📰 Andras Angyal, a Theoretical Model for Personality Studies

Author: panarchy.org

Full Title: Andras Angyal, a Theoretical Model for Personality Studies

URL: http://www.panarchy.org/angyal/personality.html

Highlights from March 7th, 2021.

Personality may be described most adequately when looked upon as a unified dynamic organization - dynamic, because the most significant fact about a human being is not so much his static aspect as his constituting a specific process: the life of the individual.
In the first tendency we see him struggling for centrality in his world, trying to mold, to organize, the objects and the events of his world, to bring them under his own jurisdiction and government. In the second tendency he seems rather to strive to surrender himself willingly to seek a home for himself in and to become an organic part of something that he conceives as greater than himself.
These two tendencies of the human being, the tendency to increase his self-determination in his expanding personal world, and the tendency to surrender himself willingly to a superordinate whole, can be summed up by saying that the human being comports himself as if he were a whole of an intermediate order. By this I mean a "part-Gestalt" like, for example, the cardiovascular system, or the central nervous system, each of which is a whole, an organization of many parts, but at the same time a part with regard to its superordinate whole, the body. The human being is both a unifier, an organizer of his immediate personal world, and a participant in what he conceives as the superordinate whole to which he belongs.
Were man's behavior determined exclusively by his urge for mastery, his attitude toward others could be only as toward means to his ends. Experiencing others as coparticipants in a larger whole brings, however, another facet of his nature into manifestation. To avoid the coining of some outlandish term, we call this basic relation "love."
The basic nature of love consists in a recognition of the value and acceptance of the otherness of the loved "object" while at the same time one experiences an essential sameness that exists between oneself and what one loves.
Man behaves in certain fundamental respects as if he were a part, a shareholder in some kind of superordinate unit, in some kind of commonwealth. When two persons love one another they clearly or dimly have the feeling that something greater is involved therein than their limited individualities, that they are one in something greater than themselves or, as the religious person says, they are "one in God."
Without such an implicit orientation all interests of a Person would be centered in himself alone as an individual. He, as an isolated entity, would be facing an alien world and his reaching beyond himself would be only to possess, master, and govern the surrounding world. He would compete with other people or he would calculatingly cooperate with them, but he would not love them.
As in the tendency toward increased autonomy, one strives to master and govern the environment, one discovers that one cannot do this effectively by direct application of force, by sheer violence, but can do it by obedience, understanding, and respect for the laws of the environment - attitudes that in some way are similar to those of loving relationships. Similarly, bringing one's best to a loving relationship requires not only capacity for self-surrender but also a degree of proficient mastery of one's world, resourcefulness, and self-reliance, without which the relationship is in danger of deteriorating into helpless dependency, exploitation, possessiveness, etc.
The too many "don'ts" which the child hears tend to create in him the feeling that those things which he most wants are the things that are forbidden and evil. This easily can give rise in him to a secret conviction that he is a fundamentally evil person.
A person who feels weak and unlovable and surrounded by an alien and unfriendly world, will draw in his feelers and will surround himself with some protective shell. This shell, however, limits him and narrows him in to such an extent that he can barely move or breathe. We propose to define anxiety as this condition of the person.