Saturday, January 30, 2010

Some Thoughts from Bruno Bettelheim...

Bruno Bettelheim is a psychoanalytic theorist perhaps best known for his work analyzing traditional Fairy Tales for their subconscious content and how these can be therapeutic for young children in their emotional journey towards adulthood.

I just found a few quotes I would like to share that I think make good points about emotional maturity, especially along the lines of my recent "Sense of Sin" post:
Once man feels truly significant in his human environment, he cares little about the importance of his planet within the universe. On the other hand, the more insecure a man is in himself and his place in the immediate world, the more he withdraws into himself because of fear, or else moves outward to conquer for conquest's sake. This is the opposite of exploring out of a security which frees our curiosity.
And here he actually uses a Biblical story as an example, and touches the theme of Institutionalism (in this case the "institutions" within our minds themselves) that I've discussed in earlier posts:
Jonah's trip across the sea lands him in the belly of a great fish. There, in great danger, Jonah discovers his higher morality, his higher self, and is wondrously reborn, now ready to meet the rigorous demands of his superego. But the rebirth alone does not achieve true humanity for him: to be a slave neither to the id and the pleasure principle (avoiding arduous tasks by trying to escape from them) nor to the superego (wishing destruction upon the wicked city) means true freedom and higher selfhood. Jonah attains his full humanity only when he is no longer subservient to either institution of his mind, but relinquishes blind obedience to both id and superego and is able to recognize God's wisdom in judging the people of Nineveh not according to the rigid structures of Jonah's superego, but in terms of their human frailty.

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