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Autonomy And Rigid Character by David Shapiro

By David Shapiro

Beginning with a dialogue of the matter of autonomy in dynamic psychiatry and a assessment of its improvement from infancy to early life, the writer of Neurotic Styles explores, with various medical examples, the distortion of the advance of autonomy in obsessive-compulsive stipulations, in sadism and masochism, and, eventually, in paranoia.

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T he rattle has become an attractive object, an object to be grasped. These beginnings of objectification do not so much change the infant’s attitude toward the external world as create an attitude; it is not so much that his point of view is altered as that he begins to have a point of view. It may be that a process of this sort occurs also in the early visual articulation of the external world— that is, in the de­ velopment of active looking. Senden,13 in the research previ­ ously mentioned, observed that initially perception of even the simplest forms was impossible for the newly seeing, previously blind people he studied, and was achieved only n von Senden, Space and Sight [10].

T he solicitous man imagines himself to be motivated by feelings of kindness and respectful concern, but in fact his concern is to behave in the right way, to have the proper feelings. It is to that matter that his atten­ tion and his effort are primarily directed, and flickering sensa­ tions of contrary feelings prompt him to double his efforts. But 16Kaiser, “ Problem of Responsibility” [5]. he does not, cannot, notice this process; he is wrapped up in achieving its result. The deferential woman sees herself as humble and would describe herself so, but in fact her subjective experience is not of humility.

Nor does it mean that the aims of action are necessarily completely consciously ar­ ticulated or self-conscious. Intentionality and the capacity for volitional action develop gradually and through a number of phases in childhood and, in adulthood, have a great range and variety of forms. Individuals have different and character­ istic tendencies in articulation of aim, in level of intentional­ ity, and in style of action and corresponding differences in volitional experience. Two neurotic modes of volitional action— that of hysteri­ cal and impulsive characters and certain passive “weak” individuals, and that of rigid characters— serve to illustrate the variety of forms of conscious self-direction.

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