Saturday, August 15, 2015

On Erik Erikson's Personality Theory

On Erik Erikson's Personality Theory: Building on Sigmund Freud's ideas concerning psycho-social development, Erikson concocted a comprehensive series of "stages" that depict personality growth. Regarding Freud, the id represents the irrational, unconscious, and pleasure-seeking aspect of an individual while the ego reflects reality, as it rationally/consciously tries to pursue what the id desires. Lastly, the superego symbolizes an individual's conscience, which attempts to mediate whatever conflicts occur between the id and ego. For Erikson, however, a personality consists of more than Freud's three basic components. In fact, Erikson's personality theory contains eight stages, as it describes how a person should psycho-socially develop from infancy to late adulthood. To simplify Erikson's stages, existential questions can be proposed to capture the gist of what each stage represents. For example, two questions of the adolescent stage (years 15 to 25) might be "who am I?" or "how can I become a contributing member of society?" And two questions of the middle-adulthood stage (years 35 to 55) could be "can I love another person?" or "how can I make life worth living?" Nevertheless, completion of each stage is NOT necessarily contingent upon answering its questions.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

On Kierkegaardian Absurdity and Insanity

On Kierkegaardian Absurdity and Insanity: On October 16, 1843, Kierkegaard published three separate works. One of the books published was Repetition and another was Fear and Trembling, which is perhaps Kierkegaard's most well-known work. In many respects, neither book has much in common, except when referencing ideas like absurdity and insanity. If when Abraham took Isaac up Mount Moriah to be sacrificed (at God's command) can be considered a definition of absurdity, then Fear and Trembling was spot-on with its discourse. And if repeating the same process/steps (as the Young Man did) while expecting different results is a definition of insanity, then Repetition has certainly made an indelible philosophical mark. For Kierkegaard, who tried to determine whether repetition actually existed in the world, the process of repeating something served as a vehicle to "eternalize" what would otherwise be temporal. He also connected this idea to another concept which he referred to as the "Knight of Faith." Because Kierkegaard's conception of Faith is partially rooted in both absurdity and insanity, it only seems fitting that Abraham and the Young Man act as Knights of Faith in their respective books. In short, the Knight of Fight is a paradoxical individual who "gracefully embraces life" on one hand, and places infinite trust in the possibility of divine salvation on the other.