i figured you people out

21 09 2009

The following are notes I took while reading Understanding Human Nature by Alfred Adler. I know, there are a lot, but read em in no particular order. Some pretty cool life lessons and short notes on understanding the social world a little better. I did the reading, so you wouldn’t have to. Enjoy, learn.

–       This the soul accomplishes by evaluating each situation and directing the organism to the next one, with the maximum satisfaction of instincts and the least possible amount of friction – 39

–       Whereas some children develop in the direction of the acquisition of power and the selection of a courageous technique which results in their recognition, others seem to speculate on their own weaknesses, and attempt to demonstrate it in the most varied forms. – 40

–    “The Influence of Difficulties” (good title)

–       …the responses of any individual, just as those of society, are not to be judged according to a pattern. – 41

–       Our civilization is a culture which is based upon the health and adequacy of fully developed organs- 41

–       The goal of their life is to attain a point at which their feeling of inferiority and their sense of handicap is entirely removed- 47

–       The sense organs are the most important in the determination of the essential relationships to the world.- 48

–       The visual picture of the world in which we live has an incomparable significance in that it deals with unchanging, lasting bases, in contrast to the other sense organs, the ear, the nose, the tounge, and the skin, which are sensitive solely to temporary stimuli. – 48

–       No two human beings react in quite the same way to the identical picture; if we ask them what they have perceived they will give very diverse answers.- 49

–       The majority of man-kind is probably visual minded.- 49

–       The individuality and uniqueness of  a human being consists in what he perceives and how he perceives. – 50

–       … (the product of imagination) is an entirely new and unique product built upon the basis of the perception, just as the perception was created on the basis of physical sensations. – 51

–       We may conclude from our previous discussion that hallucinations appear in that moment when the psychic tension is at its greatest and in circumstances in which one fears that the attainment of one’s goals is impossible. – 54

–       Examinations of childhood fantasies show clearly that the striving for power plays the predominant role. – 57

–       In our civilization this goal is the goal of social recognition and significance. – 57

–       Many children believe that they actually originated from a different family, and that some day their real father, some important personage, will come and fetch them. – 57

–       There are children who are said to have no imagination. – 58

–       In the sleep dream, as in the daydream, we are concerned with the activity of an organism which is attempting to map, plan, and direct its future like toward a goal of security. – 58

–       Our entire life is very much dependent upon the faculty of identification. – 60

–       Under the influence of the social feeling there exists a certain degree of willingness to be influenced by ones environment. – 60

–       One can influence another individual best when he is in the mood in which he feels his own rights guaranteed. – 61

–       The public wants to be fooled. It wants to swallow every bluff without subjecting it to rational examination. – 63

–       One must remember that every child occupies an inferior position in life; were it not for a certain quantum of social feeling on the part of his family he would be incapable of independent existence. – 65

–       One of these factors is an exaggerated, intensified, unresolved feeling of inferiority, and the other is a goal which demands not only security and peace and social equilibrium, but a striving to express power over the environment, a goal of dominance over one’s fellows. – 66

–       Numerous children grow up in the constant dread of being laughed at. – 66

–       A keen judge of human nature, keeping his eyes open to the value of physical defects and inferiorities… – 70

–       Now the loss of a battle for equality never leads to a permanent peace. – 79

–       The hope of a happy future has never failed mankind. – 81

–       The preparation for the future can be seen in every game. The manner in which a child approaches a game, his choice, and the importance which he places upon it, indicate his attitude and relationship to his environment and how he is related to his fellow men. – 81

–       Every child has in him something of the adult he will be at some time. – 82

–       Thus as soon as we wish to be attentive to any one thing we desire to exclude all other disturbances. – 83

–       The important thing is the general attitude toward human society, since this determines every wish and every interest and every activity of each individual. – 87

–       In judging a human being we must not be guided solely by his conscious actions and expressions. Often little details in his thinking and behavior of which he is not conscious will give us a better clue to his real nature. – 87

–       Human beings dare only those things which in their interpretation of the world are valuable to them. – 90

–       In the dream the life problem of an individual is expressed in a simile. – 95

–       For we experience only those things which set our brain into unrest, which demonstrate to us that there is more wisdom hidden between heaven and earth than we allow ourselves to dream of. We can understand the prophetic nature of dreams in so far as we know that both dream and reality contain the same attitude toward life which an individual knows. – 99

–       These two tendencies, the social feeling, and the individual striving for power and domination, influence every human activity and color the attitude of every individual in his striving for security, in his fulfillment of the three great challenges of life: love, work, society. – 102

–       Division of labor is a factor in the maintenance of human society which must not be overlooked. Everyone at some time, or at some place, must contribute his quota. – 102

–       Forces continually disturbing this division of labor have created privilege for one, and slavery for another. – 103

–       His mysterious comings and goings arouse the interest of the child much more than the constant presence of a mother. – 104

–       A terrific battle must have preceded the transition from matriarchate to masculine domination. – 105

–       Character is a psychic attitude, it is the quality and nature of an individual’s approach to the environment in which he moves. – 133

–       We have already seen how the goal of superiority, of power, of the conquest of others, is the goal which directs the activity of most human beings. – 133

–       We cannot think anything, nor set anything into motion, without having some distinct purpose in mind. – 134

–       We are in the very midst of life and are dominated by the logic of communal existence. – 137

–       In these uncertain cases we need a standpoint which is universally applicable in order to judge correctly. For us such a standpoint can be found in the concept of social usefulness and the general well-being of humanity, the  “common weal.” – 139

–       The division of temperaments into sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic…147

–       The character of a human being is never the basis of a moral judgment, but is an index of the attitude of this human being toward his environment, and of his relationship to the society in which he lives. – 153

–       Universal existence of a social feeling which binds man to man; this social feeling is at the basis of all great accomplishments of our civilization. – 153

–       Such an individual loses his sense of reality because he loses his connection with life, being alwaysoccupied with the question of what other people think about him, and being concerned chiefly with the impression that he makes. (regarding vanity and ambition) 155

–       No other vice is so well designed to stunt the free development of a human being as that personal vanity which forces an individual to approach every event and every fellow with the query: “What do I get out of this?” – 155

–       No one is entirely free of vanity. – 157

–       Vanity, and the feeling for one’s fellowmen, are not conceivable together. These two character traits can never be joined because vanity will not allow itself to be subordinated to the principles of society.- 157

–       …vain individuals always impress us as being somewhat childish. – 159

–       The sickness of a fellow man challenges the social feeling of every normal human being. – 163

–       The various ornaments which such individuals carry indicate their vanity just as much as so many standards, belligerent emblems, or weapons, whose purpose, when rightly understood is to scare off the enemy. – 170

–       It is very characteristic that fairy tales, that source from which all of us have learned much of our understanding of human nature, gives us a number of examples which show us the danger of vanity. – 172

–       …striving of vain individuals, the striving for power assumes the expression of a desire for the ideal of god-likeness. – 172

–       …we shall find that a large portion of humanity has the tendency to secure for itself a little place in the vicinity of God. – 172

–       the idea of enchantment, of a magic influence upon others, is found to a strong degree in some people, and may not be lost until they are very old. – 173

–       in our civilization there is one thing which seems to have a magic power, and that is money. – 174

–       …jealousy is an exceptionally well-marked form of the striving for power. – 178

–       None of us is entirely free of it. (envy) -179

–       The avaricious individual builds a wall around himself to be secure in the possession of his wretched treasures. -181

–       It will therefore be better to adjust our lives so that we would rather give, than save. – 181

–       The disparity between a man’s personal affairs and the welfare of society gives us an index of his hostility to humanity. – 184

–       The anxiety of one person thus imposes a law upon the whole environment. – 188

–       (3 great problems in life… )These problems are: the solution of the question of his social responsibilities, the relationship between the “I” and the “you,” the question whether he has fostered his contact between himself and his fellows in an approximately correct manner, or has hindered this contact. – 190

–       …it is not our objective experiences which bring us from the straight path of development, but our personal attitude and evaluation of events, and the manner in which we evaluate and weigh occurrences.  -193

–       The talent for bringing pleasure to others makes a man more interesting. – 199

–       No other affect can be produced artificially as easily as disgust. – 215

–       Anxiety helps them evade the demands of life, and enslave all those about them. – 216

–       Laughter, with its liberating energy, its freedom giving powers, goes hand in hand with happiness, and represents, so to speak, the keystone of this affect [joy]. It reaches out beyond the personality and entwines itself in the sympathies of others. – 217

–       La Rochefoucauld, has said: “We are always prepared to find a measure of satisfaction in the misfortune of our friends.”  – 218

–       No matter how many mistakes a man has made, he will either blame the rest of mankind, or feel that his situation is irrevocable. – 222




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