Altruism, Humor, Anticipation, Suppression, Sublimation


David Corbett writes in his book The Art of Character that George Vaillant, once a researcher at Harvard, drew on the research of Anna Freud and adapted a hierarchy of ways we have to adapt to pain, stress, loss, conflict, disappointment, uncertainty and betrayal.

What I have listed as the title or headline of this post are what Vaillant labeled the mature adaptations. These can not only be applied to character development, but to our development. After all, they are listed as nonfiction, not fiction.

Other than humor, to me they all sounded unhealthy. Had you given me a multiple choice or  true/false test,  I would have had all incorrect answers. Not until I read, the “less mature”options did I begin to see the above as good choices.

The other options were characterized as psychotic, immature, and neurotic. They included paranoia, passive aggressive, and intellectualization.  Once I get off the couch, oh what characters I will produce!

4 thoughts on “Altruism, Humor, Anticipation, Suppression, Sublimation

  1. New Hampshire Garden Solutions December 5, 2013 / 7:11 pm

    I don’t know if I’d be looking at pain, stress, loss, conflict, disappointment, uncertainty or betrayal with anticipation if anticipation means “waiting eagerly.” Dread seems to be a better fit.

  2. Carole Webber December 5, 2013 / 7:13 pm

    Too much introspection, thinking of self never gets you anywhere

  3. jhvn December 5, 2013 / 10:07 pm

    Freud’s view of the human condition unfortunately finds all motivation for human behavior in our adaptation to pain. He was blind, in my view, to genuine human concern for others known as love. He also described all religious experience as regression to childhood fantasy. Perhaps this is one reason for the decline of Freudian analysis and therapy.

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