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The Relationship of Adaptation
and Fun and Pleasure to
Psychological Growth  by Paul Rosenfels
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The Relationship of Adaptation and Fun and Pleasure to Psychological Growth 
by Paul Rosenfels
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Civilized man needs a sense of his personal importance. He seeks to live in such a way that he experiences life fully. He does not want to die psychologically before the biological fact of death overtakes him. He cannot establish his importance without an inner identity. There are two aspects of man's relationship to his world. The first concerns the way he adapts to that part of his world which is beyond alteration by his personal influence. There are many elements in his world which he must accept as practical realities, such as the fact that when he is a child he is too undeveloped to survive on his own, that physical aging does occur, that various kinds of physical ill-health will have to be dealt with, that the day to day survival needs of society will have to be met through productive job activities, and that he must live in the particular era to which he is born with whatever stage of social progress exists at that time. The second aspect concerns the area of his personal choices, based on judgements concerning what is desirable for him. This is the independent aspect of man's nature. If his independence is to be real, he must have sufficient understanding of himself and others to be able to find alternatives on which to base a choice, and sufficient capacity for responsibility to make his choices effective.
Man seeks to make a stable adaptive adjustment. If instability enters, it is because circumstances over which he has no control are changing. He does not welcome the stress and strain which such changes bring. He seeks to bring the situation back to equilibrium in the most direct way possible, by altering his adaptive expectations so that they fit the new circumstances. The less he endows his adaptive life with his personal sense of importance, the more effective he becomes in molding himself to external realities in a flexible way.
Inner identity is the proper carrier of man's sense of personal importance. In this part of his psychic life instability is the rule. There are certain goals which in their nature are expanding. Wisdom and strength do not reach a stable equilibrium. If a man is wise it is because he is living in such a way that he can discover truth, and he does not want this life-enriching process to end. If a man is strong in a moral sense it is because his way of life leads to an increasing capacity to embody the right in human affairs. He has no wish for this expansive process to end because it has the highest value in making his life worthwhile.
Once inner identity becomes firmly established in the personality it becomes a necessity to the mental health of the individual. Survival in an adaptive way establishes the individual's membership in the human community, but the sense of self-importance which comes from his inner identity makes that membership worthwhile. Survival makes a person feel important only when threats to his survival of an emergency nature have been dealt with and have been overcome. There is no way to convert adaptive pseudo-importance into a tool for living in an expanding world. It is a one time event which leaves no residue behind.
The independent aspect of the self encourages instability. This can work well when the individual accepts self-development as his real goal. It is only in the area of psychological growth that inner identity can be found. Inner identity creates a reaching quality within the personality. Individuals approach each other as mutually incomplete entities. Because the individual needs interaction with others in order to establish who he is, a sense of potential attractiveness is set up in the human scene. This attractiveness is the basis for charisma and sex-appeal. Individuals are sending each other signals which say in effect "help me express who I am and use this identity to expand my relationship with you." It is only in this expansion that importance can be established. The expansion of the self implies an opportunity for the expansion of the other person also. This is quite different from the stabilized patterns of interaction which take place in the adaptive life. Adaptive interactions provide for clearcut access to fulfillment, often accompanied by considerable warmth and a spirit of cooperation. If one person has bologna and another has bread, they may decide to get together and make sandwiches. What they get from this interaction is sandwiches, not self-development. If they cannot find the kind of incompleteness in each other which is necessary for involvement in an expanding human world, they may endow the making of sandwiches with an importance it cannot sustain.
The stabilized aspect of man's psychic life contains many false passages to a sense of personal importance. In all these areas, survival is easily misidentified as a form of expansion of the personality. The kind of accumulation of knowledge and skill which contributes to competitive success in the job market readily usurps the place of independent self-development. It is often easy for individuals to believe that they can find inner identity through belonging to an ethnic group, sharing socially supported religious beliefs, or identifying patriotically with the political power of the state. When all the false aspects of inner identity have been cleared away, what is left? To answer this question, men must first learn to look in the right place. They must learn to confer the importance on the unstable inner search for self-development which belongs to it. The most salient fact about this aspect of a man's life is that he cannot be complete in himself.
The first step in establishing a psychological inner identity is to exclude from this part of his psychic life the easy access to a sense of completeness which is characteristic of his adaptive life. The incompleteness which he seeks rests on his capacity to be either submissive or dominant in that part of his psychological self where he makes independent choices in his human relationships. Since his goal here is non-adaptive, he need not mold himself to an environment. Instead he chooses human involvements on only one basis, namely that they increase his submissive or dominant capacities in a constructive way. By this method he achieves a kind of molding of the environment, not through altering it to suit his needs, but through the process of independent selection of human attachments. In order to reach a state of successful psychological growth the individual must reject the false sense of independence which comes from the stability of his adaptive life. He can do this if he realizes that adaptive success rests on his acceptance of an external reality which is not chosen by him. On the other hand, he must be able to recognize the real nature of the independence which comes to him when he accepts the incompleteness characteristic of a developing inner identity. In this part of his psychic life it is the selectivity which confers the independence. The more independent he gets, the more he needs other people to share an expanding human world. This creates an apparent paradox in that the more independence he has, the more he needs others. The paradox is resolved by the fact that he accepts human relationships only in patterns chosen by him, guided by his inner identity.
Human goals which derive from inner identity are open-ended in nature. Whatever a man achieves in this area does not end his need to reach further into the human scene. Men generally understand that there are certain human capacities that have the highest priority. These capacities concern those matters which make an individual a better human being. When he deals with these parts of his psychic life he reaches a sense of his own importance that cannot be reached in any other way. He feels he is in touch with something truly lasting, or with something capable of giving uncompromising form to human interactions. Inner identity is involved with such matters as the ability to love, the capacity for moral responsibility, the search for truth, and the adherence to the right. The key to the ability to maintain an expanding relationship to the human scene lies in the capacity to accept imbalance within the self. When balance takes over, reaching stops and human goals are no longer open-ended. If the capacity for imbalance is to be firmly and reliably implanted in the personality, it must take its being in the fundamental ways that living organisms relate to their environment. It is in the basic biological tendencies toward submission or dominance that inner identity finds its roots. The basic nature of these psychological elements can be seen in the specialization of masculine and feminine in the biological world. Submission is capable of taking over the inner self because it has a unique superiority in bringing the capacity for love and truth seeking into being. Dominance can also attract the full involvement of the inner self because no other psychic state can compare with it in the reaching toward personal power and moral responsibility. If imbalance is to be real, the acceptance of either submission or dominance must be real. If the personality attempts to alternate between the two, the serious nature of the workmanship of love and the commitments of power fails, and at this point inner identity is lost. Since most individuals have been reared to believe in the false ways of finding inner identity, the acceptance of submission or dominance brings them into a world which is in the beginning unfamiliar, strange, and alien. The dynamics of psychological growth are concerned with bringing focus and clarity into the operation of submission and dominance, so that these powerful human forces can bring mental health to the individual and social progress to mankind.
In addition to the two ways of relating to the world, namely the adaptive way and the independent way which develops the inner identity, there is a third aspect of man's psychological life. It differs from the other two in that it is not serious in nature and will be referred to as the fun and pleasure life. The differences between the three can be best understood by examining the differences in the way that the individual holds tension and energy in each case.
The submissive position in life can only lead to self-development if it attains continuity. It is impossible to maintain a deepening submission without selecting those human interactions where submission is needed and wanted. The individual can only maintain his sense of personal importance when the influential nature of his personality is increasing. His influence depends on the development of the assets which his submissive position makes possible. Submission is guided by love, and this love can only reach other people when it does psychological work in the world. The primary task of love is to build the capacity to understand. This understanding must be fundamental enough to help others live better lives. It is not easy understanding or well-established insights that love seeks to use. It undertakes to live in an expanding world where new truth can come into being. Love alone can win territory from the unknown in human affairs. The search for truth becomes an end in itself, and there is no guarantee that the submissive position will lead to the discovery of influential and communicable truth in any particular situation. Therefore the individual must hold whatever tension is necessary to continue on a truth seeking path, knowing that holding his course is more important than certitude of accomplishment. He can only do this if the tension holding process becomes a harmonious part of his personality. He learns that the stress and strain involved is something that he can not only accept but actually welcome as essential to being a growing individual.
The acceptance of a dominant relationship to life can only lead to self-development if it is pursued with integrity, that is, without compromise. It is impossible to maintain a broadening dominance without selecting those human interactions where dominance is needed and wanted. An increasing sense of personal importance depends on the ability of the dominating force to become a constructive influence in the lives of others. The individual can only expand his influence through the development of the psychological assets which the dominant function brings into existence. Dominance is guided by constructive power, and this kind of personal power can only reach other people when it leads to responsible commitments. Such commitments have the goal of developing the human resources which are being exploited. The primary task of power is to expand the scope of the individual's ability to take responsibility. This responsibility must be fundamental enough to help others live better lives. It is not the commonplace and socially supported patterns of responsibility which personal power seeks to use. It undertakes to live in an expanding world where new patterns of what is right can come into being. Power alone can win territory from the chaotic in human affairs. The development of the capacity to stand for what is right becomes an end in itself, and there is no guarantee that a dominant relationship to life will lead to the establishment of an influential and demonstrable right in any particular situation. Therefore the individual must hold whatever undischarged energy is necessary to continue on his personal search for an expanding control of his world, not asking for an assurance of accomplishment at any particular time or place. He can only do this if the energy holding process becomes a harmonious part of his personality. The price of reaping the rewards of growth is the acceptance of whatever incompleteness goes with it.
The world of psychological growth is a reaching and expanding one in which the individual and his world expand together. The more truth and right the individual has access to, the larger his world becomes. This harmony between the growing individual and an increasingly interesting and challenging world makes it possible for stress and strain to be accepted by the personality as not only tolerable but as necessary for mental health. Disharmony develops when inner development outruns the ability to find an expanding world. It also develops when the individual finds himself in a world more complex psychologically than his inner capacities can handle. Since the growing individual navigates a course which is always vulnerable to an invasion by disharmony and the pain and suffering which goes with it, he must deal with the temptation to dissipate his incompleteness. When the growth process is successful, the individual learns to hold the fort against the invasion of pain and suffering. He is in the position to discover that he is not some fragile thing made of paper mache and held together with rubber bands and adhesive tape, fit only to live in an insulated and protected world, but a biological product of an evolutionary process which has equipped him to meet life head on with a full engagement of his human capacities.
In the adaptive aspect of life the relationship to stress and strain is quite different. There is absolutely no reason for an individual to willingly accept incompleteness in practical matters. Adaptive success means a direct access to the fulfillment of needs and desires which are self-evident and clearcut. The rewards of adaptive effectiveness do not lie in the expansion of the inner self but rather in the sense of being able to deal with reality successfully. Adaptive adequacy leaves the individual free to pursue psychological growth goals in other areas chosen by him. Adaptive struggles are never chosen by the individual for their effect on the expansion of a genuine inner identity. They are accepted by him because they are a necessity in dealing with problems and obstacles which threaten to frustrate practical accomplishments.
The tension and energy holding which occurs in the adaptive life is always unpleasant or annoying to some degree, ranging from almost imperceptible to very large. The whole idea is to dissipate the stress and strain by the most direct route possible, either by renewed efforts to overcome the difficulty or by molding needs and desires to reality in such a way that substitute modes of adjustment can be found. There is no need for the kind of continuity and integrity which are essential to the search for truth and right. The sense of importance which is attached to adaptive accomplishments is different from the sense of importance which comes from the inner identity. Full involvement in the achieving of adaptive goals is important as long as it is happening. Without concentration adaptive patterns do not work well. The importance is in the event, not in the personality. No matter how much satisfaction adaptive success may bring, it cannot leave a healthy residue in the personality. It is through the dissipation of stress and strain that the sense of importance enters adaptive success. This stress and strain is always perceived as disharmonious, although in fully developed mature personalities it is regarded as a minor psychological phenomenon. Even though the disharmony is real and clearly unwanted, individuals undertake to keep such distress in its proper place. Because the dissipation of stress and strain becomes the measure of adaptive importance, it follows that there is great variation in the way individuals perceive importance in this area. A petty and routine achievement by one person may be some kind of triumph for another, depending on the amount of disharmony which is being overcome.
Stress and strain are caused by the storage of tension, which is a submissive phenomenon, or by the holding of undischarged energy, which is a dominant phenomenon. In the area of psychological growth, the individual seeks to experience stress and strain in a harmonious way. In the area of adaptation, the focus on an effective dealing with reality is only possible when stress and strain are perceived as unwelcome. There is a third area of psychological life where the individual seeks to exclude stress and strain entirely. This is that part of experience where the pursuit of pleasure and enjoyment takes over. Through his fun and pleasure life man takes a vacation from the struggles of his psychological existence. Fun and pleasure provides a safety valve which protects human beings from exhaustion. This mechanism is essential to mental health.
In the fun and pleasure life stress and strain are replaced by appetites and interests. Tension and energy are held only in circumstances where the channels of gratification are assured. If problems and obstacles appear, the individual steers away from such areas if he can. If he cannot, the fun and pleasure state comes to an end, at least temporarily. The importance of the fun and pleasure experience lies in the event itself. To develop an appetite or interest and then gratify these drives occupies the whole psychic self while it is happening. For this mechanism to work well requires that the inner identity be already established. Fun and pleasure resembles the adaptive life in that the sense of importance that it brings into being does not leave any residue in the personality. Both tend to resist the accumulation of tension and energy. The adaptive life accepts stress and strain only as a disharmonious state to be brought to an end by the most direct route possible. In fun and pleasure tension and energy holding are accepted only when they create a pleasant anticipation of the gratification of appetites and interests.
When inner identity is established with reliable continuity and integrity it provides the necessary conditions for individuals to lay their serious pursuit of psychological growth aside in favor of the vacation spirit. The fun and pleasure life is non-judgmental in nature. Successful fun and pleasure hinges on the ability to participate fully in the gratifications of the moment without any sense of incompleteness. The vacation spirit is successful when it takes place in areas where the personal sense of independent importance is not involved. Fun and pleasure tends to reduce everyone to similar dimensions. It speaks a common and universal language. Individuals in a restaurant eating dinner are at that time and for that purpose alike, as are individuals watching a baseball game or a movie. Warmth is easily generated because it does not have to hold tension and do psychic work, but instead can give full access to feelings for their own sake. Events can be endowed with whatever meaning gives pleasure to the individual. This brings a romantic atmosphere. Waiters know how to exploit this situation to get bigger tips. Pride is also easily generated because it does not have to accumulate energy and make psychic commitments, but can instead give full access to activity for its own sake. Enjoyment guides the individual's sense of what has value. This brings an adventuresome atmosphere. It is a world guided by easy feelings and relaxed performances where truth seeking and the reaching for the right could only have a chilling effect. Because the fun and pleasure state is not serious, it leaves no residue in the personality. If the continuity and integrity of the inner identity are not to be diluted or eroded by the fun and pleasure life, it must be possible for the inner identity to set limits on the fun and pleasure experience. These limits are formed in such a way that they do not interfere with the non-judgmental nature of the vacation spirit. The inner identity of the individual brings self-discipline and self-control into being. These forces lie outside the fun and pleasure experience, not directly influencing it, but defining its area of operation. The inner identity provides parameters for fun and pleasure. Parents provide this function for children. A child is permitted to play in a fully spontaneous way, provided that certain rules chosen by the parents are respected, such as a prohibition against fighting, or playing in a street with dangerous traffic, or trampling a flower bed. Adults who set up their own parameters go beyond prohibitions into the more mature area of self-discipline and self-control.
The parameters established by inner identity have in addition an essential part to play in the adaptive life of human beings. The adaptive life is highly vulnerable to invasion by a false sense of inner identity. Individuals never lose their need to feel their own importance, and if the inner identity is not successful in bringing an expanding sense of importance into being, the adaptive life is always there to provide events and experiences into which a distorted sense of importance can flow. Furthermore, individuals can cling to expanding relationships which are failing by the utilization of adaptive mechanisms. Failure is thus converted into pseudo-success but at the cost of the capacity for selectivity.
It is the task of the parameters to keep the stress and strain of the adaptive life in its proper place. It is necessary that adaptive stress and strain remain in some basic way annoying and disharmonious. It is a form of pain and suffering, varying from quite mild to very severe. Without this kind of intolerance for incompleteness in the presence of adaptive challenges, the capacity for adaptive effectiveness is compromised. The adaptive drives must remain focused and practical, motivated entirely by the direct prospect of accomplishment. If the individual begins to hold tension and energy in adaptive areas in a harmonious way, he is impelled to find evidence of an expanding relationship to life through these events and experiences. This process is doomed to failure because the selectivity factor is absent. Practical reality imposes a world on him which he must handle because it is there. The expanding world which depends on love and its truth seeking functions, or on power and its search for the right, accepts nothing because it is there, but takes its being in the independent selection of those human interactions which promote psychological growth.
Without the vividness of inner identity which continuity and integrity bring, the sense of importance which comes from adaptive accomplishments cannot be kept in its place. Mental health requires that the various parts of the psychic life perform their proper function without encroaching on each other. If any human goal develops a pressured or driven quality the harmony of the whole is threatened. When adaptive accomplishments get out of synchronization, the individual loses his ability to keep adaptive stress and strain confined to the status of a minor and localized phenomenon. Simple annoyance and disappointment give way to a larger sense of expanding pain and suffering. This brings hate and anger into the individual's adaptive life in a way that colors his whole existence. If he tries to find inner identity through a pressured or driven search for adaptive accomplishments he must pay the price of the expanding stress and strain which goes with it. Genuine inner identity can harmonize stress and strain because the increasing access to truth and right brings its own kind of unique accomplishment, namely a rewarding sense of self-development. Only a growing person can love life in a pure way, or find life to be his best and most rewarding possession. There is no need for hate and anger toward life itself in such a personality. When hate and anger invade the relationship to life as a whole, depression is inevitable, no matter how many items of adaptive accomplishment are being accumulated along the way. In fact, the more the individual is intimidated or seduced by the mirage of expanding adaptive rewards, the more his personality becomes a vehicle for coping with burdensome disharmony, a process which keeps expanding without an end in sight.
The pursuit of inner identity through adaptive accomplishments commits the individual to the acceptance of disharmonious stress and strain. The more successful he is in this area, the more he sees life as a pressured or driven kind of experience. He loses his ability to see that alternatives are possible. His mental health is no longer in his own keeping. Although he lives close to exhaustion, this style of life is taken to be inevitable. Just below the surface there is a great hatred or anger at the life process. He does everything he can to deny the existence of these negative forces, in order to keep them from disrupting his ability to cope with life. He pays a heavy price for fitting his personality into society's image of what is well adjusted or normal. He must try to come to peace with a kind of psychic death or impoverishment in order to establish his right to survive. Having done so he must distort psychological reality so that he will not be aware of what has happened to him. In such a world, the pursuit of psychological truth and the reaching for the right become dangerous. They emerge as revolutionary forces which threaten the entire fabric of man's social adjustment. It is not difficult to see that these circumstances create an almost impenetrable barrier against the development of a science of human nature or the establishment of those modalities of human control which can be recognized as human engineering.
Continuity of submission to life, or integrity in a dominant relationship to life, can only exist in a healthy way when the individual remains independent. He can then select those human interactions where submission or dominance leads to expansion of his inner self in relation to an expanding world. This situation makes harmonious stress and strain possible. As the feminine personality reaches into deeper submission, the tension which he holds must make it possible for him to accumulate more insight into the forces to which he is submitting. Because he is increasing his supply of psychological truth, his capacity to give to others increases. His submission makes it possible for him to live in a broader human world, and his sense of his own importance increases. This process cannot go forward unless the fruit of his tension bearing experiences is needed and wanted by others. He perceives his tension bearing as love, and the bringing of insights into being as the workmanship of love. To bear tension in a situation where the communication of independent insight cannot take place brings the individual to the point where tension accumulates without outlet. When this happens, helplessness ensues and the individual is in the presence of an identity crisis with anxiety.
As the masculine personality reaches toward a broadening dominance, the energy he holds must make it possible for him to accumulate more human skills and mastery techniques in relation to the forces which he seeks to dominate. Because he is increasing his supply of responsible access to the right, his capacity to give to others increases. His dominance makes it possible for him to live in a deeper human world, and his sense of his own importance increases. This process cannot go forward unless the personal assets which are accumulating through his energy holding experiences are needed and wanted by others. He perceives his energy holding as power, and the bringing of mastery into being as the application of power in those situations where he accepts commitment. To hold energy in a situation where the demonstration of independent mastery cannot take place results in a buildup of energy without outlet. When this happens, recklessness ensues and the individual is in the presence of an identity crisis with uncontrollable restlessness.
Harmonious stress and strain increases the dimensions of the personality and requires of the individual that he selects a human world which expands in synchronization with his own growth. When disharmonious stress and strain which belongs in the adaptive world is used as a false means of establishing inner identity, there is no need to move out into a deepening or broadening human context. Because the mechanism is adaptive, the world is accepted as a fixed entity which exists outside the individual's ability to exercise selectivity. A spurious sense of growth comes from the accumulation of adaptive accomplishments. The world stays the same, retaining always the quality of being a threat to survival. With each adaptive success the individual can congratulate himself that he has survived once again, and out of this situation can believe he has become a more important person. The individual must seek survival challenges as if they were the real pathway to a good life. If his inner self is submissive, he welcomes submission to problem situations in order to add one more adaptive accomplishment to his growing list. He finds his importance in the number of items on the list, not in the deepening of his love capacities. If his inner self is dominant, he manipulates obstacles as items of accomplishment in order to accumulate more and more evidence of his ability to cope, not as a means of expanding his power capacities.
When individuals lack an independent access to inner identity they cannot find the continuity or integrity which is necessary for the effective functioning of the parameter mechanism. The need for identity then flows into the adaptive life, and this process cannot be guided by self-discipline and self-control. Instead pseudo-parameters are set up by commands and prohibitions emanating from outside the individual. These patterns of socially supported beliefs and attitudes operate in a rigid and automatic way. His ability to submit or dominate is guaranteed in the permissive world he has embraced. Since he has agreed to accept disharmonious stress and strain as a necessary aspect of being an important person, he can insulate himself from the helplessness which brings anxiety to independent submissive personalities, or from the recklessness which brings restlessness to independent dominant personalities. He has a clear path to submission or dominance and he can always be sure he is doing what is required of him. Since he has accepted an automatic role he need only concern himself with socially supported accomplishments. Under these conditions the independent choosing of how and where to submit is replaced by victimization and intimidation, and the fear of helplessness disappears. The independent choosing of how and where to dominate is replaced by a sense of the inevitability of a dominant reaction, and the individual feels provoked by circumstances. It is assumed these circumstances lie beyond his control, and his acceptance of them is on a seduced basis. Since he does not feel responsible for his actions, the sense of recklessness disappears.
Automatic submission is keyed to adaptive success. The continuity is not in the personality but in the relationship to the situation which requires the submission. The whole emphasis is on action, that is, on dispelling the disharmonious stress and strain by doing what the individual is supposed to do. Because the individual is intimidated, he can count on unquestioning submission wherever the victimizing situation emerges. Under such circumstances he attains great efficiency in relating to others. It is as if he always knows what to do. The focus is on automatic giving to others. The sense of inferiority disappears because he has rejected the need to go deeper into human situations. He has perfected a way to feel socially adequate by helping others to dispel disharmonious stress and strain. He joins forces with others to set up a social community devoted to keeping people comfortably free from the invasive influence of those problems which come from living in an expanding human world. Because his social community has the common goal of mutual adaptation by the most direct route possible, success becomes identified with the ability to keep tension and anxiety out of human relationships. The individual becomes known and valued as a person who can get along well with other people. He erects a facade which makes easy going warmth possible. The need to communicate gives way to the need to maintain the ease of conversational flow. If the facade fails to be effective, inferiority feelings return in an overwhelming way and the individual sees himself as a damaged person.
Automatic domination is also keyed to adaptive success. Integrity is not carried in the personality but is experienced in the relationship to the situation which invites the domination. The whole emphasis is on commitment to success in a particular situation, and this reaction is guided by a great deal of feeling for its importance. The individual sees nothing which would interfere with his ability to dispel disharmonious stress and strain. His perceptions are dogmatically focused so that he receives only that information which promotes his dominant behavior. Because the individual is seduced, he can count on unobstructed domination wherever the provoking situation emerges. Provocation relieves the individual from a sense of choice. As long as he sees the situation the way he is supposed to see it, his actions automatically follow. The focus is on patterns of socially supported giving which have a guaranteed access to success. He joins forces with others to construct a comfortable social community devoted to rejecting the invasive influence of those obstacles which emerge when individuals live in an expanding world together. Success in dealing with people becomes equated with easy going gregarious comradeship. Under these conditions, energy holding and restlessness are kept out of human relationships. The goal is to become well liked and popular through the individual's ability to keep the social machinery well oiled and smoothly operative. He adopts a posture which makes easy going cooperation possible. The need to embody moral integrity in a leadership way gives way to the need to establish his social acceptability. If posturing fails for any reason, the personality is flooded by guilt and the individual regards himself as a social outcast or pariah.
Victimized and intimidated submission accepts disharmonious stress and strain as a necessary element in making a so-called normal adjustment to society. The individual accepts an automatic role which can be called rag doll submission. The world he submits to is not selected by him and is not an expanding one. All the expansion which takes place occurs within himself. He seeks to become increasingly effective in his ability to perceive the demands of the social system and comply with them. In interpersonal relationships he becomes highly sensitized to the needs of others. These needs are the self-evident ones which the other person is actually experiencing at the moment, and have no connection with the need for deeper insight characteristic of the growth process. By focusing on immediate and self-evident needs, the pathway to accomplishment is kept open. The insights which the rag doll mechanism uses are supportive in nature, directed toward relieving disharmonious stress and strain in both the self and others. The services performed have the quality of little donations, always directed toward making the other person feel an immediate importance. Since the rag doll submission has no continuity within the personality, the submissive state ends when adaptive accomplishments have relieved the stress and strain. At this point the individual wants to be valued for his gift of understanding and services. The more he injects false identity into these accomplishments, the more he needs to be valued. He must reinforce the otherwise fragile structure of his sense of self. The feeling of love which is carried by rag doll submission is replaced by the need to be loved. The lack of continuity in his submission emerges in the open. He has only accepted the stress and strain of loving as a means to win the love of others. The real goal of rag doll submission is the attainment of a power position. The experiencing of this power is taken to be the perfect state of freedom from stress and strain.
Provoked and seduced domination accepts disharmonious stress and strain as an inevitable characteristic of a so-called normal adjustment. The individual accepts an automatic role which can be called imperial dominance. The world he dominates is not selected by him and is not an expanding one. He attains a sense of apparent growth because his inner capacity for manipulative activity is expanding. He seeks to become increasingly effective in his ability to locate opportunities which already exist in the social system and flow into them in an assertive way. In interpersonal relationships, he becomes highly responsive to the desires of others to be used and exploited. These desires are the obvious ones which the other person is actually feeling in the moment, and have no connection with the desire to come under the influence of the kind of broadening mastery characteristic of the growth process. By focusing on immediate and established opportunities, the pathway to accomplishment is kept open. The techniques which imperial dominance uses are supportive of interpersonal harmony and equilibrium and are directed toward relieving disharmonious stress and strain in both the self and others. However manipulative the individual becomes, it takes place in a context where his dominant role is welcome. He must proceed by invitation, and having identified the inviting situation he remains bound to it. The commitments made have a condescending quality, endowing his manipulations with an aura of regal splendour. Acceptance by others of this superficially impressive role increases their sense of importance. Since imperial dominance has no integrity separate and apart from the immediate situation which has brought it into being, the dominant function fades out when adaptive accomplishments have relieved the stress and strain. At this point, the individual becomes submissive to the situation which has given him his chance to experience commitment and involvement. He idealizes the human context which has given him his moment of importance. The more he injects false identity into his adaptive accomplishments, the more he needs to idealize the world which has made his success possible. The experiencing of power which is channeled by imperial dominance is replaced by the need to be accepted and to belong. He identifies the world of his opportunities as a rich, rewarding, and wonderful place. The lack of integrity in his dominant attitude stands exposed. He has only accepted the stress and strain of responsibility in order to find the ability to love his world. The real goal of imperial dominance is the attainment of an unqualified security through the finding of a permissive human environment that seems so friendly, responsive, and richly rewarding that stress and strain do not exist.
When a false inner identity is carried by the adaptive life, there is no synchronized expansion between the individual and a world selected by him. The only way the individual uses selectivity is to establish a mutually permissive relation between himself and others. He eliminates those human forces which undertake to challenge and reject facade and posturing. The defensive system on which facade and posturing rest cannot tolerate the search for truth and right. Individuals who pursue genuine psychological growth are branded as aliens and outsiders. Their presence is regarded as intrusive, and their rejection becomes an emergency necessity.
The building of a facade uses intuitive self-enrichment. The individual expands his sensibility in relationship to a fixed world. He seeks to increase his perceptions, gathering information for the purpose of elaborating his awareness of the vulnerability of others. The more he understands the vulnerability of others, the more he guarantees a direct access to success in meeting their needs. The intuitive process thrives on sensibility to the surface hungers and desires of others. Perception piles on perception in a self-enriching orgy, increasing the individual's intensity without opening any channels to the workmanship of truth seeking. This intensity is conveyed to others in the form of charm. Charm becomes attractive to others because it creates an atmosphere of guaranteed resolution of disharmonious stress and strain. The charming individual has access to making others feel important by the use of pseudo-insights and services in an entirely permissive way. Once others have been captured by the influence of charm, they are expected to idealize the charming individual. This pattern of interaction can be called the Achilles heel mechanism, since it rests on discovering special areas of vulnerability which are then used to gain control over another. The idealization of the charming individual by others is shared by the individual himself. He idealizes his way of giving to others. He believes that his donations and contributions to the welfare of others have a special and unique quality. His own special way of doing things attains an individuality characterized by elegance. This sense of elegance has chauvinistic characteristics. Because he is doing it, his actions are a unique event in the human world. Such activity has miraculous implications. When charm fails to find the permissive world which is essential to its existence, a sense of inferiority floods the personality. The false pride of the charming individual must be reinforced by the idealization of others as a defense against the threat of being reduced to the status of damaged goods.
The adoption of posturing as a way of finding personal importance rests on inventive ingenuity. The individual accumulates techniques in a spontaneous way, but his field of operation is a fixed one. Isolated manipulative activities are pursued as ends in themselves in order to elaborate a sense of personal style. He comes to the human scene armed and ready to bring events and happenings into being. His self-confidence expands through his ability to give form to human situations, taking advantage of the need of others to overcome a sense of detachment and a lack of involvement in the here and now. The more skill he develops in overcoming detachment in other people, the more he guarantees a direct access to success in dispelling social stress and strain. The inventive process thrives on building self-confident spontaneity in relation to the need of others to be rescued from the sense that nothing is happening. Manipulation builds on manipulation in a frenzy of ingenuity, expanding the individual's self-confident style without opening any channels to the commitments inherent in the reaching for the right. This kind of spontaneity is conveyed to others in the form of ingratiation. Ingratiation becomes attractive to others because it offers a guarantee of resolution of disharmonious stress and strain. The ingratiating individual has access to making others feel important because they have become the audience to his performance. Without this mutual permissiveness the false nature of the mastery would stand exposed. Once others have committed themselves to the need for the social forms created by the ingratiating activity, they are expected to regard these forms as a permanent asset and necessity in their psychological world. At this point the posturing individual has reached success in dispelling disharmonious stress and strain. He shifts into a submissive relationship with his permissive world. He can now regard the forms he has constructed as a service to others. He idealizes others because in their presence his stylized manipulations can flow without obstruction. The real goal of the posturing mechanism is revealed to be the attainment of a perfect security. He becomes enchanted with his world, because he sees it as being infinitely responsive. This pattern of interaction can be called the enchanted garden mechanism. He finds himself in a world shaped and enriched by his dreams and he wants to be useful to it without limit. As long as he can see the world in the way that he wants to see it, his invincibility is secure. This fixed way of seeing the nature of things rests on the ability to make dogmatic and pontifical formulations. Nothing in the way of insight is allowed to enter which would carry him one inch beyond the border of his regal domain. This pattern could also be called the Emperor's clothes mechanism. The acceptance of the delusion that the naked Emperor was dressed hinged on the recognition of his absolute right of thought control in maintaining his dominant position. The presence of a child whose access to truth put him outside the permissive world shared by the Emperor and his subjects broke the spell. The enchanted garden in which the posturing individual dwells gives him access beyond question to the meaning of things. His own private logic expands until everything else is excluded. The easy rhetorical flow of ideas and the beauty of their form usurps the place of truth. He speaks only to captive audiences where the paramount need is to respond to the kind of form which makes things happen. When ingratiation fails to find the permissive world it needs, a sudden flood of guilt creates an emergency for the personality. It becomes apparent at this point that the artificially constructed warmth for others, which is so dependent on their need for his ingratiating qualities, is actually a defense against the threat of being reduced to the status of an outcast or pariah.
If the adaptive life is not to encroach on man's inner identity, the individual must have a firmly established sense of self which is above and beyond the daily ebb and flow of adaptive matters. The inner identity provides a parameter which remains separate from adaptive functioning. Although outside the adaptive area, it influences the meaning and value of adaptive experience. In this way the individual is always bigger than his survival needs. The maintaining of parameters is experienced as self-discipline and self-control. In childhood this function is carried by parental supervision in the form of prohibitions and commands. Independent adulthood requires that truth and right in human matters guide the inner life of the individual. Truth and right come from within the personality and are products of psychological growth. Although the individual can get help in finding truth and right from other independent personalities, he cannot accept the artificial version of truth and right which is imposed from outside in automatic and arbitrary ways. If he attempts to do so, he must accept victimization and provocation.
Men begin to turn away from the permissive world of facading and posturing when they realize that the pursuit of success in this fashion has a driven and pressured quality, and that no matter how many accomplishments they accumulate, the sense of personal importance gained in this way leaves no residue in their personalities. They are in the position of a general who wins many battles but so depletes his resources in the process that ultimate defeat becomes inevitable. Their life's accomplishments only have validity when they are listed like a career resume. Such lists are useful in adaptive situations, providing for diplomas and certificates to hang on walls, and for awards to be reported in newspapers. Their ultimate use is to provide content for obituaries. Just below the surface in such lives lies the threat of an emerging depression, leaving the individual with a sense of having been cheated by life, or having sold his heritage for a mess of potage.
When an individual undertakes to face life in an independent way, using his personality as his first and foremost resource, he must find a way to accept incompleteness in himself, holding tension or energy in a harmonious fashion. He must discover who he is in terms which have continuity and integrity, and this capacity hinges on his ability to turn away from the false importance carried by his list of accomplishments and toward that sense of self which is derived from being either submissive or dominant in his relationship to life itself. A submissive or dominant inner identity lays the basis for psychological growth. A person who can hold a submissive position with continuity, or one who can maintain a dominant function with integrity, does not have to avoid the otherwise crushing impact of the recognition of his own ignorance or lack of moral capacity. The beginning of an independence which has incompleteness in it lies in the ability of the individual to face his own lack of development. The submissive position can fuse recognition of the lack of wisdom with faith in the individual's access to the seeking of truth, and the dominant function can fuse recognition of weakness with hope for the finding of strength and constructive responsibility. In such a life the primacy of accomplishments gives way to self-development. The individual realizes that his expanding human capacities will bring him many accomplishments, provided that he does not allow his successes to rob him of his primary access to the growth process. He locates himself in life so that his inner self is not altered by either victory or defeat, or by praise or blame.
When continuity in submissiveness forms the inner identity, the individual is able to avoid victimization and intimidation. The goal of submission is the development of the love capacities. The individual finds the expanding world he wants when his need to grow interacts with and reinforces the needs of others to grow. This kind of love moves beyond the exercise of intuitive charm. If the individual is to live in an expanding human world, his capacity for love must expand also. The readiness to love must be able to face the problems generated by the lack of development in the self. Love undertakes to give at a level where the psychological growth struggles of others are involved. This process makes great demands on the individual's ability to understand the vicissitudes of growth as it is manifested in the lives of others. The kind of increasing intensity of feeling which characterizes intuitive charm is not enough. Love must go to work in the human scene. The individual must be able to hold tension in human relationships until the insights which he is developing reach others at the level where psychological growth is involved. This state of affairs requires that he devote the expanding part of his life to the search for human truth. As he addresses himself to life with more and more capacity to comprehend the truth about the needs and aspirations of others to grow, he finds his influence and importance growing. When love is offering a level of understanding which is inadequate to influence the growth capacities of others, there is no way to avoid a temporary defeat in the effort to reach another human being. This stage in the love process is a crucial one. At this point the individual may turn toward victimization and harmonious tension holding disappears. Another alternative is to refuse to accept the reality of defeat. He continues to direct his tension holding capacity toward a person or situation which is not responding to the human assets being offered. He sees the situation the way he has always seen it, rather than the way it is. The truth seeking process is crippled at this point. The individual's comprehension of reality becomes fixed because he cannot move outward into a broader world. Tension builds up internally because it has no way to do psychic work. The individual is submitting in a situation where there is nothing real to submit to. At this point anxiety develops. The individual is burning in the fires of his own intensity. This condition leads to disorientation, and helplessness ensues. Helplessness destroys rational conceptual capacity and puts the individual in a delusional world.
The healthy response to the recognition of love's defeats is the bearing of a sense of inferiority in a harmonious way. This response is made possible by faith in the growth process. The individual maintains his submission through withdrawal, utilizing the retreat mechanism. In the retreat his self-awareness and his conceptual capacities develop, set free from the need to live in an expanding world. When he returns to the self-disciplined world of the truth seeking process, his capacity for selectivity will have increased. The rewards of love will come when the workmanship of love has brought new capacities for communication into being within himself. There is no way to develop expanding love capacities without living in a world of expanding experience. To do this, the individual must be able to handle both his own sense of inferiority and his ability to select a world which welcomes truth.
When the maintaining of a dominant integrity forms the inner identity, the individual is able to avoid provocation and seduction. The goal of dominance is the development of the constructive power capacities. The individual finds the expanding world that he needs when his desire to grow interacts with and reinforces the needs of others to grow. This kind of power moves beyond the exercise of inventive ingratiation. If the individual is to live in an expanding human world, his capacity for embodying power must expand also. The readiness to embrace a power function forces the individual to confront the obstacles generated by the lack of development in himself. Power undertakes to give at a level where the psychological growth struggles of others are involved. This process makes great demands on the individual's ability to exercise control over others in those areas where the inner identity of others is involved. The kind of increasing manipulative spontaneity which characterizes inventive ingratiation is not enough. Power must make commitments in the human scene. The individual must be able to hold energy in a harmonious way until the mastery which he is developing reaches others at the level where psychological growth is taking place. This state of affairs requires that he commit the expanding part of his life to the establishment of the right in human interactions. As he addresses himself to life with an increasing capacity to demonstrate what is right in relationship to the needs and aspirations of others to grow, he finds his influence and importance growing. When personal power is offering a level of responsibility which is inadequate to influence the growth capacities of others, there is no way to avoid a temporary defeat in the effort to reach another human being. This stage in the development of power is a crucial one. At this point the individual may turn toward posturing, allowing himself to be captured by provocation, and under these conditions the harmonious holding of energy disappears. Another alternative is to refuse to accept the reality of defeat. He continues to direct his energy holding capacities toward a person or situation which rejects being influenced by the human assets being offered. He handles the relationship the way he has always handled the human environment, guided by a dogmatic comprehension of reality. The ability to reach for the right is crippled at this point. The individual's ability to manipulate reality becomes fixed because he cannot move outward into a deeper world. Energy builds up internally because there is no way for it to make psychic commitments. The individual is dominant in a situation where there is nothing real to dominate. At this point restlessness develops. Dissociated energy is on the loose within the personality, moving aimlessly about like the unmoored cargo of a ship in a storm. This condition leads to disorganization, and recklessness ensues. Recklessness destroys access to constructive techniques and puts the individual in a world bereft of reliability, leading him into psychopathic or criminal mechanisms.
The healthy response to the recognition of power's defeats is the bearing of a sense of guilt in a harmonious way. This response is made possible by the hopefulness which accompanies commitment to the growth process. The individual maintains his dominance through indifference, utilizing the enlistment mechanism. In the enlistment his self-confidence and his personal skills develop, set free from the need for commitment to an expanding world. When he returns to the self-controlled process of seeking the right in human affairs, his capacity for selectivity will have increased. He waits for the rewards of power to come when his commitments have brought new ability to demonstrate the right into being within himself. There is no way to develop expanding power capacities without living in a world of expanding depth of understanding. This can only happen when the individual is able to handle both his own sense of guilt and his ability to select a world which makes a place for what is right.
Inner identity brings a sense of importance to the human personality. Through inner identity the individual is able to keep part of himself above and beyond the events of daily living. When he sees that he is bigger than any particular thing that is happening to him, he approaches life with a sense of surplus. This surplus exists as a reserve of truth seeking capacity and the ability to reach for the right. These capacities are only committed to the life process when the need emerges. They have continuity and integrity. No matter how much of the reserve is used, there is always more there. The identity of the self rests on this ability to maintain a surplus. The individual is like a general who always maintains reserve troops behind the lines no matter how furious the battle.
The recognition of this inner reserve permits the submissive individual to become aware of his own depth. This recognition is accompanied by a perception of inner security and peace of mind, and this sense of self is not at stake in any particular adaptive undertaking or in any fun and pleasure experience. Recognition of inner reserve permits the dominant individual to become aware of his own vigor. In the experiencing of this mental state he becomes aware of inner freedom and an expectation of possessing his world, and this sense of self is not subject to compromise in any adaptive undertaking or in any fun and pleasure experience. As the continuity or integrity of this sense of self becomes firmly established in each personality, parameters are set up which keep the adaptive life and the fun and pleasure life in their proper places, controlling their tendency to engulf the inner identity.
As the individual begins to accept the necessity of an inner identity, he starts a lifetime journey into an expanding human world, guided only by an unalterable commitment to self-development. He will need a firmly established sense of identity if he is to resist the temptation to substitute the importance he can find in a permissive world for the larger kind of importance which comes from self-development. He cannot know whether his inner identity has the continuity or integrity he needs until he starts to use it in expanding human situations. Only failure at the level of maintaining continuity in submission or integrity in dominance can demonstrate to him that his parameters are not yet firmly enough established to perform the functions required of them. The thing he wants the most is to reach and influence other people, but if he allows this kind of goal to become the primary focus of his psychic life, he loses his ability to keep self-development in focus as his guiding principle. There is a stern and sometimes forbidding aspect of psychological growth because the individual must expect failures and equip himself to handle the distressing nature of failure without loss of the forward thrust of his self-development. There is no way to continue on a journey that has so much momentary disappointment and discouragement in it without the help of a great deal of self-discipline and self-control.
The individual cannot begin a psychological growth process with a perfectly established inner identity. No matter how well parameters may have functioned in familiar situations, the movement forward into a broadening or deepening world requires that inner identity be rediscovered and reaffirmed. It is not desirable to over develop self-discipline or self-control in the hope that they will always insure the continuity or integrity of parameters. Such a course invites exhaustion, and leads to a psychic state that can be identified as creativity poisoning. Submission or dominance cannot be guided by dogmatic prohibitions or arbitrary commands without reducing the personality to a state of victimization or provocation. The effort to increase the independence of the individual in this way can only end in the loss of independence. When a man faces forward in a life of self-development, ready and able to recognize and deal with failure, he is in a position to exercise self-discipline and self-control where they become necessary and to the degree that they are necessary. He does not want more and he cannot use less. Self-discipline and self-control provide the means for resisting the invasion of inner identity by the sense of importance coming from adaptive accomplishments. They make it possible to correct the distortions of truth and right which come from intuitive charm and inventive ingratiation. They have an additional function in establishing parameters in the otherwise non-judgmental area of fun and pleasure.
When a submissive individual is threatened with helplessness, he may be impelled to defend himself with recklessness. At this point there is no need to bear tension harmoniously. Whatever perceptions and tentative insights he has obtained by intuitive means are given the status of truth. Undisciplined thinking has a magical quality. The individual who is liberated from tension in this fashion believes what he wants to believe. His recognition of apparent truth rests on his need to relieve himself from anxiety. Because he now feels that his understanding is complete, he cuts himself off from the need to gather more information through entering an expanding world of experience. Truth seeking respects the form of a person or situation. The submissive individual alters his conceptual understanding of that form in order to increase his store of wisdom. If he feels free in a reckless fashion to alter his perception of form for his own self-indulgent purposes, there is no way for his pseudo-insights to reach the status of truth. Recklessness has a pressured or bombastic quality because the individual is protecting himself from the kind of internal disintegration which helplessness brings. If recklessness does not find a permissive environment, it readily becomes sadistic in quality. The individual mounts an attack on any aspect of his human world which does not fit his view of truth. That which has been discredited need not be taken seriously. Self-discipline resists the substitution of magical thinking for truth, and enables the individual to accept the fact that he does not understand. He is then able to use withdrawal and the retreat as the healthy corrective for the threat of helplessness.
When a dominant individual is threatened with recklessness, he may need to defend himself with helplessness. At this point there is no need to hold energy in a harmonious way. Whatever techniques and moments of apparent mastery he has found through his inventiveness are given the status of the kind of uncompromising form which characterizes the right. Patterns of action which have passed beyond self-control have a miraculous quality. The individual who is liberated from energy holding in this fashion can assume that whatever he is doing has an inevitable quality and the recognition of a choice of alternatives disappears. Since there is no choice, his behavior must be right, and the security of certitude puts his inner identity to sleep. His espousal of what he assumes to be right relieves him from restlessness. Because he now feels his capacity for responsibility can be taken for granted, he cuts himself off from the need to enter an expanding world of deepening awareness where experimentation becomes possible. The reaching for the right respects the essence or substance of the resource being exploited. The dominant individual alters his modalities of mastery in his dealing with the true nature of others in order to find a position of strength. If he feels free to give way to helplessness, his perception of substance or meaning passes out of his control and he is reduced to a status of vanity. Under these conditions there is no way for his pseudo-mastery to reach the status of the right. Helplessness has a driven quality, characterized by a pathetic sense of being the victim of fate. The individual cannot perceive alternatives because he is protecting himself from the kind of internal disintegration which recklessness brings. If helplessness does not find a permissive environment where others are activated to share the individual's set of beliefs, he readily surrenders to a masochistic orientation. He broods in a hateful manner over the injustice of his being rendered insecure. Self-control resists the substitution of miraculous methods for the right and enables the individual to accept the fact that he does not yet have the human skills which make responsible control possible. He is then able to use indifference and the enlistment as the healthy corrective for the threat of recklessness.
When inner identity tends to fail, its parameter function is in danger. It is then that self-discipline and self-control, acting as watch dogs over the focus of the psychic life, come most actively into play. Their task is negative in nature in that they identify psychic reactions which are out of place and therefore need to be rejected. Their function has an emergency quality. It is as if an external threat has to be met and overcome in the same way that a man making a journey might have to deal with bandits along the way or the consequences of disastrous weather conditions. A great deal of psychic effort may thus be consumed without any movement forward toward the goal. The individual has responded to an adaptive necessity, and his accomplishment consists in the fact that he has kept the road open. It is clear that if the accomplishments of self-discipline and self-control usurp the sense of importance which belongs to the journey itself, their real function has been defeated.
The rejecting functions of self-discipline and self-control depend on the ability to identify what is false. The individual cannot recognize the sense of importance which comes from the continuity or integrity of his inner identity if he is being captured by the intrusive influence of a misplaced sense of importance in adaptive matters. His task is to keep adaptive accomplishments in their place, clearly identifying them as unimportant as far as his inner identity is concerned. The same mechanism works in the expanding area of self-development as the individual seeks truth or reaches toward the right. The recklessness which distorts truth seeking produces error, not truth, and the individual must learn to recognize error before truth can become endowed with the importance which belongs to it. The helplessness which undermines the reaching for the right leads into the acceptance of what is wrong, not what is right, and the individual must learn to recognize moral inadequacy before the right can attract the sense of importance it deserves. All this psychic effort does not directly establish what is important, true, or right. Rather it resists the influence of the unimportant, the erroneous, and the morally weak. Such psychic tasks take a great deal out of the self and bring the individual close to exhaustion.
The constructive cure for exhaustion starts with the ability to recognize its presence. The individual learns to so regulate and pace his self-development that his mental health is protected at all times. Each individual must take responsibility for this process. The submissive individual can accept a withdrawal from an expanding world if he is independent enough to maintain the continuity of his submission to the growth process. The dominant individual can separate himself from an expanding world through indifference if he is independent enough to maintain the integrity of his dominance of the growth process. The individual learns to accept his lack of psychological development in a harmonious way. He enters a withdrawal or period of indifference which has no predetermined duration or boundaries. He is guided by his need to avoid human circumstances which are permissive in nature or which automatically expose him to helplessness or recklessness. Since he only comes out of his privacy or separateness when his ability to select his human world has increased, the return to an expanding world must not be allowed to become an arbitrary necessity at any given time or place. A harmonious withdrawal is recognized as a retreat and a harmonious indifference is carried in the personality as an enlistment. Within the protecting world of the retreat, the individual learns to develop his capacity for conceptual thought as an aspect of submission, immune from identity strain and from the corrupting influence of the facade or of recklessness. The individual is doing his homework, secure in the knowledge that when he is able to increase his recognition of high quality human situations that he will try again. Within the freely mobile world of the enlistment, the individual learns to develop his capacity for experimentation with the skills and techniques which dominance needs, set free from identity strain and the disabling influence of posturing or of helplessness. This state is a kind of rehearsal in which the individual is liberated from critical judgements, confident in the prospect that when he can select his human environment in a way more favorable to him that he will try again.
Psychological growth begins with the capacity to recognize the submissive or dominant nature of the inner self. As the individual reaches into an expanding world he is not trying to change who he is. Instead he is learning to reject those defenses which stand in the way of his self-development and to select a world which needs his submission or dominance. As the individual deepens his submissive state he probes the world to find the kind of integrity which can create the forms which permit the constructive work of submission to go forward. He must find something real to submit to. As the individual broadens his dominant capacities he explores the world to find the kind of continuity which can offer the substance which permits the constructive commitments of dominance to go forward. He must find something real to dominate.
It is always possible that the depth or vigor of a personality is greater than his world of the moment can use. If he is not to give way to his defenses, he must choose a strategy which gives him an optimum chance to move forward into the growth process. If the identity strain becomes too great, he has the option of the retreat or the enlistment. As his personality develops greater resources of wisdom and strength, an alternative way of relating to his world comes increasingly into being. He learns to preserve human attachments on a parental basis. The parental function is a teaching or leadership one. When form or substance is undeveloped in parts of the personality of another individual who is loved or possessed, faith or hope in the growth potential of the other person takes over, and the parental individual becomes strongly motivated to bear disharmonious adaptive stress and strain, provided it can be confined to a merely transitional phase in an otherwise rewarding relationship. The more successfully the parental individual can focus on his sense of the whole personality of the other through time, the more capable he becomes of confining his adaptive distress to the circumstances of the moment. Parentalism must not be allowed to deteriorate into permissiveness. It is important that formlessness and insubstantiality be identified for what they are so that the parental individual is not drawn into the smaller world of those he is seeking to influence. If he allows this to happen, his own continuity or integrity fails and the basis for the teaching or leadership function disappears.
The psychological rewards which come from the retreat and the enlistment lie in the individual's ability to find a withdrawn place where he feels secure, or a mobile style of behavior where he feels free, guided by indifference. These states are a training ground for self-development where the ability to think can be exercised, or the ability to act in skillful patterns can be tried out. In these states a man thinks for the sake of thinking, or acts for the sake of acting. These mechanisms have full access to fantasy and play, but they differ from the fantasy and play mechanisms of childhood in that the individual is now adult and can operate outside the parameters set up by parental prohibitions and commands. The test of the value of the retreat lies in the peace of mind it confers, because it is within this state that the independent thinking capacities can be exercised without the need for continuity in self-disciplined problem solving. The individual is released in this state from the need to communicate with others. There is a large measure of intuitive investment in this process and the individual can give free rein to his sensitivity and perceptiveness. At the same time he is using his mind conceptually and analytically, and this development of his ability to think is the key to the meaning of the retreat. When an individual withdraws either on an emergency basis or in a way which is still governed by the parameters of childhood, he lacks access to flexibility in the fantasy and thought processes and autistic thinking takes over. Under these conditions the self-developmental meaning of the retreat is lost. Submission to the growth process guides a constructive retreat and maintains its serious nature.
The test of the value of the enlistment lies in the sense of exuberant aliveness that it confers. Within this state the spontaneity of independent activity patterns can be exercised without the need for integrity in dealing with obstacles. The individual does not have to exercise self-control. Activity patterns are not being judged in terms of their effectiveness in reaching mastery. The individual is set free from the need to demonstrate his mastery to others. There is a large measure of investment of inventiveness in this process, and the individual is free to exercise his ingenuity and willfulness. He is using his action capacities in a way where skills and techniques are being tried out and developed for their own sake. His dominance of the growth process guides his enlistment and maintains its serious nature. Because the enlistment is preparing the individual to undertake human tasks which require commitment and self-control, it has the quality of a rehearsal or an exercise. When an individual turns to indifference either on an emergency basis or in a way which is still governed by the parameters of childhood, he lacks access to flexibility in patterns of play and manipulation and the enlistment moves in a fugue-like direction. Under these conditions the self-developmental value of the enlistment is lost.
When the retreat becomes the individual's whole world, the capacity to do psychological homework dies, and thinking becomes autistic in nature. His mental processes are taken over by sensitivity for its own sake, and his psychic life is characterized by a fixed kind of intuition and perceptiveness. The importance of this private world robs the personality of importance and undermines the individual's access to independence. He remains child-like in his personality structure. His adaptive capacities are poorly developed because disharmonious stress and strain has overwhelming implications for him. He can only function in a permissive world. Intuitive sensitivity makes it possible to develop certain talents to a high degree, and if he can use these capacities in a job market, his sense of self becomes strongly attached to his job function. If he cannot find the outlets which permissiveness and job success provide, the withdrawal can only increase. The endpoint of this process is a psychotic loss of the ability to recognize reality.
When the enlistment becomes the individual's whole world, the capacity for manipulative rehearsal disappears and fugue-like action patterns take over. His psychic life is characterized by a driven kind of inventiveness and ingenuity which have a rigid structure. The importance of this dissociated world robs the personality of importance and undermines the individual's access to independence. He remains fixed in childlike mechanisms. He cannot handle adaptive stress and strain as an isolated phenomenon. A permissive world becomes a necessity for him. If the talents which are developed out of his inventive spontaneity lead to social recognition and acceptance, especially in the area of job success, his sense of identity is entirely taken over by his capacity for talented performance. If this outlet fails his indifference can only increase. The endpoint of this process is to be found in criminality. At this point the human environment loses substance and meaning and people are dealt with as impersonal objects or things.
The ability to recognize the value of the retreat and the enlistment rests on the parameters established by inner identity. The goal of self-development must be real enough so that the individual does not feel lost or trapped in a world of privacy or separateness. Even though this world does not have either predetermined duration or boundaries, the sense of the incompleteness of the self remains, and the individual knows that he will be ready to try to reach into an expanding world when the right moment comes. The retreat or the enlistment fails when peace of mind or exuberance of spirit is undermined by the invasion of its territory by preestablished intimidation or seduction mechanisms. These mechanisms limit fantasy to autistic patterns and play to fugue-like outlets. This invasion must be resisted using the rejection mechanism, and if too much of the psychic capacity is being used by this psychological effort, the individual will be brought to a state of exhaustion. If he must constantly protect his capacity for constructive withdrawal and indifference, these psychic states cannot do their work. The individual will then lose interest in self-development and turn outward into the human scene with his psychological dial turned high. Facading and posturing return with renewed pressure, and if a sufficiently permissive environment does not exist, this measure must fail. If he reenters an expanding world with insufficient preparation, helplessness and recklessness ensue. The individual who seeks to grow is literally surrounded by opportunities for exhaustion. The origin and nature of these exhaustion states will not be clear to him because he has no place to stand which is stable enough to permit observation of these psychic mechanisms. Often only the secondary manifestations are recognized such as psychosomatic symptoms or a general slowing of the capacity to feel or act. This state is a civilian form of battle fatigue. At this point disharmonious stress and strain is everywhere in the personality, induced by an unseen and unidentified menace. The individual's whole relationship to life becomes an adaptive problem, and Pandora's box cannot be kept closed. His one refuge in this state is the fun and pleasure area. He enters it in a pressured and driven way, using the "I quit" mechanism. The healthy dimensions of fun and pleasure are disrupted because the necessary parameters do not exist. Fun and pleasure experiences become the carrier of a false sense of personal importance, opening the door to promiscuity and addiction. The ultimate distortions are to be found in degeneracy and violence.
In the fun and pleasure aspect of man's psychic life, the serious side of his nature is laid aside. He holds tension and energy exclusively for the purpose of increasing his pleasure and enjoyment. Such incompleteness is entirely temporary and is only accepted because he sees a clear track to gratification and fulfillment. It is always possible that his expectations will be disappointed, and in this case he will experience disharmonious stress and strain in an adaptive pattern. Fun and pleasure is non-judgmental in nature, and this applies not only to the self but to others who may be sharing the experience. Because self-discipline and self-control need not operate in this area, individuals gain access to their elemental biological natures. Because of this people emphasize their similarities and play down their differences, creating an atmosphere of warmth and cooperation. In this state the individual is willing to lay aside his independent sense of importance in favor of expressing a simple animal-like humanity. It is referred to as letting down one's hair, or letting it all hang out. In order to avoid unnecessary tension bearing, submissive individuals tend to go in an action direction as long as there is a clear access to accomplishment. In order to avoid unnecessary energy holding, dominant individuals tend to prefer ready access to feeling as long as gratification is assured. The personality opens up to voyeurism and exhibitionism. Elemental sensibility and mobility are endowed with a glow and an excitement which helps to seal off the undermining intrusion of rational criticism and refined discrimination.
The relief from self-discipline and self-control which is so necessary for simple fun and pleasure must not be allowed to undermine the inner identity. The inner identity is protected through the exclusion of the serious side of the self from the fun and pleasure world. The individual permits the transition into the vacation spirit because he feels he has earned it. He recognizes that the time has come to lay tension and energy holding aside. He disengages his need to develop his sense of personal importance. For this reason the events and experiences of the fun and pleasure world leave no residue in the personality. The only approximation of a residue lies in the recognition that he has had a good time in a healthy way and he knows he can get back to such experiences when he needs it. The personality has established an area of rest and recreation which stands guard over the possibility of being overwhelmed by exhaustion. The access to pleasure and enjoyment is not without limits. Any type of experience which would violate the inner identity is excluded from the vacation spirit. Since the area where self-discipline and self-control properly operate are not invaded, these psychic processes create parameters for the fun and pleasure world. It is when fun and pleasure use mechanisms which belong to the reaching into an expanding world that its healthy structure is threatened. Tension and energy holding return to the personality, but in this world they are alien forces. Continuity of submission leads directly to helplessness which brings anxiety and reckless defenses. Integrity of dominance leads directly to recklessness which brings restlessness and helpless defenses. A crisis situation develops in which pleasure and enjoyment are being lost. The personality then adopts emergency measures for their preservation. At this point helplessness is invaded by sexuality and recklessness by a release into celebration. Sex and celebration give direct access to biologically rooted pleasure and enjoyment of an intense and vivid kind. Through the entering of this area the individual overcomes his independent individuality and restores his capacity to relate to others on an elemental and universal biological basis. Sex and celebration are great levelers of the human scene, reducing all men to their biological essence. If the personality attempts to accept this process as a healthy and harmonious part of the fun and pleasure life, there is no way for parameters to be maintained. The invasion of fun and pleasure by false seriousness is not corrected by the emergency use of sex and celebration. The utilization of these biological surpluses covers up the problem so that it can neither be seen or dealt with. When the individual returns to a legitimately expanding world, his capacity to hold tension or energy harmoniously will be compromised. Channels have been opened within the personality for the dissipation of helplessness and recklessness by sexual and celebrative means. Sex and celebration have become sovereign remedies to be used for emergency purposes, and the search of growing individuals for the healthy place for their sexual and celebrative natures becomes too difficult. Intimidation and seduction become the guiding forces for the sexual and celebrative life. The workmanship of love and the constructive commitments of power cannot incorporate these surplus forces in their world as long as they remain on the loose in the human psyche. Although most people assume that they know the place of sex and celebration in their lives, this area has proven most resistant to the influence of truth and right.
If sex and celebration are not to disrupt man's tension and energy holding capacities, they cannot be allowed to distort the pursuit of simple fun and pleasure. Healthy sex and celebration need their own special place in man's psychological life, in the same sense that the retreat and the enlistment do. Leaving masturbation aside, the reaching of a sexual and celebrative union between lovers must go through stages of development and cannot be a simple overflow of intensity of feeling or vigor of mood. When sexual intimacy and celebrative collaboration find a healthy place they affirm and express an intimacy and cooperation which already exists in the relationship of the mated partners. It is a delusion to think that sex and celebration can themselves create that intimacy and cooperation. All that sex can do on its own is to create a physically sensual familiarity, or what the law calls carnal knowledge. All that celebration can do on its own is to create a party spirit by arrangement, in which the participants agree to believe in an otherwise unreal setting, often with the aid of drugs, in the spirit of a shared confidence game.
It is the serious side of man's psychological nature which builds a home for the sexual and celebrative capacities. The courtship has the function of testing and enlarging the submissive and dominant resources of a pair who are reaching toward mating. The expanding understanding and responsibility through which they build their attachment is guided by self-discipline and self-control. Their motives are rooted in the need of each for self-importance. The courtship is the prototype of what it means to live in an expanding world. The more genuine submission becomes the more the workmanship of love can go forward, guided by the increasing access to a deepening understanding of the whole nature of the partner. The more genuine dominance becomes the more the commitments of power can go forward, guided by the increasing access to a broadening responsibility toward the whole nature of the partner. In a mated relationship man reaches a full expression of his need to find truth and right. Lovers aspire toward a pure form of honesty and courage together within the setting of their relationship. They want no lies and no pretense. The mutual giving in the mated state results in the growth of the independent access of each to continuity and integrity, and at the same time provides for dependency in each. Since inner identity rests on incompleteness in the self, the submissive partner needs an ideal which embodies the right, and the dominant partner needs to exploit a human resource which embodies truth. Through this dependency on each other a union is created which has the quality of completeness. Because they are different in a polarized way, two individuals can become one without loss of their independent individuality.
Each partner holds as much tension or energy as is necessary as long as there are problems or obstacles in the relationship to be overcome. Courtship requires psychic effort, because each partner is learning to expand his capacity for idealization and exploitation, and this process needs the motivations of shame and guilt. Each must accept these difficult mental states as a harmonious process. In those periods when problems and obstacles fade out of focus because of the psychic accomplishments of the partners, the groundwork is laid for the emergence of the honeymoon-holiday spirit. This state does not come as a simple fun and pleasure experience. It is built on a highly developed submission and dominance between the partners. It resembles in some ways the psychology of the retreat and the enlistment. The retreat and the enlistment rest on the ability to submit to or to dominate the growth process itself, and have the characteristic of making thinking its own end or acting its own end, set free from the need to influence the lives of others at that time. The honeymoon-holiday spirit rests on the ability to submit for submission's sake or dominate for domination's sake, set free from the need to find an expanding world together at that time. The submissive individual allows his tension holding capacity to rise as an end in itself, guided by sexual feeling and the intense biological pleasure this brings. The dominant individual allows his energy holding capacity to rise as an end in itself, guided by celebrative excitement and the vivid biological enjoyment this brings. At some point the dominant individual allows himself to be drawn into the sexual world of his partner, the tension level in each rises precipitously, and they are ready for the sex act. The dominant individual can only accept this tension when orgasm is his goal. With orgasm he is released from the potentially feminizing effect of tension holding. The submissive individual serves the need of his partner for orgasm. There is an alternating relationship between sex and celebration. Neither can exist in a healthy state without the other. If the dominant individual is not released into a celebrative state as part of the honeymoon-holiday phase, he cannot find the rising energy which comes from domination for domination's sake. Sexuality then becomes an entrapping experience.
The celebrative experience alternates with the sexual one. The rising energy level of the dominant individual reaches a state of euphoric excitement, drawing the submissive individual into the power mood. This kind of energy accumulation in a submissive personality can only remain harmonious and vividly enjoyable if it has a submissive goal. The rising energy accumulation in the submissive personality turns at this point toward service of the dominant partner. A power surrender occurs, triggering a celebrative release in the loved object. The equivalent of the dominant partner's orgasm in the sexual sphere is to be found in the moment of complete and absolute voluntary renunciation of independent power by the submissive partner. It is a welcoming and an embracing of altruistic enslavement. Whereas orgasm brings the sex act to an end, the power surrender initiates the celebrative experience in the dominant personality. Celebration permits a domain to be created. The domain is a psychologically defined space in which the will of the dominant partner is supreme. His relationship to this space is one of unquestioning and total control. He fills all the space of the domain with an unchallengeable integrity. The presence of the submissive partner is an essential element in this experience. The dominant individual roams throughout his domain with a sense of total freedom, orbiting around the submissive partner. Dominance has become its own end, and the experiencing of it depends only on the relationship with his partner. The celebrative state has no well defined endpoint. It fades gradually due to a fatigue factor and the groundwork is thus laid for the reemergence of sexuality. The alternating relationship of sex and celebration continues as long as the honeymoon-holiday spirit lasts.
There are important differences between the enlistment and the celebrative release. The enlistment has a relationship to growth, being self-developmental in nature. It builds self-confidence because it avoids commitments and the identity strains that go with it. It utilizes a quiet and simple exuberance and is guided by curiosity into the rehearsal mechanism. It derives its serious structure from the dominance of the growth process. It is not channeled by self-control. The celebrative release has no growth goals since in the moment of experiencing it the individual's dominance is complete. Celebration is carried by euphoria rather than a simple self-confidence. It is a triumphant state in which the inner identity exists in a pure form, above and beyond the events of the moment. This sense of untrammeled control of the environment is anchored in the mated union itself. If commitments threaten to undermine the celebrative state, they are immediately dismissed, rejected, or ignored. As long as the dominant partner is in the field of influence brought into being by the power surrender of the submissive partner, his self-control is guaranteed. Under these conditions he does not have to deal with the threat of posturing or recklessness.
There is some kind of residue in the personality from the sexual and celebrative area of human experience. It is not the kind of residue that comes from psychological growth where the individual gains an increasing access to truth and right, nor is it the same as the residue which comes from the enlistment where the individual reinforces his involvement in the growth process. The finding of a healthy and harmonious place for sex and celebration enables the individual to hold higher levels of tension and energy in dealing with an expanding human world. Successful experiences with sex and celebration encourage their exclusion from the area of those creative reachings where they would constitute an undermining and alien presence. There is a reinforcement of identity in the pure submission and dominance of sex and celebration which carries over into the life of psychological growth.
|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\Fun.htp (142 lines) 2005-01-03 08:23 Dean Hannotte]