76 PART TWO: FUNDAMENTAL PATTERNS OF MEANING11. There is no such thing as absolutely solitary existence. The very concept of isolation has significance only against a back- ground of others from whom one is separated.12. Personal knowledge is not developed through formal instruc- tion.13. Personal knowledge is a consequence of the basic fact of hu- man association.14. The quality of personal meanings specifically depends upon the nature of the common life, particularly upon the earliest and most intimate associations in the family, between parents and children.15. In personal insight the simplest and most untutored people can be as competent as people who have devoted much time and thought to the perfecting of this aspect of life.16. Those who have been most concerned professionally with per- sonal relations come mainly from four fields of endeavor, namely, religion, philosophy, psychology, and literature.17. Relations are two kings: “I-Thou” and “I-It.”18. In the “I” of I-Thou is not the same as the “I” of I-It.19. In the I-Thou relation the attitude of manipulation is absent.20. In the I-Thou relation others are set free to be themselves, not to be what I will them to be.21. Persons in relation are responsibly concerned for others, seek- ing their well-being, living to serve, to heal, to teach, and to strengthen them in every possible way that does not contradict their freedom.22. Freedom is a central concept in the analysis of personal knowledge.23. Freedom means the power to be and to become through rela- tionships in which the integrity and worth of each person are responsibly affirmed by the others with whom he is associated.24. Another fundamental concept in personal relations is love.25. The antithesis of love is not hate, but indifference, the cold ex- clusion of others by behaving as if they did not exist.26. The self is created by social interaction, in which the develop- ing person internalizes the roles he sees others around him tak- ing and reactions of others toward him.27. A personality can never be isolated from the complex inter- personal relations in which the person lives and has his being.28. The quality of person’s life is deeply affected by the quality of the relationship with the significant persons (e.g., parents, sib- lings, teachers, peers) with whom one lives.29. If a person has been rejected by the significant persons, he will tend to develop a self-rejecting personality.30. Love is significant in the growth of a healthy personality.31. When the satisfaction or security of another person becomes as significant to one as is one’s own satisfaction or security, then the state of love exists.32. The principal aim of psychoanalysis is therapy.33. The goal of therapy is to enable a person to effect more satis- factory relationships by understanding the mechanisms he ha- bitually uses in the conduct of his own life.34. The term “personal knowledge” includes not only relations with other persons, but also relations with oneself.
PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE 7735. In personal existence “to know” and “to be” are one and the same.36. A person is what he does, his existence is determined in the acts that he performs.37. For the Existentialist, a self is related to itself in freedom. The being of a person consists in being free.38. A person cannot make the world anything he wants it to be, but he cannot escape the necessity of making his world what- ever he wills it to be.39. A person is completely free to confer whatever meaning or value he wills on his presented environment and on the past as it comes to him in memory and tradition.40. No one is determined by outside forces; they only constitute ma- terials out of which, in absolute freedom, one must fashion his existence.41. According to the Existentialists, one knows himself through his decisions. One is what he decides to be.42. For the choice of what I shall be depends upon me, the chooser, and not upon any external factors.43. I am responsible for what I decide.44. The fact that I must choose and bear responsibility for myself and others and that I can have no objective assurance that my choice is right throws me into anguish.45. Existentialists hold that anguish is an inescapable consequence of freedom.46. Anguish comes from having to create myself for myself and others without any external direction.47. In our choices we are alone, without excuse, condemned to be free, responsible at every moment for creating anew both our- selves and the world as it is for us.48. To know another is to be related to him in openness and accep- tance and not with preformed categories and evaluations.49. While one cannot escape his own thought structures, he can learn to attend to the other and to perceive the other in the other’s own terms.50. In every circumstance the person must make some choice of what he will do with what is presented to him.51. Every person is anxious because he must struggle for “the courage to be” against the constant threat of “nonbeing.”52. The freedom of the existing person consists precisely in his re- sponsibility to fulfill potentialities that are not yet in exis- tence and that are not foreordained.53. He incurs guilt when his choices lead to impoverishment of being rather than to its fulfillment, that is, to isolation and es- trangement rather than to meeting and love.54. A person is a being who both remembers and anticipates. He is related not only to himself as present, but also as past and as future.55. The meaning personal knowledge comprises both self-relations and relations to others, and neither is possible without the oth- er.56. The great works of literature always have provided models for meditation on the deepest relations between the person and things, other persons, and self.
78 PART TWO: FUNDAMENTAL PATTERNS OF MEANING57. Works in literature and in the other arts may be of great val- ue in stimulating synnoesis, that is, understanding of the human situation.58. Meanings in the synnoetic realm are subjective (and intersub- jective), concrete, and existential.59. Persons grow to healthy maturity through their encounters with others. ____________________
PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE 79All meanings consist of certain discriminations, organizations, andinterpretations of experience. Each realm of meaning includes aspectsof experience of a particular logical type that result from specialkinds of selection and focusing within the complex totality of experi-ence. Language meanings have to do with conventional patterns ofsymbolization. Scientific meanings concern empirical abstractions,generalizations, and theoretical formulations. Esthetic meanings dealwith ideal abstractions contained in particular nondiscursive presen-tations. We now turn to a fourth realm, in which the selection and or-ganization of experience is of a distinctively different logical kindfrom the three so far considered, symbolics, empirics, and esthetics.These meanings will be designated by the term “synnoetics.” Briefly,this term refers to meanings in which a person has direct insight intoother beings (or oneself) as concrete wholes existing in relation. SYNNOETIC MEANING REQUIRES ENGAGEMENT The general nature of synnoetics as a distinct realm of mean-ing may be made clear by indicating the main respects in which it dif-fers from the other three realms so far discussed. Knowledge in sym-bolics, empirics and esthetics requires detachment, while synnoeticmeaning requires engagement. In the first three realms the knowerstands apart from what he knows. In synnoetics he effects a directmeeting. SYNNOETIC MEANINGS RELATE SUBJECTS TO SUBJECTS Knowledge in symbolics, empirics, and esthetics is objective, orbetter, it depends on a subject-object relationship. Synnoeticmeanings relate subjects to subjects. Objectivity is eliminated andis replaced by subjectivity, or better, intersubjectivity. Intersub-jectivity also has a place in language, science, and art, but it differsfrom the intersubjectivity of personal insight in being based on com-mon reference objects. Specifically, in the realms of symbolics, empir-ics, and esthetics, the intersubjectivity is indirect and triadic; in thesynnoetic realm intersubjectivity is direct and dyadic. In synnoetic un-derstanding the separation between subject and object is overcomeand a personal meeting takes place. Synnoesis does not occur wholly without mediation. Subject re-lates to subject by a variety of means of communication, includingordinary language and perhaps even more often by the many sorts ofnondiscursive symbolic forms. No realm of shared meaning can dispensewith language of some kind. What is distinctive about synnoesis is thatin this realm the function of the symbols used is to effect a relation-ship between the communicating beings themselves (or within them-selves in the case of intrapersonal reflection) and not to establish acommon orientation to some third objective entity. This is what wasmeant above by calling synnoesis dyadic instead of triadic. PERSONAL MEANINGS ARE CONCRETEMeanings in this personal realm are concrete rather than abstract,as in language, science, and art. Language meanings are abstract in
80 PART TWO: FUNDAMENTAL PATTERNS OF MEANINGthe sense that they are concerned with classes of sounds, semantic el-ements, and grammatical structures. Science meanings depend on con-crete experience, through sense observation, but consist of the ab-stractions of classifications, generalizations, laws, and theories.Meanings in the arts are ideal abstractions presented in particularcreated works. In contrast with these, personal meanings are con-crete in the sense that relational understanding is not a fragment, aperspective, or a transformation of some other more complete experi-ence. Rational understanding is itself the prototype of experience inits wholeness or concreteness.
PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE 81 Personal knowledge is gained by not only understanding the self, but understanding how others, whom one considers significant, sees one as well. If the people that oneconsiders important shun him or her, then he/she is likely not to accept himself/herself as important. Teachers often see this in children and are concerned about the student’s self esteem. How does the teacher determine who the child really looks up to? What if that is the source of the problem?
82 PART TWO: FUNDAMENTAL PATTERNS OF MEANINGPicture
PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE 83 A COMPREHENSIVE THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE OF ACTIVE PARTICIPATION Michael Polanyi1 points to this basic quality of concreteness inhis discussion of the personal element in all knowledge. He distinguish-es between “explicit knowledge” such as occurs in the abstract formu-lations of science and even of everyday descriptive discourse, and“tacit knowledge,” which is unformulated and is the basis for makingsense of experience, that is, for “understanding.” “The structure oftacit knowing,” says Polanyi, “ . . . is a process of comprehending: agrasping of disjointed parts into a comprehensive whole.”2 This know-ing by wholes has long been recognized by the Gestalt psychologists.What Polanyi does is to transform Gestalt insights into a compre-hensive theory of knowledge in which the active participation of per-sons is primary: “According to the theory of Personal Knowledge, allmeaning lies in the comprehension of a set of particulars in terms of acoherent entity—a comprehension which is a personal act that cannever be replaced by a formal operation.”3 Again, “ . . . the knowl-edge of a comprehensive entity is an understanding, an indwelling andan association . . . .”4 PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE IS ALWAYS ON A ONE-TO-ONE BASIS In contrast to the realm of personal knowledge, symbolic, em-pirical, and esthetic meanings are impersonal. Language is for every-body’s use, science is public knowledge, and art is presented for all tobehold. On the other hand, personal knowledge is always on a one-to-one basis. It is not predicated upon the idea of “anyone” or “whosoev-er,” but on confrontation with the singular being. Impersonal mean-ings presuppose the interchangeability of persons. Personal relationspresuppose the uniqueness of the persons who enter into relation. PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE IS EXISTENTIAL AND CONCRETE Language, science, and art are concerned with essences, whilepersonal knowledge is existential. Specifically, the former fieldsdeal with various kinds and qualities of being, while personal knowl-edge has to do with being itself, that is, with concrete existence. Tobe is to be in relation. There is no such thing as absolutely solitaryexistence. The very concept of isolation has significance only againsta background of others from whom one is separated. Separateness isrelative nonbeing; all dividing of things depends upon their prior beingin relation. The synnoetic realm of personal knowledge has been broadlycharacterized. We proceed to a consideration of how these meanings1 See his Personal Knowledge, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1958,and The Study of Man, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1959.2 The Study of Man, p. 28, Reprinted by permission of the publisher.3 Ibid., p. 49. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.4 Ibid., pp. 65-66. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.
84 PART TWO: FUNDAMENTAL PATTERNS OF MEANINGare acquired and of some distinctive methods and concepts in thisrealm that may assist in teaching and learning such meanings. PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE DEPENDS UPON THE NATURE OF THE COMMON LIFE For the most part, personal knowledge is not developed throughformal instruction. Personal knowledge is a consequence of the basicfact of human association, beginning with the family and extendingout in ever-widening circles to relationships in community, occupation-al life, and even with people in other nations and cultures. The quali-ty of personal meanings specifically depends upon the nature of thecommon life, particularly upon the earliest and most intimate associ-ations in the family, between parents and children. SUBJECTIVITY INHERENT IN PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE INHIBITS THE FORMATION OF GROUPS Although personal knowledge is largely a product of ordinarysocial experience, it is not without benefit of theoretical study andconcentrated consideration by specialized inquirers. Those who arerecognized as leaders in the practice and interpretation of meaningsin this realm do not form as coherent and identifiable a company as dothe linguists, scientists, and artists in the first three realms of mean-ing. The subjectivity inherent in personal knowledge inhibits the for-mation of groups of persons who adhere to common objective criteriaof meaning in this realm. Even more relevant is the fact that in per-sonal understanding concern for critical theoretical judgments maymilitate against intersubjective awareness, somewhat as in the caseof the arts, where overemphasis on critical evaluation may interferewith appreciative perception. It is important to remember that in per-sonal insight the simplest and most untutored people can be as compe-tent as, or even more competent than, people who have devoted muchtime and thought to the perfection of this aspect of life. The samecannot be said of linguists, scientists, or artists, all of whom becomedemonstrably expert through the deliberate cultivation of their spe-cialized pursuits. In spite of this somewhat embarrassing situation concerningpractical expertise in the realm of personal knowledge, the insightsof those who have considered the subject deeply may still be effectivein making provision for the optimum development of these meanings.This assumption is necessary if the educator is not to abandon allhope and responsibility for improving the quality of human meaningsat the deepest personal level. THOSE MOSTLY CONCERNED WITH PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE Those who have been most concerned professionally with per-sonal relations come mainly from four fields of endeavor, namely,religion, philosophy, psychology, and literature. As general disci-plines the first two belong within the synoptic realm (see Chapters 19and 20), the third within the empirical realm (see Chapter 10), and thelast within the esthetic realm (see Chapter 15). Though workers fromthese fields provide most of the ideas for the understanding of person-al awareness, the essential logic of meanings in this realm is neitherthat of the synoptic, the scientific, nor the esthetic disciplines, except
PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE 85insofar as the synoptic disciplines by their very nature integratemeanings from the other realms, including the synnoetic. A CLASSIC DISCUSSION: “I-THOU” AND “I-IT” A classic discussion of the meaning of personal knowledge isfound in the writings of Martin Buber.5 According to Buber, fullnessof being consists in relation. Relations are of two kinds: “I-Thou” and“I-It.” I-Thou is a “primary word,” not in the sense of a spoken utter-ance, but as a creative event. I-Thou arises out of the “reality ofcombination.” I-It, on the contrary, arises out of separation. I-Thou,being primary, is not produced by the conjunction of a prior “I” with aprior “Thou.” Rather, I-Thou is the primordial reality from which “I”and “Thou” are derived by abstraction. Thus, the infant’s earliest lifeconsists in relation, and only gradually are the self and the otherdiscriminated as separable beings. On the other hand, I-It is derivedfrom setting together “I” and “It.” First comes the “I” (derived from I-Thou) as existing over against things (It), and from these two put inthe relation of subject to object comes the I-It.Alteration Takes Place Buber adds that the “I” of I-Thou is not the same as the “I” of I-It. In being separated and then impersonally reconnected a fundamen-tal alteration in the quality of being takes place. The “I” of I-Thou isa connected person with subjectivity; the “I” of I-It is a setting apartof the individual who is a subject over against a world of objects.Attitude Of Manipulation Is Absent In the I-Thou relation the attitude of manipulation is absent.One does not try to use the other with whom he stands in relation, butrather affirms and respects the other’s being. Others in relation arenot objects to be comprehended, categorized, or abstracted. Relationis a state of being, not an emotional condition or an experience (bothof which presuppose the isolation of the subject as over against ob-jects). In the I-Thou relation others are set free to be themselves, notto be what I will them to be. At the same time, persons in relation areresponsibly concerned for others, seeking their well-being, living toserve, to heal, to teach, and to strengthen them in every possibleway that does not contradict their freedom.Freedom Freedom is a central concept in the analysis of personalknowledge. Here freedom does not mean anarchy—the autonomy of iso-lation—nor does it mean release from responsibility by being submergedin social activities. Freedom means the power to be and to becomethrough relationships in which the integrity and worth of each personare responsibly affirmed by the others with whom he is associated.Love Another fundamental concept in personal relations is love.Love is also an ambiguous term. In the present connection it does notrefer to a subjective experience, state of feeling, or passion. It means5 See especially his I and Thou, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1958.
86 PART TWO: FUNDAMENTAL PATTERNS OF MEANINGsimply the reality of the active, caring, responsible relation of an“I” to a “Thou.” The antithesis of love is not hate, which still mani-fests a kind of relation, but indifference, the cold exclusion of othersby behaving as if they did not exist.Nature And Our Spiritual Life Although personal relations are usually thought of as occur-ring between human beings, in Buber’s view they may also take placein our life with nature and in our spiritual life. One can regard theobjects of nature as objects to be used and consumed (the I-It rela-tion), or as being in themselves, to be respected and loved (the I-Thourelation). This personalization of relationships with nature is the ba-sis of animism and of the more sophisticated view (panpsychism) thateverything existing has an inner consciousness. It also underlies theprinciple of noninjury of any living thing in Eastern religion—a princi-ple that also govern Albert Schweitzer’s basic ideal of “reverencefor life.” As for life in the spiritual sphere, Buber holds that every I-Thou relation is grounded in a relation to the eternal Thou andspecifically that all authentic personal relations are rooted in thelife of the spirit.Naturalistic Oriented Social Psychology View The primacy of relation is emphasized in a way somewhat dif-ferent from Buber’s in the naturalistically oriented social psycholo-gy of George Herbert Mead.6 Mead holds that the self is created bysocial interaction, in which the developing person internalizes theroles he sees others around him taking and the reactions of others to-ward him. . . . there are two general stages in the full development of the self. At the first of these stages, the individual self is consti- tuted simply by an organization of the particular attitudes of other individuals toward himself and toward one another in the specific social acts in which he participates with them. But a the second stage in the full development of the individual’s self that self is constituted not only by an organization of these particular individual attitudes, but also by an organization of the social attitudes of the generalized other or the social group as a whole to which he belongs.7 In this process of self-making through taking the role of theother, Mead holds that language plays an essential part. “Languagein its significant sense is that vocal gesture which tends to arouse inthe individual the attitude which it arouses in others, and it is this per-fecting of the self by the gesture which mediates the social activitiesthat gives rise to the process of taking the role of the other.”8 Thisobservation supports the position assumed in this book that languagemeanings are used to express the meanings in each of the otherrealms, including the synnoetic.Thought And Practice6 See Mind, Self, and Society, ed. by Charles NV. Morris, The University ofChicago Press, Chicago, 1934.7 Ibid., p. 158. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.8 Ibid., pp. 160-161. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.
PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE 87 The concept of relation is at the core of the thought and prac-tice of the psychiatrist Harry Stack Sullivan. According to Sullivan,“The field of psychiatry is the field of interpersonal relations, underany and all circumstances in which these relations exist .c.c. a per-sonality can never be isolated from the complex of interpersonal re-lations in which the person lives and has his being.”9 Insofar as he is ascientist, the psychiatrist’s goal is description and generalization. Butthe personal relations about which he theorizes are themselves con-crete intersubjectivities. Sullivan holds that since a self is made up ofthe reflected appraisals of other people (as Mead also maintains),the quality of a person’s life is deeply affected by the quality of therelationship with the significant persons (e.g., parents, siblings,teachers, peers) with whom one lives. If a person has been rejected bythe significant persons, he will tend to develop a self-rejecting per-sonality. If he has been welcomed, he will tend to develop a confidentself-accepting personality. In this connection Sullivan stresses thesignificance of love in the growth of healthy personality. His defini-tion of love recalls the one earlier given in the discussion of Buber’sposition: “When the satisfaction or security of another person be-comes as significant to one as in one’s own satisfaction or security,then the state of love exists. So far as I know, under no other circum-stances is a state of love present, regardless of the popular usage ofthe work.”10 Reminiscent of a somewhat similar point made by Polanyi,Sullivan goes on to urge the fundamental importance of personal re-lations for the proper development of all other meanings: “It is onlywhen the world expands as a tissue of persons and interpersonal re-lations which are meaningful that knowledge becomes truly signifi-cant, and learning becomes a serious attempt to implement oneselffor one’s future life.”11 THE FIELD OF PSYCHOANALYSIS The field of investigation in which the most extensive conceptualschemes for the interpretation of the meanings inherent in personalrelations have been devised is psychoanalysis. The principal aim ofpsychoanalysis is not theoretical understanding, but therapy. Thetherapist is chiefly a practitioner in the art of helping emotionallydisturbed people to improve the quality of their personal relations,the goal being to foster the kind of mature love described in the fore-going paragraphs. The emotionally ill person is essentially one whoserelational meanings are distorted, and the restoration of health de-pends on the rectification of those meanings. Psychoanalysis repre-sents a developed theoretical and technical discipline in which expertdeliberate instruction in personal understanding is undertaken. Someof its leading methods and concepts are therefore of special rele-vance to the present study. THE BASIC METHOD IS REEDUCATION9 Conceptions of Modern Psychiatry, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., NewYork, Copyright 1940, 1945, 1947, and 1953 by The William Alanson White Psy-chiatric Foundation. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.10 Ibid., p. 20. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.11 Ibid., p. 21. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.
88 PART TWO: FUNDAMENTAL PATTERNS OF MEANING The basic method of psychoanalysis is the reeducation of theclient through reliving past relationships in association with the ana-lyst. Under the expert guidance of the analyst, who claims to under-stand the ways of the psyche and the manifold causes of deviationfrom the path of mature love, the patient is given insight into his be-havior problems and help in developing better habits of personal re-sponse. FREUDIAN THEORY According to orthodox Freudian theory, every person is en-dowed with certain instincts, such as hunger and sex, which demandsatisfaction within a physical and social environment that to someextent necessarily conflicts with and frustrates those instincts. Thesource of instinctual energy (particularly the sexual energy or li-bido) is the id. The id is regarded as part of the unconscious, an as-pect of the personality below the level of conscious mind required toexplain the many irrational features of human behavior as the personseeks to adjust his instinctual life to the restrictive environment. The Freudians view the personality as possessing, besides the id,an ego and a superego. The ego serves as a mediator between the idand the outside world, adjusting the subjective demands of the ego inaccord with the objective demands of the superego. The superego rep-resents the standards, ideals, and moral demands of society that havebeen incorporated into the psyche. The ego balances the demands ofthe superego with those of the id in terms of the reality principle. Inthe mature person the ego maintains a proper balance within the psy-che and between the psyche and the outside world, preventing both theanarchy of unrestrained impulses and the tyranny of a rigid andfearful conscience. In the Freudian view the development of personal relations re-volves around the Oedipus complex, which concerns the problemsarising from the child’s sexual desire for the parent of the oppositesex, together with the fear and hatred of the parent of the same sex.The healthy solution of the Oedipal situation is for the child’s unreal-istic and normally frustrated desire for the parent of the opposite sexto be replaced by an identification with the parent of the same sexand for the superego to develop as the internal monitor of right rela-tionships with both parents.Psychoanalysts And Typical Mechanisms Or Dynamisms Psychoanalysts have described a number of typical mecha-nisms or dynamisms, meaning habitual processes by which the personeither unrealistically or realistically attempts to come to termswith his various conflicts and frustrations in interpersonal relations.Among these are the following: introjection or incorporation (theego perceiving itself as having the character of some externalentity), projection (ascribing some quality of the ego to external ob-jects), denial (refusing to recognize an unpleasant reality), fixa-tion (the persistence at one level of development of patterns charac-teristic of an earlier level), regression (return to behavior patterns
PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE 89belonging to an earlier stage), sublimation (changing the aim of animpulse without blocking its gratification, by the discovery of alter-native outlets), repression ( exclusion of painful materials from con-sciousness), reaction formation (the development of socially ac-ceptable attitudes and habits directly opposed to certain repressedimpulses), undoing (the doing of an action opposite to a former ac-tion, the doing of which caused psychic distress), isolation (discon-necting unpleasant memories from their emotional associations), dis-placement (shifting emotional energy from one object to another),asceticism (denial of impulses), and intellectualization (linking im-pulses with rationality so as to render them more controllable).The Goal Of Therapy The goal of therapy is to enable a person to effect more satis-factory relationships by understanding the mechanisms he habituallyuses in the conduct of his own life and by substituting more mature andrealistic ways of feeling and acting for the immature and unrealisticremainders of infantile behavior. The ideal adult, who is described byFreudians as having a genital character, is able to love fully andfreely and to utilize his emotional energies creatively and widelythrough sublimation rather than having them used up in unproductivedefense mechanisms. Those who fall short of such maturity remainfixed at earlier stages, namely, the phallic (typically showing ag-gressiveness as a defense against castration anxiety), the urethral(typically with competitiveness as a defense against shame connectedwith urination), the anal (typically manifesting parsimoniousness andcompulsive cleanliness due to unresolved toilet training problems),and the oral (typically associated with strong dependency behaviorcontinuing the effects of early oral deprivation).
90 PART TWO: FUNDAMENTAL PATTERNS OF MEANING Many people believe that a great deal of time must be spent in personal reflection for a person to fully understand about oneself. In order to deal with interpersonal and intrapersonal conflict a person must explore many possibilities of resolution. If everything seems to be going smoothly for a person, should that person be concerned with personal insight?
92 PART TWO: FUNDAMENTAL PATTERNS OF MEANINGUnderstanding And Improvement Of Meanings The foregoing sketch of certain important psychoanalytic con-cepts is included to indicate the type of ideas that can be used for theunderstanding and improvement of meanings in the realm of personalknowledge. No attempt need be made to indicate the nature of themany other psychoanalytic concepts used by such interpreters ofFreud as Alfred Adler, Carl Gustav Jung, and Otto Rank and bysuch neo-Freudians as Karen Homey, Erich Fromm, Harry Stack Sulli-van, Abram Kardiner, and Clara Thompson.12 Suffice it to say thatthe field of psychoanalysis is changing and that new theoretical con-structs are continually being developed to meet changing culturalconditions and in response to new insights into the nature of human re-lationships. Many of the newer analysts have broken away from thestrongly instinctual (and particularly the sexual) orientation of theFreudians and from their heavy emphasis on influences in the infancyperiod as the principal determinants of personality. “PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE” INCLUDES RELATIONS WITH ONESELF The term “personal knowledge” includes not only relations withother persons (and even things, as Buber points out), but also rela-tions with oneself. The intimate connection between the two has al-ready been indicated in showing how the self is formed in interactionwith other persons. On the other hand, some students of human natureare primarily concerned with the relation of the self to itself, i.e.,with self-knowledge, regarding such understanding as fundamentaland intersubjective relations as derivative. This latter view is gener-ally characteristic of the Existentialists, who have developed exten-sive conceptual schemes for interpreting the meaning of personal exis-tence. Among these thinkers are the philosophers Søren Kierkegaard,Martin Heidegger, Karl Jaspers, and Jean Paul Sartre. THE EXISTENTIALISTConcrete Existence The basic principle of the Existentialists is that reality is inconcrete existence, not in essences, as rationalists maintain. In per-sonal existence “to know” and “to be” are one and the same. Suchknowledge is not gained by detached contemplation, but in active liv-ing. A person is what he does, his existence is determined in the actsthat he performs.Freedom Above all, for the Existentialist, a self is related to itself infreedom. The being of a person consists in being free. Sartre saysthat a person is a “project,” that is, an existence created by deliber-ately propelling oneself forward into the future. A person is what hewills to be. He makes a “leap” toward existence. He is defined by thechoice of his ends. The choices by which a person makes himself is anabsolute “either/or.” However, it necessarily occurs within specified12 For a valuable survey of the various theories, see Gerald S. Blum Psychoana-lytic Theories of Personality. McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York,1953.
PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE 93circum stances. A pe rson cannot m ake the world anything he wants itto be , but he cannot escape the necessity o f m aking his world what-ever he wills it to be. A person is completely free to confer whatevermeaning or value he will on his presented environment and on the pastas it comes to him in memory and tradition. No one is determined byoutside forces; they only constitute the materials out of which, in ab-solute freedom, one must fashion his existence.Decisions According to the Existentialists, one knows himself through hisdecisions. One is what he decides to be. Unfortunately, existentialistshold, it is possible to discover any objective basis for decision, for thechoice of what I shall be depends upon me, the chooser, and not uponany external factors. Furthermore, says Sartre, I am responsiblefor what I decide, both for myself and for all other persons, I am re-sponsible for others because my choice affirms the value of what Ichoose, and this value applies both to myself and to all humankind.The fact that I must choose and bear responsibility for myself andothers and that I can have no objective assurance that my choice isright throws me into anguish. Existentialists hold that anguish is aninescapable consequence of freedom. It differs from fear, which refersto threats in the external world. Anguish comes from having to cre-ate myself for myself and others without any external direction.Underlying Anguish We constantly seek to flee from anguish by regarding our-selves as things rather than persons and as determined rather thanfree. But this very attempt to escape is evidence of the underlying an-guish. We try to hide the uncomfortable truth from ourselves, but thetrying itself bears witness to our predicament of undetermined deci-sion. In our choices we are alone, without excuse, condemned to befree, responsible at every moment for creating anew both ourselvesand the world as it is for us.Existentialists Differ On Ultimate Solutions But Agree On Free-dom Existentialists differ on the question of whether or not there isany ultimate solution to the human predicament, in some realm oftranscendent being. Kierkegaard and other religiously orientedthinkers affirm ultimate salvation in the decision of faith. AtheisticExistentialists like Sartre emphasize the fundamental absurdity ofexistence, in the sense that the choices by which being is determinedhave no justification beyond themselves and that death in the endnegates all meaning, since meaning resides in subjectivity and deathterminates the subject. Whatever their view of the ultimate, all Exis-tentialists agree on the primacy of freedom and on the person as des-tined to choose, without benefit of determination beyond the self.Existentialists Are Critical Of Psychologists And Psychoanalysts The existentialists tend to be critical of psychologists and psy-choanalysts for trying to understand personal knowledge of the selfand of others in terms drawn from empirical science. In effect, the Ex-istentialists assert that meanings in the realm of personal relations
94 PART TWO: FUNDAMENTAL PATTERNS OF MEANINGare of d iffe re nt logical o rde r from the em pirical m eanings o f the sci-entific re al . In Chapte r 1 0 the d iffe re nces be tween psychol ts who m ogisanalyze hum an behavior by the m ethods of natu ral science and thosewho use d istinctive ly pe rsonal cate gories like “se lf,” “pu rpose,” and“consciousness” we re pointed ou t. The latte r type o f psychol t is ogisactu ally close in his conce rns to the re al of m eaning d iscussed in the mp resent chap te r. The essential d iffe re nce is th at the scientific psy-chologis t, whate ve r his m e thods and cate gories, is in te res ted in gene r-alization and theore tical exp lanation rathe r th an in the concre tesub j ctivities of pe rsonal encounte r. Being conce rned with concre te esub j ctivities of pe rsonal encounte r m ay gove rn the work of the ep racticing psychol t or psychoanalys t, whose aim is healing and ogiseducation rathe r th an gene ral explanation. In fu lfilling the ir goals ,though scientific gene ralizations and theore tical m odel m ay we ll sp rove o f gre at use, the pe rsonal m eanings take p re cedence ove r thetheore tical ones.Existential Psychoanalysis The Existentialists believe the categories and methods of psy-chology and psychoanalysis tend to blur the distinction between theempirical and the personal realms and that concepts unique to thepersonal realm are required. To this end, Sartre seeks to developwhat he terms “existential psychoanalysis.” Like empirical psycho-analysis, his discipline is based on the principle that a person is a to-tality, not a collection of parts, and that in all behavior a personexpresses his whole self. he further agrees with the traditional psy-choanalytic approach in being concerned with particular situations,with activities of all kinds, no matter how apparently trivial, andwith the prelogical grounds of behavior. he differs in rejecting theidea of the unconscious and in making the idea of original choice basic.He believes that general, abstract explanations of human conduct donot touch the reality of deliberate human decision. He also believesthat the ordinary psychoanalysts’ concern for past factors in be-havior obscures the fact of instant, abrupt changes in orientationthat do occur and that a person inwardly knows are always possible.It is in this knowledge of radical freedom that the intrinsic meaning ofbeing a person consists. It is this insight that the Existentialists be-lieve the ordinary psychoanalysts lose in their attempt to apply thefundamentally different logic of general descriptions to personalmeanings.Existential Psychology Out of the meeting of psychology (particularly psychotherapy)and Existentialism has come a movement called “existential psycholo-gy,.” whose adherents aim to combine the valuable results of empiri-cal and clinical psychology with the ontological insights of philo-sophical Existentialism. In this union there may be the foundations of adiscipline in which a full understanding of personal knowledge can beachieved. Existential psychology, like Existentialism itself, draws uponthe phenomenological principle that understanding of persons is pos-sible only if the other is accepted at face value—as he appears—andwithout bringing to the experience one’s own predispositions and judg-ments. To know another is to be related to him in openness and accep-tance and not with preformed categories and evaluations. While onecannot escape his own thought structures, he can learn to attend tothe other and to perceive the other in the other’s own terms.
PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE 95 CONTRIBUTIONS THE EXISTENTIAL APPROACH 13 CAN MAKE TO PSYCHOLOGY Rollo May suggested several contributions that he believesthe existential approach can make to psychology. Of first importanceis the emphasis on will and decision, which is central to such thinkersas Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Bergson (in his concept ofthe élan vital), and William James (in his concept of the will tobelieve). The affirmation of decision need not negate determining fac-tors in human behavior. The essential point is that in every circum-stance the person must make some choice of what he will do with whatis presented to him. A second contribution is in the development of the idea of theego, the self, or the person. Behind the many manifestations of thepsyche, some unity or identity of being is presupposed. According toMay, “logically as well as psychologically, we must go behind theego-id-superego system and endeavor to understand the ‘being’ of 14whom these are different expressions.” An example of such a unitaryconcept of the self is available in Gordon Allport’s idea of the pro-prium discussed in Chapter 10. A third contribution of existential thought concerns the con-structive functions of anxiety and guilt. Every person is anxious be-cause, in Paul Tillich’s phrase, he must struggle for “the courage tobe” against the constant threat of “nonbeing.” The freedom of the ex-isting person consists precisely in his responsibility to fulfill poten-tialities that are not yet in existence and that are not foreordained.Because he is free and responsible, he incurs guilt when his choiceslead to impoverishment of being rather than to its fulfillment, that is,to isolation and estrangement rather than to meeting and love. Finally, a fourth contribution of existential thought affordsvaluable insights into the understanding of time. The personal mea-suring of time is quite different from that of abstract physical mea-surement. Real time is a correlate of freedom, in which creation ispossible. A person is a being who both remembers and anticipates. he isrelated not only to himself as present, but also as past and as fu-ture. In this way the nonbeing of the past and the future are incorpo-rated by the free decision of the person into the being and becoming ofthe present. EXISTENTIAL PSYCHOLOGY IS HELPFUL Existential psychology is particularly helpful in making clearthe intimate interconnection of relations between persons and a per-son’s relation to himself. The meaning of personal knowledge compris-es both self-relations and relations to others, and neither is possiblewithout the other. Psychotherapy emphasizes the interpersonal as-pect, Existentialism the intrapersonal aspect. Existential psycholo-gists, together with such religiously oriented thinkers as Paul Tillich13 Rollo May (ed.), Existential Psychology, Random House, Inc., New York, 1961.14 Ibid., p. 47.
96 PART TWO: FUNDAMENTAL PATTERNS OF MEANINGand Martin Bube r, show th at the unde rs tand ing o f the se lf and theunde rs tand ing o f re lationships with o the r se lves are ind issol l . ub e LITERATURE IS OF GREAT VALUE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE In addition to the movements of thought from philosophy, reli-gion, and psychology already cited, literature is a resource ofgreat value in the development of personal knowledge. In fact, allthe arts may contribute to this kind of understanding. One of the prin-cipal values of the arts is that by objectifying human subjectivitythey may enhance self-insight and the knowledge of intersubjectiverelations. THE ARTS DEEPEN PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE It should be noted that while the arts can aid in the deepeningof personal knowledge, the distinction between personal and estheticmeanings still holds. It is one thing to perceive a poem or a play es-thetically, as an objectified abstraction of a type of subjectivity,and another thing to use that esthetic insight synnoetically, as a re-source for deepening one’s understanding of real existential relationsbetween unique beings. In Denis de Rougemont’s fine definition of art asa “calculated trap for meditation,” this connection between estheticpresentation and personal insight is clearly expressed. The same connection is also evident in the frequently noticed butseldom defined ideal of “sincerity” in the arts. I. A. Richards inter-prets sincerity to mean “obedience to that tendency which ‘seeks’ amore perfect order within the mind,” leading 15 “to act, feel, and onethink in accordance with ‘one’s true nature.’” When a work of artbecomes a means of coming to understand one’s own true nature, es-thetic meaning culminates in personal knowledge, in this case of theself by the self.15 Practical Criticism, Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., New York, 1929, pp.270-271.
PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE 97 LITERATURE, DRAMA, POETRY, THE NOVEL, AND BIOGRAPHY For m ost peopl , lite ratu re is m ore influe ntial th an any o the r ecu ltu ral re source fo r growth in pe rsonal knowl edge. D ram a, poe try,the nove l, and biography exe rt p ro found e ffe cts on the consciousnesso f hum an re late d ness. This consciousness is doubtle ss affe cted farm ore by im aginative lite ratu re th an by the com bined fo rces o f all thepe rsonalis tic, exis tentialis tic, and phenom enol ogical psychologis ts,theologians, and philosophe rs. Moreove r, the lite rary trad ition inpe rsonal knowl edge extends back to an tiquity. The gre at works oflite ratu re always have p rovided m odel fo r m editation on the deepest sre lations be tween the pe rson and th ings, o the r pe rsons, and se lf. GREAT LITERATURE IS A REVELATION OF LIFE Great literature is a revelation of life, a moving portrayal ofthe human condition in its heights and depths. It is concerned with hu-man beings in both their strengths and weaknesses, with the ideal pos-sibilities they glimpse and exemplify from time to time, and with theactions through which they seek to realize their destinies. Each of the major literary forms can contribute to personalknowledge. One thinks of the revelation of life afforded by WaltWhitman’s poem “Song of Myself” or T. S. Eliot’s poem “The HollowMen,” by Fedor Dostoevski’s novel The Brothers Karamazov or J. D.Salinger’s novel Catcher in the Rye, by the autobiographical Edu-cation of Henry Adams, by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays, or byDante Alighieri’s epic of epics the Divine Comedy. There are manyworks, in many languages and times, that have helped form the per-sonal understanding of humankind. Among the several types of literature, drama especiallystands out as a means for growth in personal insight. Aeschylus’“Prometheus Bound,” for example, is a story set in a mythologicalframework, about a hero who suffered because he dared to defy thearbitrary commands of the gods in order that he might bring the bene-fits of civilization to humankind. It is a story of universal relevanceto persons in their struggle to reconcile creativity and convention,freedom and necessity, love and duty. Again, in Shakespeare’s KingLear, one can see by means of the various characters the revelationof personality running the gamut from nobility to foolishness, mod-esty to arrogance, generosity to greed, loyalty to treachery, com-passion to cruelty, love to hate, honesty to deceitfulness. Throughsuch drama one more clearly understands that human beings are ex-tremely complex mixtures of qualities and that virtue and vice are notsimply separable, but paradoxically interwoven.Great Drama Great drama is a portrayal of life in its reality, bringing intohigh relief what happens in different circumstances everywhere ev-eryday. Not only in plays, but in all human life, if one has eyes tosee, great strengths are spoiled by fatal flaws, pride leads to afall, innocent love suffers, and personal loyalty in the end helps tosave the state.Tragic Drama
98 PART TWO: FUNDAMENTAL PATTERNS OF MEANING In tragic d ram a one sees th at m an’s gre ates t p rob lem is him-se lf, because of his m isuse of the highest and m ost characte ris tic hu-m an gift, nam e ly, fre edom . In traged y it is re ve aled th at m an is se lf-wille d , am bitious, and in se arch o f se lf-ju s tification, faced as he is bythe th re at o f e ventual nu llification th rough death. Bu t it is alsom ade cle ar th at the re tribu tive j gm ent th at com es upon the tragic udhe ro because o f his m isdeeds need not sim ply destroy him . He becom es ahe ro p re cise ly because th rough his trials he learns. The theme oftragedy is education, at the deepest personal level. Suffering canteach. It can effect a purgation that in some degree removes the stainof guilt. It is a source of self-knowledge in which the protagonistcomes to a more complete understanding of his own being. In thesemany ways the insights of tragic drama parallel those of the Exis-tentialists, who are also concerned with the paradoxes of freedomand the demand placed on every person to create a meaningful life ina world full of contradictions and absurdities.
PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE 99Comic Drama C om ic d ram a, too, can contribu te m uch to pe rsonal knowl edge.S om e critics suggest th at com edy m ay, in fact, be a m ore au thenticsource o f pe rsonal knowl edge th an traged y. Nathan S cott arguesth at the tragic he ro is an extrem ist who fo rge ts th at he is a m an andnot an ange l. The re fo re , S cott th inks, tragic m an cannot se rve aswe ll as com ic m an to re ve al the whol tru th about the hum an situa- etion. . . . the point th at com edy is always m aking (is) th at we are not pure , d isem bodied essences, th at indeed we are not pure any- th ing-at-all, bu t th at we are m en and th at our he alth and happiness are contingent upon ou r facing in to the fact th at we are finite and conditioned and the re fo re sub j ct to all sorts o f e absurd ities and in te rrup tions and inconveniences and em barrass- m ents— and we aknesses. This is, we m ight say, the courage th at 16 the com ic im agination re quires o f us. LITERATURE IS OF GREAT VALUE IN UNDERSTANDING THE HUMAN CONDITION In brief, meanings in the synnoetic realm are subjective (and in-tersubjective), concrete, and existential. They arise in the I-Thou en-counter, in which the other is accepted in freedom and love. Personsgrow to healthy maturity through their encounters with others. Butchoices may be made in which the relations of freedom and love aredenied. In that event personal meanings are impaired, relationships be-come manipulative and impersonal, estrangements and fragmentationsoccur, and the self loses its integrity and creativity. To restore per-sonal and interpersonal wholeness, therapeutic methods have been de-vised, together with theoretical models of the human psyche that areintended to guide the practice of healing. These conceptual patterns,enriched by insights from phenomenology, Existentialism, theology,and, above all, from literature, provide a basis for disciplined under-standing in the synnoetic realm, making possible reliable education ina domain that is of fundamental importance for the life of man andsociety. WAYS OF KNOWING1. What is synnoetics?2. What is the general nature of synnoetics?3. How do synnoetic meanings relate subjects to subjects?4. How is objectivity eliminated and replaced with subjectivity in synnoetics?5. What role does intersubjectivity play in the synnoetic realm?6. What is distinctive about synnoesis?7. How are personal meanings concrete?8. What is “explicit knowledge”?9. What is “tacit knowledge”?10. Why is knowledge of a comprehensive entity important?11. What are the primary differences between impersonal meanings and personal relations?12. What is the philosophy of existentialism?13. Why is personal knowledge existential?16 Nathan A. Scott, Jr., “The Bias of Comedy and the Narrow Escape into Faith,”The Christian Scholar, vol. XLIV, no. 1, Spring 1961, pp. 9-39.
100 PART TWO: FUNDAMENTAL PATTERNS OF MEANING1 4. How does the concept o f iso lation have any significance?1 5. Why does pe rsonal knowl edge depend on the natu re of hum an life ?1 6. Why do re cognized le ade rs in the p ractice o f inte rp re tation o f m eanings not conform as an identifiab le group as do linguis ts, scientis ts, and artis ts?1 7. How is it th at in pe rsonal insight, the sim pl and m ost untu- est to red peopl can be as com pet e ent, or e ven m ore com pet th an ent peopl who have devoted m uch tim e and thought to the pe rfe ct- e ing of th is aspect of life ?1 8. How do scholars in re ligion, philosophy, psychology, and lite r- atu re p rovide m osto f the ideas fo r the unde rs tand ing of pe rson- al aware ness?1 9. What does the te rm “I-Thou” m ean?20. What does the te rm “I-It” m ean?21 . How does “I-Thou” and I-It” wo rk in re lation to o the rs?22. How is the attitud e o f m anipulation absent in the I-Thou?23. Accord ing to the book, what is m eant by fre edom ?24. Accord ing to the book, what is lo ve ?25. How do pe rsonal re lations take p lace in our life with natu re ?26. How do pe rsonal re lations take p lace in our spiritu al life ?27. How is the se lf cre ated by social inte raction?28. How are language m eanings used to express m eanings in e ach o f the o the r re al s? m29. How is the concept of re lation im portan t to thought and p rac- tice ?30. How is the quality o f a pe rson’s life deeply affe cted by the qualitie s o f the re lationship with significant o the r?31 . What is the p rincipal aim of psychoanalysis?32. What is the the rapis t’s ro le in psychoanalysis?33. What are som e o f the p rob l s o f the em otionally ill pe rson? em34. Why is the basic m ethod o f psychoanalysis in re educating the clie nt im portan t?35. What is F reudian theory?36. What are the functions of the id , ego, and supe rego in te rm s o f the re ality p rincip l ? e37. What are the m ost im portan t typ ical m echanism s or d ynam ism s a pe rson attem pts to com e to te rm s with re lative to inte rpe r- sonal re lations?38. What is the goal of psychoanalytic the rapy?39. What are ideas th at can be used fo r the unde rs tand ing and im- p rovem ents of m eanings in the re al of pe rsonal knowl m edge?40. What is the basic p rincip l of the Existentialis ts? e41 . How does the existentialis t vie w se lf as it is re late d to fre edom ?42. How does one know him se lf th rough his decisions?43. F rom an exis tentialis tic pe rspective , what is anguish?44. What is unde rlying anguish?45. Why do existentialis ts d iffe r on any u ltim ate solu tion to the hu- m an p red icam ent?46. Why are existentialis ts critical of psychologis ts and psychoan- alys ts?47. Why wou l being conce rned with concre te sub j ctivitie s of pe r- d e sonal encounte r gove rn the work o f the p racticing psychologis t o r psychoanalys t?48. What is exis tential psychoanalysis?49. What is exis tential psychol ogy?50. What is a basic phenom enol ogical p rincip l ? e
PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE 10151 . What are seve ral contribu tions th at the exis tential app roach can m ake to psychology?52. How is exis tential psychol ogy he l fu l in m aking cle ar the inti- p m ate in te rconnection o f re lations be tween pe rsons and a pe r- son’s re lation to him se lf?53. How is lite ratu re used as a re source in the deve l ento f pe r- opm sonal knowl edge?54. How are the arts used in deepening the pe rsonal knowl edge?55. How does lite ratu re , d ram a, poe try, the nove l, and biography p rovide m ode l fo r m ediation on the deepestre lations be tween a s pe rson and th ings, o the r pe rsons, and se lf?56. How does gre at lite ratu re contribu te to pe rsonal knowl edge?