3 Matching Annotations
  1. Apr 2019
    1. Unlike other theories of human development, TPD presents—and assists—the human being in the dynamic, arduous and often tragic process of becoming. It postulates that mental health is the capacity for personality development, which is understood as a conscious dismantling of our more or less primitively integrated (egocentric) individuality, and replacing it with a consciously chosen and created (altruistic) personality. That process, called positive disintegration, is rooted primarily in our emotional-motivational sphere, and guided by deeply felt and lived universal values embedded in our conscience. A recognition of an objectively existing hierarchy of universal human values is essential for development, although Dabrowski avoids specifying what that hierarchy looks like. Instead, he advocates studying the lives of moral exemplars to arrive at its understanding and empirical verification.
    1. Dąbrowski also described a group of people who display a different course: an individualized developmental pathway. These people break away from an automatic, rote, socialized view of life (which Dąbrowski called negative adjustment) and move into and through a series of personal disintegrations. Dąbrowski saw these disintegrations as a key element in the overall developmental process. Crises challenge our status quo and cause us to review our self, ideas, values, thoughts, ideals, etc. If development continues, one goes on to develop an individualized, conscious and critically evaluated hierarchical value structure (called positive adjustment). This hierarchy of values acts as a benchmark by which all things are now seen, and the higher values in our internal hierarchy come to direct our behavior (no longer based on external social mores). These higher, individual values characterize an eventual second integration reflecting individual autonomy and for Dąbrowski, mark the arrival of true human personality. At this level, each person develops his or her own vision of how life ought to be and lives it. This higher level is associated with strong individual approaches to problem solving and creativity. One's talents and creativity are applied in the service of these higher individual values and visions of how life could be—how the world ought to be. The person expresses his or her "new" autonomous personality energetically through action, art, social change and so on.
    2. Dąbrowski felt that our society was largely influenced by these lower two factors and could be characterized as operating at Level I. For example, our emphasis on corporate success ("a dog eat dog mentality") means that many CEOs operate on the basis of first factor—they will quickly sacrifice another to enhance their own advancement. As well, our educational, political, corporate, and media systems are self-promoting and discourage real examination or individual autonomy—the second factor. Alternatively, social justifications are often used: "of course I break the speed limit, everyone does." Or a soldier may explain that he or she was simply "following orders". Thus, this external value system absolves the individual of any individual responsibility.