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  #21  
Unread October 18th, 2004, 01:20 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Post Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Bob your concerns and questions are of very great assistance. I am so glad you joined in this "computer-assisted conversation". I really appreciate your
comment in para 4 regarding an improper and incomplete disclosure of Adler's notion of "Minderwertigkeitgefuhl". Yes I have leaned very much too far in one direction in an attempt to ellucidate the idea. Indeed the "inferiority feeling" is a universal part of the human experience if a person is not intellectually impared in which case they may not be able to develop the Adlerian notion of a "life style".
The feeling of being less is a part of the full experience of being a fellow man but it must not have a compensation of being "bigger than we are". It must be balanced very carefully by the "fellowman" notion leading to doing our part each one, to contribute to the "stream of human evolution". I appreciate very much that you have noted the danger of being on a tangent and not totally
faithful to Adler's very wonderful understanding. Please keep an eye on this as you have done in this submission. I too, am just learning this psychology with many esteemed colleagues.

In a subsequent submission, Lida asks about the meaning of your quote from Senaca. Would you be kind enough to give a good English translation. I am sad to report that as a physician, I do not have the advantage of your education in classical literature. Lida also points out Adler's comments about "being human is to have inferiorty feelings". The quote in para 4 of this submission is of great value does balance the argument more carefully.

Your clarification with reference to the "sociopathic individual having a lack of inferiority feeling" would help. I also am not sure what you are telling us.

Many thanks for your submission and I do hope you keep an eye on things.
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Last edited by George Neeson; October 18th, 2004 at 01:23 PM. Reason: spelling and typos
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  #22  
Unread October 18th, 2004, 06:12 PM
Robert L. Powers Robert L. Powers is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Thank you for your so warmly welcoming me into this company, and for letting me know that my comments were useful to the project.

I should not be mistaken for a scholar of the classics, even if I have read some of them, now and then, here and there in the course of a long life and varied education!

The quote from Seneca was used by Adler as a kind of slogan on the second page of the original edition of his first major book, the title of which is usually translated wrongly as THE NEUROTIC CONSTITUTION, not, as Henry's "Classical Adlerian Translation Project" edition titled it, THE NEUROTIC CHARACTER. (My own choice would have been, The Nervous Character, a more literal rendering of Adler's German, but perhaps not as pointed, not as recognizable as to its original purpose in the simple English word. All translation is approximation.)

I suppose you have this book in the CAPT edition (and if you don't I hope you will now want to acquire it!), and on p. xv you will find the quote, extended and in context. An English translation is provided on p. xxi.

When I dragged it in to our discussion I was operating under the assumption (always a dangerous procedure!) that everyone who knew Adler knew this motto, and understood Adler's use of it to draw attention to the subjective and personally determined schema by which each of us filters the world into an impression of what it is and what it means. Et cetera. In my understanding, the two primitive "feelings" of reality, that of "inferiority" and that of "community," while in need of instruction and development and "Bildung" (or cultivation) serve as apertures to reality that keep us from being completely locked in to the private sense of our subjectivity (= solipsism). Those who, if not so locked in, are more nearly confined than most of us, are, in one way or another, mad, the sociopaths dangerously so.

About them, I cannot cite the research, but I can lamely claim to have read the reports of it, to the effect of challenging the great "self-esteem" craze of a few years ago. What was found was that swindlers and abusers of all kinds had rather untethered and soaring self-esteem, with opinions of themselves untroubled by feelings of inferiority of any effective kind, and with consequent disregard of criticism or correction from any quarter.

Finally, I think it may be reassuring for all of us to learn that Adler himself, while having chosen the aphorism of Seneca in 1912 for "The Nervous Character," referred to it again in 1933 in Sinn des Lebens, where in a translated part of it appearing on p. 182 of the Ansbachers' "Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler," he MISquoted it as "Omnia ad [sic!] opinionem [sic!] suspensa sunt."

Therefore, I will dare to close by saying that none of us now striving to follow the Master has any reason to feel excluded from his company because of a shaky grasp on the classical languages!

Bob Powers
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  #23  
Unread October 18th, 2004, 06:39 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Smile Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Thanks Bob. Yes I have the new translation and I should better use my resources. The new translation is very, very helpful and to have the works simply translated without prejudice other than that which is intrinsic in the translation process, is wonderful. I am so happy that you have joined in this discussion. It is clear that you know the material very well and we will benefit much from your assistance. I did review the reference to Seneca quickly before replying and note (Oh boy) it is time to reread the Neurotic Character for about the 6th time so far with many more to follow. I agree the real sense in English is the "Nervous Character" or perhaps the Anxious Character" to be faithful to the German, but as you point out, in our weaker English language, it would not work very well. Thanks again.
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  #24  
Unread October 18th, 2004, 08:38 PM
Joanne Macpherson Joanne Macpherson is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Hi George!

I just wanted to let you know that I would be delighted to participate in this discussion thread. I am still getting my head around how the BOL Forum works but since Saturday will have much more time available to figure it out.

Thanks for offering.
Warmest Regards,
Joanne
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  #25  
Unread October 18th, 2004, 08:51 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Thumbs up Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Joanne the forum software does appear a bit intimidating, but I have found that if you dig around a bit it is well designed. I am so delighted that you are willing to join in and participate with us in trying to put this "primer" in place. I need all the help and as many informed minds as I can find. I also need the searching questions of those who, as we all have done, are just starting to comprehend the riches of Adler's thought. I am delighted you will have time to be involved.
Kind regards,
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  #26  
Unread October 19th, 2004, 01:48 AM
Lana Deeter Lana Deeter is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

I think a primer is a great idea, George. I am always looking for written material that I can give to my clients who want to read about individual psychology without having to have an Adlerian dictionary with them.
Thank you for taking the iniative.
Lana Deeter
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  #27  
Unread October 19th, 2004, 03:04 AM
lida izadi lida izadi is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Bob,

Thank you so much for the references and your comments. It was refreshing to read the translation of the aphorism of Seneca. I thought it might be nice to include the statement and its translation here for those who do not have access to the book "the neurotic character"

"Omnia ex opinione suspensa sunt; non ambitio tantum ad illam respicit et luxuria et avaritia. Ad opinionem dolemus. Tam miser est quisque, quam credidit!"
"Everything depends on opinion; it determines not only ambition, but also the lust for pleasure and avarice as well. In our opinion we suffer. Everyone is as miserable as his prejudice makes him."

Also, your comments in the second to the last paragraph was really valuable...a timely reassurance for everyone that it is OK to make MIStakes.


Kind regards
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  #28  
Unread October 19th, 2004, 08:28 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Question Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Bob when you speak of the sociopath I assume you are referring to the criminal type of mind although some of them may even act as doctors or even ministers. I still am struggling with the notion that "they lack an inferiority feeling". I have attempted to assist some of these folks with a small amount of success, but I have worked from the notion that they had a very major inferiority feeling and sense of deficiency. The discouragement seems so great that they feel the ideals of normal social living do not apply to them. That could be seen as a lack of a Minderwerdikeit, or it could also be seen as a sense that these standards are beyond their reach completely. The do not feel up to this challenge so they compensate by seeking their peculiar revenge against humanity. This becomes the move to "Uberlegenheit" or fictional superiority in English. Being honest and caring for the possessions of others is "for suckers" one of them said to me. This same person felt a "big rush" as he held a large bore handgun at the face of a little lady teller. He told me "I enjoyed watching her go white, the bitch!" Surely to seek to terrify another is a move to "superiority" and is the antithetical constuction of the feeling of being a meaningless and hopeless person. I have no desire to be in any way in conflict with your view. It just surprised me. I also do not know Adler's writing as well as you, so I wondered if Alder's view of the "criminal" etc. is supported in his writing as having "no inferiority feeling". I am not aware of that notion in Adler's understanding of these difficult and troubled people. If indeed they have no inferiorty feeling, an Adlerian complete therapy could not achieve more than to give them an experience of a nice social relationship, because in such a relationship our theoretical framework breaks down. Now no theory is complete and all conclussive and as Sophia once said when asked about a case that did not seem to fit the theory, "We treat patients, not a theory", or words to that effect. I have that on tape and could not dig it out tonight.

Bob your comments on working with these people who feel societal norms do not apply to them have confused me (that is not hard to do), please tell me more about this new (to me) idea, that they "lack an inferiority feeling". I think this could open an interesting subtext in our discussions. I appreciate your thoughtful comments and clear thinking and hope you do not mind me seeking clarification.
Kind regards,
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  #29  
Unread October 21st, 2004, 12:34 AM
Edward Hoffman Edward Hoffman is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

As a biographer of both Abraham Maslow and Alfred Adler, I think it is a wonderful idea to present a primer of Adlerian psychology online. There are many over-simplifications and distortions of Adler's work today--and his approach is sorely needed for our time.
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  #30  
Unread October 21st, 2004, 01:06 PM
cshelley cshelley is offline
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Smile Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Hi there,

I really appreciate George's initiative. The comments thus far are a good base for discussion. Adler's theories are rich for their philosophical depth. Individual Psychology implies a sole commitment to psychology but is misleading in that its theoretical richness goes well beyong psychology and actually challenges many of the dominant presuppositions of Anglo American psychology (including the idea of diciplinarity itself - IP is of relevance to many (inter)disciplines). What I have always appreciated about Adler's work is its philosophical complexity. This may have something to do with Adler's historical situatedness, at the crossroads of two periods (Romanticism and late modernity) that render a fascinating mix of idealism and functionalism. I also agree with earlier comments that his doctrine is more complex than popularised texts generally represent. Although the initial introduction to terms, etc. are easilly digestible they are also often incorrect in misleading the introductory student into believeing that it is a simple matter of cliche. I have always appreciated Henry's elucidation of Adler's complex ideas and, for example in his edited volumes, the drawing of attention via footnotes to the web of ideas that underpin what only appears to be a simplistic idea. So from the ground up, please do carry on!
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