Holism and Teleology

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Dr. C. George Boeree discusses Adler's theory of holism. He says "in order to understand people, we have to understand them more as unified wholes than as a collection of bits and pieces, and we have to understand them in the context of their environment, both physical and social". http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/adler.html In Erikson's Stages of Development, he explains his views of how a person should progress through life effectively. By breaking this cycle down into eight stages, Erikson shows how an individual flourishes into a mature creature by successfully progressing through each stage of development. Each child is unique and deserves to reach his or her maximum potential. Adler and Erikson believe that roots have to be planted in children just as they are in trees. In this way the child can emerge as a whole unit rather than as disjointed jumble.

Interestingly enough, Adler's beliefs "Social concern is a matter of being useful to others", seems to encase his entire theory of holism. "Lack of social concern is, for Adler, the very definition of mental illness. All problems in life are due to a lack in social interest." (http://www.alfredadler.org/book_review.htm par 4) Dr. C. George Boeree says in stage three of Erikson's theory of development "Too much initiative and too little guilt means a maladaptive tendency Erikson calls ruthlessness. The ruthless person takes the initiative alright…It's just that they don't care who they step on to achieve their goals….The extreme of ruthlessness is sociopathy". http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/erikson.html One must keep in mind that lack of social concern is for Adler the very definition of mental illness. This ruthlessness and lack of social concern, begins quite early in persons life.

Adler's belief of teleology is to "see motivation as a matter of moving towards the future, rather than being driven, mechanistically, by the past. We are drawn towards our goals, our purposes, our ideals."...
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