Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

The Maladjustment of "Adjustment". (Retrospect)

Academic journal article ETC.: A Review of General Semantics

The Maladjustment of "Adjustment". (Retrospect)

Article excerpt

"The world is full of people who really do not know who they are." They are under "the dominance of the unconscious to such an extent that they exist after the manner sleepwalkers..."

"But by the extension of consciousness, human beings can escape the suicidal and otherwise tragic imperatives of the mental geography that creates barriers between the unknown forces directing behavior and the necessities of the actual, real world."

"The problem is essentially that of extending the range of cortical control over our lives, of ensuring that our activities are directed not by the contradictory, infantile, primitive compulsions that now enslave us...but by vital factors leading forward to the realization of worthy, adult, and mature aims."

Our grave illness as "sleepwalkers" is one which we cherish as something very desirable: we call it adjustment. In the name of adjustment men "make peace with things as they are" and "abjure all protest not only as vanity but also as harmful." This ideal of adjustment Lindner undertakes "to show for what it is -- a mendacious idea, biologically false, philosophically untenable, and psychologically harmful." Indeed, he regards adjustment as "the single great myth of our time" which threatens "to sap human vitality and exhaust the energies which men require to build the better society they seek." And, finally, he charges that very many professional psychiatrists and psychologists so grievously pervert their purposes as to promote rather than to counteract this debilitating disease in their patients and general public.

Robert Lindner (Ph.D., Cornell) is Chief Consultant for the Maryland Board of Correction and works with private patients as a psychotherapist with psychoanalytic and semantic leanings. …

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