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  #1  
Unread July 24th, 2004, 09:40 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Question Comments on Adlerian teleology

It would be interesting to discuss "determinism" from an Adlerian perspective. We usually refer to "soft determinism" as opposed to a more absolute form. To what degree is a person "morally accountable" when the "fictional goal of perceived superiority" is concealed from them and from the surrounding community of mankind? We make "moral judgements" (value judgements) all the time. We discuss behaviours as useful and useless indicating that we recognize behaviours that contribute to social interest as "good" and those that draw away from social interest as "bad". But if a person has an organ inferiority of the mind and a very impoverished childhood, what we do in this regard could be seen to be harsh, from a position of personal superiority, and we end up with a quite antithetical construction of the patient's difficulty proclaiming ourselves by implication, to be "above the patient". I have a lady I work with at the moment who is well trained in Cognitive-Behavioural psychology (Masters level) who leveled this complaint at me and I did not really know how to respond. Any comments on a logistical and philosophical problem would be appreciated. The lady currently is a parole officer in the provincial prison system and the answer bears heavily on how she would need to report a "parole violation" to the courts and the parole officer.
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  #2  
Unread August 29th, 2004, 06:59 PM
James Wolf James Wolf is offline
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Default Re: Comments on Adlerian teleology

It seems to me the therapist must work to be clear in his/her own mind where he/she is coming from re: his own lifestyle and attitudes. The attitude of the therapist should be away from striving for power over the client or for personal superiority. The therapist should be letting go of that and hopefully have re-directed his striving for the community feeling - social interest (This is where study-analysis is so important). I think every school of thought makes value judgements whether they recognize them as such or not. I think every time any therapist is thinking about what is healthy or not healthy on the part of the client that is a value judgement. Adlerians are perhaps more clear about stating their values (social interest). It's not about "Good or Bad" moralistically, it's about useful and not so useful, better or worse functioning, helping vs. hurting others. We all need to make judgements in the sense of making evaluations, but being judgemental is different - being judgemental is about one-up-man-ship, personal superiority, setting oneself up as a god (in the extreme case). Your parole officer woman would seem to me to stay clear on the power she needs to excerise in the professional role she is in which is as a servant of the community's interests (which would include helping the parolee where appropriate), vs. feeling like she is hurting or victimizing the parolee for what the parolee has brought on to himself for breaking important rules. People learn - hopefully - from consequences and re-deciding their life directions. ( I hope I have understood the situation).

Last edited by James Wolf; August 30th, 2004 at 12:05 PM.
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  #3  
Unread September 5th, 2004, 12:46 PM
James Wolf James Wolf is offline
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Default Re: Comments on Adlerian teleology

I re-reading your post, I realized I hadn't responded to the "moral accountability" question. I wonder that since the fictional goal is created by the child under his/her particular circumstances, that moral accountability and justice must be tempered by compassion and recognition we are all imperfect creatures. But since as an adult, if I cling to my goal, I am responsible for that whether I am conscious of it or not. I'm reminded of the "twinky defense" of Dan White - let off the hook for murder for diminished capacity. Or if I was abused as a child and commit a violent crime as an adult partly as a result of that abuse, should my parents go to jail as well? If I'm not held morally accountable for my behavior, what are the consequences to the community which we are all a part of?? Can moral accountability be seem as separate from the community interest?
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Unread September 5th, 2004, 02:57 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Comments on Adlerian teleology

Yes James, I was addressing the "moral accountability" issue. I believe that some form of morality may be intrinsic in the fabric of the space-time of General Relativity. My son is a physicist and quantuum mechanics is his special interest. We have had many fruitful discussions in this area and it would neither be rational nor irrational to posit some sort of mind, or consciousness, or first cause, that has left a finger print in the fabric. This is not a "religious notion", but a philosophic observation that seems to fall out of:
1) The notion of the singularity.
2) The universal nature of moral principals (I did study Social Anthropology under Dr. Edmund Carpenter at Toronto for two wonderful years) and yes these are as Adler points out repeatedly, in the direction of "Gemeinschaftsgefuhl". (Sorry I don't know how to post that darn umlaut.) It may be that the great principles of morality are not deductable by logic alone, but may be "relevatory" or "transcendent".
I really appreciate having a reply at last. There is much to consider here. We as Adlerians, no not accept an anything goes, what ever feels good to you is OK position. We are adamant that only what is in the direction of social interest is good. That is perhaps our greatest strength and most appealing virtue. This also leads to a complete philosophy for our personal existance, or as Richard Kopp once said to me and I hope he will not mind being quoted, "Adlerian is something you are, not something you do."
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Last edited by George Neeson; September 5th, 2004 at 06:48 PM. Reason: spelling error
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  #5  
Unread September 5th, 2004, 08:00 PM
James Wolf James Wolf is offline
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Default Re: Comments on Adlerian teleology

I do not know quantum mechanics, never quite understood the theory of realtivity, etc. but I think I get a bit of what you are saying, George. I remember reading that Adler surveyed philosophy and the world's religions - part of his late night reading - and came up with the common denominators they shared - the Golden Rule, being one, love thy neighbor perhaps being another. All this partly led to the concept of gemeinschaftsgefuhl. The experience of deep connectedness, the feeling of community, has always seemed to me to be, at it's core, of a spiritual nature, more than just simply biological-psychological. I like Alexander Muller's thoughts on all this ("You Shall Be a Blessing").
I'm not familiar with the "notion of singularity" What is that?? "The universal nature of moral principles" sounds interesting as well.
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  #6  
Unread September 5th, 2004, 09:49 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Lightbulb Re: Comments on Adlerian teleology

Oh yes, Mueller is wonderful reading ... a man of deep spiritual sensitivity. I was sent graciously by Henry, a copy of "You Shall Be a Blessing" early in my studies with him, and it has been a blessing. What a refreshing thing to see deep spirituality without the veneer of a legalistic, confining religiosity.

By the way, the "singularity" is the word in cosmology for "The Big Bang", because there was no big bang. All the matter of the universe appeared in an instant in one place somewhere "inside" the "events" we now see some 13 billion +/- 400 million years ago! The universe as a non steady state event has thrown the world view of the Postmodernist into considerable difficulty!
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  #7  
Unread September 11th, 2004, 05:15 PM
Manu Jaaskelainen Manu Jaaskelainen is offline
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Default Re: Comments on Adlerian teleology

I have been thinking somewhat about this teleology-issue both from a general philosophical point of view, and from Adlerian point of view. Nietzsche influenced Adler strongly as we all know, and he was 100% determinist. In his opinion, criminals are sick people who are in need of treatment, not prison. Nietzsche's views were very radical for a century ago, and he was not heard - a madman in the periphery. Today, many of us accept this viewpoint. However, if we accept the teleological nature of human personality (as we should), the question arises again. In "The Neurotic Character" Adler discusses teleology and seems to conclude that "philosophers and psychologists considered as a principle of teleology what was actually a calculated attempt at orientation towards a point that was assumed to be fixed."(p.48) In other words, there is teleology in human behavior but this is by no means in conflict with the idea of determinism. The "guiding idea" of the person determine his/her directions of striving. However, later on Adler introduced his ideas about some kind of creative indeterminism of human personality. This creativity may be positive or negative, but there is unquestionably some unpredictability of human behavior. - In practical life, we should consider the total situation of the person before making moral or legal judgements. There is such a thing as "general interest", but there are also "individual human rights". Only in absolutely totalitarian societies "general interest" has total power over individual human rights. I have worked myself in administration, so the moral problems involved here are known to me. In my opinion, all democratic societies should accept some "exceptions to the rule", but these exceptions cannot be too many in the case of any individual. Otherwise we leave the limits of organized, lawful society. As the German philosopher George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel said, freedom is only possible in a society governed by some law and order. It is the task of parents and the educational system to awaken this feeling in us. It is a part of the community feeling. But here you may also find, if you so like, the weak point in my argument: what if the "tender age" of the person in question had such a character that this kind of Gemeinschaftsgefuhl never was developed in the mind of this person?
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  #8  
Unread October 22nd, 2004, 07:17 AM
Rita Schaad Rita Schaad is offline
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Default Re: Comments on Adlerian teleology

Following this thread with interest.

Just like to help you out with 'the darn Umlaut' for Gemeinschaftsgefühl and other German or other spellings!!
You Press Alt and 129...for ü
(Alt and 132 for ä /Alt and 148 for ö)


keep spinning that yarn..........
Rita
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  #9  
Unread October 22nd, 2004, 07:49 AM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Default Re: Comments on Adlerian teleology

Well thank you for the information. Unfortunatly Windows 200 Pro does not recognize that key sequence. Maybe I need to look at my keyboard settings which are for "International English, Canadian". Thanks anyway.
George
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  #10  
Unread October 22nd, 2004, 09:40 AM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Re: Comments on Adlerian teleology

The umlat strategy also does not work on Word 2000 with an English (United States) keyboard setting. However, using the "Insert|Symbol" menu on Word will yield ü, which can be copied and pasted here.
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