Quote from Erik Erikson

An interesting tidbit on anthropology from the first chapter of the great psychologist’s controversial book […]

David Zahl / 1.27.10

An interesting tidbit on anthropology from the first chapter of the great psychologist’s controversial book Young Man Luther:

“Psychoanalysis has tended to subordinate the later stages of life to those of childhood. It has lifted to the rank of cosmology the undeniable fact that man’s adulthood contains a persistent childishness: that vistas of the future always reflect the mirages of a missed past, that apparent progression can harbor partial regressions, and firm accomplishment, hidden childish fulfillment. In exclusively studying what is repetition and regression and preservation in human life, we have learned more about the infantile in the adult than was ever known before. We have thus prepared an ethical orientation in human life which centers on the prerservation of those early energies which man, in the very service of his higher values is apt to suppress, exploit, or waste.”


3 responses to “Quote from Erik Erikson”

  1. Todd says:

    an unfortunately true statement…

    I should add though that quotes like these can be internalized by parents into a very burdensome law that is totally unable to be fulfill. Since we can't fix ourselves from our messed up childhood, we try to keep our children from the same vices.

  2. Michael Cooper says:

    and on that note…You know that your children understand the gospel when they forgive you for being their parent.

  3. Wenatchee the Hatchet says:

    gOne of the strange ironies I have observed is that the people who most try to be different from their parents most exemplify their parents, often in unexpected and unobserved ways. The attempt to rebel against the values of one's parents reveals how one conforms to them.

    Conversely, the paradox can work itself out in reverse–a person can attempt to live out the precepts and character traits encouraged by one's parents only to discover that this is considered dishonor. It has only been in the last few years that my mom has seen the humor in my observation that she always said she raised me to think for myself except for the part about me actually thinking for myself and not just agreeing with her. We are sometimes most disappointed by getting the thing we think we want.

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