The nature of civilization

The Nature of Civilization
Table of Contents
The Nature of Civilization
Paul Rosenfels
This page copyright 2002 Blackmask Online. The real question in thinking about the nature of civilization pertains to the issue of improving the quality ofman's interpersonal relationships. Will an expansion of the scientific base of human understanding make anydifference in the way people live? Time and time again society has been offered new insights into how to livebetter lives. These offerings come from philosophers, religious teachers, and political leaders. Within the lastcentury their numbers have been joined by professional and academic minds, purporting to apply scientifictradition to psychological matters. Within the limited world these would−be truth seekers operate, they offersociety relief from the struggle with the unknown. If one consents to live in a small enough psychological world,their hold on human insights develops a momentarily convincing clarity. They ask others to become true believersand thus receive the rewards of knowing with certitude what is true instead of being required to bear the stress ofsearching for what is true. As this process goes forward, schools of dogma develop which prove very useful tomany people in reducing inner stress. Because their beliefs make them feel better for the time being, it is easy forthem to believe that they are in the presence of objective truth.
It is impossible to use the scientific method when the thinker is guided by what he wants to believe instead ofmaking a full submission to the truth−seeking process. Civilized man has found it a necessary aspect of beingnormal to accept the standards of thinking and behaving imposed by the social system in which he lives. If hegoes outside this system his sense of being a well−adjusted person vanishes, and he becomes a maverick withattributes which he and others regard as strange, offbeat, and queer. The social system he requires himself toaccept is infiltrated with magical and miraculous mechanisms, which, when viewed from the outside, are based onignorance and immorality. To be well adjusted in such a human situation requires that both ignorance andimmorality pass unnoticed and unrecorded. In order that these negative forces remain unidentified, the place oftruth seeking is usurped by dogma and moral integrity must give way to authoritarianism. The primacy of truthand right becomes lost when the individual has a prior obligation to conventional normalcy and the rewards itbrings. It is apparent that this is a unique problem for psychological science. The scientist who deals with rocks,weather, chemicals, or stars has no such tyrannical pressure coming from his relationship with the world of theunknown.
How does it happen that a successful social adjustment requires of the individual that he defer to a monolithicsociety in establishing what is true and right in human relationships? What is the aspect of social stability whichmakes it appear to thrive on ignorant dogma and the use of arbitrary violence? The real sources of our social ills,including injustice, prejudice, international war, and the like, is to be found within each individual himself. Thereis something about the limitations man sets on his psychological growth which causes him to lose his way inunderstanding and controlling human nature.
The expansion of the self in awareness and ability is the only reliable source of inner identity and the sense ofpersonal importance which goes with it. When an individual continues to grow throughout a lifetime he stayspsychologically young and has access to an increasing sense of being valuable to others. The more a man has togive to others in a psychological way the more he is equipped to believe in love and responsible power in humanrelationships. Unfortunately self−development has a way of going astray. This happens because the search fortruth and right becomes a very heavy burden to the individual. Living in such a way as to bring awareness ofignorance and immorality continually into focus is a certain prescription for psychic exhaustion. The search fortruth and right must remain a harmonious process. The price of remaining rational and objective is to feel at homein the world. Making advances in conquering the unknown and chaotic in human affairs needs to be a palatablejob, in which the process itself is rewarding.
If a man is to maintain inner security and tranquillity of spirit as he faces the unknown in the humanpsychological scene, he must love his subject matter in the same way that creative scientific minds submit to thenature of reality in their pursuit of non−human truth. Arbitrary willfulness has no place in dealing with scientificinvestigations. Truth is not what you want it to be, but what you discover that it is. The introduction of seriousexperimentation is the key to modern scientific development. The objective entity which is the subject matterspeaks to the investigator and tells him what its nature is. There could be no science without the testing ofhypotheses against reality. The ability to set up experiments must contain the willingness to be proven wrong,otherwise the experiment is just a sham. In an experiment certain forces are set in motion under conditionsfavorable to observation and analysis. In interpersonal relationships such forces are constantly in motion. Findingan observation post where conceptual analysis can go forward is the task of the individual who would build ascience of human nature.
A well established inner identity is the key to psychological truth seeking. The individual must find innersecurity and peace of mind in living the life of a truth seeker in human affairs. He cannot guarantee himself thathe will find truth in any given situation simply because he has endured stress in the effort to find it. If hisfrustrations are not to mount in an exhausting fashion, the process itself must be rewarding. If he can see truth as avaluable commodity which enlarges his ability to give to other people, then the truth he has already stored in hispersonal reservoir is in no way lost because a new effort to expand understanding has gone astray. A truth seekerin the human arena comprehends the immensity of the task, and this is where his realization that he lives in anignorant and immoral world comes significantly to his aid. If he can see himself as a pioneer in a vague anddarkened land he will not turn his failures against himself. Success comes to him only when it does, and not asmeans of maintaining his mental health. The key to maintaining his inner identity is continuity in thetruth−seeking process. This continuity enables him to remain flexible in locating himself in the human scene sothat his human experiments can teach him what he wants to know. Continuity is contained within the capacity forthe kind of love which seeks to improve the lives of other people.
Love can work in a number of ways, but there are two aspects of love which are the most significant. The wordlove is used to describe feelings of warmth, tenderness, and fondness. Such love tranquilizes the self because ofits all−or−nothing non−judgmental quality. It is a direct avenue to a sense of cohesion with the world around theself. It takes the surface of events and experiences it at face value. It is an emotion accessible to all, bringingcontentment in its wake. It rejects problems and reduces hatred to a minimum. It is the kind of love cultivated by religion and has a great potential for resting the personality from stress. People use the emotion in a wide varietyof situations. A person may say he loves olives, baby ducks, beautiful scenery, the human race, or particularpeople.
The other kind of love is the kind that bears stress and goes to work in the human scene. It is a psychologicalstate which stores resources in the form of insights within the self for the sake of improving the lot of otherpeople. In this area, the more one has to give, the more one is able to love. The single most valuable human assetis the ability to attain adult psychological growth, and the accumulation of human knowledge and skill puts theindividual in a position to help other people live better lives. Building this accumulation can be called theworkmanship of love. It emerges from a background of tenderness and warmth but it is far more complex andfar−reaching than mere affection. It is hospitable to problems and it is at home with hate, because it is impossibleto see another person as a whole without hating those elements in him which obstruct his further development.
The ability to accept stress in this way has a tough quality, and this includes the willingness to raise the stresslevels of others.
The kind of love that feeds on truth must be highly selective in nature in a way that simple friendliness andwarmth never are. The build−up of insight into human nature can only be offered to people who want it, that is tosay, people who are open to the growth process. Truth has a chilling effect on people whose inner identity isattached to dogmatic error, and the repeated offering of truth to others in situations where truth is neither neededor wanted quickly brings exhausting strain to the personality. An exhausted individual cannot take part in the truthseeking process.
There is an impelling attraction to being the vehicle of truth and right in human affairs. It confers of theindividual a sense of personal importance which goes beyond any other aspect of psychological experience. Thereare influences at work in the civilized world which create ambition within the personality to be someone specialand unique in a valuable way to others, and this phenomenon lies at the heart of inner identity. This is a uniquelyhuman and civilized state of mind. Children are reared to believe in an important personal destiny for themselves,and when the demands of adult social adjustment blunt these aspirations, a life style depression settles down onthe personality which no amount of accomplishments in other ways can assuage.
The sense of personal importance has to do with the aspiration to contribute to the general welfare of mankind.
This means nothing less than to leave the world better off than it was before the individual lived. This is as closeas the individual can come to overcoming the finality of death, knowing that something of himself will live onafter him. In thus expanding man's storehouse of truth and right, he is employing psychological mechanismswhich parallel in significance ways the reproductive drives of the lower animals.
When lower animals come to biological maturity and mate, they pass into psychological territory which goesbeyond individual survival patterns on the one hand, and the pursuit of simple pleasures and enjoyments on theother. When reproduction takes over, the mated pair have undertaken to insure the survival of the species itself.
When species survival becomes more important than the fate of the individual, the evolutionary efficiency of thespecies is guaranteed. The whole process of courtship and mating is directed toward building up psychologicalsurpluses in each partner which will contribute to the nurture and protection of the young, and these forces arepowerfully motivated on an instinctual basis.
Nature lets nothing stand in the way of the inborn drive to species survival. There is an apparent paradox for civilized human beings, because as the individual organism goes down a path that looks like self−effacement,there is a mobilization of life energies which confers inner identity and an increased sense of personal importance.
The higher the level of efficiency in this mobilization, the greater is its impact on species survival. Nature cannotafford to place a full measure of importance on the life of the individual because more impelling levels offunctioning are at stake, but this mechanism changes in the case of the individual human being who becomes thecarrier of social progress.
Human beings have the same instinctual equipment as other animals, and if they attempt to ignore this fact inthe process of civilizing themselves, they pay a heavy tax in the compromise of their mental health. This is not asimple problem, because there are aspects of nature's reproductive package which can become a serious threat toman's need to build a harmonious and efficient social structure. Distortions in interpersonal relationships,stemming from primitive domain formation and the corruption and violence that go with it, become a new kind ofthreat to species survival.
When animals court and mate, the family unit becomes the center of their world. Parental capacity comessharply into focus and is held as a psychological reserve ready to be expended in the care of the young. Warmthand cohesion with other members of the species is only allowed of it does not interfere with the primacy of thenurture of the offspring. Cooperative pride which previously allowed individuals to live in harmony with theirfellow species members takes a back seat to the primacy of domain formation in which the male establishes hispossession of the female and the territory he deems defensible for the welfare of the family group. Thismechanism is subject of course to many variations, but the main outlines are clear. The male has become acompetitive animal who will fight to the death if necessary to maintain his dominance, and the female surrendersher right to freedom of mobility in favor of a marked intensification of warmth and security. When such patternsare transferred literally into the civilized human scene they are not harmonious with a stable social environment.
In the lower animals, the mated female knows only one truth, that she finds her whole being in her attachment tothe domain, and the mated male knows only one form of right, strength, and integrity, that he defend his domainagainst all threats. If he does have to submit to superior physical force, his spirit is broken.
A major area of conflict within the personalities of civilized human beings is to be found in the disharmonywhich develops between their biological heritage and their social needs. Their reproductive psychologicalmechanisms push them toward domain formation in which the mated unit takes precedence over everything else,while at the same time their desire to find personal importance through the pursuit of human truth and socialmorality draws them into an entirely different world. This struggle creates free−floating stresses which underminemental health. Civilized mankind is really not at home with being civilized. There is no doubt that men wish tobuild a society guided by love and social responsibility. At the same time it is very clear that too often they cannotfind full acceptance of their own natures, feeling that their real selves are at war with their ideals. Man is stillsearching for the psychological tools to harmonize his nature with his noble social purposes, and thus make hisworld a worthy place for men to live in, consistent with the mental health of all.
The heart of the biologically dictated mated relationship lies in the union that is formed between submissionand dominance. Each individual organism finds a way to expand itself beyond the limits of its previously knownidentity, which formerly rested merely on the survival of the individual and on the simple pleasures andenjoyments of the life process. Each of the partners expands in such a way as to accept incompleteness, and then banishes the incompleteness through union with each other. Obviously then the incompleteness must be differentin each and polar in nature. Dominance and submission are mixed in any organism. For submission to become thesource of inner identity in one partner, dominance must be given second place in that individual, and vice versa.
These pure psychological states are used for mating and maintaining the surpluses in warmth and pride which arechanneled into the rearing of the young. The mixing of submissive and dominant capacities remains accessible toeach individual for survival needs and for other purposes which lie outside the mated drive. Nature is not casualconcerning the survival of the species. The drives involved are extremely strong, and unlike strong drivesassociated with individual survival, like fear and rage, they are endowed with harmonious stress bearingcapacities and, at times, intense pleasure and vigorous enjoyment.
The transition from individual to species survival brings any organism into a higher level of functioning. Theaspirations of civilized human beings toward truth and morality are functions of this higher level. The thing thathas made the development of scientific thinking possible is the devotion to truth for its own sake. This capacityrests on the surrender of willfulness in thinking. It is not the mental agility of the thinker and the attractiveness ofhis rhetorical flow which matters, but rather a genuine submission to the data of the reality of his subject matter.
He loves his subject matter and accepts dictation from it without loss of self−esteem. There is a similarpsychological situation in the pursuit of integrity and morality. These virtues come into being when individualsare able to surrender access to easy contentment with its automatic acceptance of benevolent feelings, and setforth to develop new modalities of mastery. When a man is committed to morality, he does not ask who is right,but what is right. Only in this context can personal vanity be banished. This process brings constructive power tothe individual, cleansed of posturing and violence. He allows the real nature of the thing manipulated to speak tohim. He develops skills and methods which are experimental and inventive, taking their form from the nature ofthe thing being manipulated.
Man with his higher cortical capacities has brought something new into existence in the evolutionary process.
He is something more than a superior version of his ape−like ancestors. Civilized man has learned to specializehis personality and through this process has developed inner identity and personal life style. This specializationarises from family influences and is not dictated by the biological division between male and female but does takeadvantage of man's biological capacity to utilize the mated mechanism. The instinctive capacity for submissionand dominance remain, but they become channeled by the influences at work in the rearing process so thatsubmission is no longer bound to biological femininity, nor is dominance inevitable to biological masculinity.
This process of character specialization has made it possible for men to devote their lives on a priority basis tothe higher psychological functions of promoting the progress of mankind through the development of human truthand right. These entities are pursued for their own sake, being recognized as assets to be stored as preciouspossessions, potentially available to all, ready to be used when their meaning and value become apparent inovercoming human difficulties. When a man accepts submission to the truth seeking process, or the kind of moraldominance which builds modalities of mastery, he is employing mated mechanisms toward the human sceneitself.
The search for truth and right are the highest psychological functions of man's civilized personality. When heis able to accept the importance of these undertakings on a priority basis, his own sense of personal importanceenters that expanded area which runs parallel to the drive toward species survival in the lower animals. Once men have experienced this kind of personal importance, it becomes a force they will protect and defend at all costs. Ifthey have once known such aspirations but then abandoned them in deference to the monolithic influences ofsociety, men are condemned to adjusting to a life style depression. Much of the troubles of civilization come fromthe pressured attempts of individuals to coverup and deny the existence of this depression.
Submission and dominance, when they are voluntarily chosen by individuals because they are the tools of ahigher order of self−importance, become a lifetime commitment. There is no way to search for truth and rightwithout being at home in the process. It is the character of the individual which sets him on the path which makestruth his master, or the right his garden of opportunity. Without character specialization there is no way to enterthis land of higher psychological function.
What character specialization does is provide an open ended search for self−development which has thepotential for lasting an entire lifetime. As the individual accumulates more insights into the human scene, andmore skills in controlling human interactions, the nature and direction of his personal attachments changes. Manis the only animal whose growth continues beyond biological maturity on a major scale. The primary source ofhuman truth lies in self−knowledge, and of human morality in self−control. Knowing and handling oneselfbecomes the essential tool in studying and experimenting in the human scene. This process requires great innerindependence in which the individual is guided by his personal responsibility for his own mental health. When anindividual has set his feet firmly on a path of continuing psychological growth, he does not assume thatmonolithic social forces will guarantee him a good life. He accepts the necessity of adjusting to the society inwhich he finds himself, but the search for contentment, happiness, and the fulfillment of his great need to leavehis mark upon the world are his own undertakings.
The tenacity and drive behind nature's domain formation owes its impelling quality to its instinctive roots.
Natural selection has protected and developed these instincts because of their effect on species survival. In thecase of civilized man, however, successful interpersonal relationships and stable social organization take over thepromotion of species survival, and these processes have no such elemental instinctual origins. If the personaldomain were to function in the human scene according to the basic biological model, the primary quality of theindividual's relationship to mankind as a whole would be destroyed. Once the domain mechanism has come intooperation, any living thing which lies outside that psychologically defined area loses any claim to empathy orcooperation. The price of warmth and pride reactions within the domain is the absolute exclusion of thosereactions toward anything which lies outside it. The power responses to the outsider are not the kind ofconstructive ones which build skills in controlling an expanding world, but rather are menacing, threatening,angry, and violent ones. The empathetic or love responses are not guided by the kind of understanding andsensitivity which increases knowledge of a bigger world, but turn readily into aversion, disgust, hatred, andavoidance.
It would be easy to assume, as many have, that man's instinctive capacity for primitive domain formationcreates an inevitable war with his higher social nature. This erroneous assumption underlies Freud's conception ofa primitive Id being held in check through repression by a prohibitionistic superego. Such simplistic assumptionsignore the fact that instinctive drives, no matter how powerful they may be, can be altered in the direction inwhich they are expressed. If man's instinctual resources are blunted by prohibition, the personality loses fullaccess to the zest of living. When the process of civilization provides men with the opportunity to find new pathways of expression of their animal natures, a constructive fusion between apparently conflictful elementsbecomes possible. The most important alteration in the direction of instinctual drives is to be found in the patternsof submission and dominance, which are no longer tied to gender. In the civilized world, under the influence ofpatterns of rearing, some males have submissive characters, some dominant, and the same is true of females. Thedirection of the instinct changes, but the importance of the instinct itself, which has the content of reaching ahigher level of functioning through either submission or dominance, does not. As the psychological forcesestablishing and maintaining the family move out of the architecture of the primitive domain, the need to find anoutlet for the same instinctual capacities remains, guided by man's search for personal importance.
The surpluses in warmth and pride which are generated by the domain mechanism are directed by civilizedman toward the life process itself. As men accumulate more human truth they are better able to love others,because truth is a tool which enables the individual to go beyond simple warmth into the workmanship of love, inwhich he is able to contribute to the mental health of others. There is no gift which love has to give which cancompare in impact and importance to the guiding of others to a psychological place where their inner potentialscan be better realized. The same is true of constructive power which goes beyond simple pride to make thosehigher commitments to the welfare of others that only human skill can make real. Growth in the adult stage is thedirect expression of the love of others in this higher sense, or in the case of power, the acceptance of the humanscene as an opportunity to develop mastery. When a man's identity is anchored in the growth process, tomorrowalways promises something more than yesterday, and it can be truly said that the individual is living in anexpanding world. Such a world has qualities of freshness and aliveness, and is the only guarantee of eternal youth.
The shifting of the domain mechanism from the mated union to the relationship with life itself and theconsequent priority of the growth process raises havoc with certain forms of stability which were formerly guidedby biological mechanisms. The nurture and protection of the young no longer occurs automatically but becomes asocial goal reinforced by social beliefs and customs. The place of sexuality, and its accompanying surplusexpression of power, which will be called celebration, is no longer located firmly within the mated mechanism,but is set loose to operate essentially without guidance, accessible to anyone as a source of pleasure andenjoyment. To correct for the instability which this situation produces, society erects a system of prohibitions andpermissive patterns intended to prevent the overflow of sex and celebration into psychological areas where theyhave an upsetting effect. Men recognize that the atmosphere of shame surrounding sexuality is not natural andhealthy, but at the same time the evidence of their senses shows them that mindless permissiveness in this areaundermines much that is best in human nature. It is equally true that guilt about man's celebrative capacitiesundermines independence and strength, but the reckless overflow of these tendencies is not compatible withconstructive human purposes.
Sexuality and celebration are one aspect of man's capacity for pleasure and enjoyment. The drives involved arebiologically structured to have an impelling quality. They are a special case within their class of pleasure andenjoyment, and no other experience resembles them. Whereas man can remain rational in giving up certaininaccessible pleasures, secure in the knowledge that he will find others, sexuality, once set in motion, has thepotential for taking over the whole personality.
The triggering mechanism for sexuality is the ability to receive a sudden and unstructured flood of warmthwithin the self without any preset limits. Celebration is released by an equally precipitous and unstructured flood of pride. When sex and celebration are interacting with each other, each is reinforced and amplified. Because ofthe all−or−none quality of these experiences, the surface architecture of the real world goes out of focus in favorof the full expression of the sexual and celebrative drives. When submissive and dominant partners are paired, thesexual accessibility of the submissive partner arouses sexuality in the other. Similarly, the celebrative display ofthe dominant partner releases celebration in the other. Together they go into an encapsulated world which ispervasively romantic and adventuresome in tone. The dominant one is endowed with unqualified beauty, thesubmissive one with unquestioned goodness. It is a safe and healthy place for the helplessness which sex induces,and for the recklessness which characterizes celebration.
It is manifestly impossible for a mated pair to dwell permanently in an encapsulated state in which the realworld is out of focus. Its very intensity and vigor give it the psychic force it possesses but also dictates that it be atransitional phase. Nature regulates this mechanism through the seasonal sexual accessibility of the female. Thereare similar but less well defined phases in the male. Sex and celebration give way to warmth and pride surpluseswhich are available in a very real and focused way in the care of the young.
Civilized man has a full measure of sexual and celebrative capacities, but they are no longer tied to primitivemated mechanisms. This means that he must make choices in finding a place for these forces within hispersonality, and these choices must be guided by his need to find inner harmony. His personality has well definedcompartments, and he cannot find mental health unless each part of himself finds adequate expression. Man has acapacity to fall in love, utilizing high levels of his romantic and adventuresome spirit, and this gives him access tohis sexual and celebrative nature. He also has gregarious capacities in which warmth and pride interactions withothers are used for simple pleasure and enjoyment, and in this compartment sexual and celebrative overflowbecomes a disruptive force. He also has those higher psychological functions which establish his inner identityand set his feet on a path of lifetime growth, reaching for truth and moral integrity. In this psychic area he utilizesmechanisms which have a mated structure, running parallel to that phase of animal mating which is non−sexualand non−celebrative. Out of man's love affair with the life process itself comes the kind of love which labors tofind wisdom in the psychic interests of others, and the kind of constructive power, guided by integrity and honor,which develops the resources it exploits. It is love divested of self−serving, and power which does not knowvanity.
It is in the nature of the romantic and adventuresome spirit that it is vulnerable to flooding rushes of tensionand energy. These rushes are rooted in sex and celebration, and such experiences are sought for their own sake.
When they are kept in a place which does not overwhelm the rest of the personality they confer a sense of intenseself−validation and freedom. Such experiences increase the sense of independence of the individual, and enablehim to feel at home with the purely emotional and animal part of himself. Although man needs this familiaritywith his sexual and celebrative nature, these impelling forces cannot be allowed to obscure his ability to keep thesurface of the world around him in focus. His life of simple pleasure and enjoyment can only flourish when he canaccept stimulation by ordinary things. Therefore sex and celebration belong in their own pocket, part of his life ofpleasure and enjoyment, but different from the embracing of the surface architecture of the world which is guidedby warmth and pride.
When warmth and pride are in full operation, the problems and obstacles of daily life temporarily disappearfrom the horizon, and it is as if the individual were dwelling in a perfect world. The romantic spirit finds beautywhere none existed before, and the spirit of adventure confers goodness on formerly indifferent circumstances andevents. The individual rearranges the world, not by actually altering it, but rather through the way he sees it andthrough the stance he takes in it. It is the place for the magical and the miraculous in the human psyche. Itsmechanisms take their origin in the fantasy and play of childhood. When this area of human experience is well developed, the individual is able to feel vibrantly alive in the moment, and there is a strong uncritical acceptanceof his own nature. The romantic spirit is carried by man's ability to idealize people and things, and it has a heroworshiping structure. The adventuresome spirit rests on the ability to convert neutral circumstances intoexploitable entities, carried by the individual's sense that the world belongs to him.
Since sex and celebration in civilized human beings are continuing psychic resources, not automaticallysubject to phasic confinement by biological means, it becomes the psychological task of human beings to locatethem in a place compatible with mental health. Individuals have in general three alternatives. They canindependently use these surpluses in a way chosen by themselves, accepting the primitive emotionality andexcitement of these states as a means of enlivening the personality, but avoiding the kind of overflow whichdamages their ability to deal with external reality. The second alternative is the espousal of primitive matedmechanisms, in which case they can only deal with a partial and compromised reality, since the failure to relateconstructively to human forces outside the domain brings them in conflict with man's higher human purposes. Thethird alternative, and the one most characteristic of the civilized world, is to abandon self−awareness andself−control in favor of institutionalized patterns of prohibition and permission. Society's pressures in this area areexerted with great dogma and authority, operating through the channel of what is declared to be normal andnatural. Those who deviate are subject to internal pressures of shame and guilt, often of extreme and disablingdegree.
Society's regulation of man's images of what is normal sexual and celebrative experience is intended tomaintain the stability of family life and the superstructure of social beliefs and institutions in general. It is a forcelimiting the psychological independence of human beings. Any challenge issued by the individual in this area isreceived by the monolithic social structure as revolutionary in implications. Society has developed a complexnetwork of patterns of interaction which are taken to be self−evident and inevitable. Instead of nature'smechanism of interaction between submission and dominance, which in the primitive state leads to matedrelationships with a simple and spontaneous overflow of sexual and celebrative experience, these surpluses arearbitrarily assigned to the institution of marriage. When they are expressed outside of family life, a parallel patternof regulation continues, based on socially dictated roles which are assigned on a gender basis. What has happenedas a result of man's dependence on these social influences is that the sexual and celebrative capacities have beenlargely incorporated into man's adaptive life. He is required to adjust to what society tells him is normal. If hisinner self steers him in another direction, he has a problem to cope with which has adaptive or survivalimplications. He has a double task, to block the deviant path, and espouse the one anointed as correct.
Much of society's effort to channel sex and celebration is only partially effective, but it is given an imposingsuperstructure which banishes deviant tendencies to dark closets of secrecy, or utilizes a general agreement not tonotice what is going on. Institutionalized patterns are idealized as conferring a kind of inevitability and perfectionthey do not have, and deviations are acceptable provided the individual feels he is doing wrong and does not bringhis behavior out in the open.
Society relies heavily on established roles for men and women in its attempt to channel the surpluses. In orderto accomplish this, inner identity is thrust aside in favor of elaborate patterns of what masculine or femininenature is supposed to be. Using primitive models as a guide, all men are endowed with assertive natures and allwomen with yielding ones. The dominant and submissive interaction is converted into a socially reinforced game which is played out for the erotic and euphoric energy it can liberate. Women are regarded as soft, gentle,superficial, helpless, and clinging, and men are endowed with toughness, seriousness of posture, recklessness, andchivalry toward women. Women become victims of the male need to demonstrate sexual potency. The sex actbecomes a demonstration of a pseudo−masculine identity, instead of an overflow of an already established inneridentity. Male chauvinism and its macho patterns become part of man's adaptive life and the failure of thesepatterns is taken to be a crushing blow to masculinity. In a similar vein, women find pseudo−identity inhelplessness, demonstrating their femininity in the competence of their sexual service to men, as well as in thelevel of ability they reach in the laundry, the kitchen, and servile activities in general. If their loyalty to the systembreaks down through awareness of victimization, the consequences are taken to be a loss of feminine status.
Men are further burdened by the social roles they play in the area of career. Upward mobility in the job marketwith its increasing accumulation of prestige is taken to be evidence of masculine adequacy, and this includesbeing a superior provider for wife and children. It is in the nature of adaptive life that success in meeting adaptivechallenges should be its own end. The willing multiplication of adaptive stresses as a means of conferringpsychological importance puts individuals in a rat race that has no end. No matter how many adaptive successesthe individual accumulates, they leave no residue in the personality. The adaptations of yesterday cannot meet thechallenges of today. Above and beyond man's willingness to bear disharmonious stress in meeting practicalproblems must be some other area or compartment of the self where he can bear stress harmoniously. He choosessuch activities for the sake of his self−expression and self−validation, and this compartment is characterized bythe growth of his human capacities. The only sure source of inner identity is to be found in the psychologicaldevelopment of human truth and right, because in this area he finds the ability to make a significant and lastingimpact on the mental health and welfare of others.
Adaptive adequacy hinges on keeping practical realities in focus, and this requires an acceptance of conditionsthat actually exist, whereas inner identity can only flourish when the individual is free to involve himselfselectively with that part of the human environment which is favorable to the deepening and broadening of hishuman capacities. Adaptation is competitive in quality, creating a situation where the individual is out to get all hecan for himself. This is a perfectly legitimate need in itself, and only becomes a source of psychic exhaustionwhen success or failure becomes the carrier of the individual's sense of his personal value. Contentment andhappiness are states of mind which any individual has the right to experience, above and beyond the success ofany particular practical undertaking. Excessive psychic investment in the pseudo−identity which comes fromcompetitive career activities undermines the individual's access to his own elemental human qualities. Whenadaptive life expands its influence in an insatiable and machine−like way, individuals cannot recognize theexistence of an inner core of either submission or dominance in their personalities. Whether one submits ordominates in the practical sphere depends entirely on what works. Effective adaptation dictates these responses,not the inner need for self−development and self−expression. Adaptive social behavior resembles the peckingorder in certain animal societies where the individual is submissive to some and dominant to others. This patternof interaction has nothing to do with the civilized human capacity to maintain a fixed inner identity throughout alifetime.
The ability to build a storehouse of human truth and moral integrity is the sole force capable of conferring thesense of personal importance which civilized personalities seek. This is the psychologically creative compartment of the self which must be well developed if other compartments are to be kept in their place. In the absence ofthese identity giving experiences, false meaning and value tend to flood over everything else. Not only doescareer identity usurp the place which belongs to man's elemental human capacities, but the same kind of drivenand pressured distortion invades his life of pleasure and enjoyment. The more stress human beings accept, andthis includes the harmonious stresses accompanying the desire to use love and personal responsibility in seriousways to reshape the human world, the more psychological rest they require if they are to avoid psychicexhaustion. A very substantial part of man's tenancy on earth is devoted to building up his capacity to find thosestates of mental peace, calm, and spontaneous naturalness which banish cares and problems for the time being.
Within this compartment he feels elemental, simple, and ordinary. He wants access to the same sources ofpleasure and enjoyment which are potentially available to all men. Within the scope of such experiences he canlike and enjoy life without further proof to anyone of his right to exist. He finds in this compartment the sourcesof contentment and happiness. If he is living under the weight of a driven need to make his life of pleasure andenjoyment unique and a falsely meaningful aspect of identity, he falls victim to embellishments which underminesimplicity and naturalness. Instead of finding warmth and pride in ordinary things out of his own resources, hesurrenders his independence in this area to socially reinforced patterns of what it is to have a good time. Thesepatterns come to him as a monolithic influence, set up by a society which is attempting to cover up the chroniclatent exhaustion of its members.
The spreading out of man's inner core of identity into his adaptive life and into his life of psychic rest accountsfor much of the fatigue and boredom which exists in the civilized world. It is hard for a person to deal withadaptive reality objectively when he is under pressure to prove himself all the time. The healthy model foradaptive success requires that the individual be just a person, using submission or dominance according to theneeds of the situation. He allows external circumstances to dictate the pattern of his responses because his onlygoal in that compartment of himself is to be effective. He cannot develop his adaptive insights and skills freely ifhis inner needs are obliterating his acquaintance with reality. There is really only one way to escape from aburning building, or to drive a nail, or to cross the street without being run over, and that is the way that works.
Reality creates problems and obstacles for the individual and this impact brings disharmonious stress and strain.
His job is to bear that stress without allowing it to balloon out of proportion, accepting the reward which comesfrom the sense of accomplishment as sufficient compensation for his efforts.
Psychic rest can only perform its function when it is free of problems and obstacles. Through his independentability to endow mundane and ordinary events with pleasure and enjoyment, the individual creates for himself atemporary world which has the quality of completeness. Again, the model requires that the individual be just aperson. If his style of enjoyment becomes a matter of personal superiority and prestige, simple tranquility cannotbe found.
In the world of pleasure and enjoyment, man is free to deal with reality in his own way, choosing thosefeelings and interactions which feed his warmth and pride. Because he accepts simplicity and the commonplace,he can convert otherwise neutral experiences into happenings which stimulate his affectionate nature and hisreadiness to accept self−confident excitement. Through his own inner resources he injects novelty into ordinarythings. His ability to find simple beauty and goodness in this way enables him to throw off the burdens of thestresses of living and share with others his basic humanity. These faculties give automatic access to contentmentand happiness and give the personality a place of rest from which worry and loneliness can be banished. Suchcapacities are well developed in psychologically healthy children, but often become remote or lost in adults.
Whereas the child can count on the parental function to protect him from exhausting stresses, the independentadult must find sufficient self−awareness and self−control to set up such functions for himself. The world of pleasure and enjoyment is in some sense like a child's fantasy and play world. It is colored and energized byromantic and adventuresome states, but this is romance protected from sexuality and adventure separated fromcelebrative overflow. The success of such states requires that the world be kept clearly in focus, but this focus ison the surface architecture of people and things. If interactions go deeper or farther than this, tranquility issacrificed.
Civilized man lacks enough access to self−knowledge and self−control to establish the independence he needsto protect and promote his own mental health. The individual, and the individual alone, is ultimately responsiblefor perceiving and dealing with those distortions of his human capacities which undermine the quality of hisparticipation in the life process. Too often he cannot heed the evidence of his senses when fatigue, boredom, andultimate exhaustion have encroached in the areas that at first seemed to promise so much in the way of personalrewards. The reason for this lies in the seduction and intimidation of the individual by monolithic social forceswhose sole intent is to maintain social stability at all costs. Although the individual is led to believe that the socialsuperstructure is established for his benefit, this is only true for those individuals who have surrendered theirability to perceive ignorance and immorality in the human scene. Once the individual's search for a better lifeleads him to question cherished beliefs and established authority, society's view of what is true and right operateslike a mindless automaton, careless of the welfare of the individual. A so−called normal adjustment requires ofthe individual that he take for granted the latent exhaustion of living, coping with it by building up high levels ofemotional zest in areas of self−importance dictated by society. The rewards that come from false emphasis onidentity through career, and on the embellishments favored by society in the finding of pleasure and enjoyment,put the individual on an endless track of driven experience. He cannot stop running because his life styledepression would then surface in a numbing way. This kind of coping puts man in a race to the grave, intent onreaching the end without falling apart. Instead of pride in his humanity and in the fact that he will leave the worlda better place than he found it, he must take pride in being a survivor in a world of mysterious hostile forces.
The pleasure and enjoyment that attract the most false embellishments are to be found in the areas ofbiologically rooted intensity and vigor. Warmth and pride bring to men the highest levels of emotional zest. Adistinction must be made between the kind of warmth which confers inner contentment and security and the kindof love which requires of the individual that he store tools of understanding through his own growth process,ready to aid selected persons in improving the quality of their lives. Love which is prepared to do work in theworld is motivated by warmth but is a larger and deeper experience because of its intimate involvement withtruth. Truth, once found, gains an objective existence, and the ability to offer it requires a toughness which is aliento simple warmth. The workmanship of love has a probing and confronting nature in which the effort to reachanother person takes precedence over immediate comfort and tranquility. Love of this kind bears high levels ofstress, albeit harmoniously.
There is also a distinction to be made between the kind of pride which generates inner happiness and lighthearted freedom and the kind of personal power which leads to the accumulation of techniques of mastery throughthe growth process of the individual. Personal power operates through unqualified commitment to the welfare ofother people. It is motivated by pride but it is a larger and broader experience because of its enduring involvementwith moral integrity. Once morality is found it has an objective existence and the ability to offer it requires thekind of sensitivity to the materials being manipulated which is alien to simple pride. Like the workmanship oflove, the commitments of power reach high levels of harmonious stress within the personality, and this psychicstate takes precedence over simple spontaneity and willfulness. It is these stress filled states which are the truesources of self−validation and inner identity.
Simple warmth and pride belong to the compartment of the self which rejects stress and its accompanyingsense of incompleteness. This compartment is the resting phase of the personality and is characterized by pleasureand enjoyment. No matter what stresses exist in other compartments of the personality, a well established restingphase guarantees the individual a psychological place where he can feel thoroughly at home in the world. Loveand personal power, on the other hand, accept stress and take their being in incompleteness. Devotion to truthimplies a willingness to face the unknown. The more an individual understands, the better able he becomes to askquestions which cannot be answered without further development of his psychic resources. A wise person isaware of his own ignorance, but he also knows that he understands more than he did before, and further that he isbetter placed than those around him who are still imbedded in ignorance. In a similar fashion, adherence to thesearch for the right implies the ability to stand up to the chaotic in human affairs. The more responsibility theindividual takes, the more enterprising he becomes in recognizing obstacles, and this recognition operates as achallenge to his growth capacities. A person of moral integrity is aware of his own weaknesses, but he knows heis stronger than he was before and that he is different from those around him whose sense of morality is lessdeveloped than his.
The failure of civilized men to recognize clear differences between warmth and the creative workmanship oflove, and between pride and the creative commitments of power, has the dual effect of devaluing human truth andright and imposing a weight of pseudo−importance on warmth and pride which is destructive of their simple andtranquil nature. Once truth and right have faded out of the picture, men proceed as if they did not exist. Thezestful pleasure of intense experiences of warmth is taken to be the entire architecture of love, and high levels ofthe enjoyment of pride are granted the status of personal power. Because of the semantic confusion about whatlove and power are, these concepts are much talked about but little analyzed as if they were obvious entitieswhich can safely be taken for granted. In this psychologically simplistic world, intense levels of fondness,affection, and friendliness mean love, and vigorous levels of possessiveness, protectiveness, and caring meanpersonal power. The essentially surface nature of warmth and pride reactions is not comprehensible under suchconditions. People automatically know what love is by what they feel, and what responsibility is by the moodengendered when they experience a caring attitude. Such a psychological system dooms men to live in a worldmuch too small to deal with human ignorance and immorality.
The sharing of surface warmth and pride interactions brings contentment and happiness to the human scene. Itis an atmosphere much needed by children because they are unable to bear high levels of harmonious stress.
When adults mistake fondness for the serious work of love, and caring for the serious process of takingresponsibility, they are reduced to the psychological position of children in that they are unprepared to give toothers when stressful elements enter human relationships. Love which has mostly a content of simple affectioncannot handle the stress introduced by hate, nor can responsibility which is mostly possessiveness handle thestress brought into being by anger. Yet if love is to be taken seriously in its function of offering guidance to thedevelopment of another person, it must be able to hate those rigidities and inadequacies in another which are abarrier to his development. This is not hatred for the whole person, but only for those defensive elements in hisnature which undermine the quality of life for him and block the communication of truth. Similarly, a responsibleperson needs to be able to experience anger toward weaknesses in another without losing the sense of constructivecommitment to his welfare. The person who is giving in this situation cannot allow his moral integrity to beundermined.
Since mankind will never agree to give up the word love where simple affection is meant, or the sense ofresponsibility where simple caring is being experienced, it will be useful to speak of two dimensional love incontrast to three dimensional love, and similarly for power. Two dimensionality is surface, simple, restful, free ofstress, and complete in itself, and should not confer inner identity on the personality. Three dimensionality takesits being in harmonious stress, is in its nature incomplete, and utilizes the civilized human capacity for storingtruth and right. It is the only ultimate source of man's need for self−importance.
Valuable as two dimensional experience is for the personality, it cannot be sent to do the work that requires ahigher form of self−preparation. The main source of ignorance and immorality in the civilized world is to befound in the excessive romantic and adventuresome haze which surrounds the serious aspects of humanrelationships. When men have allowed complacency and innocent naivete to shape their image of the world forthem, the emergence of challenging problems and obstacles has a chilling effect on the personality. Instead of aprior preparation for building the assets that will be required for meeting such challenges, the individual findshimself facing mysterious forces that appear only unknown and chaotic. It is too late, once trouble has come, tobegin to prepare for dealing with it. Staring into a fog gives no insights into anything, and the more the individualis exposed to such experiences, the nearer to exhaustion the personality finds itself. In the presence of exhaustion,the personality no longer deals with reality but is forced to find defenses against invasive anxiety and unsettlingdepersonalization. At this point abject helplessness and mindless recklessness take over. These states are notsubject to rational evaluation because they have an emergency function. A man does not have to prove his right tokeep his personality from disintegrating. The problem that he is solving is not one out in the world, but theinternal one generated by rising nameless fear and unanchored rage. No matter how many corrupt and violentprocesses are released by the presence of psychic exhaustion, the individual need never accept personalaccountability, because he can always plead self−defense. If there is no choice, truth and right cannot function.
Because there is so much that is helpless and reckless in the civilized human scene, mankind is forced to adapt tothe presence of these phenomena, regarding them as inevitable aspects of human nature.
If men are to keep truth and right in focus, and properly prepare themselves for three dimensional love andpower relationships, the compartment of their personalities which confers contentment and happiness needs to bevery fully developed. In quantitative terms, man needs far more tranquility and rest in his life than he does theserious confronting of major problems and obstacles. Each person must learn to recognize the signs andsymptoms of approaching exhaustion in himself and cut off the stress bearing process for the time being. Heneeds to avoid the helpless and reckless reactions which exhaustion brings. In their presence there can be nostorage of an ever increasing supply of human insights and skills. Even though pleasure and enjoyment occupy afar bigger space in the personality than serious psychological effort, it is quite possible for them to exist side byside without encroachment if the existence of compartments within the personality is understood. When eachcompartment is functioning in a healthy fashion, pleasure and enjoyment justify themselves by the fullness of theimmediate and concrete satisfaction that they bring. They are their own end, and once the gratifications have beenreached they are let go of, and leave no significant residue behind. The serious building of wisdom and strength,on the other hand, becomes imbedded in the inner identity of the self and can be counted on to be accessible to thepersonality whenever need for these assets emerges. The search for truth and right flows from yesterday intotomorrow. The life of contentment and happiness is just for today.
When pleasure and enjoyment are happening they fill every cranny of the personality and are the means forfeeling at peace with life and at home with the self. When the personality turns toward its stress bearing functionsand accepts incompleteness, a different kind of relationship with the world must come into focus if the stress is toremain harmonious. It is impossible to grow if the individual remains firmly fixed in the same old humanattachments. An increasing capacity for wisdom and strength can only be sought harmoniously if there are thosewho need and want these human assets. New access to truth and right can only be offered to others who arethemselves open to the growth process, and this means finding individuals who are genuinely dissatisfied withsome aspects of their human condition. Growth implies a kind of death of part of the self, and sends the individualinto new territory which at first is at least touched by the unfamiliar and the strange. This dislocating effect canonly be handled by persons who can tolerate independence, and although people who grow side by side can helpeach other, this help is directed toward increasing the independence of each. They cannot accept permanentdependence of the kind that monolithic social forces require.
In the search for a widening and deepening human world, a well developed life of psychic rest plays anecessary part. Since it is impossible to get serious with others out of a one sided need for this kind ofself−expression, the individual needs much human contact if he is to select those individuals who are receptive tothe best in himself. Well developed warmth and pride interactions socialize the personality. They are a kind of netwhich draws an undifferentiated collection of other personalities into surface focus, and it is from this aggregatethat the work of selection can go forward.
The social system sets arbitrary limits on the independent warmth and pride interactions of civilized humanbeings. Society attempts to dictate the patterns in which people express surface affection and cooperation. Whenthe two dimensional nature of these interactions is misunderstood, they are endowed with an importance they donot have. Emotional openness toward other people becomes dangerous when it challenges society's image of thevarious socially dictated roles which people play. What is fitting and proper in the expression of warmth and prideis infiltrated with a maze of customs and conventions. The regulation of these experiences becomes part of theimage of what it is to be a man or a woman, what it is to be a father or mother, and what it is to live up to a careeridentity, among many other interactions. The net effect is to deprive the individual of independent access tocontentment and happiness. He accepts instruction from a social system as to the means of finding pleasure andenjoyment. He finds himself adapting to external forces in an area of experience which should have come to himout of his own inner resources. The disharmonious stress thus created is alien to simplicity and naturalness, andmust be covered by artificial embellishments. Zest levels are raised high by the pressured and driven pursuit ofsensuality and euphoria. Such experiences become a defense against depression but fail to bring the tranquilityand rest that the personality needs. The false search for self−importance in this area becomes a will−o−the−wispreceding always into the distance, and the only harvest the individual reaps is to feel cheated by the experienceswhich seemed to promise the most.
When men undertake to find truth and right on their own, they must find a corresponding independence in theirwarmth and pride reactions. Without this access to a self−generated source of contentment and happiness, psychicexhaustion becomes inevitable. The more complexity the individual accepts in bearing harmonious stress and theincompleteness which goes with it, the more elemental simplicity he needs in his life of pleasure and enjoyment.
As men pursue warmth and pride in an independent way, they find themselves in opposition to automatic socialroles in general. The aspect of this situation which raises the most havoc in growing personalities is the rejectionof sexual roles in particular. The most tyrannical of society's intrusions on the inner psychological life of man is to be found in the area of sexual and celebrative feeling and behavior. When a man seeks sexuality out ofpsychological processes which come naturally and honestly from his inner self, free from social programming, hefinds himself challenging a social superstructure which purports to protect and defend social stability itself, andespecially the stability of family life. Such a situation chills the capacity of men to contribute to social progress,making social stability a higher value than working toward bringing a better human world into existence for allmen. Sexual and celebrative difficulties are the Achilles heel of society. They are a hypersensitive area which,once disturbed, appears to threaten the downfall of those meanings and values which men have been taught tohold most dear. As the history of civilization unfolds, it becomes apparent to any objective observer that mankindis paying a heavy price in human suffering for this artificial version of stability.
The control which society seeks to exercise over sex and celebration stems from its need to legislate the natureof sexual attraction and behavior. Man is aware of the natural attraction between the biologically mature male andfemale in the animal world. He has assigned this attractiveness to essentially surface characteristics in thecivilized world. This process starts with anatomical differences. Imprints are set up, starting early in life, creatinga strong awareness of gender contrast in the anatomy of the genitalia, in muscle definition, in breast structure, andother such areas. This is all reinforced by social role definition in which boys and girls are supposed to feel andact in contrasting ways. The male is assigned an assertive role, and the female a yielding one, but this contrast isestablished in surface ways such as the style of dress, choice of hobbies and careers, manner of using language,and ultimately contrasting adaptive functions in the building of family life. The sexual potency of the male ispromoted and protected by regarding women as sex objects whose sexual accessibility is guaranteed by socialcustom. This whole superstructure on which sexual attraction is built fails to reach the real mechanism of matedattraction which exists in nature. That attraction rests on the pairing of submission and dominance underconditions where the submission of one increases the dominance of the other, and vice versa, so that an impellingincompleteness comes into being which can only be overcome by the union of the two and the formation of adomain. This kind of inner identity does not rest on surface characteristics.
In the civilized world inner identity is no longer tied to gender. Family influences establish character or inneridentity in the growing child. They operate in an impelling way over the long period of biological immaturity inwhich the child is influenced and trained by the character of the parents. He learns to react to the human world ina way that reinforces his sense of being an important person. He arrives at biological maturity with a wellestablished predilection toward submission or dominance in those human areas where these forces have meaningand value. Since the interaction between submission and dominance is the genuine triggering mechanism forsexuality, it becomes obvious that the existence of submissive men and dominant women creates a tremendousobstacle in the way of society's simplistic effort to enforce a mated mechanism based on surface characteristics.
Society's answer to the problems thus created is to ignore the existence of inner identity. Man's failure torecognize and work with his real inner nature has undermined the building of a science of human nature. In hisavid search to be recognized as normal he has thrown away the psychological tools for maintaining and promotinghis mental health.
Those individuals who throw off society's dictates concerning normality to pursue a more independent courseof self−development must find their own way in the area of sexual and celebrative experience, leaving theguidance provided by society's prohibitions and permissiveness behind. There is no way to grow without findingan expanding psychological world to live in, and an essential element in opening the self to a deeper and broaderworld is the ability to handle warmth and pride interactions. Intense warmth carries the potential of sexualization,and a lively pride is subject to celebrative overflow. Without the benefit of external social controls, the individualmust set his own limits on theses excesses, not by prohibition, but by making a genuine choice between real alternatives, and this choice is guided by his need to protect and develop his mental health. Without limits,warmth and pride cannot perform their function of keeping the surface of the world in focus in a contented andhappy way, free of unwanted stress and incompleteness. Sexual excitement is different from warmth, andcelebrative euphoria is different from pride. These elemental biological forces wipe out both awareness of whatothers are really like and the ability to cooperate with them. Sexuality sees only those imprints which are sexuallyexciting. Celebration ignores reality in a mindless fashion.
Because of society's channeling of the imprints which arouse sexuality and celebration, the individual isprotected from unwanted sexual and celebrative reactions in his two dimensional world of friendliness andhelpfulness. The trouble with this situation is that his pleasure and enjoyment compartment cannot expand outsidesociety's prescribed limits. When the embellishments imposed by society have brought him to fatigue andboredom, he lacks independent inner resources to discover novel sources of pleasure and enjoyment for himself.
A growing individual must be able to challenge the false sense of personal importance which society engenders inhis life of psychic rest. Entirely on his own and out of himself, without reference to the standards of others, hemust be able to find beauty and goodness in simple things. An individual cannot be independent in the pursuit oftruth and right and dependent in the way he seeks tranquility of spirit without risking a quick and disablingexhaustion. When the individual is open to the zestful discovery of the rewards which come out of findingpleasure and enjoyment in ordinary things, he has the necessary tools for maintaining an independent course inlife. The ability to like and enjoy others on a surface basis uses magical and miraculous mechanisms. Theindividual accepts ordinariness in himself because he is able to appreciate the simple humanity of others. Becausehe is not in that compartment of himself which deals with serious human issues, he can manufacture out of thisown resources a recognition of the attractiveness of others. This is an intuitive and emotional process and does nothave to be justified rationally. Because it is magical in its completeness it confers inner contentment and a securesense of belonging in the world. There is a similar process in the miraculous quality of pride. The individualapproaches the commonplace with an anticipation of stimulating interaction. This anticipation itself brings ahappy mood, and because it excludes stress it produces a sense of the goodness of the world. In this place ofsecurity and freedom, the individual can be sure that he likes and enjoys himself.
Independent access to sexual and celebrative experience is intimately involved in the independence of thepersonality in general, yet such independence imposes great burdens on the individual's self−awareness andself−control. If he is to leave society's artificial rigidities behind, he must move forward into an area which isclouded with obscurities. Pre−packaged systems of sexual and celebrative reactions have the effect of removingthese phenomena from the legitimate area of human study and experimentation, so that when an individual rejectssociety's rules as unrealistically dogmatic and arbitrary, he becomes vulnerable to an overwhelming exposure tothe unknown and chaotic in himself. This situation invites instant exhaustion, bringing helpless and recklessresponses which completely undermine the pursuit of self−knowledge and self−control.
If sexual and celebrative overflow are not to be allowed to damage the fuller development of warmth and pridereactions, the individual must be at home with his sexual and celebrative self, thus permitting him to set his ownlimits on their place in his personality. The misunderstandings in this field are mainly concentrated in society'smonolithic insistence that any sexual phenomena which do not conform to nature's primitive patterns of matingare somehow abnormal and unhealthy. This model, which society defends as a way of reinforcing the stability offamily life, asks of men that they ignore the real differences between primitive and civilized mechanisms.
There are important differences between primitive and civilized sexual and celebrative mechanisms. Theestablishment of masturbation as an ongoing aspect of life rests on the reality that civilized individuals havesexual capacity long before they are ready to engage in psychologically polarized courtship. In a similar way,celebrative capacities get expressed outside the mated mechanism in the form of self−induced celebration, orcockiness. Both sexuality and celebration are stimulated by civilized man's submission or dominance toward thelife process itself, and therefore commitment to the growth process provides a never ending arousal mechanismfor his biologically rooted sexual and celebrative capacities. Under primitive conditions, nature turns sex andcelebration on and off through biological mechanisms. Under civilized conditions, where monolithic social forcesare fully operating, an attempt is made through prohibitions and permissiveness to control these phenomena, butwhere the individual approaches the growth process independently, he must learn to channel these forcesaccording to the effect they have on the promotion and protection of his mental health. There is no necessarycontinuity in the sexual life of mated persons because of the non−sexual phases induced by the shared growthprocess.
Since submission and dominance are no longer tied to gender in the civilized world, a situation exists wheremen of opposite polarity can experience strong courtship mechanisms in welcoming a deepening and broadeningrelationship. There is a potential for the same patterns in the relationship between women. This kind of matedpattern brings the possibility of sexual and celebrative reactions close to the surface. When monolithic socialcontrols are weakened by an increasing independence in the personality, the individual must deal with the latenthomosexuality which is an inherent part of the civilized condition. There is also a possibility of sharedmasturbatory and self−induced celebrative phenomena. These are not based on a serious courtship pattern, butrather are an overflow of immature sexual and celebrative capacity in childhood or early adolescence. Under theseconditions no psychic groundwork is laid for the triggering of sexual and celebrative mechanisms, but instead it isa case of sex speaking to sex, and similarly for celebration. Such sexuality has no harmonious place in thepersonality and is characteristically followed by shame. Shared automatic celebrative overflows arouse guilt andaccount for much of adolescent delinquency.
Society's quarrel with homosexuality has its most important roots in the fear of the increasing independence ofthe individual in the development of an inner identity. As truth and right come more into focus, the whole pictureof social ignorance and immorality is threatened with exposure. This is taken to be a destructive influence onsocial stability in general and family life in particular. However, society avoids confrontation with this issue byrefusing to see homosexuality as a serious human resource. Instead it identifies homosexuality with the mutualmasturbatory patterns of childhood, and thus dismisses it as unhealthy and immature.
It becomes apparent that if individuals of the same gender are to invest a growing capacity for love andresponsibility in their relationship, they must be equally free to expand their capacity for the sharing of simplewarmth and pride together. Without the psychic rest which comes from ordinary and natural affection andcooperation in simple things, serious relationships with others set goals which require more human insight andskill than exists in the relationship. Exhaustion comes quickly when individuals undertake to play God or assumea messianic role. The attempt to improve the quality of another person's life requires a full acceptance of theharmonious stress and sense of incompleteness which characterize the three dimensional compartment of thepersonality. There is no value in attempting to influence others to live a better life unless the growth process itselfis understood. Many individuals aspire to a sense of personal importance through giving to others, using theirdeepest love and strongest personal power capacities, only to find themselves up against overwhelming problemsand obstacles. Unless they can turn away in order to promote their own personal growth, the entire undertaking deteriorates into disharmony and undermines mental health. To protect themselves from this kind of disaster, menallow society to dictate the structure of those human relationships which are declared to be serious, such asinteractions within the family, career relationships, and various friendships with the proper kind of people. Suchattachments offer a safe level of warmth and pride interactions. The individual does not have to deal with anexpanding sense of affection and cooperation with others which brings the threat of a sexual and celebrativeoverflow.
If an individual is to be open to the beauty and goodness of others in a simple way without arbitraryrestrictions, there is no way to avoid dealing with sexual feeling and celebrative attitudes. The healthy way thiscan be handled lies in the acceptance of the difference between sexual feeling which feeds warmth, and actualsexual excitement which takes over the personality and overwhelms the capacity to hold the other individual infocus. Similarly, there is a marked difference between a euphoria which feeds pride and a celebrative releasewhich is independent of any need to deal with the real nature of another. Sexual excitement and celebrativerelease take place in a psychological fog in which these powerful biological forces are their own end. Nature isnot casual about these drives, for once set in motion, they are intended to reach their goal in the service of thesurvival of the species.
In order to avoid the spreading out of sexual and celebrative drives, with their destructive effect on warmth andpride capacities, the independent individual needs to be at home with his sexual and celebrative nature. If he isrequired to regard his biological nature as an alien and troubling aspect of himself, he will attempt to set upprohibitions, and this pattern causes him to avoid situations where warmth and pride expand. Once he is aware ofhis sexuality as a fully accepted aspect of himself, all artificial barriers against masturbation disappear. There is asimilar mechanism at work in celebration, where self−induced celebration becomes a healthy outlet for this aspectof his biological self. When men are at peace with themselves in this way, they have the tools to build a reliableinner world, guaranteeing access to psychic rest.
Sex and celebration are unique phenomena, and although they belong in the pleasure and enjoymentcompartment, they operate differently from simple warmth and pride. They do not keep the surface of the worldin focus, and they welcome the kind of stress which builds high levels of tension and energy. This can happenbecause a biological channel exists for the pleasurable discharge of tension in the sex act, and for the enjoyableemployment of heightened energy in taking possession of the individual's world. It is a case where incompletenessis accepted in order to expand the emotional involvement in the experience, but the channel for reachingcompleteness lies open in an unobstructed way.
Sexual and celebrative capacity are the key to building adult psychological independence. They are forceswhich permit a high emotional investment in the self. In order to function in this way, they must remain in theirown pocket, feeding the individual's ability to like himself and enjoy himself, above and beyond any warmth andpride interactions which are occurring with others. Individuals who are entirely dependent on the warmth ofothers to feel warmth for themselves, or on the pride shared with others to feel pride in themselves, cannot acceptthe ordinariness and simplicity which characterize the pleasure and enjoyment compartment. Tranquility andspontaneity cannot be found without confidence in the individual's ability to find beauty and goodness in theworld out of the independent inner resources of the self. Without an ongoing and reliable source of pleasure andenjoyment in just being oneself, the individual must strive to prove that he is liked and enjoyed by others, and thispressure drives him into artificial embellishments, undermining the stress free completeness which is required forpsychological rest.
The access to a full sensuality in masturbation through the ability to find flexible and enriched fantasy, and theaccess to a sense of vigor and aliveness in self−induced celebration through the ability to find an unrestrictedownership of oneself and one's world, are necessary elements for the expansion of independent warmth and pride.
An independent access to sexuality acts like a catalyst for warmth, although it is not the same thing. Successfulsexuality deepens the individual's ability to feel out of his own resources. It warms the self, and as the individualturns from sexuality toward focused relationships with others, he is better prepared for high levels of zest in hisfeeling life. Similarly, the cockiness which comes from successful self−induced celebration provides a charge ofenergy, increasing the self−confidence level when the individual turns from the celebrative state toward focusedinteractions with others. Sex and celebration intimately interact together, and one feeds the other. When either isunderdeveloped the other suffers distortion, and their private and separate nature is undermined by overflow.
Society attempts to impose external regulation on the individual's sexual and celebrative life out of its fear thatthese biological forces will follow undisciplined pathways, ending in corrupt and addicted patterns. As long asthese forces are regulated in this way, the individual will continue to lack the self−knowledge and self−controlwhich are necessary for the making of healthy independent choices between genuine alternatives. Society's needto discourage masturbatory and self−induced celebrative patterns really weakens the personality, but this can onlybe seen if the expansion of the warmth and pride life is taken seriously. The real truth is exactly opposite to theinfluence of society in these matters. The more successful masturbatory sensuality and self−induced celebrativevigor are, the more access the individual has to keeping them in their own pocket. When these experiences arehealthy and fulfilling, the individual can clearly see the difference between sexual fantasy and actual relationshipswith others, and the same applies to the playful quality of celebration. Satisfaction within the pocket builds astrong wall around it, whereas when either masturbation or internal cockiness are underdeveloped, there is anentirely inadequate barrier to the overflow.
When masturbation fantasy stays well enucleated, its only goal is to build sensuality in such a way as toproduce an enriched and satisfying sexual experience. Its private nature reduces the influence of society's rulesconcerning patterns of sexual feeling, and similar mechanisms apply to celebration. It is an area where the latenthomosexuality of the civilized world tends to surface in an unbidden and unexpected way. The prohibition againstmasturbation serves as a barrier against unwanted patterns of sexual excitement. Many individuals are onlyconfident of their heterosexuality when they are expressing it in driven and promiscuous ways. If there are anyreal difficulties in heterosexual performance, the individual finds himself in a catastrophic situation which heidentifies as a staggering loss of sexual capacity. This all or none view of heterosexuality exposes its drivennature. The individual cannot independently evaluate his sexual troubles because he cannot look within himself tofind the sources of his sexual feeling. Without the inner development which masturbatory sexuality affords, theindividual remains a programmed sexual machine. This machine has the stamp of social approval, but theindividual is left on his own to make it work. A sudden and unwelcome influx of personal responsibility in apersonality deprived of independence in this area brings exposure to the unknown in an exhausting pattern andopens the door to helplessness and disabling depression.
The path to healthy sexual excitement and celebrative aliveness lies through the psychologically matedmechanism in which submission and dominance intensify and invigorate each other. If this interaction is to takeplace within a fantasy and play acting pocket for the purpose of masturbation and self−induced celebration, itmust be able to make full use of romantic idealization and adventuresome possessiveness. This kind of opennessto pleasure and enjoyment utilizes methods which are magical and miraculous in their structure. To reach theproper stimulation the individual cannot simply follow imprints which are programmed into him by society, but must instead be guided by messages which are coming to him from his own experience with excitement andaliveness. When sexuality is guided by the imprinted designation of another person as a sex object, the fantasyand play elaboration which comes from submission and dominance lacks impact and fullness. This sexuality isconfined solely to the sex act itself and lacks the elaboration which the prior existence of courtship and matingprovide. Since the courtship phase which exists in nature has been taken over in civilized human beings by theneed to become a serious influence in the growth of another person, it can be seen that the accumulation of truthand right are essential elements in the mating process. The sense of self−importance needs to enter the fantasy andplay structure of masturbation and self−induced celebration for these experiences to reach a fully healthyexpression. It is not enough to be excited by a conventional image. The individual must be able to elaborateenriched fantasy and play which include a background of being important to the other person in a threedimensional way. This sense of union liberates simple, straightforward, and satisfying sexual and celebrativeexperiences which are not burdened by false meanings and values, but can bring pleasure and enjoyment for theirown sake, unalloyed by shame and guilt.
The latent homosexuality of the civilized world does not stem from the childhood and early adolescenttendency toward sex play between individuals of the same gender. This kind of pattern does not tap the deepersensuality of the personality and is readily outgrown in individuals who accept society's dicta on sexual behavior.
Below the surface of the mutual masturbatory phenomenon is brewing a much more powerful force, namely theattraction stimulated by polarized relationships between individuals of the same gender. In a world where womenare assigned arbitrary roles as either sex objects or as idolized madonna−mother images, the serious aspirationtoward mutual growth becomes invested in the relationships men make with each other. When men share anexpanding psychological world together, learning to bear harmonious stress and incompleteness for the sake ofbroadening and deepening their human capacities, their dependence on each other becomes very great, and theseattachments are highly prized by society provided that the partners do not fall in love with each other in theprocess. There is a sense of honest and courageous impact in such relationships. The partners find each other veryreal in contrast to the state of affairs between the sexes, in which men and women find each other mysterious andbeyond the range of rational understanding and reasonable control. Society's role playing puts men in one world,women in another, so that the sense of trust and familiarity which is so necessary in a shared growth process failsto develop. When men interact with men, and women with women, automaticity of psychological reactions isreduced, and there is less intimidation and seduction in the air.
The prohibition of homosexual feelings and attitudes does considerable damage to the psychologicalindependence of the individual. No matter how firmly committed the individual may think he is to heterosexualbehavior, there can be no protection from the inner need to elaborate sensuality and aliveness once the personalityhas opened itself to the growth process. When the barrier against independent sex fantasy and self−inducedcelebrative play is no longer reliable, the individual is exposed to hidden aspects of himself. When thesetendencies meet his disapproval and condemnation, he has undermined his ability to like and enjoy himself as hereally is. Unless the individual has an ongoing and reliable source of affection for himself, regardless of thewarmth he is receiving from others, and a similarly consistent source of enjoying being himself, regardless ofpride interactions with others, there can be no sound basis for independence. The ability to like and enjoy life onone's own terms is an irreducible necessity for people who need to move into a deeper and broader human world.
No one can give up old supports when new ones have not yet been found without this kind of self−sufficiency.
The problem with conventionally structured warmth and pride capacities is that the individual is dependent onthe one particular human world in which he was reared and to which he has made his adult adaptations. Anyincrease in access to human truth and right which goes beyond the toleration point of a particular human environment makes adaptation difficult or impossible. Although there may be a great deal of gratification in hisstructured warmth and pride interactions, society sets rigid limits on their further expansion, lest latent andunwanted sexual and celebrative impulses overflow out of their inner pocket. Society's position is that suchoverflows must be prohibited, or at the very least kept secret and be received with shame and guilt. This situationdeprives the individual of one of the cardinal aspects of a full independent maturity, namely the ability to bringorder into sexual and celebrative phenomena out of his own resources, making choices based on self−interest andnot on prohibition.
Society's decision to prohibit homosexuality weakens the independence of the individual in exploring anddeveloping his own sexual sensuality and celebrative aliveness. This loss of independence not only reduces hiscapacity to like and enjoy himself without external supports, but puts him in the position of regarding sex andcelebration as unknown and chaotic topics. They are put in the category of unexplored aspects of himself whoseexistence must be either ignored or denied. This means that the unbidden emergence of homosexual feeling,which surfaces when heterosexual patterns fail to maintain their emotional investment, or when there is a suddenincrease in warmth and pride interactions with others of the same gender, is regarded as a flooding force bothcontagious and dangerous. It is assumed that homosexual feeling means automatic overflow into sexualexcitement and sexual experience, thus threatening the individual's ability to keep his warmth and prideinteractions in focus. Men quite properly value the high level of simple pleasure and enjoyment they sharetogether, and under the influence of a prohibitionistic system they lack confidence that sexual feeling andcelebrative attitudes can be kept in their own pocket through the inner resources of the personality. It is a systemin which genuine sexual feeling automatically means at least the threat of promiscuity. Similarly celebrativeattitudes cannot be walled off, but flow into addiction or delinquent patterns. This lack of confidence in innerresources follows the model which society has set up for heterosexual relationships, in which prohibition is theonly reliable barrier to promiscuity. Male adequacy is equated with promiscuous impulses in a system wherewomen are classified as sex objects unworthy of being partners in the building of zestful pleasure and enjoymentrelationships. The only time mature men and women can safely make independently chosen relationships, withstrong bonds of comradeship without promiscuous implications, is when one or the other is recognized to behomosexual.
The promiscuous implications of homosexual capacity are clearly apparent in the gay community. The wayhomosexuals meet others of their kind is too often dependent on street cruising or the use of gay bars and gaybaths as meeting places. When an individual comes out of the closet he gives up the false struggle to deny theexistence of feelings which he has often been familiar with for years, and faces the world with a new sense ofhonesty and courage in accepting his true self. This step exposes him to a raw impact from his sexual andcelebrative nature, but does not change the fact that he has been reared in a prohibitionistic society which has illprepared him to exercise the kind of internal controls required to protect mental health. The fear of conventionalmen that the recognition of the genuineness of homosexual tendencies will undermine the warmth and pride theyshare together appears confirmed by the promiscuous and addictive phenomena they see when they look at theaspects of homosexual life which are most visible. The only way that homosexuality can fulfill its promise ofproviding a base for a life which is more honest and courageous is to remain open to a higher level of growththrough the pursuit of human truth and integrity. The homosexual is in the position of being open to giving moreto others in human terms, but having not yet found the way. If he follows a growth course he accepts the status ofbeing a student of human nature, ready to recognize the inevitability of the failures which stem from his lack ofindependent development, but equally ready to learn from his mistakes. In such a psychological system theimportant part of life begins with adulthood, and the individual can begin to reject the delusion fostered by society that maturity consists of an automatic adaptation to the world that was here when he arrived.
The ability to have sexual experience with another of the same gender does not define what it is to be ahomosexual. Mere sexual experience is easily reached among persons who regard it as an isolated phenomenonnot anchored in the mating process. Under promiscuous conditions sexuality is regarded as just another source ofsensual pleasure, albeit a special and intense one, which requires no more psychic preparation than the existenceof sexual desire on both sides. Genuine homosexual capacity lies in the ability to fall in love with another of thesame gender. This means the giving of the whole self to another person in an atmosphere of complete trust andacceptance, finding beauty and goodness in each other without preestablished limits. This capacity enlarges thewarmth and pride they share together and makes possible the entrance of three dimensional love and powerexchanges which become a serious influence on the growth of both. Because such relationships are polarized theypermit the bearing of an incompleteness in each which is transformed into completeness by the union. It is thisaspect of mating which gives it its impelling force, and most individuals, no matter how far life has carried themaway from accepting inner identity and incompleteness in themselves, are still aware of a longing somewhere inthemselves for the presence of a true mate in their lives.
Homosexuality at its best rests on this openness to the mating process, set free from monolithic socialinfluences which attempt to manipulate what should be inner psychological forces. A homosexual relationshipexists when the mating is recognized and welcomed and has no necessary connection with the sex act. Sexualitybelongs in the honeymoon−holiday phase of a relationship, rather than being the ongoing and regular aspect of amating which society has dictated for the institution of conventional marriage. Because sex and celebration do notsuccessfully mingle with either the development of warmth and pride or the serious effort to influencepsychological growth, this special aspect of experience must be isolated in its own place and time, and can onlybe welcomed if it does not interfere with the development of the sense of personal importance in each partner.
When growth goals are strongly to the fore, the honeymoon−holiday phase may come infrequently, and there maybe circumstances where it does not occur at all. It is more characteristic of a true homosexual that he is able tokiss another in a non−ritualized way, and show other signs of spontaneous intimacy, than his sexual accessibility.
This can be clearly seen when promiscuous homosexuals are used by individuals who regard themselves asthoroughly heterosexual for sexual purposes. Such conventional persons are willing to be brought to orgasm, butreject any evidence of affection. In situations where men live in their own communities, such as in military life orin prisons, open spontaneous intimacy proves more disturbing to the community than the sex act carried out indark corners.
It is easy to believe that permissiveness in sexual and celebrative behavior increases the independence of thepersonality, but this is only true where the personality succeeds in keeping sexual fantasy and celebrative play intheir own pocket. Honesty and courage about the impulses to live in a permissive world often start with a greatsense of liberation, as if the individual stands at the brink of expanding into a new and better life, and this state ofaffairs can be accepted as a pubescent experience. However if promiscuity and addiction become equated with theright to be a sexual and celebrative person, the entire fabric of psychic growth in interpersonal relationships isthreatened. Under such conditions the simplicity which is so necessary for tranquility and spontaneity cannotdevelop, and the surface architecture of the individual's world goes out of focus in favor of imprints which bringsexual and celebrative arousal. Free floating stress invades a psychic compartment where rest is needed, and thepersonality loses its ability to bear harmonious stress and accept incompleteness in the forming of seriousrelationships. Such patterns are destructive of the real nature of psychic independence.
The independence involved in avowing one's homosexuality is the mere beginning of a long journey, andnothing in the individual's prior experience with a monolithic society has prepared him for this undertaking. It is a frequent occurrence that the sense of inner identity is no better developed in the homosexual than it is in thepopulation as a whole. Faced with psychic exhaustion when real human problems and obstacles cannot be ignoredor sidetracked, the homosexual turns toward the same false patterns of identity which society encourages. Careerbecomes the carrier of a degree of personal importance it cannot sustain, and embellishments of the life ofpleasure and enjoyment bring stress where it does not belong. Many homosexuals regard their sexual status as avisitation from fate which has nothing to do with greater access to psychological growth. They do not ask societyfor respect but only for tolerance. Since the espousal of homosexuality is not seen by them as a genuine choice, ittakes on the character of an affliction to which they must adapt. To be proud of being gay under suchcircumstances is a psychological impossibility. The homosexual world which is visible to conventionalindividuals is nothing but the tip of the iceberg. There is a kind of working agreement between the visible part andsociety. The one asks for tolerance, the other offers condescending interest and some measure of acceptance,provided that homosexuality itself need not be taken seriously.
A true mating between individuals who join their capacity to seek and store human truth and right togethercannot imitate society's image of heterosexual marriage. The heart of a relationship between two persons whoencourage growth on both sides lies in the ability of such relationships to use mutual dependence to increase theindependence of each partner. Such a relationship remains fresh, stimulating, and alive because it is based onwhat is best in each. The attachment between partners expands when their inner importance grows as a result oftheir influence on each other. This is the only sound basis for the permanence and loyalty which lovers seek. It isa relationship which allows each to be completely himself and different from his partner with unalloyed trust onboth sides. Since society chooses to ignore the genuine psychological basis for mating in favor of the programmedpatterns of institutionalized marriage, individuals find themselves approaching courtship without havingdeveloped the psychological tools they need to guide them through its troubled territory. It is a common mistaketo think that since the drive toward mating is so strong that common sense will reveal to people what it is. Instead,the forms that are involved must be discovered by the lovers themselves. There is a tremendous gap between thedesire for mating and its successful accomplishment. Under the influence of being in love, partners ascribe acontinuity and integrity to their relationship which turns out to have inadequate supports, coming as it does froman overemphasis on the romantic and adventuresome spirit. When genuine problems and obstacles emerge,calling for growth on both sides, the impact is crushing, and yesterday's idyllic world of charm and ingratiationjoins the limbo of forgotten things.


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