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A Psychological Analysis 
The Nature of Civilization:
by Paul Rosenfels
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The real question in thinking about the nature of civilization pertains to the issue of improving the quality of man's interpersonal relationships. Will an expansion of the scientific base of human understanding make any difference in the way people live? Time and time again society has been offered new insights into how to live better lives. These offerings come from philosophers, religious teachers, and political leaders. Within the last century their numbers have been joined by professional and academic minds, purporting to apply scientific tradition to psychological matters. Within the limited world these would-be truth seekers operate, they offer society relief from the struggle with the unknown. If one consents to live in a small enough psychological world, their hold on human insights develops a momentarily convincing clarity. They ask others to become true believers and thus receive the rewards of knowing with certitude what is true instead of being required to bear the stress of searching for what is true. As this process goes forward, schools of dogma develop which prove very useful to many people in reducing inner stress. Because their beliefs make them feel better for the time being, it is easy for them to believe that they are in the presence of objective truth.
It is impossible to use the scientific method when the thinker is guided by what he wants to believe instead of making a full submission to the truth-seeking process. Civilized man has found it a necessary aspect of being normal to accept the standards of thinking and behaving imposed by the social system in which he lives. If he goes outside this system his sense of being a well-adjusted person vanishes, and he becomes a maverick with attributes which he and others regard as strange, offbeat, and queer. The social system he requires himself to accept is infiltrated with magical and miraculous mechanisms, which, when viewed from the outside, are based on ignorance and immorality. To be well adjusted in such a human situation requires that both ignorance and immorality pass unnoticed and unrecorded. In order that these negative forces remain unidentified, the place of truth seeking is usurped by dogma and moral integrity must give way to authoritarianism. The primacy of truth and right becomes lost when the individual has a prior obligation to conventional normalcy and the rewards it brings. It is apparent that this is a unique problem for psychological science. The scientist who deals with rocks, weather, chemicals, or stars has no such tyrannical pressure coming from his relationship with the world of the unknown.
How does it happen that a successful social adjustment requires of the individual that he defer to a monolithic society in establishing what is true and right in human relationships? What is the aspect of social stability which makes it appear to thrive on ignorant dogma and the use of arbitrary violence? The real sources of our social ills, including injustice, prejudice, international war, and the like, is to be found within each individual himself. There is something about the limitations man sets on his psychological growth which causes him to lose his way in understanding and controlling human nature.
The expansion of the self in awareness and ability is the only reliable source of inner identity and the sense of personal importance which goes with it. When an individual continues to grow throughout a lifetime he stays psychologically young and has access to an increasing sense of being valuable to others. The more a man has to give to others in a psychological way the more he is equipped to believe in love and responsible power in human relationships. Unfortunately self-development has a way of going astray. This happens because the search for truth and right becomes a very heavy burden to the individual. Living in such a way as to bring awareness of ignorance and immorality continually into focus is a certain prescription for psychic exhaustion. The search for truth and right must remain a harmonious process. The price of remaining rational and objective is to feel at home in the world. Making advances in conquering the unknown and chaotic in human affairs needs to be a palatable job, in which the process itself is rewarding.
If a man is to maintain inner security and tranquillity of spirit as he faces the unknown in the human psychological scene, he must love his subject matter in the same way that creative scientific minds submit to the nature of reality in their pursuit of non-human truth. Arbitrary willfulness has no place in dealing with scientific investigations. Truth is not what you want it to be, but what you discover that it is. The introduction of serious experimentation is the key to modern scientific development. The objective entity which is the subject matter speaks to the investigator and tells him what its nature is. There could be no science without the testing of hypotheses against reality. The ability to set up experiments must contain the willingness to be proven wrong, otherwise the experiment is just a sham. In an experiment certain forces are set in motion under conditions favorable to observation and analysis. In interpersonal relationships such forces are constantly in motion. Finding an observation post where conceptual analysis can go forward is the task of the individual who would build a science of human nature.
A well established inner identity is the key to psychological truth seeking. The individual must find inner security and peace of mind in living the life of a truth seeker in human affairs. He cannot guarantee himself that he will find truth in any given situation simply because he has endured stress in the effort to find it. If his frustrations are not to mount in an exhausting fashion, the process itself must be rewarding. If he can see truth as a valuable commodity which enlarges his ability to give to other people, then the truth he has already stored in his personal reservoir is in no way lost because a new effort to expand understanding has gone astray. A truth seeker in the human arena comprehends the immensity of the task, and this is where his realization that he lives in an ignorant and immoral world comes significantly to his aid. If he can see himself as a pioneer in a vague and darkened land he will not turn his failures against himself. Success comes to him only when it does, and not as means of maintaining his mental health. The key to maintaining his inner identity is continuity in the truth-seeking process. This continuity enables him to remain flexible in locating himself in the human scene so that his human experiments can teach him what he wants to know. Continuity is contained within the capacity for the kind of love which seeks to improve the lives of other people.
Love can work in a number of ways, but there are two aspects of love which are the most significant. The word love is used to describe feelings of warmth, tenderness, and fondness. Such love tranquilizes the self because of its all-or-nothing non-judgmental quality. It is a direct avenue to a sense of cohesion with the world around the self. It takes the surface of events and experiences it at face value. It is an emotion accessible to all, bringing contentment in its wake. It rejects problems and reduces hatred to a minimum. It is the kind of love cultivated by religion and has a great potential for resting the personality from stress. People use the emotion in a wide variety of situations. A person may say he loves olives, baby ducks, beautiful scenery, the human race, or particular people.
The other kind of love is the kind that bears stress and goes to work in the human scene. It is a psychological state which stores resources in the form of insights within the self for the sake of improving the lot of other people. In this area, the more one has to give, the more one is able to love. The single most valuable human asset is the ability to attain adult psychological growth, and the accumulation of human knowledge and skill puts the individual in a position to help other people live better lives. Building this accumulation can be called the workmanship of love. It emerges from a background of tenderness and warmth but it is far more complex and far-reaching than mere affection. It is hospitable to problems and it is at home with hate, because it is impossible to see another person as a whole without hating those elements in him which obstruct his further development. The ability to accept stress in this way has a tough quality, and this includes the willingness to raise the stress levels of others.
The kind of love that feeds on truth must be highly selective in nature in a way that simple friendliness and warmth never are. The build-up of insight into human nature can only be offered to people who want it, that is to say, people who are open to the growth process. Truth has a chilling effect on people whose inner identity is attached to dogmatic error, and the repeated offering of truth to others in situations where truth is neither needed or wanted quickly brings exhausting strain to the personality. An exhausted individual cannot take part in the truth seeking process.
There is an impelling attraction to being the vehicle of truth and right in human affairs. It confers of the individual a sense of personal importance which goes beyond any other aspect of psychological experience. There are influences at work in the civilized world which create ambition within the personality to be someone special and unique in a valuable way to others, and this phenomenon lies at the heart of inner identity. This is a uniquely human and civilized state of mind. Children are reared to believe in an important personal destiny for themselves, and when the demands of adult social adjustment blunt these aspirations, a life style depression settles down on the personality which no amount of accomplishments in other ways can assuage.
The sense of personal importance has to do with the aspiration to contribute to the general welfare of mankind. This means nothing less than to leave the world better off than it was before the individual lived. This is as close as the individual can come to overcoming the finality of death, knowing that something of himself will live on after him. In thus expanding man's storehouse of truth and right, he is employing psychological mechanisms which parallel in significance ways the reproductive drives of the lower animals.
When lower animals come to biological maturity and mate, they pass into psychological territory which goes beyond individual survival patterns on the one hand, and the pursuit of simple pleasures and enjoyments on the other. When reproduction takes over, the mated pair have undertaken to insure the survival of the species itself. When species survival becomes more important than the fate of the individual, the evolutionary efficiency of the species is guaranteed. The whole process of courtship and mating is directed toward building up psychological surpluses in each partner which will contribute to the nurture and protection of the young, and these forces are powerfully motivated on an instinctual basis.
Nature lets nothing stand in the way of the inborn drive to species survival. There is an apparent paradox for civilized human beings, because as the individual organism goes down a path that looks like self-effacement, there is a mobilization of life energies which confers inner identity and an increased sense of personal importance. The higher the level of efficiency in this mobilization, the greater is its impact on species survival. Nature cannot afford to place a full measure of importance on the life of the individual because more impelling levels of functioning are at stake, but this mechanism changes in the case of the individual human being who becomes the carrier of social progress.
Human beings have the same instinctual equipment as other animals, and if they attempt to ignore this fact in the process of civilizing themselves, they pay a heavy tax in the compromise of their mental health. This is not a simple problem, because there are aspects of nature's reproductive package which can become a serious threat to man's need to build a harmonious and efficient social structure. Distortions in interpersonal relationships, stemming from primitive domain formation and the corruption and violence that go with it, become a new kind of threat to species survival.
When animals court and mate, the family unit becomes the center of their world. Parental capacity comes sharply into focus and is held as a psychological reserve ready to be expended in the care of the young. Warmth and cohesion with other members of the species is only allowed of it does not interfere with the primacy of the nurture of the offspring. Cooperative pride which previously allowed individuals to live in harmony with their fellow species members takes a back seat to the primacy of domain formation in which the male establishes his possession of the female and the territory he deems defensible for the welfare of the family group. This mechanism is subject of course to many variations, but the main outlines are clear. The male has become a competitive animal who will fight to the death if necessary to maintain his dominance, and the female surrenders her right to freedom of mobility in favor of a marked intensification of warmth and security. When such patterns are transferred literally into the civilized human scene they are not harmonious with a stable social environment. In the lower animals, the mated female knows only one truth, that she finds her whole being in her attachment to the domain, and the mated male knows only one form of right, strength, and integrity, that he defend his domain against all threats. If he does have to submit to superior physical force, his spirit is broken.
A major area of conflict within the personalities of civilized human beings is to be found in the disharmony which develops between their biological heritage and their social needs. Their reproductive psychological mechanisms push them toward domain formation in which the mated unit takes precedence over everything else, while at the same time their desire to find personal importance through the pursuit of human truth and social morality draws them into an entirely different world. This struggle creates free-floating stresses which undermine mental health. Civilized mankind is really not at home with being civilized. There is no doubt that men wish to build a society guided by love and social responsibility. At the same time it is very clear that too often they cannot find full acceptance of their own natures, feeling that their real selves are at war with their ideals. Man is still searching for the psychological tools to harmonize his nature with his noble social purposes, and thus make his world a worthy place for men to live in, consistent with the mental health of all.
The heart of the biologically dictated mated relationship lies in the union that is formed between submission and dominance. Each individual organism finds a way to expand itself beyond the limits of its previously known identity, which formerly rested merely on the survival of the individual and on the simple pleasures and enjoyments of the life process. Each of the partners expands in such a way as to accept incompleteness, and then banishes the incompleteness through union with each other. Obviously then the incompleteness must be different in each and polar in nature. Dominance and submission are mixed in any organism. For submission to become the source of inner identity in one partner, dominance must be given second place in that individual, and vice versa. These pure psychological states are used for mating and maintaining the surpluses in warmth and pride which are channeled into the rearing of the young. The mixing of submissive and dominant capacities remains accessible to each individual for survival needs and for other purposes which lie outside the mated drive. Nature is not casual concerning the survival of the species. The drives involved are extremely strong, and unlike strong drives associated with individual survival, like fear and rage, they are endowed with harmonious stress bearing capacities and, at times, intense pleasure and vigorous enjoyment.
The transition from individual to species survival brings any organism into a higher level of functioning. The aspirations of civilized human beings toward truth and morality are functions of this higher level. The thing that has made the development of scientific thinking possible is the devotion to truth for its own sake. This capacity rests on the surrender of willfulness in thinking. It is not the mental agility of the thinker and the attractiveness of his rhetorical flow which matters, but rather a genuine submission to the data of the reality of his subject matter. He loves his subject matter and accepts dictation from it without loss of self-esteem. There is a similar psychological situation in the pursuit of integrity and morality. These virtues come into being when individuals are able to surrender access to easy contentment with its automatic acceptance of benevolent feelings, and set forth to develop new modalities of mastery. When a man is committed to morality, he does not ask who is right, but what is right. Only in this context can personal vanity be banished. This process brings constructive power to the individual, cleansed of posturing and violence. He allows the real nature of the thing manipulated to speak to him. He develops skills and methods which are experimental and inventive, taking their form from the nature of the thing being manipulated.
Man with his higher cortical capacities has brought something new into existence in the evolutionary process. He is something more than a superior version of his ape-like ancestors. Civilized man has learned to specialize his personality and through this process has developed inner identity and personal life style. This specialization arises from family influences and is not dictated by the biological division between male and female but does take advantage of man's biological capacity to utilize the mated mechanism. The instinctive capacity for submission and dominance remain, but they become channeled by the influences at work in the rearing process so that submission is no longer bound to biological femininity, nor is dominance inevitable to biological masculinity.
This process of character specialization has made it possible for men to devote their lives on a priority basis to the higher psychological functions of promoting the progress of mankind through the development of human truth and right. These entities are pursued for their own sake, being recognized as assets to be stored as precious possessions, potentially available to all, ready to be used when their meaning and value become apparent in overcoming human difficulties. When a man accepts submission to the truth seeking process, or the kind of moral dominance which builds modalities of mastery, he is employing mated mechanisms toward the human scene itself.
The search for truth and right are the highest psychological functions of man's civilized personality. When he is able to accept the importance of these undertakings on a priority basis, his own sense of personal importance enters that expanded area which runs parallel to the drive toward species survival in the lower animals. Once men have experienced this kind of personal importance, it becomes a force they will protect and defend at all costs. If they have once known such aspirations but then abandoned them in deference to the monolithic influences of society, men are condemned to adjusting to a life style depression. Much of the troubles of civilization come from the pressured attempts of individuals to coverup and deny the existence of this depression.
Submission and dominance, when they are voluntarily chosen by individuals because they are the tools of a higher order of self-importance, become a lifetime commitment. There is no way to search for truth and right without being at home in the process. It is the character of the individual which sets him on the path which makes truth his master, or the right his garden of opportunity. Without character specialization there is no way to enter this land of higher psychological function.
What character specialization does is provide an open ended search for self-development which has the potential for lasting an entire lifetime. As the individual accumulates more insights into the human scene, and more skills in controlling human interactions, the nature and direction of his personal attachments changes. Man is the only animal whose growth continues beyond biological maturity on a major scale. The primary source of human truth lies in self-knowledge, and of human morality in self-control. Knowing and handling oneself becomes the essential tool in studying and experimenting in the human scene. This process requires great inner independence in which the individual is guided by his personal responsibility for his own mental health. When an individual has set his feet firmly on a path of continuing psychological growth, he does not assume that monolithic social forces will guarantee him a good life. He accepts the necessity of adjusting to the society in which he finds himself, but the search for contentment, happiness, and the fulfillment of his great need to leave his mark upon the world are his own undertakings.
The tenacity and drive behind nature's domain formation owes its impelling quality to its instinctive roots. Natural selection has protected and developed these instincts because of their effect on species survival. In the case of civilized man, however, successful interpersonal relationships and stable social organization take over the promotion of species survival, and these processes have no such elemental instinctual origins. If the personal domain were to function in the human scene according to the basic biological model, the primary quality of the individual's relationship to mankind as a whole would be destroyed. Once the domain mechanism has come into operation, any living thing which lies outside that psychologically defined area loses any claim to empathy or cooperation. The price of warmth and pride reactions within the domain is the absolute exclusion of those reactions toward anything which lies outside it. The power responses to the outsider are not the kind of constructive ones which build skills in controlling an expanding world, but rather are menacing, threatening, angry, and violent ones. The empathetic or love responses are not guided by the kind of understanding and sensitivity which increases knowledge of a bigger world, but turn readily into aversion, disgust, hatred, and avoidance.
It would be easy to assume, as many have, that man's instinctive capacity for primitive domain formation creates an inevitable war with his higher social nature. This erroneous assumption underlies Freud's conception of a primitive Id being held in check through repression by a prohibitionistic superego. Such simplistic assumptions ignore the fact that instinctive drives, no matter how powerful they may be, can be altered in the direction in which they are expressed. If man's instinctual resources are blunted by prohibition, the personality loses full access to the zest of living. When the process of civilization provides men with the opportunity to find new pathways of expression of their animal natures, a constructive fusion between apparently conflictful elements becomes possible. The most important alteration in the direction of instinctual drives is to be found in the patterns of submission and dominance, which are no longer tied to gender. In the civilized world, under the influence of patterns of rearing, some males have submissive characters, some dominant, and the same is true of females. The direction of the instinct changes, but the importance of the instinct itself, which has the content of reaching a higher level of functioning through either submission or dominance, does not. As the psychological forces establishing and maintaining the family move out of the architecture of the primitive domain, the need to find an outlet for the same instinctual capacities remains, guided by man's search for personal importance.
The surpluses in warmth and pride which are generated by the domain mechanism are directed by civilized man toward the life process itself. As men accumulate more human truth they are better able to love others, because truth is a tool which enables the individual to go beyond simple warmth into the workmanship of love, in which he is able to contribute to the mental health of others. There is no gift which love has to give which can compare in impact and importance to the guiding of others to a psychological place where their inner potentials can be better realized. The same is true of constructive power which goes beyond simple pride to make those higher commitments to the welfare of others that only human skill can make real. Growth in the adult stage is the direct expression of the love of others in this higher sense, or in the case of power, the acceptance of the human scene as an opportunity to develop mastery. When a man's identity is anchored in the growth process, tomorrow always promises something more than yesterday, and it can be truly said that the individual is living in an expanding world. Such a world has qualities of freshness and aliveness, and is the only guarantee of eternal youth.
The shifting of the domain mechanism from the mated union to the relationship with life itself and the consequent priority of the growth process raises havoc with certain forms of stability which were formerly guided by biological mechanisms. The nurture and protection of the young no longer occurs automatically but becomes a social goal reinforced by social beliefs and customs. The place of sexuality, and its accompanying surplus expression of power, which will be called celebration, is no longer located firmly within the mated mechanism, but is set loose to operate essentially without guidance, accessible to anyone as a source of pleasure and enjoyment. To correct for the instability which this situation produces, society erects a system of prohibitions and permissive patterns intended to prevent the overflow of sex and celebration into psychological areas where they have an upsetting effect. Men recognize that the atmosphere of shame surrounding sexuality is not natural and healthy, but at the same time the evidence of their senses shows them that mindless permissiveness in this area undermines much that is best in human nature. It is equally true that guilt about man's celebrative capacities undermines independence and strength, but the reckless overflow of these tendencies is not compatible with constructive human purposes.
Sexuality and celebration are one aspect of man's capacity for pleasure and enjoyment. The drives involved are biologically structured to have an impelling quality. They are a special case within their class of pleasure and enjoyment, and no other experience resembles them. Whereas man can remain rational in giving up certain inaccessible pleasures, secure in the knowledge that he will find others, sexuality, once set in motion, has the potential for taking over the whole personality.
The triggering mechanism for sexuality is the ability to receive a sudden and unstructured flood of warmth within the self without any preset limits. Celebration is released by an equally precipitous and unstructured flood of pride. When sex and celebration are interacting with each other, each is reinforced and amplified. Because of the all-or-none quality of these experiences, the surface architecture of the real world goes out of focus in favor of the full expression of the sexual and celebrative drives. When submissive and dominant partners are paired, the sexual accessibility of the submissive partner arouses sexuality in the other. Similarly, the celebrative display of the dominant partner releases celebration in the other. Together they go into an encapsulated world which is pervasively romantic and adventuresome in tone. The dominant one is endowed with unqualified beauty, the submissive one with unquestioned goodness. It is a safe and healthy place for the helplessness which sex induces, and for the recklessness which characterizes celebration.
It is manifestly impossible for a mated pair to dwell permanently in an encapsulated state in which the real world is out of focus. Its very intensity and vigor give it the psychic force it possesses but also dictates that it be a transitional phase. Nature regulates this mechanism through the seasonal sexual accessibility of the female. There are similar but less well defined phases in the male. Sex and celebration give way to warmth and pride surpluses which are available in a very real and focused way in the care of the young.
Civilized man has a full measure of sexual and celebrative capacities, but they are no longer tied to primitive mated mechanisms. This means that he must make choices in finding a place for these forces within his personality, and these choices must be guided by his need to find inner harmony. His personality has well defined compartments, and he cannot find mental health unless each part of himself finds adequate expression. Man has a capacity to fall in love, utilizing high levels of his romantic and adventuresome spirit, and this gives him access to his sexual and celebrative nature. He also has gregarious capacities in which warmth and pride interactions with others are used for simple pleasure and enjoyment, and in this compartment sexual and celebrative overflow becomes a disruptive force. He also has those higher psychological functions which establish his inner identity and set his feet on a path of lifetime growth, reaching for truth and moral integrity. In this psychic area he utilizes mechanisms which have a mated structure, running parallel to that phase of animal mating which is non-sexual and non-celebrative. Out of man's love affair with the life process itself comes the kind of love which labors to find wisdom in the psychic interests of others, and the kind of constructive power, guided by integrity and honor, which develops the resources it exploits. It is love divested of self-serving, and power which does not know vanity.
It is in the nature of the romantic and adventuresome spirit that it is vulnerable to flooding rushes of tension and energy. These rushes are rooted in sex and celebration, and such experiences are sought for their own sake. When they are kept in a place which does not overwhelm the rest of the personality they confer a sense of intense self-validation and freedom. Such experiences increase the sense of independence of the individual, and enable him to feel at home with the purely emotional and animal part of himself. Although man needs this familiarity with his sexual and celebrative nature, these impelling forces cannot be allowed to obscure his ability to keep the surface of the world around him in focus. His life of simple pleasure and enjoyment can only flourish when he can accept stimulation by ordinary things. Therefore sex and celebration belong in their own pocket, part of his life of pleasure and enjoyment, but different from the embracing of the surface architecture of the world which is guided by warmth and pride.
When warmth and pride are in full operation, the problems and obstacles of daily life temporarily disappear from the horizon, and it is as if the individual were dwelling in a perfect world. The romantic spirit finds beauty where none existed before, and the spirit of adventure confers goodness on formerly indifferent circumstances and events. The individual rearranges the world, not by actually altering it, but rather through the way he sees it and through the stance he takes in it. It is the place for the magical and the miraculous in the human psyche. Its mechanisms take their origin in the fantasy and play of childhood. When this area of human experience is well developed, the individual is able to feel vibrantly alive in the moment, and there is a strong uncritical acceptance of his own nature. The romantic spirit is carried by man's ability to idealize people and things, and it has a hero worshiping structure. The adventuresome spirit rests on the ability to convert neutral circumstances into exploitable entities, carried by the individual's sense that the world belongs to him.
Since sex and celebration in civilized human beings are continuing psychic resources, not automatically subject to phasic confinement by biological means, it becomes the psychological task of human beings to locate them in a place compatible with mental health. Individuals have in general three alternatives. They can independently use these surpluses in a way chosen by themselves, accepting the primitive emotionality and excitement of these states as a means of enlivening the personality, but avoiding the kind of overflow which damages their ability to deal with external reality. The second alternative is the espousal of primitive mated mechanisms, in which case they can only deal with a partial and compromised reality, since the failure to relate constructively to human forces outside the domain brings them in conflict with man's higher human purposes. The third alternative, and the one most characteristic of the civilized world, is to abandon self-awareness and self-control in favor of institutionalized patterns of prohibition and permission. Society's pressures in this area are exerted with great dogma and authority, operating through the channel of what is declared to be normal and natural. Those who deviate are subject to internal pressures of shame and guilt, often of extreme and disabling degree.
Society's regulation of man's images of what is normal sexual and celebrative experience is intended to maintain the stability of family life and the superstructure of social beliefs and institutions in general. It is a force limiting the psychological independence of human beings. Any challenge issued by the individual in this area is received by the monolithic social structure as revolutionary in implications. Society has developed a complex network of patterns of interaction which are taken to be self-evident and inevitable. Instead of nature's mechanism of interaction between submission and dominance, which in the primitive state leads to mated relationships with a simple and spontaneous overflow of sexual and celebrative experience, these surpluses are arbitrarily assigned to the institution of marriage. When they are expressed outside of family life, a parallel pattern of regulation continues, based on socially dictated roles which are assigned on a gender basis. What has happened as a result of man's dependence on these social influences is that the sexual and celebrative capacities have been largely incorporated into man's adaptive life. He is required to adjust to what society tells him is normal. If his inner self steers him in another direction, he has a problem to cope with which has adaptive or survival implications. He has a double task, to block the deviant path, and espouse the one anointed as correct.
Much of society's effort to channel sex and celebration is only partially effective, but it is given an imposing superstructure which banishes deviant tendencies to dark closets of secrecy, or utilizes a general agreement not to notice what is going on. Institutionalized patterns are idealized as conferring a kind of inevitability and perfection they do not have, and deviations are acceptable provided the individual feels he is doing wrong and does not bring his behavior out in the open.
Society relies heavily on established roles for men and women in its attempt to channel the surpluses. In order to accomplish this, inner identity is thrust aside in favor of elaborate patterns of what masculine or feminine nature is supposed to be. Using primitive models as a guide, all men are endowed with assertive natures and all women with yielding ones. The dominant and submissive interaction is converted into a socially reinforced game which is played out for the erotic and euphoric energy it can liberate. Women are regarded as soft, gentle, superficial, helpless, and clinging, and men are endowed with toughness, seriousness of posture, recklessness, and chivalry toward women. Women become victims of the male need to demonstrate sexual potency. The sex act becomes a demonstration of a pseudo-masculine identity, instead of an overflow of an already established inner identity. Male chauvinism and its macho patterns become part of man's adaptive life and the failure of these patterns is taken to be a crushing blow to masculinity. In a similar vein, women find pseudo-identity in helplessness, demonstrating their femininity in the competence of their sexual service to men, as well as in the level of ability they reach in the laundry, the kitchen, and servile activities in general. If their loyalty to the system breaks down through awareness of victimization, the consequences are taken to be a loss of feminine status.
Men are further burdened by the social roles they play in the area of career. Upward mobility in the job market with its increasing accumulation of prestige is taken to be evidence of masculine adequacy, and this includes being a superior provider for wife and children. It is in the nature of adaptive life that success in meeting adaptive challenges should be its own end. The willing multiplication of adaptive stresses as a means of conferring psychological importance puts individuals in a rat race that has no end. No matter how many adaptive successes the individual accumulates, they leave no residue in the personality. The adaptations of yesterday cannot meet the challenges of today. Above and beyond man's willingness to bear disharmonious stress in meeting practical problems must be some other area or compartment of the self where he can bear stress harmoniously. He chooses such activities for the sake of his self-expression and self-validation, and this compartment is characterized by the growth of his human capacities. The only sure source of inner identity is to be found in the psychological development of human truth and right, because in this area he finds the ability to make a significant and lasting impact on the mental health and welfare of others.
Adaptive adequacy hinges on keeping practical realities in focus, and this requires an acceptance of conditions that actually exist, whereas inner identity can only flourish when the individual is free to involve himself selectively with that part of the human environment which is favorable to the deepening and broadening of his human capacities. Adaptation is competitive in quality, creating a situation where the individual is out to get all he can for himself. This is a perfectly legitimate need in itself, and only becomes a source of psychic exhaustion when success or failure becomes the carrier of the individual's sense of his personal value. Contentment and happiness are states of mind which any individual has the right to experience, above and beyond the success of any particular practical undertaking. Excessive psychic investment in the pseudo-identity which comes from competitive career activities undermines the individual's access to his own elemental human qualities. When adaptive life expands its influence in an insatiable and machine-like way, individuals cannot recognize the existence of an inner core of either submission or dominance in their personalities. Whether one submits or dominates in the practical sphere depends entirely on what works. Effective adaptation dictates these responses, not the inner need for self-development and self-expression. Adaptive social behavior resembles the pecking order in certain animal societies where the individual is submissive to some and dominant to others. This pattern of interaction has nothing to do with the civilized human capacity to maintain a fixed inner identity throughout a lifetime.
The ability to build a storehouse of human truth and moral integrity is the sole force capable of conferring the sense of personal importance which civilized personalities seek. This is the psychologically creative compartment of the self which must be well developed if other compartments are to be kept in their place. In the absence of these identity giving experiences, false meaning and value tend to flood over everything else. Not only does career identity usurp the place which belongs to man's elemental human capacities, but the same kind of driven and pressured distortion invades his life of pleasure and enjoyment. The more stress human beings accept, and this includes the harmonious stresses accompanying the desire to use love and personal responsibility in serious ways to reshape the human world, the more psychological rest they require if they are to avoid psychic exhaustion. A very substantial part of man's tenancy on earth is devoted to building up his capacity to find those states of mental peace, calm, and spontaneous naturalness which banish cares and problems for the time being. Within this compartment he feels elemental, simple, and ordinary. He wants access to the same sources of pleasure and enjoyment which are potentially available to all men. Within the scope of such experiences he can like and enjoy life without further proof to anyone of his right to exist. He finds in this compartment the sources of contentment and happiness. If he is living under the weight of a driven need to make his life of pleasure and enjoyment unique and a falsely meaningful aspect of identity, he falls victim to embellishments which undermine simplicity and naturalness. Instead of finding warmth and pride in ordinary things out of his own resources, he surrenders his independence in this area to socially reinforced patterns of what it is to have a good time. These patterns come to him as a monolithic influence, set up by a society which is attempting to cover up the chronic latent exhaustion of its members.
The spreading out of man's inner core of identity into his adaptive life and into his life of psychic rest accounts for much of the fatigue and boredom which exists in the civilized world. It is hard for a person to deal with adaptive reality objectively when he is under pressure to prove himself all the time. The healthy model for adaptive success requires that the individual be just a person, using submission or dominance according to the needs of the situation. He allows external circumstances to dictate the pattern of his responses because his only goal in that compartment of himself is to be effective. He cannot develop his adaptive insights and skills freely if his inner needs are obliterating his acquaintance with reality. There is really only one way to escape from a burning building, or to drive a nail, or to cross the street without being run over, and that is the way that works. Reality creates problems and obstacles for the individual and this impact brings disharmonious stress and strain. His job is to bear that stress without allowing it to balloon out of proportion, accepting the reward which comes from the sense of accomplishment as sufficient compensation for his efforts.
Psychic rest can only perform its function when it is free of problems and obstacles. Through his independent ability to endow mundane and ordinary events with pleasure and enjoyment, the individual creates for himself a temporary world which has the quality of completeness. Again, the model requires that the individual be just a person. If his style of enjoyment becomes a matter of personal superiority and prestige, simple tranquility cannot be found.
In the world of pleasure and enjoyment, man is free to deal with reality in his own way, choosing those feelings and interactions which feed his warmth and pride. Because he accepts simplicity and the commonplace, he can convert otherwise neutral experiences into happenings which stimulate his affectionate nature and his readiness to accept self-confident excitement. Through his own inner resources he injects novelty into ordinary things. His ability to find simple beauty and goodness in this way enables him to throw off the burdens of the stresses of living and share with others his basic humanity. These faculties give automatic access to contentment and happiness and give the personality a place of rest from which worry and loneliness can be banished. Such capacities are well developed in psychologically healthy children, but often become remote or lost in adults. Whereas the child can count on the parental function to protect him from exhausting stresses, the independent adult must find sufficient self-awareness and self-control to set up such functions for himself. The world of pleasure and enjoyment is in some sense like a child's fantasy and play world. It is colored and energized by romantic and adventuresome states, but this is romance protected from sexuality and adventure separated from celebrative overflow. The success of such states requires that the world be kept clearly in focus, but this focus is on the surface architecture of people and things. If interactions go deeper or farther than this, tranquility is sacrificed.
Civilized man lacks enough access to self-knowledge and self-control to establish the independence he needs to protect and promote his own mental health. The individual, and the individual alone, is ultimately responsible for perceiving and dealing with those distortions of his human capacities which undermine the quality of his participation in the life process. Too often he cannot heed the evidence of his senses when fatigue, boredom, and ultimate exhaustion have encroached in the areas that at first seemed to promise so much in the way of personal rewards. The reason for this lies in the seduction and intimidation of the individual by monolithic social forces whose sole intent is to maintain social stability at all costs. Although the individual is led to believe that the social superstructure is established for his benefit, this is only true for those individuals who have surrendered their ability to perceive ignorance and immorality in the human scene. Once the individual's search for a better life leads him to question cherished beliefs and established authority, society's view of what is true and right operates like a mindless automaton, careless of the welfare of the individual. A so-called normal adjustment requires of the individual that he take for granted the latent exhaustion of living, coping with it by building up high levels of emotional zest in areas of self-importance dictated by society. The rewards that come from false emphasis on identity through career, and on the embellishments favored by society in the finding of pleasure and enjoyment, put the individual on an endless track of driven experience. He cannot stop running because his life style depression would then surface in a numbing way. This kind of coping puts man in a race to the grave, intent on reaching the end without falling apart. Instead of pride in his humanity and in the fact that he will leave the world a better place than he found it, he must take pride in being a survivor in a world of mysterious hostile forces.
The pleasure and enjoyment that attract the most false embellishments are to be found in the areas of biologically rooted intensity and vigor. Warmth and pride bring to men the highest levels of emotional zest. A distinction must be made between the kind of warmth which confers inner contentment and security and the kind of love which requires of the individual that he store tools of understanding through his own growth process, ready to aid selected persons in improving the quality of their lives. Love which is prepared to do work in the world is motivated by warmth but is a larger and deeper experience because of its intimate involvement with truth. Truth, once found, gains an objective existence, and the ability to offer it requires a toughness which is alien to simple warmth. The workmanship of love has a probing and confronting nature in which the effort to reach another person takes precedence over immediate comfort and tranquility. Love of this kind bears high levels of stress, albeit harmoniously.
There is also a distinction to be made between the kind of pride which generates inner happiness and light hearted freedom and the kind of personal power which leads to the accumulation of techniques of mastery through the growth process of the individual. Personal power operates through unqualified commitment to the welfare of other people. It is motivated by pride but it is a larger and broader experience because of its enduring involvement with moral integrity. Once morality is found it has an objective existence and the ability to offer it requires the kind of sensitivity to the materials being manipulated which is alien to simple pride. Like the workmanship of love, the commitments of power reach high levels of harmonious stress within the personality, and this psychic state takes precedence over simple spontaneity and willfulness. It is these stress filled states which are the true sources of self-validation and inner identity.
Simple warmth and pride belong to the compartment of the self which rejects stress and its accompanying sense of incompleteness. This compartment is the resting phase of the personality and is characterized by pleasure and enjoyment. No matter what stresses exist in other compartments of the personality, a well established resting phase guarantees the individual a psychological place where he can feel thoroughly at home in the world. Love and personal power, on the other hand, accept stress and take their being in incompleteness. Devotion to truth implies a willingness to face the unknown. The more an individual understands, the better able he becomes to ask questions which cannot be answered without further development of his psychic resources. A wise person is aware of his own ignorance, but he also knows that he understands more than he did before, and further that he is better placed than those around him who are still imbedded in ignorance. In a similar fashion, adherence to the search for the right implies the ability to stand up to the chaotic in human affairs. The more responsibility the individual takes, the more enterprising he becomes in recognizing obstacles, and this recognition operates as a challenge to his growth capacities. A person of moral integrity is aware of his own weaknesses, but he knows he is stronger than he was before and that he is different from those around him whose sense of morality is less developed than his.
The failure of civilized men to recognize clear differences between warmth and the creative workmanship of love, and between pride and the creative commitments of power, has the dual effect of devaluing human truth and right and imposing a weight of pseudo-importance on warmth and pride which is destructive of their simple and tranquil nature. Once truth and right have faded out of the picture, men proceed as if they did not exist. The zestful pleasure of intense experiences of warmth is taken to be the entire architecture of love, and high levels of the enjoyment of pride are granted the status of personal power. Because of the semantic confusion about what love and power are, these concepts are much talked about but little analyzed as if they were obvious entities which can safely be taken for granted. In this psychologically simplistic world, intense levels of fondness, affection, and friendliness mean love, and vigorous levels of possessiveness, protectiveness, and caring mean personal power. The essentially surface nature of warmth and pride reactions is not comprehensible under such conditions. People automatically know what love is by what they feel, and what responsibility is by the mood engendered when they experience a caring attitude. Such a psychological system dooms men to live in a world much too small to deal with human ignorance and immorality.
The sharing of surface warmth and pride interactions brings contentment and happiness to the human scene. It is an atmosphere much needed by children because they are unable to bear high levels of harmonious stress. When adults mistake fondness for the serious work of love, and caring for the serious process of taking responsibility, they are reduced to the psychological position of children in that they are unprepared to give to others when stressful elements enter human relationships. Love which has mostly a content of simple affection cannot handle the stress introduced by hate, nor can responsibility which is mostly possessiveness handle the stress brought into being by anger. Yet if love is to be taken seriously in its function of offering guidance to the development of another person, it must be able to hate those rigidities and inadequacies in another which are a barrier to his development. This is not hatred for the whole person, but only for those defensive elements in his nature which undermine the quality of life for him and block the communication of truth. Similarly, a responsible person needs to be able to experience anger toward weaknesses in another without losing the sense of constructive commitment to his welfare. The person who is giving in this situation cannot allow his moral integrity to be undermined.
Since mankind will never agree to give up the word love where simple affection is meant, or the sense of responsibility where simple caring is being experienced, it will be useful to speak of two dimensional love in contrast to three dimensional love, and similarly for power. Two dimensionality is surface, simple, restful, free of stress, and complete in itself, and should not confer inner identity on the personality. Three dimensionality takes its being in harmonious stress, is in its nature incomplete, and utilizes the civilized human capacity for storing truth and right. It is the only ultimate source of man's need for self-importance.
Valuable as two dimensional experience is for the personality, it cannot be sent to do the work that requires a higher form of self-preparation. The main source of ignorance and immorality in the civilized world is to be found in the excessive romantic and adventuresome haze which surrounds the serious aspects of human relationships. When men have allowed complacency and innocent naivete to shape their image of the world for them, the emergence of challenging problems and obstacles has a chilling effect on the personality. Instead of a prior preparation for building the assets that will be required for meeting such challenges, the individual finds himself facing mysterious forces that appear only unknown and chaotic. It is too late, once trouble has come, to begin to prepare for dealing with it. Staring into a fog gives no insights into anything, and the more the individual is exposed to such experiences, the nearer to exhaustion the personality finds itself. In the presence of exhaustion, the personality no longer deals with reality but is forced to find defenses against invasive anxiety and unsettling depersonalization. At this point abject helplessness and mindless recklessness take over. These states are not subject to rational evaluation because they have an emergency function. A man does not have to prove his right to keep his personality from disintegrating. The problem that he is solving is not one out in the world, but the internal one generated by rising nameless fear and unanchored rage. No matter how many corrupt and violent processes are released by the presence of psychic exhaustion, the individual need never accept personal accountability, because he can always plead self-defense. If there is no choice, truth and right cannot function. Because there is so much that is helpless and reckless in the civilized human scene, mankind is forced to adapt to the presence of these phenomena, regarding them as inevitable aspects of human nature.
If men are to keep truth and right in focus, and properly prepare themselves for three dimensional love and power relationships, the compartment of their personalities which confers contentment and happiness needs to be very fully developed. In quantitative terms, man needs far more tranquility and rest in his life than he does the serious confronting of major problems and obstacles. Each person must learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of approaching exhaustion in himself and cut off the stress bearing process for the time being. He needs to avoid the helpless and reckless reactions which exhaustion brings. In their presence there can be no storage of an ever increasing supply of human insights and skills. Even though pleasure and enjoyment occupy a far bigger space in the personality than serious psychological effort, it is quite possible for them to exist side by side without encroachment if the existence of compartments within the personality is understood. When each compartment is functioning in a healthy fashion, pleasure and enjoyment justify themselves by the fullness of the immediate and concrete satisfaction that they bring. They are their own end, and once the gratifications have been reached they are let go of, and leave no significant residue behind. The serious building of wisdom and strength, on the other hand, becomes imbedded in the inner identity of the self and can be counted on to be accessible to the personality whenever need for these assets emerges. The search for truth and right flows from yesterday into tomorrow. The life of contentment and happiness is just for today.
When pleasure and enjoyment are happening they fill every cranny of the personality and are the means for feeling at peace with life and at home with the self. When the personality turns toward its stress bearing functions and accepts incompleteness, a different kind of relationship with the world must come into focus if the stress is to remain harmonious. It is impossible to grow if the individual remains firmly fixed in the same old human attachments. An increasing capacity for wisdom and strength can only be sought harmoniously if there are those who need and want these human assets. New access to truth and right can only be offered to others who are themselves open to the growth process, and this means finding individuals who are genuinely dissatisfied with some aspects of their human condition. Growth implies a kind of death of part of the self, and sends the individual into new territory which at first is at least touched by the unfamiliar and the strange. This dislocating effect can only be handled by persons who can tolerate independence, and although people who grow side by side can help each other, this help is directed toward increasing the independence of each. They cannot accept permanent dependence of the kind that monolithic social forces require.
In the search for a widening and deepening human world, a well developed life of psychic rest plays a necessary part. Since it is impossible to get serious with others out of a one sided need for this kind of self-expression, the individual needs much human contact if he is to select those individuals who are receptive to the best in himself. Well developed warmth and pride interactions socialize the personality. They are a kind of net which draws an undifferentiated collection of other personalities into surface focus, and it is from this aggregate that the work of selection can go forward.
The social system sets arbitrary limits on the independent warmth and pride interactions of civilized human beings. Society attempts to dictate the patterns in which people express surface affection and cooperation. When the two dimensional nature of these interactions is misunderstood, they are endowed with an importance they do not have. Emotional openness toward other people becomes dangerous when it challenges society's image of the various socially dictated roles which people play. What is fitting and proper in the expression of warmth and pride is infiltrated with a maze of customs and conventions. The regulation of these experiences becomes part of the image of what it is to be a man or a woman, what it is to be a father or mother, and what it is to live up to a career identity, among many other interactions. The net effect is to deprive the individual of independent access to contentment and happiness. He accepts instruction from a social system as to the means of finding pleasure and enjoyment. He finds himself adapting to external forces in an area of experience which should have come to him out of his own inner resources. The disharmonious stress thus created is alien to simplicity and naturalness, and must be covered by artificial embellishments. Zest levels are raised high by the pressured and driven pursuit of sensuality and euphoria. Such experiences become a defense against depression but fail to bring the tranquility and rest that the personality needs. The false search for self-importance in this area becomes a will-o-the-wisp receding always into the distance, and the only harvest the individual reaps is to feel cheated by the experiences which seemed to promise the most.
When men undertake to find truth and right on their own, they must find a corresponding independence in their warmth and pride reactions. Without this access to a self-generated source of contentment and happiness, psychic exhaustion becomes inevitable. The more complexity the individual accepts in bearing harmonious stress and the incompleteness which goes with it, the more elemental simplicity he needs in his life of pleasure and enjoyment. As men pursue warmth and pride in an independent way, they find themselves in opposition to automatic social roles in general. The aspect of this situation which raises the most havoc in growing personalities is the rejection of sexual roles in particular. The most tyrannical of society's intrusions on the inner psychological life of man is to be found in the area of sexual and celebrative feeling and behavior. When a man seeks sexuality out of psychological processes which come naturally and honestly from his inner self, free from social programming, he finds himself challenging a social superstructure which purports to protect and defend social stability itself, and especially the stability of family life. Such a situation chills the capacity of men to contribute to social progress, making social stability a higher value than working toward bringing a better human world into existence for all men. Sexual and celebrative difficulties are the Achilles heel of society. They are a hypersensitive area which, once disturbed, appears to threaten the downfall of those meanings and values which men have been taught to hold most dear. As the history of civilization unfolds, it becomes apparent to any objective observer that mankind is paying a heavy price in human suffering for this artificial version of stability.
The control which society seeks to exercise over sex and celebration stems from its need to legislate the nature of sexual attraction and behavior. Man is aware of the natural attraction between the biologically mature male and female in the animal world. He has assigned this attractiveness to essentially surface characteristics in the civilized world. This process starts with anatomical differences. Imprints are set up, starting early in life, creating a strong awareness of gender contrast in the anatomy of the genitalia, in muscle definition, in breast structure, and other such areas. This is all reinforced by social role definition in which boys and girls are supposed to feel and act in contrasting ways. The male is assigned an assertive role, and the female a yielding one, but this contrast is established in surface ways such as the style of dress, choice of hobbies and careers, manner of using language, and ultimately contrasting adaptive functions in the building of family life. The sexual potency of the male is promoted and protected by regarding women as sex objects whose sexual accessibility is guaranteed by social custom. This whole superstructure on which sexual attraction is built fails to reach the real mechanism of mated attraction which exists in nature. That attraction rests on the pairing of submission and dominance under conditions where the submission of one increases the dominance of the other, and vice versa, so that an impelling incompleteness comes into being which can only be overcome by the union of the two and the formation of a domain. This kind of inner identity does not rest on surface characteristics.
In the civilized world inner identity is no longer tied to gender. Family influences establish character or inner identity in the growing child. They operate in an impelling way over the long period of biological immaturity in which the child is influenced and trained by the character of the parents. He learns to react to the human world in a way that reinforces his sense of being an important person. He arrives at biological maturity with a well established predilection toward submission or dominance in those human areas where these forces have meaning and value. Since the interaction between submission and dominance is the genuine triggering mechanism for sexuality, it becomes obvious that the existence of submissive men and dominant women creates a tremendous obstacle in the way of society's simplistic effort to enforce a mated mechanism based on surface characteristics. Society's answer to the problems thus created is to ignore the existence of inner identity. Man's failure to recognize and work with his real inner nature has undermined the building of a science of human nature. In his avid search to be recognized as normal he has thrown away the psychological tools for maintaining and promoting his mental health.
Those individuals who throw off society's dictates concerning normality to pursue a more independent course of self-development must find their own way in the area of sexual and celebrative experience, leaving the guidance provided by society's prohibitions and permissiveness behind. There is no way to grow without finding an expanding psychological world to live in, and an essential element in opening the self to a deeper and broader world is the ability to handle warmth and pride interactions. Intense warmth carries the potential of sexualization, and a lively pride is subject to celebrative overflow. Without the benefit of external social controls, the individual must set his own limits on theses excesses, not by prohibition, but by making a genuine choice between real alternatives, and this choice is guided by his need to protect and develop his mental health. Without limits, warmth and pride cannot perform their function of keeping the surface of the world in focus in a contented and happy way, free of unwanted stress and incompleteness. Sexual excitement is different from warmth, and celebrative euphoria is different from pride. These elemental biological forces wipe out both awareness of what others are really like and the ability to cooperate with them. Sexuality sees only those imprints which are sexually exciting. Celebration ignores reality in a mindless fashion.
Because of society's channeling of the imprints which arouse sexuality and celebration, the individual is protected from unwanted sexual and celebrative reactions in his two dimensional world of friendliness and helpfulness. The trouble with this situation is that his pleasure and enjoyment compartment cannot expand outside society's prescribed limits. When the embellishments imposed by society have brought him to fatigue and boredom, he lacks independent inner resources to discover novel sources of pleasure and enjoyment for himself. A growing individual must be able to challenge the false sense of personal importance which society engenders in his life of psychic rest. Entirely on his own and out of himself, without reference to the standards of others, he must be able to find beauty and goodness in simple things. An individual cannot be independent in the pursuit of truth and right and dependent in the way he seeks tranquility of spirit without risking a quick and disabling exhaustion. When the individual is open to the zestful discovery of the rewards which come out of finding pleasure and enjoyment in ordinary things, he has the necessary tools for maintaining an independent course in life. The ability to like and enjoy others on a surface basis uses magical and miraculous mechanisms. The individual accepts ordinariness in himself because he is able to appreciate the simple humanity of others. Because he is not in that compartment of himself which deals with serious human issues, he can manufacture out of this own resources a recognition of the attractiveness of others. This is an intuitive and emotional process and does not have to be justified rationally. Because it is magical in its completeness it confers inner contentment and a secure sense of belonging in the world. There is a similar process in the miraculous quality of pride. The individual approaches the commonplace with an anticipation of stimulating interaction. This anticipation itself brings a happy mood, and because it excludes stress it produces a sense of the goodness of the world. In this place of security and freedom, the individual can be sure that he likes and enjoys himself.
Independent access to sexual and celebrative experience is intimately involved in the independence of the personality in general, yet such independence imposes great burdens on the individual's self-awareness and self-control. If he is to leave society's artificial rigidities behind, he must move forward into an area which is clouded with obscurities. Pre-packaged systems of sexual and celebrative reactions have the effect of removing these phenomena from the legitimate area of human study and experimentation, so that when an individual rejects society's rules as unrealistically dogmatic and arbitrary, he becomes vulnerable to an overwhelming exposure to the unknown and chaotic in himself. This situation invites instant exhaustion, bringing helpless and reckless responses which completely undermine the pursuit of self-knowledge and self-control.
If sexual and celebrative overflow are not to be allowed to damage the fuller development of warmth and pride reactions, the individual must be at home with his sexual and celebrative self, thus permitting him to set his own limits on their place in his personality. The misunderstandings in this field are mainly concentrated in society's monolithic insistence that any sexual phenomena which do not conform to nature's primitive patterns of mating are somehow abnormal and unhealthy. This model, which society defends as a way of reinforcing the stability of family life, asks of men that they ignore the real differences between primitive and civilized mechanisms.
There are important differences between primitive and civilized sexual and celebrative mechanisms. The establishment of masturbation as an ongoing aspect of life rests on the reality that civilized individuals have sexual capacity long before they are ready to engage in psychologically polarized courtship. In a similar way, celebrative capacities get expressed outside the mated mechanism in the form of self-induced celebration, or cockiness. Both sexuality and celebration are stimulated by civilized man's submission or dominance toward the life process itself, and therefore commitment to the growth process provides a never ending arousal mechanism for his biologically rooted sexual and celebrative capacities. Under primitive conditions, nature turns sex and celebration on and off through biological mechanisms. Under civilized conditions, where monolithic social forces are fully operating, an attempt is made through prohibitions and permissiveness to control these phenomena, but where the individual approaches the growth process independently, he must learn to channel these forces according to the effect they have on the promotion and protection of his mental health. There is no necessary continuity in the sexual life of mated persons because of the non-sexual phases induced by the shared growth process.
Since submission and dominance are no longer tied to gender in the civilized world, a situation exists where men of opposite polarity can experience strong courtship mechanisms in welcoming a deepening and broadening relationship. There is a potential for the same patterns in the relationship between women. This kind of mated pattern brings the possibility of sexual and celebrative reactions close to the surface. When monolithic social controls are weakened by an increasing independence in the personality, the individual must deal with the latent homosexuality which is an inherent part of the civilized condition. There is also a possibility of shared masturbatory and self-induced celebrative phenomena. These are not based on a serious courtship pattern, but rather are an overflow of immature sexual and celebrative capacity in childhood or early adolescence. Under these conditions no psychic groundwork is laid for the triggering of sexual and celebrative mechanisms, but instead it is a case of sex speaking to sex, and similarly for celebration. Such sexuality has no harmonious place in the personality and is characteristically followed by shame. Shared automatic celebrative overflows arouse guilt and account for much of adolescent delinquency.
Society's quarrel with homosexuality has its most important roots in the fear of the increasing independence of the individual in the development of an inner identity. As truth and right come more into focus, the whole picture of social ignorance and immorality is threatened with exposure. This is taken to be a destructive influence on social stability in general and family life in particular. However, society avoids confrontation with this issue by refusing to see homosexuality as a serious human resource. Instead it identifies homosexuality with the mutual masturbatory patterns of childhood, and thus dismisses it as unhealthy and immature.
It becomes apparent that if individuals of the same gender are to invest a growing capacity for love and responsibility in their relationship, they must be equally free to expand their capacity for the sharing of simple warmth and pride together. Without the psychic rest which comes from ordinary and natural affection and cooperation in simple things, serious relationships with others set goals which require more human insight and skill than exists in the relationship. Exhaustion comes quickly when individuals undertake to play God or assume a messianic role. The attempt to improve the quality of another person's life requires a full acceptance of the harmonious stress and sense of incompleteness which characterize the three dimensional compartment of the personality. There is no value in attempting to influence others to live a better life unless the growth process itself is understood. Many individuals aspire to a sense of personal importance through giving to others, using their deepest love and strongest personal power capacities, only to find themselves up against overwhelming problems and obstacles. Unless they can turn away in order to promote their own personal growth, the entire undertaking deteriorates into disharmony and undermines mental health. To protect themselves from this kind of disaster, men allow society to dictate the structure of those human relationships which are declared to be serious, such as interactions within the family, career relationships, and various friendships with the proper kind of people. Such attachments offer a safe level of warmth and pride interactions. The individual does not have to deal with an expanding sense of affection and cooperation with others which brings the threat of a sexual and celebrative overflow.
If an individual is to be open to the beauty and goodness of others in a simple way without arbitrary restrictions, there is no way to avoid dealing with sexual feeling and celebrative attitudes. The healthy way this can be handled lies in the acceptance of the difference between sexual feeling which feeds warmth, and actual sexual excitement which takes over the personality and overwhelms the capacity to hold the other individual in focus. Similarly, there is a marked difference between a euphoria which feeds pride and a celebrative release which is independent of any need to deal with the real nature of another. Sexual excitement and celebrative release take place in a psychological fog in which these powerful biological forces are their own end. Nature is not casual about these drives, for once set in motion, they are intended to reach their goal in the service of the survival of the species.
In order to avoid the spreading out of sexual and celebrative drives, with their destructive effect on warmth and pride capacities, the independent individual needs to be at home with his sexual and celebrative nature. If he is required to regard his biological nature as an alien and troubling aspect of himself, he will attempt to set up prohibitions, and this pattern causes him to avoid situations where warmth and pride expand. Once he is aware of his sexuality as a fully accepted aspect of himself, all artificial barriers against masturbation disappear. There is a similar mechanism at work in celebration, where self-induced celebration becomes a healthy outlet for this aspect of his biological self. When men are at peace with themselves in this way, they have the tools to build a reliable inner world, guaranteeing access to psychic rest.
Sex and celebration are unique phenomena, and although they belong in the pleasure and enjoyment compartment, they operate differently from simple warmth and pride. They do not keep the surface of the world in focus, and they welcome the kind of stress which builds high levels of tension and energy. This can happen because a biological channel exists for the pleasurable discharge of tension in the sex act, and for the enjoyable employment of heightened energy in taking possession of the individual's world. It is a case where incompleteness is accepted in order to expand the emotional involvement in the experience, but the channel for reaching completeness lies open in an unobstructed way.
Sexual and celebrative capacity are the key to building adult psychological independence. They are forces which permit a high emotional investment in the self. In order to function in this way, they must remain in their own pocket, feeding the individual's ability to like himself and enjoy himself, above and beyond any warmth and pride interactions which are occurring with others. Individuals who are entirely dependent on the warmth of others to feel warmth for themselves, or on the pride shared with others to feel pride in themselves, cannot accept the ordinariness and simplicity which characterize the pleasure and enjoyment compartment. Tranquility and spontaneity cannot be found without confidence in the individual's ability to find beauty and goodness in the world out of the independent inner resources of the self. Without an ongoing and reliable source of pleasure and enjoyment in just being oneself, the individual must strive to prove that he is liked and enjoyed by others, and this pressure drives him into artificial embellishments, undermining the stress free completeness which is required for psychological rest.
The access to a full sensuality in masturbation through the ability to find flexible and enriched fantasy, and the access to a sense of vigor and aliveness in self-induced celebration through the ability to find an unrestricted ownership of oneself and one's world, are necessary elements for the expansion of independent warmth and pride. An independent access to sexuality acts like a catalyst for warmth, although it is not the same thing. Successful sexuality deepens the individual's ability to feel out of his own resources. It warms the self, and as the individual turns from sexuality toward focused relationships with others, he is better prepared for high levels of zest in his feeling life. Similarly, the cockiness which comes from successful self-induced celebration provides a charge of energy, increasing the self-confidence level when the individual turns from the celebrative state toward focused interactions with others. Sex and celebration intimately interact together, and one feeds the other. When either is underdeveloped the other suffers distortion, and their private and separate nature is undermined by overflow.
Society attempts to impose external regulation on the individual's sexual and celebrative life out of its fear that these biological forces will follow undisciplined pathways, ending in corrupt and addicted patterns. As long as these forces are regulated in this way, the individual will continue to lack the self-knowledge and self-control which are necessary for the making of healthy independent choices between genuine alternatives. Society's need to discourage masturbatory and self-induced celebrative patterns really weakens the personality, but this can only be seen if the expansion of the warmth and pride life is taken seriously. The real truth is exactly opposite to the influence of society in these matters. The more successful masturbatory sensuality and self-induced celebrative vigor are, the more access the individual has to keeping them in their own pocket. When these experiences are healthy and fulfilling, the individual can clearly see the difference between sexual fantasy and actual relationships with others, and the same applies to the playful quality of celebration. Satisfaction within the pocket builds a strong wall around it, whereas when either masturbation or internal cockiness are underdeveloped, there is an entirely inadequate barrier to the overflow.
When masturbation fantasy stays well enucleated, its only goal is to build sensuality in such a way as to produce an enriched and satisfying sexual experience. Its private nature reduces the influence of society's rules concerning patterns of sexual feeling, and similar mechanisms apply to celebration. It is an area where the latent homosexuality of the civilized world tends to surface in an unbidden and unexpected way. The prohibition against masturbation serves as a barrier against unwanted patterns of sexual excitement. Many individuals are only confident of their heterosexuality when they are expressing it in driven and promiscuous ways. If there are any real difficulties in heterosexual performance, the individual finds himself in a catastrophic situation which he identifies as a staggering loss of sexual capacity. This all or none view of heterosexuality exposes its driven nature. The individual cannot independently evaluate his sexual troubles because he cannot look within himself to find the sources of his sexual feeling. Without the inner development which masturbatory sexuality affords, the individual remains a programmed sexual machine. This machine has the stamp of social approval, but the individual is left on his own to make it work. A sudden and unwelcome influx of personal responsibility in a personality deprived of independence in this area brings exposure to the unknown in an exhausting pattern and opens the door to helplessness and disabling depression.
The path to healthy sexual excitement and celebrative aliveness lies through the psychologically mated mechanism in which submission and dominance intensify and invigorate each other. If this interaction is to take place within a fantasy and play acting pocket for the purpose of masturbation and self-induced celebration, it must be able to make full use of romantic idealization and adventuresome possessiveness. This kind of openness to pleasure and enjoyment utilizes methods which are magical and miraculous in their structure. To reach the proper stimulation the individual cannot simply follow imprints which are programmed into him by society, but must instead be guided by messages which are coming to him from his own experience with excitement and aliveness. When sexuality is guided by the imprinted designation of another person as a sex object, the fantasy and play elaboration which comes from submission and dominance lacks impact and fullness. This sexuality is confined solely to the sex act itself and lacks the elaboration which the prior existence of courtship and mating provide. Since the courtship phase which exists in nature has been taken over in civilized human beings by the need to become a serious influence in the growth of another person, it can be seen that the accumulation of truth and right are essential elements in the mating process. The sense of self-importance needs to enter the fantasy and play structure of masturbation and self-induced celebration for these experiences to reach a fully healthy expression. It is not enough to be excited by a conventional image. The individual must be able to elaborate enriched fantasy and play which include a background of being important to the other person in a three dimensional way. This sense of union liberates simple, straightforward, and satisfying sexual and celebrative experiences which are not burdened by false meanings and values, but can bring pleasure and enjoyment for their own sake, unalloyed by shame and guilt.
The latent homosexuality of the civilized world does not stem from the childhood and early adolescent tendency toward sex play between individuals of the same gender. This kind of pattern does not tap the deeper sensuality of the personality and is readily outgrown in individuals who accept society's dicta on sexual behavior. Below the surface of the mutual masturbatory phenomenon is brewing a much more powerful force, namely the attraction stimulated by polarized relationships between individuals of the same gender. In a world where women are assigned arbitrary roles as either sex objects or as idolized madonna-mother images, the serious aspiration toward mutual growth becomes invested in the relationships men make with each other. When men share an expanding psychological world together, learning to bear harmonious stress and incompleteness for the sake of broadening and deepening their human capacities, their dependence on each other becomes very great, and these attachments are highly prized by society provided that the partners do not fall in love with each other in the process. There is a sense of honest and courageous impact in such relationships. The partners find each other very real in contrast to the state of affairs between the sexes, in which men and women find each other mysterious and beyond the range of rational understanding and reasonable control. Society's role playing puts men in one world, women in another, so that the sense of trust and familiarity which is so necessary in a shared growth process fails to develop. When men interact with men, and women with women, automaticity of psychological reactions is reduced, and there is less intimidation and seduction in the air.
The prohibition of homosexual feelings and attitudes does considerable damage to the psychological independence of the individual. No matter how firmly committed the individual may think he is to heterosexual behavior, there can be no protection from the inner need to elaborate sensuality and aliveness once the personality has opened itself to the growth process. When the barrier against independent sex fantasy and self-induced celebrative play is no longer reliable, the individual is exposed to hidden aspects of himself. When these tendencies meet his disapproval and condemnation, he has undermined his ability to like and enjoy himself as he really is. Unless the individual has an ongoing and reliable source of affection for himself, regardless of the warmth he is receiving from others, and a similarly consistent source of enjoying being himself, regardless of pride interactions with others, there can be no sound basis for independence. The ability to like and enjoy life on one's own terms is an irreducible necessity for people who need to move into a deeper and broader human world. No one can give up old supports when new ones have not yet been found without this kind of self-sufficiency.
The problem with conventionally structured warmth and pride capacities is that the individual is dependent on the one particular human world in which he was reared and to which he has made his adult adaptations. Any increase in access to human truth and right which goes beyond the toleration point of a particular human environment makes adaptation difficult or impossible. Although there may be a great deal of gratification in his structured warmth and pride interactions, society sets rigid limits on their further expansion, lest latent and unwanted sexual and celebrative impulses overflow out of their inner pocket. Society's position is that such overflows must be prohibited, or at the very least kept secret and be received with shame and guilt. This situation deprives the individual of one of the cardinal aspects of a full independent maturity, namely the ability to bring order into sexual and celebrative phenomena out of his own resources, making choices based on self-interest and not on prohibition.
Society's decision to prohibit homosexuality weakens the independence of the individual in exploring and developing his own sexual sensuality and celebrative aliveness. This loss of independence not only reduces his capacity to like and enjoy himself without external supports, but puts him in the position of regarding sex and celebration as unknown and chaotic topics. They are put in the category of unexplored aspects of himself whose existence must be either ignored or denied. This means that the unbidden emergence of homosexual feeling, which surfaces when heterosexual patterns fail to maintain their emotional investment, or when there is a sudden increase in warmth and pride interactions with others of the same gender, is regarded as a flooding force both contagious and dangerous. It is assumed that homosexual feeling means automatic overflow into sexual excitement and sexual experience, thus threatening the individual's ability to keep his warmth and pride interactions in focus. Men quite properly value the high level of simple pleasure and enjoyment they share together, and under the influence of a prohibitionistic system they lack confidence that sexual feeling and celebrative attitudes can be kept in their own pocket through the inner resources of the personality. It is a system in which genuine sexual feeling automatically means at least the threat of promiscuity. Similarly celebrative attitudes cannot be walled off, but flow into addiction or delinquent patterns. This lack of confidence in inner resources follows the model which society has set up for heterosexual relationships, in which prohibition is the only reliable barrier to promiscuity. Male adequacy is equated with promiscuous impulses in a system where women are classified as sex objects unworthy of being partners in the building of zestful pleasure and enjoyment relationships. The only time mature men and women can safely make independently chosen relationships, with strong bonds of comradeship without promiscuous implications, is when one or the other is recognized to be homosexual.
The promiscuous implications of homosexual capacity are clearly apparent in the gay community. The way homosexuals meet others of their kind is too often dependent on street cruising or the use of gay bars and gay baths as meeting places. When an individual comes out of the closet he gives up the false struggle to deny the existence of feelings which he has often been familiar with for years, and faces the world with a new sense of honesty and courage in accepting his true self. This step exposes him to a raw impact from his sexual and celebrative nature, but does not change the fact that he has been reared in a prohibitionistic society which has ill prepared him to exercise the kind of internal controls required to protect mental health. The fear of conventional men that the recognition of the genuineness of homosexual tendencies will undermine the warmth and pride they share together appears confirmed by the promiscuous and addictive phenomena they see when they look at the aspects of homosexual life which are most visible. The only way that homosexuality can fulfill its promise of providing a base for a life which is more honest and courageous is to remain open to a higher level of growth through the pursuit of human truth and integrity. The homosexual is in the position of being open to giving more to others in human terms, but having not yet found the way. If he follows a growth course he accepts the status of being a student of human nature, ready to recognize the inevitability of the failures which stem from his lack of independent development, but equally ready to learn from his mistakes. In such a psychological system the important part of life begins with adulthood, and the individual can begin to reject the delusion fostered by society that maturity consists of an automatic adaptation to the world that was here when he arrived.
The ability to have sexual experience with another of the same gender does not define what it is to be a homosexual. Mere sexual experience is easily reached among persons who regard it as an isolated phenomenon not anchored in the mating process. Under promiscuous conditions sexuality is regarded as just another source of sensual pleasure, albeit a special and intense one, which requires no more psychic preparation than the existence of sexual desire on both sides. Genuine homosexual capacity lies in the ability to fall in love with another of the same gender. This means the giving of the whole self to another person in an atmosphere of complete trust and acceptance, finding beauty and goodness in each other without preestablished limits. This capacity enlarges the warmth and pride they share together and makes possible the entrance of three dimensional love and power exchanges which become a serious influence on the growth of both. Because such relationships are polarized they permit the bearing of an incompleteness in each which is transformed into completeness by the union. It is this aspect of mating which gives it its impelling force, and most individuals, no matter how far life has carried them away from accepting inner identity and incompleteness in themselves, are still aware of a longing somewhere in themselves for the presence of a true mate in their lives.
Homosexuality at its best rests on this openness to the mating process, set free from monolithic social influences which attempt to manipulate what should be inner psychological forces. A homosexual relationship exists when the mating is recognized and welcomed and has no necessary connection with the sex act. Sexuality belongs in the honeymoon-holiday phase of a relationship, rather than being the ongoing and regular aspect of a mating which society has dictated for the institution of conventional marriage. Because sex and celebration do not successfully mingle with either the development of warmth and pride or the serious effort to influence psychological growth, this special aspect of experience must be isolated in its own place and time, and can only be welcomed if it does not interfere with the development of the sense of personal importance in each partner. When growth goals are strongly to the fore, the honeymoon-holiday phase may come infrequently, and there may be circumstances where it does not occur at all. It is more characteristic of a true homosexual that he is able to kiss another in a non-ritualized way, and show other signs of spontaneous intimacy, than his sexual accessibility. This can be clearly seen when promiscuous homosexuals are used by individuals who regard themselves as thoroughly heterosexual for sexual purposes. Such conventional persons are willing to be brought to orgasm, but reject any evidence of affection. In situations where men live in their own communities, such as in military life or in prisons, open spontaneous intimacy proves more disturbing to the community than the sex act carried out in dark corners.
It is easy to believe that permissiveness in sexual and celebrative behavior increases the independence of the personality, but this is only true where the personality succeeds in keeping sexual fantasy and celebrative play in their own pocket. Honesty and courage about the impulses to live in a permissive world often start with a great sense of liberation, as if the individual stands at the brink of expanding into a new and better life, and this state of affairs can be accepted as a pubescent experience. However if promiscuity and addiction become equated with the right to be a sexual and celebrative person, the entire fabric of psychic growth in interpersonal relationships is threatened. Under such conditions the simplicity which is so necessary for tranquility and spontaneity cannot develop, and the surface architecture of the individual's world goes out of focus in favor of imprints which bring sexual and celebrative arousal. Free floating stress invades a psychic compartment where rest is needed, and the personality loses its ability to bear harmonious stress and accept incompleteness in the forming of serious relationships. Such patterns are destructive of the real nature of psychic independence.
The independence involved in avowing one's homosexuality is the mere beginning of a long journey, and nothing in the individual's prior experience with a monolithic society has prepared him for this undertaking. It is a frequent occurrence that the sense of inner identity is no better developed in the homosexual than it is in the population as a whole. Faced with psychic exhaustion when real human problems and obstacles cannot be ignored or sidetracked, the homosexual turns toward the same false patterns of identity which society encourages. Career becomes the carrier of a degree of personal importance it cannot sustain, and embellishments of the life of pleasure and enjoyment bring stress where it does not belong. Many homosexuals regard their sexual status as a visitation from fate which has nothing to do with greater access to psychological growth. They do not ask society for respect but only for tolerance. Since the espousal of homosexuality is not seen by them as a genuine choice, it takes on the character of an affliction to which they must adapt. To be proud of being gay under such circumstances is a psychological impossibility. The homosexual world which is visible to conventional individuals is nothing but the tip of the iceberg. There is a kind of working agreement between the visible part and society. The one asks for tolerance, the other offers condescending interest and some measure of acceptance, provided that homosexuality itself need not be taken seriously.
A true mating between individuals who join their capacity to seek and store human truth and right together cannot imitate society's image of heterosexual marriage. The heart of a relationship between two persons who encourage growth on both sides lies in the ability of such relationships to use mutual dependence to increase the independence of each partner. Such a relationship remains fresh, stimulating, and alive because it is based on what is best in each. The attachment between partners expands when their inner importance grows as a result of their influence on each other. This is the only sound basis for the permanence and loyalty which lovers seek. It is a relationship which allows each to be completely himself and different from his partner with unalloyed trust on both sides. Since society chooses to ignore the genuine psychological basis for mating in favor of the programmed patterns of institutionalized marriage, individuals find themselves approaching courtship without having developed the psychological tools they need to guide them through its troubled territory. It is a common mistake to think that since the drive toward mating is so strong that common sense will reveal to people what it is. Instead, the forms that are involved must be discovered by the lovers themselves. There is a tremendous gap between the desire for mating and its successful accomplishment. Under the influence of being in love, partners ascribe a continuity and integrity to their relationship which turns out to have inadequate supports, coming as it does from an overemphasis on the romantic and adventuresome spirit. When genuine problems and obstacles emerge, calling for growth on both sides, the impact is crushing, and yesterday's idyllic world of charm and ingratiation joins the limbo of forgotten things.
The emphasis on a romantic beginning for conventional heterosexual marriage is legitimate provided it brings motivation for a serious psychological relationship, but the real impact of such attachments is not understood. The adaptive requirements of the marital state, focused to a large extent on the rearing of children, call for a high level of stability. There is no point in taking on the socially supported family roles of fatherhood, motherhood, breadwinner, housekeeper, disciplinarian, and protector of childhood contentment and happiness unless the partners intend to maintain these functions as long as they are needed. The pressures which come from the adaptive nature of marriage are all in favor of finding identity through these roles, and success in this way is taken to be the essence of what it is to be normal. This kind of rigidity is at war with the growth goals of psychological mating, in which there is no guarantee that partners can grow at the same rate. Once growth goals become real, individuals may need to go through a series of relationships in order to find themselves. The whole atmosphere of psychological growth is one of flux and change, and the adaptive requirements of marriage are built on maintaining the status quo. Unless the individual is free to select a changing psychological world, openness to growth can only lead to psychic exhaustion. On the other hand without commitments to marital vows, the institution of marriage is undermined. Social enforcement of images of normalcy in sexual behavior and in the acceptance of family roles is the leading edge of society's effort to buttress up its acceptance of ignorance and immorality as inevitable aspects of the human condition. There is no ultimate reason why the full development of the human personality needs to be incompatible with home making and child rearing, but this requires the prior establishment of the right of the individual to be himself, guided by his own perception of human truth and right. It is difficult to establish such conditions in a world where most individuals lack independent self-knowledge and self-control.
The effort of conventional society to establish marriage as the equivalent of a true psychological mating is nowhere in greater trouble than in the area of sexuality. The myth of an ongoing and reliable sexual life between marital partners turns out to be based on early adolescent mechanisms of sex speaking to sex, which in early adolescence would be recognized as mutual masturbation. It is sexuality on the loose in the personality, for which the proper preparation in developing the expansion of submission and dominance through the courtship mechanism has not been established. In order to maintain male potency in this situation, a role of rag doll submission is often assigned to the female, but this is automatic role playing for specifically sexual purposes. Even if the marital partners have succeeded in establishing some degree of mutual growth, the phasic nature of the honeymoon-holiday experience is ignored in favor of society's image of using sexuality to establish an ongoing pattern of attraction and excitement. Society attempts to help with this coverup of deficient emotional investment in the relationship by declaring all other patterns of sexuality to be either abnormal or unworthy. Since these prohibitions cannot be justified psychologically, they are defended as proper tools to protect the institution of marriage. Sexuality which depends on mechanisms which have a mutual masturbatory structure is essentially promiscuous in nature. Marital fidelity in many subgroups of society is more honored in the breech than the observance, but society does ask that the curtain of secrecy be drawn around extramarital sexual behavior. It clings tenaciously to the thesis that normal sexuality follow the anatomical model of the lower animals in which the male mounts the female in a union of the genitals. The difference between individuals who make love comes down to excitement over the contrast in body structure instead of the more genuine and reliable excitement which derives from psychological difference.
Society dictates that inner identity be established through those psychological forces that protect the stability of social institutions without regard to the mental health of individuals and without taking responsibility for the ignorance and immorality thus generated. When corruption and violence emerge to a degree that in turn threatens social stability, these dangerous phenomena are treated as mysterious events to be met with reinforcement of social rigidity in the form of further prohibitions. Such a system must be in the end self-defeating, because it carries within itself the germ of its own decay. No system which ignores the contentment and happiness of individuals and fails to give them access to the independent dignity and self-importance which is their birthright can aspire to genuine stability, even though it lasts for hundreds of years under the heavy hand of psychological oppression. There is no reason to assume that the rise and fall of civilizations is inevitable. The mysterious decay of man's finest works can only be altered when men make psychological growth the primary aspect of being human.
In a world where men see truth and right dimly as if in an alien place, both far away and not related to themselves, the need to establish individuality must overflow into areas where it does not belong. Under such conditions men cannot recognize the objective nature of their adaptive life. In both family roles and in the pursuit of career success men are driven to invest what is best in themselves, creating stress levels which are out of proportion to the realistic nature of the task being undertaken. It is in the nature of adaptive challenges that they produce some stress, but when this stress can be recognized as disharmonious and be limited to the practical end of overcoming the problem, the sense of accomplishment provides an ample reward for the effort. The multiplication of such stresses as if they were goals in themselves undermines man's access to tranquility and naturalness and puts him in a world of crisis artifacts which has no end.
No matter how satisfying adaptive accomplishments may be, they leave no reliable residue in the personality. Yesterday's triumphs over adversity cannot take care of today's challenges. The work must be done again each time the context requires it, and if excessive stress accompanies such activities, the emotional investment begins to fail. Fatigue and boredom rob the individual of the psychological rewards he expected to come from such accomplishments. He is in the paradoxical position of the military commander who wins costly battles, only to find that each success brings him closer to ultimate defeat. In this kind of driven life free floating stress is everywhere, and as he turns toward psychic rest a similar false sense of importance flows into this compartment. The same society which dictates his patterns of inner identity through adaptive success now undertakes to guide him into a land where zestful pleasure and enjoyment are to be had by those who will learn its style of hedonistic sophistication. Elaborations are piled on elaborations under the protection of social approval, and this pattern of having a good time rests on the necessity of getting away from the self and for the time being transforming the self into a different person. The more successfully the individual carries out this undertaking, the more readily a false sense of identity flows into the process. His social popularity increases as he demonstrates his ability to put a high emotional investment into these structured warmth and pride experiences. He becomes a social asset because he is able to carry others with him into these highly stimulated states. As he establishes himself as a social success, he uses this kind of importance to increase his adaptive resources. When an individual is welcome everywhere he goes for this reason, there is a constant pressure to prove himself, and stress has entered his life where it does not belong.
The independent access to a life of pleasure and enjoyment cannot be found when stress is everywhere in the personality. It is very difficult to accept being commonplace and ordinary when the sense of being important is not well rooted somewhere else in the personality. The avid and driven search for the rewards of sensuality and euphoria undermines the nature of contentment and happiness. Civilized man is not at home with his elemental need for psychic rest because he cannot recognize the purpose of this mental state in the overall economy of his psychic life. Persons who must be serious about everything scorn rest. Others who cannot cope with the exhaustion which hangs over serious pursuits turn from the independent bearing of stress and seek to dwell in a charmed land in which they see only beauty and goodness. Such sanctimonious and smug patterns inevitably take on a kind of human importance which is foreign to their nature. Instead of recognizing that their self-engendered contentment and happiness are a special aspect of experience which does not choose to relate in a full scale way to human reality, they redesign the nature of the world to fit their childlike image of what it should be. They do not recognize that their real purpose is to spare themselves from intolerable stresses bringing instant exhaustion, but instead find social supports for the imposition of beliefs and customs which usurp the place of truth and right. This common agreement to wipe out dimensions of the world which are unpleasant to contemplate or to handle requires constant reinforcement, so that stress reenters their utopian world.
In conformity with patterns which prevail throughout nature in all living things, civilized man spends the largest part of his psychic life in a state of psychological rest. Nature is only interested in stress bearing for survival and reproductive purposes. Organisms live longer and function better when tranquility and spontaneity are natural and harmonious experiences. Civilized man's high investment in inner identity and self-importance opens the door to recurrent stress levels which reach great intensity, and he cannot function well in this situation without a rich access to the rewards of psychic rest. There is a strong contrast between the high sense of individuality which accompanies the development of wisdom and moral capacity and the sense of being ordinary and commonplace which characterizes the life of simple pleasure and enjoyment. In order to be at home in a healthy way in both compartments, man must be able to keep them clearly separated. If they mingle, serious stress bearing cannot do its work, nor can the rewards of a rich and full access to contentment and happiness be found. The ability to discover novelty in simple things out of one's own resources is the key to a full life of psychic rest. The individual takes responsibility for focusing his reactions in such a way that the immediate and concrete architecture of the world comes alive, bringing with it sensual gratifications and the enjoyment of what is happening in the moment. These mechanisms change his internally generated perceptions and attitudes for the purpose of increasing his participation in the art of living, but the world itself is not changed. Such mechanisms are magical and miraculous in their structure.
Civilized man is not at home with his magical and miraculous capacities because he is driven to endow these experiences with an importance they cannot sustain. If he enters these interactions with his world too hungry for inner identity, they become distorted by embellishments which lead him to believe he can alter reality by their use. Children are in a much better situation in this area than adults, because they know that their fantasy and play belong in their own compartment. They know that outside this charmed world lies a grim reality which they are not called on to deal with as long as it remains overwhelming. The parental functions of the family stand guard to protect them in this process.
Man's esthetic experiences belong in the two dimensional world of pleasure and enjoyment, and must not be confused with the kind of growth process which stores human truth and right. Esthetic experience is for man's entertainment, ready whenever needed to expand elemental participation in the life process for its own sake. It can only function successfully when it is non-residual in the sense that nothing else is asked from it than the pleasure and enjoyment it contains. The goal of esthetic experience is to open up the flow of participation in what exists in the world without the bearing of stress or a sense of incompleteness. As the individual's esthetic capacities expand, it is he who changes through increasing his access to recognition and anticipation, endowing what is otherwise ordinary with the sunshine and zest which aliveness in the moment brings. The self-generated inner magic of finding beauty where it was not recognized before, and the miraculous effect of finding responsiveness and goodness where no such opportunity was previously anticipated, creates the basic framework of contentment and happiness. There can be no reliable contentment unless around the corner there is more beauty to be found, and there is no reliable happiness unless the invitation to finding excitement in experience stretches forward without arbitrary limit. Nothing is more empty than yesterday's pleasures and enjoyments if the road forward is closed.
Man's intellectual powers can be directed in either of two ways. They can be devoted to truth seeking in a scientific pattern with all the discipline that process entails, and when this capacity is applied to the human scene it equips the individual for the kind of love which is three dimensional in structure. On the other hand, man's complex thinking resources can be applied to his life of pleasure, using great imaginative flexibility which reaches high levels of zest. The far greater proportion of civilized man's thinking activities are an esthetic performance which serves to expand his recognition capacities. In this area he often deals with otherwise troublesome and difficult subjects, but only on the condition that he does not have to bear a sense of an open ended search for truth. Outside his adaptive functions, where he will bear stress for practical reasons, he accepts complexity because it is more stimulating and therefore more pleasurable, but this acceptance is not allowed to disrupt the easy flow of his thoughts and his rhetorical agility. He thinks and speaks as an authority, but this status is conferred on him by himself. In social conversation successful interchange depends on the acceptance of this status for each participant. When warmth and pride levels are high, a great deal of pleasure and enjoyment is gained from the exhibitionistic and voyeuristic quality of such experience. A similar pattern exists in man's manipulative life, where his complex inventive assets provide him with high levels of enjoyment, provided that such activities are not subject to the discipline which the search for moral integrity entails. Man's capacity for intellectual and inventive complexity gives him a far greater access to zest in his simple pleasure and enjoyment life than exists elsewhere in the animal world. Having once tasted the fruits of these rewarding experiences, man becomes readily fatigued and bored in their absence.
The zestful stimulation which comes from a highly developed intellectual life opens the door to man's curiosity about the world he lives in. As long as this process remains esthetically structured it produces the kind of awareness which enlarges his sense of the beauty of the world. An equal zest characterizes his inventive life, leading him down exploratory paths where inviting opportunities for self-confident and skillful activity lie, provided that his hold on the esthetic architecture of such experiences is not lost. The ultimate nature of esthetic experience is to be found in its ability to hold the mirror up to life in a way where recognition and anticipation can be counted on to expand without arbitrary limit, permitting the freshness of novelty to emerge out of otherwise ordinary and simple things. It puts man in a world of beauty and goodness where things as they are can be savored to the full, making ample use of his inner resources for discovery and exploration. It is these psychological forces which underlie contentment and happiness, and it is the individual who brings these forces into existence out of his ability to see and handle the world in the way he chooses, guided by his own pursuit of pleasure and enjoyment. A world that is hostile and cold to one person can be beautiful to another, and a world that is rejecting and obstructive to one can be a playground of opportunity to another. The price of a healthy participation in this two dimensional world of psychic tranquility and spontaneity lies in man's ability to distinguish the difference between self-generated beauty and goodness and the actual full scale reality which exists outside him.
The goal of the esthetic life is the expansion of the individual's warmth and pride interactions with the world as it is at any given time and place. He pursues his own pleasure and enjoyment because this increases his participation in the life process. He becomes an example to others of how to exercise the art of living. His ability to handle this compartment of his personality in a productive way brings sunshine and zest into the lives of other people. Individuals who are at home with the magical and miraculous in their own natures are charismatic in the human scene. As they show these human assets in interaction and communication they stimulate the tranquility and spontaneity of others. The person with highly developed esthetic capacities moves in advance of others in a charming and ingratiating way, like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, leading them not to destruction but to a fuller embracing of the life process.
In a world where inner identity is poorly established it is very easy for individuals to endow esthetic experience with an identity giving quality which is alien to its nature. A man cannot maintain his independent access to pleasure and enjoyment in a simple and natural way if he begins to believe he is changing the world through his psychological productivity. Once this kind of stress and sense of incompleteness has entered the picture, the magical and miraculous essence of the esthetic experience is diluted and undermined. A man enters esthetic productivity for his own sake, and not because he owes something to others. He must be free to pick up or lay down his participation in such experience according to inner messages coming from his own psyche. When everything is going right his warmth and pride levels tell him so, and when distortions threaten he perceives alien stresses. This psychological state stands in strong contrast to the operation of the growth process which is guided by the search for truth and right and takes its being in harmonious stress holding and the acceptance of the incomplete.
An enriched esthetic life does not have the same structure as man's adaptive undertakings. Adaptation requires the recognition of problems and obstacles to be overcome at the survival level, and if a person is guided only by esthetic considerations in this area, he would soon be overwhelmed by reality. It is characteristic of successful adaptation that it accepts disharmonious stress and strain, limiting the amount of stress to the actual challenge which is being met. The motivation for accepting this stress lies in the adaptive accomplishments which ensue from providing for the individual's needs. The esthetic life has an avocational or hobby structure, free from the kind of externally imposed discipline which characterizes adaptation.
Man's tremendous potential for elaborating his esthetic capacities creates problems in his adaptive undertakings. The presence of a high level of warmth and pride obviously influences the readiness of others to give him greater access to job opportunities. In many aspects of career activity, the ability to put other people at ease contributes to adaptive success. It is a common aspiration of human beings to convert their hobbies into adaptive careers. To deal with grim reality by methods which are formed out of the pursuit of pleasure and enjoyment seems to promise a better life style. It is true that those experiences which bring entertainment to the self may bring the same rewarding experiences to others, but to establish this pattern as an adaptive goal is disruptive of the self-generated nature of the esthetic life. The internal messages which guide pleasure and enjoyment are undermined if the primary goal becomes the need to meet the standards of other people. When hobbies are taken over by the structure of the adaptive life, the individual must generate stress in the unremitting effort to meet the requirements of his market. If this stress is to be constructively used, he must be willing to accept transformation into the objective and impersonal nature of adaptive undertakings.
When men do not have access to the pursuit and storage of human truth and right, their great yearning for self-importance overflows both into their adaptive life and into their life of psychic rest. The esthetic life belongs to the individual, and although no one can complain if he succeeds in marketing his productivity, it becomes his psychological task to preserve the essentially independent nature of his developing talents, and this must ultimately mean that they are not a reliable source of adaptive capacity. If he successfully directs his talents realistically and objectively toward the meeting of the demands of a market, then he has found a career which has the same psychological structure as any other job. Because of the charismatic glow which surrounds the magical and miraculous structure of the esthetic life, it is easy to impute an enduring psychological importance to its influence which does not exist. No matter how much elevation of the spirit comes from such experiences, they remain a contribution to the art of living in the here and now, and any attempt to imply that they are tools for altering the nature of objective human reality can only bring the kind of alien stress into existence which undermines both the talent of the individual and his ability to bring psychic rest to others.
The manifestations of civilized man's esthetic life are by no means confined to what is generally recognized as artistic endeavor. The esthetic expansion of the individual's ability to find beauty and goodness in the world of the here and now touches every aspect of his psychic life. It is in the interactions between human beings with their high potential for warmth and pride development that man reaches the fullest expression of his capacity for zest in his pleasure and enjoyment compartment. In this area the magical and the miraculous find a rich outlet, and man jealously protects his right to think in patterns which give him pleasure, and to use human skills according to the enjoyment he derives. The charismatic influence on others which esthetic development of this kind bestows encourages embellishments which usurp the place of human truth and right. Because of the great vagueness which exists in the recognition of the difference between two and three dimensional phenomena, warmth is equated with the kind of giving love which only human understanding can support, and pride is misidentified as equivalent to the kind of responsibility which only moral integrity can make real. Human truth goes out of focus when rhetorical fluency and intellectual agility are sufficient to confer authority, and human right is no longer accessible in situations where the heroic stance and mere inventive ingenuity carry the day.
As a false sense of inner identity flows into the adaptive use of esthetic talent, individuals are driven to use their charismatic capacities as a means of establishing their importance in the human scene. Insofar as this method of operating is successful, they readily become false models to others of how life is to be lived. Their ability to keep unwanted stress out of interpersonal relationships and social roles offers the promise of easy remedies for life's problems and difficulties without facing the legitimate stress of the growth process. They become the means of controlling the helpless and reckless reactions which come when individuals have to move out into a deeper and broader world which they are not prepared to face. If the magical and miraculous aura they generate were confined to its proper place, namely the expansion of man's pleasure and enjoyment capacities, their function would contribute to the mental health of mankind without blocking man's ability to develop access to human wisdom and responsibility. This is an area where children function better than most adults. If a child asks if it is legitimate to believe in Santa Claus, the psychologically sound answer should be that if this belief brings an esthetic zest into the life of the child, then absolutely yes, but a clear distinction must be made between what is serious in the human scene and what is not. This ability to believe in something which stays in its own place in the personality and is not confused with a relationship with an independent external reality is part of the psychology of childhood. As a child grows into a biologically mature adult, his need to find himself as a person capable of bearing harmonious stress comes into focus, but if the tools for this task are not there, he returns to childish mechanisms, only to find that the protecting umbrella of parental protection is no longer there. At this point his esthetic world is seen as having the ability to change reality, but this view rests on delusions and pretense. Cherished beliefs which bring him peace of mind usurp the place of truth, and socially supported manipulative tricks which confer a sense of spontaneous freedom obscure access to morality.
When social stability is tied to the acceptance of ignorance and immorality as necessary elements in being a normal person, individuals find protection from the helpless and reckless reactions which otherwise are inevitable when sudden and massive stress is introduced into the lives of people. This stability is bought at a great price because it anchors social beliefs and institutions in the past. It is merely the calm before the storm whenever there is a flow of change in the human scene which increases the expectations of individuals for a better life. Such pressure comes from modern advances in science and engineering, as well as the modern emphasis on social progress and on the political rights of the individual. Man's tremendous advances in science and engineering in the non-human fields have carried him into a larger world where his fragile grasp of the science of human nature and his incompetence in human engineering can hardly be successfully concealed. There is a rising tide of helplessness and recklessness in the civilized world which can be readily identified as irrational and violent in nature, but the tools for remedying this situation are not to be found in the adherence to the human models of the past. The attempt to put the blame for society's troubles on that segment of the population which is profoundly dissatisfied with the rewards bestowed by monolithic social forces is doomed to failure because of the influence of oncoming generations. It is the young who have the greatest aspirations to live life to the full with an uncompromising sense of their own importance. Social instability need not be feared if men know why they are giving up the cherished beliefs and comfortable but ineffective human skills of yesterday, provided that the goals of psychological growth are real to them. All that is required to dispel helplessness and recklessness is to overcome the aura of mystery which surrounds the subject of human nature, and to alter the sense of defeatism which undermines man's efforts at human control.
In a world where esthetic capacities are put to the wrong purposes, false models are set up to guide the social adaptation of individuals. When the pleasure of rhetorical fluency replaces the stress holding search for truth, and the enjoyment of clever and inventive manipulations intrudes on the place which belongs to the stress holding reaching for moral integrity, the stern service of reality fades from the picture, and the scientific method and engineering know-how give way to the magical and the miraculous. In such a world, the emotional impact of words endows them with a false sense of truth, and the impressive nature of posturing and pretense usurps the place of the right. Fluency and cleverness are welcomed by society because they bring relief from the threat of psychic exhaustion which hangs over the civilized world. Individuals who have sold their souls to a monolithic system cannot recognize the life style depression which characterizes their life history.
Society is dominated by an aristocracy of talent. The often tentative and unclear characteristics of the growth process do not lead to ready communication and demonstration, because in this area the quieter voices and simpler methods cannot be heard or seen except by those who are open to growth. The massive development of talent in the human scene which comes from man's pleasure and enjoyment compartment creates loud music and brilliant fireworks, and these dramatic phenomena are mistakenly taken to be the product of the highest development of human capacity.
Man has elaborated his social beliefs and social style of interacting to a very high degree, using his esthetic capacities in the process. The interpersonal scene glitters with the novelties thus introduced, providing him with rich sources of pleasure and enjoyment. Interacting with his fellows in this two dimensional way is his favorite source of warmth and pride and the sense of psychic rest that goes with it. When he seeks to gain inner identity from his social talents, the resulting embellishments distort the stress-free nature of the esthetic experience. He cannot find his way into the scientific contemplation of human reality, or become skilled in human mastery through exploration and experimentation of that same reality, when the zestful stimulation stemming from his esthetic life has taken over the whole personality. Man is on a merry-go-round of soothing ideas and fun seeking activities, and whoever brings him messages from that other psychological land which threatens this childlike security and freedom is regarded as his enemy. As in former times it is the messenger who brings the bad news who is put to death. The civilized world sets up models of human excellence based on highly developed social talents, and these models are used to discredit those who labor in the vineyards of human truth and right. Society's models are endowed with the vestments of profundity and granted heroic status, thus giving them magical and miraculous status which sets them apart from ordinary people. Society seeks to make these models guideposts for the shaping of the standards for human development of oncoming generations. This aristocracy of the talented elite controls mankind's image of what it is to be an honored and important person. Trapped in this way in a world which has little access to human truth and right, man can only further embellish his esthetic life in the vain expectation that his oppressive human problems and difficulties will go away.
The blight of embellished talents follows man everywhere in the area of human meanings and values, dictating to the individual what constitutes success as a human being. Only in the field of the non-human sciences and in engineering has man been able to throw off magical and miraculous methods, and then only after great struggle with defenders of the status-quo and after the investment of great personal commitment. As long as men live with free floating stress in their personalities which they regard as inevitable, the main thrust of their life pattern will be directed toward survival. Under these conditions their goal is to arrive at the grave without falling apart, keeping their life style depressions at bay by driven coverups. In a life where exhaustion is always lurking in the wings, threatening the disabling effects of helplessness and recklessness, any human force which increases stress levels, no matter how constructive the goals of such stress bearing might be, must be regarded as the enemy. It is not enough to keep enemies at bay. There must be some place where life opens up to the operation of new constructive forces. Man's longing to follow teachers and leaders whom he endows with superhuman status, through a sense of communication with the profound and through the idolization of the heroic, protects his childlike need for absolute certitude and a guaranteed sense of superiority. These esthetic functions are found everywhere in the human scene, but are especially focused in institutionalized religion and in patriotic devotion to the state.
Man's love affair with the Deity and the state offers him highly zestful esthetic experiences which have the potential for bestowing great inner tranquility and unobstructed spontaneity of spirit. For many individuals these experiences are the key for the maintenance of mental health. The state becomes the supreme hero, and the acceptance of God's love becomes the good news which puts the individual in communication with perfect spiritual depth. Such patterns relieve the individual of the necessity of finding beauty and goodness out of his own inner resources. They have the quality of guaranteed completeness. The individual responds to these programmed stimuli in much the same way that lovers of nature can respond to beautiful vistas, to sunrises and sunsets, and to lovely forest greenery. Under these conditions, independent access to the mechanisms of recognition and anticipation are poorly developed, and it becomes difficult to discover beauty where it was not seen before, or to endow the surface phenomena of the world with goodness that was not previously experienced. Novelty tends to fade out of the picture, and novelty lies at the heart of the constructive uses of the esthetic experience. Man cannot have a reliable independent inner world unless he is able to convert otherwise ordinary and indifferent experiences into sources of contentment and happiness. Without independence, fatigue and boredom threaten to despoil what began as welcome human revelations. The undermining of the emotional investment threatens the sense of perfection, and psychic rest is lost. When men use their esthetic life as a substitute for dealing with reality, they cannot recognize the healthy uses of stress bearing and cannot be at home in the incomplete. They must then use pressured and driven methods to reinforce their adoration of their heroes and their total acceptance of revealed and eternal profundities. This alien stress corrupts the pleasure of appreciating food, and brings addictive patterns to the experiencing of freedom in a manner parallel to the dependence on drugs and alcohol.
The problem with the institutionalized nature of religion and patriotism lies in the distortion introduced into man's comprehension of human models. The prophets, gurus, and academic sages who elaborate man's cherished beliefs, and the administrators and military heroes who reinforce man's images of automatic power through perfection in ingenious and tricky manipulations, readily usurp the place which belongs to the search for human truth and right. The more social talent these models embody in their lives, the more readily are their functions embellished to confer that sense of stress free completeness which brings tranquility and spontaneity into the lives of people. These models are appointed and anointed to the status of greatness in the human scene. Not only does the public tend to reject any of the evidence which could show their idols have clay feet, but a community of shared and reinforced prestige is set up among those who have reached success in joining the aristocracy of talent. They confer an honored and important status on each other, exchanging recognition, awards, and prizes, and become the leaders in the general conspiracy to suppress information which could give the lie to the embellished status of those who dwell in the higher reaches of assigned human perfection. There is a difference between secrecy and privacy. In a world which respects individuality, the right of privacy is essential to the growth process, because there are many sidetracks in growth which must be corrected as the individual moves forward into expanding human experiences, and a man cannot accept being accountable to those who cannot comprehend the full scope of his development. The commitment to secrecy, on the other hand, implies an ongoing right to present a calculated image of the self to others, hiding any information which would undermine the impressive nature of the role being played. The suppression of human information, which is falsely regarded as an aspect of privacy, undermines man's search for human truth and right. Human science and engineering cannot survive in an atmosphere of artificially limited access to the data of experience.
Man's cherished religious beliefs protect him from the helplessness which takes over his personality when he must face grim human reality without faith in his own ability to understand the problems thus revealed. It is a matter of substituting faith in a deity for faith in the human capacity to use love as an effective tool to find psychological truth. This lack of capacity to bear harmonious stress and incompleteness in the compartment where these functions belong is a mental state characteristic of childhood, where parental protection spares the child from disorienting anxiety. It is equally true that man's patriotic fervor protects him from the recklessness that ensues when he attempts to face a sea of obstacles without hope in his own ability to control himself and his world. Loyalty to the heroic stance of the state protects him from disorganizing recklessness. Those individuals who start down the road of psychological independence, but find themselves ill equipped to bring sufficient wisdom and moral strength to guide their journey, experience the helplessness which brings amoral corruption and the recklessness which opens the door to mindless violence. Society's answer to these dislocations is to bring pressure to increase the embellishment of its models. Under these conditions, it is psychological independence which becomes the enemy. Those who attempt to take the workmanship of love seriously, only to find themselves mired in helplessness, are enshrouded by society in a cloak of invisibility, a kind of ostracism reserved for those who disturb the equanimity of others. Those who accept a commitment to personal power, only to find themselves lost in depersonalized restlessness, are accorded the kind of punishment which is reserved for those who have been disloyal to the state. The criminal justice system, with its complex and inconsistent set of penalties and punishments, has nothing to do with genuine morality. It is a system which functions to protect society's image of its own perfection, and it is obvious that what is considered just punishment changes with the fashions of the day. Morality, on the other hand, does not have to answer to the task of keeping people comfortable. What is right is not subject to compromise, and has an objective existence of its own. It can only be found where men respect morality itself, and this is different from patriotic fervor.
The process of appointing and anointing greatness in the human scene can be found in any aspect of man's psychic life where personal importance has become detached from the growth process. Where the adaptive life becomes the carrier of inner identity, the accomplishments which stem from social talents are taken to be the measure of human excellence. In this competitive world the real dimensions of a man's psychological capacities remain hidden, and the world is invited to be aware of his income and property accumulation, the awards and prizes he has received, the academic degrees he has hanging on his wall, the number of friends he has, and even the length of time his marriage has endured and the number of children and grandchildren he has accumulated. The reaching of this status of being an honored and important member of society is promoted and protected by a conspiracy of silence concerning those aspects of his personality which would raise questions concerning his olympian position. It is a world in which the surface architecture of a man's life is given a meaning and value it cannot sustain, and upon analysis turns out to rest on magical and miraculous mechanisms which have the same roots as religious devotion and patriotic fervor. Man protects the glowing aura which surrounds his human models because this process confers certitude on his life through the providing of guaranteed images of the beauty and goodness of the human scene. It is an exercise in supportive psychotherapy, and if it could be confined to that function it would remain part of man's esthetic life and do no harm to social progress.
Man's effort to understand himself and his world has led down many brightly lit sidepaths while the real task of understanding, which leads through the valley of the shadows, fails to gain his attention. No matter how brightly lit these sidepaths are, they end in darkness, whereas those who enter the threatening world of social change are in a position to find the sunshine ahead. There is no greater delusion in man's esthetic world than the conviction that academic scholarship in the human fields will give him guidance into a better world. The sophisticated collecting of information in the humanities, and especially in the study of the history of civilization, is offered as an essential element in the avoidance of the mistakes of the past. Scholars gain great authority and prestige as men cognizant of the human scene. In a world where the real struggles for psychological growth remain unrecognized and unrecorded, history becomes a literary exercise, filled with novel and interesting stories brought into being through the lives of talented persons. The structure of history is the same as that of any other of man's undertakings in the field of entertainment. It has the capacity to interest and excite people by holding up the mirror to the surface architecture of life. Greatness is conferred on individuals in terms of their dramatic impact on the social beliefs and institutions of their day, while those individuals whose lives embody a genuine search for truth and right lie buried under the rubble of ostracism and punishment. Recorded history does its full share to keep false models in focus for society and the authoritative scholars who interpret it are defenders of the programmed images which dictate what a worthy life is all about. Recorded history tells very little about man's struggle for psychological development. Those who aspire to build a science of human nature do much better in taking the data of contemporary experience as their subject matter. In such a workshop, data has not yet been filtered through the screen of selective recording, and need not be interpreted by a myopic scholarly tradition. There is an impression that the more things change in the world, the more they remain the same. This impression rests on the literary nature of history. There is social progress in man's reaching toward psychological growth, even though the most obvious evidence of it today is to be found in social instability and upheaval. There is no real reason why contemporary man should pay obeisance to the models of the past. He stands on higher ground, and can do much better.
If the great stresses of the growth process are to become harmonious in the human scene, man must undergo a revolutionary change in his perception of what constitutes human accomplishment. This goal cannot be reached by polemic methods, in which his critical capacities are brought to bear in an iconoclastic fashion. The mere showing that idols have clay feet becomes an attack on man's esthetic life, whereas the real need is to show that serious human purposes can be embodied in the lives of individuals, and that such undertakings are different from man's pursuit of entertainment. Many individuals who aspire to seriousness lose track of the art of living. They offer stoical panaceas to the human race based on social reform or political revolution. They see social evils that any five year old child can perceive, and from this base they offer changes in the social fabric which are endowed with an aura of importance simply because they are different. Although idealism motivates these reformers, the changes they bring are always subject to dilution and corruption by a monolithic social system. Revolutions are followed by counter revolutions, and in this kind of world it is literally true that the more things change, the more they remain the same. Genuine social progress can only come from the psychological growth of individuals, and they cannot allow themselves to set out to discredit the magical and miraculous needs of society because this course can only bring ostracism and punishment. Modern man has at least progressed to the point where those who seek human truth and right need not expect to drink the poison hemlock or be nailed to the cross. Too often the zest for reforming society turns out to be another aspect of man's esthetic life, blown up to proportions it cannot sustain, and claiming an importance it cannot justify.
The separation of man's esthetic life from his life of psychological growth, in which he uses truth and right as objective scientific and engineering entities, is a prerequisite for social progress. Otherwise the increasing complexity of his world which comes from scientific and engineering advances in the non-human fields will only increase his helplessness and recklessness, cheating him of the advantages he has a right to expect from the hard won accomplishments of his brain and hands. When man endows his esthetic life with false importance, he cannot disentangle what is magical and miraculous from what is real. This problem is especially clear in the area of beatific religious feeling and patriotic fervor. He wants to believe that the enthusiasm and inspiration which come to him from these enthralling experiences can change the world, instead of identifying their true function as limited tools designed to help him keep free floating stress out of his personality. The complaint is often heard that religion is just for Sunday and fails to guide men in the market place of daily living. But religion is a private inner experience, part of man's pleasure and enjoyment life, and has the function of bringing him peace of mind when he is threatened with stress levels which have no constructive place in his personality. Carried out into the world of man's legitimate social problems it becomes a form of sanctimoniousness which condemns him to the permanent expectation of helplessness whenever he dares open his eyes and ears to human reality. The same type of mechanism operates in man's love affair with the state, which can only function in a healthy way when it brings an elevation of spirits in the service of psychic rest. When patriotism usurps the place of morality it becomes a form of smugness which makes recklessness inevitable whenever the individual attempts to stand on his own feet in facing human obstructions and obstacles.
In the civilized world of today man fears his own nature, finding dark corners in himself which he cannot face without anxiety. Neither can he undertake the exercise of self-control without the help of prohibitions imposed by forces external to himself, believing in the fragility of his own will where moral issues are concerned. Institutionalized religion and the idealized power of the state take advantage of his childlike position, mingling their influence in such a way as to usurp the place which properly belongs to the individual search for human wisdom and moral strength. Under these circumstances the state becomes a kind of religion, and the church takes on power functions which are alien to its nature. Civilized man lives under the weight of the conviction that just below the surface he is a dishonest and sinful person, and this point of view gains reinforcement by modern psychological theories such as psychoanalysis which leans heavily on the thesis that being civilized requires repression into the unconscious of primitive and chaotic psychological forces.
The sources of man's helplessness and recklessness can only be found when his commitment to ignorance and immorality is recognized. His great scientific capacities lie fallow in the human field because he has neither the will nor the eyes and ears to welcome the impact of human reality, and his equally great capacity for engineering know-how cannot be exercised if he cannot find the resources to believe in his own powers. The pioneers in the advancing struggle to deal with the unknown and the chaotic in human affairs will not be found in the aristocratic community of talented persons. The development of a science of human nature is in poor hands when shaped by professional psychologists and psychiatrists, because these people have an overriding investment in proving the adequacy of their own adaptation to society's image of normalcy. The building of a science of human nature belongs to ordinary people, working from the grass roots level of the human condition. The great mass of human beings are excellent critics. They can puncture the facading and posturing pretensions of the distinguished personalities of their time whenever they choose to do so, but they lack the resources to find models to take their place. Ordinary people who live undistinguished lives in the market place of daily living retain great inner resources of faith and hope in the essentially constructive nature of human goals, but they cannot move forward into a larger psychological world without the guidance of increasing human insights and skills. There is a great confusion in society between talent and genius. Genius relates to the development of what is elemental and earthy in human capacities and is not at home in the world of flashing lights and loud noises generated by talent. Genius belongs to what is ordinary and basic in the human condition and has the potential of being as common as pig tracks. It is from the great undifferentiated masses that the pressure for social progress will come, and when men cast aside their fear of being themselves they will let their monolithic social superstructure die, secure in the knowledge that a better world is being born.
|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\PRC\HTP\NATURE.HTP (218 lines) 1998-09-09 13:26 Dean Hannotte]