Being is all there is, it is all that was created. To be human is to think. It is by thinking that human beings reason in order to know. One is born, lives, and dies alone. One’s solitude yields the need to communicate in order to survive, since one is not enough by oneself. On one’s course, from the crib to the tomb, one is a being of relations. One’s development occurs in phases: childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, each of them with their own characteristics and needs.
The childhood of the human being presents, in sequence, the appearance of anguish in face of privations, of fear that such privations will occur, of anger from not being able to satisfy them, of pretense when concealing that one does not feel them or when looking for spurious means to be able to satisfy them, and of practicality, in trying to understand the exterior world in order to conquer it.
Adolescence encompasses a preparatory phase, preadolescence, and adolescence proper. Preadolescence is a review of the childish phase of anger, but now with reflection about one’s frustrations, always seeking to find, outside of oneself, their causes and thus blame and attack these causes. Adolescence proper is a review of the childish phase of fear, with reflection about the way to consolidate one’s mastery of the exterior world in order to fulfill oneself.
Adulthood encompasses the young phase, the phase of adulthood proper, and old adulthood. Young adulthood is the phase of personal fulfillment, including procreation, and of professional fulfillment, in a communitary environment. Adulthood proper is the phase of full humanization of the being, the consolidation of what was acquired at the personal and professional levels. Old adulthood is living cosmic, enlightened fullness.
Parents, educators, and society as a whole, are all responsible for providing assistance and guidance to children. In the first months of existence, when there is only well-being or anguish due to lack of well-being, the child needs to be provided with this well-being and with its recovery, since the child is only able to live in the here and now. In the next months of life, with the emergence of memory, and also with the emergence of fear, the anticipation of possible anguish, the child needs to learn about real fear and imaginary fear, and needs to be guided to protect oneself against the first and disregard the second. Next in sequence, when anger at the fear of anguish emerges the child needs to learn that such reaction is natural, due to the frustration that one feels, but that its manifestation must be avoided so that there are no negative occurrences for oneself and others. When the child is capable of concealing one’s feelings and of seeking spurious means to satisfy one’s needs, the child must learn to avoid behaviors that harm oneself or others. When practicality emerges, the capacity to satisfy one’s needs without harming oneself or others, the child must be helped to find such means.
In adolescence, there is still the responsibility of parents, educators and society as a whole. During preadolescence the individual relives childish anger when seeking the reasons for one’s frustrations, and one needs to be guided in the sense of understanding which of one’s behaviors led to such situations and how to avoid their recurrence. In adolescence proper there is a review of childish fear, and the individual must be guided in the sense of distinguishing between real fears and fears created by one’s imagination, which must be discarded.
It is the role of adults to guide themselves and to guide children and adolescents. In order to be able of doing this task, they must have full knowledge of the progress of humanity, regarding mental and physical health, as well as regarding philosophy and religion. In terms of physical health, the role to sexuality is noteworthy. In terms of philosophy and religion, it is appropriate to interpret the contributions of all generations on the subject.
Sexuality, present since life in the uterus, needs to be known in its structure and dynamics. During childhood, the pleasure achieved by touching the genitalia occurs since early on, and thus manipulation of it by the child herself and the fondling of children among themselves are evident. It is the role of the adult to promote the hygiene of the child’s genitalia with the same natural attitude and privacy that one deals with nasal, ear, anal and urinary secretions. In the childhood phase of practicality, when reason emerges, one should plan to give orientation about the structure and dynamics of the sexes, as well as about their function in procreation. During preadolescence individuals must be warned about the risks of pregnancy and the means to avoid it in the least harmful way to one’s health; the inappropriateness of anal sexual relation to both sexes should also be explained, as well as the social-cultural inconveniences of relationships between people of the same sex. During adolescence proper, guidance must extend to cover the predictable occurrences of marriage and procreation. The adult has the right to sexual practice as long as he/she accepts total responsibility for the consequences of one’s act for oneself and one’s eventual partners.
Philosophy, thinking about thinking, inexistent during childhood and precarious during adolescence, only has a prerogative function during adulthood. Thinking one’s own thoughts, the human being gets busy with knowing the space around oneself, to which one must adapt and from where one must obtain one’s livelihood. Thinking, in the act of knowing, starts from an intuitive and whole view of the object, which prepares the way for reasoning. Empirical intuition of the object, be it sensible, be it psychological, serves as the starting point for inductive reasoning, which starts from the specific and goes towards the general. Rational intuition serves as the starting point for deductive thinking, which starts from the general and goes towards the specific. Intuition guesses and reasoning proves. Value judgement is essential for the human being and consolidates ethical thinking. Thinking one’s own thoughts the human being realizes that happiness is the goal of every culture, and therefore we need to plan the appropriate processing in the transmission of knowledge and values, so that every group and every individual reach it, wasting as little energy as possible and achieving the maximum progress each one is capable of.
Religion, the re-connection of the human being with the mystery of the universe, is inaccessible to the child, roughly known in adolescence, and only accessible during adulthood. Theology, the study of religions, systematic reflection about the absolute as it relates to our being, seeks the integration of essence and existence, of finite and infinite absolute, of eternity and temporality. The usual hypothesis in theologies is that a oneness principle, usually denominated god, transformed itself, in its intimateness, into several elements, coordinated in hierarchies and functions that reinforce this unity, and keeping the same scheme in all smaller individuations, thus the statement that every being is made to the image and resemblance of god, which is one’s origin and destiny. Each individual believes in what one needs to believe, according to one’s developmental moment. There is no consistent proof in favor or against any creed. One can suppose a hierarchy among the natural affirmative theologies, based on knowledge of the world, and revealed affirmative theologies, guided by the light of faith, and negative theology, mystical, which dismisses words and considers mystical ecstasy the living of the unification with the divine. A unified theology passes through: pristine theology, a kind of wisdom that has been influencing humanity parallel to disseminated theologies and can be found in theosophy, wisdom of god, which supposedly comes directly from god, mystical theology par excellence, of all truth; dialectical theology, or theology of crisis, which supports the absolute separation between the world and god, which can only be granted with god’s help through revelation; radical theology, nihilism, which starts from des-divinization, and the consequent secularization of the world, and need to create a universal fraternity; systematic theology, which seeks the interpretation of religious forms as cultural forms, and presents itself as a situational theology, which refers to the current historical moment and to the human situation as such.
The concept of a fragile psyche, psychosis, is of crucial importance for the knowledge of the human being. According to the latest statistics of the World Health Organization — WHO, dated 1986, only fourteen percent of humanity have a normal psyche, and reach the developmental goals expected at each stage of life. The other eighty six percent present some degree of psychic fragility, psychosis.
The individual expresses himself, at each moment of one’s life, in function of the level of integration of one’s components of temperament (biochemical) and of character (ethical-social), which together make up one’s personality, one’s way of being. The individual becomes a person in function of the transformation of one’s instinctive, impulsive, unconscious living, into rational, intelligent, conscious living. The fragile psyche, psychosis is a result of some kind of perturbation of temperament.
A graphic representation of temperament can be imagined in a circle divided in two diameters, a basic horizontal one, and a complementary vertical one, whose total area is divided in such way that a concentric interior circumference represents the fourteen percent of individuals with a normal psyche, and the remaining area, the eighty six percent of individuals with a fragile psyche, psychotic, and where the central point of the circumference is a reference point for the perfect psyche, non-existent in the individual.
In the circumference mentioned, the diameter represents, in its horizontal polarity: starting from the center, to the left and towards its limit, the communicability of the individual, introspective in a normal psyche, and of closure, schizophrenic, in a fragile psyche, psychotic; starting from the center, to the right and towards its limit, the communicability of the individual, extrospective in a normal psyche, and of projection, paranoiac, in a fragile psyche, psychotic.
In the circumference, the vertical diameter represents the emotional tone of the psyche: in the ascending direction, from the center, there is happiness in the space of normality, and there is euphoria, mania in the space of fragility; in the descending direction, also from the center, there is sadness in the space of normality, and depression, melancholy, in the state of fragility. The emotional tendencies of euphoria and depression, represented by the vertical diameter, presuppose fragility in the schizo-paranoid substratum, represented by the horizontal diameter, and it may not occur in many cases of psychosis.
There are cases of simple schizophrenia and simple paranoia, both at the limits, in which intermediary variations do not occur, making the case excessively serious since those afflicted either close themselves up from social contact in the first instance, or always communicate with the environment in an aggressive way, in the second instance. In both instances, if the individuals are appropriately watched, and medicated if needed, they can be useful to the community, within their capacity, before the final debacle of their destinies.
Humanity, as a whole, can be considered an entity in evolution, where a small portion of individuals have reached the developmental phases expected in adulthood, and a great portion of them have not even reached adolescence in its two phases. Both temperament and character must be considered. Unbalanced temperament causes psychic fragility, psychosis, at three levels: that of lack of humanity, of the individual incapable of creating one’s character; that of inhumanity, of the individual incapable of re-creating one’s perverted character, geared towards evilness; that of humanity, of the individual capable of creating and maintaining one’s own character geared towards the good.
There are individuals with a normal psyche who did not have the ethical-social orientation to build good character, but they can do so if they receive such information. There are individuals with a fragile psyche, psychosis, of two types: the ones that can be taught, or those whose temperament, when properly treated and medicated if needed, are able to acquire, rebuild, and maintain their character in the direction of the good; and there are the ones that cannot be taught, those who, although their temperament receives appropriate treatment, have an intrinsic incapacity to build their character.
Humanity is thus an entity in evolution, in whose crucible each individual reaches the development one is capable of. There are the psychically normal ones who have good character, and those who do not have it spontaneously, but who can acquire it if appropriately guided. There are the psychically fragile ones, the psychotic, who can acquire, rebuild and maintain good character, and those who basically cannot do it. The incapacity to build character is called psychopathy, a disease of the psyche.
The majority of humanity is in the stage of psychic childhood, whether because of cultural ignorance, or because of psychic fragility, psychosis, which incapacitates one to build one’s own good character, and appropriated services are required in both instances. Those incapable of acquiring or of rebuilding character, although highly harmful to communitary living, can have specifically useful functions, within their productive abilities.
A universal phenomenon is happening in humanity, with the clear and decisive emergence of the phase of pretense, of concealment. Initially anguished or afraid, many individuals have openly developed into the next phase, and now search for spurious means to satisfy their needs. This is a major movement for the evolution of humanity, and there is a need of serious regulation to deal with this outburst.
The so called corrupt individuals are those who, over time, have developed from anguish, from the fear of anguish, and from anger about the fear of anguish, to pretense, and they need to be guided towards practicality, a childish way of satisfying one’s needs without harming oneself or third parties. Such individuals, the corrupt ones, stuck in pretense, fulfill their role of showing their example to those who are anguished, afraid, and angry, and they also alert governments of the need to provide education to people.
From the point of view of the evolution of humanity, there is a need for a rigorous review of the framework of values that guide education. Schools must include in their curriculum subjects that aim at building the character of students from an early age, teaching them to act without harming themselves or others, in a language that is appropriate to each age group. Those who are anguished must be removed from anguish, those who are afraid must learn to distinguish between real and imaginary fears, the angry ones must learn to curb their angry behavior, the ones who pretend must learn not to harm themselves or anyone else, the practical ones must be assisted and praised in their way of being.
In the sequence: the preadolescent must be informed about responsibility for one’s acts instead of looking for “scape goats” for one’s frustrations; the adolescent must distinguish between genuine explanations about real and imaginary fears; adults must face their personal and professional responsibilities, in the community and in humanity as a whole. In order to do so, all individuals must be supported and guided according to their capacity, in search of the greatest well-being possible.
Therefore, it can be concluded that the majority of people need to acquire, rebuild and maintain good character in order to reach the category of human beings. Some psychically normal individuals have good character spontaneously. A few individuals are not capable of having any character whatsoever. A minority, made up of individuals with a fragile psyche, psychotic, cannot be taught. Many psychically normal individuals, and many psychically fragile individuals, psychotic, and that can be taught, can rebuild their character. Adults, parents, educators, and government leaders, have the essential task of offering the means for individuals to treat their temperament and build their good character, in order to have a personality capable to guaranteeing them the actions required in the search for happiness, at the level each one is capable of, be it in achieving the well-being of the body, be it in also achieving psychic and spiritual well-being.
Education and re-education are the path in the search for happiness, which result from the acquisition of the mystical living experience, well-being of the body, of the mystical experience, psychic well-being, and of the mystical ecstasy, spiritual well-being. Education takes place in the family, in schools, and in the community in general. Re-education, psychotherapy, occurs with the actions of specialists, psychotherapists.
The Analytical-Phenomenological-Existential Psychotherapeutic Technique, which inspired this text, is a safe instrument for the acquisition, rebuilding, and maintenance of good character, which enables the search for happiness, the ultimate aim of every culture.
Maria Auxiliadora de Souza Brasil
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