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Unread December 29th, 2005, 09:48 PM
Henry Stein Henry Stein is offline
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Default Discussion of CCWAA, Vol. 7, Chapt. XIV & XV (Activity, Psychosomatic Disturbances)

On January 2nd, we will begin a discussion of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler, Volume 7, Chapters XIV & XV. The following chapter summaries were prepared by Manu Jaaskelainen.

Ch. XIV The Structures of Psychic Activity (1934) is a paper that bears the sub-title: A Contribution to Individual Psychological Understanding of Character. It examines some basic ideas in IP. Adler begins presenting some examples of human activity, e.g. hesitant attitude, closing from the outer world, avoidance, etc. Activity is not equivalent to courage, but courage without activity does not exist. Individual life style may be incompatible with the individual goal of perfection. In real, cooperative human beings cooperation becomes the basic guiding principle of life. Human activity may be characteristic of cooperative as well as non-cooperative individuals. Activity level is hardly inherited (here is a small inconsistency as Adler seems to think that social interest is not inherited, while he said in Ch. XII that it is inborn - one could well speculate on the origin of this inconsistency - inborn and inherited are not synonymous, but there can be some real inconsistency here, although Adler says in Ch. XII that social interest cannot develop under adverse environmental conditions even if it would be inborn). The chapter has an interestin ending: "The psychologist must also clarify poorly understood nationalism that hurts all human society, and leads to wars of conquest, revenge, or prestige."

Ch. XV Psychosomatic Disturbances (1934) is a paper on the mind-body relationships (cf. Ch. XIII). Adler starts with a short discussion of organ inferiority. There is again the homeostasis-phenomenon. He discussses the thyroid gland and other endocrinic manifestations of psychological tension. Adler also points out a number of times that the empirical knowledge of the mind-body relationships was in 1934 very scanty; he does not claim to have found some "final explanation" of these extremely complicated interactions. However, Adler presents some very bold hypotheses but is never dogmatic about them. He writes that it is important to understand what is embedded in the evolution of mankind and what is not. What is embedded in the evolutionary process, is from Adler's point of view, the "real direction" of the mankind. What is in discord with this direction, is non-cooperative, neurotic, and faulty. Adler only tells us to think about the direction of the evolution; he himself does not present any dogmatic theses about this. However, he thinks that cooperation, social interest, empathy and sympathy are some of the signs.

To order your copy of Volume 7, go to http://go.ourworld.nu/hstein/cwaa-v7.htm .
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Last edited by Henry Stein; January 6th, 2006 at 08:20 AM. Reason: Corrected date.
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