior or meandering attitudes. Such behavior is often evoked by new experiences and symptoms of dystony, and by disturbances of inner feeling. An individual is at this level either hyporeflective or non-reflective. There is no distinct inner psychic transformation. The relation of the external environment to the individual is based on similar elements and follows the laws of group instincts (as “we” in cognition activities, social drives, self-preservation instinct).
When the hierarchy of values begins to be established in the inner psychic milieu and when such dynamisms as dissatisfaction with oneself, subject-object in oneself, the third factor, and inner psychic transformation, begin to operate, then also appears reflection proper on a high level, It is autonomous and authentic, no longer dictated by adjustment to primitive urges or desires arising in both milieus, but rather it is adjusted to what “ought to be.”
When external stimuli undergo the process of interiorization they are transformed and leave the inner psychic milieu as complex individualized responses. It often happens that these responses, bearing the mark of individual character and differing from common reactions, incite society to judge the individual as impractical, unrealistic, strange. This is especially true when “strange” responses become characteristic of the individual’s behavior. The general opinion frequently evaluates these responses as out of proportion, unusual, excessively original, or possibly pathological. Seen in a positive light they become unforeseen, original, creative, interesting, etc. They are the nuclei of the breakdown of homeostasis on a lower level-so that it may be rebuilt on a higher one. For this reason such responses lie at the origin of conflicts, both
inner and outer, and are the source of many other psychoneurotic symptoms.
Let us now turn to the problem of the differentiation of levels of disintegration, and to the problem of the differentiation of responses to stimuli of the external environment. Let us ask the following question: what would be the response of an individual on the level of primitive integration to the stimuli of the external environment? If these stimuli present a possibility for better realization of his needs, his responses will be harmonious. If they do not satisfy his needs, his response will be fear and aggression. A primitive individual will periodically demonstrate an apparent adjustment and submission to forces which transcend his fighting ability. This apparent adjustment is a function of the self-preservation instinct. This is a special case of the very general law of Monakow (63): the “klisis” and “ekklisis” (moving towards and away from objects).
To a primitively integrated individual many-sided aspects of reality, differentiation in attitudes and behavioral patterns, understanding of others, and a reflective syntonic approach to others, are quite unknown.
Primary loosening or breakdown of psychic functions and psychic structure is largely determined and catalyzed by hereditary nuclei (as increased excitability, nuclei of the inner milieu, nuclei of creative interests and abilities), which slowly introduce the dynamisms of higher level, such as transformative abilities, hierarchy in adjustment and maladjustment (positive maladjustment).
The sequence of transformative processes in inner growth is roughly as follows. At the stage of unilevel disintegration we observe loosening and sometimes disorganization of primitive mental activities. With the expansion of the inner psychic milieu its dynamisms undergo hierarchization (this means that one can distinguish whether a given dynamism operates at one level, and whether this level is high or low, or whether a given dynamism is vertical, i.e. one that spans the lower and the higher levels). With the development of a hierarchical structure the dynamisms are subsequently organized, they cooperate or clash with each other. When the inner psychic transformation becomes active the urge forces are slowly elevated to a higher-level. Superficial dystonic response and an unconscious “rhythmic” character of automatic responses gradually cease to operate. Consequently, consciousness of oneself and self-control increase. Under the influence of the third factor, which at this stage is one of the main inner dynamisms, the individual evaluates, and accepts or rejects, numerous stimuli from both the inner and outer environments. Every new stimulus and
every new constellation of stimuli are worked over in the inner milieu, every external situation is an object of reflection prior to the formation of an external response.
On higher levels of development we frequently encounter absence of reaction to external stimuli. This is particularly true if the individual does not feel prepared and mature enough for certain responses. The stimuli operate then within the inner psychic milieu but the response comes after days, months or years and then becomes an expression of a substantially changed attitude in relation to matters that were earlier evoked by a given stimulus or complex of stimuli. For example, such is the case when a reflecting responsible person considers marriage or taking a more advanced post in his profession.
Primitive group identification expressed in “we” yields place to syntonic identification with a variety of emotional reflective contents of other individuals and other groups. The attitude towards other; becomes increasingly conscious manifesting sympathy and independence, syntony and autonomy, identification and authenticity. All this is an expression of a developing personality and its ideal. These developments reach their fullness in secondary integration where all the dynamisms mobilized in the process of positive disintegration become united.
Human development seems to be impossible without the collision between some elements of the inner and outer milieus. The localization of conflicts in the inner milieu according to level is very important. Conflicts are subject to inner psychic transformation. In this way conflicts of both kinds can be sublimated and moved to a higher level.
Strong external and inner shocks, when met through very active reflection (following inner psychic transformation) together with maladjustment at lower levels of both the internal and the external milieus, promote development directed towards the realization of personality and its ideal. Those very conflicts, both inner and outer, with the possibility of inner psychic transformation are characteristic of the majority of psychoneurotic dynamisms.
The concept of the inner psychic milieu can also be applied to a group of people. The inner psychic milieu of a small group has as its counterpart the external milieu of a society. Human group life is marked by an excessive adjustment to an outer milieu land also to a primitive inner milieu of the group) based on automatic drive reactions. Consequently, there is no inner transformation of values, no creative dynamisms, no autonomy and no authenticity, no development of personality and its ideal.
The above outline is quite at odds with the majority of mechanistic systems of human psychology. These systems based on the study of animal psychology derive from orthodox behaviorism and stimulus response psychology. The mechanistic approach does not take into account the fact that in human development-and not only human appear self-directing dynamisms, by which the content of a response may differ fundamentally from the quality and intensity of a given stimulus or stimuli. The response contains a transformed meaning produced on the basis of retrospection which activates the inscribed content of affective memory. If we add to this projection into the future, we have a chain of events which goes far beyond the mechanistic relation to cause and effect. We do well here to emphasize the Bergsonian notion that an effect contains a different and more complex content than its cause. This is a definite transgression of the so-called law of cause and effect, as it is applied in stimulus-response psychology.
5. Inner Psychic Milieu as a Condition of Multilevelness of Stimulation and Inhibition
The multilevelness of stimulations and inhibitions derives from the variety of levels existing in the inner milieu. Conflicts between stimulations and inhibitions, either with stimulations prevailing over inhibitions, or vice versa, are always present in the process of multilevel disintegration. These conflicts involve the dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu in part or as a whole. For instance positive maladjustment has a prevalence of inhibition, but in the course of development it stimulates creativity. Disquietude with oneself is another example of an inhibitive dynamisms, but with its strong tension it is a source of search for peace through realization of the personality ideal. Inhibition within the creative instinct causes stimulation of the instinct of self-perfection.
When the personality ideal becomes at times less clear or more distant then lower levels of functions and lower drives are easily disinhibited. Inhibition of the dynamism “subject-object” in oneself reduces empathy and excites external conflicts, inhibition of the self perfection instinct evokes ambivalences and ambitendencies and those dynamisms of the creative instinct which results in “art for the sake of art.” We find creative dynamisms on the borderline of disintegrative dynamisms, stimulation and inhibition.
On the level of spontaneous multilevel disintegration of the inner milieu the higher dynamisms act as inhibitors gathers than stimulators. Dissatisfaction with oneself, feelings of shame and guilt, and positive
maladjustment manifest the prevalence of inhibitive elements, as do self-criticism and feelings of inferiority. This causes the disintegration of lower drive levels.
On the level of the organized multilevel disintegration we find greater equilibrium between stimulation and inhibition. The effects of inhibitions from the previous phase are organized by the dynamisms of self-awareness and self-control, and the dynamism “subject-object” in oneself. The third factor, as well as the dynamisms of syntonization, dissyntonization (conflict of mild alienation), and identification with oneself and with others, all act as both stimulators and inhibitors. This is so because each one of these dynamisms involves affirmation and negation. Similarly the dynamism of inner psychic transformation of stimuli is the resultant of both stimulation and inhibition.
On the level of the third and still higher group of dynamisms of the inner milieu, we find cooperation between various factors which harmonize the results brought about by the first two groups of dynamisms. The activity of most of the dynamisms of the third group is brought together towards growing identification with the disposing and directing center on a high level, and with the personality and its ideal.
The presence of a growing and hierarchically organized inner psychic milieu is a prerequisite for the formation of the dynamisms of autonomy and authentism. The highest dynamisms stimulate developmental forces, but they inhibit more primitive urges, thus providing the conditions for the emergence of the dynamisms of autonomy and authentism. With the localization of the essential elements of personality on the highest levels, autonomous elements of autonomous personality will eventually appear. It embodies all that which is closer to the true personality and its ideal: all that is autonomous and authentic.
The initiation and development of these factors is necessary for a successful process of education-of-oneself and of autopsychotherapy. Both these processes are guided by the highest dynamisms of personality, i.e. by the disposing and directing center on a high level and by the personality ideal.
In this manner, through the multilevelness of stimulation and inhibition, through inner psychic transformation, through autonomy and authentism, through education-of-oneself and autopsychotherapy, the inner psychic milieu of an individual is transformed into personality.
6. Inner Psychic Milieu in Psychoneuroses
The chore developed is the inner milieu, the higher are the symptoms and dynamisms involved in psychoneuroses. For instance,
somatic neuroses connected with disturbances of inner feeling, hypochondria, lower levels of hysteria or sexual neuroses, are characteristic for a primitive inner milieu.
We have to distinguish interneurotic as well as intraneurotic differences between levels of mental functions (see below). At lower levels of mental functions, where the inner psychic milieu is at the beginning of its development, we usually encounter unilevel disintegration and the first phase of multilevel disintegration. At higher levels of psychoneurotic function we encounter later phases of multilevel disintegration in a more developed inner psychic milieu.
The level of psychoneuroses is determined by the level of the mental functions that are involved. Two types of psychoneuroses will be on different interneurotic levels, if one involves mental functions of a more developed inner milieu and the other involves functions of a less developed or even primitive inner milieu. To the higher neurotic levels belong the following psychoneuroses: psychasthenia, anxiety neurosis, depression neurosis, obsession and infantile neurosis. To the lower interneurotic levels belong: neurasthenia, hysteria, hypochondria, somatic neuroses, etc.
Within each particular neurosis we can distinguish higher and lower levels of its dynamisms. For example, in hysteria, a higher level of mental functions will be manifested by increased affective excitability, by reflective (meditative) syntony, by creativity, and possibly by a tendency towards ecstasy, while a lower level of mental functions will be manifested by symptoms of hysteric characteropathy. A higher level of psychasthenia will display symptoms of a weak reality function on a lower level (unpractical way of dealing with everyday life) and a strong reality function on a high level (for instance, great efficiency in creative work). Similarly, psychological insight incisive contact introversion (i.e. introversion that does not diminish understanding of others), enhanced creative imagination, will be present in psychasthenia of a high level, while symptoms, resembling neurasthenia and hypochondria will be present in psychasthenia of a low level.
Let us now briefly summarize the relationships between different levels of specific dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu and psychoneuroses. Again we have to take into account the interneurotic and interneurotic phenomena associated with each psychoneurosis. As mentioned before, the first group of dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu, characteristic of the spontaneous phase of multilevel disintegration, is correlated with conditions of increased excitability, excessive introversion, dissatisfaction with oneself, feelings of inferiority, feelings
of shame and guilt, maladjustment and enhanced creativity. We shall discuss this correlation in the case of neurotic depression and in the case of anxiety psychoneurosis.
In the case of depressive condition, we have at its low level a prevalence of elements of dissociation from the environment like mulling over one’s past and present mistakes, passive feelings of inferiority, passive feelings of guilt without any strong tendency for expiation. This situation is also characterized by maladjustment to the actual situation, but the desire for an active adjustment to that which ought to be is not yet very strong.
In the case of a low level anxiety psychoneurosis the content of anxiety is not much elaborated. There is prevalence of phobias, while existential elements are scarcely present, that is to say, the sense of meaninglessness of existence does not arise.
At the level of the second group of dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu, that is dynamisms which organize this milieu, we have the beginnings of a conscious organization of one’s depression. Depression on a higher level activates those dynamisms which participate in the liquidation of the depression on lower levels. The third factor begins to operate, and so does the dynamism “subject-object” in oneself. There is a strong increase in awareness and self-control. With maladjustment to the actual state of affairs will be associated the need for adjustment to that which ought to be. The activity of the dynamism of inner psychic transformation increases. Autopsychotherapy becomes possible.
When various anxiety states occur at this level, we observe a need for transformation and for fusion of specific anxieties that brings about one general feeling of overwhelming “fear and trembling.” In this way we observe the appearance and development of elements of existential anxiety. We observe increasing control, and aptitude for immunization against more primitive anxieties. There appears the need for being consciously aware of anxieties and being able to overcome them, that is to transform them into an anxiety of higher level. An individual comes to understand that some anxiety states, such as the “Fear and Trembling” of Kierkegaard, seem to be necessary for his development since the overcoming of such anxieties gives firmer foundations for further growth.
At the level of the third group of dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu, i.e. at the borderline between advanced multilevel disintegration and secondary integration, we find a deeper understanding of the creative role of depression and of other psychoneurotic states in man’s
own development. The individual now shows a need to assume the responsibility for his own depression and tends to subordinate it to the dynamisms of autopsychotherapy and education-of-oneself, to the disposing and directing center, and to the personality ideal. Depression, as a pathological complex, gradually disappears, leaving the capacity for understanding and identification with similar condition in others. The same thing applies to anxiety states, though the character of transformation will vary with the type of anxiety.
Let us consider the diagnostic and prognostic value of some of the more important elements of the inner psychic milieu. The detection of the presence of certain fundamental dynamisms of the inner milieu is decisive for diagnosis and prognosis of psychoneuroses as well as for the choice of methods to treat them. The presence of higher level dynamisms, such as the third factor, autopsychotherapy and education of-oneself, inner psychic transformation, disposing and directing center on a high level, manifests the positive character of a given psychoneurosis, giving thus a good prognosis and clearly indicating the procedure for the so-called “cure.”
On the other hand, the accumulation of various phobias, feelings of inferiority, passive feelings of guilt, indicates lack of a distinct operation of the third factor, lack of the dynamisms of education-of-oneself and autopsychotherapy, lack of stronger creative dynamisms and inner psychic transformation. It indicates a dominance of the first group of dynamisms of multilevel disintegration and some residual operation of dynamisms of unilevel disintegration (like ambivalences and ambitendencies). Here the prognosis is not always certain. One may well suggest heteropsychotherapy with great care and watchfulness over the patient’s behavior. In such case pharmacological treatment of the patient is frequently of some help to his human environment, especially his family.
Some symptomatic complexes, such as disturbances in reality function, suggestivity, illusions and obsessions, require diversified evaluation and diversified therapeutic treatment. Much depends here on how the higher dynamisms, like inner psychic transformation, creative dynamisms, and reflective syntony, act on lower dynamisms. Proper diagnosis, prognosis and the choice of therapeutic methods, depend on the recognition of the types of dynamisms, their levels and their interaction with other dynamisms of their own group and with dynamisms of higher groups.
7. The Inner Psychic Milieu of Outstanding Individuals
We shall discuss the role of the inner psychic milieu in two classes of outstanding people, namely: people of genius whose development is being guided mainly by their creative instinct, and people whose development is guided mainly by their instinct of self-perfection. In some cases both groups of dynamisms operate and overlap in their action, which obviously is exceptionally fortunate for the development of such individuals.
In people of genius the inner milieu is usually characterized by astonishment and anxiety with respect to oneself and to the environment, cyclic feelings of superiority and inferiority, feelings of guilt, maladjustment to the actual environment, and the presence of creative factors. In other words we encounter here unilevel disintegration and the first phase of multilevel disintegration. Among psychoneurotic factors, characteristic for this class of people, we find fear and anxiety, hysterical dramatization, infantile psychoneurotic reactions, and strong identification with various personalities. The reality function is very often weak.
The accelerated but often one-sided development of people of genius is most often associated with very high psychic tension. Great thinkers are given to obsessions; great artists-to quickly changing syntonic associations with a variety of psychological types, attitudes and levels. The developmental drama of such outstanding individuals is elaborated mainly in the area of the instinct of creativity. Their personality ideal is maintained, but is not a constant source of motivation. The main developmental forces are derived not so much from the personality ideal, but rather-front the spontaneous changes within their inner psychic milieu and from the stimuli of the external world.
Personality ideal is the guiding dynamism in the development of outstanding individuals of the other class mentioned at the beginning. Their development is propelled primarily by the instinct of self-perfection.
The leaders of humanity often show evidence of an advanced phase of multilevel disintegration and beginning of secondary integration. Their inner psychic milieu is characterized by an increase in consciousness and self-control embracing the whole psyche. Identification with their own personality ideal grows together with the depth and breadth of their syntony and their capacity for inner psychic transformation.
Here the personality ideal is precisely the main source of higher, disintegrative dynamisms. It is also the chief dynamism of processes
taking place at the stage of secondary integration. The developmental drama of such individuals is elaborated mainly in the area of the self-perfection instinct in close cooperation with the highest levels of other dynamisms, which are subjugated to the one goal of perfection of the authentic self.
8. The Concept of the Inner Psychic Milieu in the Context of Some Psychological and Psychiatric Schools
It should be stated clearly that until now the concept of the inner psychic milieu has received in psychology, education and psychiatry, too little attention. The lack of understanding of this concept and of its importance betrays a neglect of the higher, that is, truly human elements in diagnosis, prognosis and therapy. The developmental dynamisms of the human psyche have received little, if any, consideration in the organic schools of psychiatry, in the stimulus response and reflexological schools of psychology, including also the so-called learning theorists, and in many branches of psychoanalysis.
Creative dynamisms, inner psychic transformation, the third factor and the dynamism “subject-object” in oneself remain utterly neglected. These schools do not recognize the fact that the differentiation of the levels of mental functions in the inner milieu gives a firm basis for a hierarchy of values.
Although the orthodox schools of psychoanalysis seem to recognize valuation levels, this apparent recognition is only partial. The distinction of the principal factors of the inner psychic milieu as “id,” “ego,” and “superego” does not allow one to derive any valuation system that would give a meaning to moral and ethical values as levels of human development. Some of the new and unorthodox schools of psychoanalysis do distinguish autonomy, especially the dynamism of “self” in contrast to automatic reactions, yet these concepts have not been fully developed.
It is not enough to recognize in the human psyche the reality of the factors “ego” and “non-ego.” We have attempted to show that in the progress of human development the distinction between “more myself” and “less myself” is growing; that any mental function or group of functions is multilevel; that the levels of mental functions can be identified and described, and that their role in the promotion or inhibition of development can be clearly established. It thus follows that the inner milieu and its main dynamisms, as positive maladjustment, the third factor, creative dynamisms, inner psychic transforma-
tion, etc., are essential in clinical diagnosis, in education, and in everyday human relations.
These new concepts of the dynamic elements of mental development find their application in psychology, education, psychiatry, ethics, and philosophy. First attempts in those directions have been made already.*
* The theory of positive disintegration in education, collection of papers from the Department of Educational Psychology, University of Alberta (in preparation).
K. Dąbrowski Personality-shaping through positive disintegration. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1967.
Chapter V, this volume.
HIGHER EMOTIONS AND THE OBJECTIVITY OF VALUATION
Moral opinions and moral value judgments as a rule are set apart from descriptive judgments, that is judgments concerning facts. The latter are considered objective. Evaluative judgments, especially in moral and social problems, are usually regarded as subjective and arbitrary. For this reason any hierarchy of values is considered subjective and arbitrary. It is our purpose to show that value judgments can be objective and that a non-arbitrary hierarchy of values can be established.
In the theory of positive disintegration we distinguish various levels of development of emotional and instinctive functions. The level of these functions determines the level of values. The concept of hierarchy of values is based on the distinction of levels of emotional and instinctive development of individuals as well as social groups. We hold the opinion that it is possible to obtain in valuation a degree of objectivity comparable to that of scientific theories. It is characteristic that, for instance, moral judgments made by individuals representing a very high level of universal mental development display a very high degree of agreement. Let us recall Socrates who died as a result of injustice and Gandhi who died as a result of violence. Both forgave those who killed them. Inability to accept their acts as an ideal is an inability to understand autonomous developmental processes and inner experiences which give rise to the attitude of forgiveness.
The study of the correlation of values with mental dynamisms of man is not new. An impressive example of a differentiation of levels of love can be found in Socrates' speech in Plato’s Symposium. In modern times Claparède, Nikolai Hartman, Scheler, Ericson, Fromm, Maslow, Rogers, Rokeach, and others have made important contributions to the study of value judgments and their hierarchization. We shall attempt to show that an objective hierarchy of values can be derived from an analysis of mental development of man.
The basic step consists in drawing sufficiently clear distinctions between levels of emotional, instinctive, and especially moral functions, in the context of mental development of a human being. For instance, it is not difficult to determine empirically whether one is dealing with emotional retardation or an above average emotional growth.
Certain ethical problems (e.g. grounds for divorce, death penalty, abortion, censorship, etc.) are controversial, i.e. they are difficult to solve in such a way that one could prove that the chosen solution is the only satisfying one. Nevertheless, there are numerous important ethical questions where the decision between right and wrong is not subject to controversy. For example, we all agree that those who are ready to recognize some good traits in their enemies possess greater emotional maturity than those for whom an enemy is in every respect evil and must be destroyed. Similarly, those who are sensitive to the sufferings of others, ready to forgive injuries, capable of gratitude, have higher emotional maturity than those who are not sensitive, do not forgive injuries, and have no feeling of gratitude. As we shall show later, above a certain level of development there is more universal agreement in valuation, i.e. highly developed (eminent) people tend to share the same values.
The Empirical Basis of Valuation
In order to establish a hierarchy of values we must first examine developmental transformations of emotional functions. We shall show on the examples of self-preservation instinct, syntony and empathy, sexual instinct and attitude towards death how the levels of these functions can be distinguished.
(a) The instinct of self-preservation.
On a primitive level, i.e. in our terminology, on the level of primitive integration, the instinct of self-preservation is easily excited. It is frequently brutal and is not corrected through observation or self-observation. A primitive individual exhibits uncontrollable fear or aggressive tendencies, is not always able to foresee the result of his behavior, and is unable to act in harmony with the interests of others.
On a somewhat higher level, that of unilevel disintegration, we observe a weakening in the cohesion of the self-preservation instinct. The symptoms of such weakening are, for instance, hesitation, weaker aggressiveness, ambivalent behavior, and initial stages of syntony.
On a higher level, as in the first phase of multilevel disintegration, we observe weakening of the primitive levels of the self-preservation instinct through inhibition. The instinct of self-preservation is now
being organized into a hierarchical order of values; it is extended to embrace the family, relatives, friends, regional groups, nation, and the whole mankind.
On a still higher level, that is at the stage of organization of multilevel disintegration, primitive forms of the self-preservation instinct are separated from its more highly developed forms. The primitive forms are subject to gradual elimination. The self-preservation instinct is now more intent on the preservation of more permanent higher personality traits. The development of these traits is accomplished in cooperation with the instinct of self-perfection. In this way the self-preservation instinct becomes broader even to include deep patriotic feelings or care for the preservation and development of cultural achievements of mankind.
On the highest level accessible to investigation, that is on the level of secondary integration, the instinct of self-preservation becomes a function of personality; it protects and promotes those traits which in the course of inner development appeared as qualitatively immutable values. The instinct of self-preservation gradually merges with the dynamism of self-perfection, with the feeling of communion with all people, and even all living creatures.
(b) The feelings of syntony and empathy.
On a low level of development, i.e. primitive integration, we observe forms of syntony so primitive that, depending on circumstances, they can easily change into asyntony. Primitive forms of syntony find their expression in union with a collective mood, in union with the psychomotorics of a dancing group, in common laughter, in the impulses of a crowd l such as fighting, “living it up,” drinking, primitive forms of rivalry, etc.). Such primitive syntony involves spontaneous, rhythmic, dynamic, or explosive forms of behavior in the area of sensory needs and primitive emotional interests. This is a constitutionally compulsive behavior determined physiologically.
On a somewhat higher level, i.e. on the level of unilevel disintegration, we observe instinctive forms of the desire to help others. This is accompanied by ambivalent and changeable over experiencing of other people’s problems. These feelings, however, are so unstable that from positive emotions they may easily turn to resentment, jealousy, stubbornness and hatred. Such coupling of the stimulation of primitive levels of the self-preservation instinct with an awakening of the feelings of syntony shows a disequilibrium of syntonic and asyntonic attitudes. Hence the ambivalence, ambitendencies and changeability displayed through a disharmony of thought, feeling and action. It also manifests
shifting away from the rigidity of primitive integration towards the greater plasticity of initial disintegration.
On a higher level, i.e. at the first stage of multilevel disintegration, there appears a hierarchy of values. We observe more alterocentric, unselfish attitudes expressed by readiness to help; we observe more consistent sensitivity towards the needs of others forsaking primitive selfishness. This attitude is characterized by more or less strong participation of thoughtfulness and reflection. This is empathy.
On the level of the organization of multilevel disintegration we observe conscious forms of syntony coupled with an ability to perceive and to systematically weed out residual forms of primitive syntony and asyntony. We also observe an ability to perceive and to promote in both the inner milieu and the outer environment higher forms of syntony, such as understanding and love.
Deeper syntony and kindness are united here in an understanding of the developmental level and type of each encountered individual (identification with others). A disapproval of his more primitive moral attitudes and actions does not diminish the desire to help him. Typical examples are: a tendency to defend others, a heart-warming attitude, understanding, and the like, which are accompanied by reflection and critical evaluation.
On the highest level, that is to say, in secondary integration, we encounter deeper understanding of every human being in respect to his developmental level, inner potential and similar functions. This expresses a form of syntony that is multi-dimensional and multilevel; it goes parallel with an increased understanding of the whole psychic structure of encountered persons. With the understanding of the deeper needs of others, with constant readiness to help, with identification with others and profound empathy, comes peace of mind. Its mark is an attitude of “syntonic” wisdom, understanding, kindness and generosity. What is primitive is not approved of, neither is it condemned.
(c) The sexual instinct.
On a primitive level the sexual instinct represents a biological force - nondifferentiated, almost nonpsychic - a drive common to the species. It is usually strong, periodically reaching intensity almost impossible to control. The decisive factor is the satisfaction of the biological impulse which precludes reflection in the choice of mate. The lack of psychic ties with the partner, lack of faithfulness and exclusiveness, are quite evident. If one does find faithfulness it is only because of fear or pressure of social groups. Occasionally, in the absence of punitive sanctions, there is tendency towards sexual violence. In some cases, as among the most primitive individuals or individuals
with psychopathological aversions, rape may be followed by aggressiveness, even murder. When it happens it is a result of a somatic depression that follows the sexual act. The response to this depression evokes resentment, aversion and lack of sympathy, and prior manifestations of affection are forgotten. There is total lack of feeling and emotional involvement with the object of the sexual act.
On a somewhat higher level, i.e. in unilevel disintegration, there appears an ambivalence of excitation and inhibition, variability in psychic involvement, a desire for exclusiveness and faithfulness alternating with nonexclusiveness and infidelity. A deficiency in the equilibrium of choice between objects of sexual desire is observable; at times there will be present a higher degree of reflection in making a choice, at other times it will be completely absent. This generates rather intricate and ambivalent feelings of excitability, depression, indifference or jealousy.
In the initial stages of multilevel disintegration we notice an increase of the stabilizing influence of mental factors, more selectivity and exclusiveness, and a need for greater fidelity. There appears and develops a feeling of responsibility for the partner and the children, there also appears the feeling of responsibility for the mutual development of partners in marriage; a need for treating marriage as a “school of life” and for the realization of greater insight into one’s own and his partner’s mental resources aiming at mutual help and mutual growth. There appear tendencies towards the individualization of sexual life so that the sexual experience becomes gradually a creative element in the formation of personality, rather than a more or less blind expression of the biological impulse, this may be coupled with a desire for mutual exploration of inner life.
Up to this level, however, the need for satisfying the sexual impulse dominates the attitude towards the object of sexual desire. Empathy, “subject-object” in oneself, and identification with the object are not yet well developed. With the progress of multilevel disintegration, i.e. at the stage of the organization of multilevel disintegration, mental factors exercise stronger and stronger influence on sex and erotic drives. Exclusiveness, the need of mutual development and the need for mutual perfection become dominant. Mental, especially moral, contributions to marital and family life (responsibility for the partner, for lack of harm in sexual relations) impose a check on polygamic tendencies and introduce a feeling of responsibility, perhaps even of guilt, or shame, with respect to one’s past sexual relations. When the partner becomes ugly or sick, high sensitivity and syntony, mutual
understanding and stability of feelings, prevent separation. This demonstrates the presence of an enhanced feeling of the permanency of such relation, of the lasting character of the bonds of love.
On the highest level, i.e., that of secondary integration, all the above characteristics are deepened and grow harmoniously together. Marriage becomes an unbreakable bond, its strength having developed from the mutual appreciation of the depth and value of sharing its experiential history. It is deeply emotional and meditative. The dominant characteristics are: unchanging values, affective memory, the assumption of responsibility for the inner development of the other partner, mutual harmony in sharing one’s life and personal drama of existence.
(d) The attitude towards death.
On a primitive level there is no understanding of the problem of death and consequently complete inability to face death. The death of others might evoke a superficial, impersonal form of reflective thought. A primitive individual does not believe in the reality of his own death. In case of an immediate danger of death naive attempts are made to escape it in panic, there is sheer terror, fright, and violent defensive reactions.
On a higher level, i.e., that of unilevel disintegration, there is an ambivalence in one’s attitude towards death, ranging from uncontrolled fear, phobias and suicidal tendencies, up to mental rigidity and indifference. This relation to death is an expression of inner instability. There appears certain awareness which is, however, without any hierarchical elements. These reactions express a tendency to think of death as something external to the normal order of life, consequently there is no significant effort to integrate the problem of death into the personality structure.
On the level of the first stage of multilevel disintegration, ambivalent states of anxiety, heroism, rationalization, and the like lead to a slow integration and hierarchization of the problem of death into the personality structure. This problem, then, is considered within the context of all human dilemmas. An individual on this level of development shows towards death a dramatic attitude, at times tragic, entering into all personality problems. Inclinations towards suicide are accompanied by some reflection, but suicide itself is possible. The value of many things is approached and defined from the point of view of death. The sense and meaning of life is seen in connection with matters of death.
On the level of the organization of multilevel disintegration the problem of death is placed in a definite correlation with other problems and aspects of life. The development of a sublimated attitude towards death often causes the activity of the disintegrative dynamisms to increase in order to destroy residual structures of primitive levels in the inner milieu which are unwanted by the developing self. This conscious and willful program of eradication of the lower structures of personality can be called the instinct of partial death. The problem of death is placed within the hierarchy of values; it is incorporated into the personality structure; it is clearly “interiorized.” Without being made less important or less dramatic it is placed in the context of other basic problems of equally hi eh or even higher values such as responsibility for others, charity, permanence and unrepeatability of one’s spiritual values.
On the highest level of human development, i.e. that of secondary integration, there appears a still more precise definition of one’s personal relation to death. The death of others and their own attitude towards death become as important as our own view of it. The problem of death is not only subordinated to other problems and developmental values but enriches them in turn. When the individual becomes responsible for the totality of his own development and for the development of his external environment, he takes the problem of death as a part of the general process of inner development.
According to the theory of positive disintegration we distinguish five levels of mental development of a human being. The above discussion of the self-preservation instinct; syntony and empathy, the sexual instinct, and the attitude towards death, shows that one can also clearly distinguish five levels of emotional functions. Going from the lowest to the highest level one sees a broadening and deepening in the way a human individual approaches the aspects of life discussed above. It ranges from the complete egocentrism of the primitive level to the full alterocentrism of the highest level.
To each level of mental development there is a corresponding level of value experience. Mental development of man and the development of a hierarchy of values are, in fact, two names for the same process. One cannot separate the two.
As a first approximation we can distinguish five levels of development of emotional and instinctive functions and five corresponding levels of experience of values. We hope that further research will allow us to refine the scale of mental development by discrimination of levels in between the five thus far established. We also hope that those presently known can be more clearly described. Ultimately one should
be able to develop a scale comparable to the scales used in the estimation of intellectual and technical abilities. It should be possible to introduce some sort of a quantitative index, which could tell in percentages, for instance, the number of responses characteristic for a defined level of emotional functions. This would make it possible to establish what stage of development is prevalent at the time of diagnosis of a given individual. To a certain extent this would make it possible to define the earlier, more primitive stages through which the individual has passed, but of which he still retains some residual manifestations. One should also be able to discern the direction of the individual’s development, i.e. to define what stage of mental development he is approaching.
The levels of mental development can be defined with respect to such properties as: typological characteristics; instincts; intelligence; social, moral, religious and aesthetic emotions; inner psychic milieu; volition; creativity; and mental disturbances. On the basis of observation and clinical tests we should be able to place these properties in the sequence of developmental transformations of an individual.
The inclusion of mental disturbances in the developmental scale may appear puzzling. What, after all, can be the meaning of a scale of values that refers to mental illness?
The Levels of Neuroses as Indicators of Levels of Development
We consider metal disturbances, neuroses, and the like, to be from the developmental point of view—clearly positive, partially positive, or negative. Inner mental development occurs through crises and periods of mental disturbance.* Every level of development has a corresponding level of mental disturbances. It is our purpose here to correlate different levels of developmental factors with different kinds and levels of mental disturbances.
Certain fortes of mental disturbances become associated with the psyche of a developing individual. During the process of development this association leads to mutual interaction between the disturbed and the intact dynamisms of the psyche. The effects of this interaction for the development of in individual may be positive or negative.
Now, if we consider the level of primitive integration, we find associated with it the following disturbances; certain types of mental retardation, psychopathy, and less often, initial structures and functions of paranoid schizophrenia. Note that note of these have a psychoneurotic character. With unilevel disintegration we find associated simple
*cf. Chapter IV. 6.
schizophrenia, hebephrenic schizophrenia, paranoid schizophrenia, lower forms of neuroses, such as somatic neuroses, neuroses of specific organs, hypochondria, neurasthenia, and lower levels of hysteria.
It is necessary to distinguish inter and intraneurotic differences between levels of mental functions, since the level of a given psychoneurosis is determined by the level of mental functions that are involved. Two types of psychoneuroses will be on different interneurotic levels if one type involves mental functions of a more developed inner milieu and the other involves functions of a less developed inner milieu.
Within each particular psychoneurosis we can distinguish higher and lower levels of its functions. For example, in hysteria, a higher level of mental functions will be manifested by increased affective excitability, by reflective (meditative) syntony, by creativity, while a lower level of mental functions will be manifested by symptoms of hysteric characteropathy. A higher level of psychasthenia will display symptoms of a weak reality function on a lower level (impractical ways of dealing with everyday life) and a strong reality function on a high level (for instance, a great efficiency in creative work). Similarly, psychological insight, incisive contact introversion (i.e. introversion that does not eliminate understanding of others), enhanced creative imagination, will be present in psychasthenia of a high level, while symptoms resembling neurasthenia and hypochondria will be present in psychasthenia of a low level.
On the borderline of unilevel disintegration and the first stages of multilevel disintegration we encounter psychoneurotic disorders and some psychotic disorders (like catatonia). The latter are usually of an acute rather than chronic nature.
Organized multilevel disintegration is associated with such disturbances as depressive psychoneurosis, psychasthenia, and infantile neurosis, obsessive, compulsive and anxiety neuroses. It must be pointed out that these neuroses appear in their milder forms, since they are already subject to the dynamism of autopsychotherapy. The dynamism of autopsychotherapy controls and transforms mental disturbances. The disturbances are then not as debilitating as analogous symptoms at lower stages of development since their more pernicious effects are counteracted at this level by higher protective and developmental dynamisms.
On the level of secondary integration there are no mental disturbances or illnesses.
In conclusion, although there are five levels of mental development psychoneuroses occur only at three levels. The lowest and the highest
level are free of psychoneuroses. Integration excludes mental disequilibrium, but the transition from one level of mental development to the other cannot occur without them. Since the transition can occur only through disintegration of lower mental structures and functions, so that new and better ones can be built in their place, the states of mental disequilibrium are inevitable. The severity of the symptoms of mental illness accompanying mental development will vary according to the level of that development. That is, the severity of psychoneuroses and of psychoses diminishes with the progress of development to higher levels.
The Concept of Higher and Lower Levels of Functions in Biology and Psychology.
The different levels of function in the human psyche have their basis in the hierarchical relations of the functions of the nervous system. The brain cortex is divided into four areas: frontal, parietal, occipital and temporal. The frontal lobe is the seat of such higher intellectual functions as abstract thinking, speech, and particularly, higher emotional functions. The parietal lobe is the place of reception and transformation of sensory impulses with the exclusion of visual stimuli which are transmitted to the occipital lobe.
Subcortical areas (thalamus, hypothalamus and cerebellum) and the spinal areas (midbrain, pons, medulla and the spinal cord) are concerned with the control of bodily functions and emergency situations (activation of parts and functions of the organism needed in attack, defense or flight, and inhibition of unnecessary functions). In this way different parts of the nervous system are concerned with functions that are distinguished as higher or lower. Thus cortical activities are higher than spinal and subcortical activities. In the cortex the frontal activities are higher than the parietal, occipital and temporal activities.
The differentiation of lower and higher levels of functions has a strictly empirical and descriptive character. Therefore it is objective. The level of a function is assessed in psychophysiology in relation to the “own forces” of the nervous system. Their detectable presence and action makes the mechanistic principle, that the response is contained in the stimulus, invalid.
According to J. Mazurkiewicz (62) the role of external stimuli diminishes as higher levels of the nervous system are involved in the formation of a response. At the spinal- level the response is an almost direct reaction (through the reflex arc) to an external stimulus. At this level the “own forces” of the organism are practically nonoperative,
and the transformation of stimuli into responses is purely physiological. At the subcortical level these “own forces” play an important role (e.g. the sensation of hunger that will make a child cry or move towards food), which makes the transformation of stimuli at this level already psychophysiological. The process of subcortical transformation selects only stimuli of emotional character (pleasure vs. pain). At the cortical level we encounter a third type of nervous activity which is neither a reaction to external stimuli nor a reaction to stimuli from internal organs. This has been called “deliberate” nervous activity. At this level the stimulus, its psychic transformations, and the response can be entirely confined to the inner psychic milieu.
Deliberate nervous activity draws upon the totality of the inscribed experiential history of an individual. Thus it is not only a response to stimuli actually present, but also to stimuli that acted in the past (recorded experience). In this way deliberate nervous activity is based on internal stimuli combined with retrospection, inner psychic transformation, and prospection. In other words, deliberate nervous activity is the resultant of actual stimuli, stimuli evoked from affective memory, and prospective stimuli (looking ahead to aims, ideals and future development yet to be accomplished).
The quality and extent of deliberate nervous activity depends on the emergence of the so-called “autonomous factors.”* Here belong such dynamisms as the third factor, inner psychic transformation, autonomy and authenticity, and in a more general way a hierarchy of values and aims. These factors, to a varying degree, bring about an independence from the biological consequences of aging or somatic cycles. In the development of man’s psyche these new autonomous forces (through the introduction of new drives and emotions or through bringing existing drives and emotions to higher levels) enable the individual to transcend the rigor of biological factors. The autonomous forces shape developmental periods, prolong creative abilities, and play a decisive role in the prophylaxis of mental disturbances.
The autonomous factors are higher nervous functions: They are conscious, reflective and deliberate. At the same time these functions are extremely useful and efficient functions in man’s development and in his control of the environment.
Let us now try to examine the transition from lower to higher nervous functions. Jackson (55) has formulated three principles operating in the evolution of the nervous system. These principles are as follows:
*Not to be confused with the autonomic nervous system.
(1) Evolution is the transition from the simplest toward the most complex centers.
(2) Evolution is the transition from a well organized lower center toward higher, less well organized centers.
(3) Evolution is the transition from more automatic toward more voluntary functions.
One can raise some reservations with respect to the second of Jackson’s laws which postulates the transition from a well organized lower center to a less well organized higher center. A higher center, in order to be indeed higher, i.e., in order to assure better control of a wider array of nervous functions, cannot be less well organized, rather we should expect it to be organized differently. The difference would involve a greater role of reflection, greater plasticity, and an ability for integrated global handling of situations through intuitive-synthetic processes.
Following the example of the general principles of Jackson we can depict the mental development of man in a syllabus of transitions from lower to higher forms of mental functions. This enumeration should give us a general outlook on the direction of multilevel developmental dynamisms. We shall begin with more general dynamisms and proceed to more specific ones.
The above list singles out the characteristic transformations in mental development. The very clearcut difference between the level of the qualities on the left from those on the right fortes the basis of an objective hierarchy of values and of a hierarchy of aims.
It is important to realize that the levels of mental functions besides their objective character (clinically recognizable and testable) have normative character. The higher levels (those on the right of the
Syllabus) become consciously defined and consciously chosen aims. They acquire the character of ideals towards which we are inwardly compelled to strive. In this manner “what ought to be” emerges from “what is.” We can consider this the formative process of the dynamisms of authentism and of hierarchization of values.
We may suppose that such processes will necessitate the appearance of a new dominant factor in the development of the cortico-frontal functions. We have described such a factor already (Chapter IV, and 40): the third factor is a dynamism that controls and directs the choice of values both in the inner and in the outer milieu. It is the chief representative of all autonomous dynamisms such as self-awareness, self-control, autonomy, authentism, inner psychic transformation.
The Hierarchy of Values and the Hierarchy of Aims
We have previously described the hierarchy of man’s neurophysiological functions. We have also described the hierarchy of mental functions. Now we are ready to construct a hierarchy of values not yet attained. These values are prospective values, i.e. they are programmed ahead. This projection into the future is, in a way, an extension in time of man’s mental dynamisms.
The concept of man as a developing individual leads directly to the concept of prospection of mental functions. This principle of programming for the future is based on the fact that higher levels of mental development become values that man strives to attain. Indeed, it is nothing else but a continuation and development of a presently possessed hierarchy of values.
This prospective hierarchy of values (i.e. hierarchy of aims) involves not only intellectual functions but above all emotional and volitive functions. Its existence and operation can be detected in respect to a single function, a group of functions, or even the whole personality.
We have shown in the examples of the self-preservation instinct, empathy, sexual instinct and the attitude towards death, how one can recognize for any given individual his actual hierarchy of values. It is thus possible to carry out a detailed analysis of the actually recognizable hierarchy of values. It is also possible to carry out a detailed analysis of the developmental trends of these values. On the basis of these analyses one can retake a prognosis of the development of the whole personality in tears of individual functions and groups of functions.
If we consider the evolution of the human species, we may suppose that the evolution of the brain will go in the direction of further development of the frontal lobes while the development of emotional, intellectual and volitive functions will go in the direction of lessening of the psychomotoric functions and increasing the speed and efficiency of mental functions. The complexity of higher emotions will increase, most likely, and there will be closer union of emotional and intellectual functions.
The developmental program set up through the cooperation of a man’s consciousness with his most important dynamisms and his emotional and volitive structure identifies the developmental program of a hierarchy values as a hierarchy of aims. It is in this way that the empirically established structure of the system of values acquires a normative character. In other words the individual sets for himself a program of realization of higher levels of mental functions. He considers them as the aims of his own development. He will also consider them desirable in the development of others. For example, a person who has worked out his hierarchy of values within the area of the self-preservation instinct will apply it in his everyday life with regard to himself and to others. Once man understands what higher levels of the self-preservation instinct really are they become for him the objective of his development. This phenomenon occurs with every universally developing individual, especially with the eminent ones. We shall discuss this in the next section.
The need and the task of formulation of an empirical hierarchy of values in close connection with a hierarchy of aims is quite manifest in the attitudes and actions of individuals moving towards universal development. In fact, the hierarchy of aims is an expression of the need to build on the basic structure of the hierarchy of values. In this way its empirical character is closely connected with the normative character of mental functions. In short, the hierarchy of aims is the superstructure of the hierarchy of values; it is the hierarchy of “what ought to be” erected on the underlying structure of “what is.”
Within this framework appears a hierarchy of aims that are closer and of aims that are more distant. It is distinct and clear in respect to closer aims but less distinct and more general in respect to more distant aims. It is the hierarchy of “what will be” erected on the underlying structure of “what ought to be.”
In the course of mental development of a human being, a hierarchy of values appears at an advanced stage. The beginnings of mental
development have a spontaneous character* and only at a later stage, with the initiation of reflection, self-control, inner psychic transformation, and authentism, does a hierarchy of values begin to emerge. In particular, it is with the dynamism of authentism that arises a sense of responsibility and the need to apply in every human problem a hierarchy of values and also a hierarchy of aims. In consequence, the need to bring about in oneself and in others the realization of this hierarchy of aims is the outcome of the dynamism of authentism.
If one wanted to accept and consider only a hierarchy of values and disregard its extension-the hierarchy of aims-one would be faced with a conflict of inner alienation. The deformation of one’s basic scheme of development by cutting off the prospection of that development is nothing else than an alienation in respect to oneself.
Eminent Men as Indicators of the Direction of Development
The creation of a scale of developmental values and of a hierarchy of moral and social goals cannot be successfully examined otherwise than in the light of concrete lives of eminent individuals. We shall consider here those great men who display universal development in the emotional and moral sphere, and who are thus representatives of the highest attainable level of the instinct of self -perfection.
The system of values first postulated and then realized by those individuals is in direct relation to the basic, empirically cognizable scale of levels of mental functions. The lives and actions of individuals on the highest level of universal development serve as an empirical verification of the correctness of hierarchy of values elaborated so far, and at the same time as direction for its further development in each of us.
Let us discuss briefly several concrete examples.
Socrates was a man of widespread intellectual interests with remarkable ability for analytical thinking. These intellectual powers - were combined in him with intuitive-synthetic, aesthetic and religious qualities. He displayed courage and lack of hatred as he did not hold in :anger those who sentenced him to death. In his life there was a complete harmony between what he professed and what he did. His attitude towards death as the event which allows the transition to a better life was a logical consequence of his philosophy of good life: “The really important thing is not to live, but to live well.” This statement shows that his instinct of self-perfection operated on a very high level.
*cf. Chapter IV.
Mahatma Gandhi the great leader of India, directed his interests and talents towards philosophy, law, politics, sociology, ethics and morals. He was constantly striving for greater humility and self-perfection. His broad philosophical outlook and his authentism were expressed in his reverence for Christianity and other faiths. Gandhi’s empathy was developed to the highest possible level and consequently led him to active opposition of any form of injustice. He had the highest sense of responsibility for the individual and for the society. Mortally wounded, he asked that his assassin be freed from punishment. This request is an evidence of the deepest empathy and alterocentrism.
Albert Schweitzer was not only a great philosopher, physician, and writer but also a musician. Together with his aesthetic sensitivity and empathy from childhood he felt a growing need for a religious life. According to him the primary cause of the decay of any civilization is the loss of high moral values. And vice versa, the only solid basis for rebuilding a civilization is the presence of high moral values. Schweitzer’s empathy for those who are abandoned, poor and rejected compelled him to form a center for medical treatment and for education in Lambarene, in Africa, where by his own example he strived for the realization of the highest Christian ideals.
Father Kolbe was a Polish priest who died in Auschwitz by his own choice. He simply stepped into the line of those destined that day- for punishment to replace a man who had a family (this man returned to his family after the war). Fr. Kolbe was placed in a pillbox and died of starvation and of an injection of phenol. To the very end, in spite of his extreme pain and exhaustion, he was forgiving his oppressors.
Dr. Janusz Korczak, a Polish Jew, physician, writer and educator devoted his whole life to the education of orphans. He gave up his private practice and literary ambitions in order to concentrate on the development of an educational system for children without families. The characteristic feature of his approach was to practice and to teach complete truthfulness and agreement between one’s thinking and one’s deeds (authentism). When the systematic extermination of the Jewish people began at the start of World War II, Korczak’s institution was one of the first on the list. As a higher officer of the Polish military forces Dr. Korczak was offered a chance to save his life. He refused, because it meant leaving the children alone to face the terror of death. Together with his pupils he died in the gas chamber keeping them cheerful and unaware of where they were going.
In the history of mankind, the recurrent moral declines crowned
by Hitlerian barbarism came about as a consequence of the disregard for the teaching and the lives of Christ, Socrates, Gandhi. Individual and social development cannot progress, if it ignores the values and insights embodied in moral and social achievements of great historical figures.
Outstanding personalities, particularly those who have attained a high level of universal development, give in the course of their lives a dynamic example of the manner in which the transition from lower to higher levels is accomplished. At the same time they exhibit the highest presently recognizable levels of development and thus show the function of the ideal of personality in development. Through their own concrete examples they indicate to others programs of moral and social development, i.e. the aims to be reached and the methods to be used. It is important to be aware of the empirical content in the developmental path of eminent individuals. Their trials and errors provide practical demonstration of the problems and possibilities of their solution that anyone has to face on every level of his development. Knowledge of their lives, their difficulties and their attainments provides guidance for the creation of one’s own program of development.
The Consequences of Attaining Higher Levels of Development
In the following are given several formulations designed to show the significance and the advantage of attaining higher levels of development.
1. Higher levels of development provide for broader, more creative and more enduring experiences and mental activities that go beyond those determined by the biological cycle of human life (e.g. preservation in adults of infantile characteristics that enrich creativity, sublimation of climacteric stress period through creative work, etc.).
2. The higher the level of development, the broader, more universal and more complete is one’s understanding of life and its different levels of reality; the broader and more universal is identification with others and responsibility for them.
3. The higher the developmental level, the less there is automatism and uniformity (stereotype reactions) in one’s way of life. Instead, there is more of inner psychic transformation and authenticity.
4. The higher the level of development, the less there is of conflict with the external environment, but more of sublimation of internal conflicts. This comes from a greater ability for the concentration of psychic energy on the essential and important, tasks in development
and social responsibility. For example, it is essential to be able to see the hierarchy of values, and for this reason to direct one’s attention and energy to the higher levels of mental functions as to the really significant ones.
5. There is a high correlation between the level of development attained by an individual and his awareness of the worth, for himself and for the society, of attaining higher levels.
6. At higher developmental levels one is more likely to reach new unexpected qualities and insights.
7. The possibilities of further development are greater at higher levels of development of mental functions.
8. At higher levels of development the possibilities of solving actual and remote problems are better. Consequently there is a greater ability to cope with new difficulties and dangers. Although primitive individuals maybe more capable of solving primitive problems, with the evolution of civilization and culture new and far less primitive problems arise and these can be handled only by people with a correspondingly advanced level of mental complexity. Education based on the knowledge of an empirically established hierarchy of universal values and on the knowledge of the laws of human development can prepare a person for this higher and more complex mode of existence.
The elaboration of an objective hierarchy of values would give man an organizing moral principle of justice. This principle would have universal application in counteracting injustice by promoting the development of social and political organizations to a high level. Gradually all decisions and actions based on the use of force and of other measures applied in order to bend others to one’s point of view would be replaced by reference to empirically established, and therefore universally acceptable, scale of values.
To achieve this seemingly utopian goal one would first have to introduce such a hierarchy of values to education. This is a. wide subject requiring separate study. Nonetheless, it is immediately obvious that the only feasible way of constructing positive interpersonal, social and international relations is through an education based on a scab of universal values. Its transposition into political life would give such organizations as the United Nations and the Permanent Court of Arbitration (the Hague Tribunal) a method of dealing with international injustice that would he free from the defects of formal legal procedures and political pressures.
The ecumenical movement of churches, the federal movements of international affairs or the world organizations like the United
Nations, are all a manifest expression of the growing need for a common set of values. The attempts of democratic systems to organize themselves on a higher level characteristic for the European Economic Community (the Common Market), are another expression of the search for values shared by different nations. Nevertheless, it has to be pointed out that as much as these efforts demonstrate some operation of the guiding principle (i.e. an empirical hierarchy of universal values) there is in most of them too little concern for the moral content of a common set of values.
The Directive Role of Higher Emotions
The study of brain functions has brought forth several discoveries which give support to our argument. Briefly, these discoveries are as follows:
1. The brain cortex has its own activity in the form of electric potentials which arise independently of peripheral stimuli. These brain waves, as they became to be called, arise in particular under the impact of strong emotions, stimulation of interest, attention, and the like.
2. Until recently it was generally assumed that the sympathetic nervous system controlled only the activity of the internal organs while the central nervous system controlled the activity of the organism in relation to the external world. Yet it was shown almost simultaneously by Hess (54a) and Orbeli (64) that the sympathetic nervous system controls not only the activity of inner organs, but, also the activity of the central nervous system. Consequently, the sympathetic nervous system is not solely peripheral but constitutes the most integral part of the cerebro-spinal system including the cortex.
3. Monakow (63). Cannon (3a) and Adrian (2a) found that selection and transformation of stimuli occur in the cortex. These selective and transformative operations are known to involve the highest levels (i.e. the cortical levels) of the sympathetic nervous system. This points very strongly to the participation of higher emotions in the selection and transformation of stimuli.
The sympathetic nervous system was regarded for many years as the neurological substratum of emotional functions. Assuming, on the pacts of modern neurophysiological research, that the human cortex is the highest psychoneurological directive center: that it includes vegetative centers; and that the sympathetic centers are seats of emotional processes, it follows that the highest directive functions in man have two closely connected components: higher emotions and higher intellectual processes.
It is also clear, then, that the human intellect does not act independently of higher emotions. Rational people, i.e. those who are unemotional and whose behavior is directed primarily by the discursive processes of their intellect, exist only as rare exceptions. These exceptions are by far too few to support the claim of psychological intellectualism that it is the human intellect that determines behavior independently of its emotional components. On the contrary, we observe that the emotional sphere at every level of development is the decisive factor that determines and controls human activity.
At a very low level of development primitive urges direct the individual towards certain aims while his intelligence is used exclusively as an instrument completely subservient to those primitive urges. At a higher level, when higher emotions appear, intellectual functions serve, on the one hand, a s the provider of means toward emotionally determined goals, and on the other hand, in the shaping and growth of emotions. In this way intellectual functions take an indirect part in the determination of goals. What we observe is not the ruling power of the intellect, but rather a conjunction of highly developed emotions with refined intellectual functions.
Ancient thinkers, such as Plato and Aristotle, and many scholastic philosophers held that in mental development the only element essential and worthy of cultivation was the intellect. The highest goal of the intellect was to reach the level of contemplation of the Platonic forms. Higher emotions were considered as specific intellectual processes. This was a logical necessity, if one was to maintain the superiority of the intellect over emotions. Such ideas, by depriving man of his most authentic dynamisms, which are always predominantly emotional, caused a serious deformation of the image of mental development since they tended to dissolve the individual in the universal. We may also point out that the Platonic intellectualization and ideation of higher emotions deprives them of their dynamic power. The negation of their very nature cuts through their continuity, and denies the possibility of their development from lower to higher levels. This in turn is a violation of the very basic and very human instinct-the developmental instinct.
Synthetic knowledge of human mental development in its whole complexity can be obtained only with the active participation of higher emotions. They provide the necessary means for grasping what occurs in man at various levels of his development and, together with intellectual elaboration of such observations, allow a meaningful insight into and description of the growth of human personality. A purely
intellectual approach cannot yield a synthetic, multidimensional and multilevel account of the structure of mental functions.
Mental functions, being predominantly emotional, are initially grasped in a way that is intuitive-synthetic. At first we are merely aware of the work of these functions and of their general developmental direction. Full knowledge of the dynamisms of development can be achieved in the subsequent stage, where the intuitive-synthetic understanding is extended and combined with analysis and evaluation (discursive-analytic phase) to finally enter the empirical phase. This descriptive-empirical phase is the phase of applying and of testing the knowledge of human development through a more or less clearly defined program of development. It is a hierarchy of aims at work.
For example, if one were to grasp correctly the moral aspects of human actions, one would start in the search of the common denominator of moral values by an intuitive process. This intuitive searching process would engage emotional functions, in this case empathy. Once the moral values are intuitively grasped through the dynamism of empathy, they then become available for elaboration and reevaluation through discursive-analytic processes.
Consequently, the traditional belief in a fundamental opposition of the intuitive and the rational approach to moral values is shown to be more apparent than real. Intuition and reason act in valuation as complementary stages on the road towards the recognition of what is objectively valuable. In this context it is necessary to realize that at no stage there is a complete separation between the emotive-intuitive and the intellectual-discursive spheres of psychic activity. Certainly, there is some, however slight, intellectual activity involved in the intuitive stage, and some emotional activity in the rational stage. Mazurkiewicz (62) sees in this a demonstration of the directive role played in mental life by higher emotions conjoined with mnemonic elements.
It is not true, then, that at lower, primitive stages of development mental life is controlled by emotions, and that at higher levels of development it is controlled by reason. What appears to be true is that the emotional sphere controls human activities on every level. Just as emotional primitivism is generally combined with intellectual primitivism, so are high levels of emotional life associated with high levels of reasoning, though the reverse is not necessarily true. Such factors as insight, dynamism “subject-object” in oneself, the third factor, highly developed intuitive dynamisms, represent a closely linked
and interconnected dual complex of intellectual and emotional functions.
Now it is clear why individuals on a high level of emotional development are apt to evaluate objectively. This capacity stems from their mental dynamisms, whether more emotional, or more intellectual, but always closely bound with one or other. It follows, too, that the higher is the level of development of higher emotions, the greater will be the degree of objectivity in valuation.
We may attempt to generalize our observations by suggesting the following empirically testable standard of evaluation: A hierarchy of values is objective inasmuch as it results from highly developed mental functions, particularly from higher emotions.
We have attempted to show that the study of human development is not possible without the differentiation of developmental levels; that the concept of value has a meaning only in the context of the hierarchical sequence of human development; and that the study of the most fully developed individuals (eminent people) provides us with the largest scale of human developmental sequence available to empirical investigation.
Some of the following conclusions summarize experimental evidence already available, other ones are more hypothetical and call for a large scale experimental verification. The last conclusion describes a principle operating in everyday life and thus familiar to all.
1. The discovery of lower and of higher levels of activity of the nervous system led neurobiology to differentiate analogous lower and higher levels of psychic activity.
2. The differentiation and elaboration of quantitative scales of intellectual and psychomotoric functions allows only a limited and onesided approach to the study of the mental functions in man. What is called for to fill in this deficiency is the differentiation and elaboration of a quantitative scale of emotional and instinctive functions.
3. Higher levels of emotional and emotional-intellectual functions produce greater psychic complexity, higher levels of creativity, self-awareness, empathy, social responsibility, etc. These manifestations are an expression of the expansion and enrichment of mental functions through the growth from lower to higher levels.
4. Each individual who sets for himself a program of mental development formulates within that program a hierarchy of values. Higher
levels of this hierarchy correspond in essence to the higher levels of the scale of emotional life described here.
5. The common sense of a group determines its scale of values. With the exception of periods when the awareness of the group is weakened, a group, if it is free, will always seek advisers and leaders among individuals who possess higher levels of affective functions and greater emotional authenticity.
6. The so-called higher values are never present in the mental make-up of mentally retarded or psychopaths.
7. Individuals that are both universally educated and universally developed show an agreement between their hierarchies of values and aims with the hierarchy of values derived here.
8. People who understand and accept the hierarchy of values outlined here protect and develop those traits that are to the greatest profit of mankind, as for example, foresight, creativity, empathy, responsibility, etc.
9. Every person with some common sense expects to find friends, superiors, teachers, doctors, etc., who represent higher than his own level of the hierarchy of values. This need grows with years of experience accumulated through life’s difficulties and suffering.
The authors are fully aware that only extensive research can bring a better and more precise knowledge of the hierarchy of human values an objective expression of levels of mental development.
CHAPTER V I
IMPLICATIONS OF THE THEORY OF POSITIVE
The theory of positive disintegration takes a point of view on the psychic reality of man which requires the introduction of new concepts and new hypotheses of a broad implicatory range. It focuses on facts hitherto disregarded or not systematically explored, such as the differentiation of levels of mental functions, transcendence of the biological life cycle, the sequence of integrations and disintegrations in ontogenetic development, correlation between psychoneurotic symptoms and abilities and talents, transformations of the psychological type, etc.
Among the new concepts the use of which may prove fruitful we should mention first of all the various dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu, the very concept of the inner psychic milieu itself and its role in the shaping of human responses, the concept of the third factor, the distinction of two kinds of mental development (biologically or socially determined and autonomous), the concepts of positive and negative adjustment and maladjustment the empirico-normative concept of personality, etc.
The list of hypotheses to be tested, inherent in the theory of positive disintegration, is not exhausted by the set of hypotheses discussed in Chapter VII of this book. A substantial number of other hypotheses may be derived from this theory either in the sense that they are implicitly contained in the present formulation of the theory or in the sense that they may express possibilities alternative to the assumptions implied or suggested by the theory.
The developmental role of inner conflicts and crises, emotional and imaginational hyperexcitability, disruption of primitive functions and structures, generally speaking, the positive nature of the processes of mental disintegration is emphasized and explained in the framework of a developmental perspective. Special consideration is given to the
phenomena of surpassing the biological life cycle and transformation of the psychological type. It seems that careful empirical elaboration of conditions which contribute to such phenomena should lead to the discovery of important determinants of mental transformations. This would certainly lead to many useful applications and techniques. The theory also establishes a new typology which sets up five developmental stages or psychological types: primitive integration, unilevel disintegration, spontaneous and self-directed multilevel disintegration, secondary integration, and a special case of negative disintegration.
All those concepts, distinctions, viewpoints and hypotheses may prove useful in developmental, educational and clinical psychology as well as in the theory of personality. Successful empirical verification of the hypotheses which assume the positiveness of mental disintegration would fundamentally change our general view of and attitude toward the very concept of mental development and assist us in better understanding of man.
Perhaps the most important revision in psychology will stem from the assumption that the facts within the sphere of mental development cannot be adequately comprehended and theoretically elaborated, if the distinction between higher and lower levels of functions, is not recognized and laid as the foundation of a theory of mental development. Consequently, the normative-evaluative element must be incorporated into the theory, in clear opposition to the presently prevailing view that theories in social sciences should refrain from any value statements.
One of the consequences of the viewpoint represented here is the development and use of tests for measuring levels of nonintellectual mental functions, first of all of the instinctive-emotional functions which are liable to developmental transformations from the stage of primitive, biological urges to higher emotions and refined empathy.
2. Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Psychiatry has considered mental health in a rather negative way, namely as absence of mental disturbances. According to the theory of positive disintegration this criterion, over and above the shortcoming of being purely negative, is also misleading. It obliterates the fundamental fact that there are two entirely different kinds of integrated mental structures, the primary or primitive integration and the secondary or personality integration. While the second is a symptom and warrant of mental health, the first, particularly in its more rigid form, represents a nondevelopmental, or even psychopathic structure. Consequently, the simple, undifferentiated concept of integration of
mental functions and structures cannot serve as a criterion of mental health. On the other hand, nervousness and psychoneurotic symptoms are explained as natural and necessary forms of human growth, as essential components of the developmental process which gradually leads from instinctive, stereotyped, biologically determined modes of behavior towards a specifically human type of life, characterized by a high degree of self-awareness and self-determination.
The contrast between a developmental and a nondevelopmental psychiatric approach comes out very pointedly, when we consider the problem of diagnosis of two individuals: one that has a strongly integrated primitive mentality, with intelligence totally subordinated to instinctive drives, unhesitating, shrewd and ruthless in the pursuit of his aims and another, subtle, sensitive, full of doubts and scruples, consumed with disquietude, anxiety, feelings of shame and guilt. The first may be a very successful president of a big company, president of a labor union or a Caribbean state as well as a boss of a criminal gang, while the latter is notorious among artists, thinkers and writers. Which of them represents mental health, which of them needs psychiatric and educational advice, and possibly medical treatment?
The answer from the standpoint of the theory of positive disintegration is very clear. In the first instance we have a typical case of primitive, even psychopathic structure which creates daily injustice and puts in danger and fear everybody around. If an individual of this type would receive proper educational and psychiatric treatment in his childhood, many social calamities could be avoided. In the second case we have an individual with a great human developmental potential, possibly a creative contributor to the progress and growth of society. The fact that the first type of individuals is generally considered mentally healthy, and the second mentally sick, indicates that the society itself is primitive and confused.
The acceptance of the viewpoint of the theory of positive disintegration in psychiatric practice would put an end to the assumption that mental equilibrium, without the distinction of its level, is the objective of treatment. The distinction of levels of mental functions destroys the myth that mental problems may be treated in an ethically neutral manner. The generation of a genuine autonomous, moral awareness in an individual and its gradual growth towards higher levels of emotional maturity and responsibility is the paramount question in psychiatry as well as in any other domain concerned with the organization of human behavior.
The acceptance of the view that nervousness and psychoneuroses are not mental illnesses, but usually represent a phase of positive,
accelerated and healthy development, indicates the need for a change of our attitude toward many people of great creative potential. It eliminates the belief that such people require medical treatment. On the contrary, it fosters the attitude of genuine respect, understanding of the difficult inner struggles they experience and willingness to give them encouragement and assistance. Medical treatment and psychotherapeutic efforts will be replaced by counselling which would consist mainly in the clarification of the developmental nature of nervous tension and symptoms of disintegration.
The description of the inner psychic milieu and the stages of development of instinctive and emotional functions brings out the relationship between mental disturbances and the development of personality. It suggests to the psychiatrists and psychotherapists a change of their views on education and in their philosophical attitude. Concerning the genetics of mental illness the correlation of the three factors (constitutional, environmental. and autonomous) allows a reinterpretation of symptoms and a reform in the direction of more rational and effective methods in psychotherapy, education and self-education.
The theory of positive disintegration is not concerned with diseases of a definite organic or biochemical background. Whenever this is the case, the appropriateness of the chemotherapeutic approach is beyond question. What might be a potential subject of criticism from the standpoint of the theory of positive disintegration, would be the illusion that drugs constitute a panacea for mental disturbances. This illusion may arise, particularly among those who deny that the second, autonomous stage of mental development of man involves a new and different factor which gives mental processes a new qualitatively different form.
No genuine mental conflicts, that is to say, conflicts involving self-consciousness and authenticity, can be solved by any means other than the individual’s conscious effort and inner growth. However, in some cases of lower level problems chemotherapy may serve as a necessary prerequisite for subsequent positive mental transformations and development toward higher levels.
We are concerned here with all-around education and development of personality which culminates in at least partial transcendence of the biological cycle of life and in at least a partial change of the psychological type. A fundamental assumption for a successful action in this domain is understanding and careful consideration of the role
and inter-relations between the three factors: hereditary endowment, environmental influences and the existence and strength of the autonomous developmental forces. Only on the foundation of an inclusive diagnosis of the three determinants can a purposeful plan and program of education and self-education be developed.
It does not seem to be possible to succeed in education toward higher levels of mental life without special consideration of the developmental potentials, diagnosis of the stage of mental transformations and of the dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu.
The basic assumption of the theory of positive disintegration is that there is an empirically observable development of the capacity to make value judgments and to establish an autonomous hierarchy of values, distinguishable and independent from the hierarchy conditioned by cultural factors. It provides educators with a cornerstone which otherwise must either be arbitrarily posited or abandoned altogether in favor of a nihilistic liberatinism. This point of view might liberate education from its subservience to any external authority and thus give it the so-long sought independence. At the same time specific elements of the theory of positive disintegration, particularly its thesis that the objectivity of valuation may be attained only as a result of inner mental growth and authenticity, exclude the widespread practice of moral education as a kind of indoctrination into the values of the educator, without respect for the individuality of the pupil and without any self-awareness of the limitations of the educator’s own ethical commitments determined by his developmental level. No wonder that this practice so frequently has as its consequence a rebellion which frequently ends in a total rejection of the values of “older people,” without the process of critical, self-conscious, authentic selection and acceptance of those values which are nevertheless recommendable even though externally imposed.
The first educational precept derivable from the theory of positive disintegration is that one should foster authenticity. The road towards an independent authentic hierarchy of values is certainly very difficult, but it must be made clear that there is no other safe method open to man, because even the best system of moral norms does not work in practice, if its assimilation is not authentic and does not involve genuine inner psychic transformation. The idea of indiscriminate social adjustment, adaptation to what is, conformity to prevailing social standards, has to be replaced by qualified adjustment and, where necessary, positive maladjustment.
At the same time in any system of education founded on the theory of positive disintegration problems of morals would have to
occupy a prominent place, since a general shift would be made from the emphasis on the purely intellectual sphere to the development of higher emotions.
The theory of positive disintegration would imply a substantial change in the attitude towards psychoneurotic and rigidly integrated children. It would lead to a much better understanding of the inherent potential of psychoneurotic children as well as of their difficulties.
An intelligent, careful consideration of nervousness and psychoneurotic symptoms among school children would not only avoid many useless tragedies, but also preserve the most precious human elements and allow their growth.
On the other hand, the theory of positive disintegration would pave the way for a proper assessment and a more successful upbringing of rigidly integrated children. The pedagogical approach would have to be consistent with the assumption that there are no other methods of attaining higher developmental levels than those of first disintegrating lower levels. Therefore special pedagogical techniques would have to be designed not only for the promotion of higher levels, but also for the disintegration of lower levels. Such techniques carefully applied might prevent mass production of college graduates whose emotional growth was completely neglected. The objective of attaining an integrated mental structure as soon as possible would have to be replaced by methods of disintegrating, loosening and dissolving primitive structures. The elaboration and application of tests for the assessment of the emotional and other instinctive functions would be of great help in the current pedagogical practice as well as in counselling and vocational guidance.
4. Philosophy of Man and Ethics
The conception of man which emerges from the theory of positive disintegration is basically developmental, that is to say, it conceives man as a being destined to undergo developmental transformations. At the same time human development is interpreted in a specific way, distinctly different from all kinds of development observable in nature, and not reducible to and explicable in terms of biological laws. The specifically human developmental elements consist, on the one hand, in growing independence from hereditary and environmental determinants and, on the other hand, in the multilevel profile of his mental transformations, that is to say, his ability to distinguish lower and higher levels of mental activity and his potential for transition from lower forms to higher forms. Growing independence of man from hereditary and environmental factors is based on the autonomous
dynamisms. Multilevelness finds its expression in the dynamism of hierarchization. To put it in negative terms, firstly, man not being a machine cannot be explained by the two-factor-approach (hereditary and environment), and secondly human reality cannot be described, explained and understood from a horizontal, nonevaluative point of view. As autonomy and the awareness of the hierarchy of levels constitute crucial elements of existence in a specifically human way, no theoretical or philosophical account of human reality can be satisfactory, if it does not take into account and properly utilize those two aspects.
This perspective of man may be illustrated by pointing out the fact that the most important human drives and emotions undergo transformations and growth from primitive and automatic to their refined and voluntary forms, be it the self-preservation, sexual or cognitive instinct, feelings of empathy, love, responsibility, or attitudes toward death. The reality of mental functions in man is dynamic, developmental and multilevel. It cannot be tortured in the same unilevel, purely horizontal viewpoint from which the “hard” sciences so successfully explore the physical aspects of reality.
The very concept of disintegration points out the drama of human existence: it is impossible to live as man all the time in the state of blessed harmony and self-complacency; we are human inasmuch as we experience disharmony and dissatisfaction, inherent in the process of disintegration.
The multilevel profile of human reality, provides a starting point for a validation of value judgments which would transcend purely subjective, culturally determined valuation. The conception of man and his development from the standpoint of positive disintegration, the determination of the various developmental phases of disintegration as well as a methodical elaboration of the characteristic symptoms of the corresponding levels of instinctive and emotional functions puts in question the validity of the doctrine of ethical relativism. Variety and mutual inconsistency in ethical opinions, observable among individuals, social groups and ethnic cultures become understandable not from a viewpoint of cultural relativity which makes moral scruples senseless, but from the empirically observable and testable viewpoint which relates this variety and inconsistency to different levels of mental development. We agree that there undoubtedly are a wide variety of moral opinions, but we insist that it is so only among those primitive individuals who consider morally good what suits their innate inclinations or results from uncritical social conformity. On the other
hand, there is a striking unity of basic moral tenets among those who are capable of higher levels of empathic understanding, inner psychic transformation, authenticity, retrospection and prospection.
In this way ethics may be brought in unity with empirical knowledge. Although the methods of education must take into consideration the concrete levels of people to be educated, the ultimate values and criteria will depend on what on the highest level of mental growth can be accessible to empirical studies.
In order to clarify the scope of the impact of these views on ethical considerations let us supplement them with a few remarks about the present situation in ethics.
The twentieth century brought a serious crisis in moral philosophy. Its characteristic feature is that it shifted the crux of philosophical discussions from ethics itself to an examination of its foundations, i.e. to metaethics. The school of philosophical analysis and logical positivism have produced a great number of incisive studies of the language of morals (G. E. Moore, A. Ayer, M. Ossowska, C. Stevenson, R. M. Hare, etc.). They have pointed out that moral utterances are prescriptive rather than descriptive, that their main function is exhortative rather than informative. Hume’s ideas about the impossibility of logical derivation of rules from statements, of what “ought to be” from what “is,” were revived and forcefully asserted. Consequently, the centuries old beliefs in moral truth, in the objective validity of moral pronouncements were seriously undermined and a new kind of moral skepticism became fashionable.
At the same time there has been a vague feeling that in spite of all brilliancy and semantical sophistication of some newer meta-ethical writings their authors fell victim to the oversight of something essential. Moral problems seem to deserve a type of consideration which linguistic analysis cannot afford.
It may be useful in this context to take a closer look at the tray a psychiatrist and psychotherapist sees the problem. For him, the difference between an act which is primitive, impulsive, without concern for others and an act resulting from empathy and participation in other people’s feelings is by no means a matter of arbitrary liking or disliking. The problem is of the very ability to avoid the destruction of others and of oneself.
The theory of positive disintegration offers a basically empirical standard for valuation in general, and moral valuation in particular: value judgments are objectively grounded inasmuch as they result from highly developed mental functions, particularly from higher emotions.
Of course, the application of this standard presumes our ability for distinguishing and empirical testing of various levels of mental functions. The basic possibility of grounding the distinction of lower and higher ranks on empirical foundations and empirical criteria is discussed in Chapter V. The implications of this approach could hardly be overestimated. The cornerstone for a transsubjective hierarchy of values would be laid, to be followed by the formulation of methods for its elaboration. The road towards a true psychological grasp of the essential aspects of moral life would be open. Moral customs and traditions could be creatively reconsidered.
One of the consequences of a hierarchy of values derived from the theory of positive disintegration would place the human individual at its center. Thus humanism and personalism, the two trends which have glimmered in ethical thought of leading philosophers since its very beginnings, would be vindicated and supported by empirical considerations.
5. Philosophy of Science and Humanities
The methodological structure of the theory of positive disintegration differs in essential points from present-day models of theories in physical sciences. The most striking and significant differences include the concept of the autonomous factors, multilevelness and the developmental perspective from which mental life is examined. This “humanistic” model may be useful to explore some aspects of reductionism and physicalism, that is, the attempts to explain all laws and to define all terms by those of physics.
Elsewhere in this chapter as well as in Chapters, I, V and VII we discuss at some length the question of the normative-evaluative elements in this theory and the problem of empiricalness. We shall restrict ourselves here to the remark that such fundamental issues in the philosophy of science as value-neutrality of scientific theories, validation of value-statements and determinism demand a reconsideration. One of the most puzzling and disturbing problems in the philosophy of science is the almost complete failure of attempts to establish significant scientific knowledge of specifically human phenomena in a manner analogous to the methods which proved so successful in physical sciences and technology. This led some students of this question to an attitude of agnosticism and resignation. The claim has been made that man is not an object of science. In opposition to this skeptical view it may be suggested that a scientific theory of man is possible, but it requires significant structural, conceptual and methodological innovations as compared with what has been done up
to now. Perhaps the very concept of science has to be submitted to a revision and extension to include all systematized knowledge which allows prediction and control, although not with the degree of accuracy characteristic of technology.
In the area of humanities there has always been need for a point of view which would be rather vertical and evaluative than horizontal and purely descriptive. The conception of multilevelness of mental functions answers this need by providing the foundations for a meaningful theory of valuation.
In the context of humanities it may also be useful to mention special implications of the theory of positive disintegration for literary criticism. It may serve as a theoretical basis for a new explication of a great number of literary works. The main subject of many great dramas and novels seems to be the drama of “positive disintegration” of mental growth and inner conflicts which clearly point out different levels of functions. Frequently biographical novels which describe the lives of creative individuals read like a typical case of an aggravated process of positive disintegration.
It might be of interest to take a look at significant historical events and historical figures from the perspective of the theory of positive disintegration. Societies, nations and cultures seem to exhibit the qualities of integration and disintegration comparable to mental disintegration and stages of development in individuals. It seems to be the special task of a historian to show the tortuous road of human development and social progress through the ages. In our studies of the past it is certainly not the very course and sequence of events which fascinate our imagination and elevate history to the position of presumably a main source of wisdom. The crucial matter seems to be our ability to interpret historical events in a way which makes past achievements and failures meaningful to us, to our own search for meaning and purpose. This meaning which a historian assigns to specific fragments of the past requires a theoretical, and even a philosophical viewpoint and perspective. It is a manifestation of a historian’s individuality, depth and personal growth. The concept of human development and its dynamisms, grounded in the theory of positive disintegration, may in many ways assist historians in giving new interpretations, richer and deeper meaning to the past.
Historians often make use of such empirico-evaluative concepts is progress, revolution and reaction, conquest and liberation, freedom and self-determination, rise and fall of civilizations, etc. All those
concepts have a distinct reference to the processes of development and decline, to the hierarchy of values. The concepts of two types of factors in development (biological and autonomous), the criteria and stages of development distinguished in the theory of positive disintegration, its approach to valuation as a function of mental growth, may prove very fruitful for a new, deeper analysis of the above-mentioned empirico-evaluative concepts.
7. Sociology, Cultural Anthropology and Social Philosophy
In the light of certain notions of the theory of positive disintegration sociology may reconsider and reconstruct some of its hypotheses and explanatory models. Although the theory of positive disintegration is basically concerned with the development of individuals rather than groups it may have a twofold significance for the study of social groups:
(1) The growth of societies may be subject to laws of disintegration comparable to those evident in the process of positive disintegration in individuals. It may be possible to describe and distinguish primitively integrated, monolithic and stagnant societies from those which undergo processes of differentiation and developmental conflicts.
(2) Some of the laws of social interrelations may be dependent upon and derivable from the laws governing mental development of individuals.
From the inclusion of the normative-evaluative element in the structure of the theory of positive disintegration a special problem arises It seems that a similar incorporation of valuation in sociological thought may open new vistas and produce theories of a much greater explanatory power than those hitherto accepted. Perhaps some notorious failures of sociological theories might find their solution. Some problems hitherto evasive to a theoretical grasp, such as the concept of lower and higher cultural levels, might now appear in a new light and become subject of elaboration from a new standpoint.
The establishment of a transsubjective hierarchy of values would demand a reconsideration of all the basic problems in social and political philosophy. Certain problems will ill require a reformulation and many ideas a substantial revision. Some political doctrines, e.g. certain elements in the thought of Comte, Hegel, Hobbes, Machiavelli, Marx, Rousseau, etc., will lose ground. Any version of totalitarianism is clearly incompatible with a theory which assumes that higher levels of development may be attained only as a result of an autonomous and authentic process of inner psychic transformation.
The problem of nationalism and international relations will appear in a new context. Extreme and antagonistic forms of nationalism which involve hostility towards other nations and other cultures and spread the ideal of the purity of national tradition seem no longer tenable. There is no individual mental growth without concern, for and use of outstanding achievements of other people. In the same way, to ignore cultural achievements of other nations, to look only at oneself, seems to impede the growth of the national tradition. Mental growth does not occur in a cultural vacuum. Man lives in a concrete society and cannot find himself by trying to ignore his cultural roots or to disregard his ties and responsibilities toward his community. Consequently, extreme forms of cosmopolitanism are also discredited.
The development of personality towards higher forms of empathy, towards understanding of other people’s feelings and their developmental levels, towards rejection of the imposition of one’s own will and standards upon others, towards rejection of violent means of solving differences seems to present a much more realistic hope for international peace and effective operation of international organizations and authorities.
One of the most important problems of all times, and especially of the modern era, consists in a striking disparity between what is officially professed and propagated and what is actually believed and done in practice. The disharmony of words and deeds has become almost commonplace in most political activities and movements, in political meetings, public speeches and ceremonial declarations. This state of things is supported by the philosophical and scientific trends which consider value judgments subjective, arbitrary and relative to local customs and traditions. In opposition to this strange mixture of great slogans, hypocrisy, cynicism and ethical nihilism, the idea of association of the variety of ethical opinions with primitive levels of mental development and of the authentic recognition of at least some basic values as an expression of a refined and highly developed mind will expose the poverty of present-day political practices.
The very existence and effective operation of many institutions which are necessary for human survival, such as the United Nations Organization, international tribunals, disarmament control agencies, etc., is hardly feasible, if we are unable to provide thorn with a scale of value and, levels of valuation. Ethical relativity does not leave room fur an intelligent and meaningful judgment, about mass persecutions and tortures committed in various epochs, about the crimes of genocide
in our century, about social oppression and exploitation, racial discrimination, or about those diplomats and political leaders who profess their dedication to universal human values and in fact, are exclusively concerned with the aggrandizement of one country or one social group, at any price and by any means.
All this shows the significance of the elaboration of criteria and fundamental principles of universal validity, the significance of a policy of international organizations and tribunals founded on the destruction of lower and higher levels of instinctive and emotional functions, the significance of basic principles of legislation to be respected in all countries and in international relations. The distinction of levels of mental functions seems to be the foundation of any long-range political program of development and social progress.
9. Pastoral Guidance
The task of the clergyman is to explain the truth known from revelation and to serve as a teacher and a symbol of morality embodied in his denomination. In the dialogue and in all his dealings with the parishioners he has to translate religious truths, love of God, immortality of the soul, freedom of the will, mystical elements and the meaning of life into a language and empirical context accessible to his community.
It seems that the concept of the human mind arising from the theory of positive disintegration may be useful for everybody to assist him gradually to find an “experimental” approach to the truths of revelation, because it emphasizes, next to discursive-intellectual knowledge, the important role of the synthetic-intuitive elements in cognition of higher levels of reality and the role of intellectual-instinctive-emotional compounds in cognition and control of behavior.
The hierarchy of developmental levels of positive disintegration may be considered an attempt at empirical scaling of the road toward perfection. The significance of emotional functions and structures, emphasized in this theory, seems to supply empirical arguments in support of such truths, fundamental in any religious belief such as individual immortality and freedom of the will.
If the stratification of levels of instinctive and emotional functions will be universally confirmed in further experimental studies, it will supply an empirical substructure to the highest principles included in all great religions. The acquaintance of clergymen with psychological insights and methods, contained in the theory of positive disintegration, could significantly assist them in their difficult tasks.
10. Concluding Remarks
The authors are fully aware that the theory of positive disintegration cannot be easily accepted and implemented in the vast areas of its relevance. Even a partial acceptance and application can come about only after many decades and after the elimination of inevitable errors included in this presentation. The main problem and the decisive step in this direction involves the verification of its main tenets. The next chapter “General Hypotheses Concerning Mental Development,” has been designed as an introduction to experimental research on a scale much larger than the experimental studies completed up to now. The outcome of experimental research, verification or falsification of basic and special hypotheses concerning development through positive disintegration will have a final and decisive meaning.
However, even if only some of the elements of this theory will stand further tests, this theory can serve as a starting point for much urgently needed revisionary work in psychology, psychiatry, psychotherapy, education, social sciences, politics and pastoral guidance. The need for a thorough revision of concepts in those disciplines is the subject matter of another book entitled “The Dynamics of Concepts.”
It may also serve the principal tasks of all scholarly work, that is to say, to widen and depend human horizons, to make man more human. Even if the hopes outlined above will be accomplished in part only, it may be of service to all those who are not concerned and satisfied with the present state of human affairs.
C H A P T E R V I I
GENERAL HYPOTHESES CONCERNING MENTAL DEVELOPMENT
This chapter is an attempt to bring out general hypotheses inherent in the theory of positive disintegration. Some introductory comments may be useful to avoid a misunderstanding of what is meant here by “hypothesis.”
The backbone of any scientific theory is constituted by a set of hypotheses-laws, each of which refers to a whole class of objects or facts and assigns to them some empirically verifiable qualities. Without such hypotheses, sometimes called “inductive generalizations,” we may have knowledge of particular events (history) or mere classification (taxonomy). The classes of objects or facts which are the subject of a scientifically significant generalization are not numerically restricted, as they include past, present and future objects. Consequently, the hypotheses can never be completely verified. The best that can be attained is a partial verification. The “degree of confirmation” of a hypothesis may gradually increase through a growing number of examined instances, especially those which were expected to provide falsification, but did not. Thus, scientific theories, however advanced contained no certain knowledge or final answers; they remain always tentative, provisional, open to modification or even complete rejection under the impact of new facts.
This is said to make it clear that there is no intention here to establish “the Laws” of mental development. The theory of positive disintegration is to be considered mainly as a series of inductive empirical generalizations. Some of them have been confirmed in experimental studies. Others are mere working hypotheses which require a great deal of further research and possibly a modification or reformulation. In some cases it was not possible to go beyond statistical generalizations.
The highly complex and evasive nature of the processes analyzed in the theory of positive disintegration, the insufficiency and notorious
questionableness of knowledge we have accumulated up to now in this domain, and the novelty of the approach made it hardly possible to reach in every respect the degree of precision and empiricalness which would satisfy a methodologically sensitive and critical reader. However, it is the conviction of the author of the theory that they include theoretically important and practically useful insights and truths about the human form of mental life and development. They may deserve attention, at least as a starting point for further analysis and experimental study.
Each generalization is followed by a comment which intends to bring out its meaning, remove possible ambiguities and misunderstandings, and show the role of the hypotheses in the whole framework of the theory of positive disintegration.
The hypotheses are formulated by means of the concepts introduced in the theory of positive disintegration so that their actual meaning may become clear only if the reader refers to Chapter VIII, the Conceptual Framework of the Theory of Positive Disintegration, where the relevant terms are defined.
I. POSITIVE DISINTEGRATION
1. Universal and accelerated human mental development toward refined, autonomous forms of integration of mental structure is realized only through processes of disintegration of primitive functions and structures, determined by biological or environmental factors.
Cf. Disintegration, Function, Integration, Levels of functions, Mental development.
Universal mental development includes development of all basic mental functions, especially instinctive and emotional functions, and is con contradistinguished from any onesided form of development, especially that which cultivates solely the intellectual or volitional side of the human psyche.
Mental functions and structures are considered heternonomous, if they are determined by hereditary endowment (the first factor) and external environment (the second factor). These two kinds of determination of human behavior are distinguished from self-controlled development, achieved through the autonomous factors, mainly the dynamisms of the third factor (cf.) and inner psychic transformation (cf.).
Autonomous development of mental function leads to new forms of mental life which lose their dependence on the biological cycle of
life, have lasting effect and are not subject to deterioration associated with old age or other negative biological processes, e.g. somatic illness. The hypothesis does not deny that the increase in efficiency of some particular functions or skills may occur even if disintegrative processes have not been at work. It excludes, however, the possibility of an individual reaching the stage of general mental maturity, enabling him responsibility to cope with fundamental human tasks and to develop towards personality (cf.), as conceived in this theory, without experiencing protracted internal conflicts, periods of marked nervousness and disintegration.
2. The full cycle of ontogenetic mental development of man includes five main stages: primitive integration, unilevel disintegration, spontaneous multilevel disintegration, self-directed multilevel disintegration, secondary integration.
Cf. Integration, Primitive integration, Secondary integration, Disintegration.
This hypothesis should not be interpreted as a classification, a mere typology, but rather as a type of biological generalization, since it refers to every individual that possesses the full endowment and developmental potential peculiar to this species. This claim is based on the temporal sequence of the above five stages, their irreversibility, and on already known mechanisms of causal connection.
3. The dynamisms of multilevel disintegration gradually transform emotions and instincts from primitive into higher forms and generate new instincts characteristic of higher phases of mental development.
Cf. Dynamism, Instinct.
Higher phases of mental development are those which are later in the normal course of ontogenetic mental development (cf. hypothesis 2). The distinction between primitive and higher levels of instincts and emotions was discussed in Chapter V. (Cf. Levels of functions.)
The most significant of the new instincts, characteristic of higher phases of mental development, are the creative instinct and the instinct of self-perfection. Although the higher instincts are not universal among men, the name instinct is preserved, because these drives exhibit a force equal in strength or even stronger than that of primitive instincts.
The transformation of instincts and emotions from lower to higher levels results from external and internal conflicts which act upon the
inherited endowment and participate in the shaping of the inner psychic milieu. The dynamisms of self-awareness, self-control and inner psychic transformation are of main importance in this process. The internal conflicts may take the form of inter- or intrainstinctive collision, the latter being a struggle between the primitive and the newly emerging higher levels of the same instinct. The gradual loosening of the structure of an instinct and the growing split between its levels end in complete disappearance of the lower levels of that instinct.
4. The process of positive disintegration frequently correlates with some elements of mental infantilism and positive emotional regression.
Cf. Disintegration, positive; Infantilism; Regression, positive. This hypothesis is especially relevant to the cases of accelerated mental development.
Saturation with the full range of experiences characteristic of childhood endows the individual with an increased potential for accelerated growth in his later phases of development. Individuals with a better than average developmental endowment frequently exhibit a special need for saturation with infantile experiences. This tendency towards some forms of infantilism may serve both the prophylaxis of mental illness and facilitation of fuller development.
This generalization is of a statistical nature. Further study is necessary to arrive at a more strict determination of conditions upon which the phenomenon of infantilism is dependent.
5. Autonomously developed higher emotions distinctly appear at the time of transition from unilevel to multilevel disintegration.
The more important higher emotions arising at this level are: empathy (cf. syntony), alterocentric attitudes, faithfulness and stability of emotions, the feelings of intimate friendship, responsibility for one’s family and for society, exclusiveness of erotic emotions, courage.
Among the factors which contribute to the shaping of higher emotions are: growing variety of experiences, particularly those associated with suffering, increase of self-consciousness and self-control, growing interconnection between the processes of interiorization and exteriorization (cf.), growing ability for distinguishing between various levels of functions (cf.) and ordering them into a hierarchy growing ability of identification (cf.) with others, the appearance and growing activation of the third factor and the dynamisms of autonomy and authentism. (cf. each).
6. The processes of unilevel disintegration operate without or with a relatively small participation of consciousness and self-consciousness.
Higher degree of consciousness and the processes of self-consciousness are possible only when some degree of differentiation of the levels of functions has been attained and the dynamisms of multilevel disintegration are in operation. The gist of this process lies in the appearance and growth of the inner psychic milieu (cf.) which includes such dynamisms as “subject-object” in oneself, the third factor, inner psychic transformation, the dynamisms of autonomy and authentism, etc. At the stage of unilevel disintegration, similarly as at primitive integration, the role of reflection in the shaping of development is very small; automatic processes prevail, and, consequently, the degree of consciousness is much smaller than in later developmental stages, when reflection becomes one of the main factors in determining a man’s actions. Self-consciousness, that is the awareness of one’s own mental processes, finds its expression in the dynamism “subject-object” in oneself. It arises only after the differentiation of levels has clearly appeared, that is to say, at the stage of multilevel disintegration.
7. In the process of unilevel disintegration disintegrative dynamisms dominate over the dynamisms of transformation and restoration, except in case of the disintegration of the period of puberty.
Unilevel disintegration mainly consists in the process of an automatic, and only to a small degree conscious, loosening of primitive structures and levels of functions. The process of establishing a hierarchy of levels of functions does not yet occur. The transformation and elevation of functions from lower to higher levels, the construction of a new structure, require a differentiation of the levels of functions and an active operation of the inner psychic milieu, including the third factor and a disposing and directing center at a higher level.
At the time of puberty the processes of transformation of functions occur as a result of dynamic unconscious biological forces, determined by biophysical laws of development. At that period mental and moral development has no autonomy; it depends partly on biological forces and the biological cycle of life, and partly on social environment. In cases of a rich hereditary endowment and a favorable history of development this period can serve as a starting point for a new kind of transformation which leads toward the development of personality, in the sense explained in this theory, cf. personality).
8. Prolonged states of unilevel disintegration end either in a reintegration at the former primitive level or in suicidal tendencies, or in a psychosis.
If the differentiation of levels of mental functions and the dynamisms of multilevel disintegration do not develop and, at the same time, the disintegration is advanced enough to exclude a return to the former structure, then unilevel disintegration becomes more and more a drama “without exit.”
The process of multilevel disintegration is associated with the attitude of prospection and a program of development. The higher levels of developmental dynamisms are clearly visible to an individual at this stage. An individual who finds it difficult to transcend unilevel disintegration does not have at his disposal the above mentioned defensive and developmental forces. Consequently, he finds himself as if in a trap of a rapidly growing mental tension. He either attempts to solve the hopelessness of his situation by suicide or succumbs to negative disintegration, that is mental illness.
9. The process of loosening and disintegration of primitive structures and functions in multilevel disintegration takes the form of: (a) a conflict of the structure of different levels, (b) a changing attachment of the disposing and directing center to different levels with a trend towards a localization at higher levels, (c) the process of a continuous evaluation of different levels and their own position in the structure of emerging personality and its ideals by the third factor and the disposing and directing center, (d) the processes of inner psychic transformation.
cf. Levels of functions, disposing and directing center, inner psychic transformation.
Conflicts associated with a small degree of consciousness are replaced by increasingly conscious conflicts in the external, but mainly internal environment. The disposing and directing center vacillates between various levels before finally settling at a higher level. The developing third factor (cf.) with its function of evaluating, approving or disapproving of certain elements in ones own psyche and in the influences and stimuli coming from the external environment, is of fundamental importance in this process. From the elements of self-awareness, self-control, compound dynamisms of interiorization (cf.), exteriorization and inner psychic-transformation the forces of the inner psychic milieu are gradually shaped.
10. The process of disintegration leads to higher stages of mental development, if the following conditions are satisfied: predominance of multilevel over unilevel dynamisms, global over partial forms, distinct plasticity, relative weakness of automatisms and stereotypy, increased retrospection and prospection in a relative balance, the ability for syntony, the ability for education-of-oneself and autopsychotherapy, growth of a conscious and controlled inner psychic milieu, aspirations towards personality and its ideal.
In opposition to unilevel disintegration, which is usually restricted to narrow spheres of mental functions, multilevel disintegration takes a global form and covers the whole of personality structure or its substantial parts.
11. The operation of the dynamisms of multilevel disintegration transforms the intellectual function by liberating it from its subservient role to primitive drives, by increasing its objectivism, widening its horizons, increasing the power of imagination, replacing fallacious and rigid patterns by creative forms, decreasing coarctation and working towards an equilibrium of analytic and synthetic processes of thought and an intimate conjunction of thinking with higher emotions and personality.
The intellectual functions are always interconnected with and dependent on emotions and drives, but the form of this connection changes according to the phase of development. At the level of primary integration it is a mere tool directed by and subordinate to primitive drives. Through the processes of unilevel and during the preliminary stages of multilevel disintegration this low level structure is gradually loosened and disrupted. The intellectual functions change their links with other mental functions in accordance with the actual state of the inner psychic milieu or external conditions. At higher stages of development both the intellectual and emotional functions come into an increasingly closer inter-connection, reciprocally advance the level of the other functions, and operate in subordination to the disposing and directing center of personality. At this high stage of development a split between the two types of functions is no longer possible. The abilities of retrospection, prospection and creative imagination increase.
The term coarctation is used in the sense of Herman Rorschach. It denotes a narrowing down of mental processes to an exclusive preoccupation with one’s own problems, as in depression, for instance.
Further studies and experiments should allow a substantial progress in the distinction and description of various levels of the intellectual function and thus allow a higher degree of precision and empiricalness in the formulation of this hypothesis.
12. In the course of the processes of positive disintegration the psychological type of the individual undergoes a transformation through the elimination of some of the traits of his constitutional type and an introduction of some traits which may be characteristic of other or even opposite psychological types.
Cf. Type, psychological.
A modification of the psychological type of the individual is inevitable in the developmental process, because of the widening of intellectual and emotional horizons which bring to light the drawbacks and limitations of the constitutional psychological type. The dynamisms of dissatisfaction with oneself, “subject-object” in oneself, the third factor, the dynamisms of inner psychic transformation and empathy are of fundamental significance in this process. It is impassible to consider an individual fully developed, if he does not show certain traits typical for the introvert, such as the need for temporary loneliness, contact with nature, silence, aesthetic sensitivity, etc. At the same time some traits typical for the extrovert are no less important: sociability, syntony, friendliness, etc.
The transformation of the psychological type does not mean that the dominant traits have changed. It means the enrichment of mental life by an increase of sensitivity to internal and external stimuli outside the dominant. A fully developed individual will inevitably show the traits of Rorschach’s ambiequal type.
13. In advanced stages of multilevel disintegration and secondary integration the process of education is replaced by education-of oneself and heteropsychotherapy by autopsychotherapy.
More advanced stages of multilevel disintegration include the stage of the organization of disintegration towards the harmonious structure of secondary integration. The emergence of the processes of education-of-oneself and autopsychotherapy is a result of the growth of the inner psychic milieu and especially of the operation of the third factor and the dynamisms of inner psychic transformation as well as the increase in self-awareness and self-control. At the beginning of this period the individual takes his development and behavior “in his own hands.” This process is understandable since at advanced
stages of development the individual has a clear vision of his purpose and developmental program as well as an awareness of means appropriate in his case.
14. (a) Accelerated and fully rounded development of the process of multilevel disintegration correlates with an increase in sensitivity and decrease in irritability, (b) An excessively difficult or protracted development of the process of multilevel disintegration correlates with an increase of irritability and a decrease in sensitivity.
Sensitivity is concomitant to understanding, empathy and an increasingly deeper and wider grasp of the hierarchy of levels and values. Irritability occurs when the possibility of sublimation or compensation are precluded and the individual feels trapped in a seemingly hopeless situation.
15. In the course of multilevel disintegration the attitude of adjustment to the standards prevailing in external environment is transformed into adjustment to the requirements of the emerging personality and its ideal.
The growing inner psychic milieu, self-consciousness and self-control work towards an increasingly autonomous and authentic hierarchy of values which is independent of and, in some aspects, directly opposed to the values respected in the social environment. The attitudes of adjustment to “what is” is transformed into adjustment to “what ought to be.” The individual critically approaches the standards and patterns dominant in his family, his social group and society at large and postulates new ideals. It would be totally mistaken to consider mental development as culminating in the attitude of complete conformity. On the contrary, a highly developed individual is of necessity to some extent a “nonconformist.”
The above consideration shows the inadequacy of the simple concept of adjustment in social sciences and psychotherapy. The theory of positive disintegration introduces instead more adequate concepts of “positive adjustment,” “negative adjustment,” “negative maladjustment” and “positive maladjustment” (cf. each).
“Positive maladjustment” frequently expresses criticism of some norms which are considered absolute in a social group from the viewpoint of norms which express a higher stage of development and are independent of the specific, local tradition. In this sense many prophets and great leaders exhibited distinct forms of positive maladjustment.
16. In the course of the processes of multilevel disintegration the attitude of evaluating others from the standpoint of the subjective heteronomous values is transformed into conscious and empathetic identification.
The new attitude, coming as a result of mental development, consists of understanding of any attitudes and any levels of development with benevolence and readiness to assist other people. In later stages of multilevel disintegration, when the ideal of personality takes a dominant developmental role, the individual is concerned about his whole mental life and particularly about those spheres which have not yet been adequately developed. By means of the dynamisms of education-of-oneself and autopsychotherapy, available at this stage of mental growth, further ;work towards global, fully rounded development, as it is embodied in the ideal of personality, becomes a necessity.
17. The transition from one-sided to many-sided development is possible only if the processes and dynamisms of multilevel disintegration take place.
At the stage of unilevel disintegration there is no differentiation of levels of functions, and as the dynamisms of multilevel disintegration are not yet in operation, the conditions necessary for accelerated and fully rounded, many-sided development do not yet exist. Global, all round mental development is shaped as a result of the operation of inner psychic transformation, together with growing self-consciousness and self-control. Frustrations, grave experiences in one’s life and the desire to find the meaning of life accelerate the process of global development. Authentic understanding, identification and the will to assist people who are at various levels of development is possible only among those individuals who have developed beyond this level, but preserved affective memory of it. The above understanding, benevolence and the ability “to put oneself in someone else’s shoes” is qualified in the sense of simultaneous disapproval of and possible struggle against some of their conceptions, evaluations and acts which are in conflict with the demands of personality.
18. In the process of positive disintegration turning points occur, distinctly felt subjectively and observable objectively, from which the individual passes into a new developmental phase.
The turning points are most clearly noticeable at the time of transition from unilevel to multilevel disintegration and to a lesser degree from multilevel disintegration to secondary integration. They
may be the immediate outcome of one crucial experience or of a number of experiences taking place in a limited period of time.
The turning points cause basic changes in the attitude toward oneself and the environment. One of the characteristic phenomena is positive alienation and the feeling of otherness (the individual begins to see himself and his environment in a new light and to discriminate what he is and what he is not at a moment of time, that is to say to discriminate the “new” self from what is no more himself). The turning points enhance and develop the feeling of authenticity and of responsibility for oneself and for the environment.
II. PRIMARY INTEGRATION
19. External conflicts and even serious mental shocks in primitively integrated individuals endowed with weak nuclei of developmental dynamisms are not followed by lasting transformations of mental functions.
The hereditary endowment must be specified in further studies and tested separately from environmental factors.
The lack of developmental dynamisms combined with the primitive cohesiveness of primary integration gives the result that even grave experiences, such as death of close relatives, serious disappointments in matters of love, etc., are relatively easily forsaken in favor of dominant needs dictated by primitive drives. Frustrations which are too strong or too frequent to be absorbed by the rigid structure of primary integration usually cause negative disintegration and lasting psychosis.
In some cases frustrations lead to still lower levels of integration, e.g. an organization of asocial or antisocial tendencies. Individuals with a poor developmental endowment have a chance of mental development only in exceptionally favorable configurations of external conditions, and even then only up to a point. This explains why simplified educational systems which offer universally applicable and invariably successful methods of education have a questionable value.
20. Stimuli which at the stage of multilevel disintegration usually cause strong and deep experiences, emotional shocks, and developmental effects, do not have such impact at the stage of unilevel disintegration, and particularly at the stage of primary integration. Insufficiently developed internal receptors and the lack of the apparatus of internal transformation preclude the possibility of creative, developmental uses and transformations of the stimuli which in
later stages of development could have beneficial developmental con sequences.
21. Psychopathic hereditary endowment causes a nondevelopmental or underdeveloped primary integration.
Cf. Integration, negative.
The terms “nondevelopmental” and “underdeveloped” are used in a sense analogous to the meaning of the terms abiotrophical and hypobiotrophical in biology and physiopathology. Hypobiotrophical and abiotrophical elements or structures are those which preclude mental development or cause morbid forms of dissolution. Psychopathic hereditary endowment involves a much below average sensitivity, lack of social instincts or even rudimentary forms of empathy.
III. ABILITIES, CREATIVITY AND DEVELOPMENT
22. Creative individuals in general, and those creative in arts and humanities in particular, show above average, enduring and even growing components of animistic, intuitive and emotional thinking.
Distinct elements of the above nature can be found in outstanding painters, sculptors, musicians, poets and representatives of other branches of art and humanities. At the same time, they frequently show great appreciation and ability for analytic-discursive thinking. Striking examples are the works of Shakespeare whose penetrating psychological thought of an analytic nature is matched by the intensity of imaginative, and magical elements. Michelangelo intuitively applied in architecture the then unknown elements of the integral and differential calculus in construction. The creative work of Goethe in poetry, science and philosophy shows both analytic-synthetic thinking and mythical and intuitive elements, all on a very high level. This hypothesis seems to find confirmation in recent studies of Hackworth and Werner.
23. High level of general and special abilities correlates positively with mental disequilibrium, nervousness, neuroses, and psychoneuroses.
Cf. Neuroses, Psychoneuroses.
This hypothesis refers to all ages with a special application to children and youth. It has been confirmed with correlations of 0.75 to 0.85 in experimental studies on various groups in Poland. It is conspicuous that increased general and special sensitivity, loosening
of mental structures and the operation of the main dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu seem to constitute a necessary condition for development of mental abilities.
Kubie and Terman assert the contrary, but their analysis of symptoms differs from the one developed here.
24. Highly talented individuals and individuals of genius show at the stages of multilevel disintegration and secondary integration a distinct presence of the instinct of self-perfection.
Cf. Self-perfection instinct.
Although we cannot test the presence of the instinct itself, we can test its manifestations. The instinct of self-perfection occurs later in the development than the instinct of creativity and is constituted by a highly organized system of moral and social dynamisms. The processes of multilevel disintegration and secondary integration cause the growth of sensitivity to external and internal stimuli in increasingly wider mental spheres. A highly talented individual or a genius at higher levels of multilevel disintegration acts not only in accordance with creative dynamisms, but also in harmony with the emerging instinct of self-perfection.
25. If a serious somatic disease, which does not cause mental deterioration, occurs in individuals capable of mental development, it becomes one of the developmental stimulants which hasten the growth of his inner psychic milieu and of the creative forces which accelerate the process of shaping the personality.
This connection is the result of the need for necessary changes in the attitude towards oneself and the environment, for giving off many of the former habits and needs, the necessity to replace some needs by other needs. Somatic disease frequently causes an increase in reflection, self-observation, observation of the environment, and meditation. These conditions are favorable to the developmental, independent, original and authentic thinking and authentic life.
26. At the stage of multilevel disintegration the disproportion between the increasingly distinct understanding and affirmation of the personality ideal and the still active strong primitive drives causes great creative tension, which activates and shapes all dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu.
The fluctuation of levels of functions and mental tension associated with the search for a new hierarchy of values cause an acceleration of the processes of shaping the personality. The more and more
clearly visible ideal of personality and the program of its realization as well as the increase of mental tension caused by difficulties in the fulfillment of his task result in the activation of the instincts of creativity and self-perfection.
This hypothesis has important theoretical significance. It could be tested on in later, more advanced stages of experimental research.
IV. INNER PSYCHIC MILIEU.
27. The transition from unilevel to multilevel disintegration is accompanied by gradual formation and growth of the inner psychic milieu.
Cf. Inner psychic milieu.
The differentiation of the levels of functions which marks the beginning of multilevel disintegration implicates the emergence of new developmental dynamisms the earliest of which are disquietude, astonishment and dissatisfaction with oneself. In higher stages of multilevel disintegration the growth of these dynamisms reaches the point at which a distinct, individualized inner psychic milieu is noticeable. This phenomenon indicates that personality started to take shape. The primitive drives dominant at lower levels of mental development are still operating and they come in conflict with the new emerging higher level functions. The possibility of containing or holding back the course of development is most probable during the transition from unilevel to multilevel disintegration and in some cases at the stage of spontaneous multilevel disintegration. In proportion to the further development of multilevel disintegration defensive and protective forces appear which virtually preclude a return to the former stage of development.
25. The simple, undifferentiated adjustment characteristic of lower levels of mental development is gradually replaced in higher stages of mental development by conscious, discriminating, qualified adjustment which corresponds to an autonomous scale of values, and positive maladjustment to the actual socially accepted scale of values.
The prevailing concept of social adjustment used in psychology, psychiatry, and education is inadequate and misleading. It does not take into account the hierarchy of value, in terms of which one desires to adjust. The simple, undiscriminating concept of adjustment which is applicable equally to oppressive as well as equitable patterns of
social life, stereotyped as well as creative patterns of life, causes confusion, impedes development of the most valuable nuclei in the individual and deprives him of authenticity.
It is necessary to distinguish between apparent and authentic adjustment, partial and global adjustment and, above all, between positive and negative adjustment, the first implying the necessity of a critical attitude toward the prevailing patterns which may rightly be called positive maladjustment. The adjustment to all social patterns of a given society is an expression of negative conformity and lack of authenticity. It is negative from the standpoint of growing moral sensitivity and development.
The very concept of mental development and of the transition to higher levels involves maladjustment to some elements of reality, of “what is,” and the disposition to adjust to the patterns implied by the new hierarchy of values, that is the adjustment to “what ought to be.”
29. A sufficiently developed inner psychic milieu causes growing understanding and experiencing of one’s own development and of the development of others, of the negative and positive facets of each actual phase of development and the conscious direction and control of the development.
This process constitutes the core of what some existentialist philosophers call authentic existence. It is necessary to distinguish partial, narrow forms of authenticity from what constitutes its healthy developmental form. If the development is one-sided, a sort of partial, egocentric authenticity may develop in which the individual reaches a degree of independence from external environment, but his syntony and empathy are limited. Versatile, many-sided development which implies the growth of empathy, excludes the possibility of such an egocentric restriction and leads to the more refined and mature forms of authenticity.
Authentic life is, therefore, the grasp of the “drama of human existence” in its growth, by taking into account its joy and suffering, its harmonies and conflicts, its tragedy and death, love and separation, development and breakdown. Authentic life is impossible without the search for a higher hierarchy of values, without close cooperation of intellectual and emotional spheres, without responsibility and a hierarchy of aims. Authentic life implies an understanding of others and involvement in their lives. This involvement comes from the development of empathy, and a correct diagnosis of the level of development of other people.
30. The higher is the degree of autonomy, the higher is the authenticity of the individual.
Cf. Autonomy, Authenticity.
The degree of autonomy grows in proportion to the increase in independence from primitive drives and emotions, biological forces and lower elements in the external environment. Autonomy is characteristic in the process of gradual liberation from automatic animalistic forms and the appearance of the specifically human dynamisms, particularly inner psychic transformation and the third factor.
Growing autonomy is the foundation of authenticity. Authenticity is possible only on the basis of a sufficiently developed autonomy, but it includes something more, namely the conscious understanding of one’s own identity, unrepeatability, uniqueness and responsibility. Authenticity is attainable only, if the individual is open to a wide range of experiences and capable of transforming them in a positive and creative way.
Autonomy and authenticity are connected with the need for a realization of “moral self-determination” in so far as the individual determines his own values, rather than having them determined by innate biological forces or social environment.
31. The capacity for conscious and autonomous evaluation of one’s own behavior and the behavior of others increases in proportion to the development of inner psychic milieu and developmental transformations of instincts and emotions.
Autonomous valuation is one of the main dynamisms of multilevel disintegration. Being one of the constituents of the inner psychic milieu, it chiefly cooperates with the third factor, with the dynamisms of subject-object in oneself, of inner psychic transformation, syntony and identification, and with the activation of the personality ideal.
The dynamism of valuation operating at the level of multilevel disintegration should he clearly distinguished from the processes of valuation which take place at the level of primary integration. The latter is determined by primitive impulsive: needs, jealousy, anger, primitive forms of the self-preservation instinct or the sexual instinct, etc. In some cases valuation at this level may be a result of taking over conventions and customs from external environment without any elaboration or inner psychic transformation.
The ability for autonomous and authentic valuation which is a result of the shaping of personality is of basic in all human
relations, in education, selection of personnel, in administration, in the medical and legal professions and in all activities relevant to the development of culture. If individuals incapable of authentic and mature valuation occupy positions of power, then brutality, injustice result, abuses will be frequent and cliques will predominate in social life.
32. The more developed is the inner psychic milieu, the stronger and deeper is the syntony with the external environment.
A sufficiently developed inner psychic milieu creates conditions for a less self-centered attitude with regard to oneself and to the external environment. This is the result of the operation of the dynamisms of multilevel disintegration, and particularly of the dynamisms of “subject-object” in oneself, the third factor, the dynamisms of identification and inner psychic transformation. These conditions determine the growth of meditative syntony (empathy) which is a prerequisite for deeper relations with other men.
33. The disproportion between strong sensual and sexual sensitivity and insufficiently developed dynamisms of valuation and inner psychic transformation impedes the process of development in this sphere, and, consequently, causes disorganization in sexual, marital and family life.
Excessive sensual, and particularly sexual, sensitivity results in a nondevelopmental prolongation of the lower stages of mental development, and, even if higher levels of some functions have been reached, a tendency towards satisfaction of lower level needs may prevail.
34. If encountered difficulties are strong and innate developmental forces are weak, then the course of disintegration will be negative.
This hypothesis is testable only in longitudinal studies. Poor hereditary endowment does not allow the rise and growth of developmental forces, that is of the inner psychic milieu, especially of the third factor, of the dynamism of inner psychic transformation and of the dynamism of autonomy. A negative outcome of disintegrative processes is a resultant of a concomitant negative state of all three factors decisive for development: poor hereditary endowment, an unfavorable environment and lack or weakness of the dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu which preclude an effective operation of defensive and developmental forces.
V. SECONDARY INTEGRATION
35. If an individual has positive endowment, his external environment is favorable and his inner psychic milieu arises early and is dynamic, the process of disintegration reaches the higher phases of multilevel disintegration (self-directed multilevel disintegration), and, in the most favorable cases, the phase of secondary integration.
External environment is favorable, if it stimulates and intensifies those mental dynamisms which carry into effect the transition from one developmental phase to another. The question whether an external environment is favorable or not may be answered only in relation to a specific individual. An environment may be favorable for one type of individual, but unfavorable for another. The external environment may stimulate development by either stimulating certain dynamisms or by inhibiting some other dynamisms.
36. Secondary integration is not susceptible to a regression into lower phases of development.
The formation of secondary integration is an outcome of a definite destruction and complete disappearance of primitive structures of primary integration and annihilation of lower primitive levels of functions under the impact of the dynamisms of multilevel disintegration. The rising of the new cohesive structure of personality (cf.) excludes the possibility of regression to lower phases of development.
37. The conjunction of partial multilevel disintegrations and partial secondary integrations results in global secondary integration.
Cf. Disintegration, integration.
The above hypothesis demands a consideration of cases in which positive development may be impeded and partial multilevel disintegration may pass into a reintegration at the former level. In particularly unfavorable constellations at the beginning stages of the first phase of multilevel disintegration the process may lead to negative disintegration (psychosis) or suicide.
The processes of partial disintegrations represent a notorious fact of everyday life. The encounter with new situations, mistaken appraisals, the mechanisms of trials and errors cause the enrichment of intellectual and emotional functions. However, changing forms of behavior in similar circumstances do not constitute by themselves a sufficient condition for the shaping of personality.
38. The closer two individuals are to secondary integration, the greater is their agreement in the sphere of values, in their moral experiences and acts.
The almost complete unanimity in value judgments, and particularly in moral judgments among those individuals who have reached the highest level of development is understandable in view of the growth of their experience and knowledge of the levels and developmental phases of others and of themselves, of their past experiencing those levels, and of having preserved them in their affective memory. This phenomenon is the outcome of the whole process of inner psychic transformation. The liberation of their valuation from the dependence or, primitive drives and emotions which they achieved in the course of development permits them to judge from the standpoint of psychic balance, self-awareness, self-control and a full understanding of all aspects of an act and its human and social context.
39. The period of transition from multilevel disintegration to secondary integration and later development are characterized by increasing emotional tranquility and harmony of mental function, by diminution of psychophysiological tension, by increasingly clearer hierarchy of values, by increasing stability of the modes of reaction to stimuli resulting from inner psychic transformation, and increasing cohesiveness of the inner psychic milieu.
The process of transition from higher stages of multilevel disintegration to secondary integration is of some duration so that any attempt to identify a moment of development as the critical point of transition would be arbitrary. Consequently, the processes characteristic of secondary integration are noticeable already at the time of transition and constitute the dominant traits of further development. Secondary integration is not the endpoint of mental development. Further mental growth is mainly determined by the dynamism of the personality idea].
Increasing stability of the inner psychic milieu, and, consequently increasing stability of the results of inner psychic transformation, acts in the direction of growing objectivity in valuation. Increasing clarity and unequivocality of one’s own hierarchy of values and growing empathy toward other people lead to a twofold effect: (a) an increase in the ability for distinguishing and correct diagnosis of the real hierarchy of values actually accepted in the external environment from the apparent hierarchy shown to others disappearance of hypocrisy), (b) growth of the ability of helping other people in their ability of valuation and acting accordingly which is of fundamental significance
in human relations, and particularly in education, in the practice of the courts of law, in the organization and development of international relations, and in cultural growth of societies.
40. One-sided development of some mental functions leads to an integration within the narrow sphere of these functions without loosening and dissolution of a wider scope of structures and dynamisms, and without the development of key functions. It increases egocentrism, lack of syntony, tendency towards autocratic attitudes with a simultaneous lack of self-consciousness, self-control, and without the development of the inner psychic milieu.
Individuals exceptionally talented in some respects, even approaching the level of a genius, with exceptional courage or ambition, but without a sufficiently developed instinct of self-perfection, that is to say, without empathy, without basic constituents of the psychic milieu, may easily subordinate their activity to a primitive disposing and directing center and lay barriers to the growth of other underdeveloped elements of personality. Hence, lust for power and ambition can be found among individuals highly, but one-sidedly developed. Such individuals, when they succeed in attaining positions of power, cause grave, sometimes disastrous, effects for social groups and societies.
41. The presence and operation of the dynamisms of the third factor, inner psychic transformation, identification and autopsychotherapy cause positive outcome of psychotic processes.
The above dynamisms constitute forceful, autonomous, conscious factors of positive development. If these factors develop in persons who suffer psychotic processes, favorable turn of the illness can be expected. This is frequently observed in many outstanding and creative individuals. These individuals succumb to mental illness because of an acute temporary disequilibrium in their mental functions. But due to the creative dynamisms of their inner psychic milieu their mental health may be restored.
42. Higher mental functions of man, particularly those of an autonomous and authentic nature, differ qualitatively from lower mental functions and from mental functions of animals.
This difference is especially conspicuous at the time of transition fro from multilevel disintegration to secondary integration and during secondary integration, that is at the time of the growth of the inner psychic milieu and increased activity of such dynamisms as the third
factor, inner psychic transformation and the dynamisms of autonomy and authentism.
At this level a person becomes for himself a constant object of investigation into his inner experiences and mental transformations. A person experiences these complicated, developmental dynamisms and modifies in this way his twofold object of investigation: himself and his external environment. Mental processes at this level are significantly different from their previous forms, because lower level instinctive and emotional functions have succumbed to disintegration and have largely been eliminated as dominant centers of control. The way in which both internal and external environment is conceived and approached changes. New qualities, new levels of functions emerge and require new methods of research, as yet not elaborated. Even the mode of operation of lower functions undergoes a change under the impact of the presence of new qualities in higher functions, so that the methods of study of lower functions now require changes and refinement.
Introspection becomes more and more complicated, but it furnishes more and more objective and reliable data, because the individual is capable of and actually doe; more objectively observe himself, and consequently more and more objectively evaluates himself and external reality. Quantitative methods, that is measuring, scaling, etc. can and must be applied to the study of higher, specifically human mental functions, but they must be refined and possibly reevaluated.
A basic turn in the scientific methodology is necessary. In contradistinction to the study of lower functions, where the methods of conditioned reflexes and behaviorism may suffice to solve some problems, the study of higher functions at their more advanced stages of development requires that measurement and quantitative analysis be applied together with an analysis of basic mental dynamisms active at this high stage of development. The difference between the highest human mental functions and basic animalistic functions is not one of degree, but of kind. Consequently, it is erroneous to hope for success in the application of definite methods and explanatory models to the study of higher mental functions and structures just because they have been adequate in the study of those of lower levels.
VI. PSYCHONEUROSIS AND DEVELOPMENT
43. The potential for mental growth correlates positively with susceptibility to neuroses and psychoneuroses.
Cf. Neurosis, psychoneurosis.
This hypothesis assumes that the greater the capability for mental development, the more distinct and intensive are the states of mental tension and disintegration. Consequently, the individuals with a particularly favorable endowment are more susceptible to neurotic and psychoneurotic processes than those of a lesser potential. The potential for mental growth may be investigated and established either through an analysis of actual mental dynamisms active in an individual or retrospectively, by judging according to his final achievements.
The biographies of outstanding historical personalities are most revealing in this respect.
44. Periods of accelerated mental growth are the periods of particular intensity of mental disequilibrium.
Tests are in preparation to measure independently accelerated mental development and the degree of mental disequilibrium.
This hypothesis seems to be particularly relevant to the phases of negativism, puberty, adolescence, stress and post-stress periods. They are the periods of increased developmental pressures and the periods of appearance of new dominant values and new hierarchical systems of values. These systems continue to be unstable. This is understandable, since they are marked by an increase of mental tension and disequilibrium.
45. A high threshold of resistance to frustration correlates negatively and a low threshold correlates positively with later transitions to higher phases of development.
This hypothesis may also be expressed in the following words: The lower is the resistance to frustration, the higher is the probability that the person will pass to higher stages of mental development.
A high threshold of resistance to frustration is a result of a relatively small emotional sensitivity combined with strong cohesiveness of the primitive structure of drives. Individuals who are not easily exposed to frustration adjust to the changing reality without being troubled by too many scruples or problems. However, their susceptibility to the processes of positive disintegration is small.
On the contrary, the individuals with a low threshold of resistance to frustration show great emotional sensitivity, a relatively weak cohesiveness of the structure of primitive drives, and a great susceptibility to the processes of positive disintegration.
This hypothesis indicates that psychological and pedagogical systems which consider a high threshold of resistance to frustration
in preliminary phases of mental development to be a positive and promising quality are false.
To avoid possible misunderstanding it seems necessary to note that individuals who have a high threshold of resistance to frustration may frequently be irritable, but may not show higher degrees of sensitivity. On the other hand, individuals endowed with a low threshold of resistance to frustration are generally very sensitive to stresses, but, at the same time, show the ability for transformation, sublimation and compensation, that is the ability to transform stresses in a creative, developmental manner.
46. Nervousness, neuroses, psychoneuroses and the so-called educational difficulties accelerate the development and increase its manysidedness.
The above hypothesis is one of the main clinical fundamentals of the theory of positive disintegration. It has been confirmed in experimental studies on a limited number of subjects. Further experimental studies are necessary.
47. Among the so-called normal people who possess an average degree of mental sensitivity and creative tendencies, subtlety and empathy increase at the time of internal stress and after stress.
Those individuals who are integrated at a low level and whose mental sensitivity is below average usually pass through grave experiences relatively easily, show a relatively high threshold of resistance to frustration and the cohesiveness of their mental structure is hard to be put out of balance.
48. Individuals of a high all-around level of abilities which approaches the level of a genius show during their whole lives or in some periods of their development until the proximity of secondary integration, mental disturbances of a psychoneurotic or even psychotic type.
Biographies of great personalities whose works are generally considered as works of genius very clearly confirm this hypothesis, to mention only a few such as Baudelaire, Beers, Dostoevsky, Hamsun, Kafka, Kierkegaard, Lincoln, Maupassant, Michelangelo, Mill, Newton, Nietzsche, Proust, Rousseau, Shaw, Strindberg, Wittgenstein. Psychoclinical examination reveal numerous examples of this correlation.
49. Individuals of average abilities show weaker correlation with psychoneurotic elements than the individuals with above average or outstanding abilities.
This hypothesis may be stated as follows: The greater are the abilities of a person, the greater is the probability of psychoneurotic symptoms. The conclusions from the clinical and experimental material clearly confirm the correlation of outstanding abilities with psychoneurotic elements. The correlation in the other direction, that is the correlation of psychoneurotic symptoms with above average abilities, has not yet been sufficiently investigated. More specifically, the conclusion of the correlation of outstanding abilities with the presence of psychoneurotic symptoms is .75 to .85, but the conclusion in the opposite direction, that is of the presence of psychoneurotic elements with outstanding abilities has not been equally confirmed.
50. Mentally retarded individuals do not show genuine psychoneurotic syndromes. The greater the degree of retardation, the less evidence of psychoneurotic components can be found.
No syndrome of psychoneurosis can be observed at the level of idiocy and imbecility. Symptoms of increased psychomotor excitability, anger, aggressiveness, stereotypy, primitive fear which are observable at these levels of retardation do not constitute genuine psychoneurotic syndromes. Psychopathy and psychoses can be found at the level of debility. Psychoneurotic symptoms can be noticed only at the highest levels of debility and even then they are of a simple uncomplicated nature.
51. In proportion to the progress of multilevel disintegration and personality integration, psychoneurotic individuals show a decrease in somatic components of psychoneurosis which are characteristic of the stage of unilevel disintegration and beginnings of multilevel disintegration.
This connection is a result of psychosomatic equilibrium in which mental interiorization, inner transformation and higher emotions have a decisive role. The fundamental supremacy of higher cohesive mental structures causes a decrease in lower level emotional tensions which have immediate impact on the lability of the autonomic nervous system. Under these conditions the operation of the sympathetic nervous system loses some degree of its autonomy because of its subordination to the above mentioned higher mental structures.
52. Depending on the actual developmental level of the individual, particular phases of disintegration conjoin with different levels of psychoneurotic functions on both inter- and intraneurotic levels. Cf. Psychoneurosis.
One may say that an individual has the kind of neurosis which his general developmental level can afford. The hierarchy of levels is intraneurotic, if the difference between the levels occurs within the same psychoneurosis, e.g. hysteria or psychasthenia. The term inter neurotic refers to different levels of functions which are associated with each of the specific kinds of psychoneurosis. From this standpoint one can distinguish lower level psychoneuroses (somatic neuroses, psychosomatic disorders, hypochondria, neurasthenia, hysteria, etc.) from higher level psychoneuroses (psychasthenia, obsessive-compulsive psychoneurosis, anxiety neurosis, infantile neurosis, depressive psychoneurosis).
53. Psychoneurotic dynamisms, particularly those which operate at higher stages of mental development constitute a protective (immunological) force against mental illness (psychosis).
Symptoms of nervousness and neuroses such as increased mental excitability, states of light depression, states of disquietude, feelings of shame and guilt, some infantile dynamisms, some symptoms of obsession are indispensable for development and at the same time they protect the individual from more serious illness.
Those who are capable of controlling obsession and using them constructively do not succumb to delusions. Those who know and control lighter states of anxiety will not succumb to anxiety psychoses. Those who show lighter and creative forms of infantilism are in possession of protective forces against psychopathological states which contain elements of stereotypy, mental rigidity and other automatisms.
The inner psychic milieu at a higher level, self-consciousness, self-control, and inner psychic transformation, are, as a rule, connected with the positive course of neuroses. Psychoneurotic dynamisms have, so to speak, the effect of vaccination: a mild condition prevents the occurrence of a severe condition.
Psychoneurotic dynamisms can play this protective role, insofar as they act as developmental, positive forces, while genuine mental illness (psychosis) consists, except for some special forms of psychotic states, in the processes of a nondevelopmental nature and culminate in a dissolution of mental functions.
54. The greater the degree of multilevel disintegration, the more conscious and meaningful are internal conflicts and the milder are conflicts with other people.
The formation and growth of the inner psychic milieu concomitant to the development of a multilevel mental structure must of necessity
involve inner conflicts between different levels of functions. It involves maladjustment to what is and adjustment to what ought to be.
This process results in the growth of empathy and the ability to understand other people. Consequently, primitive types of conflict with the environment will decrease and disappear. The nature of conflicts with the external environment undergoes a change to become less primitive, less personal, more authentic, creative, concerned with ideas.
Without internal conflicts, without conscious cooperation of the processes of interiorization and exteriorization, without inner psychic transformation, there can be no development of empathy. Progress towards higher stages of development is impossible without conscious and creative attempts to transform reality so as to achieve higher harmony with oneself and the external environment.
55. At advanced stages of mental development the feeling of inferiority towards the external environment decreases and the feeling of inferiority in relation to oneself increases.
In other words: The more advanced is the stage of mental development the more intense is the feeling of inferiority toward oneself and the less intense is the feeling of inferiority toward other people.
In the process of multilevel disintegration a hierarchization and object objectivization of the evaluation of levels and goals becomes more and more explicit. At the same time empathy increases. Hence the inferiority feeling towards the environment becomes healthier and more in harmony with facts, whereas the feelings of disproportion between the still existing primitive, instinctive drives and the personality and its ideal becomes so distinct and causes such tension that the feeling of inferiority towards oneself must increase. Special tests for measuring inferiority feelings have been designed.
VII PSYCHOSES AND DEVELOPMENT
56. (a) In the case of mental disturbances and illness a substantial number of spontaneous remissions and recoveries can be observed. (b) Spontaneous remissions and recoveries are caused by the operation of protective and developmental dynamisms. (c) The strength and effectiveness of protective and developmental dynamisms increases in proportion to the level of mental development.
Clinical experience indicates that spontaneous recoveries and remissions are much more frequent in mental disturbances and illness
than in cases of somatic disease. They occur in those persons who are under medical treatment as well as in those who do not receive the help of a physician. In view of the notoriously insufficient scientific elaboration of the methods of treatment of mental illness in general and because of the notorious long duration of the treatment before any results are noticeable, one may understand the reasons for the popular saying: “The patient recovered in spite of medical treatment.”
Both spontaneous recoveries and remissions are a result of the clash of development functions with narrower or wider internal and external reality. Recoveries express the fact of successful coping with developmental difficulties through a distinct transcending of the developmental stage specific for the disturbance. The tendencies to remissions and the facts of remissions usually are symptoms of a situation where the development characteristic for a given phase has not been completed. Remissions can also be an expression of the need for rest after a period of excessive stress and tension.
57, (a) Mental illness occurs much less frequently in advanced stages of multilevel disintegration than at lower developmental levels. (b) No mental illness occurs at the stage of secondary integration, and the second part of organized multilevel disintegration. (c) The facts described in (a) and (b) are due to the development of protective developmental forces.
In the course of the processes of multilevel disintegration a new mental organization is built up which is conscious and autonomous, has a distinct disposing and directing center, a distinct and firm hierarchy of developmental values and a hierarchy of aims. Personality with its clear directional attitude, with distinct directional dynamisms and plasticity of affective memory constitutes an unbreakable barrier which is composed of protective forces formed during the whole course of development and strengthened by the cohesive structure of secondary integration and by further development as traced by the hierarchy of aims. Everyday observations indicate that individuals of talent or of genius frequently show symptoms of psychoneurosis, but very rarely of psychosis: individuals at the level close to secondary integration rarely show symptoms of psychoneurosis and never symptoms of psychosis.
58. Psychotic hereditary endowment, in proportion to its strength and unfavorable external environment, causes negative disintegration and dissolution.
Psychotic hereditary endowment can be established by the combined method of family trees and analysis of early symptoms.
It is assumed here that future psychotics have great inherited mental vulnerability and feeble resistance to stresses coming from the external environment.
59. The strength and irreversibility of the processes of dissolution is inversely proportional to the potential for developmental forces of the individuals.
The characteristic elements of a potential for developmental forces include sensitivity, talents and interests, reflection and meditative traits, nuclei of the inner psychic milieu. Tests have been devised for independent checking of the degree of dissolution and the potential for developmental forces.
Chronic and irreversible mental diseases occur only in cases of lack or loss of the capacity for positive mental development. The capacity for positive development immunizes and protects against the dissolution of mental functions. Consequently, the capacity for mental development is the basic criterion of mental health, while the lack or loss of this capacity is the criterion of mental illness. Mental health is, therefore, defined as the capacity for positive development. This conception is not static, but dynamic. Mental health can be promoted and perfected. This shaping and perfection of mental health is realized through the process of positive disintegration which culminates at the stage of secondary integration. The process of positive disintegration takes the form of such temporary disturbances as increased mental sensitivity, various forms of depression, anxiety, disturbances of reality function, a variety of disturbances of instincts, feelings of inferiority and guilt, etc.
Until now, these syndromes have been considered pathological. From the standpoint of the theory of positive disintegration they are considered the fundamental dynamisms of positive development. They are closely connected with such dynamisms as. the third factor, inner psychic transformation, hierarchization of values and aims, the attitude of authenticity, higher levels of syntony, and the inner psychic milieu constituted by the totality of these dynamisms.
It should be noticed that certain trends in contemporary psychiatry show a degree of kinship with the theory of positive disintegration in their approach to mental health. Existentialist philosophy and psychology, (Bugental, Frankl, Maslow, May), integrity therapy (Mowrer), client-centered therapy (Rogers), reality therapy (Glasser) emphasize the significance of valuation in mental development and in prophylaxis and treatment of mental illness.
60. (a) Psychoneurotic disintegrative processes constitute a positive element in mental development. (b) Most of the psychotic disintegrative processes do not constitute a positive element in mental development.
These hypotheses express causal relationships that belong to higher levels of theory construction. The very idea of the developmental role of disintegrative processes is inextricably bound with the rejection of the view that psychoneuroses are of a morbid nature. There exists a clear line of demarcation between psychoses and psychoneuroses. The former are in most cases symptoms of negative disintegration, while the latter are symptoms of positive disintegration. The crossing of this border line depends on a variety of factors: the presence of abiotrophic constitutional elements, poor transformational capacities, too strong and too early stresses. Negative selection occurs in cases of mental illness of an organic character and some instances of psychoses.
61. (a) Distinctly abiotrophical hereditary endowment or a conjunction of abiotrophical elements in hereditary endowment with an unfavorable external environment foster psychoses of a dissolutive character. (b) The conjunction of hereditary endowment, which includes both positive and negative elements, with a favorable external environment leads to psychotic processes with a positive outcome. (c) The conjunction of mixed hereditary endowment and unfavorable external environment leads to a negative outcome.
This hypothesis explains a relatively great number of positive results of some acute cases of psychoses. It implies a consequence of great significance for psychiatry and its practice; in cases of acute psychoses we cannot determine in advance whether the case is a mental disease which may lead to dissolution or involution, or to recovery.
62. Strong and distinct psychoneurotic components in psychoses are the elements which cause a positive outcome of the illness.
The positive role of psychoneurotic dynamisms consists here in their disintegrative force which weakens, and possibly destroys, rigid psychotic structures of delusions, mistrust, emotional indifference, etc. They provide the basic mechanisms of autopsychotherapy, as shown in the life of Clifford Beers (48).
VIII. AUTONOMOUS DEVELOPMENT
63. The greater is the ability to be objective toward oneself, the greater is the ability to understand and appreciate other people as human beings.
By the objective attitude toward man we mean that the primary consideration is given to the external aspects and repercussions of his actions, while by subjective attitude we mean that the primary consideration is given to inner experiences and motivation. The subjective attitude may also be called empathetic. The appearance and growth of the objective attitude is closely associated with the results from inner conflicts, growth of inner psychic transformation, emotional sensitivity and identification. These abilities allow a transposition of one’s inner experiences into other people and vice versa.
64. The growth of the dynamisms of disquietude with oneself, inferiority feeling toward oneself, dissatisfaction with oneself, “subject-object” in oneself correlates with a proportionate growth of an objective attitude toward oneself and a subjective (empathetic) attitude toward other people.
Cf. The dynamisms disquietude with oneself, etc.
Tests have been designed to check independently the presence of the above dynamisms and the objective or subjective attitudes.
65. The growth of the inner psychic milieu correlates with proportionate growth of positive and authentic relations with the external environment.
Cf. Authenticity, Inner Psychic Milieu.
By positive relations we mean friendly, developmental and creative relations, but not necessarily entirely harmonious or founded on indiscriminate adjustment. By authentic relations we mean this kind of relations which results from deliberate choice, preceded and prepared by the operation of autonomous factors, particularly the third factor and inner psychic transformation. All dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu cause an increase in general sensitivity, subtlety and refinement of the attitude toward oneself and toward others.
66. The more an individual is sensitive to and aware of what is lower in himself and what is higher in other people, the higher is the level at which his hierarchy of values takes shape (ceteris paribus).
Inner conflicts and the operation of the dynamism “subject-object” in oneself are frequently associated with developmental shocks and with the formation and growth of self-criticism and humility which cause the growth cf. prudence and care in passing judgment about other people and the tendency rather to overestimate them and to underestimate oneself than vice versa. A primitive man, especially a psychopath tends to find everything in himself high, in other people low.
Psychopaths have aims but not values. Psychoneurotics have values but not aims. Personalities have both values and aims.
67. Inner psychic transformation of external stimuli is followed by the processes of inner psychic transformation arising from internal psychic needs and cease to depend on external stimuli.
The need of autonomous mental transformation depends on the dynamisms of hierarchization and is associated with the formation and activation of the ideal of personality. Mental functions of this type are called “one’s own.”
They constitute the foundation for autonomy, authentism, the location of the disposing and directing center on a high level and further development toward the ideal of personality.
68. Authentic love of mankind, empathy toward and responsibility for all people cannot occur before the growth of deep and exclusive emotional bonds with family, friends, small communities, profession and nation.
Authentic feelings toward mankind must be preceded by authentic and empathic feelings toward above-mentioned communities. Sometimes the growth of feelings of a universal nature is followed by a genuine interest in and concern for local communities, traditions, etc.
69. In the course of developmental transformations of mental functions individuals manifest or acquire the sensitivity and responsiveness to new kinds of stimuli (e.g. aesthetic, moral, social, mystical, etc.) and the ability to interiorize mental experiences which correspond to those new kinds of stimuli.
The fact that some people are unable to respond to some stimuli or aspects of reality does not mean that those aspects of reality are “less real” than those which stimulate more people. Some significant aspects of reality, such as classical music, advanced mathematics, poetry, mystical elements, are understood and experienced only by those who possess the necessary “receptors.” Hence, many of the methodological and ontological attempts at “reductionism” or “physicalism” in the vein of logical positivism are founded in a simplified, one-dimensional conception of reality.
70. Individuals who have not attained a definite and stable localization of the disposing and directing center at a high level in conditions of being overworked and exhausted or weakened by tension and stress, temporarily return to the subordination to a disposing, and directing center on a lower level.
This hypothesis deals with the fundamental fact of vacillation and return to lower levels in all stages of multilevel disintegration except for those who are very close to secondary integration.
Only a coherent mental structure characteristic of secondary integration protects against “slipping down” following states of exhaustion or stress.
71. The growth and activation of higher emotions is a necessary condition of uniqueness and authenticity of mental activities.
Without emotional involvement of a higher level “professionalism,” attitudes “as if,” indiscriminate adjustment and subordination to primitive drives dominate in philosophy, psychology, psychiatry and education.
72. The higher is the level of culture in a society, the lower is the homicide rate, the higher is the suicide rate.
This hypothesis belongs to the field of social psychology. Basic criteria to distinguish levels of mental development of a human individual are applicable to the distinction of levels of culture of social groups, societies, nations, etc.
The very well known fact of an extremely low homicide rate in Scandinavian countries, combined with a relatively high suicide rate, seems to confirm this hypothesis, because according to the general tests and criteria of the theory of positive disintegration Scandinavia represents the comparatively highest level of social development.
CHAPTER VII I
THE CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK OF THE THEORY OF POSITIVE DISINTEGRATION
ADJUSTMENT, a state of harmony resulting front bringing oneself into agreement with other individuals, or with a pattern, principle or ideal.
Social adjustment is usually thought of as the ability to live in harmony with social norms and act successfully in one’s society which practically amounts to a conformity to prevailing social standards, patterns, customs, beliefs and evaluations. So conceived social adjustment is widely considered a symptom of mental health, while social maladjustment is almost identified with mental disturbance. From the standpoint of the theory of positive disintegration this view is basically erroneous and the simple concept of adjustment is considered useless and misleading. Instead a distinction is made between positive and negative adjustment, and positive and negative maladjustment.
Negative or nondevelopmental adjustment means an acceptance of and conformity without an independent critical evaluation, to the norms, customs, mores prevailing in one’s social environment. Negative adjustment may also take the form of acceptance of one’s actual needs and inclinations without attempts to modify and transform them creatively. This kind of adjustment is incompatible with the autonomy and authenticity of the individual. It does not yield any positive developmental results either for the individual or for the society.
Positive or developmental adjustment consists in correspondence with higher levels of development, that is to say, with a new hierarchy of values, consciously developed and subordinated to the personality ideal. While negative adjustment consists in indiscriminating adjustment to “what is” positive adjustment may be called adjustment to “what ought to be.” Such adjustment is a result of the operation. of the developmental instinct and implies the necessity of partial maladjustment to the prevailing social patterns as well as inner conflicts and tensions characteristic of the processes of positive disintegration (cf.).
Positive adjustment attains its full, mature form only at the stage of secondary integration (cf.) in which inner conflicts decrease and fundamental agreement between personality and its ideal has been attained.
Positive maladjustment includes both partial adjustment to what is and increasing adjustment to higher levels of development. It consists of a conflict with, and a denial and rejection of those standards, patterns, attitudes, demands and expectations of one’s environment which are incompatible with one’s growing awareness of and loyalty to a higher scale of values. Positive maladjustment is a prerequisite to the development towards authenticity (cf.).
Negative maladjustment consists of a denial and rejection of social norms, customs, and accepted patterns of behavior, but not for the sake of a higher scale of values, but rather because of one’s subordination to primitive urges and nondevelopmental, pathologically deformed structures and functions. In the extreme it takes the form of psychosis, psychopathy, and criminal activity.
ASTONISHMENT WITH ONESELF, the feeling that some of one’s mental qualities and dynamisms are surprising and unexpected. It has a distinct intellectual component and is one of the earliest developmental dynamisms active at the time of transition from unilevel to multilevel disintegration. It is usually accompanied by the feeling of disquietude (cf.) and discontent (cf.) with oneself.
AUTHENTICITY, AUTHENTISM. As a developmental force it is called here authentism, a dynamism which consists in the feeling awareness and expression of one’s own emotional, intellectual and volitional attitudes, achieved through autonomous developmental transformations of one’s own hierarchy of values and aims. It involves a high degree of insight into oneself. Authenticity is a symptom of independence from lower instinctive levels and selective independence from influences of the external environment and the inner psychic milieu. It brings about a high degree of unity of one’s thinking, emotions and activity. Authentism involves conscious activity in accordance with one’s “inner truth.” The appearance and growth of authentism results from the operation of such dynamisms as dissatisfaction with oneself, (cf.), autonomy, (cf.) the third factor, (cf..) positive maladjustment, (cf.) ‘subject-object' in oneself (cf.) inner psychic transformation and the personality ideal.
AUTONOMY, consciously developed independence from lower level drives and from some influences of the external environment. Autonomy is possible only as a result of the operation of other dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu (cf.), mainly the third factor (cf.).
COENESTESY, conversion of mental processes into processes of the sympathetic nervous system and vice versa, usually associated with somatic dystonia. Coenestesy is frequently observable at the stage of unilevel disintegration and may represent the introductory phase toward a control of the sympathetic system by the growing personality. In this case we call it positive coenestesy.
Coenestesy occurs often among individuals having a better than average ability for development. They usually show great plasticity and sensitivity, easily producing neurotic reactions which are, however, quickly controlled and disappear.
CREATIVE INSTINCT, a dynamism which consists of the search for new and qualitatively different experiences. It appears and grows at a relatively high level of development. Arising from the negative experience of excessive saturation with actual conditions, it is associated with the dynamisms of dissatisfaction with oneself, and the environment, the third factor, the desire to transform oneself, prospection and authenticity. It is not necessarily associated with a global development of mental functions and structures. It appears in the first phase of multilevel disintegration.
DEVELOPMENTAL INSTINCT, instinct of a most general and basic nature, a “mother instinct” in relation to all other instincts; the source (in nucleus) of all developmental forces of an individual. If finds its expression particularly in such dynamisms as dissatisfaction with oneself, feelings of inferiority towards oneself, the third factor, inner psychic transformation, disposing and directing center at a higher level, autonomy and authentism, personality ideal. It acts differently at different stages of development, pushing the individual towards higher and higher developmental levels. It operates with variable intensity in most human individuals; among those with the ability for accelerated development it takes the form of education-of-oneself and autopsychotherapy. Some individuals, e.g. oligophrenics, imbeciles, idiots, do not have the developmental instinct.
Disintegration mental, consists of loosening, disorganization or dissolution of mental structures and functions. The term covers a wide range of states from temporary loosening of contact with reality observable in severe fatigue, boredom, depression, stress, mental conflicts, disequilibrium, neurosis or psychoneurosis to a split of personality in schizophrenia. “Normal” symptoms of disintegration are distinctly and almost universally observable at the time of puberty and
menopause, also at times of critical experiences, suffering, inner conflicts, intense joy or exaltation, etc.
Disintegration is unilevel (or horizontal), if there are protracted and recurrent conflicts between drives and emotional states of a similar developmental level and of the same intensity, e.g. states of ambivalence and ambitendency, propulsion toward and repulsion from the same object, rapidly changing states of joy and sadness, excitement and depression without the tendency towards stabilization within a hierarchy. It is characteristic of unilevel disintegration that conflicts are accompanied by a lack or by a minimal degree of consciousness and self-consciousness, self-control and ability to transform stimuli.
Disintegration is multilevel (or vertical), if there are conflicts between higher and lower levels of instinctive, emotional or intellectual functions, e.g. higher and lower forms of the sexual instinct, or the instinct of self-preservation, etc. It consists mainly in differentiation and hierarchization of various levels of functions with a tendency towards gradual stabilization of a new hierarchy. In the course of positive multilevel disintegration primitive, animalistic drives and structures are subject to a disintegration, that is weakening, loosening and even total destruction under the impact of developmental dynamisms (cf.) and gradually give way to new, higher levels and new, higher structures. There is a growth of consciousness of inner conflicts, self-consciousness and self-control. The processes of inner psychic transformation gain in intensity and authenticity (cf.). There is a gradual build-up of the inner psychic milieu (cf.) with its main dynamisms such as “subject-object” in oneself, the third factor, inner psychic transformation, autonomy and authentism, and the personality ideal.
Multilevel disintegration includes two phases. The first is spontaneous, as it is characterized by a relative predominance of spontaneous developmental forces and the second is organized (self-directed), as it is in the period of conscious organization and direction of the processes of disintegration towards secondary integration and personality. Negative or involutional disintegration is characterized by the presence and operation of dissolving dynamisms and by the lack of developmental dynamisms. It occurs almost solely at the stage of unilevel disintegration and may end in dissolution of mental structures (chronic mental illness).
Positive or developmental disintegration effects a weakening and dissolution of lower level structures and functions, gradual generation and growth of higher levels of mental functions and culminates in
personality integration. Its characteristics are the presence and operation of developmental dynamisms (cf.), many of which involve psychoneurotic states (cf.) psychoneurosis) with all their protective (defensive) and creative forces.
The process of positive disintegration starts from primitive integration and develops through the following four stages: (1) unilevel disintegration, if it shows some nuclei of self-consciousness, (2) spontaneous multilevel disintegrations, (3) organized multilevel disintegration, (4) transition from multilevel disintegration to secondary integration. It culminates in global secondary integration at a new, higher level.
Global disintegration involves all main mental functions. It comes about either as a result of fundamental transformations in the full cycle of the process of positive disintegration or as a result of many partial disintegrations, or as an outcome of the collaboration of both above processes. It transforms the whole mental structure and thus paves the way for a new global integration at the level of personality (cf.).
Partial multilevel disintegration occurs within one or a few interconnected dynamisms. Its outcome is either a return to a lower primitive integration, or a transformation into a global disintegration, or, in case of multilevel partial disintegration, a partial integration at a higher level. Partial multilevel disintegration is a result of limited hereditary endowment and psychic experiences limited to a narrow sphere. These cause a loosening or disintegration of narrow, primitive structures. The partial secondary integration at a higher level, which usually follows, is a result of inner psychic transformation (cf.) within a limited area. An accumulation of a great number of partial integrations at a higher level may culminate in a global disintegration and later formation of personality. Partial disintegrations culminating in partial disintegrations at higher levels are the usual endpoint of mental development of people with average sensitivity and average endowment.
DISPOSING AND DIRECTING CENTER is the dynamism which determines each act of an individual as well as his long range behavior, plans and aspiration. It performs the following: programming, planning, organizing, collaborating, general and concrete deciding. At a lower level its role is fulfilled by various primitive drives (e.g. sexual, self-preservation, etc.) which temporarily or permanently direct and control individual’s life and conscious activities. Only at a higher stage, particularly during multilevel disintegration, the disposing and directing center appears and develops as an independent dynamism,
not identical with any one or any combination of other dynamisms. At the level of primitive integration the role of the disposing and directing center is taken by primitive drives which dominate and subordinate other functions. At the stage of unilevel disintegration and during the earlier period of multilevel disintegration this role is played alternatively by different dynamisms, often of a contrary nature. At higher phases of multilevel disintegration the disposing and directing center starts operating as a dynamism not identical with any other function, although collaborating closely with the highest dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu, such as the third factor, inner psychic transformation, autonomy, authentism, and the ideal of personality. At secondary integration it is incorporated into the personality which exercises synthetic activity and superior control over all human actions.
DISQUIETUDE WITH ONESELF, uneasiness with oneself, one of the earliest developmental dynamisms, active especially at the time of transition from unilevel to multilevel disintegration, frequently taking the form of astonishment with oneself (cf.) or dissatisfaction with oneself (cf.). It consists of astonishment combined with a strong emotional component and evaluative attitude of a medium intensity. Unlike disquietude about oneself it is not generated by the self-preservation instinct, but rather by the cognitive and developmental instincts.
DISSATISFACTION, WITH ONESELF, is an early form of the dynamisms of valuation. It contains a strong emotional component expressed in disapproval of some of the elements of one’s own mental structure.
DRIVE, concrete instinctive need of a great intensity demanding satisfaction.
DYNAMISM, biological or mental forces of a variety of kinds, scopes, levels of development and intensity, decisive with regard to the behavior, activity, development or involution of man. Instincts, drives and intellectual processes conjoined with emotions constitute specific kinds of dynamisms.
EMOTIONAL IMMATURITY, positive, is to be distinguished from its negative form i.e. emotional or affective retardation (cf.).
It does not adapt to the biopsychic developmental phases and transcend the biological cycle of life. Positive emotional immaturity consists in the endurance and persistence of a variety of emotional and in part intellectual qualities and functions which are characteristic of childhood and youth. Qualities such as sincerity, outrightness, straight
forwardness, syntony, enthusiasm, lack of mental rigidity and stereotypy, magical and animistic thinking, elements specific in creative thinking become a source of plasticity, creative development and ability to transform one’s psychological type. Frequently this kind of “immaturity” is associated with tendencies towards positive regression. (cf.).
EMOTIONAL RETARDATION, or affective retardation, a negative form of emotional immaturity, is a result of arrested development of the emotional sphere and is characterized by the primitiveness and rigidity of emotions, lack of higher subtle emotions, a very low level of syntony and emotional sensitivity. It occurs in psychopathy, some forms of intellectual retardation and in some forms of mental infantilism.
EMPATHY, cf. syntony.
EXTERIORIZATION, an overt manifestation of a mental process. Cf. interiorization, inner psychic transformation.
FUNCTIONS, mental, general term to denote mental processes dealing with definite aspects of life. (Cf. levels of functions).
GLOBAL disintegration, cf. disintegration.
GUILT, feeling of, arises from the feeling of dissatisfaction with oneself (cf.) and represents its intensified form, usually associated with a strong need for expiation. The feeling of guilt always has alterocentric components and originates from the hereditary endowment. Its presence indicates increased intensity of the process of multilevel disintegration. It is usually accompanied by the feelings of shame (cf.), inferiority towards oneself (cf.) and responsibility for one’s actions (cf.).
IDENTIFICATION, consists of understanding and experiencing of mental states, attitudes, aspirations and activity of other people or of oneself. The capacity for identification is obtainable only at a high level of universal mental development through the process of positive disintegration. Self-conscious and authentic identification is possible only on the foundation of a rich inner psychic milieu. It is preceded by and associated with such dynamisms as “subject-object” in oneself, the third factor and inner psychic transformation.
There is a close association between identification and empathy. Although identification is not mainly intellectual, it has a more distinct intellectual component than empathy.
Identification with others expresses the attitude of “klisis” (attraction) independently of the developmental level of the people towards
whom this attitude is directed. Identification with oneself expresses the attitude of “klisis” in relation to one’s higher levels and “ekklisis” (repulsion) in relation to lower levels.
Identification in this conception has a clear positive, developmental and highly conscious nature. It does not involve in any way the process of obliteration or absorption of the other person into oneself or vice versa. It should be clearly distinguished from unconscious or half-conscious identifications which are conspicuous in dancing, singing, sport or fighting. Those forms of identifications are for the most part dependent on biological temperamental factors and do not represent any developmental value.
INFANTILISM, a conjunction of infantile mental qualities, especially emotional, moral, social and intellectual of different levels and in various configurations. It may fulfill a generally positive or negative function. In the first case it is associated mainly with versatile abilities, plasticity and emotional sincerity, characteristic of childhood; in the second case it is associated with general lack of ability for development and tendency towards rigidity, sometimes with mental retardation. It is frequently combined with hormonal disturbances.
INFERIORITY TOWARD ONESELF, feeling of, consists of the experience of and awareness of the disparity between the level at which one is and the higher level toward which one strives, between what one is and what one ought to be. It comes about as a resift of experiences associated with “climbing up” to a higher level and “slipping back.” It is an outcome of the shock caused by the realization of one’s unfaithfulness to the ideal of personality, to the hierarchy of values which begins to take shape, or already has taken shape, but lacks stability. It is associated with an intensive need to establish a definite hierarchy of values and aims and to transform oneself accordingly, it usually operates in conjunction with the dynamisms “subject object” in oneself, dissatisfaction with oneself and, at higher levels, with the personality ideal.
INNER PSYCHIC TRANSFORMATION, a dynamism which carries out the work of developmental change in man’s mental structure. The characteristic aspects of the operation of inner psychic transformation are: (1) transformation of the innate psychological type by introduction of traits of the opposite type (e.g. introduction of traits of introversion into an extrovert mental structures: (2) transformation of somatic determination (biological sequence of the life cycle, aging, disease, etc.) into
mental determination (accumulation of mental powers that result in consistent domination and control of somatic determinants).
Stimuli received by the psyche are subject to inner psychic transformation. The stimuli can be external or internal (i.e. originating in the inner psychic milieu). Because of the intervening process of transformation response is not always directly related to the original stimulus. In the extreme, though not infrequent, case, there might be no external response. Similarly, an external response may be generated without an immediate external stimulus. When the stimuli and responses arise entirely within the inner psychic milieu, we have the process of inner psychic transformation of the milieu itself. As a basic dynamism operating on all levels of the inner milieu inner psychic transformation cooperates with all dynamisms of that milieu.
INNER PSYCHIC MILIEU (internal mental environment), that part of the psyche where man enters into conflict with himself, the totality of mental dynamisms of a low or high degree of consciousness operating in a more or less hierarchical organization. These dynamisms are basically in a relation of cooperation which, however, does not exclude developmental conflicts. They perform the main task of positive disintegration at the stage of multilevel disintegration by participation in the transformation of mental functions and structures in the direction of higher levels up to the level of fully developed personality.
All the dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu, largely speaking, may be divided into unilevel and multilevel. Ambivalences and ambitendencies are unilevel dynamisms, all other are multilevel (see Chapter IV).
It may be assumed that nuclei of the inner psychic milieu exist in primitive stages of mental development, particularly at unilevel disintegration. At this stage, however, there is no distinct psychic transformation. Basic primitive drives are active at this stage, with variable intensity and localization in relation to other drives depending on the psycho physiological stage of the individual. Slight somatic and coenestetic disturbances cause various forms of mental disequilibrium and consequently of primitive psychosomatic conversion. In this way nuclei of the inner psychic milieu arise. The inner psychic milieu in a strict sense (i.e. as a hierarchical structure) arises only at later stages, when the abilities for self-observation and self-control are sufficiently developed,
INSTINCT, a fundamental dynamism (force) in the lives of animals and men which has a great intensity, a significant degree of compactness and cohesiveness, its own sphere of activity, and its own direction.
It is common to some animal species and man or peculiar to man only, undergoing a transformation in phylogenetic and ontogenetic development, appearing characteristically at certain phases and levels of development.
This concept differs in several respects from the general use of the term instinct. The main new elements are: (1) Instincts undergo transformations in ontogenetic development. (2) Some instinctive forces occur only among some people, especially among those who have attained a high level of psychic development. (3) The qualification of the forces mentioned in point (2) as instincts is due to their origin from a more fundamental developmental instinct and to the fact that they show strength and compactness, comparable to primitive instinctive drives, and sometimes even greater. (4) Their development and transformation depend not only on the element of intelligence and knowledge conjoined with them, but also on their inter and intrainstinctive conflicts and cooperation.
The typical ontogenetic development of instincts passes through the following stages and levels: (1) A simple, automatic, cohesive structure, with a completely subordinated intellectual function and identified with the will. (2) A loosening of the structure, spasticity, vacillation, conflicts between different instincts of the same general level. (3) Inter and intrainstinctive disintegration, formation of new, higher instincts (e.g. creative into self-perfection). (4) Gradual refinement of higher levels of instincts and elimination of lower ones. (5) High level instincts become an integral part of the disposing and directing center, and thus they become constitutive elements of personality.
INTEGRATION, mental, consists in an incorporation of various functions into a coordinated structure showing a dynamic equilibrium which counteracts neurotic responses.
From the standpoint of the theory of positive disintegration it is necessary to distinguish various kinds of integrations at lower and higher levels and conceive of disintegration (cf.) as a basic process of transition from a lower level integration to a higher one. Consequently disintegrative processes are considered as developmental, that is positive and basically healthy, while rigid lower level integrations indicate the opposite of mental health (cf.), (cf. negative integration, primitive integration, secondary integration).
INTERIORIZATION AND EXTERIORIZATION (cf.), dynamisms which are necessary for the process of inner psychic transformation (cf.). Interiorization consists in a conscious and selective introjection of external and internal stimuli in order to submit them to inner psychic
transformation before any response is emitted. If the process of inner psychic transformation has taken place, exteriorization takes a form which expresses more the psychological type of the individual than the nature of the stimulus.
LEVELS OF FUNCTIONS, denote quantitative and qualitative changes which occur in different mental functions in the course of development. Generally, lower levels of functions are characterized by automatism, impulsiveness, stereotypy, lack or low degree of consciousness, lack of inner psychic transformation. Higher levels show distinct consciousness, inner psychic transformation, intellectual components operating in conjunction with higher emotions, and essentially involve creative, autonomous factors (cf. the Syllabus of Transitions from Lower to Higher Functions, Chapter V). Presently available tests distinguish and measure only the levels of intellectual and psychomotor functions. The theory of positive disintegration provides the principles for similar scales to be developed for other functions (53). In particular one could develop a scale for degree of emotional development. The distinction between higher and lower levels of functions is fundamental for the conception of mental development.
MALADJUSTMENT, cf. adjustment.
MENTAL DEVELOPMENT, autonomous, is the passing from lower level structures and functions to higher levels (cf. levels of functions). It is a result of the process of positive disintegration (cf.). In its beginning stages mental development is biologically determined, automatic, unconscious or with a low degree of consciousness, confined within the biological cycle of life and consequently exposed to deterioration with age. In higher stages of development the inner psychic milieu with its main dynamisms (cf.) plays an increasingly important role. From the stage of organized multilevel disintegration the highly conscious dynamisms of inner psychic transformation, the third factor, autonomy, and personality ideal determine the direction of development. Conscious and deliberate choice based on many-sided and multilevel insights and understanding replaces unconscious biological drives. Autonomous development transcends the biological cycle of life in a twofold sense: (1) It ceases to be dependent on organic changes such as those characteristic of the periods of puberty, adolescence, menopause, senility, etc. (2) Development remains progressive into old age despite somatic deterioration due to biological changes.
At higher stages particularly at secondary integration, a regression to lower levels is no longer possible. Lower level drives, once disintegrated and destroyed, cannot re-emerge, while consciously and
authentically elaborated higher levels of functions, once integrated into personality, cannot be prevented from operating. The direction of development in its higher stages is derived from the growing insight into and understanding of oneself and the surrounding environment and by the growth of higher emotions, particularly empathy. It is determined by the following guidelines: (1) Openness to new kinds of experiences, increasing sensitivity and growth of both the general potential and specific abilities, the increasing role of conscious and deliberate activities over unconscious and automatic ones, constantly growing control over oneself and the environment. (2) The appearance of a new source of enjoyment resulting from consciously accepted and deliberately developed activities, inspired by a new hierarchy of values (creative work, personal satisfaction from the fulfillment of one’s program). The higher the level of development, the greater is the proportion of this type of satisfaction as compared to pleasures derived from appeasing impulsive desires (sensual pleasures, etc.) which are the only accessible kind of pleasures at lower developmental stages. (3) Growing ability for further development.
This conception of mental development differs from traditional approaches in the following aspects: (a) It brings out the positive developmental function of the processes of disintegration. (b) It assigns a crucial role to the inner psychic milieu with its main dynamisms of inner psychic transformation, the third factor, autonomy and authentism, disposing and directing center and the personality ideal, that is concepts and processes hitherto left out of consideration. (c) It replaces, at a certain level, biological determinants by psychological, conscious and autonomous determinants. (d) It assumes an empirical hierarchy of levels of functions (cf.) and consequently growing objectivity of valuation in morals, aesthetics, etc. proportionate to the stage of mental development.
MENTAL HEALTH consists in the functioning of processes which effect development towards higher levels of mental function, toward; recognition and realization of higher intellectual, moral, social and aesthetic values and their organization into a hierarchy in accordance with one’s own authentic ideal of personality.
MENTAL ILLNESS consists in the absence or deficiency of processes which effect development, it takes the form of (1) either a strongly integrated, primitive, psychopathic structure, or (2) a negative, nondevelopmental disintegration (cf.) which may end in dissolution of mental structures and functions (psychosis).
MULTILEVEL DISINTEGRATION, cf. disintegration.
NEGATIVE ADJUSTMENT, cf. adjustment.
NEGATIVE DISINTEGRATION, cf. disintegration.
NEGATIVE INTEGRATION, a nondevelopmental pathological form of integration (cf.) which involves emotional retardation (cf.). Observable in psychopathy, paranoia, and in some forms of oligophrenia. NEGATIVE MALADJUSTMENT, cf. adjustment.
NEUROSES, a term closely related to the term psychoneurosis, denoting mental disturbances with a distinct dysfunction of the sympathetic nervous system or with functional disorders of internal organs (German: Organneurosen). While psychoneuroses can be said to be of a psychic or of a psychosomatic nature, neuroses, in comparison, are rather somatopsychic.
PARTIAL DISINTEGRATION, cf. disintegration.
PARTIAL SECONDARY INTEGRATION consists in a cohesive organization of some of the mental functions at a higher level. It comes about as a result of partial multilevel disintegration and is due to the process of inner psychic transformation within a limited sphere of functions.
PERSONALITY, a harmonious and stable organization of highly refined basic mental qualities and functions (cf.) (higher emotions, higher instincts, higher intellectual processes, interests. concerns, abilities) which comes about as a result of the full process of positive disintegration (cf.) and universal mental development. Although personality in its complete, fully developed and fully harmonized form appears only at the stage of secondary integration, it starts taking shape during later stages of multilevel disintegration. Personality is a self-chosen, self-confirmed and self-educating mental structure, i.e. a structure attainable only through an intensive work of developmental dynamisms, particularly such as inner psychic transformation, the third factor, autonomy and authentism (cf. each).
The characteristic features of personality are: experiential awareness of one’s personality ideal, the disposing and directing center at its highest level, a high level and great intensity of emotional life, inner psychic transformation and reflection, manifold concerns and interests, openness to the full range of experiences, a high degree of insight into oneself, self-control, ability for further development, presence and strong motivating role of the instincts of creativity and self-perfection.
Personality is a stable organization of mental functions in a twofold sense: (1) Once the primitive levels of functions have been disintegrated and destroyed and the higher levels elaborated and
integrated into a cohesive, all-around structure, slipping backwards to lower levels is no longer possible. One cannot give up values which one learned to appreciate through an authentic, painful process of inner psychic transformation. (2) Although an individual who attained the level of personality continues to grow and may attain some new qualities, no change of his central qualities is possible. His individual characteristics of a high developmental level will persist.
Personality represents the highest developmental level presently accessible to clinical insight and empirical study. It combines both empirical and evaluative elements. The evaluative element is not arbitrarily postulated, but derived from what is empirically verifiable and from the general conception of mental development underlying the theory of positive disintegration (cf. personality ideal).
PERSONALITY IDEAL, is an individual standard against which one evaluates one’s actual personality structure. It arises out of one’s experience and development. Personality ideal is shaped autonomously and authentically, often in conflict and struggle with the prevalent ideals of society. It is a mental structure which is first intuitively conceived in its broad outline and serves as the empirical model for shaping one’s own personality (cf.). In proportion to the higher levels of development, reached by the individual, his ideal of personality becomes more and more distinct' and plays an increasingly significant role in his inner psychic milieu and particularly in the disposing and directing center. This process is called the dynamization of the ideal.
The tendency to adjust to the ideal of personality is a form of tendency to adjust to what ought to be and refusal to adjust to lower level emotions and urges. The ideal of personality should not be confused with one-sided developmental programs, e.g. the so-called ideal sportsman, businessman, etc., which do not result from an authentic process of multilevel disintegration and inner psychic transformation, but from lower level emotional and intellectual processes (cf. personality).
POSITIVE ADJUSTMENT, cf. adjustment.
POSITIVE CONFLICT is a conflict which incites or intensifies developmental forces, particularly by disintegrating lower level structures and functions and by deepening; the process of self-consciousness and inner psychic transformation. The appearance and development of inner conflicts promotes inhibition and sublimation of external conflicts. Consequently stresses, critical life experiences, anxieties, depressions etc., basically undesirable from the standpoint of mental health, the
theory of positive disintegration regards as significant elements in potentially positive development.
POSITIVE DISINTEGRATION, cf. disintegration.
POSITIVE MALADJUSTMENT, cf. adjustment.
PRIMITIVE DRIVES are those drives which are simple, automatic, involuntary, unconscious or with a relatively low degree of consciousness, stereotyped, constitutionally determined, e.g. low levels of the sexual or maternal instincts.
PRIMITIVE INTEGRATION, or primary integration, an integration of mental functions, subordinated to primitive drives (cf.). There is no hierarchy of instincts; their prevalence depends entirely on their momentary greater intensity. Intelligence is used only as a tool, completely subservient to primitive urges, without any transformative role. Interest and adaptation are limited to the satisfaction of primitive desires. There is no inner psychic milieu, no mental transformation of stimuli, no inner conflicts. Primary integration in infants is limited to the satisfaction of the need for food, sleep and motion.
PSYCHONEUROSES, syndromes of the processes of positive disintegration. They show symptoms of disharmony and conflicts within the inner psychic milieu and with the external environment. The source of disharmony and conflicts is a favorable hereditary endowment and the ability to accelerate development through positive disintegration towards personality, i.e. towards a cohesive structure of functions at secondary integration. This conception of psychoneuroses does not consider them pathological, but rather as positive forces in mental development.
Psychoneurotic processes, as any other mental processes, may occur at different levels. The difference may be either interneurotic, i.e. between various kinds of psychoneuroses, or intraneurotic, i.e. within the carne kind of psychoneurosis. These differences are a result of the cooperation between “pathological” but positive psychoneurotic dynamisms and related “non psychoneurotic” developmental dynamisms (such as interests, concerns, abilities, some of the creative dynamisms etc.). At a high level of development both of the above kinds of mental dynamisms operate in an inseparable interaction. An interneurotic scale would include the following psychoneuroses in the order from lower to higher levels, somatic neuroses, hypochondria, neurasthenia, hysteria, depressive psychoneurosis, anxiety psychoneurosis, infantile psychoneurosis, obsessive psychoneurosis, psychasthenia. Intraneurotic levels are clearly distinguishable in hysteria, from the
hysterical character through hysterical conversion to the highest levels of increased emotional and imaginative excitability, high levels of nervousness and tendency towards contemplation.
REGRESSION, positive, consists in a temporary reversion to an earlier emotional state, that is some forms of emotional infantilism (cf. emotional immaturity). In most cases positive regression is caused by the need for emotional saturation with infantile experiences, the need for a longer period for the development of creative functions which are exposed to the danger of disintegration under the impact of the external world. Emotional regression allows the individual to mature more deeply and many-sidedly, to prepare more fully the unfolding of his creative forces, to prevent mental disturbances, to preserve and develop independence and autonomy of his own self. It constitutes a conscious or semiconscious protection of one’s own development toward personality through the search for the most proper conditions for its growth.
REINTEGRATION, an integration subsequent to a period of disintegration but which does not occur at a higher level than the former integration. Reintegration may mean a return to primitive integration or to a partial secondary integration.
RESPONSIBILITY, feeling of, is a function of mental development and depends mainly on the ability to understand and evaluate objectively, especially to understand other people’s developmental difficulties and shortcomings and one’s own role in assisting them and cooperating. The feeling of responsibility arises mainly from self-control, sudden insight, inner psychic transformation and empathy. It grows through an increase in consciousness and insight into the many-sided and multilevel structure of reality and through active participation of higher emotions, especially empathy. It involves the willingness to give care, protection and help to those in need, to the family, social group, nation, the human race, etc.
SECONDARY INTEGRATION, global, results from the full process of positive disintegration. It is an integration of mental functions at high level, with a dominant role of higher emotions, indicating a high degree of autonomy (cf.) and authenticity (cf.). Secondary integration is strictly correlated with personality (cf.). To denote an integration subsequent (in time) to a period of disintegration, but not at a higher level, the term reintegration (cf.) is reserved.
SELF-PERFECTION INSTINCT consists in a tendency towards gradual attainment of higher developmental levels and involves the
whole mental structure of an individual with a special emphasis on the moral sphere and empathy, has a much wider range than the creative instinct and includes its basic components, arises and develops during both stages of multilevel disintegration, operates in association with the dynamism of inner psychic transformation, the ideal of personality and leads directly to the formation of personality.
SHAME, feeling of, one of the earliest developmental dynamisms, consists in self-conscious distress and embarrassment, results from predominance of external over internal sensitivity, usually is combined with a strong somatic component, with a slight element of anxiety, with a need to withdraw, to hide away. The feeling of shame is usually associated with the dynamism of dissatisfaction with oneself, with the feeling of guilt and with the feeling of inferiority towards other people.
SUBJECT-OBJECT IN ONESELF, one of the main developmental dynamisms which consists in taking interest in and observation of one’s own mental life in an attempt to gain a better understanding of oneself and to evaluate oneself critically. In individuals capable of accelerated and universal development the interest in their inner world may temporarily prevail over the interest in the external world. This dynamism differs from introspection inasmuch as the latter is carried out for purely descriptive, non-evaluative purposes. Unlike introspection, this dynamism has a strong emotional component in spite of its basically intellectual character. It realizes sudden insights, constitutes an essential element in the processes of inner psychic transformation and is the main basically intellectual dynamism of multilevel disintegration. It is a form of interiorized cognitive instinct and appears in correlation with the dynamisms of the third factor, disposing and directing center and ideal of personality.
SYNTONY, EMPATHY, these terms are used to signify the capacity for insight into and participation in other people’s feelings and experiences. It is of importance to distinguish primitive, impulsive forms of syntony, associated with the gregarious instinct, from more conscious and deliberate forms, usually called empathy, which belong to higher emotions, contain strong intellectual components and result from inner psychic transformation and the processes of positive disintegration. An individual having a high level of empathy shows towards others benevolence, readiness and willingness to assist them in their problems, but at the same time may express a disapproval of some of their attitudes and acts.
THE THIRD FACTOR is independent from and selective with regard to heredity (the first factor), and environment (the second factor). Its
selective role consists in accepting and fostering or rejecting and restraining qualities, inclinations, interests and desires, which one finds either in one’s hereditary endowment or in one’s social environment. Thus the third factor being a dynamism of conscious choice is a dynamism of valuation.
The third factor has a fundamental role in education-of-oneself, and in autopsychotherapy. Its presence and operation is essential in the development toward autonomy and authenticity. It arises and grows as a resultant of both positive hereditary endowment (especially the ability for inner psychic transformation) and positive environmental influences.
TYPE, PSYCHOLOGICAL, the totality of individual, psychobiological, constitutional qualities determining the behavior of an individual with regard to himself and his environment. The theory of positive disintegration distinguishes the following psychological types: (1) The primitively integrated type: his mental structure is dominated and completely controlled by primitive drives which make use of intelligence in a purely instrumental way. In this type intelligence is used only as a tool towards ends determined entirely by primitive emotions; the ability for interiorization is very limited; intelligence does not cooperate in the refinement and development of emotions. The mental structure is rigidly stabilized; the development of the individual does not transcend narrow limits circumscribed by the biosocial cycle of life.
(2) The positively integrated type: is a result of the completion of the process of positive disintegration. Its cohesiveness and harmony has its basis in fully developed inner psychic milieu of great richness and deepness: dedicated to creative work and further development it shows faithfulness to the hierarchy of values worked out in the course of development and a high degree of conscious empathy with others.
(3). The positively disintegrated type: shows loosening and disintegration of primitive mental structures and functions on its way towards secondary integration. It may be at various stages of positive disintegration starting from unilevel disintegration through the spontaneous and organized stages of multilevel disintegration till the transitory stage towards secondary integration. Its characteristic trait is the presence and operation of developmental in nuclear form, at unilevel disintegration gaining a more and more distinct and dynamic character with the progress of positive disintegration.
(4) The chronically disintegrated type: may also be called “developmentally neutral” type. The state of disintegration is permanent, it
does not pass over into either dissolution or secondary integration. It has a mixed, positive-negative overtone. It is positive inasmuch as it is characterized by sensitivity, plasticity and creative abilities, however, it shows lack of distinct developmental forces and tendencies to pass into secondary integration.
(5) The negatively disintegrated type: is characterized by a dissolution of mental structures and functions which signifies mental illness with unfavorable course and prognosis. It is recognizable by the lack of developmental dynamisms.
UNILEVEL DISINTEGRATION, cf. disintegration.
WILL. What has been traditionally called “will” is at lower levels of development identical with a primitive drive or a group of such drives. At the stage of unilevel disintegration it succumbs to a disintegration into a variety of independent functions and structures. It may be said that there are “many wills” at this level. In the course of multilevel disintegration “the will” becomes more and more independent from primitive drives. Its role is fulfilled by the emerging new dynamism of the disposing and directing center. At still higher stages of development the “will” is unified with and integrated in personality.
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6. Dąbrowski, K. Zur klinik and pathologie der senilen paranoia. Jahrbuche fur Psychiatrie and Neurologie, 1931, 47, 171-176.
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15. Dąbrowski, K. Nowoczesne zadania i potrzeby psychiatrii i higieny psychicznej w Polsce (The contemporary tasks and needs of psychiatry and mental hygiene in Poland). Biuletyn Instytutu Higieny Psychicznej, 1938 (Warsaw).
16. Dąbrowski, K. Typy wzmozonej pobudliwosci psychicznej (Types of increased psychic excitability). Biuletyn Instytutu Higieny Psychicznej, 1938, 1 (Warsaw).
17. Dąbrowski, K. Higiena psychiczna, tresc, zakres, zadania, stosunek do innych nauk (Mental hygiene, its content, scope, tasks, and relationship to other branches of science). Biuletyn Instytutu Higieny Psychicznej, 1939 (Warsaw).
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22. Dąbrowski, K. La Dsintegration mentale comme facteur positif dans le developpement emotionnel de l'enfant. A Crianca Portuguesa, 1958, 17, 731-736.
23. Dąbrowski, K. Spoleczno-wychowawcza psychiatria dziecieca (Socioeducational child psychiatry). Warsaw: Panstwowe Zaklady Wydawnictw Szkolnych, 1959.
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26. Dąbrowski, K. Remarques sur la typologie basée sur la theorie de la désintégration positive. Annales Médico-psychologiques, 1960, 2, 401-406.
27. Dąbrowski, K. Conception dynamique de la santé mentale. A Crianca Portuguesa, 1960, 19, 145-167.
28. Dąbrowski, K. Podstawowe zagadnienia higieny psychicznej* (Basic question of mental hygiene). Biuletyn Polskiego Towarzystwa Higieny Psychicznej, 1960, 1, 4-25.
29. Dąbrowski, K. Les dynamismes principaux de la désintégration à niveaux multiples. Annales Médico-psychologiques, 1961, 1, 225-234.
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34. Dąbrowski, K. Instytut ochrony i rozwoju psychicznego czlowieka (Institute for psychic protection and development of man). Dookola Swiata, 1962 (Warsaw).
35. Dąbrowski, K. Principes, structures et dynamismes du milieu psychique interne. A Crianca Portuguesa, 1963, 21, 507-535.
36. Dąbrowski, K. Psychonerwice (Psych oneuroses). Postepy Higieny i Medycyny Doswiadczalnej, 1963, 17 305-345.
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42. Dąbrowski, K. Problemy adaptacji i dezadaptacji (Problems of adjustment and maladjustment). Zdrowie Psychiczne, 1965, 6, No. 2, 7-18 (Warsaw).
43. Dąbrowski, K. Psychotherapie des nevroses et des psychonevroses. Conferences de I'Academie Polonaise des Sciences, Centre Scientifique à Paris, 1965, fascicule 60, 3-14.
44. Dąbrowski, K. Prophylaxie des ndvroses infantiles ou prophylaxie par les ndvroses infantiles? Proceedings of the Fourth World Congress of Psychiatry, Madrid, 1966, 127-130.
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51. Dąbrowski, K. Psychoneurosis is not an illness. Submitted for publication.
52. Dąbrowski, K. The dynamics of concepts (with A. Kawczak). Submitted for publication.
53. Dąbrowski, K. Multilevelness of instinctive and emotional functions. In preparation.
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