The Two of Me: The Rational Outer Me and the Emotional Inner Me

By John Birtchnell | Go to book overview

8

Relating

Evolutionists would argue that all the human objectives have been covered in Chapters 6 and 7; so why have I introduced a third chapter? I have done so because I consider there to be an alternative way of viewing objectives, and that is according to the way that people relate. Although it ought to be possible to reduce all human attitudes and behaviour to serve the two basic objectives of survival and reproduction, the lives of humans have become so much more complicated than, and so different from, those of any other animal that it is unhelpful to try to force all forms of human relating into one of these two very broad categories.

Relating is vastly more complex in humans than in any other animal. In fact Humphrey (1983) has argued that one reason why the human brain became so large was in order to make possible the processing of the interactions that took place within emerging social groups. Relating was the subject of my previous two books (Birtchnell, 1993/96, 1999/2002). In these, I concluded that people relate because they have relating objectives. I shall propose that these, like the survival and the reproductive objectives, originate in, and are controlled and monitored by, the inner me. Shortly, I shall consider the relationship between the relating objectives and the survival and reproductive ones but, for now, suffice it to say that they cut across and, to some extent, overlap with, them.

My starting point will be the general principle that the more rigid and instinct-driven behaviour of animals has been replaced in humans by general dispositions towards certain fundamental forms of behaviour, upon which are based learned skills that are more suited to specific environments and are more adaptable to changing life circumstances. Somewhat serendipitously, in a series of articles (Birtchnell, 1987, 1990, 1994), I hit upon the idea that human relating behaviour can usefully be classified within the framework of two intersecting axes; the one, usually considered to be the horizontal one, concerns moving towards or moving away from others; the other, usually considered to be the vertical one, concerns relating to others from a position of relative strength or relating to others from a position of relative weakness. These four ways of relating I have called closeness, distance, upperness and lowerness. They are, I maintain, the four basic dispositions from which all forms of human relating can be derived.

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The Two of Me: The Rational Outer Me and the Emotional Inner Me
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgements xv
  • Part I - The Outer Me/Inner Me Dichotomy 1
  • 1 - The Birth of an Idea 3
  • 2 - The Outer Me 15
  • 3 - The Inner Me 28
  • Part II - Other Conscious/ Unconscious Distinctions 41
  • 4 - Psychodynamic Distinctions 43
  • 5 - Cognitive Distinctions 57
  • Part III - The Human Objectives 71
  • 6 - Survival 73
  • 7 - Reproduction 86
  • 8 - Relating 99
  • Part IV - The Receptive and Responsive Me 113
  • 9 - Sensory Input 115
  • 10 - Emotion 128
  • 11 - Memory 141
  • Part V - The Active Me 155
  • 12 - Motor Action 157
  • 13 - Communication and Language 169
  • 14 - Mental Activity 182
  • Part VI - The Complex Me 195
  • 15 - Deception and Self-Deception 197
  • 16 - Delusions and Hallucinations 211
  • 17 - Dreams 224
  • Part VII - The Social Me 237
  • 18 - The Arts 239
  • 19 - Humour 251
  • 20 - Religion 264
  • Bibliography 277
  • Author Index 293
  • Subject Index 299
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