Individuality Is Universal by Stephen Raney


Existential psychology is defined and explored in terms of three basic factors:

1. Time and space;

2. Subject/object duality; and

3. Individual will.

Time and space are experienced physically through the senses of the individual; space in terms of the immediate environment, and time in terms of motion or change. They relate to the physical body and its integration into a physical environment. Biological facts such as genetic heritage need not be considered by the existing individual in good health. The thinker must be aware of his thoughts, since they are under his supervision, but he has no need to be aware of his brain activity, any more than a healthy person needs to be concerned with the activity of the gastric juices. The functioning of internal organs and systems is primarily automatic. He does, however, need to be aware of his immediate physical environment.

Consideration of the subject/object duality brings into focus the central significance of self-consciousness in all individual/social relations. Each individual is necessarily at the center of his or her own worldview, and every worldview belongs to an individual or individual group.

The will is related to the fact that we are not only conscious of ourselves and others within a changing environment, we act within that environment. Adler’s Individual Psychology is the most useful starting point for an understanding of the will, since he illuminates the action of the will in the existential context, even in the simplest childhood cases.

An assessment of circumstances and a consideration of others may or may not precede the action of the will. The will is individual and therefore as various in expression as the psychologies of which it is a part. In addition to the will to power, there is a will to love, a will to know, and many other expressions of the will, including some that are perverse.

Scientific psychology is critiqued from the existential perspective. It is central to the thesis of the writer that scientific psychology has demonstrated an obtuseness relative to existential facts. These are not of secondary interest but have primary significance in human existence.

The differences between "the two psychologies" are clarified, and this critique is extended, finally, to the evolutionary theories that are derived from each perspective. As existential psychology is conceived as the neutral ground between material and spiritual perspectives, there are not two but three classes of evolutionary theories to be considered: materialist, existential and spiritualist.

The significance of existential psychology can be seen in the fact that it is the ground of human judgment, relative to the more extreme perspectives. The value of any material science must be determined from the existential context of the present. Likewise, any “received wisdom” must find its validation in the context of existence.

Post a Comment

Share your thoughts with ANN..

Previous Post Next Post