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Club Ujjayi 108 Group

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Dialogue With Erik Erikson ((FULL))

I am interested in applying social psychological theory and concepts to prevention of health-threatening behaviors in adolescents, testing conceptual models in applied field-based research in social psychology, and documenting the oral/visual history of psychology through books and videotaped dialogues with notable contributers (e.g., C.G. Jung, Konrad Lorenz, Gordon Allport, Raymond Cattell, Erik Erikson, Hans Eysenck, Viktor Frankl, Erich Fromm, Ernest Hilgard, R. D. Laing, Rollo May, Gardner Murphy, Henry Murray, Jean Piaget, J. B. Rhine, Carl Rogers, Nevitt Sanford, B. F. Skinner, Nikolaas Tinbergen, and Albert Bandura.)

Dialogue with Erik Erikson

The Chicago event, as with many inter-faith, inter-sectoral and inter-cultural initiatives, seems to have responded primarily to those of Type (d), although (c) and (b) would necessarily have participated. Thus the advice on inter-faith dialogue in the Sourcebook responds to the needs of those in (d). The Bangalore meeting, which immediately preceded it, is more likely to have emphasized Type (e). It is ways of envisioning Type (e) forms of dialogue which are called for in order to move beyond enthusiastic celebration of underachievement.

The exploration of dialogue is becoming of increasing interest --indeed there is already a need for dialogue between the competing approaches to dialogue. The Quakers have long established the importance of "gathered meetings", although even they have critics concerned at a certain complacency. David Bohm (1985, 1991) and Patrick de Maré each initiated experiments in dialogue which have recently become a basis for a Dialogue Project at MIT. This project is concerned with "generative dialogue as collective creation". Its director, William Isaacs, usefully distinguishes this emphasis from those associated with other models of dialogue (1992):

In both cases levels are not "superseded" through such development. Each always has its value. But at the "deeper" or "higher" levels there is greater richness. The context for any item included from a "lower" level then becomes of greater significance. At the higher levels, it is how lower level contributions to the dialogue are combined with others that is more significant than the specific quality of that contribution. As with music, the power and genius of a piece of dialogue comes from the overall pattern of combinations. At the higher levels this may appear increasingly chaotic, but is increasingly capable of holding the degree of order found in nature. Lower levels of dialogue tend to be mechanistic, where the higher levels depend on aesthetic significant patterns ofassociations. Of course, from a lower level, any pattern connecting elements of significance at a higher level would necessarily be a challenge to comprehension.

It is with such maps that better "music" can be designed to articulate the patterns of inter-faith insights. With such maps, and a more humble attitude to the unexplored levels of dialogue, the challenges of facilitating more fruitful dynamics for a body like the Assembly can be explored -- in order to ensure the integration of insights at a higher order of consensus.

It can be readily assumed that better dialogue would occur between those of greater matruity in their respective faiths. And indeed the above sequence bears comparison with Michael Jacobs (1993) very useful review of the stages of faith as explored in a major research project by James Fowler (15), that drew upon the cognitive development work of Jean Piaget, the psycho-social development model of Erik Erikson (1968), and the moral development scheme proposed by L Kohlberg (1981). Fowler's scheme gives seven levels: primal faith, intuitive-projective faith, mythic-literal faith, synthetic-conventional faith, individuative-reflective faith, conjunctive faith, and universalizing faith.

606 BOOK REVIEWS presence. They cannot interpret the behavior of individuals or societies save in the context of their awareness of the relation of their own behavior to themselves as agents acting for a goal or value. We need psychology and social sciences in our reflection on man's transcendence in value orientation for a number of reasons. Modern atheistic humanisms are both influenced by and influence the findings of these sciences; they find support for their interpretation of man in these sciences. To come to grips then with these humanisms, we must interact with them on this plane. Also, in a way parallel to the insight that modern evolutionary biology has given us in our reflection on God's creative and redemptive activity, psychology and the social sciences can illuminate our reflection on man's self-transcendence toward God. The philosopher or theologian cannot grasp this simply by self-reflection, because the self he is reflecting on is the product in part of a psychological development and social influences. The transcendence that he grasps is a part of a process that has been going on since infancy, and developmental psychology can help us to know something of the stages and factors of this process. There are factors in this process that are transcultural ; for example, the organism and the stages of its maturation are common to all men, as are the facts that man exists within a society and that he is an active agent of his development and interaction with society. There are cultural relativities also. As Erik Erikson brings out, different cultures use the stages through which the infant develops to shape the infant toward what the particular society needs in its adult members. Man's transcendence toward God is the full context of more immediate stages of his transcendence that are, in part, studied by biology, psychology, and the social sciences. One of the major tasks then of foundational theology in the immediate future is to evaluate what these sciences have to say about the structure of man and his transcendence. St. Anselm's Abbey Washington, D. C. JoHN FARRELLY, 0. S. B. Why Does Evil Exist? A Philosophical Study of the Contemporary Presentation of the Question. By CoLM CoNNELLAN, 0. M. I. Hickville, N.Y.: Exposition Press, 1974. Pp. 218. $10.00. The ancient question of evil still draws the active interest of our contemporaries . And Father Colm Connellan has set for himself a difficult task. He has sought to reply to modern queries on the " why " of evil, resting his case on the soultions that St. Thomas Aquinas worked out in the thirteenth century, BOOK REVIEWS 607 His undertaking causes the reviewer some disquiet, for if it be true that the philosophic stake in the problem of evil remains constant, the historical sensitivity towards the various forms that evil takes, has evolved considerably . And in justice, in the case of evil, philosophy must pay the greatest attention to the insights of experience. The present book, which is the reproduction of a thesis sustained at the University of Fribourg, initially presents two brief expositions of the work of the French thinker, Albert Camus, and that of the English philosopher, Anthony Flew. Then the author summarizes with considerable exactitude and finesse St. Thomas's definitive views on the subject. Yet we may question whether his procedure of treating only evil's existence and not its nature according to St. Thomas is not a somewhat artificial methodological plan. Especially in a meaningful dialogue with modern thought, can we restrict ourselves to the philosophical teaching of St. Thomas on evil? It is manifest that his philosophical and theological views are inextricably conjoined. In fact, dialogue between St. Thomas and authors like Camus and Flew often resembles a conversation between deaf persons. It could scarcely be otherwise. That is why the very purpose this book is meant to serve is and remains a mystery to me. What can be found in common between the existential tragedy of Camus and the metaphysical serenity of St. Thomas before the unjustifiable character of evil? Camus is certainly one of the most eloquent witnesses of the scandal that the suffering of the innocent... 041b061a72


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