Week 10: Meaning
Erik Erikson and Erich Fromm (Germans) --> Uniquely concerned with Identity
Uncertainty and self-responsibility : how are you going to decide what you want to be?
Identity vs. Escape from Freedom : most people avoid the question
Socially Mediated by Cultural Values, Narratives, and Practices: coming of age ceremony
(walkabout into the wild) how can i exist in this culture? What is my role with other people
5. Identity vs. Role Confusion
Adolescents and young adults try to figure out "who am i??" they establish sexual, ethnic, and
career identities, or are confused about what future roles play.
--> requires Crisis and commitment
Finding self, Piaget's formal operation
Marcia's identity statuses
Crisis --> (N) Diffusion Moratorium
Comitment (down)(y) forclosure Identity achieved
From success to integrity... The integrity shift --> mixed balance of efficacy and integrity for
undergrads but for older people have more integrity
Related to self realization and self actualization of Horney, Rogers and Maslow
Requires tolerance for anxiety, not repression
--> fixation on "excessively intense" extremes
Need for Self-Transcendence
Dark side of the American dream (fame and fourtune lead to unhappiness)
Competence/doing /what; autonomy/being/why
--> pride alienates people from others
--> pride ends up feeling empty and futile. All vanity.
--> uncertainty about what is worth doing. Angst!
Philosophy and religions
--> phenomena vs. ideals ; strive for something with our being
--> transcendent virtue
--> Hindu wants of humans as psychological stages (pleasure, success, duty, ideals (yogas))
Hope and meaning in life are associated with approach motivation, negatively with anxiety.
Seeking meaning is positively associated with both anxiety and with approach motivation.
Anxiety scales: anxious attachment, neuroticism, stress , BIS, rumination
Approach scales: promotion, power, BIS (not fun?)
What spurs the Quest for meaning?
boat heading for the falls and there's nothing i can do about it. Once you've woken up you can't
turn back. (Gilgamesh)
Despair (Bacon, 1944)
Angst (Much, 1893; Picason 1937)
Whats the point of living why bother? --> Guernica and the Scream
Existential Threat and Despair
Durkheim: "suicide" horzions need limits --> too many choices , can't take it Gilgamesh; Tolstoy and "Death of Ivan Ilych" --> spends his whole life being good and on his death
bed realizes that he "blew it" can't be who he wants to be.
Kierkegaard: existential guilt
James: "Skull will grin in at banquet" (running boy)
Sartre: "Existence precedes essence" (first we exist then we know what we are) radical freedom,
nausea (no sturdy ground to stand on) "bad faith" (forclosure) , "hell is others"(we can't fake we
have to choose) , existential masochism and sadism. Looking through a keyhole, someone opens
the door and someone sees you.
Fromm, Adorno: Authoritarian "Escape from Freedom: (link to Kohut and parenting) interviewed
people: what make people bigoted against people who are different, result from authoritarian
parenting. Doughnut self and hide hole with power and grandiosity.
Becker: "Denial of Death," "Prophets of Unrepression;" Worldview defense --> repression is the
only thing we've got. We need repression in order to adhere to our cultural values.
Goal threats and vigilant despair
Thought suppression: Ironic Processes and Rebound
Life stories 1) redemptive stories --> give back to societ