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The dynamics of concepts.
KAZIMIERZ DĄBROWSKI MD., Ph.D.
Professor and Director of Clinical
Research and Internship
the University of Alberta,
with the methodological collaboration of
Andrzej Kawczak, LL.M., Ph.D.
Department of Philosophy
Loyola of Montreal
Master of Philosophy
GRYF PUBLICATIONS LTD.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. MULTILEVELNESS OF REALITY——1
2. MULTILEVEL EMPIRICISM——6
3. MULTILEVELNESS OF INSTINCTIVE DYNAMISMS——10
4. MULTILEVEL EQUILIBRIUM——13
5. MULTILEVELNESS OF JOY AND SADNESS——17
6. THE DEVELOPMENTAL INSTINCT——21
7. THE CREATIVE INSTINCT——24
8. THE INSTINCT OF SELF-PERFECTION——28
9. PARTIAL DEATH INSTINCT——33
10. NEGATIVE INTEGRATION——37
11. POSITIVE DISINTEGRATION——41
12. POSITIVE ALIENATION——47
13. ASTONISHMENT WITH ONESELF——51
14. DISQUIETUDE WITH ONESELF——53
15. INFERIORITY FEELING TOWARD ONESELF——56
16. SATISFACTION WITH ONESELF——59
17. THE FEELINGS OF SHAME AND GUILT——62
18. NEGATIVE ADJUSTMENT AND POSITIVE MALADJUSTMENT——65
19. CREATIVE INNER CONFLICT——68
20. POSITIVE REGRESSION——71
21. THE DYNAMISM “SUBJECT-OBJECT” IN ONESELF——74
22. THE THIRD FACTOR——76
23. INNER PSYCHIC TRANSFORMATION——81
25. SYNTONY AND EMPATHY——86
29. ACTIVATION OF THE IDEAL——99
30. THE DISPOSING AND DIRECTING CENTER——101
33. THE INNER PSYCHIC MILIEU——113
34. POSITIVE MENTAL TENSION——117
35. OBJECTIVIZATION OF EMOTIONAL FUNCTIONS——121
36. SUBJECTIVITY AND OBJECTIVITY IN MENTAL
DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATION——123
37. THE EXISTENTIO-ESSENTIALIST COMPOUND IN HUMAN PERSONALITY——127
38. TRANSCENDENCE OF THE BIOLOGICAL LIFE CYCLE——130
39. TRANSCENDENCE OF THE PSYCHOLOGICAL TYPE——135
40. THE EMPIRICO-NORMATIVE COMPOUNDS IN MENTAL DEVELOPMENT——139
41. SELF-CONTROL THOUGH INSTINCTIVE AND EMOTIONAL DYNAMISMS——144
44. POSITIVE IMMATURITY——153
45. CREATIVE DEPRESSION——156
46. INTERNEUROTIC AND INTRANEUROTIC
DIFFERENCES IN LEVELS OF FUNCTIONS——159
47. IMMUNIZATION THROUGH PSYCHONEUROSES——161
48. PSYCHOPATHY AND PSYCHONEUROSIS——166
49. PARANOID AND PARANOID-LIKE PROCESS AND STRUCTURE——168
50. CREATIVE PSYCHOPATHOLOGY——172
51. MENTAL HEALTH——175
52. HUMANISTIC PSYCHOLOGY——183
A critical analysis and revision of concepts is of special importance in the domain of psychology, because of the great amount of confusion and ambiguity reigning here today. Utmost care in the use of concepts in psychology is necessary because of the more complex and less palpable nature of mental processes as distinguished from the processes observable in physical reality.
Some areas of psychological studies seem to be in a particularly disadvantageous position. In developmental psychology of man, for instance we are dealing with phenomena of a relatively short period of duration and growth so that the empirical material accessible to observations is incomparably more limited than the remnants of ages of the development of kinds and species of animals available for a researcher in biology. It is not only true that its subject matter belongs to this sphere of reality which is of a much later appearance than the subject matter of most other disciplines.
The terminology of contemporary psychology is extremely complicated and confusing. It is notorious that one and the same term refers to distinctly different phenomena, while phenomena of the same kind are referred to by different terms. Hence the need, even the necessity of a revision of many crucial concepts, of new distinctions and of an examination of concepts from a dynamic, developmental point of view; that is to say, from the viewpoint which will acknowledge fundamental transformations of the content of mental processes and related concepts.
Such a dynamic point of view is characteristic of positive disintegration and also of some semantic studies. Contrary to the tendencies to precision and reductionism of the many meanings of a given concept to just one meaning, this new point of view represents the tendency to disintegrate and even break up many concepts into a number of clearly differentiated concepts. It is due to the need to find an adequate new conceptual expression for new insights into reality which cannot be adequately expressed by means of former concepts and distinctions This process of disintegration of concepts is frequently followed by a later process of an opposite nature which combines and integrates formerly separated conceptual units which are strictly elaborated. Growing knowledge of reality may generate the need to reunite various threads of thought in a secondary integration of concepts at a higher level which expresses new insights. As examples of this secondary integrating process we may mention the concept of higher emotions (attitudes) which combines intellectual, emotional and volitional components, as well as, existentio-essentialist and empirico-normative compounds discussed in separate chapters of this book.
The present work is devoted to the examination of the dynamics of certain concepts, particularly those which are significant for the theory of positive disintegration.
The changeability of concepts and terms depends on the psychic transformation of man and expresses the developmental transformation of human individuals, the growth of their autonomy and authenticity, of their inner psychic milieu and of their growing richness of life experiences. Great creative individuals in the fields of art, literature and on the borderline of those two fields, often challenge and transform ideas and aesthetic forms and, thus, contribute to the formation and later, general acceptance of new form by more or less large social circles. Sometimes the general atmosphere is particularly favorable to a creative revision of concepts. The social,
political, artistic and moral spirit, characteristic for certain periods of accelerated cultural growth, e.g. Athens at the time of Pericles, Renaissance, etc., not only allows great transformations, but stimulates and “reinforces” the creative activity of talented individuals.
To illustrate our viewpoint let us briefly discuss the dynamic aspects of the uses of some concepts. The idea of multilevelness, that is to say, the distinctions of higher and lower functions seems to be indispensable in psychology, education, sociology, ethics, psychiatry, philosophy and in other areas of humanities and social sciences. Due to the specific nature of mental development in man which consists in the transition from lower, automatic and rigidly organized mental structures and functions to higher, creative, self-controlled and authentic forms of mental life— developmental psychology is unable to give a satisfactory account of this process without the use of the concept of multilevelness. It cannot be denied that the unilevel approach to mental processes, characteristic of behaviorism, offers the advantage of a more precise terminology, a wide use of operational definitions, and techniques which depend on great numbers and facilitate the application of statistical methods However, the benefits are illusory and deceptive, if precision and quantitative elaboration are gained at the expense of the most important aspects of human reality, if they result from a simplified and one-sided interpretation.
The trials and failures of many psychological schools in the last fifty years in their attempts to set up system of well-ordered unequivocal concepts probably results from the rigid unilevel, horizontal viewpoint on human life and behavior and from the need to overcome the difficulties in statistical analysis of mental processes of a higher level, which are observable only in numerically restricted groups. The unilevel, horizontal approach attempts to attain a satisfactory description and explanation of mental processes which underwent significant transformations and gave birth to new qualities by means
of the same concepts which are applicable only to the study of simple, lower level mental processes. This confusion is particularly striking in the description of autonomic factors, creative dynamisms, processes of self-perfection, authenticity, etc.— generally in the sphere of so-called “higher mental functions,” which are far more significant than the studies of relatively simple mental processes, such as perception.
It appears obvious that the ability to understand and to successfully apply the concept of multilevelness depends upon the development of personality of the individual. A person intensively developing, but in a narrow field, or exhibiting only the beginnings of an all-around development of basic mental functions, will hardly understand and accept the distinction of mental levels. Such a person will easily feel that the concept of multilevelness is not concrete enough to be applied in scientific endeavours, not precise enough to allow statistical analysis. This kind of difficulty is analogous to those which arise in the study of art or mathematics, for example, from students lacking the necessary abilities or preparation.
The usefulness of the concept of multilevelness becomes apparent when we apply it to the analysis of human instincts. By introducing the concepts of the developmental, creative and self-perfection instincts into our work we seem to confuse the concept of instinct. According to the traditional use of this term instincts are innate, acquired in the course of phylogenetic development and common to animals and men. However, careful clinical observations and analyses indicate that in ontogeny forces arise which show the same or even greater strength and cohesion than the forces previously recognized as instincts. The above-mentioned drives toward mental development, self-perfection and creativity take a dominant role in the lives of some individuals and suppress or substantially transform other instincts. If we refer to these dynamisms by the same name which traditionally has been applied only to the forces observable in all or almost all members of
a species, we seem to create unnecessary confusion about the concept of instinct. But, we feel that a mechanical application of the concept of instinct elaborated in the study of animals to human reality leads to even more serious confusion and futility. Our attempts to give a theoretical account of specifically human forces will never succeed if we continue to disregard the dynamic, developmental and multilevel nature of human ontogeny. The distinction of higher and lower instincts, as well as, the distinctions of higher and lower levels within one instinct and its ontogenetic transformations seem to be indispensable to achieve an adequate understanding and theoretical description of mental development.
Another illustration of our contention about the advantages of a dynamic and multilevel approach to the study of mental functions is the concept of social adjustment and maladjustment. We find various kinds and stages of development and adjustment, starting from total, indiscriminate adjustment to all, even the most primitive patterns prevalent in social environment, to a refined psychological need for adjustment to a higher hierarchy of values and one’s ideal of personality. The idea of adjustment has its various forms and content depending on the developmental level of the individual. The same is true of maladjustment, starting from pathological, psychopathic, even criminal violation of social standards to those forms of maladjustment which are observable in all mentally developing individuals and imply rejection of and conflict with the primitive levels and increasing harmonization with the higher levels of reality. Thus, we notice the growing developmental complexity and the “crisis” of the process and of the concept of adjustment. We deal with the differentiation of adjustment to “what is” and adjustment to “what ought to be” which implies maladjustment to “what is.” This is the concept of positive maladjustment. The growing conceptual complexity and substantial change in the use of concepts is characteristic of every process of growing
insight into reality. It is a positive phenomenon which attests to the dynamic and turbulent “life” of concepts.
Analogous observations can be made with regard to the concept of empathy. We cannot disregard the difference between primitive and refined forms of sympathy. On the one hand, sympathy may be manifested in indiscriminate association with the mood of the group, as in singing, dancing, or fighting; in syntonic feelings with such individuals as athletic heroes or movie stars, in outbursts of primitive enthusiasm. There exists, on the other hand, a special kind of syntony (empathy) which views men in their psychological types and levels of mental development and their creative potential; this kind of empathy implies understanding others, although not necessarily condoning; it involves an attitude of responsibility, protection, and encouragement of everything which promises mental development without the approval of or participation in those activities which arise from low, inauthentic or destructive drives.
We have similar difficulties with regard to the term “anxiety.” The attempts to measure the state of anxiety should be based on the answer to the question concerning what phenomena we are really measuring and, consequently, by what means these phenomena are measured. We have simple states of fear which are associated with physical and psychic immobility, and connected with a low degree of self-awareness and tension of the lower somato-psychic functions. We also have the anxiety states, for instance, in existential anxiety we have the weakness of the self-preservation instinct, distinct empathy and reflectiveness, weakness of the lower functions (lack of immobility, lack of vegetative troubles), and, on the other hand, we have the reinforcement from the tension of higher functions. Both phenomena have a different content and a different level of tension. In order to examine or “measure” them, we have to apply clearly different methods. The terms for definition of
both phenomena should be different and, according to this author’s opinion, sooner or later different terms will be created.
The concept of authenticity raises the same kind of problems. If its use is to be of any value, it is necessary to distinguish authentic existence emanating from autonomous mental development, from the growth and richness of the inner psychic milieu, from positive disintegration and destruction of the lower, primitive mental structure, on the one hand, and, the so-called “authentic” externalization of brutal, thoughtless, elementary drives, on the other hand.
The present work consists of an attempt to reveal and protect the plasticity and richness, observable in the dynamic transformations of concepts, against the danger of ossification, unilevelness and sterility arising from a one-sided stress on the requirements of verifiability, precision and statistical elaboration. A significant number of recent studies in the philosophy of natural sciences have emphasized the drawbacks of a too rigid treatment of concepts in scientific systems, and the need for some measure of plasticity and more appreciation of the dynamic aspects of conceptualization. We refer here specifically to the works of Braithwaite, Feyerabend, Hempel, Kuhn, Ramsey, and Toulmin.
It is the author’s firm belief that the same is even more valid with regard to social sciences and humanities. A “dynamization” of concepts seems to be particularly important in developmental and educational psychology, in the study of interpersonal relations and in psychopathology, especially in the theory of psychoneuroses. The results of this process of dynamization of concepts will more and more express the close association and interconnection of intellectual and emotional functions. The new meanings of concepts should allow a much more incisive analysis of the understanding of oneself, of other individual and human groups.
The problem presented here is not completely new. As an example of some related ideas I want to mention Professor C. Perelman’s opinion, taken from his “Traité de l'argumentation” (Presses Univertitaires de France, 1958, Chapter IV). He emphasizes the significance of the process of dissociation of concepts which frequently is instrumental in the solution of philosophical problems.
Perelman gives a characteristic quotation of the great American lawyer B. N. Cardozo: “The conciliation of what seems irreconcilable, the mixture of antitheses, the synthesis of opposites—these are the great problems of law” (page 554). In Cardozo’s opinion—the task of law is the elaboration of a system which permits such conflicts to be resolved.
Both authors do not occupy themselves, however, with the problem of inner conflicts and the problem of positiveness of conflicts.
Perelman stresses that in theology and philosophy the very important problem is to find a new structure of reality through the reconstruction of dissociated concepts. He writes about reconstruction, but does not deal with the dynamisms of development.
I am very close to Perelman’s view that “dissociation expresses the vision of the world, introduces the hierarchy for which this dissociation this to establish foundations.”
Perelman also notices, but does not elaborate, the creative role of the so-called “apparent content” which we call the “as if” in its positive and negative sense. The positive sense is connected with intuitive understanding of higher reality.
Let us restate our view in a brief summary. Many-sided and authentic development of man implies the formation of an adequate system of concepts and terms which would correspond to the new higher stages of this development. Consequently, those concepts which are not adequate at new stages of development must be disintegrated and transformed. New, and richer concepts
must be worked out in order to adequately express new cognitive and affective qualities of a growing personality. Hence, the development of concepts and terms expresses the development of man, particularly his accelerated and autonomic growth. New qualities and new experiences arising in the process of mental development manifest the various symptoms of disintegration through which they become independent, grow in richness, and reveal new creative forms.
Besides this process of disintegration another transformation takes place which leads to the secondary integration of new qualities and experiences. This is depicted in corresponding changes of the conceptual framework; that is to say, besides the new concepts and terms resulting from the process of disintegration, there are concepts and terms associated with and derived from the processes of secondary integration.
The very concept of secondary integration, of the third factor, of personality, of empirico-normative compounds include the whole history of the transformations of the content of concepts starting from the level of primitive integration through positive disintegration to secondary integration. This process of transformation of concepts and terms in their intellectual and experiential aspects can be called “the drama of the life and development of concepts.”
1. MULTILEVELNESS OF REALITY
The concept of reality is hard to define. Various meanings associated with this concept have their roots in the oldest and most crucial problems of philosophy, usually called the problem of the nature of reality.
For some, reality is that which is perceived by the senses and conceived in categories of conceptual thinking. Others hold that reality is much wider and includes everything which can be perceived by the senses, as well as, through the co-operation of thinking and emotion. According to this approach, reality would include everything which is accessible to man in the states of contemplation or mystical experience, even if it is not given in sensory perception.
Certain thinkers distinguish various levels of reality. Some of them consider the sensory reality to be more concrete, more “real” than other forms and levels of reality. Others, on the contrary, accept a multilevel notion of reality and do not express any definite opinion concerning the problem of whether sensory reality is of a higher or lower level in relation to other realities, perceived through other mental receptors or transformers.
Many poets, writers, painters, sculptors or musicians generally speaking, artists, believe that the receptors and transformers, by means of which they approach reality, give them insights into a reality of a much higher kind than the one accessible in sense perception. The poetic phrase: “I see her before the eyes of my soul” is a typical expression of perceiving reality in imagination. Some
painters have a very clear image of what they are to paint and transfer this image on the canvas. Everyday reality is for some of the great writers less significant and less fundamental than the reality of dreams and creative experience. Franz Kafka and Marcel Proust are typical examples.
For this kind of approach to reality there will be nothing strange in such expressions as: “I am touching her with my love,” “I see her in imagination,” “I distinctly experience the whole situations. Here, there will be nothing wrong with experiencing “touching through seeing.” It will be perfectly understandable that somebody was “touched” by suspicion. All this belongs to the sphere of “teleperception” which is characteristic of poets, writers and artists.
We know well that the people who are endowed with a great power of imagination are capable of transferring their life experiences into the sphere of fantasy. A musical composition may be “heard” in musical imagination, a drama may be seen in visual and affective imagination. The same is true of sculpture, painting, etc. In the states of meditation and contemplation the individuals “see” and “hear” without any concrete, external sensory stimuli.
Scientists are used to looking for a solution to their problems on the level of abstraction, frequently detached from the world of sensory perception. This is specifically true of mathematicians, logicians and philosophers. A great number of artists exhibit a kind of atrophy of receptors of some or one domain of stimuli, usually those of a practical nature, while they show extraordinary growth of other receptors.
We may say that the “theoretical reality” which includes the constructs of imagination, fantasy and thought constitutes one level of reality, one domain which may be “touched” or “seen” in cognition, imagination, fantasy or emotion. Some individuals frequently feel that this reality is higher than the so-called concrete reality,
grasped and perceived by the senses. Adjustment to that which “ought to be” is in some individuals stronger than their adjustment to “what is.” The reality of “what ought to be” is for them higher than the reality of “what is.”
We wish to risk the assertion that those who regard as real only sensory phenomena usually suffer from a poor ability to perceive other forms of reality. We may say that they practice “reductionism” to sensory reality, because they lack or possess weak receptors of other kinds or levels of reality.
For a great number of artists and those who strive for self-perfection the realities of intuition, dreams, and fantasy are much higher, much more understandable than the reality of the senses. It is easier for them successfully to deal with the problems of this reality than the reality of everyday life. This reality is in the center of their concerns and inner experiences. In practical matters, however, they may perform poorly and be outclassed by the practically-minded people.
For centuries a dominant concern for the reality of a higher level was regarded as an expression of strangeness, disharmony, pathology. The world of Don Quixote is strange to most people, and the same is true of the “reality of dreams” of Franz Kafka. The “feeling of the absolute” of such individuals as Socrates, Kierkegaard, Gandhi, Janusz Korczak or Father Kolbe is an expression of an incomprehensible reality, a phenomenon not accessible to the majority of people lacking the receptors which are necessary to respond to stimuli coming from this sphere of reality.
However, many individuals endowed with some degree of moral sensitivity, with enough power of imagination and with a sufficiently rich affective life feel that such mental processes, characteristic for creative individuals, indicate that they are endowed with greater richness and efficiency of receptors and transformers related to this
“higher reality” and to higher forces of affective, moral, conceptual and intuitive spheres of consciousness.
Consequently, we admit the existence of “higher and lower” levels of reality, as well as, intermediary levels of reality. This refers not only to thinking, feeling, imagining and human behavior; but includes all kinds of mental functions, groups of functions or specific higher functions. Such functions and dynamisms as instincts, empathy, intuition, identification, autonomy and also joy, sadness, laughter, etc., show various levels of an individual’s reality, various levels of existence.
Let us briefly outline the dynamics of the development of perception of various levels of reality. In the process of development, which consists in the cooperation of disintegrative and integrative processes, the intellectual function becomes independent of its subservience to primitive drives and associates itself with higher emotions into a unified structure. This process makes it possible to associate thinking and feeling into a codeterminate structure in which there is mutual determination and further developmental transformation.
In this process of an increasingly higher localization of combined intellectual and affective factors we can notice the growing role and participation of intuition. It consists in synthesizing attempts which precede the discursive analytic stage of elaboration, and again, follow this stage in later attempts at a more complete synthesis. Intuitive operations take place on increasingly higher levels, in proportion to the process of mental development of an individual. It seems that the higher the level of operation of “broad” intellectual dynamisms, the higher the value of the synthesis. In this sense and in this way the concept of reality extends to what is accessible to intuition, although it may be in concrete cases insufficiently discursively elaborated—e. g., Kafka’s world of dreams was well thought over and systematized. It constituted the foundation for a vast and profound synthetic conception of our concrete reality with an analytic
and prospective interpretation of its development. The assumption can be made that in Kafka’s world of dreams and intuition we may find very sensible, and sometimes highly significant diagnoses and prognoses of many aspects of the so-called reality which may subsequently be discursively elaborated.
As we see, in some men, an extraordinary strength of stimuli and transformers coming from imagination and fantasy allows a synthetic and incisive interpretation of many problems of life, while sensory stimuli and sensory experiences play in their lives a secondary, or even less than secondary role.
By multilevelness of reality we mean external and internal reality of various levels conceived by means of sensory perception, imagination, intellectual, intuitive or combined operations. Perception of the various levels of reality depends on the kind and level of receptors and transformers of an individual. Its objective discussion and description is grounded on empirical and discursive methods.
The multilevel aspect of human reality is taken into consideration in everyday life and particularly in, matters associated with mental development in every domain of the humanities and related disciplines (developmental and educational psychology, education, sociology, psychiatry, politics, history, theory of literature, etc.).
There is, however, a discrepancy between the views of outstanding individuals on a high level of a fully rounded mental development, as well as, the experiences of the majority of people under stress and great moral tension, and the tendency of many researchers to take the viewpoint of the relativity of values, of their complete
dependence on cultural factors and to question the validity of all claims referring to higher levels of reality. It is worthwhile to emphasize that, at times of great national or social perils, frequently societies split into two groups. One shows distinct recognition and acceptance of a hierarchy of realities and values, while the other falls down to the most primitive levels of behavior without recognition and observance of any rules of conduct or values.
In the author’s opinion multilevelness of human reality and multilevelness of values can be objectively and empirically established and verified. The author has investigated this problem of objectivization of values for many years.
It is necessary to emphasize that it is impossible successfully to transform and develop education and culture, national and international relations, authentic functioning of the United Nations and other international institutions without establishment and acceptance of an objective hierarchy of reality and the hierarchy of levels of moral and emotional life.
2. MULTILEVEL EMPIRICISM
The term empiricism is used in various meanings. The usual meaning of this term refers to the view that knowledge is derived from experience and includes all that which is “immediately given” in daily experience or can be confirmed in scientific experiments. The area of empirical knowledge also includes everything which can be deduced from that which has been found in empirical data.
Empiricism is usually contrasted with rationalism. In the history of philosophy the great debate between empiricism and rationalism centered around the problem of whether all knowledge is derived from experience or some parts of it come from reason alone. Philosophical rationalism, associated with the last view, gradually lost ground and popularity. Today, the concept of empirical knowledge is contrasted with analytic statements, that is to say, those which are accepted as true, because of the analysis of meanings of terms rather than due to experience. Thus, it is maintained that knowledge in physics is empirical insofar as it require confirmation in experiments or actually is confirmed in this way. The, empirical nature of the theories in physics is distinguished from axiomatic systems in pure mathematics which are deductive, analytic and, as such, do not require any kind of empirical testing.
As we distinguish the experiences of external objects and our inner life, we can distinguish external and internal empiricism. The latter kind of empiricism will include all data derived from inner experiences and introspection. According to Bergson 1, the data from inner experience can be as precise and objective as those from the external world. Significant parts of humanistic psychology are empirical in this sense of the term. What is involved in such empirical data can be the object of phenomenological description.
In the theory of positive disintegration we distinguish the multilevelness of that which is empirical. This approach is related to the fact that intellectual, emotional and other experiences within the inner psychic milieu occur at various levels. The experiences of multilevelness of empathy, heroism, sadness, dramatization, as well as manifestations of instinctive drives belong to the scope of immediate multilevel empirical data.
1 Henri Bergson: Matière et memoire; essai sur la relation du corps et 1'esprit. Paris: Alcan, 1929.
The fact that somebody is aggressive and brutal, while another person is considerate and gentle; that one is cowardly, and another suffers of existential anguish; that somebody manifests a high level of sexual or self-preservation instinct—all this is given in inner experiences and in comparative and differentiated observations and evaluations of various individuals.
This indicates that the level of inner experiences is different among different people. In order to recognize lower and higher levels in oneself and in other people it is necessary to possess in oneself those various levels of “reality.” The higher levels have to be actually experienced and the lower levels must be recognizable in one’s past by means of affective memory. The recognition of multilevelness of mental functions and structures in oneself allows analogous recognition with regard to other people. Consequently, the ability for empirical recognition of multilevelness of mental life in oneself and in others appears only among those people who have achieved significant progress in their versatile development, particularly that of instinctive and emotional functions. This is especially true with regard to such experiences and kinds of knowledge which involve intuition, meditation, contemplation, ecstasy, and mystical states. Certainly these kinds of experiences are not universal or even widespread. They are restricted to human individuals endowed with specific mental qualities associated with the experiences of the transcendent, absolute reality. This point will be illustrated by Kierkegaard’s “Fear and Trembling.”
Hence, in our view the empiricist attitude is by no means identical with exclusive reliance on sensory experiences of a definite level or sensory experiences in general. The empiricist attitude includes openness to intuitive insights, although always carefully controlled and analyzed by the intellect, founded on appropriate training and education, and resulting in as precise a description as possible.
These kinds of experiences, if they come from a sincere search for the truth, are always associated with the need for rational, discursive, systematic and critical elaboration by the individual, himself, and by other people who possess knowledge in this field. Of course, this rational and systematic elaboration cannot interfere with the very object under study. It can and should consist in the search for and application of adequate criteria of control and in the refinement of the descriptive account of the kind of experiences.
In conclusion, the presence of sensory data is not necessary or decisive in order to obtain empirical knowledge. Multilevel empiricism includes all kinds of experiences of people of different developmental levels, pertinent to larger or smaller groups, if they are adequately described, irrelevant to the question of whether they are grounded in sensory data or in inner experiences of an instinctive, emotional or intellectual nature.
Multilevel empiricism can be defined as the view which regards as empirical all knowledge derived from experience, whether sensory or introspective, including instinctive and affective aspects of mental processes, if they are described, differentiated and critically elaborated.
The concept of multilevel empiricism should be applied in developmental and educational psychology, in psychopathology and especially in dealing with the problems of accelerated development. It may also have implications for scientific methodology and philosophy of science.
Multilevel empiricism is a consequence of the fundamental fact of the multilevelness of mental structures and activities of man. It is opposed to the static approach which cannot yield a satisfactory account of human
reality that is dynamic and developmental. Multilevel empiricism rejects the methodological emphasis on statistical techniques applicable only to great numbers and, consequently, unsuitable for the study of those qualities and phenomena which appear only, at higher levels and are restricted to the group of people who have reached those levels. It is obvious that the study of those significant phenomena and small groups of people, or even individuals, requires special methods and criteria which may differ from the ones applicable to more widespread qualities.
Multilevel empiricism assumes and postulates multilevelness of experiences and empirical investigations. It arises from Jackson’s Principles of the evolution of the neural system. 2 In the phylogenetic and ontogenetic development, multilevel empiricism finds its expression in the gradual growth of experiences, starting from simple and related to the external, sensory world and reaching to the highest forms of imagination, fantasy, sublimated instincts and autonomous moral valuation.
3. MULTILEVELNESS OF INSTINCTIVE
In the previous chapters we discussed the problem of Multilevel reality. Presently we will discuss the notion of multilevelness of instinctive dynamisms. This is a narrower, more particular problem. It concerns transformations of various instincts and the formation of new,
2 J. H. Jackson In James Taylor (Ed.), Selected writings Of John Hughlings Jackson, New York: 1958.
higher type instincts in ontogenetic human development. 1 The problem and concept of human instincts was the subject of great disputes for the first twenty years of this century. However, now, it is again the subject of major interest, mainly due to the influence of ethnologists. 2
In our conception, which is different from prevailing opinions, the essence of instinct is not necessarily the fact that instincts are a universal, common force for people and animals. According to our opinion the specifically human instincts are characterized by the following:
They are a genuine force which is differentiated in the course of development from other instinctive forces.
Their tension is equal to or higher than the tension of the basic, primitive instincts.
They appear and grow, not only in phylogenesis, but also in ontogenesis.
They constitute a compact, strong and distinctly structured force.
They may appear in some groups of human individuals (e.g. the creative instinct or the instinct of self-perfection).
Such forces as the creative instinct and the instinct of self-perfection are specifically human. On the other hand, such forces as the sexual instinct appear in animals and man, but in both are differentiated into levels. Consequently, in these conceptions, there is clearly the problem of inter-instinctive and intra-instinctive differences of
1 William McDougall: An introduction to social psychology, (Rev. Ed.). Boston: Luce, 1926.
F. R. Muller: Psychologie fur jedermann. 1925.
R. W. S. Hengston: Problem of instinct and intelligence. 1928.
R. Fletcher: Instinct in man. New York, International University Press, 1957.
2 Nikolaas Tinbergen: The study of instinct. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1951.
levels; that is to say, the differences of levels between various instincts and the differences of levels within each instinct.
In relation to the first problem we can distinguish the following instincts as “higher”: the cognitive collective, creative, self-perfection instincts, etc. The instincts of self-preservation, the sexual instinct and the instinct of fighting can be considered “lower.” We can also distinguish the intrainstinctive differences of levels of development, for example, in the instinct of self-preservation. Here, we see the transition from the primitive level of brutal aggressiveness to a tendency to preserving oneself as a “spiritual entity”—as a being which is separate, unique, unrepeatable, conscious of itself, and having empathy and esteem for the “Thou.”
The instinct of fighting presents various levels from the most brutal, primitive level of physical fighting to the struggle for ideas with an attitude of respect for the adversary.
The sexual instinct starts with tendencies which are characterized by nonselectivness and rigid integration directly serving physiological needs. However, it may be developed to the level of ideal love with retrospective attitudes, durability of feelings, uniqueness of bonds and full responsibility for the marital partner and the family.
Multilevelness in instinctive dynamisms consists in differentiation of the structure and functions of instincts such that, “lower” and “higher” levels can be clearly distinguished.
Every mentally healthy individual capable of empathy, self-control and responsibility is able to distinguish the brutal forms of the fighting instinct from higher forms such as; fighting for human rights and the rights of
the family—fighting, which in content and methods, takes into consideration the interests of other individuals and cultural groups. Such an individual can differentiate the brutal, unselective, uncontrolled sexual instinct from the one which is connected with higher human feelings, and with a need for stability and responsibility.
Objective, experimental elaboration of levels of instinctive dynamisms will give educators, social workers, psychologists, priests, psychiatrists and other workers in, the fields of the humanities fundamental methods for education and teaching.
4. MULTILEVEL EQUILIBRIUM.
The concept of equilibrium creates in psychology much more confusion than it does in biology, biochemistry or, physiology. What can equilibrium mean in psychology. It seems as though a golden middle in various kinds and forms of behavior. It is a state of relative calm associated with the readiness to undertake activity, which would not be particularly exhaustive. It is the state of adjustment to the changing conditions of life, a state aiming at the fulfillment of a human biological life-cycle without too much stress and tension. From the standpoint of typology, equilibrium might be considered a state of harmony between introversion and extraversion, between work and rest, sleep and waking.
Can mental equilibrium conceived in this way be reconciled with the basic facts about human development? The present writer thinks that the answer must be in
the negative. The reality of the transformations and growth of mental functions includes, besides the fact -of integration, the opposite processes which are no less strong and purposeful. They are the processes of Positive disintegration. There is no mental development, especially of an accelerated nature, without mental disturbances, stress, external and internal conflicts; that is to say, without such states of mental disequilibrium as depression, anxiety, obsession, positive maladjustment, “overcoming oneself,” transgression of the biological life cycle, transgression of one’s psychic type, etc.
Every authentic creative process consists of “loosening,” “splitting” or “smashing” the former reality. Every mental conflict is associated with disruption and pain; every step forward in the direction of authentic existence is combined with shocks, sorrows, suffering and distress. Complete equilibrium always remains an ideal.
Careful clinical studies of mental development indicate that, in order to arrive at the state of relative equilibrium of a higher level, it is necessary to pass through the state of disequilibrium. It seems necessary to pass through various forms and stages of unilevel and multilevel disintegration, until the individual is capable of reaching the highest stage of mental development, the stage of secondary integration. It might be proper to speak of degrees of equilibrium and disequilibrium of dynamisms tending toward possible eventual higher forms of equilibrium or disequilibrium.
Our viewpoint may be restated in the following words.
According to the biological sciences and psychoanalysis homeostasis is a necessary condition of normality and adaptation. From the standpoint of the theory of positive disintegration, on the contrary, positive and especially accelerated mental development requires a breakup of lower level homeostasis and a phase of mental disequilibrium which ends in secondary integration on a higher level. From this standpoint mental development
requires positive maladjustment toward “what is” in the name of “what ought to be.”
The conception of multilevelness of reality allows for the distinction of various forms of integration or homeostasis. It may be primitive, determined by biological and social forces or autonomous, achieved in the process of positive disintegration; that is to say, associated with and resulting from nervous and psychoneurotic tension, from inner conflicts and positive maladjustment through which the primitive homeostasis is destroyed.
It seems that a creative man an individual in the process of accelerated mental development must experience states of disequilibrium. The essence of the process of creativity involves increased mental excitability, especially emotional and imaginational. It is mainly mental hyperexcitability through which the search for something new, something different, more complex and more authentic can be accomplished. All this is associated with the loosening and disintegration of primitive homeostasis.
The attempts to bring human individuals with nervous tension and psychoneurotic symptoms back to the former, primitive, ordinary homeostasis betray a serious misunderstanding. Prefrontal lobotomy which seemed to promise a surgical cure to mental disturbances brought the patients to a state of vegetative “stability.” This treatment removed psychic hyperexcitability, disquietude and creative elements. The patients achieved tranquility, a better appetite and biological adaption at the expense of positive development, creativity and authenticity.
It should be emphasized that homeostatic stability coincides with a high threshold of resistance to frustration. Individuals of a low degree of sensitivity, psychopaths, some oligophrenics and other individuals with a small potential for positive development, easily overcome frustration, the loss of their relatives or moral shocks. Nervous and psychoneurotic individuals, on the contrary, show a low threshold of resistance to frustration. They
experience their traumas deeply and for a long time, keep them in memory and derive meaningful conclusions.
For psychoneurotic people certain kinds of trauma are “psychically fatal.” In Stefan Zeromski’s novel “Homeless People” one of the heroes, even many years afterwards, could not forget the death of a child in a red hat whom he used to watch playing underneath his window. His image continued to stay alive in his affective memory, always ready to reemerge. This fact, together with other events of a similar significance, brought him to the decision to commit suicide.
The Polish psychologist Wladyslaw Dawid experienced his wife’s suicide so deeply that he completely changed', his psychological type, his methods of research, and his attitude toward reality. We can notice in both cases a very low threshold of resistance to frustration and an outstanding ability for transformation, development and empathy.
Multilevel equilibrium is an equilibrium with a potential for development in the direction of higher level homeostasis through states of developmental or creative disequilibrium, that is to say, through the process of positive disintegration.
The concept of multilevel equilibrium introduces the, dynamic element, the element of transformation. Equilibrium ceases to mean something definite, but refers to, a process which, starting from primary equilibrium, passes through the state of disequilibrium to an equilibrium of a higher level. This concept is understandable only in a multilevel, developmental perspective. It emphasizes the positiveness of states of disequilibrium and of the processes of disintegration.
The concept of multilevel equilibrium introduces a specific understanding of the nature of mental development which has applications in developmental and educational psychology, in psychopathology and education. It is of help in revealing the positive, developmental function of psychoneurotic symptoms. This concept is no less useful in the philosophy of development, particularly in the philosophy of the development of personality.
5. MULTILEVELNESS OF JOY AND SADNESS
Every emotional function, volitional or intellectual, or a group of these functions has a multilevel structure. We chose joy and sadness from among other emotional functions to demonstrate this problem of multilevelness which perhaps one does not even expect in relation to joy and sadness and other similar functions.
Sadness, on its lowest level, is elemental and nonreflective, with a predominance of psychosomatic, temperamental elements. It is caused by fatigue after a strong physiological spending of energy in work, in conditions of unrealized psychophysical needs, or in frustration connected with these needs. It is a primitive sadness, close to a state of dissatisfaction. This sadness expresses a “readiness to anger” and not the needs for isolation and, inner psychic transformation.
At a higher level of unilevel disintegration and at the initial level of multilevel disintegration sadness gradually becomes less dependent on somatic factors. It is more reflective, associated with meditation and a tendency to isolation; it loosens its relationship with fundamental impulsive tendencies and connects with astonishment in rela-
tion to reality, with disquietude towards oneself and others, and with contemplation.
Such a sadness often expresses remoteness in relation to perceptible, concrete experiences. It also expresses remoteness toward the direct cause of sadness. It becomes more global and introduces other experiential functions into its own sphere—especially empathy, a tendency to identification with others and reflection.
Joy, on the lowest level, has an almost physiological character arising from a feeling of healthy tension, of energy; from the drive to satisfy fundamental, impulsive needs arising from a feeling of “excellent health,” from the need to realize one’s own selfish wishes, etc. Such a joy is often exhibited by participants and spectators in such sports as, on the one hand, boxing, football, racing, and on the other hand, in games associated with great tension such as gambling.
The Nazi organization “Kraft durch Freude” applied such primitive forms of joy, connected with asthenic attitudes, physical exercises, “conquering of hindrances” feeling of physical strength, superiority and egotism, primitive “will to power,” facility of decision and aggressiveness.
On the level of unilevel disintegration and borderline multilevel disintegration, joy looses its connection with fundamental impulses and becomes calm, less physiological, and more reflective. At this level sadness, as well as, joy succumbs frequent hesitations, ambivalences and ambitendencies, disharmony between ‘emotional attitudes and activities.
During the period of multilevel disintegration sadness and joy are evaluated hierarchically. While some kinds of sadness and joy become weak and are rejected by the consciously developing personality, others are introduced into the centre of its development. In this period we encounter so-called mixed emotional attitudes in the sense of experiencing sadness and joy at the same time. Both emo-
tional states become more reflective, more sublime, more intimate. The psychomotor elements lose their strength.
On a still higher level, joy and sadness are connected with the successes and failures in one’s own development. They cooperate with the activities of the third factor, self-consciousness inner psychic transformation, empathy and the process of approaching the ideal of personality. They become empathic, calmer, far-reaching and nontemperamental.
Calm and empathic joy never has an elemental, somato-psychic character because it is based on deep individual and group experiences, on reflection upon ones failures, of one’s own and other people’s and on the awareness limitations.
It is not connected only with the actual moment. There is an element of nonconcreteness and breadth in it. Even if it is connected with the present, it is retrospective and prospective. It is too multilevel and multidimensional to be connected with outbursts of emotion, temperament and the body.
In outstanding individuals we have the symptoms of “smiling through tears” and “smiles of concern and sorrow.” These symptoms are connected with profound and many-sided insights and with the feeling of the transitory nature. They are also connected with existential attitude.
In outstandingly developed individuals the feeling of great joy is associated with a history of suffering and with the expectation of new experiences. This kind of joy is presented in the picture “Women out of the Seine” or in Rembrandt’s picture “Christ on the Way to Emmaus.” In these pictures is presented smiling from afar; smiling connected with “passing into another world.” With experienced death.
These examples show us that the conceptual contents which have their own names, or better, terms, become complicated. In proportion to the development of the in-
dividual it loses its homogeneous nature. In such states as sadness, joy, fear, etc., we find various qualities which demand new concepts and new terms.
By multilevelness of joy and sadness we mean the different content, and even qualitatively different forms, depending on their different levels of development. On a lower level this multilevelness is “physiological and somatic,” concrete, isolated, “spastic,” with little reflection and without inner psychic transformation. On a higher level the characteristic features are: reflectiveness, certain isolation from concrete matters, remoteness and conjunction with other functions, especially empathy.
The above discussion is a concrete example of the application of the principle of multilevelness to the study of emotional functions. This application concerns certain, relatively simple elements of diagnosis. This is a diagnosis in the area of the psychology of expression, a diagnosis which, in spite of its segmental character, gives us an example of the possibilities of insight into other aspects of personality.
Multilevelness of joy and sadness plays a fundamental role in interpersonal relations, in the drama of everyday life, in fine dramatic and poetic arts—fields of great complexity and subtle discriminations. It is important in the study of intimate elements in the development of man, his autonomy, authenticity, empathy, existential attitudes, or inversely, his primitiveness. Consequently, multilevelness of joy and sadness is art example of our scale of levels of development of emotions.
The consideration of the multilevel nature of joy and sadness, as well as, other emotions is important in developmental and educational psychology, in education and
in broad areas of psychopathology. It can play a certain role in differentiated and multilevel diagnosis, and thus, may serve as an introduction into differentiated diagnosis of basic stages of mental development.
As we already mentioned, it is an important element in creative and artistic work.
6. THE DEVELOPMENTAL INSTINCT
The ontogenetic development of man is characterized by factors which appear, increase, reach their peak, and then become weaker and even disappear. This growth and decay, development and destruction, increase and decrease occur with emotional, factors, as well as, with the intellectual, physiological and anatomical elements of the human being.
Human behavior, from birth through development to maturity and old age, is under the influence of basic impulses. During the process of growth a particular impulse may weaken, and some specific functions mind may diminish. The importance of one personal goal might decrease and another assume dominance. Even during the reign of a specific factor, a contrary element may appear which at first may seem to be a minor one; general fashion of debut slowly grows to determine the development. These diverse tendencies are all coming from the biological life cycle.
Throughout the course of life of those who mature to rich and creative personalities there is a transformation of the primitive instincts and impulses with which they entered life. The instinct of self-preservation is changed. Its direct expression disintegrates, and is transformed into
the behavior of a human being with moral values. The sexual instinct is transformed into and bound up in lasting and exclusive emotional ties. The instinct of aggression may still be active in the area of conflicts between moral, social and intellectual values, transforming them into higher forms.
The whole process of transformation of primitive drives and impulsive functions into more reflective and refined functions occurs under the influence of evolutionary dynamisms which we call the developmental instinct. Stimulated by this instinct, the personality progresses to a higher level of development, the cultural human being; but only through the disintegration of narrow biologically determined goals. Such disintegration demonstrates that the forces of the developmental instinct are stronger than the forces of the primitive impulses. The developmental instinct acts against the automatic, limited and primitive expressions of the life cycle.
This action which weakens the Primitive sets of instincts, also disrupts the unity of the personality structure. Thus, personality develops through the loosening of its cohesiveness—an indispensable condition of human existence. The developmental instinct, therefore by destroying the existing structure of personality, allows the possibility of reconstruction at a higher level.
In this procedure we find three phenomena which take place with striking regularity:
1. The endeavor to break off the existing, more or less uniform structure which the individual starts to experience as tiring, stereotyped, repetitious and which he begins to feel is restricting the possibility of his full growth ‘and development.
2. The disruption of the existing mental structure of the individual, a disintegration of the previous internal unity. This is a preparatory period for a new mental structure of functions which may be experienced at first as somewhat strange and unsatisfactorily justified.
3. Clear grounding of the new value, with a corresponding change in the structure of personality and a recovery of lost unity, that is to say, the unification of the personality on a new, superior level.
New tendencies, new goals, and values transgressing the normal life cycle are so attractive that the individual does not see any sense in the pursuit of his former life.
He must leave his present level and reach a new, higher one. On the other hand, as described above, he must preserve his unity; that is, he must continue his psychological life, self-awareness and identity. Thus the development of the personality occurs through a disruption of the existing, initially integrated structure, through a period of disintegration which may end in secondary integration.
Disintegration of the primitive structures destroys the psychic unity of the individual. As he loses this cohesion, which is necessary for feeling and sensing in life, he is motivated to develop himself. The developmental instinct, then, following the disintegration of the existing structure of personality, contributes to its reconstruction on a higher level.
The developmental instinct is a fundamental maternal force in the development of all impulses and emotions which contains, in itself, the separate nuclei of transformation; of possible disintegrative processes; of the inner psychic milieu, special interests and talents; and the nuclei of the fundamental essence of human existence—i.e., the most I substantial individual human properties.
The assumption that there exists a maternal developmental force which provides the basis for the gradual unfolding of more specific instinctive and emotional
dynamisms seems to have significant implications for psychology, education and psychiatry. The concept of a developmental instinct associated with this maternal force depicts and explains the developmental unity within the variety of instinctive and emotional forces. This concept may be particularly useful in the study of the dynamics of mutual influences between environmental and autonomic determinants which bring about differentiation and refinement of the processes of development. Such a conception of the rudiments of human development seems to bring more clarity into psychological, psychiatric and philosophical analysis of the phenomenon of development.
7. THE CREATIVE INSTINCT
The creative instinct belongs to those instincts which arise in ontogenesis and are not common to all members of the human species, unless we take even their weakest nuclei into consideration. This instinct takes shape and develops in certain individuals on the level of spontaneous multilevel disintegration i.e., in the first phase of the formation of multilevel dynamism. In some rare instances it arises even on the level of unilevel disintegration.
Nevertheless, many so-called common people, who do not possess prominent mental traits, manifest the nuclei of this instinct and a moderate creative capacity usually of a narrow scope. A large number of such talents can be found among the countryfolk, e.g. in the Tatra Highlands in Poland.
As I mentioned in former chapters, the main reason why I regard such dynamisms as instincts is their
strength, which is equal to or greater than that of forces which are commonly called instincts. The intensity and cohesiveness of these dynamisms and their compact, tight, and uniform structure are further criteria for considering them as instincts. The creative dynamism, by the same token, belong to the class of instincts.
The essence of creativity and of the creative instinct will not be extensively discussed here. We shall only briefly review some of the circumstances associated with the formation and growth of this instinct. It arises and develops under the following conditions: the operation of the dynamisms of astonishment with the environment and with oneself, disquietude with the environment and with oneself, sensory and emotional sensitivity and foremost, an abundance of imagination and fantasy, and—usually—increased intellectual excitability.
It seems that the creative instinct is, as a rule, associated with nervousness, disquietude, depression, and anxiety, i.e. with those dynamisms consisting of a manysided “grasp of reality,” of experiencing it, seeing it more acutely, so to say, in a “crooked mirror,” in an existential mode.
The creative instinct appears to be a rather cohesive group of dynamisms. They transform old elements or dimensions of reality and create new ones in an original, mentally rich and complex manner. It appears to be a group of dynamisms that discover and mold new human realities, broad or narrow in scope, but always higher and valuable.
The creative instinct may vary in its range. However, it is always relatively limited, unless supported by such higher dynamisms as the third factor, “subject-object” in oneself, inner psychic transformation, identification and empathy, autonomy and authenticity.
The creative instinct, alone, or together with dynamisms of the same level, is in expression of a “psycho-
logical awakening,” of increased imaginational, emotional, psychomotor, sensory, and intellectual excitability combined in a group of varying breadth. The creative instinct, per se, does not usually contain hierarchical, evaluative elements. It is only the coupling of this instinct with other higher level dynamisms that links it with the need to develop an autonomous personality and its ideal.
In such circumstances the creative instinct usually becomes “introverted,” less “self-confident,” less dramatically externalized, less manifested to impress other people. Instead it appears as a more hidden, more dependent, more “modest” factor subordinated to the forces of the growing personality and its ideal and the self-perfection instinct.
Mickiewicz expressed this state in the following passage: “In the words you see the will only—in activity the real power. It is more difficult to be truly good throughout one single day, than to build a tower.
It is quite characteristic of highly creative people, who combine a strong creative instinct with the self-perfection instinct, that they frequently display a negative attitude toward the products of their creative efforts. This usually happens when they discover “more important matters,” e.g. the problems of transcendence, of human “essence” the transitory nature of human values, death, etc. It is then an indication of the degree of absorption by “the most important matters” which sometimes leads to belittling their creativity and even to destructive tendencies. toward their own works, e.g. Michelangelo, Father Chmielowski, etc.
In the last years of his life Michelangelo had a tendency to destroy his works. Albert Schweitzer subordinated his musical talents to his moral mission. Jan Wladyslaw Dawid subordinated his interest in experimental psychology to new higher forms of cognition expressed in mystical experiences.
The creative instinct is that instinct which discovers and molds new forms of reality. It does not, however, reach the broader and highest levels of reality without entering into close relation with other higher dynamisms, e.g.: self-perfection, authentism, personality ideal.
It would seem that the interpretation of creative drives as a creative instinct, and placing it on the developmental scale on the level of spontaneous multilevel disintegration and sometimes unilevel disintegration, explains its proper, scope.
According to this approach, the creative instinct cannot arise on a low level of integration and in psychopathy. Its nuclei on a fairly primitive or narrow level, which are expressed as vaguely felt needs and strivings for “artistic expression,” appear in unilevel disintegration and, first of all, in the spontaneous phase of multilevel disintegration.
On a higher level, when the development of an individual is universal, it loses its distinctness and independence, and associates itself with the self-perfection instinct and personality. This developmental localization and the transformations of the creative instinct can be of practical importance for its distinct shaping in a multilevel association with other dynamisms, for the development of the creative individual himself, and for the development of social groups and whole societies.
8. THE INSTINCT OF SELF-PERFECTION
The instinct of self-perfection appears as a dominant force at the stage of organized multilevel disintegration. it “is born” during conditions of a decisive separation of what is “lower” and “higher,” what is “more I” and “less I,” wheat is nearer and farther from the personality. It is the expression of a wide and multileveled organization of the structure of the individual, based on this separation from and an aspiring to a unity with the personality.
The appearance of this instinct expresses the transition to the “other side” of development which is higher and autonomous. It is, therefore, the transition towards personality and its ideal with a decisive control over the lower drives of the individual. It is the expression of a growing disjunction with what is primitive, egoistic, inauthentic, unilevel, and close to psychopathy. This instinct is a synthesis of the work of the “third factor,” the dynamism “subject-object” in oneself, inner psychic transformation, identification and empathy, self-consciousness and self-control. But, it is especially the synthetic work of the dynamisms which operate between organized multilevel disintegration and secondary integration. These are primarily the dynamisms of autonomy and authenticity, the disposing and directing center of a higher level and the ideal of personality.
Of course, the nuclei of the instinct of self-perfection already appear in the first symptoms of the developmental potential in psychic overexcitability, especially emotional, in the nuclei of the inner psychic milieu, in the nuclei of transgression of one’s psychological type and in the dynamism of inner psychic transformation.
In positive development we observe partial development of the instinct of self-perfection as a form of syntony, i.e. goodness and sympathetic understanding of other people or as responsibility for one’s duties. The “Partial
instinct of self-perfection” appears relatively early in development, but, it is an instinct on low developmental levels.
The conscious, extensive, and multilevel development of the instinct of self-perfection is an expression of the significant achievements of an individual. It is founded upon the results of the process of positive disintegration and upon a successful transgression of the spontaneous phase of multilevel disintegration and, consequently, upon the elaboration of the many basic dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu.
However, we have to distinguish genuine self-perfection instinct from the development of rigid, one-sided forms of perfectionism, such as the excess of orderliness and systematization of, for example, educational Puritanism. These are not based on the wide, multilevel process of disintegration or even partial disintegration; they are not sufficiently conscious and controlled; they do not help, in development but rather do an excessive parasitical work. They consist in creating strong, rigid outgrowths which impede fully rounded development.
The creative instinct plays an important role in collaboration with the instinct of self-perfection, but with this difference: the instinct of self-perfection has the task of finding something which is not only “new,” but also “higher.” It is not a problem of expression, but. one of authenticity. it is not the matter of finding, something new and expressing and demonstrating attractive, but of constructing the attitude of responsibility, of transgressing one’s psychological type and gradual, but universal, the biological life cycle. It means a approach to the limits of the “knowable.”
The creative instinct can operate at the stage of unilevel disintegration. The multilevel dynamisms and hierarchies are not as indispensable in its development as in the instinct of self-perfection. The creative instinct does not necessarily express universal, fully rounded development. Very often it is based on partial disintegration.
In this instinct sensual and imaginative hyperexcitabilities play the greatest role. Inner psychic transformation and especially the transgression of the psychological type and the biological life cycle do not show the necessary globality; they are partial only.
The instinct of self-perfection does not usually embrace a narrow area, but the whole or at least the greater part of the personality of the individual. All its functions are shaped so as to “uplift” man. It is the expression of the necessary, self-determined “raising up” in a hierarchy of values toward the ideal of personality.
The instinct of self-perfection, which covers a narrow area, is either condemned to atrophy or mental “cancerous degeneration,” because of the usual psychopathic outgrowths, the degeneration into Puritanism, etc. In favorable conditions it undergoes positive disintegration which develops and deepens mental sensitivity, the inner psychic milieu and even the psychoneurotic components.
The process of authentic self-perfection within one mental function of a group of functions causes the rising up of each function and of all functions together, as a totality. Simultaneously this process of uplifting allows a more thorough consolidation of the slow process of becoming independent from the lower levels of functioning. Self-perfection is separate from the not I” and expresses the active weakness of this “not I.” It can even bring the “not I” to atrophy.
At the level of operation of the instinct of self-perfection, all functions are subordinated to its activity. At the same time the instinct of self-perfection identifies itself more closely with the disposing and directing center and with the personality and its ideal.
Of course, the instinct of self-perfection has many different forms associated with the individual structure of personality. For example, the personalities of scientists, artists or individuals with dominant religious tendencies are bound to differ due to differing ideals, etc. Every dominant element independently from its
distinctness, is always bound to a definite basis for the development of the whole “universal” personality, with its fully rounded multidimensional and multilevel development.
With regard to the relation of the instinct of self-perfection to neuroses and psychoneuroses, it is clear that the genesis of this instinct is bound closely, and in positive correction, with mental hyperexcitability (nervousness) and psychoneuroses. Psychoneuroses, as we know, play the fundamental role in the development of unilevel and multilevel disintegration, in the separation of the “more I” and “less I,” in the growth of consciousness and in the development of autonomy and authenticity. In the self-perfection of the individual such psychoneuroses as anxiety neurosis, depressive neuroses of an existential type, play a fundamental role.
We have many examples which demonstrate the formation and functioning of the instinct of self-perfection. Many so-called ordinary people, mothers, fathers, teachers, doctors who systematically express in their everyday work a devotion, a renunciation of egoism, a responsibility and a giving up of their comforts for the realization of moral and social aims and duties, express higher levels of this instinct.
The conscious controlled sacrifice of oneself for the salvation of others, and for the building of “values of a higher rank,” is an expression of the instinct of self-perfection. This is the problem of the choice of one of two kinds of values,” of “the transition to the other side” or “the developmental dualism.” We can see this “choice” in the decisions and behavior of Socrates and Gandhi (voluntary submission to the verdict by Socrates, the request of Gandhi not to punish his murderer) and also, in the decision of Dr. J. Korczak who spontaneously chose to accompany his pupils to the crematorium.
In thousands of cases there is this “choice” demonstrated by the people who take care of lepers, by those working
in the area of contagious disease, ‘Where there is great possibility of contracting it.
The action of the instinct of self-perfection is synthesized in relation to other functions, and is usually regulated and systematized by concentration, meditation, contemplation, and even ecstasy. This contemplation or ecstasy, on the level of secondary integration and on the level of the instinct of self-perfection, is not a marginal, unilevel, or pathological state, but an expression of the synthesis on the highest level of personality.
The instinct of self-perfection is the highest instinct of a human being. It is based on the entire achievement and acquisition of multilevel positive disintegration and a highly developed inner psychic milieu in special collaboration with the creative instinct, inner psychic transformation, autonomy, authenticity and the ideal of personality. It expresses, besides the disposing and directing center, the highest force, subordinated to the personality and its ideal.
It seems that the view that the strong, clearly structured aspirations to perfection should be conceived as an instinct, diminishes the importance of such basic features as its phylogenetic origin and its community with the whole animal world.
In the present writer’s opinion, the force of some dynamisms and their predominate character among other dynamisms as well as their strict compact structure, permits us to conceive of them as instincts. The instinct of self-perfection is one of the highest instincts. It decides on the transgression of many instinctive forces with regard to their intrainstinctive and interinstinctive levels.
The analysis of the structure and position of this instinct in the hierarchy of human dynamisms removes this instinct from a purely intuitive grasp and places it on the level of empirical description. It is very important for developmental and educational psychology, for education, for the choice of one’s profession and for other fields of study associated with psychology, sociology, education, psychiatry, history and even politics.
This conception is especially important for those who can see the possibility of the formation of higher level compact forces in human life which would prevail over the power and compactness of primitive dynamisms. This conception is necessary, as we mentioned, for developmental psychologists, clergymen and people who practice authentic self-education and autopsychotherapy.
9. PARTIAL DEATH INSTINCT
It is as if the death instinct has two faces. One is turned outside, in the form of aggressiveness, hatred, cruelty and sadism. The other is turned inside and takes the form of animosity toward oneself, aggression toward oneself, self-torture or suicide.
The second kind of death instinct is the subject matter of this chapter. It is understandable that a man who staffers the infirmity of old age, who is aware of his serious, incurable and repulsive illness, who has the feeling that he will not be able to contribute anything positive—may then desire his own death, especially if he possesses a strong feeling of dignity and unwillingness to accept his complete dependence on other people. Being useless, unwanted, unable to participate in life
activities of those who have been considered close to him, he will feel “remote,” on the other side.” He may experience a growing need to accelerate the natural process. This is a form of the unavoidable, global and total departure from life to death. In such circumstances, frequently, the need arises to commit suicide.
At the time of war and Occupation of a country by foreign troops, members of the resistance movement some. times were forced to commit suicide in order to avoid possible betrayal of underground military or organizational secrets due to a possible breakdown caused through tortures applied by the enemy police.
Those acts have to be considered attempts to find a “way out,” attempts founded on former and actual experiences. When the circumstances made any other solution impossible, the decision to commit suicide taken by authentic, morally sensitive people could acquire the strength of an instinct.
However, we encounter other kinds of mental states, states which are not always fully conscious, which may be associated with certain stages of development. In some other cases we encounter highly conscious mental states of great tension during which profound transformations take place. This tension comes from developmental dynamisms and multilevel structures within which some higher levels of functions grow upon lower levels and lead through difficulties, conflicts and disintegration to fundamental psychic transformations. The usual result of this process is that some of the functions are weakened and others are strengthened.
This “weakening,” “pushing away,” “dying out” of some functions and values, conscious or half-conscious elimination of them is an expression of a force which we may call “ partial death instinct.” This instinct may be active at the time of adolescence, menopause and great stress. It results in setting new layers upon such dynamisms as: the struggle of conflicting tendencies
(former dynamisms recede and new dynamisms take a dominant position, ambivalences and ambitendencies such as feelings of inferiority and superiority, states of excitement and depression). This instinct of partial death may also be active independently of the above-mentioned periods, e.g. at the time of serious external conflicts, and, above all, inner conflicts.
Distinct creative tendencies, tendencies toward self-perfection, that is to say, tendencies toward transformations, toward accelerated development are, as a rule, associated with mental structures of those people who have a definite positive hereditary endowment favorable to accelerated development. They usually coincide with mental hyperexcitability, especially that of an emotional or imaginational nature, with disharmony, with the processes of mental “loosening.” These kind of mental states occur when there is the process of growth of hierarchization of values, precision of the personality, ideal, formation and growth of the inner psychic milieu and its dynamisms particularly the third factor, “subject-object” in oneself, inner psychic transformation, autonomy and authenticity.
Astonishment with oneself, disquietude and discontent with oneself, inferiority feelings toward oneself, feelings of shame and guilt lead to the transformation and activation of negative attitudes toward some of one’s own mental qualities and toward some of the influences of the external environment. They also lead to positive attitudes toward higher and authentic qualities in the inner psychic milieu and in the external environment. All those processes lead to the appearance and growth of the division between what is “lower” and what is “higher,” between what is “less myself” and what is “more myself,” between the dependent and inauthentic “I” and the autonomous and authentic “I.” This process constitutes the foundation of basic transformations of the mental structure and of the disappearance of one “personality” and the birth and development of another. It
involves the experience of the dualism between “what is” and “what ought to be”; between the ideal, the absolute, on the one hand, and the more biological, primitive, instinctive, on the other hand.
In all this struggle between higher and lower levels, between human and animalistic elements in oneself, the instinct of partial death takes a crucial role. It operates in the service of developmental forces, and aims at a destruction and annihilation of lower mental levels. Various forms of this instinct constitute important factors in the experiences of suffering, inner conflicts, and psychic transformation. After a period of organization this instinct represents a synthetic destructive force in the service of development and self-education; it becomes one of the most important positive developmental dynamisms. As previously mentioned, it manifests itself in ambivalences and ambitendencies, in the feeling of inferiority and discontent with oneself, in the third factor and in the dynamisms of inner psychic transformation. Finally, it becomes a cohesive., integrated force subordinated to the personality and its ideal.
In its negative and even pathological form the death instinct can have certain negative aspects: the desire of nonexistence, hostility and hatred toward oneself without hierarchization of values, without the formation and growth of higher values. This would constitute a one directional, noncreative, destructive process, frequently ending in suicide.
The instinct of death is a basic force of two directions: externally, it takes the form of aggression, hatred and tendency to inflict pain upon and to kill others, and internally, the form of weakening and annihilation of some inner qualities or suicide.
We mean by the positive instinct of partial death the instinct which is consciously or half-consciously directed
toward inner psychic transformation, toward weakening and elimination of some dynamisms, and thus, toward setting up other dynamisms which are of a higher level.
In the domains of the highest mental activities, in developmental psychology, and especially in the psychology of great and creative human transformations, very frequently associated with psychoneuroses, the concept and the dynamisms of the instinct of death provide significant insights and understanding into that which is growing and that which is succumbing to atrophy in protracted inner conflicts, developmental crises—which, in the observations and behavior of an individual and in his inner experiences, manifest themselves in the form of suicidal thoughts and tendencies self-torture, and inner psychic transformation associated with “psychic spasm.” Active, participation of the personality of an individual in the process of weakening and destruction of one’s own mental qualities is an expression of what we call the partial death instinct.
Consequently, this concept may be usefully applied both theoretically and practically in education and self-education, in psychotherapy and autopsychotherapy, in dealing with psychoneurotic processes, and in matters of inner transformations through positive disintegration and the so-called “inner life.”
10. NEGATIVE INTEGRATION
From the psychological point of view we can call integration the unification, organization or coordination of structures or functions into a definite system. In
Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, integration is defined as the incorporation into society of an individual or group as equal. In another use, it means the coordination of mental processes into a normal, effective personality.
According to Lalande 1 the term integration was used particularly by H. Spencer who applied it to the state for interdependence between parts of a living being Lalande also mentions another use of this term which means the incorporation of new elements in an earlier psychological system.
In all these conceptions integration is conceived as a positive, developmental phenomenon. Let us try, however, to clarify another phenomenon which in psychology and psychiatry we call negative integration. It has some reference to the fields of education, sociology and politics.
Primitive man of a low level of mental development generally acts in an integrated manner. His activity is subordinated to the strongest concrete drives or closely interconnected with drives which control and direct the individual toward the realization of his basic needs.
The same symptom can be found in psychopathic individuals who act, dynamically and aggressively with distinct prevalence of excitation over inhibition, with, lack of social emotions and empathy (which usually disorganize the primitive, compact, instinctive dynamisms). The same is true in regards to the attitudes of excessive conformity to actual conditions or psychopathic lack of conformity. In the first case, all well-organized activity of the individual is in the service of the instinct o self-preservation or other instincts. In the service of these instincts are servility, hypocrisy, lies—all that we are used to calling inauthentic behavior. In the second case we are dealing with ambition, instinct of fighting, feeling of superiority, but without autonomous self-control, understanding of others and without concern for their welfare.
In both cases intelligence and the emotions are com-
1 A. Lalande: Vocabulaire de la philosophic. Paris, Alcan, 1929.
pletely subordinated to these, lowest, impulsive drives.
Therefore, we observe here a strong integrated structure on a low level, strongly integrated actions, little or no hesitation, lack of inhibition. It is precisely inhibition which in the opinion of C. Sherrington 2 and others, attests to the transition to the level of essentially human behavior.
To this group of people belong the so-called “strong” individuals, who in the usual meaning of this word, do not shun away, from any form of injustice, oppression, terror or crime. In fact, these people have extremely poor developmental potential; they undermine, or even destroy, cultural growth of their societies. We can contrast them with another kind of “strong” people—those who are capable of empathy and reflection. They are the people who show strength and uncompromising attitudes especially toward themselves, and are capable consciously to risk their own lives to counteract injury, aggression and crime (Socrates, Gandhi, Lincoln, etc.). These people, however, have a rather difficult history of experiences, inhibitions, and even depressions in their hard way toward higher stages of mental development.
It seems that in this way living beings pass from forms of behavior controlled by lower neural centers to those controlled by cortical and frontal centers. Psychic development of living creatures and especially man consists in this growth of self-determination; that is to say, the growth of the role of “one’s own forces,” increasingly more conscious, increasingly independent of momentary stimuli and conditions. At the same time man becomes more dependent on his own conscious history of development, on retrospection and prospection, and an autonomous hierarchy of values and aims.
2 C. Sherrington: Man on his nature. Cambridge; Cambridge University Press, 1953
Negative integration is a primitive, inflexible structure of functions which shows a low level of narrow rigid organization of primitive, impulsive, nondevelopmental forces, with intelligence subordinated to those forces.
As we mentioned, the concept of negative integration is indispensable to the understanding of psychopathy, some global forms of mental retardation and rigid mental structures which do not present development or only weak or partial forms of development.
Consequently negative integration could be applied in developmental and educational psychology, in education and in the study of interpersonal relations.
It seems to the author that such a notion introduces important differentiation in the developmental types of human individuals and groups. It also differentiates the very concept of integration which has been used until now in an almost exclusively positive connotation.
This concept of negative integration should have increasing importance in general psychopathology and psychiatry, especially with regard to the problem of norms of mental health, in psychopathology and oligophrenia. It is also fundamental to contradistinguish psychopathy from mental retardation.
The application of this concept by the people responsible for education and politics could help in the early recognition of psychopaths and in preventing them from gaining positions of power and control over their countries (Hitler, Stalin, Trujillo, etc.). The general inability to recognize the psychological type of such individuals causes immense suffering, mass terror, violent oppression, genocide and the decay of civilization.
11. POSITIVE DISINTEGRATION
The term integration refers to structures and functions or groups of functions in well-ordered setups in which functions of minor significance are subordinated to dominant functions of a more important role in an individual’s life. Consequently, integration refers to the total operation of coordinated functions of an organism ordered as a whole.
Disintegration, on the contrary, refers to loose, dissolved, disordered setups and expresses often mental disequilibrium. From an evaluative point of view, integration seems to be an expression of mental health, i.e., a positive phenomenon; disintegration, on the contrary, a negative, abnormal and morbid phenomenon.
In preceding chapters we mentioned the problem of the participation of loosening and disintegration in the processes of mental development. Now we are going to briefly discuss the problem of the so-called positive disintegration. We refer here to the general processes of medium or great intensity, like mental overexcitability; conscious, external and, especially internal conflicts; states of dissatisfaction with oneself, etc. It does not seem that authentic creativity of a high level is possible without the activity of neurotic and psychoneurotic dynamisms. There is no great drama, great poetry, religious mystery (which after all, present the original experiences of their authors) without significant elements of suffering, disruption, depression and inner conflicts. There are no epoch-making philosophical works without serious disintegrative experiences of those who created them. Although the present writer admits the possibility of nondisintegrative ways of development, he wishes to state that in the course of his studies the alleged counterexamples, after a closer examination, proved to be apparent. Therefore, the conclusion seems to be well justified that mental development, especially in its
accelerated form, does not take place without emotional and imaginational overexcitability which, by itself, presents disequilibrium and disharmony in the internal and—less often—external environment. We seem to be unable to fully develop and achieve cultural growth without inner conflicts and maladjustment to ourselves and to our surroundings—none of which are phenomena of an integrative nature.
The capacity for accelerated, creative development is, as a rule, associated with mental overexcitability, neuroses and psychoneuroses. It is characteristic that neither nervousness (mental overexcitability, especially emotional imaginational and intellectual) nor neuroses nor psychoneuroses are observable in psychopathy or in cases of medium, or serious mental retardation.
However, one reservation must be made. There are instances of a high level of one-sided development in the domain of technology or exact sciences, without psychoneurosis and without the development of the “global man,” that is to say, without the growth of emotion and higher drive.
On the other hand, sadness, depression and existential anxiety do not occur among primitive individuals or psychopaths. They are frequent among individuals of great sensitivity, richness and depth of feelings, imagination and thought. It is also well known that individuals who show more or less distinct dispositions toward positive development accelerate and deepen their development under the impact of mental traumas.
In outstanding and creative individuals the formation and realization of creative ideas is associated with depression experienced in confrontation of reality of a lower level and with a tendency to discover reality of a higher level. Such individuals continually experience states of “disruption,” mental “elevation,” increase of creativity, empathy and authenticity.
The creative process frequently occurs in states of meditation, contemplation or even ecstasy—all of which
represent higher phases of disintegration. In suffering, sorrow, sadness, despair and tragedy, the states of depression and dejection coexist with the states of elevation, loftiness, and joy. Depressions and existential anxiety are characteristic of the majority of outstanding artists, especially poets, writers and painters—to mention only a few: Proust, Kafka, Kierkegaard, Saint Exupéry, Tolstoi, Camus, Michelangelo, Van, Gogh, etc. Serious disintegrative transformations stimulated and enhanced creative forces in Clifford Beers,—Wladyslaw Dawid, Fedor Dostoevsky, John Keats, etc.
Some critics quote the example of Mendelson as a case of development without the process of disintegration. It should be noted, however, that Mendelson did not represent a great outstanding talent and that his main characterological trait, associated with a degree of musical ability, consisted in his capacity for being fashionable, likable and in easy adjustment to his social environment. Another alleged counterexample refers to Mozart. On a closer study, it becomes evident that he experienced grave, although not well known, psychoneurotic states, particularly those associated with the. problem of death; and these psychoneurotic experiences, sometimes of an intense and obsessive nature, were dominant in certain periods of his life.
Phases of positive disintegration
Positive disintegration goes through the phases of unilevel disintegration, spontaneous multilevel disintegration, and directed multilevel disintegration which is organized and systematized into secondary integration.
We will restrict ourselves here to short descriptions of each phase, because they are more thoroughly discussed in further chapters. Unilevel disintegration is characterized by its “unilevelness”; that is to say, by the absence of the dynamisms of hierarchization of oneself into “lower” and “higher,” more and less developed
elements which are closer to or distant from one’s personality. There is ambivalence and ambitendency at this stage, instability of emotional and volitional attitudes, a variety of disposing and directing centers—that is to say, a number of “wills, which are not subordinated to one dominant, “central” factor.
The phase of spontaneous multilevel disintegration is characterized, as its name indicates, by multilevelness and spontaneity. Its main trait consists in the hierarchization of values and in the operation of such dynamisms as astonishment with oneself, dissatisfaction with oneself, disquietude with oneself, maladjustment to oneself and to the environment. At this stage of his development, the individual is under constant pressure to “transcend” the rigidity of a unilevel structure and to activate creative dynamisms.
The directed phase of multilevel disintegration is characterized by its organizing, systematizing role, by the growth of consciousness and self-control, by systematic experiencing and separation of different levels in oneself (the dynamism subject-object” in oneself, the third factor), by inner psychic transformation and the growth of empathy. This Phase enters into secondary integration, i.e., the mature personality.
Our consideration lead to the conclusion that, besides positive integration there exists integration on a low level—nondevelopmental or negative integration—and, on the other hand, there is a phenomenon of positive disintegration which plays a crucial role in mental development and, without which, there cannot be accelerated mental development.
Integration can be positive or negative. Positive integration contains fundamental elements of positive or accelerated development and—in its integrative developmental process—contains also elements of positive disintegration.
Negative integration is a coherent structure of primitive instincts; narrow, rigid, nondevelopmental; noticeable mainly in psychopathy and in some forms of global mental retardation.
Positive disintegration consists of unilevel or multilevel process of loosening or even disruption of lower levels of the mental structure of an individual which leads to the rise of the inner psychic milieu; that is to say, to a higher level of mental development, including the formation of authentic personality and secondary integration.
Negative disintegration consists of the process of loosening and disruption which manifests negative transformations leading to dissolution or involution of mental functions, as exemplified in the majority of psychoses.
The concepts of integration and disintegration are typical “growing” concepts which develop in proportion to the development of psychology and psychopathology of higher mental functions. Integration ceases always to be positive, and disintegration ceases always to be negative. The problems of positive disintegration and negative integration arise.
It is understandable that conscious acceptance of this. viewpoint represents an attempt to explain a large number of problems related to mental development—particularly to the developmental role of neuroses and psychoneuroses; problems of creativity, problems of transcendence of the biological life cycle and an individual’s psychological type. All those problems are of fundamental significance in the elaboration of hierarchically oriented programs of education and self-education, as well as, the elaboration of adequate methods of education.
A substantial number of conceptions and approaches discussed here is of crucial importance in “psychopatho-
logy”; above all, in the psychopathology of neuroses and psychoneuroses which undergo a fundamental reinterpretation. Acquaintance with and appreciation of the phenomenon of positive disintegration cannot remain without weakening the “courage” of those who want to “cure' nervousness and psychoneuroses instead of assisting in developmental problems of those who display positive and accelerated mental growth.
The above ideas have distinct relevance to the task and work of teachers and educators. It implies a new attitude toward so-called nervous children and reveals their special potential for accelerated positive development. It provides insight into a philosophy of development in a multidimensional perspective and with the necessary consideration of the creative role of the processes which disrupt mental structures. It provides psychological foundations for a philosophy of “human essence in existence” and a philosophy of personality conceived as a self-conscious, self-chosen, self-confirmed and self-educating structure of mental qualities which preserves its central elements in the process of further growth.
Semantics is another area in which the concept of positive disintegration may be usefully applied. In opposition to the one-sided concern for the precision and univocality of concepts, it reveals the developmental role of the disintegration of concepts in the form of multivocality. It shows the creative elements in the split of concepts into levels and strata which prove more important than' the tendencies toward unification and reduction of concepts to the lowest level. Certain areas of semantical investigations may undergo significant progress, if this viewpoint of developmental disintegration is properly applied.
12. POSITIVE ALIENATION
Various contemporary dictionaries define alienation as estrangement from the form of life considered by society as normal and healthy. This term is also applied to maladjustment, that is to say, a state different from the one which enjoys social acceptance. In other contexts, this term is used in references to mental illness and related states which are regarded as pathological forms of social maladjustment, as strange or even dangerous forms of behavior.
An analysis of the term alienation must take into account its two-fold application: alienation in relation to oneself and in relation to the environment. Individuals suffering mental disturbances or illness might express, at least the majority of them, both forms of alienation. The concept of maladjustment to social environment in cases of mental illness seems to be clear. Maladjustment towards oneself in such cases denotes disharmony, disintegration, lack of a distinct disposing and directing center, split of personality, etc. Mental retardation is a special form of alienation characterized, not so much by maladjustment toward oneself, as maladjustment toward the external environment.
Psychopathy is another expression of alienation, although this is a rather complicated problem. Some psychopaths endowed with above average intelligence and energy may give the appearance of identification with society and, consequently, substantial parts of society may identify themselves with this kind of psychopath. It only after a period of hypersuggestive influence of the psychopaths, after a period of mental “asphyxia” that the feeling of alienation becomes widespread. The consequences of this kind of alienation are very grave.
An analysis of the life and political activity of such influential psychopaths as Hitler or Stalin shows the significant difference between superficial and authentic forms
of identification of peoples with their political leaders and its impact upon the resulting process of alienation. As long as the suggestive, power of the psychopaths is not confronted with facts and with moral and practical consequences of his doctrine, entire social groups may succumb to his demagogic appeal. We are dealing here with mental states analogous to pulmonary asphyxiation. The liberation from this spell comes only through multiplication of facts, which clearly contradict the official doctrine and the promises of psychopathic leaders. In such cases the whole society is frustrated and shocked. Basic social and moral dynamisms disintegrate. This is a state of profound alienation.
The question arises: how is it possible that social groups or even whole societies, of a more or less advanced culture and some degree of mental health, identify themselves with psychopaths or psychopathic leaders of a political movement which inevitably brings about extreme forms of social evil, degeneration and crimes? The answer to this question and the responsibility for this kind of social disaster is in the mistaken approach to. education, which disregards the ability to distinguish authentic and seeming values and is restricted to a purely professional training. Thus, one-sided education is conducive to the formation of a mentality which praises dynamic activity and aggressiveness above other values and is incapable of authentic valuation and resistance to. primitive forms of persuasion and suggestiveness.
There also are cases of social alienation which follow from certain philosophical and social doctrines and their influence upon political life. They are particularly conspicuous in totalitarian systems shaped by one-sided. dynamisms characteristic for the mentality of political groups which control the government. Their dominant dynamisms are completely or substantially different from those of the majority of society. Consequently, they are. forced to rely oil terror in order to remain in power. A one-sided and imposed system can never fulfill a posi-
tive role in education. It impedes and distorts fully rounded human development.
The so-called democratic systems may also generate alienation, especially if the originally democratic forms degenerate and lead to serious deprivations. Sometimes formal democracy serves as a cover for ruthless dictatorial practices and this process of degeneration of democracy takes the form of behavior which may be called “as if democratic.” This seemingly democratic behavior may create favorable conditions for the pursuit of the interests of those who are cleverer and better adjusted, in the sense of negative adjustment—that is to say, adjusted to a successful attainment of their aims which may be contrary to the interests of a democratic society. On the other hand, if the conditions are favorable for fully rounded human development, negative forms of alienation decrease.
As I mentioned above, some superficially “attractive” political and social systems may include degenerative elements. This is often due to a one-sided concern for revolutionary changes which may be positive, but are pursued without regard for disastrous consequences resulting from a one-sided approach to the problem of social change. The totalitarian systems represent typical examples of such failures. A basically just program aiming at elimination of alienation resulting from the remnants of feudal systems or from the control of the means of production by aggressive capitalists was profoundly and tragically distorted through antidemocratic measures and the establishment of political systems which restrict or destroy personal freedom—freedom of association, of work and personal property. Distinct, although one-sided progress in one domain, was compensated by much more significant harm resulting from underestimation of basic human needs, and foremost, underestimation of the role of personal freedom.
Let us turn now to the main problem, that is to say, to the so-called positive alienation. It seems that crea-
tive dynamisms of a high level, all-around and accelerated mental development, and more or less versatile self-perfection cannot be realized without some forms of alienation from oneself and from the environment. A number of other chapters in this book point out that nervousness and an overwhelming majority of psychoneuroses are expressions of alienation from oneself and from the environment, and constitute the condition “sine qua non” in the realization of creative abilities and accelerated development. The same is true of the so-called self-perfection and the road toward sainthood.
We encounter some forms of alienation, as a rule, in the process of transgression of one’s own psychological type or the biological life cycle, that is to say, on the way toward autonomy and authenticity. To be “strange,” “different” is, at some developmental phases and periods of life, associated with mental growth. In order to develop into Rorschach’s ambiequal and contact introvert type, in order to attain autonomy and authenticity, it is necessary to pass through the process of positive disintegration—i.e., through the process of positive alienation.
Positive alienation is a state or process of more or less conscious maladjustment toward oneself and one’s environment and of conscious multilevel disintegration on the way toward secondary integration.
Positive alienation is the state or process of estrangement, loosening and disruption of one’s relations with the environment or one’s contact with oneself and leads, through positive disintegration, to secondary integration. This state or process is distinguished by the dominance of emotional over intellectual components and by various degrees of consciousness.
An understanding of the problem and concept of positive alienation may be of fundamental importance in the approach to and realization of universal, multilevel and multidimensional education. It may help in a fundamental revision of the attitudes toward positive maladjustment, transgression of the psychological type and the biological life cycle; that is to say, it may have applications in developmental psychology, psychotherapy and autopsychotherapy. The concept of positive alienation, together with the concept of positive disintegration, may become significant in a new, positive interpretation of mental disturbances, particularly those of a psychoneurotic type. It may also contribute to the prevention of criminality, both in the usual social sense, as well as, political crimes and aggressive wars resulting from the occupation of positions of political power by psychopaths.
13. ASTONISHMENT WITH ONESELF
Astonishment in relation to oneself expresses the first phase in the authentic observation of oneself. It is the cause of loosening of one’s own mental structure. It is, of course mainly an intellectual dynamism, but often associated with disquietude. It is a state of mind in which we may tend to say: “Something is not quite right in myself.”
Astonishment in relation to oneself is the preliminary stage of “separation” of the subject and object in oneself—a subject that wonders and an object to which this “wondering” refers. It is a healthy form of splitting of oneself, because it is one of the fundamental elements of
mental development. Astonishment in relation to oneself is the beginning of the desire to change. It not only expresses the attitude, “something is not quite right with me,” but also looks for that “which is wrong with me.” These reflections usually bring about the desire to change that which is wrong, correcting and transforming so as to make it what it “ought to be.”
As we previously mentioned, astonishment in relation to oneself and in relation to the external world do not act in isolation from other developmental dynamisms.
Astonishment with oneself is the feeling that some of one’s mental qualities and dynamisms are surprising and unexpected. It is an intellectual-emotional dynamism, with a preponderance of intellectual elements directed toward oneself, toward that which acts in our inner psychic milieu, and toward that which disturbs us. This dynamism causes us to develop an attitude of self-criticism.
Astonishment with oneself is a term which refers to a well-known psychological fact. This fact is analogous to the phenomenon noticed thousands of years ago and called “astonishment with the world, astonishment with that which occurs in the external world.” Astonishment in relation to oneself is an introversion of this phenomenon known already in ancient times. We can clearly see its importance among such notions as disquietude in relation to oneself, the feeling of inferiority toward oneself, dissatisfaction with oneself, the dynamisms of subject-object” in oneself and the third factor.
This notion seems to be important in education, especially in self-education and psychotherapy. As one of the fundamental dynamisms at the stage of multilevel
spontaneous disintegration, it has to play a role in psychology, developmental psychopathology and the psychology of personality.
A disturbance of the primordial unity of one’s own structure is, in our opinion, necessary for development. An expression of such a disturbance is, among others, astonishment with oneself. It does not seem to us that authentic development, self-education or autopsychotherapy could exist without the participation of this dynamism.
14. DISQUIETUDE WITH ONESELF
Disquietude with oneself is a dynamism analogous to the dynamisms of disquietude with the external world. Contrary to the dynamisms of astonishment with oneself, here, the emotional elements have superiority. Disquietude with oneself expresses itself, on the one hand, Through insight into oneself, and on the other hand, through a feeling of moderately intense uneasiness associated with the novelty and negative nature of this new experience. A man in the state of disquietude with himself begins to search f or the meaning of his behavior and even his existence. He tries to understand better his own psyche and its dynamisms.
In the operation of this dynamism we :see the rise and development of negative attitudes directed towards oneself, which are connected with a feeling of dislike and with the even a vague disapproval of oneself, as well as, desire to “run away” from certain features of oneself. It is an attitude similar to Monakow’s “ekklisis,” but in relation to oneself.
Disquietude with oneself is an important step in the loosening of the inner psychic milieu and cannot take place in conditions of primitive integration. it is one of the elements of the “awakening” of a hierarchy of values in oneself and the first stage in the application of this hierarchy toward the external world.
Disquietude with oneself presents a picture of healthy suspicion towards oneself similar to astonishment with oneself; but, as we mentioned, disquietude has a more distinct emotional coloring. It manifests a growing attitude of self-criticism, but with considerable emotional tension.
Disquietude with oneself, as a symptom of the first stage of multilevel disintegration, expresses surprise at oneself and is the signal of developmental “readiness” towards inner psychic transformation. If it becomes a more or less steady and “penetrating” state, it is expressed in nervousness, and even light states of psychoneurosis.
Disquietude with oneself cannot coexist with psychic rigidity and a “narrow” attitude toward life; nor can it be connected with egocentrism, self-assurance, lack of general psychic sensitivity or a psychopathic structure. Disquietude with oneself is different from disquietude about oneself. The former is the expression of developmental, creative and cognitive instincts. It constitutes one of the fundamental elements of self-perfection. Disquietude about oneself contains elements of the instinct of self-preservation of a rather low level. There is, therefore, a clear difference between the two kinds and levels of disquietude.
By differentiating between disquietude with oneself and disquietude about oneself we have split this concept into two ideas which differ with regard to content and developmental level. We see here a striking developmental complication, “explosion of the novel” which at first seems to be nuclear, having a tendency to reduction;
but, after a closer analysis, we see that it expresses the growth of a new developmental conception of reality.
Disquietude with oneself consists of astonishment with oneself combined with a strong emotional component and evaluative attitude of a medium intensity. It is an emotional-cognitive dynamism taking part in the process of loosening and hierarchization of one’s own mental structure through critical and partly negative attitudes directed toward one’s features of character.
Confirmation or negation of the presence of disquietude towards oneself in everyday life, in school, in the educational environment, in professional life and in the family circle gives a basis for appraisal of an individual’s capacity for mental development Therefore, in the diagnosis of personality, and in developmental and educational psychology, the application of this concept is very important. Development of this dynamism in children and youth seems to be decisive for their future mental growth. If we accept that a certain degree of mental loosening, and consequently mental disintegration, is indispensable in positive development, the discovery of the symptoms of disquietude with oneself and other dynamisms of the same group, gives a good prognosis for development.
The formation of an inner hierarchy in relation to one’s own personality and others is dynamically connected with disquietude with oneself. Hence, the importance of this dynamism in self-education and self-perfection is evident. Disquietude with oneself is a basic dynamism in knowing oneself and thus, is important in the creation of one’s own personalistic philosophical attitude.
15. INFERIORITY FEELING TOWARD ONESELF
The feeling of inferiority toward oneself is a state and process fundamentally different from the feeling of inferiority toward the external world which, in the opinion of Alfred Adler 1, is a basic factor in the positive, as well as, negative development of man.
The feeling of inferiority toward oneself is, as a rule, a developmental, multilevel and hierarchical dynamism. It presupposes the “perception” of one’s own ideal, one’s possibilities, one’s higher levels, and, at the same time, repeated experiments of the “ascending” and “descending” in one’s own inner psychic milieu.
It contains, then, the awareness of the possibility of development, the feeling of the possibility of the realization of higher levels of development, and the awareness of the danger coming from the possibility of failure and descent to a lower level. This feeling is connected with the slowly increasing feeling of humanity, the awareness of one’s own weaknesses and dangers and, at the same time, the feeling of one’s own potential and strength. This last feeling together with the awareness of at least, at times, being close to the ideal, is a source of joy and encouragement. It is associated with the attitudes of affirmation and negation, sadness and hope, depression and sublimation.
The feeling of inferiority toward oneself is a typical, multilevel, hierarchical and hierarchizing dynamism There is a clear distinction between the feeling of inferiority toward the external environment and the feeling of inferiority toward oneself. The latter, as the name indicates, addresses itself toward oneself and aims at the transformation of oneself. In the former there is often envy, dissatisfaction with others, jealousy, aggressive
1 A. Adler: The practice and theory of individual psychology. London: Rutledge and K. Paul, 1929.
A. Adler: Individualpsychologie in der schule. Leipzig: S. Hirzel, 1928.
tendencies; the latter sets as a factor in weakening aggressiveness; it promotes better contact with the environment and increases empathy and identification. it plays an important role in inner psychic transformation, intravertization, and in the inner psychic life of the individual.
The feeling of inferiority toward oneself collaborate closely with such dynamisms as: astonishment with oneself, disquietude with oneself and dissatisfaction with oneself. It enters slowly into collaboration with the feelings of shame and guilt, the dynamisms of “subject-object” in oneself and the third factor. It contains the need to move away from “what is” and gradually to approach what ought to be.” The feeling of inferiority, as we mentioned above, implies the attitude of compassion, empathy, alterocentrism and the need to help other people in their problems.
The following is an example of the feeling of inferiority toward oneself taken from the biography of one of the author’s patients: “Yes, the feeling of superiority . . . but much more often the feeling of inferiority, not only in relation to others, but also toward, myself. Just lately something has begun to change in me, only recently have I experienced the feeling of humility, weakness and sometimes helplessness; just lately my large and assured knowledge and my absolute egoism is breaking up.”
And again, as in many other “developing” terms, we can see here the processes of disintegration of the former cohesiveness, clarity, uniformity and narrowness of the primitive conceptualization. From the term “feeling of inferiority” two basically different concepts and terms, two different qualities and two different dynamisms are born it is, as we said before, an expression of a positive, developmental complication, an “analysis” in an upward direction. It is at the same time, an instance of “enrichment” of a concept in the search for a better, more synthetic grasp of the development of man.
The feeling of inferiority toward oneself consists of the experience 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.”
The feeling of inferiority toward oneself is an intellectual and emotional dynamism which takes a fundamental role in the conscious dynamization of the hierarchy of values in oneself, in the experience and elaboration of the distance between different levels of the inner psychic milieu and also in the development of vigilance in relation to the dangers from regressive dynamisms.
Everywhere, and especially in the fields of developmental and educational psychology, in education and self-education; wherever we find more or less strong feelings of inferiority toward the external environment, we have to look for nuclei or symptoms of the feeling of inferiority toward oneself. The confirmation of the existence of such nuclei gives to psychologists and psychiatrists elements of a positive prognosis. To educators and psychotherapists it gives the means to help people in their educational and developmental difficulties and in psychoneuroses.
The existence of the feeling of inferiority toward oneself is very important in the elaboration of the differential diagnosis between psychopathy and psychoneuroses, between capabilities for positive and accelerated development and emotional retardation. Normal positive development of the feeling of inferiority toward oneself is a strong prophylactic medium against aggression.
The feeling of inferiority toward oneself is indispensable in the development of humility and respect toward
others. From this comes its significance for self-education and inner psychic life.
16. DISSATISFACTION WITH ONESELF
Dissatisfaction with oneself is one of the strongest dynamisms of the first phase of multilevel disintegration. It constitutes one of the basic elements of the first “floor” of a multilevel inner psychic milieu. It is preceded by and cooperates with such dynamisms of spontaneous multilevel disintegration as: astonishment with oneself, disquietude with oneself, inferiority feeling in relation to oneself, feelings of shame and guilt. In further development it cooperates with the third factor and the dynamism “subject-object” in oneself.
The dynamism of dissatisfaction with oneself is an expression of a critical, condemning attitude toward oneself. It is frequently accompanied by states of anxiety and depression. Consequently, it expresses the prevalence of the forces of disintegration or even dissolution associated with aggressiveness toward oneself or with a strong attitude called “ekklisis” by Monakow. This dynamism leads to weakening and even atrophy of those mental traits and dynamisms which are regarded by the individual as negative. It constitute an important element in the operation of partial death instinct.
That which makes us dissatisfied with ourselves, which we do not like, which we negate and from which we turn away, creates a feeling of estrangement and the desire to, eliminate this “strange” part of ourselves. The recognition, differentiation and rejection of part of that which is animalistic, not really human, characteristic of living
creatures of a lower kind, is of great significance in the formation and operation of the dynamism of dissatisfaction with oneself.
In some cases of higher forms of dissatisfaction with oneself we can observe that the processes of reflection about oneself contain imaginational and experiential images of eating, chewing, devouring, using claws and teeth, digesting, catching, “creeping toward the prey,” etc.
Sometimes the individuals who experience dissatisfaction with themselves identify their traits and dynamisms with primitive dynamisms observable in animals or with primitive instinctive attitudes, determined by low levels of the biological life cycle.
Besides the developmental form of dissatisfaction with oneself we can observe nondevelopmental or even pathological forms. The pathological symptoms of this dynamism include excessive strength, tension and frequency, particularly in relation to the strength of other dynamisms. Another symptom indicative of a negative nature consists of a constellation in which other negative dynamisms appear and positive dynamisms are absent or very weak.
We can illustrate our analysis with a fragment from a patient’s account of his life story: “I feel persecuted by the images of mutual devouring, of blood, teeth, intestines, a cat’s or tiger’s creeping toward their prey. I was always terrified by the movements of the tongue, which seemed to me to be similar to the movements of the tongue of animals or snakes. Frequently I felt the same agile, skillful movements, the same reliance on smell and taste, the same wild animalistic desire.”
It was as though an expression of a “spastic” process of dissatisfaction with oneself, in which emotional and intellectual components took part, an analysis and a synthesis through imagination and identification of one’s own reflexes with primitive reflexes observable in animals.
Dissatisfaction with oneself consists in an active, oneself, disapproval of some of negative attitude toward one’s own functions and structures. This attitude includes dislike of oneself, attempts to escape from one self, aggression toward oneself, which is conceived as something low, improper, repulsive.
Dissatisfaction with oneself is a symptom of a multilevel developmental process in which the differentiation takes place of what is “more myself” from what is “less myself” with emphasis on the negative side of development.
Frequent symptoms of the dynamism of dissatisfaction with oneself—with the exception of distinctly pathological forms—indicate accelerated mental development. A child and especially an adult who does not show the feeling more of dissatisfaction with himself is psychopathic or more or less retarded in his affective functions. Partial dissatisfaction with oneself is symptomatic of the third phase of mental development, that is to say, spontaneous multilevel disintegration.
The recognition of nonpathological symptoms of dissatisfaction with oneself is essential in the diagnosis of the level of the development of emotions. It is of great significance for educators whose task is to assist others in the formation and operation of healthy, developmental forms of dissatisfaction with oneself. At the same time they should restrain and sublimate excessive feelings of dissatisfaction.
Dissatisfaction with oneself is of decisive significance in the process of overcoming low, primitive drives, in inner conflicts and in the growth of autonomous hierarchy of values and personality.
Self-education and autopsychotherapy cannot operate without the dynamism of dissatisfaction with oneself.
It is also indispensable for the growth of empathy and identification, because there cannot be proper, authentic interpersonal relations, an authentic “I and Thou” attitude without dissatisfaction with oneself.
17. THE FEELINGS OF SHAME AND GUILT
In the theory of positive disintegration the feelings of shame and guilt are considered, as a rule, positive phenomena in development. The feeling of shame expresses a need for “mental hiding of oneself,” for the concealment of disgraceful things of all those things which we do not wish to reveal.
This feeling contains certain elements of dislike in relation to oneself associated with feelings of inferiority toward oneself and toward others. It is usually characterized by the feeling of embarrassment with regard to the external environment and its opinion. An example of this is when we are concerned with what other people say about us. This is certainly a stimulating factor for development of the inner psychic milieu in individuals with predominance of extravertive characteristics.
Therefore, the need to hide oneself from the external world, characterized by the feeling of shame, is usually stronger than internal embarrassment, than “internal shame.”
When we experience shame, we observe the transfer of symptoms of such emotional experiences as blushing, acceleration or slowing down of the pulse, perspiration, etc., to the vegetative nervous system.
The feeling of guilt expresses interiorization and deepening of the feeling of shame. It is an introvertive
dynamism which expresses in its own developmental experience the prevalence of a negative attitude over a positive one. It is the experience of feeling embarrassed, not only in relation to others, but also in relation to oneself, and to one’s own ideal of personality and feeling disappointed toward oneself and others. This dynamism is connected with the need to satisfy yourself and the realization of this need which results from the feeling of committing a sin or a crime and the feeling of “betraying” one’s own attitude.
The feeling of guilt can, not only result from real offences, but can rise and develop without concrete offences. The knowledge of one’s own slow rate of development or the knowledge of the failure to attain one’s own ideal evoke a feeling of apostasy in a positive way. The individual observes his own behavior, has reservations with regard to this behavior, thinks about this behavior, thinks that he is guilty and that he could behave better. The individual feels responsible f or acts which he did not do and for those which he could do better.
The feeling of guilt is associated with the experience of “betrayal” of the hierarchy of values because of real guilt or without it.
In most cases of psychoneuroses, especially on a higher level, we find this dynamism in operation. It is one of the strongest emotional experiences associated with a hierarchic inner psychic milieu and multilevel disintegration. It is connected with states of anxiety and depression, the feeling of inferiority in relation to oneself and others, and sometimes, with aggression in relation to oneself.
This dynamism is often present in individuals who are perfecting themselves or who aspire to perfection. In these cases, it is the expression of the feeling of distance from one’s own ideal; it is the expression of dislike in relation to oneself because of continuous experiencing of
unrealized positive possibilities or possibilities of “sinning” without any concrete moral crime.
It is the expression of the feeling of responsibility for the subjective, slow, intense process of removing oneself from the level of “corrupted” nature. In this process, the autonomic factors and the feeling of shame and guilt play a particularly significant role.
The feeling of shame expresses strong experiences of embarrassment and dissatisfaction with oneself. This feeling depends more on external opinion than internal ones. It is connected with a desire to hide one-self and with a desire to flee from an observer.
The feeling of guilt is a dynamism expressing strong feelings of responsibility for one’s own imperfection which shows a too-slow rate of development, with withdrawal on a lower level and with strong feeling of this withdrawal. This feeling is connected with the need to, satisfy other people and the higher hierarchy in oneself.
The knowledge and experiencing of the feeling of shame and guilt, together with the realization of reparation are fundamental in the understanding of the theory of positive multilevel disintegration. They are indispensable in developmental and educational psychology, education, self-education and autopsychotherapy. The understanding of the positive meaning of this dynamism is one of the means of eliminating the one-sided negative interpretations of feelings of shame and guilt which are popular in psychopathology, especially with regard to psychoneuroses. It lets us evaluate positively “psychic crises of “the night of the soul,” the experiences of abandonment and spiritual emptiness, and the so-called active inner life with a realization of the ideal, through “separating” and “breaking up” in oneself.
It also lets us look positively at these experiences in children and youth; hot to treat them as an expression of eccentricity, weakness and, even infantilism or indolence.
18. NEGATIVE ADJUSTMENT AND POSITIVE
The theory of positive disintegration introduces the concepts of negative adjustment and positive maladjustment next to the contemporary concepts and definitions of conformity, order, adjustment and maladjustment.
The first concept means the forms of adjustment (or conformity) which are nondevelopmental; which mainly rely on automatic adjustment; which are dictated by the most urgent, basic, normal or pathological needs without expressing reflexive attitudes and developmental selectiveness; and which are useless for positive development.
The second concept—positive maladjustment—expresses a conscious and selective rejection, a lack of adjustment to certain external or Internal dynamisms, and an adjustment to the accepted hierarchy of aims, to that which “ought to be.”
On the basis of clinical and experimental studies it is possible to differentiate the levels of emotional and instinctive functions. The degree and level of development of these functions can be objectively defined by the establishment of the fact that these functions are higher in people of universal development and ‘lower” in primitive people, and that they are evaluated unanimously, or
almost unanimously, by people on a high level of universal development.
These “hierarchical values”—the particular levels of which can be distinguished in the sphere of emotional functions and which can find confirmation in the program of self-perfection of outstanding individuals—can be considered as norms and criteria for the levels of values which are objectively binding for all people in behavior, education, marriage; in family, social and even political life.
These hierarchies of values constitute the foundations for creating the hierarchy of aims; that is to say, a hierarchy of standards of conduct for development in individuals and in groups. Consequently, they, at the same time, constitute the criteria of adjustment and maladjustment in the developmental sense of the term.
Besides negative adjustment we also have positive adjustment which consists of understanding and even sympathy for people with various imperfections, distortions, and even offences which do not harm others. This attitude of understanding and even tolerance does not reject but contrarily—commends the resistance, dissent and positive maladjustment of such behavior, in spite of the understanding of its source and sympathy for its perpetrators.
Adjustment, in the negative sense, is the nondevelopmental adjustment which is automatic, subservient to primitive drives and aiming at an adaptation to primitive requirements of a social group in order to protect one’s interests.
Positive maladjustment is the attitude of rejection of the primitive requirements of a social group. It expresses the need for adaption to a higher hierarchy of values, to the ideal, to that which “ought to be”; thus, it expresses the drive toward positive development, self-
perfection, and realization of the attitudes of autonomy and authenticity.
The latter is connected with partial positive adjustment—that means, inner agreement with a given environment, understanding of it, and even a certain tolerance; but without approval of negative, immoral forms of behavior.
Positive maladjustment is one of the clearest and indispensable concepts in the realm of theoretical and practical sciences concerned with mental development—in particular, developmental and educational psychology, psychopathology, psychology of creativity, pedagogics, human relations, self-education and autopsychotherapy, and even ethics.
This concept is indispensable to a dynamic understanding of the so-called hierarchy of values, indispensable in the understanding and realization of the most important programs of development; it is one of the fundamental dynamisms in education and self-education. It also enters into the theory of the inner psychic milieu and into multilevel disintegration. The dynamism of positive maladjustment is an essential part of the most important autonomic dynamisms in human development such as “subject-object” in oneself the third factor, self-consciousness, self-control and inner psychic transformation.
The dynamism of positive maladjustment is connected with the understanding of others and their needs, and even tolerance with educational work on a given environment, but without approval of developmentally, morally and socially negative attitudes.
19. CREATIVE INNER CONFLICT
We seem to be accustomed to the view that conflicts with the external environment are negative. There is less talk about inner conflicts which have not been as thoroughly elaborated in psychology and psychiatry as external conflicts. However, the general opinion assumes that they also are undesirable, negative, even pathological.
Is this opinion really true? It seems that this view is influenced by the instinct of self-preservation. External conflicts are manifestations of the instinct of fighting, aggression or aggressive “outbursts” necessary to protect one’s interests. Thus, indirectly, they express the instinct of self-preservation.
It is generally assumed, with regard to inner conflicts, that they are contrary to the instinct of self-preservation, that they destroy it and introduce morbid elements into the inner milieu—elements which may be decisive of its pathological nature. This view is, to some extent, justified, although it is one-sided.
Inner conflicts disintegrate the coherent structure of an individual and introduce, at least, the ambiguity of emotional, instinctive and volitional attitudes. Most frequently they are not fully conscious. They take place as though on one level and are not hierarchically differentiated. Sometimes, however, they occur on two or more than two different hierarchical levels and contribute to the formation of a hierarchy. Then, they are more complicated, more conscious, more useful, and belong to the group of dynamisms which accelerate development and constitute increasingly higher levels of the inner psychic milieu. This group of dynamisms includes astonishment with oneself, disquietude with oneself, inferiority feeling toward oneself, dissatisfaction with oneself, feelings of shame and guilt, the dynamism of creativity, the third factor, the dynamism “subject-
object” in oneself, inner psychic transformation and identification. In further development, inner conflicts more and more consciously take part, not only in the stimulation of the development of the hierarchy of levels of mental functions, but also, in the organization and integration of those functions.
Due to the transformational impact of inner conflicts, autonomous and authentic values are formed. This is the way in which one starts distinguishing and separating that which is “lower” from what is “higher,” that which is “more myself” from what is “less myself,” that which “is” from what “ought to be,” that which is only existential from what is essential, and that which is farther from personality and its ideal from what is closest to it. Therefore, inner conflicts play an important role in the inner psychic transformation of emotional dynamisms, from those which are more primitive into those which are more complicated—i.e., in the transformation of “lower” emotions into “higher” ones, in their formation and strengthening. They undoubtedly contribute to the climb ‘toward the sphere of the transcendental and absolute and, thus, become a fundamental element in the growth of self-consciousness through the process of personality-shaping.
Inner mental conflicts, the collision and struggle within oneself, are not without influence upon the growth of identification and empathy toward other people. Conscious “operation” of those two dynamisms allows the evaluation of the mental structure of other people, their richness or underdevelopment, their history and developmental rate, their difficulties and their “white spots.”
Inner conflicts are of assistance in the development of the attitude of “waiting” in our opinions about other people. They bring tranquility combined with prospection. At the same time, they fulfill an important task in the weakening of external conflicts in accordance, not only with the principle “to know everything is to experience everything”; but also with the principle “to
experience and remember everything is to understand and forgive everything, to approach others with sympathy and readiness to assist them, although without approving everything.”
Our insight into the nature of conflicts gains in depth through the differentiation of internal and external conflicts, through the differentiation of levels of conflicts, and through the analysis of the creative and developmental role of internal conflicts. The term ‘conflict' loses its coherence, and, at the same time, manifests its own richness—the richness of a concept which has been extended and complicated, which includes new qualities, sometimes of fundamental importance for the understanding of higher forms of human development and behavior.
Creative inner conflicts are positive and contribute to more or less significant developmental elevation. They belong to the fundamental dynamisms of emotional growth through the processes of positive disintegration.
The dynamism of inner conflicts constitute very important forces in mental development through positive disintegration, and consequently, in a positive development of neuroses and psychoneuroses. This interpretation of the concept of inner conflicts has particular significance in developmental and educational psychology, in education, in psychoneuroses, and, first of all, in those parts of the above-mentioned disciplines which are related to self-education and autopsychotherapy.
Proper interpretation of the content and development of inner conflicts provides a basis for a gradual understanding and control of external conflicts. Therefore, the dynamisms involved in inner conflicts play a significant
role in every sphere of education, in interpersonal relations and in the study of human conflicts in family life, at school and in professional activities. Knowledge of human conflicts is of special significance wherever there are problems associated with superiority and subordination due to a hierarchy of positions.
20. POSITIVE REGRESSION
From the standpoint of psychoanalysis, the dynamisms and processes of emotional regression are considered basically pathological. In some cases it is really so. However, in many other cases, emotional regression has a distinctly positive role. It can usually be noticed in children and youths when they return to earlier, happy days, free from excessive difficulties and emotional tension.
The same phenomenon can be observed in adults, and even in older people. But emotional regression in old people is a special problem which requires a special discussion; here we will leave it out of consideration.
In adults—particularly those with above average sensitivity and intelligence, and even more so in creative individuals—we can notice many symptoms of an emotional “going back” to earlier years and to emotional attitudes which “protect” and act “prophylactically,” and to seeking feelings and affection usually received from the mother or from another older person giving care, warmth, etc.
A child or youth who suffered a trauma. a pain or failure, who finds it difficult to adjust to actual conditions, who requires soothing and sincerity, returns in his thinking and imagination, and—in cases of understanding on the part of his parents—also in reality, for a shorter
or longer period of time to the family environment or something similar. The child or youth wishes to experience another atmosphere than that by which he is surrounded. He has a need to rest, to put his experiences in order, to somehow synthesize them, and, eventually, to adjust to the future difficulties of life; but only offer calming down, after being pacified, soothed and saturated by the experiences of warmth which provide him with new “developmental resources.”
This kind of regression creates prophylactic conditions for future collisions with the external environment; it constitutes a “mental injection” which immunizes against future difficulties. There can be no doubt concerning the utility of this kind of regression, as to its educational and prophylactic value. It frequently occurs in those children and young people who exhibit the so-called emotional “infantilism,” which usually indicates the ability and need to deepen developmental dynamisms.
Such individuals, if they do not have the possibility to take refuge in their inner psychic milieu look for other forms of protection, warmth, support and consolation. Young and mature men of this type may look for a possible solution of their problem consisting of a need for positive emotional regression in marriage or romantic ties with a woman who, on the one hand, represent richness and depth of affective life and, on the other hand, has certain mental or psychical qualities such as efficiency and ability to make decisions accompanied by distinct feminine charm. Frederic Chopin, Juliusz Slowacki, and many other creative individuals may serve as examples.
It would be a serious misunderstanding and a grave error to confuse this phenomenon with the so-called Oedipus complex. Positive regression expresses the dynamisms of “practical defenselessness” and of search for support associated with distinct creative abilities and above average sensitivity. Sometimes positive regression may become a, permanent state. This means that the individual, on the one hand, is capable of fulfilling his
tasks, his developmental program, his work imposed by the requirements of daily life; while, on the other hand, “half” of his inner self lives in positive regression from which source he draws the strength to be active in daily chores, and even creative dreaming, always in the atmosphere of fantasy and security. For some individuals, this is reality at a higher level, a condition sine qua non of adjustment to the everyday life.
Positive regression is emotional regression to earlier developmental phases caused by the need for rest, for psychic saturation through experiences characteristic of the family atmosphere. This need has a prophylactic role and is satisfied by experiences which, after a return to normal life, are used in a positive way and assist the individual in overcoming his developmental difficulties.
We can find positive elements in various form s of regression or its related forms of psychic infantilism. Here can be included manifestations of accelerated development, psychoneuroses and creativity. A closer acquaintance and understanding of this problem allows a definitely positive interpretation of many symptoms of infantilism. The need for application of positive regression is particularly important in education and, very frequently, in dealing with children endowed with above average abilities. The usefulness of the concept of positive regression is manifest in developmental and educational psychology, in the theory of psychoneuroses, in self-education and autopsychotherapy; it is also striking in the study of outstanding and creative individuals.
21. THE DYNAMISM “SUBJECT-OBJECT”
The concept of introspection has been discussed in general psychology. We know that it is the method of self-observation; of the observation of one’s own qualities, inner experiences and processes of consciousness in order to gain insight into their nature and components. Introspection is used in certain conditions, mainly for the sake of scientific investigation.
The meaning and task of the dynamism “subject-object” in oneself goes clearly beyond that of introspection. This dynamism introduces a kind of dualism into our mental life in which the subject deals with the elements of his inner life as though they were objective, external things. In this way the individual gains knowledge of himself, of his motives and aims. He takes a critical look at his moral, social and cultural attitudes. Growing self-knowledge, attained through the application of the dynamism “subject-object” in oneself, assists in the elaboration of an autonomous hierarchy of values and the shaping of one’s own personality.
This dynamism is not innate, even if it is true that we are born with some potential for its growth. We attain this ability trough a critical interest in our inner psychic milieu, through observation and analysis which may gradually become our habit. This dynamism expresses a readiness to change is thinking, emotional experiences and activities for “observing” oneself, for catching in oneself that which surprises and disturbs us, as well as, automatism which we should fight.
Sometimes, without disturbing, by controlling oneself, one interrupts “the course of experiences” believing that such automatism of experiences could contain unhealthy and harmful elements for development. This dynamism is based on dynamisms of the previous period such as: astonishment with oneself, disquietude with oneself, dissatisfaction with oneself and others.
The level of this dynamism correspond to the degree in which we deal with others as subjects, as unique, unrepeatable individuals. An egocentric individual, unable to distinguish the object from the subject in himself, approaches other people in the same way he approaches material things and animals. He treats them as objects, does not empathize or identify himself with other people. Thus, internal rigidity and egocentrism are associated with the inability to see others in a multilevel perspective, to show reflective sympathy, genuine concern, compassion and respect. The dynamism “subject-object” in oneself is clearly incompatible with such a rigid, primitively integrated structure.
Let us use, as an example, a fragment from a patient’s memoirs:
“From some time I acquired the habit, almost of a pathological nature, to ‘stop' my activity and to submit my behavior to my control; whether in the course of dealing with social matters or conflicts with my relatives. It is as though an intermission, a break in the normal course of my activity would take place. As a result, I change this activity, modify or transform it; I give it a new, possibly somewhat higher, direction and level.”
The dynamism “subject-object” in oneself consists of taking interest in and observing one’s own mental life, in an attempt to gain a better understanding of oneself and to critically evaluate.
This dynamism is a fundamental factor in a consciously developed attitude which becomes, after some time, a constant habit and is manifested in an objective, critical approach to one’s own mental dynamisms and structure. It is strictly associated with the hierarchization of the inner psychic milieu and cooperates with the dynamisms of astonishment with oneself and disquietude with oneself, inner psychic transformation and the third factor. It
assists in the formation of an attitude toward other people as subjects, as unique and unrepeatable individuals.
The concept of the dynamism “subject-object” in oneself is indispensable in developmental and educational psychology, in education, self-education and autopsychotherapy. It is also indispensable in the theory and practice of interpersonal relations and in the philosophy of man.
Conscious educational activity on a high level is impossible without continuous use of this dynamism. It is also crucial in any activity rooted in the concern over one’s own mental and moral growth. It is the condition sine qua non for an existentialist conception of the relationship between “I” and “Thou,” in the empirical sense; accessible to us in this life, as well as, in Kierkegaard’s “absolute” sense which goes beyond the dimension of this life. Kierkegaard’s existentialist conception of man involves hierarchization of values and a developmental transition to higher stages of life.
22. THE THIRD FACTOR
What does the concept of the third factor mean in the development and education of man? The name of the third factor indicates that there are two other, preceding factors. They are: hereditary, innate qualities (the first factor) and the environment (the second factor). What is, then, the structure and function of the third factor and at which stage of development is it active? The third factor appears at a high level of mental develop-
ment, only after the following dynamisms have gained enough strength: “subject-object” in oneself; inner psychic transformation; the ability to distinguish and to choose, both in the inner psychic milieu and in the external environment, that which is closer to and that which is farther from the ideal of personality.
Consequently, the role and function of the third factor consists in the affirmation, negation and choice; that is to say, in the acceptance of those values which are closer to the ideal of personality and in the rejection of those values which are farther from this ideal. The third factor affirms that which is experienced as positive in the inner psychic milieu, as being “more myself”; and rejects that which is experienced as primitive, as “less myself.” Thus, the operation of third factor is grounded in a prospective, developmental perspective; in the conception of man a becoming, rather than a readymade being.
This viewpoint involves a look backwards, an awareness of what one was, and a look forward; that is to say, an awareness of the end of development, of what one is becoming. This developmental perspective is applied, not only toward oneself, but also toward other people and allows one to understand them and their own dynamics of developmental transformation. Therefore, the function of the third factor finds its expression in the ability to distinguish in another man what is “less himself” and what is “more himself”—i.e., toward what his developmental process leads him.
At the roots of the development of the third factory are the ability to distinguish between lower and higher mental strata, the experience of inner conflicts and conflicts and conflicts with certain patterns of behavior characteristic for the external environment. Such experiences lead to a choice of “oneself” and of “himself” from that which essentially is not “myself” or “himself.” Acts of choice of this kind do not in any way impede the autonomy of the other individual; on the contrary, they may even
contribute to the growth of the autonomy of the other through the highest forms of empathetic cooperation in development.
It is not easy to strictly to define the origin of the third factor, because, in the last analysis, it must stem either from the hereditary endowment or from the environment. However, any such strict derivation of the third factor from one. of the other two factors would not adequately account for the whole developmental context :in which this dynamism arises.
According to the theory of positive disintegration, the third factor arises in the course of an increasingly conscious, self-determined, autonomous and authentic development. Its beginnings may be traced to the early vague recognition of the variety of levels in oneself to the formation and growth of inner conflicts and the gradual unfolding of the process of positive disintegration. Hence, the genesis of the third factor should be associated with the very development with which it is combined in the self-consciousness of the individual in the process of becoming “more myself”; i.e., it is combined with the vertical differentiation of mental functions.
This approach is close to some of the ideas of Henri Bergson who maintained that more can be found in the effects than in their causes.
Is it possible, then, “scientifically” to define the structure and functions, the condition of the formation and growth of the third factor? The answer to this question is extremely difficult from the scientific point of view. However, it is possible to fairly accurately describe the structure of this dynamism, its development, its scope and level. This can be done through the differentiation of the processes in which it is and in which it is not observable. In this way we can determine the level of those processes. With many years of clinical experience, especially in cases studied over a long period of time, one can clearly tell where the third factor acts and where it
does not, and where it is not “yet” present in development and where it began to develop.
The present writer frequently indicated that the processes of affirmation, negation and choice are of fundamental significance in the operation of the third factor. We may refer here to the examples of Father Maksymilian Kolbe and Dr. Janusz Korczak. Father Kolbe voluntarily replaced one of the prisoners of the extermination camp in Auschwitz and, thus, saved him from certain death through the sacrifice of his life. Dr. Korczak accompanied his pupils to the gas chamber and died with them, although it was easy for him to escape. In both cases we are dealing with a distinct activity of the third factor, especially in the opposition against the most fundamental instincts in oneself and against primitive influences of the environment. The activity of the third factor is also clearly noticeable in the behavior of all those outstanding personalities for whom the maxim, “If the sheep are dying, the shepherd also has to die,” has authentic meaning.
The third factor rarely appears in a “ready-made” form. We work it out slowly and. gradually through inner struggles, through difficulties of affirmation and negation, until the time when our decisions are controlled by the synthetic “inner voice” and the growing role of the inner psychic milieu in the direction of the ideal of personality.
Here are two clinical examples of the operation o the third factor, taken from the notes of patients.
1. “I experience disgust toward some forms of my, thinking and behavior. Sometimes, although this rarely happens, I approve and I am satisfied with my attitude. I consciously accept or r eject the influences of the environment. This is the activity of my new “I” which has arisen from my experiences and reflection upon them, from the analysis of my difficult life.”
2. “Neither the environment nor hereditary are res-
ponsible for my deeds. It is myself who is responsible, irrespective of the two determinants.”
The third factor is a dynamism active at the stage of organized multilevel disintegration. Its activity is autonomous in relation to the first (hereditary) and the second (environmental) factor. It consists in a selective attitude with regard to the properties of one’s own character and temperament, as well as, to environmental influences. This dynamism paves the way for the impact of the ideal of personality upon the individual.
The third factor is one of the basic dynamisms in the theory of positive disintegration and in the development of the inner psychic milieu. Cognitive and experiential motivation of the development of man is unlikely without this dynamism. The third factor, next to the dynamism “subject-object” in oneself and the dynamisms of self-education and self-control, is the most important in inner psychic transformation. It plays a decisive role in the transition from a biologically and socially determined development to the specifically human self-determination. In the process of this transition the individual overcomes even that which seems to be the strongest force from a biological point of view, that is, love of life and of oneself.
Self-education and autopsychotherapy are impossible without the third factor. It is also of crucial significance in the philosophy of development.
23. INNER PSYCHIC TRANSFORMATION
The moral significance of this term has been known for thousands of years. Five decades ago the outstanding Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist, Herman Rorschach 1, added significant insights to this notion. His special contribution consisted in associating the concept of inner psychic transformation with the so-called ambiequal type of personality, which shows in Rorschach’s tests approximately the same number of kinesthetic and color responses. The ambiequal type is usually associated with above-average intelligence, original thinking, affective stability and harmonious cooperation between intratensive and extratensive qualities.
On a closer look one can differentiate two forms of the phenomenon of inner psychic transformation, on which is unconscious and independent of autonomous dynamisms, while the other is conscious and grounded in the autonomy and authenticity of the individual. Needless to say, there exists a variety of intermediate forms. The first form of inner psychic transformation can be noticed even in medullary and subcortical functions. It materializes in a response which is neither qualitatively nor quantitatively proportionate to the stimulus. At the subcortical level the feelings of pleasure and pain constitute the main factors in the process of transformation.
It is well known that at the cortical level, especially when frontal lobes are involved, mental functions display growing independence from internal and external stimuli, and are largely dependent on personal experiences, on cognitive and affective memory of the individual and his prospection. This process becomes more distinct in cases of accelerated mental development, particularly when the individual reaches the stage of autonomy and authenticity, and when the instincts of self-perfection and
1 H. Rorschach: Psychodiagnostik. Bern: Verlag Hans Huber, 1948.
creativity gain strength. At this stage the individual takes a selective, positive or negative, attitude toward his inborn inclinations and environmental influences. He affirms some of them but rejects others. This is the way in which the individual gains some degree of independence from his former biological and social determinants.
The appearance and operation of the third factor and of the dynamism “subject-object” in oneself is of crucial significance at this stage. The dynamism of inner psychic transformation operates on the basis of these two dynamisms. It participates, not only in the affirmation and organization of the new mental structure, but also works out the whole program of mental development and—through the acts of critical differentiation, hierarchization of values and meditation—leads to self-evaluation, that is to say, a critical assessment of one’s actual mental structure from the viewpoint of a consciously and authentically chosen ideal of personality. It is then, contrary to the activity of such dynamisms as “subject-object” in oneself and the third factor—the methodological factor acting globally and narrowly, elaborating itself and “uplifting.”
The following are two characteristic expressions of this process of inner psychic transformation taken from the biographies of my patients:
1. “I experience the feeling of shame when I realize that frequently I react impulsively, without giving much thought to what I am doing, that my mental reactions show more similarity to chemical processes than to thoughtful and wise human behavior.”
2. “Not knowing how to deal with my impulsiveness, I made a firm decision to avoid any distinct kind of response to pleasant, and particularly to unpleasant stimuli, before the passage of one hour. After about one year I found significant improvement.”
3. “Here the acceptance or rejection is not enough,
here we need detailed elaboration because only such an elaboration results in permanent achievements.”‘
Higher level, autonomous inner psychic transformation consists in the transformation of instinctive drives into sublimated elements which gradually become permanent constituents of one’s personality. This internal “apparatus of transformations includes all autonomous dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu. Its operation consists in the rejection of one’s own lower mental qualities and negative environmental influences, and in the acceptance of positive qualities and influences. In the course of this process, the human individual becomes more and more independent from primitive forces active in his internal and external environment.
The concept of inner psychic transformation is of great importance for developmental and educational psychology, for the practice of education and psychiatry, especially for self-education and autopsychotherapy. Its role is crucial at those stages of mental development at which we can observe distinct activity of autonomous, factors. The ability of inner psychic transformation enables the individual gradually to increase and deepen his knowledge of himself, and authentically to choose his aims and ideals. It also makes sure that the activity of the third factor is correct. Special attention to the problem of the ability of inner mental transformation should be given in cases of a psychological and psychotherapeutic diagnosis of so-called difficult individuals.
Thorough knowledge of this dynamism should provide a basis for the organization of versatile methods of inhibition, of transfer of the disposing and directing center from lower toward higher levels, of control of
the pressure of “common sense,” of intensification of conscious and authentic functions and simultaneous overcoming of primitive and automatic responses.
What is identification? Who or what is that which identifies itself and with whom or what is it identified? Is identification a conscious, subconscious or unconscious process? And finally, are there levels of identification?
An answer to the second question includes a partial answer to the third question. Identification may obviously be more or less conscious. Instances of slightly conscious identification may be observed in “temperamental,” instinctive sympathy. Some people are used to laughing in a noisy manner together with a whole group to wildly applauding some actors together with that or another group, to fighting as a group, to dancing with self-assurance with their partners. All this expresses the attitude of “we” the primitive attitude of group identification.
A higher level of identification is accompanied by understanding, analysis, reflection and criticism. It may be more or less partial. An unwise, primitive mother identifies herself with her child globally, without recognition or differentiation of the negative traits of his character, his selfishness or aggressiveness. A wise mother loves her child totally, but identifies herself only with his positive traits.
All those identifications and, in our opinion, also, disidentifications are partly associated with the process of positive disintegration and, in cases of distinct or ac-
celerated mental development, lead to multilevel, global, although differentiated identification with oneself during the process of mental growth toward secondary integration.
Why do we speak on this level about global identification with oneself and not with others—I think that it is only possible on this level, and it is positive. in regard to oneself and the ideal of personality. We can have sympathy, love, high regard for others or we can fraternize with others, but can't identify with them. It may be possible for a short period of time. Global, permanent identification with others would, not only be profitless, but destructive for our own and other’s identity.
We can have love and worship even for God, but we can't aspire to identification with him because that is harmful for oneself. From a philosophical point of view the author presents a personalistic and antimonistic attitude.
The higher the level of development, the more meditative and versatile the process of identification, the more differentiated the object and the subject of identification, the more distinct is our awareness of which elements in our structure we identify and with what we identify them. This attitude is associated with our ability to have more understanding, insight and sympathy toward other people, to recognize their motives determined by their positive or negative developmental potentials. We have a friendly attitude toward people of various psychological types, we experience and manifest more sympathy and more willingness to be of help. At the same time, we cannot approve, support or condone those actions which we consider harmful for themselves or for other people. We love and understand them, but we do not identify with them.
Identification, starting from unconscious and primitive up to its manifold and differentiated forms is a
multilevel process which consists of understanding, sympathy, willingness to help; although it may be associated with partial approval and disapproval, sometimes even with counteraction against some forms of behavior of the other, but always with the attitude of understanding and assistance. In development there is global identification with oneself (in the sense of approaching to the ideal) and partial identification with others.
The concept of identification, understood in this way, expresses a proper educational attitude in all kinds of interpersonal relations—in the family, at school, in professional, social and political life. This attitude is favorable to the growth of the ability to distinguish lower and higher levels and to stimulate the growth of this ability in other people. This qualified and differentiating identification is particularly important in teachers, educators and parents, as well as, in individuals occupying positions of responsibility in professional and political life.
This educational and self-educational attitude is associated with global love, friendliness and assistance, as well as, with qualification of approval or disapproval with regard to various forms and levels of behavior. This attitude is the fundamental postulate in mental development and self-development, in education and self-education, in psychotherapy and autopsychotherapy.
25. SYNTONY AND EMPATHY
Some traditional definitions of those two terms considered them synonymous (Bleuler, Lipps, Minkowski) l and identified them with responsiveness to and harmony
1 Henri Piéron, Vocabulaire de la psychologies Paris: Presses Univertitaires de France, 1963.
with the environment, understanding of other people, projection of oneself into someone else’s feelings.
In our conception, syntony and empathy are not synonymous. Each of these two terms refers to mental processes of a different level. Syntony consists in a harmony of primitive, “natural,” “temperamental” qualities. It may be observed in cooperation dependent on temporary feelings and moods, in easy getting in contact with other people, in collective outbursts of enthusiasm or, on the other hand, in collective protests, acts of aggression, collective activities in social meetings, gatherings, etc.
In the process of mental development the rise of empathic attitudes is caused by such phenomena as growing reflection, the third factor, awareness of an authentic hierarchy of values and inner psychic transformation. We mean by empathy a deepened feeling of sympathy toward other people, friendliness, understanding and the wish to assist them, as well as, the tendency toward partial reflective identification with individuals of different levels of mental development, although without approval of those acts which are incompatible with moral principles of the empathizing individual.
On the highest level we find, not only the ability to realize and understand the developmental potential o other people who pursue their own ideals, but also a profound desire to help them in their unique individual growth, up to the level of the transcendental “thou.”
What then, are the differences between syntony and empathy?
1. Syntony is a one-sided feeling that manifests itself on a fairly low or medium level; it is the expression of an undifferentiated, temperamental, low reflexive attitude; empathy, the contrary.
2. Syntony expresses a global unreflective attitude; empathy is differential and reflective.
3. Empathy does not contain suggestion or primitive
autosuggestion. It expresses sympathy, understanding, willingness to help, a reflective attitude, but does not necessarily approve of the object (other person) for whom you have this empathy.
Syntony can be defined as sympathy and cooperation with another individual or group of people regardless of their developmental level.
Syntony is a primitive, instinctive and emotional dynamism which finds its expression in temperamental and uncritical association with the mood of another individual or a group without the tendency toward inner psychic transformation, toward self-awareness of one’s own attitude and toward giving it a lasting character on a higher level.
Empathy is a form of syntony on a high or on the highest level, associated with reflection, feeling of responsibility for other people, desire to assist them, friendliness and understanding; however, without approval of improper forms of behavior and activity.
The concepts of syntony and empathy are of special importance in developmental psychology, psychiatry and ethics, as well as, in all other sciences dealing with interpersonal relations. They are useful in self-education and autopsychotherapy and in every domain in which the emotional function is not sufficiently developed, e.g. in psychopathy, some forms of mental retardation, some paranoid disturbances, etc.
Another area of application of the concepts of syntony and empathy includes the processes of the formation and operation of the self-perfection instinct; that is to say, in the psychological analysis of great creative men who
attained the highest moral level such as Thomas More, Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer, etc. Empathy is of crucial significance is the psychology of religion, and the psychology of pedagogy and of the ideal.
Autonomy, as used here, does not express the independent, “natural,” “temperamental” self-reliance which is derived from a biophysical type, unconscious resistance and obstinacies, antisocial attitudes, weak empathy or aggressiveness, and from autistic attitudes. It does not express primitive, natural self-reliance or psychopathic self-reliance.
Autonomy is the state of the gradual acquisition of independence from the lower levels of internal and external reality. It consists of the gradual elaboration of the dependence on the higher levels of reality that is to say, on the consciously developed and accepted hierarchy of values in oneself and in regard to the external environment.
Autonomy is the expression of the developmental process from lower to higher levels, from that which is “less I” to that which is “more I,” from that which “is” to that which “ought to be.” It is a very important factor in intellectual, emotional and instinctual development. The result of its activity is a consciousness of being independent in thinking, experiencing and behaving.
This is a process in which there is a gradual decrease of the role of biological determination and increase of conscious subordination to a higher hierarchy of value. This process is very closely connected with the action of
the third factor—that is to say, with the attitude of conscious choice and selection, among inborn and environmental factors, of those which seem to deserve our approval and fostering, and those which the individual disapproves and tries to overcome in himself and in his environment.
That, from which an individual becomes independent and free, determines his place on the scale of development and his relation to his own primitive levels of functions and to his own personality and its ideal.
Autonomy expresses the consciously chosen attitude, which, on the one hand, becomes more and more independent from its own lower traits and from nondevelopmental, harmful influences of the environment and, on the other hand, becomes increasingly coordinated with and dependent on a new consciously developed hierarchy of values and the ideal of personality.
Autonomy is a concept of fundamental importance for a theory of development, for education, and especially for self-education and autopsychotherapy. Autonomy is also discussed in modern pedagogy when it deals with the Problem of forming so-called autonomous characters, both independent and creative.
The presence of at least some elements of autonomy in the psychic structure is important for all fields of the humanities. It is an essential quality of a true educator, judge, or authentic politician. Autonomy plays the fundamental role in the prognosis and treatment of psychoneuroses and functional mental illnesses. The possession of this capacity determines a good prognosis concerning the development of the individual and his, abilities for autopsychotherapy.
What is authentism? It is, strictly speaking, a concept that has only been elaborated in recent years.
This term is not included in several major encyclopedias.
According to “Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary” the term “authentic” means trustworthy, genuine, not imaginary, false, or imitative. Therefore, this concept would express an agreement with facts, with concrete, reality and with the inborn, biologically determined psychological type.
According to Lalande’s 1 Dictionary this concept refers rather to documents or works truly originating from the assumed author in contrast to false documents or works, not originating from the assumed author. In another sense this concept is used to indicate persons or activities, authorized to execute definite activities pertaining to their positions, appearance, etc.
Our notion of authentism is not strictly bound to such uses of the concept of authenticity. We do not consider authentic such forms of behavior, conduct, experiencing or thinking which may find expression in the so-called sincerity and straightforwardness without inhibition, in uncontrolled manifestations of one’s inborn inclinations, in “being natural” without reflection and inner psychic transformation.
It seems that such an interpretation of authentism would simplify the issue and would not take into consideration the role of levels in the development of a human being. It seems that sincerity and straightforwardness have real value, if they result from many conscious and elaborated inhibitions.
If the concept of authentism or authentic existence is to have the normative connotation associated with it
1 A. Lalande, Vocabulaire de la philosophic. Paris: Alcan, 1926.
by leading existentialist philosophers, it has to be interpreted from a multilevel point of view and it has to be related to mental development toward autonomous personality—that is to say, toward the highest levels of mental structure and functions. A partial, weaker or stronger symptom of authentism appears in proportion to its proximity to autonomous personality and its ideal.
Generally speaking, that is more authentic which has passed through the process of disintegration, which manifests higher levels of the inner psychic milieu, which is more autonomous and empathic, which exhibits more distinctly the operation of the third factor, which is closer to the ideal, which is more “human” and represents a high level of self-consciousness. That which is more authentic, has a rich history of development, a rich history of inner conflicts, self-consciousness, empathy, and a stronger and more complex awareness of existence and of one’s own essence, as well as, of the essence of others. By the essence of a human individual we mean those basic features of developing man which are self-conscious, self-chosen and self-educated.
To authentic activities and attitudes will belong, for instance, the attitude Of conscious protest against the automatic, thoughtless human activities, which come about from collective suggestiveness and excessive social adjustment. Authentic are such decisions which reject the lower levels of instinctive functions, as well as, decisions to take the responsibility for others acts of sacrifice, etc. “Authentisms” of this kind include creative and conscious dynamisms which together with other developmental forces shape one’s autonomous personality. Many so-called psychopathological states, processes, and attitudes such as: altruistic anxiety, existential anxiety in psychoneurotics, some “pathological” protests of schizophrenics against certain degrading practices, methods of care in hospitals—belong to partially authentic attitudes.
Every distinct result of the processes of self-education and autopsychotherapy which make us leave lower levels
of development and achieve higher ones, is an expression of the fundamental process of aspiration to authentism.
Let us consider a few examples of authentism:
1. Sacrifice of one’s life in a concentration camp in order to save the life of another man who has. children and is responsible for them.
2. The courage to “speak out' in cases in which one realizes that the direction or methods of an action are erroneous and, as a result of such criticism, the individual may be dismissed from his position.
3. Refusal to accept high honors or a prize when one feels that somebody else deserves it.
4. The determination to express in creative works one’s true opinions, even if small deflections from those opinions would protect the security of the, author and his family.
This conception of authentism presumably involves the. enrichment of this term by the inclusion of multilevelness in its essential structure. In this way, the content of authentism is broken up into apparent and real, lower and higher. In order to make clear that we are dealing, here, not only with a mental quality, but also with a developmental dynamism, we use rather the term “authentism” than “authenticity.”
Following are a few remarks about the relation between autonomy and authenticity. Autonomy is an indispensable part of authenticity; authenticity is more global. Authenticity is a result of development of many dynamisms of autonomy. Authenticity has a more synthetic character. Authenticity is strictly connected with the essence of each individual.
We cannot regard authentism as a gift acquired without work, effort, self-transformation and self-education. Authentism is acquired through deep and grave life experiences, inner conflicts and unceasing efforts. Therefore, the methods or aids in planning development and self-education must be based on authentic values, placed
in our hierarchy of values, progressing from the lowest to the highest level of authentism.
To become authentic—in the, sense of becoming a unique human individual with an unrepeatable, autonomously developed social attitude—must be considered one of the fundamental elements of our ideal of personality and hierarchy of aims. Education towards authenticity is not an education toward artificial originality and self-distinction, because such an assumption would distort the meaning of authenticity. An authentic education does not produce “authentism for show.”
Authenticity can be achieved as a resultant of many individual and social qualities. It comes about as an effect of the development of these qualities. It is acquired in a manner which involves forgetting it, forgetting about the possibility of being authentic or acting authentically. Occasionally, we can learn from others about our authentic activities, but mainly from those who, themselves, represent high levels of mental development.
A human individual is authentic, if he has developed an autonomous attitude toward himself, his environment and his ideal of personality; if he has achieved a high level of synthetic inner psychic transformation, consciousness self-consciousness, empathy, hierarchization and a strong feeling of his essentialist existence.
Authenticity is a result of a high level of development of the inner psychic milieu, especially of its intellectual emotional and instinctive aspects, and inner psychic transformation.
The concept of authentism has fundamental significance in the planning and realization of the program of self-development, self-education and autopsychotherapy,
in shaping conditions for intuitive syntheses in the development of the self-perfection instinct and in the realization of personality and its ideal.
The concept of authentism is also important in the selection of a suitable profession, and especially, in placing suitable persons in responsible positions in education, teaching and philosophy. It plays a basic role in the theory of morals, in personalist philosophy and in serious pastoral work. Then it yields not only professional values, but such values which go beyond professional considerations, and are based on long-lasting experiences and understanding of essential human drama.
From the psychological point of view, by responsibility, we mea n the feeling of duty and its realization, if their scope and content is determined by the content and level of consciousness and empathy in relation to human individuals and groups, and even to the human race in general and other living creatures. We can use the term responsibility with regard to a conscious choice of social tasks which, in a disquieting way, enter into our consciousness. They impose themselves upon our consciousness as a sort of new knowledge associated with an attitude of obligation, as a categorical imperative, as a command that refers to “what and how” should be “done,” with a simultaneous activation of the dynamisms pushing toward realization.
In a genuine case of the feeling of responsibility, realization is included in the very experience of responsibility. Authentic responsibility can be measured by the extent
of realization or by the extent of authentic readiness to act and authentic attempts of realization. Without this crucial element involving realization, responsibility merely declarative, verbal, in “academic discussions,” “on paper.” Without this element it is difficult to distinguish from seeming real responsibility, mere talk about responsibility which expresses the desire to gain social recognition rather than authentic experience of responsibility.
We bear the responsibility for our children, for their health, clothes, food, education and mental development. We are responsible for the quality of our work, for the fulfillment of the duties which we accepted as members of social organizations. The scope and level of our responsibility increases in proportion to our mental development. The wider and more distinct is our development toward higher levels of mental life, the wider and more intense are our feelings of responsibility which is increasingly extended to larger groups, to the whole nation and all of mankind.
Generally speaking, there are two kinds of responsibility depending on the degree of sensitiveness of an individual. The first kind is rather formal, the second expresses authentic attitudes. The first is founded on convention, on a kind of “contract,” on a strict determination of duties and responsibilities. Those whose feelings belong to this category decline the responsibility for anything which has not been clearly stated in the contract. Their attitude is frequently expressed in the saying: “This is none of my business, this is beyond the scope of my responsibility.”
The second kind of attitude has emotional and intellectual roots. It arises from genuine emotional and imaginational excitability, from empathy and identification, from consciousness and self-consciousness, and from prospection.
This is the attitude exhibited by such individuals as: Socrates, Lincoln, Father Kolbe, Dr. Korczak, etc. The
limits of responsibility are determined here by syntony, by conscious love and prospection, the level and scope of which grows in proportion to all-around mental development and is increasingly associated with the drive toward realization and readiness to sacrifice. Individuals of this kind feel responsible for the realization of justice and for the protection of others against harm and injustice. Their feelings of responsibility extend almost to everything. Their attitude is the exact opposite of the attitude expressed in Wyspiański’s drama “The Wedding”: “Let there be war everywhere in the world, if only our village is secure and quiet.”
Two problems related to the question of responsibility require additional remarks and clarification. One is the problem of legal responsibility as it is determined and imposed by a system of law, and the other is the problem of realization of moral commands.
Certainly those individuals who show broad and deep sensitivity and a high level of empathy do not act against the law, but, so to say, “above the law.” The scope of legal obligations is for them the very minimum of their responsibility which is broader and deeper than that demanded by the precepts of law. However, they have respect for the law and subordinate themselves to the law (Socrates, Gandhi, M. L. King) and the only resistance they show is against those degenerated forms of legal order which amount to brutal oppression of their fellowman.
With regard to the second problem, which concerns the role of realization as an element of responsibility, we wish to stress this point again that realization constitutes one of the fundamental elements of authentic responsibility. This conception of responsibility counteracts the spread of parasitic forms of responsibility, the so-called verbal responsibility which amounts to oral declarations. It unmasks and counteracts those forms of responsibility which always choose the easier course of action, which avoid risks and sacrifices and are excessively concerned
with the preservation of oneself “for some future important task.” This is, in fact, pseudo-responsibility at the service of primitive drives, especially the instinct of self-preservation.
Responsibility consists in conscious readiness to accept and fulfill duties, the content and scope of which grows in proportion to mental development of individuals and groups, both in positive (joy, success, social recognition) and negative (difficulties, suffering, and even death) conditions of this development.
Responsibility is a multidimensional and multilevel concept, which starts with the narrow form of responsibility for the duties accepted in individual or social contracts, and extends to the family, ending with responsibility for the national community and international relations, including even all mankind. The level of responsibility grows in proportion to general mental growth, and undergoes transformations from its narrow forms to those forms which recognize the risks and in which the individual identifies himself with the “cause.”
This multilevel conception of responsibility is of fundamental importance in every sphere of educational activities, in jurisdiction, politics and human relations, particularly those of a hierarchical structure. The feelings of responsibility increase together with the development of Personality, with the recognition of various levels of reality and aims. They cooperate with the dynamisms of autonomy and authenticity and are always noticeable whenever those dynamisms really are in operation.
In our educational activities we have to widen and deepen authentic responsibility, and discourage and weaken apparent, seeming, verbal “responsibility”; responsibility “as though.”
This distinction may also have application in penal law. Encouragement of responsibility, even of a limited scope, for one’s own actions through a well-prepared system of education may be of great significance in prophylaxis and prevention of crime. Retribution requires more careful elaboration so that it would really protect society against certain kinds of crime. A carefully examined system of retribution includes elements of prophylaxis, because it generates inhibitions and a degree of sensitiveness with regard to some kinds of crime, and thus, contribute to the formation of at least rudimentary forms of responsibility.
29. ACTIVATION OF THE IDEAL
Activation of the ideal of personality in different fields means, at the same time, activation of the ideal on different levels. There is no activation of the ideal and its energy if there is no increasingly clearer hierarchization of values in oneself and in the external milieu. The wider is the area of multilevel disintegration and hierarchization, the stronger is the dynamization of the ideal of inner psychic transformation, of the third factor, the disposing and directing center on an increasingly higher level and all-around self-education. The ideal is the aim of multilevel disintegration, secondary integration and multilevel development. It is the highest value for the developing personality of the individual, while, at the same time, it is an instrument of development and self-education.
The process of passing from what is “lower” to what is “higher,” from that which is “farther” from per-
sonality towards that which is “nearer” personality, from that which “is” to that which “ought to be,” is an example of a typical process of advancing toward the ideal of personality. The closer is the individualization of the ideal, the clearer it is, the more differentiated and strong, the more accessible to an intuitive grasp. At the same time, its activity is increasing and this, in turn, strengthens the developmental energy.
The processes of self-education, autopsychotherapy, and inner psychic transformation; the dynamisms of empathy, autonomy, and authenticity; and the disposing and directing center on a high level are structures and functions nearest to the ideal of personality.
The ideal of personality is the model of the development of personality; an intuitive, synthetic goal of the development of a human individual; and an aim of his planned multilevel developmental efforts. The lower and middle levels of this development are being built by the intellect and experience with the participation of intuition. The higher stages of development are transformed through the synthetic intuitive “grasp” of the ideal of personality and identification with this ideal. This synthesis and intuition transform and project this ideal by their work, they lift up the empirical and discursive activities to a higher level.
We have to add that, on the highest levels of development, almost all the dynamisms weaken in respect to strength, identifying their work with the work of the whole personality. They stop acting individually; the whole personality acts as an entity. Then the strength of these dynamisms weakens in respect to violence. There is, however, great strength of activity of ideal.
Activation of the ideal consists of an increase in intensity of one’s commitment to this ideal and the growth of mental tension caused by this process. The higher
is the level of mental development of an individual, the more distinct and specific is his ideal of personality. It takes a vital part in the intuitive-synthetic work toward secondary integration and, together with empirico-discursive dynamisms, participates in the realization of the program of development set up by a developing individual.
The concept of the activation of the ideal of personality is a vague and impractical concept on a low level of mental development. On the level of multilevel disintegration and at the time of the formation of the inner psychic milieu, this concept becomes clearer and more real. Activation of the ideal becomes a “normal” concrete activity, if there is a hierarchy of values and the dynamism of self-perfection. There, the activation of the ideal becomes a defensive force of development and the source of “developmental projections.”
On the level of self-education and autopsychotherapy, activation becomes the “everyday” dynamism of development. This concept is fundamental and useful in developmental and educational psychology, in the theory of morals, in philosophy of the ideal, and everywhere where we speak, theoretically and practically, but in an authentic way, about autodeterministic development.
30. THE DISPOSING AND DIRECTING CENTER
How could we describe the disposing and directing center? It is, according to our view, a dynamism or group of dynamisms organizing and directing our behavior. It undergoes hierarchic multilevel transformations and is subordinated to the laws of mental develop-
ment. Its structure and functions depend on the level of the individuals developmental phase.
On the lowest level, on the level of primitive integration, this center is identified with concrete primitive instinctive dynamisms or with groups of these dynamisms. The intellectual function is subordinated to these dynamisms and used merely as an instrument. This center decides that human behavior at this level is narrow and primitively integrated. The tension of these instinctive dynamisms is strong, the direction of action is primitive and clear hesitations and inhibitions are not common, especially in the sphere of realization.
In unilevel disintegration the structure and level of primitive integration is gradually disturbed; we have the first signs of hesitation and imbalance of instinctive attitudes; emotional restraints start to operate. The instinctive, structures are loosening and we find attitudes “for” and “against,” hesitations in feelings and actions and changeability, of moods. We can observe ambivalences and ambitendencies. In connection with this, at different times many disposing and directing centers of different tension appear; their activity may be prolonged or brief; the processes of inhibition play a more important role; the tendency toward realization of instinctive needs is not as strong as it was before.
We may say that at this stage there are many changeable, conflicting or cooperating centres of the same level of development. We may also speak of the activity of some or many “wills” as centers which alternately oppose or cooperate with one another.
When the development of the human individual is passing to the third phase—the phase of multilevel, spontaneous disintegration—these centers become less numerous, less differentiated in power and tension. The centers which represent hierarchically lower levels submit to the centers which represent higher levels. In this hierarchization all the dynamisms of the third phase of multilevel disintegration take part. Emotional ten-
dencies and inhibitions gradually subordinate lower drives to higher centers. Those dynamisms which slowly integrate themselves into one disposing and directing center, slowly gain ground. However, this new center does not yet operate in a definite and clear manner.
It is only in the fourth stage of disintegration that one center is definitely formed and that it acts synthetically as one center on a high level. Hesitations in functions are not significant, systematization is fairly clear. The new disposing and directing center is based on the work of such dynamisms as subject-object” in oneself, self-consciousness and self-control, the third factor and inner psychic transformation.
On the highest level, that is to say, on the border of the fourth and fifth stages, as well as, on the stage of secondary integration, we have only one disposing and directing center which synthesizes intuitively all human tendencies, identifies itself with personality and its ideal and develops its own activity in unity with persona I through “insight,” meditation and contemplation.
The disposing and directing center is a dynamism or a group of dynamisms that disposes and directs the behavior of human individuals.
This center has a structure, level and form of cooperation with other dynamisms dependent on the level of development of an individual. On the lowest level, that is to say, on the level of primitive integration, this center identifies itself with the strongest instinct or group of instincts; on the level of unilevel disintegration we observe the disintegration of the structure and functions into more or less numerous disposing and directing centers which alternately cooperate or conflict. On the level of multilevel spontaneous disintegration and organized disintegration is created the center on the highest level. This center identifies itself with the whole personality
and its ideal and directs all of the most important dynamisms of man.
Such a conception of the disposing and directing center gives us insight, as it seems, into its position in and cooperation with the groups of different dynamisms on many levels. We can see its transformations, dependence on different inauthentic and authentic determinants and, on the highest level, we can observe its gradual identification with personality. Such a conception is not only of theoretical importance, but also can be the basis for an individual consciously to transform this dynamism towards its higher levels. That means, it would apply in self-education, autopsychotherapy, in the science of the “human will” in the sense of its determinants, indeterminants, and autodeterminants.
Such a conception allows us, probably, to understand genetically and dynamically the development of man through his nonhierarchical and hierarchical dynamisms, through the unions and disunions of different dynamisms in the course of development, their disintegration on the way to higher levels of development and, thus, to secondary integration.
Will cannot be understood and defined without such concepts and dynamisms as multilevelness, disintegration, the third factor, inner psychic transformation, autonomy and authenticity. What is will on the lowest level of development, on the level of primitive impulsive structure, and on the level of a psychic structure which has a
primitive, rigid, instinctive, organization integrated on a low level and the intellectual function completely subordinated to the functioning system.? At this stage, will is inseparable from the functioning of an impulse or a group of impulses, and may be identified with a concrete impulse or group of impulses.
On the level of certain impulsive loosening, on the level of unilevel, nonhierarchical disintegration, on the level of unilevel conflicts, and on the level of ambivalency and ambitendency—we have a relative, although unstable, equilibrium in the activity of will, or rather different “wills,” which loosen their close association with impulses, couple and uncouple interchangeably in the service of undifferentiated activities of heterogeneous feelings and instincts. To a certain degree, on this level of disintegration, we may observe a certain autonomy of will, or rather, many “wills.”
After further development we have the beginnings of multilevel disintegration, where new “autonomous dynamisms” rise. We also have here inner conflicts, as in the previous phase. These are not unilevel conflicts, but multilevel ones. Will joins with these dynamisms to which it becomes more and more subordinated and rises to a higher level along with the development and activity of such dynamisms as: astonishment with oneself, disquietude with oneself, inferiority feeling towards oneself, dissatisfaction with oneself, feelings of shame and guilt, positive maladjustment and the creative instinct.
In this way “will” becomes “free” from former connections with lower impulsive dynamisms, and couples with higher ones to become free from lower determination and associates itself with higher dynamisms. Thus, it becomes a second time “free” and less autonomous, but at the same time more authentic, because it is coupled with the development of the personality of the individual.
In the next phase the individual decisively and sys-
tematically “divides” will into two levels through the functioning of the dynamisms of “subject-object” in oneself, the third factor, inner psychic transformation, self-consciousness, self-control and empathy.
In this manner will becomes a second time determined and “annexed” to the personality. It becomes, in this way, “freely,” “autodeterministically” dependent and a personality function. Lifting itself to the higher levels, will becomes less and less free, and personality becomes more and more “free.” Will becomes less autonomous and more authentic, bound to the conscious personality as a united dynamism of secondarily integrated will in complete ‘union with the personality.
In conclusion will, as a concept and dynamism, possesses a different content, sphere and even tension which depend on the developmental level of the individual.
It is a dynamism which, as we have mentioned before—on the level of primitive, integrated and impulsive structure—identifies completely, or almost completely, with a concrete primitive impulse or with a group of impulses. On the level of unilevel disintegration this dynamism is divided into many volitive dynamisms, “many wills,” which are involved in various unilevel conflicts and cooperations. On the level of multilevel organized disintegration and on the borderline of secondary integration will becomes more uniform, more associated with and more identifying with personality and its ideal.
We can ask the question: what is the basic difference between our conception of will and the disposing and directing center? These are similar concepts. The function of will is to make decisions and act; the disposing and directing center—besides this function—has the function of planning, programming, organizing and directing. It is wider, more synthetic and contains clear intellectual elements.
Will is a function of the unilevelness and multilevelness of the development of man and its definition has to tie it up to specific developmental levels.
On the level of primitive integration will is determined and unified with a primitive dominant impulse or group, of impulses; on the level of unilevel disintegration will is, in a certain sense, free, and little determined by weaker subordinating fundamental instinctive dynamisms. In proportion to the development through multilevel disintegration, will becomes less “free,” more consciously identified with “free” personality and its ideal, and more! consciously and voluntarily submits to autodetermination and the personality.
Reevaluation of this concept pertains mainly to its modification and transformation in dependence on the, levels of manifestations of that dynamism. Its significance is very important for the theory of positive disintegration. It is important to the structure and functions of the inner psychic milieu, and especially to the, structures connected with other dynamisms on the level' of primitive integration, unilevel disintegration and secondary integration. In this way, the concept of will has different content and connections depending on the level on which acts of will take place.
This reevaluated concept is applicable in developmental psychology, educational psychology, education, psychopathology, and especially in jurisdiction, psychotherapy and autopsychotherapy.
According to the generally accepted view, personality is a structure or organization of mental functions characteristic of every human individual. The present writer considers personality to be the effect and the aim of mental development. Hence, personality is the force which integrates mental functions on a high level. In order to attain personality, it is necessary to pass through the whole laborious path of internal and external conflicts, and positive adjustment and maladjustment. It is necessary to work out and develop the inner psychic milieu with its basic dynamisms, to undergo mental experiences and transformations characteristic of the process of positive disintegration and leading to secondary integration. It is necessary to reach the level of the formation and growth of the instinct of self-perfection to approach one’s own individual and social ideal.
Personality is, therefore, the final outcome of painstaking experiences of self-education and autopsychotherapy. It is, at the same time, the highest form of organization of mental functions that can be achieved by man. We could associate personality with the concept of a complete human individual who, in regard to the scope and level of his functions, represents a coherent and harmonious structure of a high degree of insight into himself, into his aims and aspirations (self-awareness). Personality may also be described as a self-chosen, unique organization of structures and dynamisms with a distinct identity and direction. The development of personality consists in the formation and growth of preeminently human qualities of a conscious and dramatic nature, in particular, autonomy and authenticity.
The individual who develops his personality must have the feeling that his attitude is right, that his aims have significant, lasting and objective value. This is the process and the state of self-confirmation and self-objectivization. He must be aware that the course of mental
development is never completed and, consequently, that he has constantly to pay attention to the problem of self-education and self-perfection.
We may define personality as an individual, unique, unrepeatable unity of basic mental qualities. Those, qualities which were chosen at the time of the “birth of personality” and later, authentically developed as central and most important, do not undergo qualitative changes. They will grow quantitatively and may be supplemented by new qualities. This, however, will not upset the place and weight of central qualities.
The first quality of personality—that is to say, self-awareness is relatively clear and does not need much comment. The quality of being self-chosen involves the process of development, the repeated acts of choosing one’s personality many times until the moment of the final choice. This choice comes about as a result of the activity of autonomous factors, such as the third factor, the dynamism “subject-object” in oneself, inner psychic transformation, identification and empathy, autonomy authentism and the ideal of personality. The essence of this choice I consists in distinguishing what is “higher” and “lower,” what is “less myself” and “more myself,” what is closer to and what is more distant from personality, what is changeable and what is lasting, what. is merely existential and what is existentio-essentialist. It is a conscious and self-determined choice. At a certain. level of choice the individual becomes aware of what is his own “essence”; that is to say, what are his aims and aspirations his attitudes, his relations with other people which have been prominent in his experiences and without which his life would be devoid of meaning.
The “essence” of an individual is formed by the central qualities of his personality. We can say that this essence was constituted in Lincoln in the strength of his striving toward his ideals and stubbornness in their pursuit, together with empathy toward citizens of his country and openness to the arguments of his adversaries, even
readiness to state their case in better terms than they were able themselves. The essence of Chopin’s personality consisted of the nature of his musical creativity, his versatile sensitiveness, his specific moods and certain exclusive affective ties. For Wladyslaw Dawid the central, essential element consisted of the need to attain “salvation” and to become united with his deceased wife without which he was unable to find meaning in his life.
Self-confirmation is the expression of becoming assured, as a result of self-awareness and reflection, that the choice of one’s own structure, of one’s own path, of one’s own hierarchy of values is right, good and the only correct way, “this, and not any other.” It is associated with the constant readiness to act in a specific, clearly determined direction of development.
The quality of self-education attests that the process of mental development is never completed, even if its main lines are clearly defined. This quality is associated with the attitude of humility and strength, with the awareness of striving toward an ideal and the awareness of being at a distance from it.
Let us illustrate our general considerations with some examples of individuals having a clearly developed or developing personality. We find a fully developed personality in Socrates who manifested highly refined qualities of a citizen, soldier, teacher, and philosopher. He had a distinct feeling of responsibility for himself and for the society of which he was a member. Socrates combined his criticism of political authorities in his country with his subordination to the verdicts of those authorities. His philosophical views were fully consistent with his behavior (authenticity). He loved his intellectual pursuits and wanted to continue them in the other world. He was always aware of himself, choosing himself until the choice of death. He showed faithfulness to his concerns and his lasting affective ties. In his relations with other people he always respected them
as unique individuals; as “subjects” who deserved his respect. His intuition and ability of contemplation were quite exceptional.
An example of an individual in the process of shaping his personality can be given in the following excerpt from the autobiography of a patient: “My striving toward what I want to be, although I am not, is so strong that nobody and nothing can lead me astray from my path. I have tasted the joy of authenticity, empathy, independence from the things of “this world.” But I am still unable consistently and stubbornly to pursue the realization of my aims. I made the choice, I am aware, I strive; but I have not yet enough tranquility and systematization on my path.”
Here are three definitions of personality which differ in the degree of complexity and specification of details.
1) Personality is a self-conscious, self-chosen, empirically elaborated, autonomous, authentic, self-confirmed and self-educating unity of basic mental, individual and common qualities. Those qualities undergo quantitative and qualitative changes with the preservation of central elements.
2) Personality is a secondarily integrated set of basic mental qualities of an individual which undergoes quantitative and qualitative changes with the preservation of central lasting qualities.
3) Personality is the unity of integrated mental qualities of man; that is to say, personality is the final and highest effect of the process of positive disintegration, empirically and intuitively elaborated.
The above developed conception of personality as the outcome of the process of positive disintegration and as
the aim in the development of mental functions and structures, seems to be of fundamental significance in developmental and educational psychology, in education, in accelerated mental development, psychology and psychopathology of psychoneuroses, and even in philosophy. Personality—in the sense discussed here—is an individual, empirical and normative structure. Hence, it becomes a powerful, dynamic force of a teleological nature which serves as a basis for the individual program of education, self-education and autopsychotherapy, founded on a correct diagnosis.
On the other hand, personality includes central, “essentialist” elements, unchanging qualitatively; although submitted to quantitative growth and accruement of new qualities, sometimes of marginal significance, sometimes near to the central. This concept of personality accounts for the two crucial aspects of fundamental human tendencies: the preservation of identity, uniqueness and unrepeatability, on the one hand, and the requirement of continuous, incessant development, on the other hand.
It seems that this empirical and teleological approach to personality may be particularly useful in the diagnosis of and as a stimulus for this group of youths and adults who “idealize” at the period of adolescence and, in later life, and owe this capacity to their lasting, positive developmental tendencies.
In philosophical terms, it provides the basis for the thought of an absolute “I” and “Thou,” for dealing with ‘I” and “Thou” on a very high level reaching the border of the absolute. It may become the point of departure for reflection upon the postulate of individual immortality. This postulate was characteristically noticeable in Socrates, in Wladyslaw Dawid, Soren Kierkegaard, and others.
33. THE INNER PSYCHIC MILIEU
The concept of the inner psychic milieu can be considered in analogy to the concept of the external or social environment. The inner psychic milieu can be visualized as a kind of geographical map in a dynamic interpretation which would locate the various developmental and nondevelopmental, “normal” and pathological dynamisms. The operation of those dynamisms, either in harmony or in conflicts, is a very real fact in human life. The outcome of the activity of the dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu usually takes the form of differentiated attitudes in various aspects of an individual’s life—be they personal, professional, economic, social or religious.
On the “internal,” psychic geographical map we find the more important, more decisive dynamic centers and specific dynamisms which more or less permanently preserve their dominant role, and others which increase in intensity and exercise pressure on the former to assume their dominant position. There are on this map still other dynamisms, not ordered in a hierarchical way, which are in a loose and unstable relationship to other dynamisms. At times these dynamisms are in harmony and cooperation with the formerly mentioned dynamisms, and yet at other times, they are in collision or conflict.
This whole setup not infrequently gives the impression of chaos. It is dynamic and involved with conflicts. At a closer look, however, it shows more or less distinct developmental dynamisms and tendencies toward formation of new dynamisms of a higher level.
We can think of the inner milieu in terms of another analogy. When we look at our body, the expression of our face of our motions as reflected in a mirror or in our imagination, we can visualize various mental dynamisms, more or less conscious, operating behind the external cover: self-approbation and self-admiration, depression, jealousy, narcissism, shame, dissatisfaction with oneself, aggression, striving toward an ideal. We can “see” the
hierarchy of various dynamisms or a dynamic setup devoid of a hierarchical order.
At the level of primitive instinctive integration, that is to say, at a primitive stage of mental development or in psychopathy, the inner psychic milieu does not really exist. It arises and is noticeable only at the stage of unilevel disintegration, when a certain sensitiveness appears, when we observe the process of loosening and disintegration of mental structure in a nonhierarchical, unilevel manner. This stage is associated with the presence of ambivalences and ambitendencies; inconsistency of feelings, evaluations and action; changeability of ions from depression to excitation, moods; easy transit and from inferiority to superiority feelings. We can find at this stage a number of unstable directing and disposing centers, a plurality of “‘wills.” They appear in a changing order, without a stable hierarchy, and their activity is temporary and devoid of a distinct dominant. This kind of inner psychic milieu appears in the course of mental transformations dependent on the biological life cycle, at the time of adolescence and menopause. Conscious, autonomous factors, which transform mental functions through one’s “own forces,” do not exist or participate in this kind of inner psychic milieu.
In cases of a rich hereditary endowment combined with conditions favorable to accelerated mental development we can observe the process called multilevel disintegration. it consists in a disintegration into what is “higher” and “lower,” “better” and “worse”; into what represents more of myself” and “less of myself.”
At first it is the phase of a spontaneous growth of the multilevel inner milieu. It is characterized by the presence of such dynamisms as: astonishment with oneself, disquietude with oneself, inferiority feeling toward oneself, dissatisfaction with oneself, feelings of shame and guilt, symptoms of positive maladjustment, and the beginnings of the instinct of creativity with components of growing reflection. I have discussed these dynamisms
in my previous writings 1 and in other chapters of this book.
If there is a further increase in self-consciousness and the drive toward self-perfection, the individual passes to the phase called organized multilevel disintegration, characterized by the formation of an inner milieu and dynamisms of a higher level which organize this inner milieu. This is the time of operation of such dynamisms as: the third factor, “subject-object” in oneself, self-awareness, self-control, inner psychic transformation, identification and empathy.
On a still higher level, at which the individual approaches personality and its ideal (i.e., on the borderline of organized multilevel disintegration and secondary integration) the following dynamisms emerge: autonomy and authenticity, education of oneself and autopsychotherapy, disposing and directing center on a high level and ideal of personality. These dynamisms show distinct integrative force and strong interconnections. All of them, including the disposing and directing center, are gradually identified with personality and approach its ideal, which is the supplier of mental energy on the highest accessible level.
The following examples will illustrate this concept.
1. An excerpt from a patient’s biography which describes his inner psychic milieu: “As a result of my broken marriage, the causes of which I tried to analyze from all points of view and in which as a result of a variety of personal conflict and failures I took interest in the manner I responded to external facts and events surrounding
1 K. Dąbrowski, 0 dezyntegracji pozytywnej (On positive disintegration). Warsaw: Panstwowy Zaklad Wydawnictw Lekarskich, 1964.
K. Dąbrowski, Positive disintegration. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1964.
K. Dąbrowski, Personality-shaping through positive disintegration. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1967.
K. Dąbrowski, Le filieu psychique interne. Annales Médico-psychologiques, 1968, 2, 457-485.
me. I took interest in myself and extended this interest to the inner life of other people. I see now that strange and sad things occur in myself, things which frequently are much more fascinating than what I see in the external world. One thing which attracted my attention was the observation that there are “levels in myself” I am capable now of observing what is active in myself in specific concrete situations, what is decisive of my behavior what kinds of positive and negative forces struggle in myself. Now, I understand what is an inhibition of the ‘higher' by the ‘lower' and vice versa.”
2. The statement of one of the Oriental philosophers: “Nobody except God and myself knows what is in my heart.”
It seem that the concept of the inner psychic milieu is new and rich. It was discovered now long ago, but its numerous dynamisms show a highly complex structure and differentiation. There are, among those qualities, various levels and kinds of dynamisms and levels of the inner milieu, each of which represents or is in the process of becoming a separate phenomena and stimulant toward a richer and deeper grasp of reality.
The inner psychic milieu is the totality of mental dynamisms in a distinct or indistinct hierarchical setup, sometimes even without a hierarchical order. These dynamisms are related to one another in a more or less permanent cooperation or conflict. They have a decisive role in the development of personality.
In the author’s opinion the concept of the inner psychic milieu is of important significance for developmental and educational psychology, psychopathology, ethics, and philosophy. It seems that it complements the concept of
the external environment which, in its various dynamisms, will have “reference” to specific dynamisms and levels of the inner psychic milieu. In this way it will become possible to better understand the cases of harmony and disharmony between the two environments. It will be possible to examine, in a more incisive way, interenvironmental problems in education and self-education, in psychotherapy and autopsychotherapy, as well as, in “inner life.”
It seems that the phenomenon of the development of a human individual is much clearer, if we interpret it in terms of the inner psychic milieu.
It also seems that the distinction of the main dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu will have growing influence upon concrete and complex educational and self-educational activity of human individuals, especially as a result of growing knowledge of interrelations among various kinds and levels of the external and internal environments. Here, we specifically refer to such dynamisms as; astonishment with oneself, feelings of shares and guilt, disquietude with oneself, inferiority feeling toward oneself, dissatisfaction with oneself, positive maladjustment, the dynamism “subject-object” in oneself, the third factor, autonomy and authenticity, disposing and directing center on a higher level and ideal of personality.
34. POSITIVE MENTAL TENSION
A great number of educational, psychological and psychiatric theories consider mental tension negative. The individuals who manifest strong mental tension are, as a rule, advised to consult a psychiatrist. The generally
accepted approach includes such recommendations as: “Quiet down take it easy . . . relax. . . . have a rest. . . ” However, experience seems to indicate that recommendations of this kind do not change or decrease mental tension, as it has its source in a psychopathic constitution or in significant alteration in the tissue of the nervous system.
In our discussion here we will be especially concerned with another kind of mental tension. It arises from distinct or accelerated processes of mental development from above average sensitivity, from internal and external conflicts, from creative attitudes, from the. will to transform one’s own psychological type, etc. Mental tension of this kind is usually associated with various forms of mental hyperexcitability, with excessive sensitivity, with maladjustment to external and internal conditions, with a search for something new and of a higher level of reality.
By maladjustment to internal conditions we mean a positive dynamism consisting in a negative attitude toward some of the mental traits and functions which one finds in himself and feels that they impede his development.
All the above mentioned dynamisms—such as sensitivity, internal and external conflicts, etc.—are associated with nervousness and most kinds of psychoneuroses. They express developmental changes of personality changes which come about through psychological “disruption,” inhibitions, depressions, anxiety, obsessions, etc.
The symptoms discussed above are characteristic for so-called pathological syndromes. On the other hand, they coincide with creative tendencies; with developmental transformation; with the search for new forms of artistic expression; with attempts to reach new levels and kinds of reality, higher than the common, usual, everyday experiences. It is well known that those other
kinds and levels of reality cannot be attained without effort and inner struggle; that the path toward the frequently leads through breakdowns, depressions, obsessions, anxiety and sacrifice.
From the standpoint of the important role which mental tension plays in human development, the negative approach and attempts to remove tension by means of mechanical means, only impede the process of creative growth of personality. It seems, on the contrary, that mental tension in outstanding creative individuals should not and cannot be eliminated, because it is an expression and an essential part of the creative process.
The only positive approach to mental tension consists of many-sided insights into the mental structure and functions of the individual in order to find and encourage new ways of a creative discharge. This method will include the diagnosis of the causes of tension; the finding of positive channels leading “upwards,” of possible ways of compensation and sublimation in cases of difficulties inherent in the individual’s life; the consideration of which functions should be strengthened, which should be weakened, and finally, which will be the most economic use of an individual’s mental resources in the service of creativity.
Great painters, sculptors, poets and saints suffered tension and depression, because of the inability to adequately express and accomplish what was incubated and growing in their inner life. Michelangelo, Van Gogh, Malczewski and Gandhi are suitable examples. Many of them used the excess of energy as a means for creative arts, for self-perfection, for positive use and general benefit of the accomplishments resulting from mental tension.
Psychiatry contributes, in this respect nothing, or almost nothing. Although, it could contribute a great deal, if it would take into consideration the correlation between
creative processes and “psychopathology”; if it would appreciate the necessity and the developmental value of such tension; if it would admit that disruption, depression, anxiety are indispensable attributes of creative growth. The very simple task is to prevent excessive tendencies to interpret mental tension in pathological terms and to suggest this interpretation to creative individuals. A psychiatrist can render them and his society the right kind of service, if he will incisively analyze and explain to his “patients” that their symptoms are not at all manifestations of mental illness, but constitute positive elements in the process of accelerated mental development and creative search for adequate forms of expression. In this context it becomes increasingly clear that mental tension is a necessary element in human development and creative activity.
The concept of positive mental tension represents a typical example of disintegration of a formerly unified notion. It results from the impossibility to include, in the former, notion new insights. They involve the necessity of conceptual differentiation and inclusion of new qualities, sometimes psychologically and normatively contrary to the former ones.
Positive mental tension is creative tension characteristic for positive and accelerated mental development, usually associated with internal and external conflicts, with mental hyperexcitability, and often with psychoneuroses.
The concept and the dynamism of positive mental tension should be applied to all areas in which the tendency prevails to evaluate tension pejoratively—i.e., in education, psychopathology, psychotherapy and auto-
psychotherapy. In this approach mental tension will play a corrective and compensating role with regard to the narrow and rigid interpretation of negative tension.
It can also be applied in the theory of creative processes, in the study of personality of outstanding figures, and above all, in the analysis of multilevel mental transformations and psychoneurotic syndromes.
35. OBJECTIVIZATION OF EMOTIONAL
We are accustomed to the view that instinctive and emotional functions and their classification into lower and higher, positive and harmful, are closely bound with the conditions of a given culture. This view suggests that there are no levels of emotional functions objectively elaborated, which would give them more or less universal significance. However, the observations of different forms of emotional life in human individuals, social and national groups leads us to the idea that, in spite of fundamental cultural and social differences, there exist common features in the development and course of instinctive and emotional functions. We can find a distinct analogue concerning objectivization of emotional functions in the work of the famous Polish-British anthropologist, B. Malinowski, who presumed that the existing likeness of different primitive cultures results from the homogeneous fundamental needs of all human beings.
There has been preliminary research to describe and introduce objective scales of development of emotions and instincts and scales of moral attitudes. We can expect that in time we will achieve an “objective” scale of re-
search and measurement of emotional functions (taking into consideration their common dependence on other mental functions) which will allow us to foresee the behavior and conduct of an individual.
From diagnostic research, this postulate of objectivization was partially realized by the introduction of scales of measurement for levels and kinds of intelligence, psychomotor skills, and also traits of personality. In spite of the modifications which are necessary to adjust these scales to different national and cultural groups, these scales have an unchanging theoretical foundation in regard to the subject and aim of research in this area.
Observations and experiments show clearly that there are different levels of instincts and emotions, different levels of the instinct of self-preservation or the instinct of fighting, and others. There are also different levels of moral and aesthetic sensitivity and different levels of social and religious attitudes. From this point of view we can, for example, estimate levels of fear—starting from primitive forms of inhibition, immobilization, reflectivity in external occurrences—evoking fear until we reach the level of existential anxiety, anxiety for others. and their interests, anxiety about the success of a good cause. On these high levels the responses in the form of primitive nonreflectiveness, vegetative dystony, speech disturbances, etc. are repressed.
The same phenomena are observed, e.g. the sexual instinct where there is not only primitive, undifferentiated sexual desire, often connected with dislike, and even aggression towards the object to which the emotion was directed; but also, ideal love with strong individual feeling, and exclusive and unchangeable emotional attachment, even in conditions of fading or loss of the partner’s attractive physical features.
Objectivization of instinctive and emotional function.& consists in establishing (by means of psychological,
psychiatric and sociological methods) empirically testable levels of these functions which are independent from cultural and social conditions, and progress from “lower” to “higher” levels.
It seems to the author that the objectivization of emotional functions is one of the most important humanistic postulates in human development, that it is the. fundamental principle in developmental and educational psychology, in education, in the theory of morals, in sociology, politics and philosophy.
It does not seem that there could be correct and proper, education, self-education, development of family life, various forms of social life and a reasonable policy for the present level of human development without elaboration of the objectivization of emotional functions. Such objectivization must be carefully examined and have practical application if, in the majority of the abovementioned areas, we want to have authentic activities and not only superficial, apparently moral ones.
These misunderstandings and conflicting opinions, which have reigned until now between the “spoken” reality and the true reality would be diminished, if we had an elaborated, universal and objective scale of emotional functions. On this basis, we can establish the so-called realization of duty, responsibility and criteria of behavior toward other people, groups, and nations as well as, international responsibilities.
36. SUBJECTIVITY AND OBJECTIVITY IN
MENTAL DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATION
According to the widely accepted opinion—although without much understanding—an objective attitude to-
wards reality is the only correct one, while a subjective attitude is not a good basis for an adequate grasp of reality, because it is one-sided and harmful in education and mental development. It seems that this view is not grounded on a sufficiently clear idea of what is objective and what is subjective, or what is objective reality as distinguished from subjective reality.
In our opinion there are two kinds of reality, the objective and the subjective. Both are of equal importance in human life and both should be taken into account in education and mental development.
In many cases an objective attitude toward oneself is justified, recommendable, desirable and useful. However, the attitude towards other people should be mixed: subjective and objective. In education and mental development we have to apply the method “subject-object” in oneself which, in relation to others, should stress the subjective element. In this way we perceive and understand the other individual in his full personality, in his differentiated feelings and aspirations. This results in a much more complete and deep insight and understanding.
We could say that the ability to approach oneself as an object is in direct proportion to the ability to approach others as subjects. Inner split and disruption, inner conflicts, a steady tendency towards, or frequent exercise of self-criticism constitute fundamental factors in accelerated mental development, in the shaping of an autonomous hierarchy of values, in the growth of identification and empathy. This ability is, at the same time, the basis for approaching others as subjects. There is no development of identification and empathy without the distinction of the subject and object in oneself, the subject which shapes and the object which is shaped.
Individual growth and mental refinement is not possible without a critical attitude toward oneself and without experiencing one’s deficiencies. The same critical
attitude toward oneself, both cognitive and affective, creates the ability to transfer the same process and attitude towards others which is a necessary condition for higher forms of identification and empathy. It seems worthwhile to mention that, at the level of primitive integration, the individual lacks the capacity for those subtle, refined forms of identification and empathy which consist in distinguishing what is “myself” and what is “not myself.” They intensify the relation toward the, “thou,” that is, the relation toward others as subjects. They weaken egoism and egocentrism, and strengthen altruism and alterocentrism.
The “objective” attitude toward others; the cold, “matter of fact,” “from here to here” attitude is, as a. rule, associated with animosity, with repulsion in the sense of Monakow’s “ekklisis.” 1 We wish to emphasize here, that the objective-rational approach to other people is associated with affective “pushing away,” that is to say, with an asyntonic attitude. On the other hand, the attitude toward oneself as an object is conducive to, simultaneous or later approach toward others as subjects, and a later approach toward oneself as a subject. In this way, a truly authentic attitude arises toward oneself and toward others, an attitude which aims at the preservation and growth of both the “Thou” and the “I.”
The formation of such an attitude leads to a philosophical understanding of the relationship toward others and toward oneself, to a transcendental interpretation of the mental structure of oneself and of other people as qualitatively unchanging but growing quantitatively.
One of the consequences of this attitude consists in the rejection of such monistic tendencies—strange to an authentic man—as “complete unification” with the Supreme Being, as obliteration of the differences between “I” and “non-I.”
1 C. von Monakow et R. Mourgue, Introduction biologique a' l'étude de la psychopathologie. Paris: Alcan, 1928.
It is as though we would be dealing here with a dynamism of a secondary integration of nonspecific, disintegrated concepts which require a synthesis on a higher level. It would be a process of positive synthesis, positive integration of concepts. It takes place alongside the opposite process of disintegration of concepts under the pressure of the requirements of creative thinking.
The definition which we propose seems to transform the meaning of “subjectivity” and give it more value.
Subjectivity in mental development means treating oneself as an object and simultaneous growing awareness of developmental significance of oneself as a subject, as something unique and unrepeatable. This constitutes a necessary condition for approaching other people as individuals, as different and unique human beings that deserve our respect, appreciation and gentleness.
The concepts of subjectivity and objectivity are considered here in a dynamic perspective and on a high level of their development. They are examined as dynamisms active in the process of mental development, shaping human attitudes toward oneself and toward others. A sufficient grasp of what is involved in subjective attitudes is indispensable in self-education and in developmental transformation of one’s attitude toward others. The dynamisms active here are of great importance in mental growth of oneself and in any attempt to assist others in their mental growth that is to say, in any real and concrete development toward higher levels of values.
This approach is indispensable for the development of human relations in the direction of growing authenticity. It does not allow dealing with others as with mere “background,” or dealing with others and with oneself as accidental phenomena. The individual who
takes this attitude develops appreciation and fellow feeling for other individuals and personalities that emerge from the background.” He experiences them as having the same or even greater significance than himself.
The above considerations suggest definite practical applications in the sphere of education and human relations. The subjective approach to others constitutes the basis for conscious practice of tolerance with which we ought to approach other people’s opinions, attitudes and activities, if they do not violate fundamental moral norms; that is to say, if they do not aggressively and brutally infringe upon the rights of others and do not cause injury or suffering.
37. THE EXISTENTIO - ESSENTIALIST COMPOUND
IN HUMAN PERSONALITY
The concept, the state and the experience of existence are conspicuous in philosophy from the ancient era through the period of scholasticism, especially in Thomism, up to our time. According to St. Thomas Aquinas 1, as well as many contemporary Thomists, existence is more fundamental than essence, because existence is prior and there cannot be essence without existence.
The existentialist philosophy, a product of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, introduces new accents and kinds of existence. It emphasizes the experience of existence, not the concept. It points out that the deepest
1 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae: New York: McGraw Hill, 1967.
L. Telenska, La construction du système philosophique de St. Thomas d'Aquin. Suisse: Fribourg, 1915.
reality eludes conceptual definition. It can be experienced, but it cannot be the subject of intersubjective knowledge. Human existence is assumed to be the only proper philosophical topic. Existentialist philosophy is an expression of the experiences of pain, suffering, depression, elevation, empathy, and above all, disquietude and anxiety. Here man goes beyond the tranquility of thought, of reasoning by means of abstract ideas. He lives and suffers; he, feels and experiences pain, disintegration, distraction and inner conflicts.
In general, existentialism does not set up a hierarchy of values; although some, like Kierkegaard and other representatives of Christian existentialism 2, notice the hierarchy of intellectual values, and even more clearly, of nonintellectual values. However, they do not develop these hierarchies into systems founded on dominant experiential grounds.
It seems to the present writer that hierarchies of values are authentically and emotionally experienced; but in view of the centuries old supremacy of the concern with cognitive processes and abstract reasoning, in view of the tendency to assign a superior role to the intellectual function at the expense of the emotional function, authentic experiences of hierarchies of values have not been considered as evident as the widespread view which places human essence in the sphere of ideal and abstract concepts. It seems that crucial role of personal experiences and personal development, especially of the emotional sphere, does not interfere with the belief in universal values, appreciated by all individuals on a high level of development. On the other hand, whatever its merit in this respect, the existentialist philosophy has not sufficiently clarified and elaborated the relation between essence and existence.
The present writer does not pretend to have solved this problem. However, some of his reflections which
2 M. Bernard, La philosophie religieuse de Gabriel Marcel. 1952.
present themselves with a sufficient degree of clarity, will be related here. It seems that in the sphere of human experiences the apriori nature of the concept, state and process of existence in relation to essence has not been satisfactory formulated. If, from the viewpoint of all things and all living creatures, existence seems to be prior and more important, then, from the standpoint of human problems, or particularly, the modern man, essence is not less important or posterior to existence, but possibly is more important in the personality of man.
Existence becomes valuable only if the antinomy between that which is essential, unchanging, not accidental and that which is changeable, not essential, accidental; between what is “more myself and “less myself”; between that which man could easily give up and that which he would not resign at any price, becomes conscious and emotionally experienced.
Precisely that which is individual, exclusive, essential, chosen, unrepeatable—that which we refuse to give up—becomes the essence, and only when human existence gains distinct meaning, becomes complex, differentiated, “human.”
The concept of personality is explained in a detailed manner in another chapter. Personality includes that which is unrepeatable, unique, essential, exclusive in human experience and in the structure of personality. Its basic central qualities are shaped from the time of its “birth” and they do not undergo qualitative changes. Other qualities of some importance, but always somewhat marginal, may be added in further development. However, they could never replace the basic, central, essential qualities.
Those central, unchanging, essential qualities constitute the essence of man and, from the time of the formation and development of this “essence,” the genuine, authentic existence of man begins. Then, and only then, the
existentio-essentialist compound, characteristic of human beings, takes shape.
The existentio-essentialist compound is a strong structure of integrated functions on a high level of development, characterized by a strong mutual correlation without which a human being cannot be thought of as a unique individual—unrepeatable and unchanging in regard to central qualities.
The above problem is of great importance in existentialist, and especially in existentio-essentialist philosophy. it is also important in developmental psychology, particularly that of talented, outstanding individuals and personalities for whom philosophizing plays a significant role in their development.
The problem of existentio-essentialist compounds also has applications in the psychology of personality, in the theory of morals, in philosophy and everywhere where the problem of empathy, of “I and Thou” is considered—starting from the level of sensual experience to the borderline of transcendental experiences.
38. TRANSCEDENCE OF THE BIOLOGICAL
Life of man and animals alike is subject to a developmental, biological cycle. This cycle may be studied in a general or a detailed way. In a general way, cyclicality pertains to the development of man, beginning with birth,
through early and late childhood, puberty, youth, adulthood, and the period of aging. Growth and development, a period of stabilization, weakening and decline of powers, and finally death determine the course of life for human beings and animals.
When the life cycle is studied in a more detailed way, we can observe certain departures from its usual course, caused by the activity of internal secretion glands, and, in relation to that activity, periods of intensive energy and of its weakening resulting from various kinds of life stress and from transformations due to puberty, adolescence or menopause. In a detailed approach to the human life cycle we can notice certain strong psychological elements in the realm of development of interests, the sexual instinct, the social instinct, etc.
The lower the phylogenetic standing of a species, the smaller is the number of differences between individuals; the life cycle unfolds in a more unified, integrated manner. It is characterized by uniformity and lack of individual differences. The higher the phylogenetic standing of a species, the more common are individual differences. Among human beings there are considerable differences in the age at which puberty begins, considerable dysfunctions between psychological and physiological maturity, and symptoms of psychological infantilism. Sometimes creative activity increases in middle and old age. In some individuals exclusiveness in love is not weakened although the partners grow older. Love does not disappear, even after the death of one of the partners. Although the survivor is still capable of sexual life, he does not remarry and maintains exclusive feelings.
There are a great deal of phenomena that have been termed by many psychiatrist as “sexual deviations.” This term should not be taken literally. Many of those “deviations,” for example, certain forms of necrophilia, fetishism, or masturbation may fulfill a negative or positive role in the human life cycle, depending on what they represent and on what level of human sensitivity.
Their positive role would be indicated by, inter alia, the accompanying dynamisms of sexual inhibitions controlled by higher centers and their genetic elements, e.g. emotional exclusiveness, existential anxiety, tenderness of feelings, etc. In any case these symptoms indicate certain disturbances in the human life cycle, frequently of positive nature.
Departures from the common path of development frequently occur in the form of neuroses and psychoneuroses in which basic instinctual forces are weakened, inhibited, suppressed or their direction is changed. As a result, the content and rhythm of the human life cycle may undergo considerable transformations.
An individual who inhibits many of his lower drives because of needs arising from higher dynamisms; who excessively develops his Initial, marginal tendencies and inhibits basic tendencies, characteristic of a species or group, departs from the common life cycle.
Excessive empathy, authenticity, development of meditation and contemplation, the experiences and strivings of a Don Quixote, realization of a high hierarchy of ideals until the end of one’s life—all those symptoms express transcendence of basic human needs, of immediate reality, and traditional forms of adaptation. This attitude expresses a turning away from basic organismic needs and drives, and therefore, a turning away from the human biological life cycle.
Asceticism, empathy, or voluntary death for “higher purposes” clearly contradict the basic dynamisms of the human life cycle. They indicate overcoming of biological determination, appearance of dynamisms of self-determination in one’s life, and growth of the inner psychic milieu and an autonomous hierarchy of values. They are indications of the formation, under the influence of the third factor, of one’s own, autonomous life cycle, and of the rejection of many elements of a biologically determined, “normal” life cycle.
All tendencies to autonomy, authenticity, and self-determination, to the formation of a hierarchy of values and localization of the disposing and directing center on a higher level, express “deviations” from, or rather a climbing, beyond the biological life cycle of man. The described phenomena are symptoms of the transcendence of the human life cycle, its disintegration, and in certain aspects, its degeneration for the sake of a slowly formed own plan, own program,—indeed human—conduct, accompanied by subordination of the existing cycle to the autonomically formed cycle.
There are, then, in regard to the human biological cycle, two types of development: (1) One within the framework of the common human life cycle, similar to the biological cycle of animal life; (2) Another within the framework of a “suprabiological” cycle (or, rather, within transcending the biological cycle), which involves an autonomous, authentic development, based on a growing hierarchy of aims, building of an inner psychic milieu, and self-determination. The rise of the second type of development is based on a strong hereditary developmental potential and the gradual development of autonomous factors.
On that level, such interesting phenomena arise, as: a high level of mental activity in severely ill people, even those who are struggling with death; a high level of scientific, moral, and political activity of people in a very advanced age (Gandhi, de Gaulle); compensatory mental activities at the level of genius in individuals with considerable atrophy of the cortex (Pasteur).
These phenomena indicate that the lower structures and dynamisms are subservient to the higher. The latter maintain their independent function, although lower functions, on which they are based according to the generally accepted view, are weakened or lost.
Even when certain features of that process are not present, basic departures from the human biological cycle through opposition to the animalistic species-specific
tendencies, transformation of the lowest levels of drives, and rebellion against a definite reality accompanied by inclination to asceticism, sacrifice, or suicide—indicate good prospects in this direction.
The following is an excerpt from the autobiography of one of my patients: “How bored I am by the monotony and automaticity of life: get up, go to work, eat, sometimes movies superfluous conversations, automatic adaptation to the group. I am becoming restless and dejected through the observation of monotony and rigidity of children’s behavior during puberty, behavior of women during menopause, behavior of old men. It is the same, all the same . . . Everything is under the influence of physical determinism, hormonal glands, psychological type, etc. No freedom, no independence, no truly humanistic attitudes. Everything is determined without regard for our independence, but we are led to believe that we decide something, that certain matters depend on us. How difficult it is to get out of all that! And how to do it? Perhaps through sainthood or suicide.”
Transcendence of the biological life cycle consists of the formation of new Dominants of conduct and behavior, of a plan and a program of one’s own strivings that are characterized by breaking the rigid dependence on the biological cycle and by gaining freedom from the subordination to the basic, common dominants; it consists of gradual liberation from the biological cycle and of growth of autonomous, authentic mental functions, and a disposing and directing center or centers on a higher level which are independent of the biological life cycle.
The concept of transcendence of the biological life cycle of man may be applied whenever we deal with accelerated development, with the instinct of creativity and self-im-
provement, and with levels of functions, that may be observed in the inner psychic milieu on higher levels of multilevel disintegration.
Therefore, this concept will be useful in the realm of self-education and autopsychotherapy, in the preparation and realization of programs of self-improvement, in the activity of the partial death instinct, and in every realm in which the dynamisms of inner psychic transformation, (i.e., autonomous dynamisms), are active.
In the realm of religion this concept may be helpful in the elaboration and realization of the methods of “inner life.” It may be applied wherever multilevel dynamisms or the concept and dynamisms of multilevel positive disintegration, are examined.
Recognition and elaboration of the phenomenon of transcendence of the biological life cycle raises hopes of a great existential and essentialist power. It can become a stimulus for self-education; it can become one of the basic aims of education; it may enliven creativity in poetry, drama and plastic arts.
39. TRANSCEDENCE OF THE
What is transcendence of the psychological type and how is it possible? By the psychological type we understand a relatively clear setup of mental qualities, characteristic for some groups of individuals. We have in mind both temperamental qualities and the qualities of character. This setup is grounded on hereditary traits molded by the environment. The process of molding usually takes the form of enhancement of hereditary traits. Of
all theories of psychological types, the most popular are the classification of C. C. Jung 1 distinguishing the introverts and extroverts and Kretchmer’s distinction of cyclothymes and schizothymes. Among recent attempts to devise a typological system grounded on physical qualities, Sheldon’s 2 theory deserves particular attention.
We are not interested here in this kind of problem. Our question is the following: Is there any possibility of transformation of such psychological types as introverted and extraverted, cyclothymic and schizothymic; types of various kinds of mental hyperexcitability, such as—emotional, imaginational, sensual, psychomotor or intellectual.
The German poet, Goethe, claimed that we are frequently talking of the changeability of human types, but in fact we find after many years of observing an individual that he has not changed in the fundamental traits of his temperament and character. This view seems to be correct with regard to the majority of human individuals, because their mental transformations are grounded on distinct innate dispositions which are decisive in the determination of the direction and intensiveness of their development, even if later the autonomous factors appear.
The overwhelming majority of human individuals is brought up and actually develops in the direction of the preservation and growth of their basic needs and adaptation to the environment. In such cases we should speak rather of “breeding” than education, because the aim of those activities consists, not so much in the development of the human potential, but in the formation of attitudes easily acceptable by the surroundings and satisfying biological needs of the individual. This kind of adjustment seems to presume the “unchangeability” of norms in the sense in which it is observable in archconservative social
1 C. G. Jung, Psychological types. New York: Harcourt, Grace, World, 1923.
2 W. M. Sheldon, Atlas of man: A guide somatotyping the adult male at all ages. New York: Harper, 1954.
attitudes. This adaption works satisfactorily in normal conditions, but quickly breaks down under the pressure of extraordinary difficulties; e.g., in view of economic troubles caused by war or depression. In such circumstances the behavior of individuals and social groups that seemed to us to represent a relatively high level of mental development proves to be deeply disappointing.
Our question is whether a psychological type can be transformed in the sense of sublimation and acquisition of qualities of other, sometimes even opposite, types. In the present writer’s opinion such transformations are not only possible, but belong to the area of well established facts. This is the case particularly in such individuals who possess a favorable endowment for accelerated development and the growth of the inner psychic milieu, as well as, mental hyperexcitability, distinct nuclei of interests and abilities or even talents. So endowed individuals, in cases of “collision” with the external environment, develop a conscious and autonomous attitude toward themselves and toward the environment. Through the process of positive disintegration they develop a multilevel inner psychic milieu which is the basis for a hierarchization of values, for self-consciousness and self-control.
In this manner the individual begins to dissociate, in his inner psychic milieu, what he feels to be “more himself” from what is “less himself.” He divides reality into this one which “is” and that one which “ought to be” he manifests growing empathy, autonomy, and authenticity. His aims and ideals undergo a change. His basic concern is no more his own preservation, but also his growth as a human being, as well as, the preservation and mental development of other people, as unique, irreplaceable individuals.
This long-lasting and difficult process of self-education and autopsychotherapy operates tinder the strong impact of empathy and other dynamisms which lead to a sublimated type, and weakens all those qualities which are
negative or irrelevant for the organization of a new mental structure on a higher level. As a result of this process, the introvertive type gains in sociability and displays increasingly higher forms of empathy. The extravertive type starts to experience the need for temporary isolation, meditation and contemplation. The transcendence of the psychological type is dependent on a more or less significant acquisition of some traits of the opposite type. It involves the processes of sublimation and complementation of typological traits.
Transcendence of the psychological type consists in the acquisition of mental qualities and attitudes which are different and even contrary to those determined by the hereditary endowment.
The transcendence of the psychological type is a phenomenon observable in some individuals who have the potential for accelerated development, and effect this development through positive disintegration and the formation of an autonomous hierarchy of aims and values.
This process weakens one-sided typological traits and leads to the acquisition of complementary traits, characteristic of the opposite psychological type. The basic mental structure is widened and enriched as a result of this process.
The notion of transcendence of the psychological type is particularly important in the study of personality, and consequently, in certain areas of psychology, psychopathology and mental hygiene. A significant number of researchers concerned with the problem of personality disregard the question of the formation of personality. Some other authors lay special stress on the role of past experiences, particularly those of early childhood. Still others assign crucial significance to interpersonal re-
lations and cultural influences. In all such approaches. the danger arises that an individual may be rigidly classified as representing a definite psychological type, without consideration of possible typological transformations and positive development towards a more self-determined and richer mental structure.
The problem of transcendence of the psychological type has particular significance in the psychotherapy of neuroses. A change of former attitudes of the patient and a gradual development of new manners of behavior weakens the operation of undesirable dynamisms and traits and brings about typological transformations. Biographies of outstanding individuals—in saints, as well as, in daily psychotherapeutic practice—furnish a large number of examples of a successful transcendence of the psychological type.
40. THE EMPIRICO-NORMATIVE COMPOUNDS
IN MENTAL DEVELOPMENT
It seems that development, in general, and mental development, in particular, cannot be understood and consciously shaped without taking into account different levels which can be distinguished within each mental function or group of functions. As a result of a differentiation, description and verification of the levels of various functions we ran establish degrees and hierarchies. which in the inner experience and in daily observations. of the dynamics of development and attitudes toward other people, become the cornerstone for the formation of a system of conduct in one function or group of functions.
Hence, what we observe in others and in ourselves,
what we find in our external and internal experiences, is distinctly empirical and, at the same time, it is experienced and distinguished as “appropriate” or “inappropriate,” as “higher” or “lower,” as morally less valuable or morally more valuable. The same facts are, on the one hand, empirical, in the sense that they are noticeable in groups of definite dynamisms, described and differentiated from the standpoint of various developmental levels, and, on the other hand, they are experienced and regarded as being of a lower or higher value.
By the differentiation of dynamisms from the standpoint of various developmental levels we mean the differences which arise in the process of development; that is to say, in the process of transformation of functions from simple into complex, from impulsive into voluntary and increasingly conscious, from those controlled by biological or social determinants into autonomous and authentic, from primitive and egocentric into refined and alterocentric, from those which subordinate the intellectual and emotional functions to primitive drives into those in which the intellectual and emotional functions cooperate with higher level instincts, such as—the creative, self-perfection and cognitive instincts. This differentiation concurs with some of H. Jackson’s principles of evolution, but it is substantially broadened and extended to the sphere of psychology.
Hence, our everyday experiences of the variety of levels in ourselves, accompanied by a tendency toward realization of higher levels, become experiences of values; experiences of our obligation; experiences of the existence, and development of moral command; imperatives of a definite content, grounded on the understanding and experiencing of the growth of multilevelness in one’s own internal and external world.
Gradually, in proportion to the development of an individual or a social group the empirico-normative compounds of hierarchical judgments, activities and experiences gain in stability. They constitute indispensable
conditions for the elaboration and developmental transformation of one’s life experiences and for the creative shaping of a program of development and a corresponding program of action. Consequently, empirico-normative compounds become the foundation for gradual formation of a system of values founded on experiences of multilevelness in ourselves and in other people. The system of values is experienced as binding, as a matter of duty.
It is impossible for somebody who distinctly perceives, experiences and defines the differences between lower and higher levels of the self-preservation or sexual instincts, simultaneously, not to experience the difference in value of the first and the second level. It is impossible for him not to interiorize and not to experience the system of values founded on such differences; that is to say, it is impossible for him to reject the rules of conduct implied by such a system.
A child that realizes the differences between various levels of behavior of his teachers and peers, as well as, the, different levels in his own behavior will experience those differences as being of different value—some kinds of behavior belonging to lower, other kinds belonging to higher levels. A great number of individuals engaged in the processes of self-education and autopsychotherapy set up programs for their own development, control its realization, widen and deepen its scope, and more and more distinctly define their hierarchical systems of those values which are near realization and those whose realization demands more time; that is to say, they set up not only systems of values, but also systems of aims.
We can observe fairly clear correlations between descriptive accounts of the multilevelness of everyday experiences and the corresponding merits and drawbacks of existing moral systems. This is particularly noticeable in any family or school in which the educational policy is conscious and effective. Observations made in the family and at school, with regard to the multilevelness of manifestations of various mental functions, remain in a strict
correlation with moral experiences and judgments which exercise a modifying influence upon them. Teachers and educators, as well as, parents and children, as soon as they have versatile moral experience, are capable of taking a critical and corrective attitude towards ethical norms which are either inconsistent or in conflict with the attitude of empathy and the kind of morality which is characteristic of an authentic developing personality.
Cooperation of systems of values with experiences, takes the form of fairly strictly correlated compounds. This cooperation is clearly noticeable in discussions in which such problems as delation, cribbing, slapping one’s companion on his face, and manifestations of cheap “popularity,” are examined. The question of whether a kind of behavior is appropriate or inappropriate, fair or unfair, just or unjust is constantly in the center of discussion. Life experiences contribute to the differentiation and modification of value judgments. Our behavior in everyday life is examined from the standpoint of higher and lower levels and evaluated as being in accordance or as incompatible with what is experienced as “fair” and “noble,” “lower” and “higher.”
This kind of conjunction of what is empirical with that which is evaluative, and vice versa, can be distinctly observed in outstanding human individuals with an all-around mental development. They control their development by means of discursive thinking and through the participation of emotional dynamisms of a higher level (empathy, the third factor, “subject-object” in oneself). Those individuals develop through a systematic periodical differential diagnosis of their own level of behavior and their level of emotional functions more and more cohesive empirico-normative compounds. In proportion to cultural growth of societies, these compounds and their associated hierarchies of values appear as correct to increasingly larger social groups. They are corrected through deeper and more versatile experiences of the successors of out-
standing individuals who are the leaders in moral and social development of their communities.
What we find here, undermines the nowadays so popular separation of the empirical from the evaluative aspect in the study of human behavior. In contradistinction to the phenomena of loosening and dissolution of the content of concepts, which is the subject matter of a number of chapters in this book, we find here the opposite phenomenon—namely, the tendency toward association, or even integration, of concepts which formerly were clearly separated. It is the phenomenon of a secondary conjunction of concepts which might have been mistakenly separated.
In the conclusion of our remarks, let us briefly and synthetically consider the question of whether values actually or really exist. We do not pretend to give here a solution to this problem. We expect that further development of the theory of positive disintegration will allow a more precise discussion of this problem. However, we wish to emphasize here that our scale of values” is empirical, “a posteriori,” founded on the description and differentiation of those levels of functions which are more developed, more complicated, more Conscious and more autonomous from those which are primitive, less developed, less conscious and less authentic.
This approach to values is clearly different from the philosophy of Plato. It is different among other things in its rejection of the idea that developmental differences depend mainly, or solely, on the growth and refinement of intellectual and cognitive functions. It assigns the crucial role to the development of emotional and instinctive functions. The transition toward “higher levels of values” does not consist in the loosening of intellectual and semantical functions, but is an expression of a multilevel and multidimensional “developmental drama.” It is also different in its rejection of the Platonic idea of the superiority of universality over singularity and concreteness.
Empirico-normative compounds consist of an increasingly close association of definite norms and evaluations with definite experiences and activities. Authentic mental development is possible only if there is close cooperation and reciprocal control between growing empirical insights and the ability to evaluate.
It seems that the approach which correlates empirical and normative considerations is of great importance. It results from multidimensional viewpoint and methods in psychology, pedagogics and psychopathology. A dynamic, developmental viewpoint cannot disregard the role of the dynamisms of valuation and hierarchization, and, at the same time, it cannot disregard the fact of the formation of new levels of development which are empirically distinguishable and testable.
The concept of “empirico-evaluative” is useful in authentic mental development and in education of the human individual, particularly in the elaboration of programs of education and self-education, in autopsychotherapy, as well as, in conscious educational practices, in the theory of morals, and as a foundation of national and international policy founded on moral principles established through the process of authentic mental development.
41. SELF-CONTROL THROUGH INSTINCTIVE
AND EMOTIONAL DYNAMISMS
In scholastic, rationalistic and behavioristic psychology and other fields, cognitive, rational and logical elements are regarded as the only factor of control. As a rule, it is
not accepted that the control of behavior is exercised by emotional and instinctive factors, on a higher or lower level.
Let us take as an example the state of fear approaching the stage of hysterical neurosis. During difficult moments in their lives, certain people fall into Immobilization, into a state of “Todstellreflex,” a state of semi-consciousness or almost unconscious state. However, it has been proved that persons who possess strong maternal or paternal instincts are much sooner able to subdue these states due to the activation of dynamisms which are developmentally higher than reflexive dynamisms. A fathers and more often a mother acts alterocentrically under the influence of the maternal instinct and rushes to the rescue of her child or other children. She does this, not because of the activity of the cognitive instinct and cognitive factors but because of emotional-instinctive dynamisms, which are on a higher level than the immobilizing force.
The same phenomenon occurs, for example, when people with a highly developed sense of duty rescue individuals lost in the mountains, or when the crew of a ship does not abandon their posts when some passengers must remain on the ship. Their behavior, performed sometimes even with a smile, does not result from the rational impulses of a sense of duty, but from the emotional attitude and instinctive dynamisms which are bound to the action of the third factor, i.e. the instinct of self-perfection and the dynamism of the ideal of personality.
In marriage and in family life faithful and loyal behavior in tense and difficult circumstances or in case of death of a partner, are not conditioned by a rationalistic way; but are the expression of the action of the higher emotional and instinctive dynamisms which subdue the lower ones and sometimes bring them, to partial atrophy. This “other nature” allows the individual to experience and make decisions in a way which counteracts and obliterates the impact of lower levels of the sexual instinct.
In relation to this problem, we have again to change our habits of thought with regard to the conviction that intellectual, cognitive factors are the only factors of control. In the realm of consciousness we usually do not suspect that emotional factors take part in decision making. We suspect much less that they are predominant in control and self-control. It does not seem to us that the factors of love exercise the function of inhibition and control, and, at the same time stimulate the activity on a higher level of reality.
Control, through impulsive and emotional dynamisms, is a control exercised by higher instinctive and emotional dynamisms in relation to the lower ones, frequently with the participation of cognitive factors which play a secondary role.
The notion and the dynamism of control through instinctive and emotional dynamisms, should be introduced to developmental and educational psychology, education, self-education and autopsychotherapy, and also to the area of psychoneuroses and psychotherapy.
Such a theory of controlling dynamisms should be regarded as a subject for detailed research; because, if this conception is confirmed, a new inter- and intrapsychic hierarchy will have to be applied and new methods introduced to the education of children, youth and adults.
Nervousness consists in mental overexcitability which may take emotional, sensual, psychomotor, imaginative or intellectual form. It must be emphasized that clear cases
of such forms of overexcitability do not exist. They appear, as a rule, in compounds of two or more forms some of which may be more or less favorable for development. For instance, it seems that the coexistence and collaboration of emotional, imaginative and intellectual overexcitability are very favorable for development, because they are strongly connected with general mental sensitivity, with creative tendencies and with capabilities for prospection and retrospection. However, we do not regard the union of sensual and psychomotor overexcitability as useful for development, because they create a rather narrow structure on the borderline of psychopathy with little reflectivity and limited creative possibilities.
Mental overexcitability is based on hereditary endowment and is shaped through the influence of the external environment and autonomous factors. Freud maintained that nervousness is the product of some psychoneurotic processes, while Janet 1 considered it an introductory global state before the development of psychoneuroses.
The point of view represented here is in partial agreement with the opinion of Janet, that nervousness is an introductory and little differentiated stage of neurosis; but, as we already mentioned, it usually expresses the first stage of accelerated and universal development. Through different forms of mental overexcitability the individual is sensitized to the external and internal world, to different kinds and levels of reality. In this way, mental tension grows and takes the form which may be called “the readiness for development.”
Without mental overexcitability or nervousness the individual has no possibility of “getting out” from the rigid dependence on the biological life cycle which ends in senile deterioration. He has no possibility of transgressing this cycle or transgressing his own psychological type. At the same time the mental structure of indivi-
1P.Janet, Les névroses. Paris: Flammarion, 1926.
duals not showing symptoms of nervousness lacks the conditions necessary for the development of the inner psychic milieu. Consequently the process of positive disintegration cannot occur. First of all, the individual would have no possibility for the development of an hierarchical differentiation of levels of mental functions, autonomy and authenticity which are indispensable for mental development leading to the full development of personality and transcendence of the biological life cycle.
We call nervousness all kinds of mental overexcitability: sensual, emotional, imaginative, psychomotor and intellectual. Mental overexcitability or nervousness in all forms, especially emotional, imaginative and intellectual are basic components of a developmental potential and the nuclei for the development of the inner psychic milieu and creativity.
The interpretation of nervousness as a substratum of creative processes and as a group of dynamisms which are instrumental in effecting autonomous mental development has application in developmental and educational psychology, in education and self-education, in psychopathology, psychotherapy and autopsychotherapy. It is a basis for the understanding of the essence and the dynamics of creative processes. It is one of the main elements in the, interpretation of the development of personality. It plays a fundamental role in the understanding of the theory of positive disintegration and of the positive meaning of psychoneuroses.
This interpretation of the nature and role of nervousness may assist psychologists, educators, physicians and parents to avoid the error of considering nervousness a pathological process and to try to find a method of “medical treatment.”
Generally speaking psychoneuroses should be considered a basic constituent of the process of positive disintegration and a developmentally positive group of dynamisms and syndromes, connected with the tension arising from strong developmental conflicts.
Psychoneuroses start their “life” simultaneously with the beginning of positive disintegration and undergo collateral transformations. Their levels are in harmony with the levels of development of the individual in his difficult experiences of positive disintegration. On the highest level which can be reached (i.e., on the level of secondary integration) we cannot observe the existence of psychoneuroses. We find only the positive effects of psychoneurotic processes. However, the higher the level of positive disintegration, the higher is the level of functions in psychoneuroses the higher is mental tension, the higher are the components of self-education and autopsychotherapy.
On the lower levels of hysteria—this means, on a low level of disintegration—we can notice such symptoms of hysteria as lying, ostentation, liability to primitive forms of suggestion, etc. On a high level of hysteria, or hysteroid structures we come upon such symptoms and such hysterical or hysteroid dynamisms as emotional hyperexcitability, high capacity for empathy and identification, tendency toward contemplation and ecstasy, capability for dramatization and openness to suggestion of a very high level.
In the case of low level anxiety neurosis, in conditions of stress, shock, accident, etc., we find symptoms of fear on a low level expressed in immobilization, automatism and absence of reflectiveness. On a high level of development of anxiety psychoneurosis we may observe the inhibition of primitive fear, symptoms of empathic disquietude about others and existential anxiety.
Such syndromes as depression, obsession, infantile neurotic states may represent high level dynamisms. They play a developmental role and are associated with the formation and growth of the inner psychic milieu; that is, with self-awareness and self-control, with the dynamisms of autonomy, authentism and inner psychic transformation. In the majority of psychoneurotic states we observe creative tension connected with the development of reflectiveness and empathy.
The essence of psychoneuroses consists in internal conflicts between that which is “lower,” primitive and that which is “higher,” more complex; between that which is “vulgar,” rigid, narrow and that which is delicate, flexible and wide; between that which is sincere and creative and that which is artificial and falsified. Above all, in the processes of nervousness and psychoneuroses, we have favorable conditions for the, development of creative ideas, for mental development and attitudes of self-perfection. There is gradual growth of highly complex dynamisms of a refined level of mental functions.
We will quote here two opinions on psychoneuroses: one from Dr. P. Abély, the eminent French psychiatrist and the second from Marcel Proust, the eminent French writer.
Abély says: “I met in my life, especially in artistic milieus, neurotic individuals of great talent, who, fortunately remained neurotic throughout their lives. A few months ago I heard an inaugural presidential address. during a congress in Strasbourg in which Prof. Neyrac gave a talk on the anxiety of St. Exupéry. He said something along these lines: “This fear was of a special kind. It means the elevation of personality in its development. Such anxieties are instrumental in raising one to a higher level and a physician should approach them with prudence and respect' 1.”
1P. Abély, De quelques equivoques psychiatriques. Annales medico-psychologiques, 1959, 117, 46-78.
In Proust’s “Du Cote de Guermentes” we find the following passage: “All great things we have we owe to neurotics. They are the ones, and nobody else, who have originated religions and created masterpieces. The world may never know how much it owes them, and especially how much they suffered to produce it. We delight in their divine music, their beautiful paintings and thousand subtleties; but we do not know the price they paid in sleepless nights, crying, spasmodic laughter, asthma and the ever-present fear of death, which is the worst of all.”
The acceptance of dreams as a highest reality by Kafka or the tendency of Michelangelo to destroy his own works as unworthy and pointless in relation to “the pain of existence” and to the other reality, express the characteristic tendencies of psychoneurotics to transgress themselves.
In our opinion, H. Jackson’s 2 conception of psychoneurosis as the first stage on the way to psychoses and mental dissolution, is erroneous. On the contrary psychoneuroses are an essential stage on the way toward the highest levels of “humanization.” They the express accelerated development of a human individual.
We call psychoneuroses those processes, syndromes and functions which express inner and external conflicts, and positive maladjustment of an individual in the process of accelerated development.
Accelerated development depends on such hereditary potential as mental hyperexcitability, nuclei of the inner psychic milieu and nuclei of distinct interests and ap titudes which, in collaboration with favorable influences of the environment and autonomous dynamisms, bring
2 H. Jackson, Selected writings. London: James, Taylor, Hoder and Stoughton, 1932.
Henry Ey et Julien Rouart, Essai d'application des principes de Jackson. Paris: G. Doin et Cie, 1938.
about nervous tension and positive development through psychoneuroses.
In our conception, psychoneuroses should be treated in a basically different manner than the way they are presently treated by most psychiatric and psychological theories. The acceptance of the fact that psychoneuroses, in most cases, constitute positive developmental dynamisms and contain elements of man’s authentic humanization, should change the attitude of psychiatrists, psychologists and educators.
With regard to medical care, and especially to psychotherapy, the main task should be a detailed diagnosis with a special evaluation of the patient’s developmental potential and, subsequently, the persuasion of the patient, on the basis of thorough analysis of his concrete case, that psychoneuroses represent fundamental creative factors necessary for positive and accelerated development. Positive development of psychoneurotic dynamisms should be stressed, as well as, the transition from education and psychotherapy to self-education and autopsychotherapy.
Such an attitude will give to society many creative individuals with a great developmental potential. It will overcome the patient’s anxiety that he is ill and that he has less mental value than the so-called normal people. From the psychological point of view, a much more multisided approach is needed than that which has been applied by psychologists in their diagnoses and psychotherapeutic recommendations.
In the field of education it is necessary gradually to accustom teachers to interpret psychoneuroses as
3cf. S. Freud, The psychical mechanism of hysterical phenomena. Collected papers, New York: Basic Books, 1959.
H. Deutsch, Psychoanalysis of neuroses. London: Hogarth, 1932.
P. Janet, The major symptoms of hysteria. New York: Macmillan Co., 1920.
developmental symptoms. It is of fundamental importance to reject the rigid approach which stems from unwillingness to overcome the difficulties connected with developmental conflicts in psychoneuroses and the necessity to elaborate individualized methods of education. Such difficulties should not conceal from educators the true values to be found in children who show psychoneurotic symptoms and should not cause their dismissal from school, and even from the family, as well as, the enlistment of psychiatric aid.
44. POSITIVE IMMATURITY
All concepts, if considered from a multilevel viewpoint, lose their “strict,” narrow meanings, their precision. They obtain new dimensions, new “depth,” a kind of autonomy and authenticity. This is particularly true with regard to the concept of mental infantilism which is a form of mental immaturity.
Attempts were made to “somatize” emotional immaturity in a genetic sense and interpret it as a result of more or less serious functional disturbances of the secretion of endocrine glands. Other attempts were aimed at the structural and genetic explanation of emotional immaturity in terms of constitutional psychopathy. This form was called affective retardation.
It seems that these interpretations result from a misunderstanding. Affective retardation can be found in psychopathy; that is to say, in cases of a primitively integrated instinctive structure in which intelligence is subordinated to primitive drives. Affective retardation also can be noticed in some cases of global mental retardation.
However, the most frequent instances of the so-called emotional immaturity occur in children, youths and adults with distinct sensitivity and intelligence; in children that show, at the same time, excessive sincerity, impulsiveness, emotional and imaginational overexcitability, distinct creative potential and a below average capacity for social adjustment combined with tendencies toward adjustment to value of a higher level, toward idealization and animistic or magical thinking. Their creative potential and richness of mental resources is significant and requires more time for mental saturation with experiences in the spheres of their excessive sensitivity and creative talents. In other words, they require more time to satisfy their rich emotional and intellectual needs and, thus, to become ready for future more serious experiences. They mature slowly or show persistent forms of immaturity and potential for further development.
This kind of emotional immaturity and mental infantilism can be noticed in some great creative individuals such as: Chopin, Shelley, Slowacki, Toulouse, Lautrec, Van Gogh, Kierkegaard, Kafka, and other. Each of them manifested distinct creative forces and the strength of “resistance” in the process of realization of their creative talents and vocation to such a degree, that no experiences or influences could force them to adjust to everyday reality of another level.
Such individuals frequently indicated with their “maladjusted imagination,” activity and “immature” ideas the direction of the future development in are, philosophy, morals and social relations. They set up ideas, approaches and conception which are later creatively applied and developed by others and, thus, paved the way toward further outstanding achievement in arts and sciences. We may point out the following examples: the concept of unique, unrepeatable, consciously chose, subjective self in Kierkegaard; absolute harmony between word and act in the writings of the great Polish poet of the 19 th
century, C. Norwid; the transference of the dominant aspect of life from reality into dreams and development of “concreteness” of dreams in Franz Kafka; the treatment of states of depression in creative individuals through finding an appropriate aesthetic expression, characteristic for many discussed creative artists and applied by the Polish modernistic poet, Jan Lechon. All these were ideas “out of this world,” ideas derived from the transcendental sphere.
Positive mental immaturity occurs in such mental functions and structures in which there is a distinct richness of sincere, immediate, sensitive, creative infantilism and which is, only in a small measure, dependent on the biological life cycle; but appears in later periods of life and takes a fundamental role in accelerated metal development, especially in the development of creative talents, authenticity and striving toward ideals.
The concept of “positive immaturity” can be applied in the wide are of developmental and educational psychology, in the study of creative processes, in psychological analyses of talented individuals and on the borderline of psychology and psychiatry, particularly in the study of neuroses and psychoneuroses.
Knowledge of the relationship of creative abilities and the so-called positive immaturity is indispensable in self-education and autopsychotherapy. Ignorance in this respect frequently leads to failures and even catastrophes in family, marriage, and above all, in schools and in psychological and psychiatric practice. It results in psychopathological deviations, in suicides, and in fundamental errors and failures in psychotherapy.
45. CREATIVE DEPRESSION
This subject was brought up in the chapter devoted to psychoneuroses. In addition to pathological elements, there are positive elements in the structure and development of the majority of depressive states. The emotions associated with depression—feeling of inferiority, dissatisfaction with oneself, disquietude with oneself, feelings of shame and guilt—play a fundamental role in the development of an individual. They are the essential characteristics of the first, spontaneous phase of multilevel disintegration. It is the first phase of building a multilevel inner psychic milieu—that is to say, a phase of preparation for the activity of the third factor and autonomous dynamisms. It is the phase of a gradual differentiation and separation of two structures and two groups of functions: that which is lower from that which is higher, that which is “more myself” from that which is “less myself,” that which is “close” to personality from that which is “distant” from it. It is the expression of the activity of inner conflicts which makes it ‘possible to purify the relationship between the “higher myself” and “lower myself.” It is the expression of the judicious feeling of dualism between higher and lower levels.
Depression expresses the process of development of the dynamisms “subject-object” in oneself which, when coupled with the third factor, is a basic force in shaping I positive and negative attitudes toward oneself and toward the external world.
In the state of depression there is always preponderance of criticism toward oneself and the environment over enthusiasm in regard to oneself and the environment. Depression frequently sets in after states of excessive excitement; it purifies them and forms foundations for future “psychic elevations,” but on a higher level than the previous ones.
It is characteristic that states of sadness, and frequently states of depression, are encountered whenever we
find psychological transformations, misfortune, failure, loss and breakdown taking place; whenever former interests and ways, of experiencing the world and oneself are inadequate and new ones have not yet been formed. This process happens during puberty when there is excessive sadness in comparison to previous periods, in mourning and following disappointments, also during so-called mystical “nights of the soul” when the individual feel abandoned and denied access to the source of wisdom and hope.
States of excitation and depression that follow each other in quick succession, states of mental imbalance, ambivalence, and ambitendency are indicators of unilevel disintegration. If an individual possesses distinct development—spontaneous multilevel disintegration—then they are indicators of change from the process of non-hierarchical imbalance and breakdown to the process of multilevel imbalance, which serves as in introductory step to the realization of personality, i.e. secondary integration.
Creative depression is a state in which there are positive, developmental elements, which enable the higher dynamisms to “purify” the lower dynamisms. The process of purification, as well as, creative depression, per, se, introduce multilevelness and hierarchization into the arrangement of mental functions,—i.e., they bring about positive, developmental dynamization.
Knowledge of creative depression is essential whenever we are dealing with accelerated development, difficulties in finding creative expression. It is especially helpful to understand lives and transformations of prominent individuals. From the history of development of V. Van. Gogh, A. St. Exupéry, S. Kierkegaard, J. Lechon and R. Malczewski we have learned that their search for creative
expression was always accompanied by depression. Any assistance in finding such expression is developmental and psychotherapeutic.
In psychotherapy of psychoneurotic individuals depression is frequently encountered as an expression of feelings of inferiority, excessive sensitivity, and real disappointments on different levels. The basic principle in psychotherapy of psychoneurotics is to convince them, on the basis of many-sided analysis of their life, that psychoneurotic symptoms are creative and developmental. It is a method of elevating depression to a higher level and enlisting it in the positive, developmental process i.e., the process directed toward realization of personality and its ideal.
The understanding of puberty and other developmental periods, and depression states accompanying them, enables the therapist to facilitate the positive development of psychic changes. Mental hygiene of everyday life must take into account those states of sadness, depression, and dissatisfaction with oneself that stem from inner conflicts, excessive sensitivity, and disappointments. They build through depression “internal deepening,” wisdom, new values, and consequently, a higher level of mental development.
46. INTERNEUROTIC AND INTRANEUROTIC
DIFFERENCES IN LEVELS OF FUNCTIONS
Clinical experiences, psychological research and longitudinal observations of neuroses and psychoneuroses indicate, in a very distinct manner, that certain psychoneuroses “develop themselves” on a low level, others on a middle or higher level of mental functions. We find psychoneuroses in which the developmental aspect is
very weak. We also find neuroses which “operate” in the area of the vegetative nervous system in such forms as amphotonia and dystony, i.e. as various kinds of disequilibrium between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
Consequently, we can distinguish such psychoneuroses as hypochondria in which we observe very rigid, narrow dynamisms taking the form of continuous observation of oneself, “clinging” to narrow fields and problems, with tendencies to somatization and pathological rumination. We also can distinguish sexual psychoneuroses which concern more or less distinct and limited sexual sphere of sexual life. We find symptoms of neurasthenia similar to the symptoms of hypochondria in which the somatic component, the component of vegetative disturbances plays a fundamental role.
On the other hand, we differentiate such psychoneurotic groups as anxiety neuroses, depressional and obsessional psychoneuroses, psychoneurosis of failure, infantile neurosis and psychasthenia in which various mental functions of different levels take part. Most of the psychoneuroses in this second group present dynamisms and symptoms of a much higher level than the first group; and we see, for instance, on the highest level, phenomena such as: internal conflicts, self-awareness, and existential elements. Such phenomena introduce the dissolution of rigid, narrow forms of awareness; hence, the possibility for broader and more far-ranging development.
We see that the first kind of psychoneurosis (i.e., hypochondria) presents a fundamentally different level than the second kind, and that the first is connected with lower levels of mental development than the second. This is the phenomenon of interneurotic differences in levels of mental functions.
On the other hand, in the field of psychoneurosis we should examine the problem of existence of different levels in the same group of psychoneuroses or group of
psychoneurotic syndromes. In anxiety psychoneurosis we have levels of primitive anxiety caused mostly by external conditions with such symptoms as: immobilization, lack of reflectivity and subordination to the action of the primitive instinct of self-preservation.
On higher levels of the same psychoneurosis we may have conflicts between primitive anxiety and higher anxiety dynamisms—for example, anxiety about others; a mother’s anxiety about her child which has an altruistic character expressing readiness to help, is sometimes accompanied by inhibition of the self-preservation instinct.
We can also find higher levels of anxiety which express altruistic attitudes: attitudes of defense and empathy in relation to other people, to the family, colleagues, to suffering individuals, to the whole society and even to humanity. Such an anxiety will involve mental pain and anxiety about other people and anxiety in relation to the problem of the meaning of existence.
We may take hysteria as another example. On the lowest levels it exhibits symptoms of characterological disturbances, overactive playing of a role, self-demonstration, pathological lying and tendencies to swindle, etc. On a higher level of hysteria we have somatopsychic disturbances with hysterical conversion and such symptoms as hysterical paralysis, hysterical anesthesia of certain parts of the body, uncontrolled emotional outbursts, etc. On the highest level of hysteria we have emotional overexcitability, with overactive playing of a role on a high level, with empathy, universal and deep identification, with the tendency to contemplation and ecstasy. The characteristic symptoms of hysteria of this level can be found in many saints.
In the described cases we have different levels of functions within the same kind of psychoneurosis, that is to say, intraneurotic differences in levels functions.
Interneurotic and intraneurotic differences in levels of mental functions consist in the appearance of lower and higher mental processes and states depending on the kind of psychoneurosis (interneurotic differences) or within the same kind of psychoneurosis (intraneurotic differences).
Knowledge concerning interneurotic and intraneurotic levels of functions may have great importance in the theory of psychoneurosis, and especially in psychotherapy and autopsychotherapy. Both prognosis and methods of treatment should undergo a basic change. This means that the program and methods of psychotherapy in relation to psychoneurosis on a lower level should be different from the psychotherapy of psychoneurosis where the level of development of mental functions is higher.
Knowledge of this problem will permit basic changes in decisions concerning prognosis and methods of treatment of psychoneurosis. The problem of inter- and intraneurotic differences in levels of functions is basic for a better understanding of the development of gifted people, especially of prominent personalities, and also as a basis for an appropriate attitude and approach toward them.
47. IMMUNIZATION THROUGH PSYCHONEUROSES
As we have already mentioned in former chapters of this book, many psychiatrists and clinical psychologists accept H. Jackson’s point of view that psychoneuroses are the first, introductory stage in the development of mental illness. This opinion—though unjust—is based on two tendencies:
1) The centuries old tendency to consider morbid all nontypical and strange forms of behavior without searching for positive and creative elements which may be inherent in such forms.
2) The schematic transferring of conclusions which are based on the observations of grave mental illnesses (in the area of psychoses and psychoneuroses) treated in hospitals and sanatoria, to psychoneurotic disturbances which do not belong to the same category, because they result from the operation of different dynamisms and exhibit different symptoms. This expresses a tendency to easy generalization and drawing of conclusions with regard to psychoneuroses from observations relevant to psychoses.
In the opinion of this writer, the syndromes of psychoneuroses do not represent the first stage of mental illness, but rather, one of the stages of a creative and accelerated mental development; and, they are the protection against serious mental disorders—against psychoses.
In what way do psychoneuroses play their defensive, prophylactic and immunizational role against serious mental illness?
First of all, creative and developmental dynamisms, combined with hard experiences and hard conditions of life, as well as, a high degree of sensitivity, of affective and imaginational excitability, allow this escape to and shelter in a world of a different reality, in a world of different aspirations and experiences.
Psychoneurotics possess the potential for mental—especially emotional, imaginational and intellectual overexcitability—as well as, the nuclei of the inner psychic milieu and, consequently, they exhibit the potential for transcendence of the biological life cycle and of one’s own psychological type, as in the case of an introverted individual gaining extravert qualities. Psychoneurotic dynamisms, with which this developmental potential is closely associated, leads the individual into a new reality which may be dramatic or even tragic: they foster the
breaking of rigid, narrow automatisms and forms of everyday life.
On the other hand, the self-consciousness of development, the consciousness of one’s own psychic richness is, in itself, a factor of defense and immunization against involution and dissolution.
Psychoneurotic states foster the growth of self-awareness of one’s own creativity: they consciously or unconsciously help in the realization of developmental potentials, and thus, as we mentioned, contribute to the formation of nuclei of the inner psychic milieu and the unfolding of talents. The psychoneurotic states generate painful psychoneurotic experiences, create conflicts and everyday difficulties. At the same time they protect man from more serious disturbances because they contain developmental elements which realize the prophylaxis against grave involutional and dissolutional breakdowns.
This is the immunization through self-education and autopsychotherapy—a developmental, creative and prophylactic immunization.
The defense forces in most of the psychoneurotic experiences, the immunological forces, do not defend the retreating dynamism, but defend the active new forces and new higher dynamisms of the inner psychic milieu.
The internal conflicts, positive maladjustment, and dissatisfaction with oneself undergo specific, deep inner psychic transformation and are instrumental in the formation and growth of the dynamisms of authenticity, empathy, and personality and its ideal.
Growing awareness of and insight into disintegrative dynamisms in their coexistence and co-operation with creative dynamisms, inner psychic transformation, and self-consciousness constitutes a prophylactic factor against involutional disintegration.
Here we have the accounts from two patients, of the psychic immunization through psychoneurosis, taken from their biographies:
1. “How much I owe a debt of gratitude to my parents for not preventing me from “looking at myself,” from experiencing anxiety and from experiencing depression, but for helping me to overcome it. In this way, since childhood, I was hardened against grave experiences, because I had known less grave ones before. I was trying to see these experiences in other people; I was looking at them as at my own drama. I knew the “secrets” of such states, understood them. They were hot strange and could not surprise me.”
2. “It is necessary to know one’s own enemy and tame him, and even make friends with him. I became accustomed to looking at my pathological dynamisms, which live unnoticed within myself and are the source of my creative work. They taught me to look at other people in a more complex way. These observations fascinated me.”
The concept of the dynamism of immunization seems to be as follows: the immunizing factors against grave mental illness consists in creative, psychoneurotic dynamisms which contain developmental richness. It includes creative conflicts, anxiety depressions and obsessions, on the one hand, and a new reality of a higher level, on the other.
At the end of this chapter we would like to differentiate between the notion of defense, prophylactic, and immunizing forces. The differences are as follows:
1. The term “defense forces” is somewhat ambivalent. The defense forces can protect lower dynamisms, as well as, higher ones. Consequently, they can be subservient to the first or the second group of dynamisms.
2. “Prophylactic forces” constitute protection and prevention against pathological mental dynamisms of a more general or a more specific nature.
3. The term “psychic immunization,” in our approach, refers to global immunization against all grave disturbances and illness by inoculating the individual
with “psychic antibodies” which are similar to the structure and function of grave mental disorders; but which contain, in themselves, the essential, creative developmental elements or which are coupled with a wider constellation of creative developmental forces.
The immunization through psychoneuroses is the conscious and creative process of inner psychic transformation in the course of which the so-called pathological dynamisms are utilized for the purpose of mental development. This process prevents possible transformations in the involutional and dissolutional direction.
The positive approach to the psychoneurotic process, in a number of cases, allows one to set an adequate diagnosis and therapy of all these states and processes in which creative elements, characteristic for accelerated mental development, constitute the dominant force.
Consequently, we should separate them from the psychiatric classification of mental illness; they should not be treated by bringing them back to the norm, but they should be overcome through education, with special emphasis on self-education and autopsychotherapy.
Such an approach can be of help in the positive transformation of psychoneuroses. It allows the utilization of creative potentials inherent in psychoneurotic symptoms and of their immunizing function.
This way of interpretation of the psychoneurotic process requires a radical change in thinking in reference to this phenomenon in developmental psychology, psychiatry, psychotherapy, education and even in ethics (the change in the hierarchization of values).
As a result of this, it is necessary to elaborate the levels and kinds of “psychoneurotic antibodies” in the protection and development of man through education,
self-education and psychotherapy. This protection and education relies on the introduction of psychoneurotic antibodies which contain—besides pathological forces, related to or identical with forces characteristic of respective psychoses—creative and developmental forces, which immunize the individual against psychoses.
48. PSYCHOPATHY AND PSYCHONEUROSIS
By psychopathy we mean a structure which primitively integrates mental functions of a low development level. The function of intelligence is entirely subordinated to primitive instinctive drives. A psychopath is controlled by selfish interests; brutal, although, calculating. He is not capable of reverence, respect or humility, even though he may exhibit the attitude of servility and cunning.
A psychopath may be involved in violent conflicts with the environment, if he does not thing [think] that his adversaries posses superior power. However, he does not experience or manifest internal conflicts. Sometimes he may have inferiority feelings toward others, but never toward himself. Although frequently aggressive toward others and dissatisfied with them, he lives in a state of self-complacency. He does not possess an inner psychic milieu.
A great number of psychopaths live in freedom and even occupy positions of social responsibility. They attain those positions largely due to their suggestiveness and power of persuasion, associated with readiness to apply brutal measures and readiness to make decisions.
The psychoneurotic exhibits exactly the opposite mental structure. He shows internal disharmony, frequently of a multilevel type, excessive inhibitions, tendency to inner conflicts. His mental life is characterized by hesitation, uncertainty, a rich inner psychic milieu, richness of associations, emotional attitudes, insistiveness, identification, etc. He is dissatisfied with himself, has a weak
sense of realism; but is sensitive, often creative, having a feeling of inferiority toward himself.
The psychopath, in principle, does not transgress the biological life cycle and his inborn psychological type. Usually he is consistent, stubborn, narrow in his attitudes. Psychoneurotics, on the contrary, often reach beyond the biological life cycle and their own psychological type. Their aggressiveness toward others is minimal, although frequently they feel aggressiveness toward themselves. Hence, they often show suicidal tendencies.
Psychopathy is frequently associated with paranoid structures, psychoneurosis is either not associated with such structures or is only superficially associated. E.g., some obsessive psychoneuroses may give the impression of mental rigidity, which is, however, usually combined with sensitiveness to human environment and with a significant degree of self-consciousness. This is clearly different from typical paranoid structures, in which the degree of sensitiveness to the feelings and inner experiences of other people and the degree of self-consciousness are minimal.
The psychopath brings harm and suffering to other people, while the psychoneurotic makes life hard for himself. Psychopaths are not creative in the broad sense of this term.
Psychopathy is a primitively integrated structure, with intelligence subordinated to instinctive drives, with the inclination toward external conflicts and simultaneous absence of inner conflicts, with a low level of self-consciousness and self-control, with a lack of the inner psychic milieu and a hierarchy of values.
Psychoneurosis is a structure characterized by mental overexcitability, a tendency toward unilevel and multilevel disintegration, with a growing or distinctly developed hierarchy of values, an inclination toward inner conflicts, feelings of inferiority, guilt, dissatisfaction with one-
self, and with the ability for accelerated mental development.
The ability to distinguish fully developed and nuclear psychopathic and psychoneurotic structures is of great importance in developmental and educational psychology, psychopathology, psychotherapy and autopsychotherapy, education and self-education. Understanding of the fundamental differences discussed here may prove of significant use in politics, in the selection of individuals for higher offices, in jurisdiction and especially in problems related to genocide.
Knowledge of psychoneurosis is crucial in understanding talented people and outstanding personalities.
49. PARANOID AND PARANOID-LIKE PROCESS
Symptoms of paranoid and paranoid-like qualities can be observed in some individuals already in their childhood. Mental fragility, irritability, egocentricism, inferiority feelings toward the environment, concurrent with the desire to distinguish oneself, with suspiciousness, tendencies to set up a rigid system of convictions, indicate the nuclei of a paranoid type. Another characteristic quality which seems to harmonize with the above-mentioned paranoid symptoms consists in excessive adjustment to some external norms and forms of behavior associated with the tendency to pass a negative judgment upon all those who do not conform to the norm.
We may generalize this in saying that paranoid-like qualities in children, youths, and adults include egocentrism, inability for empathy and deeper forms of identification, rigidity of behavior, tendency to condemn other
people and lack of self-criticism. All those symptoms coincide with primitive integration devoid of the ability to differentiate and disintegrate emotional attitudes; devoid of astonishment with oneself, disquietude with oneself, inferiority feeling toward oneself and dissatisfaction with oneself. The tendencies toward independence from the environment and toward domination are not accompanied by the need to become independent of one’s own innate typological qualities.
Frequently it looks as though a paranoid-like individual would appreciate the external requirements of authentic life without concern for internal authenticity. He does not develop an autonomous hierarchy of alms, grounded on a critical analysis of himself and on the awareness of his deficiencies. However, he manifests strong aspirations and strong dynamisms to achieve external success without the development of the inner psychic milieu. His disquietude or anxiety does not come from the feeling of guilt, but from external threats and dangers, and from his own suspiciousness.
The paranoid-like type is close to psychopathy. Mental structure is primitively integrated in both cases. Intelligence is subordinated to primitive drives and used merely as an instrument. However, if the development of a paranoid-like type is directed toward paranoia, a partial negative disintegration follows in which delusions take the role of the disposing and directing center. This process is a kind of involutionary transformation of the psychopathic integration, characterized by more coherence and less irritability, into another primitive integration which is less rigid, and more irritable as in the cases of paranoia. They both involve hostility and excitability in relation to others (this symptom is usually stronger in paranoia than in psychopathy), quarrelsomeness, egocentrism, domination, etc. There is a distinct process of growth in the attitude “persecuté-persecuteur.”
In most cases of paranoia and paranoid-like symptoms there is no complete dissolution of personality. Frequently
a paranoiac quiets down for some time, however superficial this may be. Until the next paranoid dynamization, he apparently adapts himself to social customs and expectations exercising some measure of control over his psychopathic structure full of, delusions. There m, however, a number of individuals endowed with sufficient intelligence to control their paranoid attitudes and to hide them behind external forms of behavior which are intended to suggest harmony with the environment. They also show striking ability to explain their behavior in terms of lack of hostile, paranoid feelings.
In paranoiacs and paranoid-like individuals there is a constant formation of centers of delusions, perverse ideas and false opinions. Such individuals never show the tendency toward self-control, aggression toward oneself, conscious disintegration, or suicide. They exhibit mental qualities opposite to psychoneurotic symptoms.
How to counteract the paranoid process? Generally speaking, the main protective measure must consist in early educational care aiming at stimulation of the dynamisms of positive disintegration. Such education has to be adjusted to the specific psychological type represented by the individual. It seems clear, in the light of generally accessible information, that both Hitler and Stalin, (as well as, a number of other ostensibly successful leaders and politicians) displayed the qualities of a paranoid type already in their early childhood. Their further life represented a typical paranoid process.
Social disasters and immense suffering resulting from psychopathic and paranoid individuals getting in control of political power are aggravated by the indifference and national egoism of such leaders of democratic countries as Churchill and Roosevelt, who did not hesitate to leave tens of millions of people at the mercy of paranoid madmen.
It is distressing that even highly civilized nations do not take necessary precautions to recognize paranoid individuals and remove them from sensitive positions and
offices. An effort in this respect of historical significance was undertaken by Lenin who, shortly before his death, became aware of Stalin’s true character. In his letter to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union he exposed Stalin’s extreme brutality and lack of loyalty, stressing the danger of keeping such an individual in the office of Secretary General of the Communist Party. Although Lenin’s wife read this letter at the first meeting of the Central Committee after Lenin’s death and urged the members of the Committee to remove Stalin from his office, Stalin’s apologies were accepted and he remained in power. Within fifteen years since then the majority of members of the Central Committee who voted in Stalin’s favor lost their lives, executed on Stalin’s orders.
Paranoid and paranoid-like states are structures and syndromes on the borderline of psychopathy and psychosis, of the type of a negative emotional and intellectual disintegration. They have in common with psychopathy their narrow, rigid structure, grounded on egocentrism and delusions or states which are close to delusions. They have in common with psychosis their dissolution and involution, that is to say, the process of negative disintegration.
The above discussed approach to paranoid and paranoid-like states allows the differentiation of a variety of kinds and types of negative processes. This may serve as a foundation for a new genetic interpretation and a. new classification of paranoid forms.
The main consideration in this respect is that some genetic elements of possible future paranoia are associated with certain psychopathic elements and that some psychopathic structures under the impact of specific en-
vironmental conditions develop in the direction of paranoid or paranoid-like states.
It also clarifies certain aspects in the dynamics of paranoia. It should become the starting point for the application of early educational measures with regard to those children who show a strong desire to dominate and subordinate others, especially if this is accompanied by tendencies toward obsession, delusions and “will to power.” We are dealing here with an important question in the area of prophylaxis and education. Educational social and, also, political vigilance in this respect may prevent a repetition of the disasters of the thirties and forties of our century.
50. CREATIVE PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
Psychopathology, that is to say, the science of mental abnormality does not devote enough attention to the significance of the so-called pathological dynamisms as developmentally positive, creative and containing potentials for accelerated development, especially if they are properly approached.
Both in the states of nervousness (i.e., in the states of mental overexcitability), as well as, in an overwhelming majority of psychoneuroses we can find distinct positive and creative dynamisms. A similar viewpoint is represented by Choisy, Jude and Enachescu.1
In our opinion, mental overexcitability in most instances has a positive role in development; although it may cause a great deal of difficulties, both for the patient and his environment. In unfavorable constellations mental overexcitability may take the form of in-
1 C. Enachescu, Le roman schizophrenique. Annales Medico-psychologiques, 1968, 2, 203-216.
creased irritability, violent reactions, protracted conflicts with the surroundings. If it is adequately recognized, it may become the basis for a general process of growth of sensitiveness, and especially its emotional, moral and' aesthetic forms. It also may contribute to the formation of the inner psychic milieu, of an autonomous hierarchy of values, and the creative development of special interests and talents.
A variety of forms of mental overexcitability have been distinguished, such as sensual, emotional, psychomotor, imaginational and intellectual overexcitability. The most favorable to mental development seem to be the emotional, imaginational and intellectual overexcitability.
Emotional overexcitability is of fundamental importance in the formation and shaping of a hierarchy of values, empathy, identification, self-consciousness, autonomy, authenticity, etc.; that is to say, of the dynamisms which play a decisive role in the general an positive development of a human individual.
Imaginational overexcitability is of great significance in artistic creativity, in positive infantilism, in the capacity for retrospection and prospection, in intuitive planning and even in contemplation and ecstasy.
Intellectual overexcitability, especially in conjunction: with emotional and imaginational overexcitability, gives rise to scholarly creativity, to the growth of reflection and self-control, of autonomy and authenticity, of an autonomous hierarchy of values, of the dynamism subject-object” in oneself and of the third factor.
Creative elements can clearly be seen in most instances. of neuroses and psychoneuroses. Existential anxiety, which is inseparable from the development of a philosophical. attitude, and altruistic anxiety are symptoms and dynamisms of fundamental importance in the, elaboration of the distinction between lower and higher levels of reality.
In depressive psychoneurosis we observe very frequently the growth of analysis of oneself which constitutes the basis for creative development of the feeling
of inferiority toward oneself, humility, and for the ability to approach and respect others as subjects. This kind of depression is instrumental in a secondary elevation, that is to say, in moral uplifting, in the rise of intuition and the capacity for empathy and identification.
The symptoms of obsessive neurosis associated with psychasthenia frequently express the development of the tendency toward deepening of self-analysis; toward the attitudes of emotional exclusiveness, faithfulness and stability in affective life. Obsessive neurosis is also of importance in the formation of creative persistence and perseveration in work.
A great number of the symptoms of infantile psychoneurosis contain creative developmental tendencies which find their expression in attitudes of sincerity, magical and animistic thinking, straightforwardness, etc. The Preservation of some infantile traits in mature years contributes to the conservation of youthful sensitivity and the possibility of continuous creative development.
We cannot disregard the fact that a great majority of outstanding individuals in art, literature, and science exhibited psychoneurotic traits and dynamisms. We also know that many psychotics, especially catatonic schizophrenics and those who suffered from maniac-depressive psychosis, exhibited great creative abilities and, in many cases, after periods of aggravated illness, reached states of secondary harmony, and preserved and developed their creative talents.
The relations of the physician toward his patient was frequently of fundamental importance in development or deterioration, both in psychoneuroses and in some kinds of psychoses. In most cases this relation expressed a typical rigid attitude and consisted in dealing with the patients as sick people, and not as candidates for positive development. It is precisely this attitude which plays a definite negative role.
Creative psychopathology is only seemingly a psychopathology. Its task consists in the analysis of healthy, sometimes the healthier forms, of creative development through nervousness, psychoneuroses or some kinds of psychoses which include in their development the possibility of positive or negative development suppressed through improper attitudes of the surrounding environment—including physicians, psychologists and educators.
The concept of creative psychopathology has applications in developmental and educational psychology, in psychiatry, and especially in the psychology of creative individuals—that is to say, outstanding men. The acquaintance of cultured people with the main problems and methods in this area is of basic significance for a change in education with regard to the so-called educational difficulties and nervousness among bright children. It also implies a change in the attitude and approach of psychiatrists and psychologists toward psychoneurotics who show distinct abilities and talents.
51. MENTAL HEALTH
Dynamically apprehended, mental health contains, in itself, integrative and disintegrative dynamisms. It contains adjustment and maladjustment, in the sense of maladjustment to what actually is, if it is “lower” in development; and adjustment to what is “higher” in development and what “ought to be” in contrast to “what is.” It contains the dynamisms of hierarchization, and
a partially negative attitude toward oneself and the environment, in the sense of critical attitude to the negative sides of oneself and the environment. It includes a positive attitude to that which is developing—which represents higher developmental value—and which contains, in self, the ideal to be realized.
Mental health, thus, would be linked with the sensitivity to suffering, to painful experiences of oneself and others. It would contain elements of depression, anxiety, even obsessive elements, and, consequently, elements of nervousness and psychoneurosis as factors which contribute to the “loosening” and even “breaking” of the more primitive human structures.
It would be associated with mental overexcitability the sense of increased emotional, sensory psychomotor, imaginations, and intellectual excitability. It would link itself with internal and external conflicts connected with the above-mentioned forms of overexcitability. Finally it would link itself with inhibitions towards one’s own impulsiveness, unmotivated ambitions, and excessively egocentric attitudes
Mental health would, thus, presume the ability to “loosen” and even “break” one’s own primitive narrow and rigid mental structure. It would presume the capacity for positive disintegration and secondary integration through transgression of the biological life cycle and of one’s own psychological type. This, in turn, would be linked with the development of a higher level of inner psychic milieu and its main dynamisms. Thus, it would be also linked with the autonomous and authentic needs of a clear realization of the personality ideal.
Mental health would not mean the absence of nervousness and Psychoneurosis, but their presence; nor would it mean the lack of inner conflicts, but conscious experiencing of them; not easy adjustment to the changing conditions of reality, but conscious and selective maladjustment to lower levels of reality and conscious adjustment to higher levels of reality.
All the characteristics mentioned above would manifest the presence of mental health. In contrast, a too-strong adjustment to the external environment and to oneself, a too-strong integration on a low level, a too-strong organization of thinking in the service of one’s egocentric dynamisms, a too-strong cohesiveness and instinctiveness would demonstrate the lack of mental health or, in a certain sense, mental illness.
The notion of mental health would be inseparable from the capacity for development, with the consideration of individual typology, and, on the other hand, would be inseparable from the possibility of transgression of this typology and of the biological life cycle. On the one hand, it contains the necessity to develop individual and unique characteristics, and, on the other hand, the necessity to transgress the lower levels of individual characteristics.
Personality, in our conception, would mean the transgression of the individuality of a low level and its realization on a high level, as well as, transgression of the attitude toward others as objects. It would mean approaching others as unique, unrepeatable subjects. Such treatment of oneself and others would lead to inhibitions of the development in oneself and in others of the “lower selves,” and reinforcement of the, “higher selves” through the realization of one’s own inner psychic milieu, one’s own individual hierarchy of reality, and the treatment of others with an ever increasing conscious empathy.
And now, an example of one-sided development, with emotional poverty and, at the same time, with an excess of cleverness and adjustment. Such one-sided development brings an individual close to a type of psychopathy. However such individuals are usually, in everyday life, taken as p symbols of health, though, on the contrary, they lack the symptoms of many-sided development and show emotional primitiveness and absence of authentic attitudes toward others.
“L—, a male engineer aged 34, was a specialist in a narrow field of technical science. There was nothing
distinctive about either his heredity or his early development. His parents were rather simple people, normally ambitious in their outlook for the future of their children. L— showed himself ambitious during his early school years. He was himself ambitious to excel in order to rise to a higher position. He was reasonably accommodating and sociable, but showed little interest in the concerns of other people. From his childhood, he had been rather selfish in this way, caring primarily only for his own affairs.
After his secondary schooling and the completion of his technical studies (where again he obtained good grades) he went on to specialize in his field. He progressed very rapidly and soon gained a favorable opinion among his superiors, partly through his abilities and industry; but for the most part, because of his principle of avoiding conflict with his colleagues and superiors. He devised several methods of flattery adapted to the varied levels of his environment. These methods were well worked out and effective, but quite primitive.
After several years of experience in his field L— perfected what seemed to him an infallible system of acquiring the protection of higher authority, a system based on four basic principles: first, avoid all conflicts with colleagues, thus reducing their sense of competition; second, flatter authority, specifically praising the “creative ability” of a superior; third, help both colleagues and superiors; and fourth, carefully depreciate, in the presence of superiors, the value of scientists in other fields.
As mentioned above, L— had abilities, but they were incommensurable with the speed of his career His weaknesses he countered by adjusting the tempo of his work and employing an enterprising “sixth sense” to catch and use any means whatever that might accelerate his career. Certainly it was to his advantage that he had specialized in a narrow field of science, poorly developed in his own country. His immediate superior had ambitions of his
own: to initiate and expand this field of science in the country by creating a group of student-disciples.
L— devoted all his time and efforts to obtaining, as soon as possible, a high rank in this narrow field. To this end he conformed all his needs of friendship and love. He deliberately did not marry in order to avoid any obstacle in his career. By the judicious application of his four-part system he soon earned the reputation of cleverness.
L—’s personal ambitions increasingly restricted his scope of experience and interest. His syntony was superficial, even artificial, subordinated to the main aim of his life. There remained in him a distinct feeling of inferiority to those who, in his opinion, had reached a still higher level in the social hierarchy. On the other hand, he did not reveal any feelings of self-dissatisfaction. He did not feel inferior in regard to any internal ideal. He had no sense of guilt, despite his hypocrisies. In fact, the attitude of striving toward any ‘moral' ideal seemed strange to him. His guiding principle of life was to accommodate himself to changing conditions in order to take advantage of them for his personal benefit.
In spite of his amiability and sociability, he was emotionally cold. He had no ability to transfer his own feelings to other people or theirs to him.
His single external conflict was simple envy, the sense of inferiority in the presence of his social superiors. His life until the age of 34 was of a person integrated on a low impulsive level with his intellect fully subordinated, used as a tool in his drive toward a higher rank—a “career” in the common meaning. He had no internal depth, no distinct germs of moral personality. Rather, he showed signs of disappearing traces of the higher dynamics mentioned above. For that reason, L— was not subject to the process of positive disintegration.”
Here is another example which—with a surface approach—could be taken as psychoneurosis. But, with a global approach—this is an example of a high level of
development with ability for further development, that is to say, mental health.
This is the case of Dr. Janusz Korczak, a remarkable doctor, civic leader, writer, prominent educator, and—above all—hero.
Dr. Korczak, together with the children from his institute, were sent to a Warsaw ghetto and from there to the crematorium at Tremblinka. He told the children that they were going on an excursion.
The publisher of Janusz Korczak’s work Igor Newerly, writes about the atmosphere of the ghetto: “Crimes, fear, abjectness fattened on misery and on hunger pushing the weak ones into transports of death. Feasts, orgies in expensive restaurants had something of the Apocalypse in this district of contrasts; in these conditions of unceasing macabre—it seems to me and this I would like to emphasize—there was no completely normal person. Nobody could stand the atmosphere of the ghetto in Oswiecim without a flaw in his personality. Everyone there both victim and executioner had to have a mental flaw.” 1
In my opinion Janusz Korczak was an exception in these conditions; he was “normal” in the sense of retaining his highest qualities; that is to say, his honesty, empathy, understanding of harm and sadness in the active sense, full responsibility for the children and conscious, freely decided death with them. He was then mentally healthy in the sense of having attained the highest level of mental and moral health. His depressions his fear, his—seldom—drinking; did not have a basic influence on him, so they cannot be taken as “a flaw.”
He was from childhood sensitive to adversity and injustice toward people, to harm and humiliation especially toward children. This presented great potential for empathy.
1 Janusz Korczak, Wybor pism. Warsaw Nasza Ksiegarnia, V. IV, 1958, p. 507.
He presented infantile qualities—which are according to us—positive. At fourteen years of age he stopped playing with toy blocks. As a 17-year-old—he writes about himself—he fell “into a folly, a fury of reading.” 2 The world passed from his view, there was only a book. He always manifested an attitude of justice and true democracy toward people. He did not care about his clothes or appearance.
It is clear that his function of reality was weak on a low level—weak in regard to his own interests—and himself with the problem of death. He said that he would die consciously. In his youth he thought about suicide. He once proposed to his sister that they commit suicide together. As he stated—there was no place in the world for him. Nevertheless he writes that his life was hard but interesting, and that he asked God for such a life.
His whole life was an unceasing protest against evil. He worked as a physician and then he gave himself to education. This work occupied his whole life; he helped children and workers in their autonomous growth. He lived with children, washed with them, suddened and rejoiced with them. He was always poor, modest, full of empathy, responsibility, authentic in the difficult conditions of life and on the way to death.
According to his heredity—his father was for a time in a mental institution—Korczak thought he could become mentally ill.
On the other hand, having thought about himself, about the qualities of his character and personality, he came to this opinion: “I have too much madness not to be afraid of the thought that somebody—against my will—will try to treat me.” It was a symptom such as was exhibited by Kierkegaard, Unamuno, Kafka—they accustomed themselves to psychoneuroses and to torment. They felt that they (psychoneuroses) played a major role in authentic
2 Op. Cit., p. 582.
thinking and experiencing. Here was also the need for autopsychotherapy. Korczak was then a normal person, not in the statistical approach, but in the approach to health on the highest level; health which is approaching to the ideal.
Comparison of both cases is—in our opinion—instructive, although the majority maladjusting to such a conception think that the subject from the first case is healthy and the subject from the second is somewhat unbalanced.
Following are some other examples:
1) A part of a letter from a poet to his friend, a painter:
“Don't turn with your complicated experiences to an average, or even higher than average doctor. Go to one of the eminent poets or to yourself. Your depression result from the difficulty of the search for creative expression. It is not an illness, but a result of the normal difficulties in your healthy development.”
2) A short part of the biography of one of the patients: “After these experiences, dissatisfaction with oneself, anxiety, depression, and loneliness, not immediately. . . but after many months—I have noticed that I understand others better, that I understand my own mental experiences, and that I have a deeper picture of the surrounding world and “worlds in me.”
Mental health is the capacity for a fully rounded mental development in the direction of a higher hierarchy of reality and aims, until the realization of one’s own personality and the ability to assist others in the realization of their personalities.
This approach to the notion of mental health has important applications in developmental and educational psychology, in sociology and mental hygiene. It weakens
the primitive attitudes toward other human beings and their development. It weakens one-sided behavioristic and psychoanalytical tendencies, as well as, the differences in the attitudes of a physician, psychologist and educator.
This concept of mental health, without losing any of its scientific meaning, becomes, at the same time, a teleological and empirical term. It is especially important for the program and realization of self-education, psychotherapy and autonomy which must show, besides an empirical attitude, a teleological viewpoint.
Mental health becomes a developmental concept of a mixed character which includes normative, teleological and empirical. It seems to be useful in the above-mentioned sciences and in such practical activities as education, judicature, psychiatry, and even politics.
52. HUMANISTIC PSYCHOLOGY
Humanistic psychology is not regarded as a science from the standpoint of the so-called scientific psychology and especially behavioristic psychology, based on the study of perceptible aspects in the behavior of man and animals and the search for common connections between stimuli and reactions of living organisms (Stimulus-response psychology).
The result of such an attitude is that the scope of scientific psychology is restricted to this part of human behavior which is common for human beings and animals and can be exactly compared, measured and verified in experiments.
Because that which we can measure in human behavior does not exhaust the richness of the human form of
mental life, any theoretical attempt which deals with the totality of mental phenomena is disqualified as nonscientific. Furthermore, such a theory could not be scientific, because it deals with emotions and with the kinds of human experiences, thinking and ideas whose existence is not questioned, but which cannot be measured. There is very little in a so-conceived scientific psychology about creative, intuitive, complicated phenomena of inner experiences; religious, aesthetic, moral experience, etc. The problems of levels of emotional functions is completely left out of consideration in scientific psychology.
In relation to this problem we can raise the question whether the concept of science accepted in physiological and behavioristic psychology is precisely and unequivocally defined. Furthermore, on what grounds should we discard as nonscientific the attempts to establish theoretical knowledge of higher mental functions, especially of higher emotions. In other words, is humanistic psychology possible as a science?
Let us try to answer the first question. There is a widespread tendency nowadays to separate philosophy, literature, arts and even law and medicine; that is to say, the studies of the highest human activities from the so-called natural sciences, which are the only exact and genuine sciences. The basic differentiating element seems to be, here, the exactitude of science based on empirical data, on sensory knowledge, on experiment and on deduction, with the application of measurement as one of the so-called objective criteria.
Lalande suggests that the definition of science by Langlois 1 fits well to the so-called “inexact” sciences. According to Langlois science is the totality of knowledge and research characterized by a sufficient degree of unity and generality resulting from the consensus of those who study a given area. This consensus must result not from arbitrary conventions or individual pre-
1 A. Lalande, Vocabulaire de la philosophic. Paris: Alcan, 1926.
ferences and interests, but from objective connections which are gradually discovered and confirmed by definite Methods of verification. Lalande also quotes Kant according to whom science is “any doctrine which is systematized by principles.” Spencer 2 distinguishes three levels of science: primitive knowledge, science and philosophy. The first is an expression of knowledge which is not systematized, the second is partially systematized, the third is systematized completely.
Many contemporary theorists of science consider science a system of concepts which allows us to foresee events and to make a prognosis. It seems that humanistic psychology which deals with typical phenomena of a human life (intellectual, emotional and instinctive) can be considered a science in such fields as general, developmental, and educational psychology, psychology of personality, of creativity, etc. They represent systems of knowledge adequately ordered and giving a systematic explanation of human behavior.
Thus, in developmental psychology, if we describe exactly the practical intelligence of a given individual and we affirm its high level and, at the same time, we affirm and describe a good level of other mental functions and lack of pathological characteristics, we can give with great probability a diagnosis that this individual will manage in the social conditions in which he grew up and continues to live.
If we describe precisely the conditions of the rise and development of paranoia, if we find symptoms of negative development, if we do not discover any basic positive dynamisms which protect the personality of the patient in his development, if we find at the same time, distinct setups of delusions and suspicion with a tendency toward dynamization and globalization, we will have to set the prognosis of gradual involution for the individual.
If we find in a given individual the group of charac-
teristics of accelerated development, a highly developed inner psychic milieu (which includes, for example, the third factor, the dynamism of inner psychic transformation, autonomy, authenticity, empathy, and the ideal of personality), with distinct creative intelligence and a fairly good practical intelligence, we will have a fairly objective picture of an individual in relation to whom we can clearly foresee his further development in the direction of a creative, empathic, and authentic personality.
In such ways, with application of the techniques and methods of examination of different kinds and levels of intelligence, levels of psychomotoric functions and those methods which are used to establish a scale of instinctive and emotional functions we can consider the psychology of man, especially of his higher functions, scientific. It is evident that in this kind of inquiry we can and do. apply the methods of empirical observation, description experimentation; including sometimes measurement. Moreover, on the basic of this empirical, descriptive and interpretative knowledge, we can, make predictions and confirm. them in experiments.
Of course, we cannot expect in this area the same degree of precision which we require in mathematics, physics, or chemistry, and even in animal psychology; but we certainly can arrive here at a coherent, empirically verifiable system of knowledge which will provide a basis for predictions. Such scientific humanistic psychology will be characterized by the globality and plenitude of diagnoses, even if, in regard to some specific aspects, it will not be as precise as behavioristic psychology.
This globality and completeness of diagnosis will be scientifically more significant than the partial diagnoses offered by the so-called scientific psychology. Needless to say, it will be much more relevant for developmental psychology, education and psychiatry.
Humanistic psychology is an experimental, descriptive, clinical developmental, and educational psychology of higher mental functions.
Humanistic psychology occupies itself with autonomous dynamisms in their nuclei and in their normal and accelerated development. It is a psychology which does not overlook in its methods introspection, multilevel experiment and the inner psychic milieu. It is a psychology which deals with the examination and prognosis of the. total personality of man.
The differentiation of humanistic psychology from the study of phenomena common to animals and man is a basis for developmental and educational psychology, psychopathology, education, the theory of morals and a philosophy of development. Wherever we have to deal with the operation of autonomous and authentic factors in man, wherever we have to deal with accelerated and creative development, we are in the area which can be, successfully explored only by humanistic psychology.
This psychology has a special significance for all those fields where we encounter multilevel differentiation of mental functions, especially in the field of moral valuation and hierarchization of values. Precisely these problems are crucial for human and social development.
Ernest R. Hilgarde in his textbook “Introduction to, Psychology” 3 clearly states that this school of psychology, which he calls, following some of the European researches—“understanding” psychology—deserves serious attention and cannot be easily dismissed. This statement indicates that in present-day American psychology there is an interest in a holistic, global, study of the inner psychic
3 Ernest R. Hilgarde, Introduction to psychology. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1962
life of man, including his high levels of functions, especially emotional moral, aesthetic and intuitive, as well as, concern with values and ideals.
By intuition we mean a synthesizing mental function or group of functions of a large scope, which grasps various form of multidimensional and multilevel reality on the basis of stimuli and data which are not sufficient for a global diagnosis and discursive derivation of conclusions. The intuitive ability to grasp complex aspects of reality without sufficient “rational” foundations indicates that intuition operates by means of subconscious or hyper conscious shortcuts.
It seems that this kind of intuition appears only at a relatively advanced stage of mental development and is prepared by the process of multilevel disintegration and the growth of the inner psychic milieu. The processor multilevel transformations allows insight into various dimensions of reality and wide, synthetic and many-sided apprehension.
Such experiences as inner conflicts, sufferings, a rich history of life, meditative attitudes, assist in the formation of intuitive capacities of a wide scope. They contribute to the growth of empathy in relation to lower and higher levels of human activity.
In a fully rounded human development intuition closely cooperates with intellectual and discursive functions. It is instrumental in the formation of scientific hypotheses, in diagnosis and prognosis concerning individual and social matters. Intuition synthesizes the results of em-
pirical and discursive data and creates a new coordinated unit which may become the subject matter of further discursive examination on a higher level. The process of growth of science takes this form of successive stages of discursive accumulation of data, intuitive grasps and following discursive elaboration.
Intellectual, emotional and volitional components are involved in various degrees and in various setups in the work of intuition. The composite nature of intuition facilitates the cooperation between intuition and discursive operations. It allows the coordination of intuition with self-consciousness and self-control, retrospection and prospection. The process of positive disintegration assists intuition with the “work” done by different dynamisms. The gradual shifting of the disposing and directing center toward higher levels at which developmental dynamisms are integrated into a harmonious structure is at the, foundation of the synthesizing function of intuition.
At the level of primary integration intuition does not appear. Its primitive and vague nuclei may be observed only in unilevel disintegration. It takes more distinct shape at the stage of spontaneous multilevel disintegration and reaches its peak in secondary integration when various dynamisms lose their tension, except for the tension arising from the ideal of personality.
We may conclude that intuition is a complex dynamism of preliminary and final syntheses coordinating emotional, intellectual and instinctive functions. In this. way the concept of intuition ceases to be an obscure, indefinite, mysterious idea; but becomes the name a special, distinctly identified mental function operating indefinite relationship with other functions and with discursive thinking. The specific nature of intuition finds its expression in the following forms:
1) In art, literature, and particularly in poetry, intuition consists of the capacity for a global, synthetic, emotional-intellectual-instinctive grasp of reality.
2) In science, intuition is the ability to synthetically grasp reality in coordination with discursive operations, either preceding or following them.
3) The wider and more multilevel is the development of an individual, the stronger and more distinct are his intuitive capacities.
4) Intuition does not appear in developmental stages below multilevel disintegration.
5) Intuition closely cooperates with such dynamisms as the third factor, “subject-object” in oneself, self-consciousness and empathy.
Concrete examples of intuition can easily be given. ‘There is a general feeling that some physicians, psychologists and social workers have intuition and others do not have it. A physician or psychologist endowed with intuition sets up a preliminary, “working” Intuitive diagnosis after the first meeting with the patient. We suggest that later careful and specialized examinations confirm intuitive diagnoses in 85 to 90% of cases. What is in operation here, what makes their diagnoses so successful? The decisive force behind this phenomenon consists of a conjunction of medical knowledge and experience with the personality of the physician which is instrumental in the application of generalized knowledge and experience to an individual patient. It involves quick apprehension of important elements and bridging of gaps through the coordination of general knowledge with intuitive “working” hypotheses. The same capacity for intuitive insights allows one to successfully combine the results of partial, specialized diagnoses into one dynamic whole; that is to say, to complement the working hypothesis more fully than it was possible in the first encounter and to “fill up” those gaps which usually remain open in the first diagnosis. In the process of a continual study of the same problem a successive, interchangeable coordination of intuitive synthesizing hypotheses and empirico-discursive testing takes place.
By intuition we mean the capacity for setting up synthesizing hypotheses from data which are not sufficient for logical justification of the conclusion. The function of intuition may precede the stage of discursive elaboration and empirical testing and later follow them. Intuition is an indispensable component of any creative research and any act of discovery in daily life. Intuition in art and literature may function without conjunction with discursive operations.
Thus defined the concept of intuition has applications In all forms of creative works, in social and educational work, in psychological, religious and political activities. Intuition deserves to be pointed out and emphasized as a fundamental act In every creative work, especially in great achievements in art.
Some degree of intuition should be demanded from all individuals admitted to creative professions and responsible for dealing with human individuals and groups. It is of crucial importance in the profession of psychological counselors, medical doctors, educators, judges, artists, and even, in diplomacy and politics.
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