We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I met Erik Erikson on a couple of occasions, and was an admirer of the man. A lovely, sweet, gentle, dignified guy. Apparently, some think his work is obsolete. I think Young Man Luther, about Martin Luther, is wonderful work even if I don't agree with most if not all of his premisses.
His outlining of the typical "stages" of life, with their typical conflicts, holds up very well. The psychological capacity to handle the challenges that life presents is the key to relative satisfaction in life (the links in the quote box don't work):
1. Basic trust v. Mistrust. Birth to 1 year. From warm, responsive care infants gain trust or confidence that the world is good.
2. Autonomy v. Shame and Doubt. 1-3 years. Children start to use new mental and motor skills, and want to choose for themselves. Autonomy is created when the parents alow reasonable freedom and don't force or shame the child.
3. Initiative v. Guilt. 3-6 years. Children use play to experiment with what kind of person they might become. If the parent demand too much self-control the child might become insecure with who they are.
4. Industry v. Inferiority. 6-11 years. Children learn to work and cooperate with others. Negative experiences may lead to feelings of incompetence and inferiority.
5. Identity v. Identity diffusion. Adolescence. The adolescence tries to discover 'Who am I, and what is my place in society?' The resolution (or not) of this will result in your views on your future adult roles.
6. Intimacy v. Isolation. Young adulthood. Young people work on establishing intimate ties with others. Because of early disappointments an individual may not be able to form lasting relationships.
7. Generativity v. Stagnation. Middle adulthood. Generativity means giving to the next generation through work, children, or caring for other people. Failing to do this can make you feel that your life is meaningless.
8. Ego integrity v. Despair. Old age. In this final stage, people reflect on what type of life they led. If they are not happy with their life, they feel despair and fear death overmuch.
Like all stage theories, his is just a rough guide based on a lifetime of talking with people. "Typical" does not mean "right," and everybody struggles, at least at times, to do life.
Erikson's work fits in well with that of George Vaillant, whose life work has been studying the way people cope with life. Good solid stuff.
Dr. Bliss brings up some interesting breakdowns on the different stages of our lives. I believe some are a bit atavistic and would offer these observations. Beginning with #2.
Dr Bliss' offer is motor skill development,reasonable freedom , and not forcing the child.
Habu offers this observation for #2. By 2 yrs child is manipulative brat and wants more ,more more.
Bliss#3 Kids use play to see who they will become. age 3-6
Habu#3 By 6 kid has first had body piercing for at leat 3 years, gets interested in tattos, knows blowjobs aren't really sex.
Bliss#4 ...6-11 yrs old. learns to work with others
Habu#4... kid has joined a gang, can hot wire car and knows how to divert attention of mini-mart attendant in order to steal beer and cigarettes. gets tattoo w/ skull somewhere, eyelid pierced.
Bliss#5...kid tries to discover "who I am"
Habu#5 kid gets arrested for first time, now knows he belongs in the gang.
Bliss#6..young adult developing intimate ties
Habu#6 incarcerated in youth detention
Bliss#7 middle adulthood ..."giving to the next generation"
Habu#7 beats kids while drunk, rents out wife.
Bliss#8 old age ..reflection on their life.
Habu#8 no reflection, drugs & alcohol have destroyed brain. seldom bathe or change clothes..soup kitchen at Christmas and Thanksgiving
I have found Erik Ericksons theories to be true. I am a critical care RN and see the results of not making it successfully through a stage in real life. If a child ldoes not make it through trusting his/her mother and father they have issues their entire life. And no, I do not believe it applies to diagnosable mental illnesses. But there is a tie to the extreme of the disability to the severity of the mental illness. E.G. a pt. with a mother who is schizophrenic and is disfunctional in society to the extent that they are in an institution for life.
Jack Coupal - I am not making the connection that says if Erikson is okay, then psychoanalysis is okay. Doesn't follow.
In both cases, however, I think you have to ask the question "okay for what?" If we are talking about Erikson's stages as an outline of normal development and where it might go wrong, I have no quibble. If we are suggesting that these stages offer any insight into diagnosable mental illness, however, we part company. It is not merely inaccurate to think so, but selling the idea contributes mightily to the ruin of more lives.
Similarly, if we are claiming that psychoanalysis can provide insight and improvement of life for those who have roughly intact personalities and want to work out a few issues, I concur. If we are proposing psychoanalysis as a treatment for serious mental illness, I dismiss this as dangerous nonsense.
Assistant Village Idiot