Friday, September 28, 2007

Rolo May Quotes

I found these at clipmarks -- the site is Brainy Quote. I've long been a fan of Rollo May's work, especially Man’s Search for Himself. May embraced a developmental scheme for human beings that is useful in an integral model:

  • Innocence – the pre-egoic, pre-self-conscious stage of the infant. The innocent is only doing what he or she must do. However, an innocent does have a degree of will in the sense of a drive to fulfill needs.
  • Rebellion – the rebellious person wants freedom, but has yet no full understanding of the responsibility that goes with it.
  • Decision- The person is in a transition stage in their life where they need to break away from their parents and settle into the ordinary stage. In this stage they must decide what path their life will take, along with fulfilling rebellious needs from the rebellious stage.
  • Ordinary – the normal adult ego learned responsibility, but finds it too demanding, and so seeks refuge in conformity and traditional values.
  • Creative – the authentic adult, the existential stage, beyond ego and self-actualizing. This is the person who, accepting destiny, faces anxiety with courage.

This basically reflects the first five memes of the Spiral, Beige through Orange (see sidebar). Although I think he conflates Orange, Green and Yellow into his "creative" stage.

Anyway, here are some cool quotes:

Care is a state in which something does matter; it is the source of human tenderness.

Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.

Courage is not the absence of despair; it is, rather, the capacity to move ahead in spite of despair.

Creativity is not merely the innocent spontaneity of our youth and childhood; it must also be married to the passion of the adult human being, which is a passion to live beyond one's death.

Depression is the inability to construct a future.

Freedom is man's capacity to take a hand in his own development. It is our capacity to mold ourselves.

Hate is not the opposite of love; apathy is.

Human freedom involves our capacity to pause, to choose the one response toward which we wish to throw our weight.

If we admit our depression openly and freely, those around us get from it an experience of freedom rather than the depression itself.

If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself.

It is an ironic habit of human beings to run faster when we have lost our way.

It requires greater courage to preserve inner freedom, to move on in one's inward journey into new realms, than to stand defiantly for outer freedom. It is often easier to play the martyr, as it is to be rash in battle.

Joy, rather than happiness, is the goal of life, for joy is the emotion which accompanies our fulfilling our natures as human beings. It is based on the experience of one's identity as a being of worth and dignity.

Life comes from physical survival; but the good life comes from what we care about.

One does not become fully human painlessly.

The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity.

The relationship between commitment and doubt is by no means an antagonistic one. Commitment is healthiest when it's not without doubt but in spite of doubt.


Unknown said...

Great stuff! There is one quote that I don't get, though:

"If we admit our depression openly and freely, those around us get from it an experience of freedom rather than the depression itself."

Perhaps this quote made better sense in the 50s when people where more repressed?

william harryman said...

Hey Tom,

Yeah, that quote puzzles me a bit, too. I can only assume, as you suggest, that when he wrote that people were less willing to admit depression, and that he assumed many more people were depressed. By admitting one felt that pain, it might give others permission to admit their own struggle with depression. To a certain extant, I think is still true today.