Suffering, aloneness, self-doubt, sadness, inner conflict; these are our feelings that we have not learned to live with, that we have failed to appreciate, that we reject as destructive and completely negative, but in fact they are symptoms of an expanding consciousness. Dr. Kazimierz Dąbrowski has spent 45 years piecing together the complete picture of the growth of the human psyche from primitive integration at birth; the person with potential for development will experience growth as a loosening of the stable psychic structure accompanied by symptoms of psychoneuroses. Reality becomes multileveled, the choices between higher and lower realms of behavior occupy our thought and mark us as human. Dąbrowski called this process positive disintegration, he declares that psychoneurosis is not an illness and he insists that development does not come through psychotherapy but that psychotherapy is automatic when the person is conscious of his development.
To Dąbrowski, real therapy is autopsychotherapy; it is the self being aware of the self through a long inner investigation; a mapping of the inner environment. There are no techniques to eliminate symptoms because the symptoms constitute the very psychic richness from which grow an increasing awareness of body, mind, humanity and cosmos. Dąbrowski gives birth to that process if he can.
Without intense and painful introspection and reflection, development is unlikely. Psychoneurotic symptoms should be embraced and transformed into anxieties about human problems of an ever higher order. If psychoneuroses continue to be classified as mental illness, then perhaps it is a sickness better than health.
“Without passing through very difficult experiences and even something like psychoneurosis and neurosis we cannot understand human beings and we cannot realize our multidimensional and multilevel development toward higher and higher levels.” Dąbrowski.positivedisintegration.com
1). "Personality: A self-aware, self-chosen, self-affirmed, and self-determined unity of essential individual psychic qualities. Personality as defined here appears at the level of secondary integration" (Dąbrowski, 1972, p. 301).
2). "The propensity for changing one's internal environment and the ability to influence positively the external environment indicate the capacity of the individual to develop. Almost as a rule, these factors are related to increased mental excitability, depressions, dissatisfaction with oneself, feelings of inferiority and guilt, states of anxiety, inhibitions, and ambivalences - all symptoms which the psychiatrist tends to label psychoneurotic. Given a definition of mental health as the development of the personality, we can say that all individuals who present active development in the direction of a higher level of personality (including most psychoneurotic patients) are mentally healthy" (Dąbrowski, 1964, p. 112).
3). "Intense psychoneurotic processes are especially characteristic of accelerated development in its course towards the formation of personality. According to our theory accelerated psychic development is actually impossible without transition through processes of nervousness and psychoneuroses, without external and internal conflicts, without maladjustment to actual conditions in order to achieve adjustment to a higher level of values (to what 'ought to be'), and without conflicts with lower level realities as a result of spontaneous or deliberate choice to strengthen the bond with reality of higher level" (Dąbrowski, 1972, p. 220).
4). "Psychoneuroses 'especially those of a higher level' provide an opportunity to 'take one's life in one's own hands'. They are expressive of a drive for psychic autonomy, especially moral autonomy, through transformation of a more or less primitively integrated structure. ( I think empathy / and Preconcieved Notions known,for one's self most important here)-meThis is a process in which the individual himself becomes an active agent in his disintegration, and even breakdown. Thus the person finds a 'cure' for himself, not in the sense of a rehabilitation but rather in the sense of reaching a higher level than the one at which he was prior to disintegration. This occurs through a process of an education of oneself and of an inner psychic transformation. One of the main mechanisms of this process is a continual sense of looking into oneself as if from outside, followed by a conscious affirmation or negation of conditions and values in both the internal and external environments. Through the constant creation of himself, though the development of the inner psychic milieu and development of discriminating power with respect to both the inner and outer milieus - an individual goes through ever higher levels of 'neuroses' and at the same time through ever higher levels of universal development of his personality" (Dąbrowski, 1972, p. 4).
These quotes capture the heart of Dąbrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration. The theory describes a process of personality development - the creation of a unique, individual personality.
Most people become socialized in their early family and school experiences. They largely accept the values and mores of society with little question and have no internal conflict in abiding by the basic tenents of society. In some cases, a person begins to notice and to imagine 'higher possibilities' in life. These disparities are driven by overexcitability -- an intense reaction to, and experience of the day-to-day stimuli of life. Eventually, one's perception of reality becomes differentiated into a hierarchy and all aspects of both external and internal life come to be evaluated on a vertical continuum of 'lower versus higher.' This experience often creates a series of deep and painful conflicts between lower, 'habitual' perceptions and reactions based on one's heredity and environment (socialization) and higher, volitional 'possibilities.' In the developing individual, these conflicts may lead to disintegrations and psychoneuroses, for Dąbrowski, hallmarks of advanced growth. Eventually, through the processes of advanced development and positive disintegration, one is able to develop control over one's reactions and actions. Eventually, development culminates in the inhibition and extinction of lower levels of reality and behavior and their transcendence via the creation of a higher, autonomous and stable ideal self. The rote acceptance of social values yields to a critically examined and chosen hierarchy of values and aims that becomes a unique expression of the self -- becoming one's personality ideal.
Dąbrowski acknowledged the strong and primitive influence of heredity (the first factor) and the robotic, dehumanizing (and de-individualizing) role of the social environment (the second factor). He also described a third factor of influence, a factor emerging from but surpassing heredity - "its activity is autonomous in relation to the first factor (hereditary) and the second (environmental) factor. It consists in a selective attitude with regard to the properties of one's own character and temperament, as well as, to environmental influences" (Dąbrowski, 1973, p. 80). The third factor is initially expressed when a person begins to resist their lower impulses and the habitual responses characteristic of socialization. Emerging autonomy is reflected in conscious and volitional choices toward what a person perceives as 'higher' in their internal and external milieus. Over time, this 'new' conscious shaping of the personality comes to reflect an individual 'personality ideal,' an integrated hierarchy of values describing the sense of whom one wants to be and how one wants to live life. With the new freedom and force of the third factor, a person can see and avoid the lower in life and transcend to higher levels. The 'ought to be' of life can replace 'the what is.' It is important to realize that this is not simply an actualization of oneself as is; it involves tremendous conscious work in differentiating the higher and lower in the self and in moving away from lower selfish and egocentric goals toward an idealized image of how 'you ought to be.'
The idealized self is consciously constructed based on both emotional and cognitive foundations. Emotion and cognition become integrated and are reflected in a new approach to life -- feelings direct and shape ideas, goals and ideals, one's ideals work to express one's feelings. imagination is a critical component in this process -- we can literally imagine how it ought to be and how could be in this establishes ideals to try to attain.
Initially, people who are acting on low impulses or who are simply robotically emulating society have little self conflict. Most conflicts are external. During development, the clash between one's actual behavior and environment and one's imagined ideals creates a great deal of internal conflict. This conflict literally motivates the individual to resolve the situation, ideally by inhibiting those aspects he or she considers lower and by accentuating those aspects he or she considers higher. At the highest levels, there is a new harmony of thought, emotion and action that eliminates internal conflict. The individual is behaving in accord with their own personality ideal and consciously derived value structure and therefore feels no internal conflict. Often a person's external focus shifts to 'making the world a better place.'
"allegory of the cave"
In describing development, Dąbrowski elaborated two qualitatively different experiences of life — unilevel and multileveled — divided into five levels. These two main qualitatively different stages and types of life are the heteronomous, which is biologically and socially determined (unilevel), and the autonomous, which is determined by the multilevel forces of higher development. Level I is heteronomous, aka unilevel. Level III and above, autonomous (multilevel). Level II is transitional, a brief intense time of unilevel crisis — a test of character from which one normally will either regress or advance.
Change must be able to be self directed by knowing of,being aware of all conflict of self, most likely it is in conflict with, Preconcieved Notions of self, and external world order. I thought of this song of Tracy Chapman's, whom I adore.
Dąbrowski developed the theory of Positive Disintegration from a number of ideas:
I can see this as a Sort of Modern Day version of → "Plato's Allegory of Cave "
-"[T]here are people, not few in number, in whom, besides the schematically described cycle of life, there arises a sort of 'sidetrack,' which after some time may become the 'main track.'" ~ Kazimierz Dabrowski, Personality-Shaping Through Positive Disintegration -
The "sidetrack" in the above quotation is the path of personal development, the drive to diverge from the road laid out before us by biology and society, and the creating of ourselves anew, into the person we know we should be.
According to Dabrowski, we can think of a usual "cycle of life" as our being led mainly by basic instincts such as instincts of self-preservation, sexuality and reproduction, possessions, and social belonging. These instincts, however, can be transformed by what Dabrowski called the developmental instinct, which "transcends the narrow biological aims and exceeds the primitive drives in strength" and is "in opposition to the limited, common life cycle."
In other words, Dabrowskian development is one of learning not to be controlled by social and biological forces. A strong developmental instinct helps us instead to choose a life that is more in keeping with the person we want to be, rather than who we are or who we were, especially when who we should be is in conflict with more primitive instincts.
I can see a similarity to Simone Weil's " creating a Void, so new can enter into Self → "Gravity and Grace"
I can see a similarity to Rollo May's " Courage to Create "
A very short / sweet view of " Kazimierz Dabrowski's Theory" ↓
I believe most fairly Aware people can see why it is so Important to choose Great Leaders,those whom are uncorruptible, mature,highly developed say of level 5 people. We have been screwing around far to long hiring low developed people, for positions of Leadership. You don't corrupt people of high development - like Martin Luther King, Abe Lincoln,they knew they where most likely going to Die for their Stand. Question is " How do we Nurture people to be of this Character? "
The third aspect of developmental potential (DP), which is simply referred to as 'the third factor', is a drive toward individual growth and autonomy. The third factor is critical as it applies one's talents and creativity toward autonomous expression, and second, it provides motivation to strive for more and to try to imagine and achieve goals currently beyond one's grasp.
The One thing I would say all people could at least be aware of ; is "Group Think", and try to be a Individual not controlled by it, held by it. as it is abstract,,as no real direction,one day it is doing this,next day doing that!, almost like a tiny boat tossing about in the sea.
Since I first heard Rush sing this song ; " Closer to the Heart " it has been very symbolic to me
And the men who hold high places
Must be the ones who start
To mold a new reality
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart
The blacksmith and the artist
Reflect it in their art
They forge their creativity
Closer to the heart
Yes closer to the heart
Philosophers and plowmen
Each must know his part
To sow a new mentality
Closer to the heart
Yes closer to the heart, yeah, oh
You can be the captain
And I will draw the chart
Sailing into destiny
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart
Well closer to the heart, yeah
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart
I said closer to the heart
Well closer to the heart, yeah
Closer to your heart
I do know also we have created a " Monster of the Materialistic mind-set", by creating a self defeating course, I truly believe .(if one views Spiral dynamic stages, unless we get beyond this orange stage and soon) the out come will not be good.
An individual's personality is the complex of mental characteristics that makes them unique from other people. It includes all of the patterns of thought and emotions that cause us to do and say things in particular ways. At a basic level, personality is expressed through our temperament or emotional tone. However, personality also colors our values, beliefs, and expectations. There are many potential factors that are involved in shaping a personality. These factors are usually seen as coming from heredity and the environment. Research by psychologists over the last several decades has increasingly pointed to hereditary factors being more important, especially for basic personality traits such as emotional tone. However, the acquisition of values, beliefs, and expectations seem to be due more to socialization and unique experiences, especially during childhood.
Some hereditary factors that contribute to personality development do so as a result of interactions with the particular social environment in which people live. For instance, your genetically inherited physical and mental capabilities have an impact on how others see you and, subsequently, how you see yourself. If you have poor motor skills that prevent you from throwing a ball straight and if you regularly get bad grades in school, you will very likely be labeled by your teachers, friends, and relatives as someone who is inadequate or a failure to some degree. This can become a self-fulfilling prophesy as you increasingly perceive yourself in this way and become more pessimistic about your capabilities and your future. Likewise, your health and physical appearance are likely to be very important in your personality development. You may be frail or robust. You may have a learning disability. You may be slender in a culture that considers obesity attractive or vice versa. These largely hereditary factors are likely to cause you to feel that you are nice-looking, ugly, or just adequate. Likewise, skin color, gender, and sexual orientation are likely to have a major impact on how you perceive yourself. Whether you are accepted by others as being normal or abnormal can lead you to think and act in a socially acceptable or marginal and even deviant way.
There are many potential environmental influences that help to shape personality. Child rearing practices are especially critical. In the dominant culture of North America, children are usually raised in ways that encourage them to become self-reliant and independent. Children are often allowed to act somewhat like equals to their parents. For instance, they are included in making decisions about what type of food and entertainment the family will have on a night out. Children are given allowances and small jobs around the house to teach them how to be responsible for themselves. In contrast, children in China are usually encouraged to think and act as a member of their family and to suppress their own wishes when they are in conflict with the needs of the family. Independence and self-reliance are viewed as an indication of family failure and are discouraged. It is not surprising that Chinese children traditionally have not been allowed to act as equals to their parents.
Despite significant differences in child rearing practices around the world, there are some similarities. Boys and girls are socialized differently to some extent in all societies. They receive different messages from their parents and other adults as to what is appropriate for them to do in life. They are encouraged to prepare for their future in jobs fitting their gender. Boys are more often allowed freedom to experiment and to participate in physically risky activities. Girls are encouraged to learn how to do domestic tasks and to participate in child rearing by baby-sitting. If children do not follow these traditional paths, they are often labeled as marginal or even deviant. Girls may be called "tomboys" and boys may be ridiculed for not being sufficiently masculine.
There are always unique situations and interpersonal events that help to shape our personalities. Such things as having alcoholic parents, being seriously injured in a car accident, or being raped can leave mental scars that make us fearful and less trusting. If you are an only child, you don't have to learn how to compromise as much as children who have several siblings. Chance meetings and actions may have a major impact on the rest of our lives and affect our personalities. For instance, being accepted for admission to a prestigious university or being in the right place at the right time to meet the person who will become your spouse or life partner can significantly alter the course of the rest of your life. Similarly, being drafted into the military during wartime, learning that you were adopted, or personally witnessing a tragic event, such as the destruction of the World Trade Center towers in New York, can change your basic perspective.
Are there Personality Types?
We often share personality traits with others, especially members of our own family and community. This is probably due largely to being socialized in much the same way. It is normal for us to acquire personality traits as a result of enculturation. Most people adopt the traditions, rules, manners, and biases of their culture. Given this fact, it is not surprising that some researchers have claimed that there are common national personality types, especially in the more culturally homogenous societies. During the 1940's, a number of leading anthropologists and psychologists argued that there are distinct Japanese and German personalities that led these two nations to view other countries as trying to destroy them.
The concept of national personality types primarily had its origins in anthropology with the research of Ruth Benedict beginning in the 1920's. She believed that personality was almost entirely learned. She said that normal people acquire a distinct ethos, or culturally specific personality pattern, during the process of being enculturated as children. Benedict went on to say that our cultural personality patterns are assumed to be "natural" by us and other personality patterns are viewed as being "unnatural" and deviant. She said that such feelings are characteristic of all people in all cultures because we are ethnocentric. Benedict compared the typical personalities of the 19th century North American Plains Indians with those of the farming Pueblo Indians of the Southwest. She said that the bison hunting Plains Indians had personalities that could be typified as being aggressive, prone to violence, and seeking extreme emotional states. In contrast, she said that the typical Pueblo Indian was just the opposite--peaceful, non-aggressive, and sober in personality.
Benedict's views were especially popular in the 1930's among early feminists such as her student Margaret Mead. This was because if personality is entirely learned, it means that feminine and masculine personality traits are not biologically hard-wired in. In other words, culture rather than genes, makes women nurturing towards children and passive in response to men. Likewise, culture makes men aggressive and domineering. If this is true, these stereotypical behaviors can be altered and even reversed. Mead carried out ethnographic field work among the Polynesian and Melanesian peoples of the South Pacific to find examples of societies in which femininity and masculinity have very different and even opposite characteristics from those found in the Western World. She began her research in Samoa in 1925 where she discovered a relaxed adolescence in which sex is talked about freely by boys and girls rather than hidden or suppressed.
NOTE: In 1983, J. Derick Freeman argued that Margaret Mead was wrong in her assertion about a relaxed Samoan adolescence in regards to sexuality. He described Samoan society as being comparatively puritanical as a result of Christian missionary influences. Other researchers have countered by saying that Freeman did most of his fieldwork a generation after Mead and that Samoan society may have changed in that time.
Most anthropologists today believe that Benedict and her students went too far in their assertions about the influence of culture on personality formation and in discounting heredity. They also tended to over simplify by defining people who did not share all of the traits of the "national personality type" as being deviants. It is more accurate to see the members of a society as having a range of personality types. What Benedict was describing was actually the modal personality . This is the most common personality type within a society. In reality, there is usually a range of normal personality types within each society.
In the early 1950's, David Riesman proposed that there are three common types of modal personality that occur around the world. He called them tradition oriented, inner-directed, and other directed personalities. The tradition-oriented personality is one that places a strong emphasis on doing things the same way that they have always been done. Individuals with this sort of personality are less likely to try new things and to seek new experiences. Those who have inner-directed personalities are guilt oriented. That is to say, their behavior is strongly controlled by their conscience. As a result, there is little need for police to make sure that they obey the law. These individuals monitor themselves. If they break the law, they are likely to turn themselves in for punishment. In contrast, people with other-directed personalities have more ambiguous feelings about right and wrong. When they deviate from a societal norm, they usually don't feel guilty. However, if they are caught in the act or exposed publicly, they are likely to feel shame.
Advocates of Riesman's concept of three modal personalities suggest that the tradition-oriented personality is most common in small-scale societies and in some sub-cultures of large-scale ones. Inner-directed personalities are said to be more common in some large-scale societies, especially ones that are culturally homogenous. In contrast, the other-directed personality is likely to be found in culturally diverse large-scale societies in which there is not a uniformity in socialization processes and there is considerable anonymity for city dwellers.
While Riesman's analysis of personalities was insightful, critics have pointed out that individuals may have characteristics of all three of his identified modal types. For instance, most North Americans probably do not feel guilty about exceeding speed limits when they are driving on freeways, however, they would feel very guilty hitting someone with their car and would likely call the police. In other words, for some infractions of the law they are other-directed (or shame-controlled), and for others they are inner-directed (or guilt-controlled). Likewise, many people like to do some things in the same way every day but seek new experiences in other areas of their lives. You may like to wear the same style of clothes and spend your leisure time at the same place with your friends most days. However, you may easily get bored eating the same kinds of food every day and regularly try new restaurants when you go out to eat. In other words, you are tradition-oriented for some things but not others.- This page was last updated on Tuesday, July 04, 2006.
Copyright © 2002-2006 by Dennis O'Neil. All rights reserved.- 2.palomar.edu
excerpts from 'Making Use of Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities
"Although Dabrowski was interested in gifted development, his theory is not limited to the gifted. Another psychologist, Michael Piechowski, collaborated with Dabrowski and applied the OEs to the gifted population. Several psychologists and educators have since added to scholarship on the subject."
Spotting the Overexcitabilities
A child may exhibit one, two, or more OEs in varying degrees. What does this look like?
Psychomotor: These kids have more energy than others their age! They seem always “on the go.” They may fidget, have nervous habits or rapid speech, and/or act impulsively. They need extra opportunities for movement, and may benefit from relaxation techniques.
Sensual/Sensory: Sensory input can be overwhelming and distracting for these children. They may seek or avoid stimuli, and they may have extreme reactions, especially to sound or touch. On the positive side, they often experience increased aesthetic appreciation (art, poetry, music).
Intellectual: These children love to experiment! They seem to have unending curiosity. They often worry about fairness and injustice, and they learn exhaustively about their passions. They benefit from the freedom to pursue interests, and from interaction with intellectual peers (not necessarily age peers).
Imaginational: Especially when young, these children may have imaginary friends or worlds which feel real. They may embellish without intending to be inaccurate. They often daydream, and may have difficulty “tuning in” during structured curriculum. They benefit from opportunities for divergent thinking, creativity, and imagination!Emotional: Children with this OE have deep sensitivities, are often acutely aware of their feelings, and may internalize experiences. Their intense emotions can manifest in extreme and complex ways. They can seem to overreact, or may hold in school stress until they reach their home or parents’ car. The impact of emotional experiences (both positive and negative) can last for years.
Dabrowski recognized that the creative process is important in the personality development of the gifted and talented. Given the intrinsically creative nature of learning in an arts- infused context, we hypothesize that interdisciplinary approaches to curriculum address the unique needs of the gifted. First, we will summarize Dabrowski’s theory of positive disintegration, providing a theoretical context to discuss an ongoing research project that engages gifted students in arts-based learning. We then briefly describe the implications of positive disintegration in the middle school context, and how art education can support this process. Finally, we describe how two arts integrated projects addressed the process of positive disintegration. In 2013, University of Calgary students in ART 307, “Applied concepts in art with children ages 6-12,” worked with gifted middle school students on an integrated art–social studies–science project called “When Fisher went to Skyland.” In this project, one class of Grade 6 students explored Iroquois culture and sky science through printmaking. In 2014, four classes of Grade 5 students worked with ART 307 students to enhance their understanding of electricity and magnetism through explorations using theatre games, creative movement and animation. We suggest that engaging gifted middle school students in the arts can be a means to facilitate alternative learning methodologies in all subject areas, and provide necessary support in personality development.-Drawing Out Understanding: Arts-based learning and gifted children
"Escaping Group Think"
Most of Hitler’s inspiration came from a social psychologist by the name of Gustave Le Bon, who published several works and was considered an authority on the psychology of crowds. Le Bon posited that once individuals came together to form a group, the individual’s will was surrendered to what was perceived to be the will of the group. Their faculties of reasoning were impaired or destroyed, and they entered into a more suggestible state. The larger the group, the easier it was to coerce.
Le Bon theorised that the new entity, the "psychological crowd", which emerges from incorporating the assembled population not only forms a new body but also creates a collective "unconsciousness". As a group of people gather together and coalesces to form a crowd, there is a "magnetic influence given out by the crowd" that transmutes every individual's behaviour until it becomes governed by the "group mind". This model treats the crowd as a unit in its composition which robs every individual member of their opinions, values and beliefs; as Le Bon states: "An individual in a crowd is a grain of sand amid other grains of sand, which the wind stirs up at will".
Le Bon detailed three key processes that create the psychological crowd: i) Anonymity, ii) Contagion and iii) Suggestibility. Anonymity provides to rational individuals a feeling of invincibility and the loss of personal responsibility. An individual becomes primitive, unreasoning, and emotional. This lack of self-restraint allows individuals to "yield to instincts" and to accept the instinctual drives of their "racial unconscious". For Le Bon, the crowd inverts Darwin's law of evolution and becomes atavistic, proving Ernst Haeckel's embryological theory: "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny". Contagion refers to the spread in the crowd of particular behaviours and individuals sacrifice their personal interest for the collective interest. Suggestibility is the mechanism through which the contagion is achieved; as the crowd coalesces into a singular mind, suggestions made by strong voices in the crowd create a space for the racial unconscious to come to the forefront and guide its behaviour. At this stage, the psychological crowd becomes homogeneous and malleable to suggestions from its strongest members. "The leaders we speak of," says Le Bon, "are usually men of action rather than of words. They are not gifted with keen foresight... They are especially recruited from the ranks of those morbidly nervous excitable half-deranged persons who are bordering on madness."