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Psychic Exhaustion and the Growth Process 
by Paul Rosenfels
Dean Hannotte is the editor of
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Psychic exhaustion is a uniquely human phenomenon, related to those creative capacities which arise from the nature of civilization itself. Exhaustion differs from fatigue in that it tends to undermine the ability to rest. Healthy fatigue invites rest and preserves its refreshing and restorative function. Exhaustion undermines mental health. In this state the individual loses awareness and control of his own mental processes. His actions become pressured and driven in an automatic way, as if his sense of self has been given up in favor of becoming the agent of monolithic forces which he cannot influence or alter.
The aspect of the creative reaching toward truth and right which invites exhaustion is the incomplete nature of this compartment of the personality. The more wisdom a person has, the more unanswered questions he can discover. The more strength he develops out of the commitment to the search for integrity and responsibility, the more obstructing challenges loom on his horizon. The storage of an increasing capacity for wisdom and strength confers identity on the personality and is the only reliable source of a sense of self-importance and the independence which goes with it. It is a goal earnestly desired by all healthy personalities. Although much sought after, it carries its own built in complications. Truth and right cannot be found in an atmosphere of clearcut rewards and simple gratifications. The most significant aspect of building inner identity is the increasing capacity of the individual to bear stress. This stress and strain must be converted from a disharmonious form into a harmonious one. This process is beset with the potentiality of psychic exhaustion. The complications of bearing creative stress are something individuals must handle without social support, getting help only from other creative individuals, since they are reared in a society which has little access to psychological growth, regarding it as dangerous to social stability. It is a world in which ignorance and immorality have usurped the place of truth and right. The strain comes not only because the tasks of growth are never finished, but also because the use of the reservoir of assets which growth creates in the personality has no guaranteed outlets in relationships with other people. A growing person must learn to make a home for himself in a world in which his personality is recurrently exposed to a sense of being on a stretch, and in this state there are no guaranteed certitudes except the growth process itself. No matter how well he does, the possibility of exhaustion always lurks around the corner. It is as if he must make a psychological home for himself dwelling on the edge of a volcano. This place has been called stretch city. He must not only do this, he must learn to like it.
Men expose themselves to the stress and strain of living in an expanding psychological world because of the rewards which growth confers on the personality. As men add to their store of human truth and right they not only have the means to become more important to other people, they also become more capable of reducing disabling anxiety and restlessness in their own lives. They become able to take personal responsibility for their own mental health. Whatever advances are made in psychological growth are never lost. Truth and right leave a permanent residue in the personality. They have the quality of taking over the self, conferring a sense of independent inner identity. Because of this identity building quality, growth is seen as a three dimensional experience, in contrast to the two dimensional nature of the resting phases of the personality. Although the growth process brings the threat of exhaustion, it also promises the means of overcoming exhaustion through the bringing of a greater understanding and control of the essentials for psychological health.
The resting phase of the personality is a separate compartment of the self, structured entirely by the welcoming of simple fun and pleasure. Within its boundaries the pursuit of the bigger meanings and values of life is firmly and absolutely excluded. The stress of the growth process, no matter how harmonious it may have become, is an alien intruder in the fun and pleasure world. The resting phase rejects incompleteness. The individual accepts personal responsibility for enjoying the immediate flow of the concreteness of living. Whereas the search for truth and right may be said to proceed from the past into the future, the dwelling in the fun and pleasure world immerses the individual entirely in the present. The individual also accepts the spatial boundaries of immediate experience as finite and complete, refusing to deal with the challenges inherent in the potential expansion of the world in which he is operating.
The fun and pleasure life, being two dimensional and non-residual, can only function properly when it is not used to build an inner identity. Whereas the stressful reachings of the creative life are highly selective, and are guided by the probing mechanism, the fun and pleasure life deals with the world as a surface phenomenon. The fun and pleasure capacity to enjoy life is strongly rooted in the biological nature of the organism. The individual recognizes and accepts that aspect of himself which is ordinary and is able to savor the simple architecture of the world of persons and things, enjoying the elemental attractiveness and responsiveness of the world around him. The ability to react with the environment in this way is a capacity which comes entirely out of himself. He can do this because he refuses to deal with any aspect of the world which threatens his ability to find simple pleasure and enjoyment. Using mechanisms which are rooted in childlike capacities for fantasy and play, he creates a world around him which has a perfect quality. He finds an expanding capacity to welcome the taste, touch, and smell of life. Whereas creative selectivity is guided by an uncompromising determination to maintain and develop an inner identity, the fun and pleasure life tends to make all men the same, and selectivity is replaced by an obliteration of those stimuli which threaten to produce stress. The capacity to ignore and bypass stimuli is guided by a determination to maintain a sense of the perfection of living. The self becomes the final and absolute judge of the pattern of experience, without interference from the creative need to help people live better lives.
The successful functioning of the fun and pleasure compartment rests on the individual's ability to immerse himself totally in the acceptance of himself as an elemental animal. Because he can lay aside his need to be important to other people, he is set free from shame and guilt, and in this way he becomes the center of his universe. It is a very independent state because he rejects judgements coming from society. Each individual must discover for himself what it is to have a good time. The conventional world exerts tremendous pressures in the form of prohibitions and inducements in order to control the individual's sense of what is appropriate pleasure and enjoyment. When the monolithic influence of society shapes the fun and pleasure life, it undermines tranquility and restfulness. Experiences lose their ordinary and non-residual quality, and are forced into becoming false sources of the individual's identity and self-importance.
As creative individuals develop an increasing ability to bear constructive stress, their need for independent fun and pleasure grows. They must deal with the phenomenon of simple depression which arises when old patterns of fun and pleasure are being rejected because of their contamination by serious mechanisms. This leaves an emptiness in the self which the individual learns to cover with an increasing capacity for enjoying the little human events which bring the moment of living into focus. The ability to handle simple depression is the key to developing an independent fun and pleasure life. If simple depression is treated as a menacing phenomenon, the individual is forced to return to the artificial supports which a monolithic society provides. No fun and pleasure state can remain always vividly alive. It is useful to describe four levels of fun and pleasure. The zestful level contains the greatest peaks of immersion in unalloyed enjoyment, and is characterized by the highest expression of warmth and pride. Below zestful a sunshine level can be described in which enjoyment flows in a pure but quieter way. Below that level is the grey area of simple depression. Darker grey areas exist, but if they are allowed to become black, the element of menace cannot be resisted.
The search for truth and right takes place in a separate compartment of the personality. Because of its capacity to sustain stress harmoniously, it is the source of inner identity and the self-importance in human relationships that all men would like to find. Where inner identity is falsely invested in the adaptive life, the individual becomes vulnerable to a life-style depression. The adaptive life cannot leave the necessary residues within the self on which an enduring identity can be based. The adaptive life creates disharmonious stress and strain which the individual learns to tolerate provided he can bring it to an end by the shortest route possible. His sense of fulfillment comes from adaptive accomplishment. The goal of such accomplishments is not growth, but rather to bring the stress reaction to an end in a successful fashion. The unremitting pursuit of adaptive accomplishment in ambitious patterns creates a false sense of expansion of the inner self. With each episode of adaptive effort, the individual has to prove himself all over again. It is this rat race that produces the life-style depression. This kind of pressured life produces a need for fun and pleasure which is equally driven. The same society that taught the individual that career can establish who he is now guides him into dependent fun and pleasure patterns in which artificial embellishments are used as a blanket coverup for life-style depression. He learns from monolithic social influences what it is to have a good time. The society that taught him to worship conventional success now provides him with Roman circuses to sweeten the bitter dose. In such a world the exposure to the search for truth and right brings almost instant exhaustion. Truth and right as objective entities fade out and disappear in favor of the whole compulsive and obsessive family of defenses, including facading, posturing, elegant donations, imperial dominance, masochism, and sadism. The blanket coverup provided by embellished fun and pleasure cannot find the independence which the dealing with simple depression requires.
In order to gain the rewards of embellishments the individual must accept and value their pressured and driven quality. If independence creeps into the picture, new stress reactions occur, and the all or none atmosphere of fun and pleasure is lost. To make embellishments work, the individual embraces victimization and provocation, becoming the willing tool of forces bigger than himself. He accepts these monolithic influences as inevitable and beyond alteration by his personality. His whole idea is to forget himself through this immersion in self-abandonment. The smaller his independent psychic capacities shrink, the more he is assured of obtaining the vacation spirit he seeks. To the degree that the individual cannot accept this kind of dependence, there develops a spreading encroachment of stress in the fun and pleasure life. A growing need for identity makes him increasingly intolerant of intimidation and seduction, and embellishments fail to perform their restful function. The fun and pleasure life becomes itself a source of exhaustion for the personality.
The conventional personality allows facading and posturing to take over identity. The individual gets social support in two ways. He is seen as important through his career accomplishments and his social status, in which case the compartment of his personality which should be serious is infiltrated by an excessive investment of warmth and pride. He lives in a pseudo-perfect world in the part of himself where incompleteness should have been sustained. The other aspect of social support is in the fun and pleasure life. Here socially supported embellishments deprive him of his naturalness and spontaneity, but in exchange he believes he can prove his importance as a human being by the stylishness and complexity of his way of having a good time. Sexual promiscuity and celebrative addiction readily enter this area. The creative personality learns to turn his back on both aspects of this kind of social support. If the individual is to sustain the stress of incompleteness in the search for truth and right, he must build an independent access to fun and pleasure. Psychological growth creates stress problems which can only be met by embarking on a voyage of self-discovery in the fun and pleasure world. If this process does not keep pace with his stress bearing capacities, he cannot maintain his mental health. The fear of loneliness which besets personalities who are dependent on embellishments can only be conquered by having full independent access to the ability to create a perfect world out of the individual's own inner resources.
The finding of tranquility after stress cannot be allowed to depend on the influence of others or on the existence of special circumstances. The individual alone knows when he has accepted stress and strain, and he alone must be able to reach into the healing world of his fun and pleasure compartment. This independent access to rest can only come when he has the psychological resources to declare a state of stress-free completeness in the flow of simple and ordinary events. He responds to the surface of life's activities, enriching the moment with fantasy and play. He rejects any feeling that would undermine his warmth, and cuts off from any interaction with his environment that would challenge his pride. Adaptive needs alone are allowed to intrude. Big ideas such as loyalty and justice are alien to this tranquil world. The individual accepts the primacy of his goal to live freely in the concreteness of the moment. His justification for this apparently self-indulgent and vain behavior is that he is resting himself, and in so doing is preparing himself for greater stress bearing of higher quality at other times and in other contexts.
To find a complete immersion in a fun and pleasure world, the individual must be able to push away the pursuit of all those human interactions which confer identity and human importance. This process can only work where the serious compartment of the self is firmly rooted in the search for truth and right. Unless inner identity comes from the kind of three dimensional experience which leaves a permanent residue in the personality, there is no way to have confidence that seriousness will not be lost when the individual renounces all stress bearing for the embracing of an unalloyed tranquility of spirit. The sudden reduction of stress and the enthusiasm and inspiration which go with it leaves the individual on the edge of emotional emptiness. When he refuses to cover this vague limbo with embellishments, he is in a position to develop a new capacity for contentment and happiness.
The fun and pleasure world reduces the individual to a basic biological status. The experiences which bring him satisfaction may seem unique to him, but when viewed objectively are not that much different from those accessible to the rest of the human race. The world of psychological rest embraces ordinariness and revels in it. The ability to dwell in a world which has no standards save the reaching of tranquility can be described as complacent in submissive personalities and lazy in dominant personalities. Complacency is characterized by a rigid rejection of depth and conceptual thought, giving access to an easy flow into little and sometimes busy activities which have guaranteed patterns of simple accomplishment. Laziness is characterized by a rigid rejection of goal directed vigor and manipulative mastery, opening the door to an easy receptivity to surface feeling and simple sensuality, guided by guaranteed gratifications.
The key to bringing the joy of living into an ordinary world lies in the capacity to discover novelty. When the greyness of simple depression is no longer threatening to the individual, he can convert simple experiences into a source of warmth and pride for him. He does not search for what is genuinely new in a creative sense. Instead he accepts exactly where he is, psychologically speaking, and out of his own independent human resources, discovers the beauty and goodness of his environment. He does not deal with the world in its terms, but in his own. He sees the world as if it were stable and complete in the moment, and through the pleasure this gives him is able to perceive its surface forms and qualities in a way that stimulates warmth. He uses an expanding capacity for awareness and is rewarded with a sense of discovery. On the manipulative side, he interacts with the world as a perfect entity which he does not judge or oppose, and through the enjoyment thus stimulated can expand his surface relationship with it. His readiness to interact brings him an elevated pride, and leads to an expanding capacity to explore and deal with the structure of his environment. His goal during this dwelling in the fun and pleasure compartment is not psychological growth but rather to become more vividly alive, guided by a sense of contented recognition and happy anticipation. Recognition and anticipation come when the environment has been transformed by the inner resources of the individual and reward him with a childlike and psychedelic sense of surprise. This is the proper area in man's psychological life for the magical and the miraculous to take their place. Recognition can transform a desert into a garden, and anticipation can turn a prison into a playground.
The fun and pleasure compartment leads to a discovery of the world as a place that can bring zest, excitement, and aliveness to the individual without paying any price for it. He need not and will not bear stress in the process. He does not operate on the workmanship of creative loving, but utilizes instead the uncritical warmth of friendliness, liking others or situations, and fondness. Hate, which is so necessary an element in creative love, is an alien here. As warmth grows, the individual learns to like himself. On the action side, the individual does not operate on the high sense of discipline contained in the responsible commitments of power, but utilizes instead the self-confident pride of easy cooperation, comradeship, and enjoying people and situations. He neither needs or wants the anger which must be available to creative power. As pride grows, the individual learns to enjoy himself. Guided by liking and enjoying himself, the architecture and texture of the surface of the human scene become increasingly real to him. It is his introduction to the world to which he was born and in which he will live his life. In this tranquil world, characterized by contentment and happiness, there is the potentiality of novelty at any given moment. It is because these experiences are self-generated, and appear as it were from nowhere, that they gain their psychedelic quality. Whether the individual is experiencing zest, sunshine, or greyness, the next moment carries the promise of something more he can look forward to. The whole area is characterized by a sense of innocence, spontaneity, and naivete.
Conventional individuals find the stress of the search for truth and right overwhelming. One remedy they have available is the attempt to dwell permanently in a simplistic world structured by fun and pleasure mechanisms. Their only psychological goal is to protect their inner state of tranquility and calm. Their perception of the surface world usurps their recognition of the entire psychological scene. They are constantly resting themselves, but they are not resting from anything important. It can be said that they are attempting to rest from the fatigue and boredom which infiltrate the fun and pleasure world when warmth and pride are not equally developed in the personality. Lacking access to growth, they are unable to detect underdevelopment in this area. If pride lags behind warmth they are subject to hypochondriacal fatigue, and if warmth does not keep pace with pride their lives are haunted by pervasive boredom. Complacency becomes sanctimoniousness, and laziness becomes smugness. The embracing of the open recognition which underlies friendliness, as well as the open anticipation which leads to easy cooperation, no longer comes as a breath of fresh air to a personality which has endured constructive strain, but becomes a thinned out atmosphere which is the only air the individual will ever breathe. Exhaustion has been banished at the cost of banality and self-effacement, and the menace of a life-style depression lurks always around the corner. The sanctimonious find religion comforting, and the smug find patriotism elevating. The less rational religion is, and the more chauvinistic patriotism is, the better is their function in providing a blanket coverup for life-style depression.
In a smug and sanctimonious world, warmth and pride must carry a heavy burden of embellishments. What could have been novelties are given the status of creative discoveries. The ability to recognize the workmanship of love and the need for truth fades out of the picture. Surface warmth is misidentified as a serious force capable of influencing the lives of others, and sentimentality rules the day. Such individuals are strongly attracted to such patterns of action as bringing soup to sick people, protecting animals from abuse, and the glorying in the wonders of nature in general. The concept of love as used in religion is this kind of stress-free warmth. The biblical injunction to "love thy neighbor" really means "like thy neighbor." In a similar pattern, the ability to recognize the responsible commitments of power and the need for objective morality fade out of the picture. Surface pride and its interactions with others usurps the place of responsibility and thrill seeking takes over. Such individuals are strongly attracted to competitive sports especially of the violent kind, practical joking with the intent to humiliate others, and risk taking in various forms such as gambling, gang violence, and addiction to the use of firearms. A smug and sanctimonious world produces a wasteland of ignorance and immorality, but within its own boundaries it succeeds in setting up a kind of pseudo-love which is free of ambivalence, and a kind of pseudo-power which is unequivocal and unambiguous. Such patterns are reinforced by religion and patriotism which become the ultimate embodiment of sentimentality and thrill seeking. As long as the group is able to maintain its unity and homogeneity, the only hate and anger which individuals need to carry within their personalities is toward the outsider. This kind of social system is built on prejudice.
The roots of the capacity for independent warmth and pride are to be found in adolescence. The model for parent-child relationships calls for a generally stress-free childhood in which the parent undertakes to like and enjoy the child, thus creating an atmosphere of contentment and happiness in which fantasy and play can have a full development. At certain points chosen by the parent stress is aroused in the child. The parent finds appropriate circumstances for increasing the child's ability to find meaning in truth, and for expanding his respect for the right. The only independent stress the child is required to handle occurs in those adaptive areas where he is away from direct parental supervision such as at school. He must also bear unwelcome stress when parental helplessness and recklessness emerge.
As the child moves toward puberty, he explores and experiments with his dawning capacity for independence, but these efforts are on a very small scale compared to the precipitous increase in his potential for independence with the onset of puberty. There is a close and direct relationship between the emergence of sexual and celebrative capacity and the development of an inner identity which is sufficiently defined to permit the harmonious bearing of stress. The child moves from a taking organism into the status of a giving one. The ability of the adolescent to think and act for himself increases on such a large scale because his ability to find rest from the stresses involved has become accessible to him.
Puberty brings to the personality the potential for a full sexual and celebrative life. The individual is not ready for the mated relationship, in contrast to the rest of the animal world at sexual maturity. Adolescence becomes a prolonged process in which the individual lays the basis for his fun and pleasure life, a capacity he will need for the rest of his life. Adolescence is not simply a somewhat troubled time of transitional passage from childhood to adulthood, as it is viewed by the conventional world, but a time of building independent psychological resources which are an essential part of a healthy maturity. The cornerstone of adolescent independence is to be found in the individual's ability to find a full sexual sensuality in masturbation, and an equally full celebrative aliveness through the mechanisms of self-released celebration or cockiness. Sex and celebration stand as guardians against exhaustion, and in some sense replace the parental function of protecting the child from unwelcome stress. The individual does not have to find sex and celebration on his own. These forces are biologically rooted and are part of his evolutionary heritage. What he does have to discover is how to use them in a way that builds his capacity for psychological growth in a society which tries to pressure him through shame and guilt into a hurried and furtive trip through adolescence, treating the whole period as largely unfortunate and distasteful.
The single greatest goal of adolescent development is to find independent access to the tranquility, calm, and serenity of the fun and pleasure compartment, so that there is a guaranteed source of the psychological rest which comes from contentment and happiness. With this kind of ability to like and enjoy oneself as a base, the individual can welcome stress bearing when the right time and circumstances emerge, measuring the amount of stress he will bear according to his perception of his own approaching exhaustion. He is now able to replace parental protection with his own independent capacity to protect himself. When he has no secure or free base, he must accept stress as an inevitable force imposed by monolithic influences, and at this point he loses control of his capacity for psychological growth. Helplessness and recklessness take over, and personal importance is lost. He has accepted society as a new parental force, but since he is no longer a child, there is no room for a future which is different from the past. This kind of permanent dependence lays the basis for a life-style depression.
The tranquility of the fun and pleasure world depends on the ability to set up a sense of a perfect world using only the individual's independent psychological resources. The birthplace of independent non-residual and two dimensional self-discovery lies in the capacity for sexual and celebrative experience. Because a man can make a place for masturbatory sex and self-induced celebration, the overflow of intense warmth into sex and exuberant pride into celebration need not be a threat to his ability to relate to others. The key to a successful handling of masturbation and cockiness lies in maintaining their private and separate status. The personality is not flooded by these emerging biological resources when they are kept in a pocket of their own within the fun and pleasure compartment. They become the testing ground and the purest expression of the sense of self-generated aliveness. When the individual likes himself he can make room for a full sensuality in masturbation, and when he enjoys himself he is able to accept the inner radiance of self-induced celebration. The spreading out of these biological capacities into areas where they would damage psychological growth is prevented by keeping them strictly two dimensional. This is a far superior method of control than prohibition. The attempt to destroy independent sexual and celebrative capacity can only result in a damaging of warmth and pride.
In setting up the circumstances for private masturbatory sensuality and dissociated celebrative exuberance the individual does not need the world. The experience is guided by fantasy and play, and the resources for this come out of himself. He deals with the world only through his recall mechanism, choosing images and moods which have no meaning or value save their usefulness in producing sexual excitement and celebrative euphoria. The sense of perfection stays within the sexual or celebrative pocket. When an individual is at home with his sexual and celebrative drives in this way, secure that they will remain private and separate, his capacity for interaction with the surface of the world in a non-residual way is liberated. As warmth and pride expand, the capacity to find novelty in the fun and pleasure compartment increases. Greyness more readily transforms into sunshine, and sunshine into zest, thus guaranteeing the individual as much access to contentment and happiness as his need for psychic rest dictates.
The goal of the fun and pleasure compartment is the development of the ability to make the maximum contact with the world without contamination by either creative stress or sex and celebration. The capacity to like and enjoy an undifferentiated world of people and things creates a favorable recognition of its attractiveness and anticipation of its enjoyability, liberating the individual to experience joy in being alive. This recognition and anticipation is at the heart of contentment and happiness.
Psychologically submissive personalities tend to enter adolescence with an underdeveloped sense of simple pride, and dominant personalities have trouble with simple warmth. If there is not a full access to both warmth and pride, tranquility cannot be maintained. Warmth is different from creative love, and it is also different from sexuality. When intensity of warmth overburdens the personality, anxiety and phobic reactions develop. In an effort to remedy this situation, warmth is used to build a false sense of the meaning of fondness or affection. The individual makes an effort to give to others without employing a genuine probing mechanism. The individual decides for himself the time and scope of giving without regard to the real needs of the other person. He defends himself against helplessness by employing reckless mechanisms, thus opening the door to compulsive behavior, facading, chauvinistic elegance, and sadism. The structure of such human interactions is actually adaptive in nature, since the primary motivation of the individual is to protect himself from anxiety. The more he attempts to believe that his driven activities are the expression of the workmanship of love, the more the threat of exhaustion builds up in the personality. The facading performance becomes the carrier of his sense of importance. In this situation, truth is alien and growth becomes impossible. The more he accomplishes in defending himself from anxiety, the more desperate becomes his need to find psychological rest. He turns toward embellishments in his fun and pleasure world. Warmth and pride are no longer self-generated. He needs the response of others to find warmth. In this driven situation, sexuality readily usurps the place of warmth. Sexuality becomes a channel of proving his attractiveness to other people. Sexual prowess becomes a guarantee that the individual can feel without anxiety, but in the process the ability to experience innocent novelty disappears. Sexuality is falsely endowed with a sense of importance in reaching other people. Where sexuality is artificially prohibited, warmth is similarly damaged because its independent base is lost.
Pride is different from that sense of personal importance which comes from the probing area in which the individual takes responsibility for the psychological growth of another. It is in the successful bearing of the stress of incompleteness that morality, strength, and the heroic are to be found. This mental state cannot be described as simple happiness, but rather as a fulfillment of the best in the individual. Pride is also different from celebration. If the personality is underdeveloped in warmth, pride builds in a pressured way, overburdening the personality. Irrational restlessness and freaked out reactions develop. In an effort to remedy this situation, pride is used to build a false sense of the value of caring or concern. The individual automatically confers a sense of importance on his attachments, ignoring the mechanism of genuine probing. The ability to comprehend the real nature of the other disappears. He defends himself against disorganizing recklessness by using helpless mechanisms, thus opening the door to obsessive thinking, posturing, imperial dominance, and masochism. These defenses have an adaptive structure, since the primary motivation of the individual is to protect himself from the disorganizing influence of irrational restlessness. The more he attempts to believe that his pressured mental state is the expression of important commitments to responsibility, the more the threat of exhaustion builds up in the personality. Posturing has usurped the place of genuine stress bearing in creative patterns. In this situation, the right becomes alien and growth becomes impossible. The better he succeeds in temporarily defending himself from restlessness, the more desperate becomes his need to find psychological rest. He now turns toward embellishments in his fun and pleasure world, depending on socially supported patterns to find what it is to have a good time. Warmth and pride are no longer independent. He needs the help of others to find pride, playing on the pity of others to win idealization from them. In this pressured situation, celebration readily usurps the place of pride. Cockiness becomes a channel of proving his ability to impress other people. Celebrative license becomes a guarantee that the individual can enter euphoria without disabling restlessness, but in the process the ability to experience naive and spontaneous novelty disappears. Celebration is falsely endowed with a sense of reaching other people. Where celebration is prohibited by monolithic influences, pride is similarly damaged, because it cannot find independent sources in the self.
To maintain a successful immersion in a fun and pleasure world, warmth and pride must be capable of alternating with each other. Peak experiences with a high level of either warmth or pride carry the individual into a zestful level. Coming down from this peak brings greyness to the personality. If the consequent simple depression is not to build stress in the personality, there must be an alternative to either warmth or pride which does not carry the individual outside the fun and pleasure compartment. If an individual is to let go of warmth for the moment, only pride can successfully take its place. If pride is to be laid aside, only warmth can fill the vacuum. As this alternation works well, the relationship with the surface of the world is maintained in spite of simple depression, and the greyness gives way to sunshine as if by magic. Stress bearing is resisted and tranquility is preserved. If pride is underdeveloped, it flows too readily into celebration, and if warmth is underdeveloped, it becomes difficult to resist sexualization. Well developed adolescent masturbatory and self-induced celebrative capacities which stay in their own pockets are absolutely necessary to prevent their encroaching overflow into warmth and pride. When controlled by prohibition these surplus biological forces lurk below the surface under pressure, ready to break through whenever the prohibiting influence weakens. If the prohibiting influence succeeds, the situation is no better, because independence in finding novelty does not develop. The very existence of a stress-free compartment of the self tends to destroy the effectiveness of prohibitions.
Underdeveloped pride permits an oversensitivity to fatigue to develop. A healthy anticipation is necessary to hold fatigue at bay. Underdeveloped warmth deprives the individual of alternatives and choices in his pride reactions and boredom takes over. A healthy recognition factor is necessary to keep boredom from spreading out. It is a misfortune for the individual who has successfully dealt with exhaustion to find that fatigue and boredom has condemned him to a greyness that he cannot remedy.
The more men adhere to the self-development inherent in the accumulation of human wisdom and moral strength, the more independent they become in throwing off the embellishments which guide the fun and pleasure life of conventional persons. This independence brings men to the edge of recognition of their latent homosexual conflicts. The barrier erected by society against homosexuality depends on prohibitions, and prohibitions do not fare well when men immerse themselves in the innocent openness to novelties of the stress-free aspect of life. Because of the ever present pressure from prohibited homosexuality, a monolithic society must dictate the patterns of fun and pleasure, focusing their expression in the artificial embellishments which exist in the relationships of persons of opposite gender. This state of affairs leads to an attempt to discard the human assets built up in the adolescent phase of development. Masturbation is regarded as a weakness and a sign of inferiority, and heterosexual intercourse is elevated into a kind of magical proof of adult adequacy. Promiscuity becomes an embellishment which confers superman status. Self-induced celebration similarly is not accepted as a healthy dissociated phenomenon, but is regarded as evidence of superficiality and narcissism and is controlled by instilling guilt. Instead celebration overflows into heterosexual relationships in an addicted way, and the functions of women are taken to be the instilling of cockiness in men. A heterosexual union is taken to be successful if it builds barriers against a genuine probing communication between partners. Instead they become the keepers of a mutually parasitic agreement to live in an insulated world where the protection of contentment and happiness becomes the exclusive goal of living, thus denying the existence of the stress bearing sense of importance which alone can give inner identity.
The greatest leak in the wall built by prohibition against homosexuality occurs in masturbation fantasy. If the prescribed barriers are not effective, the individual must enter on a fuller development of his warmth and pride relationships with individuals of the same sex. This is the point at which many individuals come out. They feel liberated at first from the monolithic forces which have attempted to control the warmth and pride reactions, but this is only the beginning of their homosexual development. A new capacity for liking and enjoying men must be paired with a new seriousness in the area of independent growth. Without recognition that individuals of the same gender have either psychologically masculine or feminine personalities, there is no way to develop the need for the kind of enduring sharing which characterizes the mated state. If the individual can find nothing genuinely serious in his homosexual life, the search for expanding warmth and pride capacities is destroyed by an encroaching promiscuity and an irrational celebrative addiction. There is no way for him to respect his homosexual status if he cannot validate the increased human honesty and courage which is inherent in it. If he gives up his self-respect, all that remains is to ask for social tolerance.
Society is fascinated by its social deviants, sensing their creative potential for remedying the human ignorance and immorality of the so-called normal world. At the same time, such persons are regarded as sick or crazy. It is the task of those homosexuals who are independent enough for the undertaking to prove that the search for truth and right can be sustained within personalities that can reach and sustain a state of mental health. The creative life does not have to lead down helpless and reckless paths. If the creative individual is not to be exhausted by the incompleteness of the stress bearing process, he must be well supplied with access to the tranquility of warmth and pride. These forces alone can bring the novelties into being which dissipate simple depression. A genuine homosexual is not a man who goes pacing about like a tomcat in search of sexual and celebrative experience, but rather a person who knows that men are attractive and interesting to him without preestablished limits, and holds his sexual and celebrative potential in their own place in order to develop a full expression of his capacity to like and enjoy others of the same gender. In his masturbatory and self-induced celebrative life he is free to elaborate any aspect of sexual excitement and celebrative euphoria he chooses. Once he starts acting out his masturbatory fantasies or celebrative cockiness with others, the reality of the surface of the outside world fades out of existence. A promiscuous person is experiencing an early adolescent type of overflow, stemming from masturbation fantasy. This can be considered normal behavior in twelve year olds, and has the same structure as two boys going behind the barn to masturbate each other. It also has the same structure as the homosexual overflow which occurs in isolated army posts and in prisons. It has little or nothing to do with the acceptance of a serious homosexual life style. A genuine homosexual does not confess that homosexuality has come to him without choice, like an attack of smallpox, being somehow a compromised state which he has learned to accept in himself and asks society to tolerate. Instead he affirms that homosexuality is inherent in the process of civilization itself, and has existed since the dawn of civilization and will remain as long as civilization lasts. He also affirms that the prohibition against homosexuality is damaging to the human growth process, setting up impenetrable barriers against the search for truth and right. And he also affirms that a fully developed and healthy personality can turn toward heterosexuality if it is in the individual's interest and in the interests of society for him to do so. This alternative must wait upon the liberation of women to a full fledged status as independent and serious human beings.
Society admires close attachments between men, but only if their warmth and pride reactions are controlled by monolithic forces. If men are to save their civilization from the consequences of helpless ignorance and reckless immorality, they must be set free to find the tranquility and rest which alone makes the seeking of the truth and the adherence to the right possible.
|SUBJECT KEYWORDS: science of human nature, philosophical anthropology, moral philosophy, humanistic psychology, personal development, interpersonal creativity, social progress, introversion, extroversion, femininity, masculinity, psychological polarity, character specialization, homosexuality, gay liberation.|
[D:\dh\web\PRC\3\HTP\Exhaust.htp (57 lines) 2005-01-03 08:22 Dean Hannotte]