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psychoanalysis Frued As A Prism

Social Recognition of the Human Individual
From the time of puberty onward the human individual must devote
himself to the great task of freeing himself from his parents.
-Sigmund Freud (General Intro. to Psychoanalysis)
As a child develops from infancy to adulthood, it soaks up its environment and processes it like a biological computer. As it matures, so does the way it copes with the challenges life presents to him. If the child has the opportunity to be well educated, than he may learn from his history studies, and begin to recognize the different patterns of thought that society has gone through. Perhaps he will learn from these patterns and make an effort to use his knowledge to prevent making many of the same mistakes in his daily life that men have made before. If he studies medieval Europe, he may become skeptical of his own faith. Resulting in his search for a new religion that he can believe in, rather than continue to blindly participate as a member of the faith his parents had chosen for him. If he were to study Imperialism in Europe, than perhaps he would join an athletic team. He would form strong bonds with those within the team, but hopefully he could learn from Europes mistaken extreme nationalism and sees that the best thing he can do for his team is remain an individual, not conform to some unwritten code. He would see that it is best to create ones own identity within a group. Perhaps he has read Erich Fromm, and sees that he must recognize himself as a separate entity apart from the world around himself. He individuates. The development of this boy into an individual is exactly what Sigmund Freud would describe as a healthy development toward the formation a personal identity. It is the interactions that take place between a developing individual (the boy) and the society in which that individual lives in which we find the essence of human existence. Man has under gone hundreds of years of dialectic thought, shifting paradigms and intellectual synthesis. Only to have the culmination of human progress come down to Sigmund Freuds recognition of the individual, (with individual thoughts, emotions, morals and experiences) create a singularity through which all future perception must travel through.
To get a sense of what type of society Freud changed forever, one must first examine the society from the last major paradigm before Freud, as to understand the societys influences and biases. In 1789 the fruits of the Enlightened Age were ripe and the conditions in France were right for an explosion of enlightened ideals that would define the western world for the next two centuries. Liberty, Equality and Fraternity began as the cries of the French Revolution, but would go on to mold western society into its present day form. It was Napoleon who took the fruits of the revolution and planted them in the minds of people across Europe as he conquered eastward. Despite his failure to conquer Russia and his eventual defeat, the Napoleonic Wars are the most successful and influential campaigns in western history. Napoleon institutionalized l,e,f via his Napoleonic Code. Imagine the concepts of the revolution as fruit, and France as the original orchard where the fruit was bred over hundred of years into the perfect crop. Now picture Napoleon as this great farmer who plants the seeds of this fruit across the European landscape. The stage is now set for these seeds to fructify into the paradigm of the next era of western civilization. Throughout the 1800s each one of these concepts matured and ripened in the Industrial Revolution which acted as the fertilizer and the soil as it provided the nutrients in the form of the technology, class antagonism, as well as a modern insecurity of insignificance.
Liberty became the most economical of the three fruitful ideals of the revolution. It was the emerging Bourgeois who first embraced it. They were an upper-middle class that was the product of the industrial revolution and its factory systems. These were the factory owners who sought nothing more than personal economical gain. Due to the restrictive economies of the early 1800s, they were vocal supporters of ... more

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Alfred Adler

Adler, Alfred
Adler, Alfred (1870-1937), Austrian psychologist and psychiatrist, born in Vienna, and educated at Vienna University. After leaving the university he studied and was associated with Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis. In 1911 Adler left the orthodox psychoanalytic school to found a neo-Freudian school of psychoanalysis. After 1926 he was a visiting professor at Columbia University, and in 1935 he and his family moved to the United States.
In his analysis of individual development, Adler stressed the sense of inferiority, rather than sexual drives, as the motivating force in human life. According to Adler, conscious or subconscious feelings of inferiority (to which he gave the name inferiority complex), combined with compensatory defense mechanisms, are the basic causes of psychopathological behavior. The function of the psychoanalyst, furthermore, is to discover and rationalize such feelings and break down the compensatory, neurotic will for power that they engender in the patient. Adler's works include The Theory and Practice of Individual Psychology (1918) and The Pattern of Life (1930).
Alfred Adler studied personality around the time of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung but developed very different ideas (Cloninger, 1996). Although he changed his theory many times during his lifetime, he always believed people had control over their lives and made choices concerning themselves. He named his theory Individual Psychology because he felt each person was unique and no previous theory applied to all people. Adlers theory is comprised primarily of four aspects: striving towards superiority, the unity of personality, the development of personality, and psychological health, which includes intervention.
Motivation of Actions
Adler believed the main goal of all people is to move to a better way of life, although he admits the ways to achieve this goal varies among people (Cloninger, 1996). He first used the term inferiority complex as being overcome by feelings of lack of worth. In other words, the person is not achieving their goal to moving positively in life. People wish to move from feelings of inferiority to superiority. He wrote, We all wish to overcome difficulties. We all strive to reach a goal by the attainment of which we shall feel strong, superior, and complete (Ansbacher & Ansbacher, 1956). Superior and superiority, in his usage, has a slightly different meaning than what is commonly thought. It is not necessarily feelings of superiority over others but more along the lines of self-improvement, such as striving for ones personal best. He eventually switched from superiority striving to simply perfection striving. This was the final stage in the development of his theory. Alder also used the word superiority complex. This complex occurred when a person tried to overcome their inferiority complex by repressing their actual feelings. They are usually very arrogant and tend to exaggerate their achievements.
Along with the idea of trying to overcome inferiority, Adler claimed that every person had an idea about what their perfect self would be like (Cloninger, 1996). He called this imagined goal the fictional finalism. Fictional finalism gives clearer direction as to what decisions to make concerning oneself. Although people may have some idea about their goal, they rarely fully comprehend it. Also, throughout ones lifetime the goal may be altered. The general direction, however, usually remains the same. Adler wrote, . . .in every mental phenomenon we discover anew the characteristic of pursuit of a goal, and all our powers, faculties, experiences, wishes and fears, defects and capacities fall into line with this characteristic (Ansbacher & Ansbacher, 1956). Adler believed that it was impossible to understand a person without understanding that persons fictional finalism.
Unity of Personality
The second aspect of Adlers theory was the unity of personality (Cloninger, 1996). Psychologists before him, including Freud, discussed how different parts of a persons personality are at war with each other. Adler believed the conscious and unconscious worked in union with one another towards the fictional finalism. Both had the same goal. Adler claimed that each person has a unique style of life, which not only includes the common goal but also how the goal is going to be achieved and the persons concept of ones self and the world. Styles of life can be either positive or negative. Adler hated lumping large groups of people into ... more

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