Psychopathology and Politics; Politics: Who Gets What, When, How; Democratic Character

By Harold D. Lasswell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
THEORIES OF PERSONALITY DEVELOPMENT

It will be remembered that Freud's search for signs of the traumatic situation led him to uncover the contemporaneous functioning of all sorts of unconscious motivations in both the diseased and the healthy personality. The quest led him farther. Freud felt impelled to set up a schematic representation of the typical genetic development of the human personality. This grew out of the comparative study of very thoroughly analyzed cases and was rooted in empirical observation. Freud has always kept close to his data; and no matter how far his imagination soared, actual clinical experience was the starting-place and the landing-field for the flight.

The energy of a developed personality can be treated as dispersed in three directions: in the affirmative expression of socialized impulses, in unsocialized impulses, and in the maintenance of resistance charges against unsocialized impulses. The original forms of energy expression which are available to the infant are in many ways incompatible with the demands of human intercourse. The infant must surrender many primitive forms of gratification, if he is to be loved, and to avoid discomfort and pain. He must build up a self which represents the demands of society. The surrounding adults coerce and wheedle him into taking their commands for his own laws. The conscience is the introjected environment which imposes limitations upon the antisocial impulses. As the infant and child grows, he avoids conflicts with the environment by

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