Stoic News

By Dave Kelly

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Annotated bibliographic reference for Thomas Jefferson

Author: Navakas, Edward H.
Title: “Thomas Jefferson's Need for Liberty: Obsessive Personality Style and the Quest for Certainty,”
Publication: The Psychiatric Forum
Volume: 1
Date: (no. 2, 1988)
Extent: 1-2, 12.

Notes: “Published quarterly by the Loyola University Department of Psychiatry in conjunction with the Hines V. A. Hospital Psychiatry Service. ” Uses the work of Leon Salzman on the nature of obsessive personality in order to discuss “the embodiment of obsessive personality style, a man striving to create a world of perfect individual liberty that is immune to time, change, and the vagaries of others. ” Emphasizes that TJ is not simply “a neurotic mistaken for a great man” because obsessiveness is for him a style of adaptation to the world and not a denial of it.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Carl Rogers

Here's C. George Boree a third time:

" the extent that our society is out of synch with the actualizing tendency, and we are forced to live with conditions of worth that are out of step with organismic valuing, and receive only conditional positive regard and self-regard, we develop instead an ideal self. By ideal, Rogers is suggesting something not real, something that is always out of our reach, the standard we can’t meet.

"This gap between the real self and the ideal self, the “I am” and the “I should” is called incongruity. The greater the gap, the more incongruity. The more incongruity, the more suffering. In fact, incongruity is essentially what Rogers means by neurosis: Being out of synch with your own self. If this all sounds familiar to you, it is precisely the same point made by Karen Horney!"

Alfred Adler

As I said, Horney seems to have been influenced by Alfred Adler. Here is C. George Boree, again:

"Alfred Adler postulates a single "drive" or motivating force behind all our behavior and experience. By the time his theory had gelled into its most mature form, he called that motivating force the striving for perfection. It is the desire we all have to fulfill our potentials, to come closer and closer to our ideal. It is, as many of you will already see, very similar to the more popular idea of self-actualization.

"Perfection" and "ideal" are troublesome words, though. On the one hand, they are very positive goals. Shouldn't we all be striving for the ideal? And yet, in psychology, they are often given a rather negative connotation. Perfection and ideals are, practically by definition, things you can't reach. Many people, in fact, live very sad and painful lives trying to be perfect! As you will see, other theorists, like Karen Horney and Carl Rogers, emphasize this problem. Adler talks about it, too. But he sees this negative kind of idealism as a perversion of the more positive understanding. We will return to this in a little while."

Monday, May 05, 2008

Karen Horney

The core concept of Karen Horney's theory of character neurosis is the neurotic need for perfection.

C. George Boree on Horney's theory:

"At first glance, it may appear that Horney stole some of Adler's best ideas. It is clear, for example, that her three coping strategies are very close to Adler's three types. It is, of course, quite conceivable that she was influenced by Adler. But if you look at how she derived her three strategies -- by collapsing groups of neurotic needs -- you see that she simply came to the same conclusions from a different approach. There is no question, of course, that Adler and Horney (and Fromm and Sullivan) form an unofficial school of psychiatry. They are often called neo-Freudians, although that is rather inaccurate. Unfortunately, the other common term is the Social Psychologists which, while accurate, is a term already used for an area of study.

"Please notice how Horney's self theory fleshes out Adler's theory about the differences between healthy and neurotic striving for perfection, and (to get ahead of ourselves a bit) how similar this conception is to Carl Rogers'. I usually feel that, when different people come up with similar ideas relatively independently, this is a good sign we're getting at something valuable!"

Friday, May 02, 2008

I've changed the title of this blog back to the original name. I no longer identify with Christianity and Christian doctrine, as represented in the Christian Creed.

I've thought for a very long time that Christianity is not the faith of Jesus, but a faith in Jesus, invented by the apostle Paul.

I'm thinking of myself as a follower of Jesus of Nazareth trying to emulate his faith in God and his faithfulness to the Torah.