Society can influence the behavior of its members in many ways. It can pass laws through its governmental institutions, creating severe punishments for particular antisocial behaviors. It can develop a strong desire for ethics and morals, usually through its religious institutions. It can hold its professionals to strong ethical codes of conduct. It can educate and inform through its school systems and media outlets. But the primary reason why a society can control the behavior of most of its citizens is our inherent psychological need for psychic growth and maturity. Whether we call it self-actualization or individuation, there seems to be a natural inclination within the human psyche to behave in a moral or ethical manner.
Behavior. Behavior refers to the actions or reactions of persons or things in response to external or internal stimuli (Microsoft Bookshelf, 1995). It is any measurable response of an organism (Reber, 1995).
Ethics. Ethics is the study of the general nature of morals and of the specific moral choices to be made by a person. It is the study of moral philosophy (Herlihy and Corey, 1996; Microsoft Bookshelf, 1995).
Law. Rules of conduct of any organized society which are enforced by the threat of punishment (Microsoft Bookshelf, 1995). Laws are any imposed rules of conduct (Reber, 1995).
Licensure. The act or an instance of granting a license, usually to practice a profession (Microsoft Bookshelf, 1995). A licence to practice counseling entitles the holder to more status, more recognition, and more power, is intended to protect the consumer from quacks, and allows third-party reimbursement from insurance companies (Kottler and Brown, 1985).
Media. A medium, in the language of the academic field of communications, is a means of sending messages, or communicating. Mass media are the instruments or means by which mass communication takes place in modern societies (Grolier, 1993). Mass communication allows transmission of information to a relatively large, mixed, and anonymous audience (Perry and Perry, 1991).
Morals. Rules or habits of conduct, especially of sexual conduct, with reference to standards of right and wrong (Microsoft Encarta, 1996). A moral code is a set of sanctions and rules regarded as proper behavior (Reber, 1995).
Peak Experiences. "Transient moments of self-actualization" (Maslow, 1971, p. 46).
Self-Actualization. An on-going process whose goal is full consciousness awareness and full use of one's abilities (Maslow, 1971).
Tradition. Tradition is a mode of thought or behavior followed by a people continuously from generation to generation; a custom or usage (Microsoft Bookshelf, 1995). It refers to any human practice, belief, institution or artifact that is passed down from one generation to the next (Abercrombie, Hill, and Turner, 1994).
How Society Controls Behavior
Traditions. Visser (1991) states that many traditions are rituals, as old as humanity, and are conducted in order for everyone to behave in socially acceptable ways. Table manners, for example, have universal application, and although variations exist in different cultures, they are remarkable similar over the world. Ritual, such as we find in customs and traditions, "is a series of actions constantly repeated" (p. 19). Furthermore, "they pressure people to behave in a predictable fashion" (p. 21). "Tradition is often regarded as a source of social stability" (Abercrombie, Hill, and Turner, 1984, p. 432). Because social behavior is first learned in the family, Berg (1992) suggests that modern families can and should create their own family traditions.
Laws. Society establishes laws to mandate acceptable behavior. There are two basic kinds of law: natural law and positive law. Natural law has been recognized throughout history as a general body of rules of right conduct and justice common to all mankind. This concept grew from man's observation of the operation of the laws of nature and their uniformity. Positive law, on the other hand, consists of regulations formulated by the heads of a country or society. "In many cases, natural laws have been written into positive laws by governments. The prohibition against killing, for example, is common to virtually all of mankind, and most nations have enacted laws against it" (Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia, 1994).
The most complete and the most complex system of laws in the ancient world was developed in Rome. It was the product of many centuries of civilization, from the early years of the Republic until the end of the Empire. In the 6th century AD, the emperor Justinian collected and organized the laws for use as the Roman Civil Law. Their work was incorporated into the enormous Corpus Juris Civilis (Body of Civil Law), also called the Justinian Code, promulgated in AD 534 and kept up to date by the addition of new decrees, or Novellae. This formidable legislative codification still remains the basis for the law of most European countries (Microsoft Encarta, 1996).
After the fall of the Roman Empire in the West, AD 476, the Christian church, as the strongest institution in society, became a major lawmaking and law enforcement body (Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia, 1994). This was called canon law. A body of rules formulated by the church was designed to regulate human behavior with respect to religious matters. But it eventually came to apply to the actions of people on social, economic, and political levels as well.
The law in England developed over the centuries from the combined decisions of judges, and the decisions based on rules already established. This was known popularly as the common law. It was embodied in reports of decided cases that originated in the early Middle Ages. The broad acceptance of the common law in England was largely due to the dominant position of the royal courts, especially the King's Court established at Westminster (now part of London). Statute law differs from common law in that it is legislation, or codes of law made by legislative bodies such as parliaments, congresses, and legislatures (Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia, 1994).
In modern legal systems there are two primary branches of law. These are criminal law and civil law. Criminal law defines offenses so harmful to society that violations are punished by fines, imprisonment, or even death. Criminal law is generally upheld by government agencies. Civil laws define the rights and liabilities of individuals in relation to each other and to society. In civil law, the prosecutor is generally a citizen or organization other than a government agency. In general, "criminal law deals with violations against the interests of society, while civil law deals with violations against the individual" (Tischler, 1993, p. 133).
Laws, both criminal and civil, are especially necessary to ensure the rights of all citizens who live in complex heterogeneous societies experiencing rapid social change by punishing improper behavior. They should be rational and beneficial for all members of the society. The more closely laws reinforce those mores that are universally accepted in a society, the more successful they are (Perry and Perry, 1991).
Professional Ethics and Licensure. Most professional organizations establish a code of ethics for their members, in an attempt to minimize unacceptable behaviors which may, in turn, reflect adversely on the organization. Philosophical ethics, also called normative ethics, is distinguished from descriptive ethics. Descriptive ethics is a department of empirical science, similar to sociology, that aims to discover and describe what moral beliefs are held in a given culture. Normative ethics seeks to prescribe; it searches for norms, not in the sense of what is average or normal, but in the sense of authoritative standards of what ought to be (Grolier, 1993).
Some philosophers distinguish between personal ethics and social ethics. Personal ethics is taken as comprehending how one should act in relation to oneself, social ethics how one should act in relation to others (Grolier, 1993).
Because of rapid social change and modern technological developments, there has been an increased interest in normative ethics. One aspect of this is the attention given by scientists, engineers, lawyers, physicians, journalists, and others to the ethical problems involved in the practice of their professions. Some of these occupational groups have formal codes of ethics, which set forth principles of conduct deemed appropriate to the special objects and responsibilities of each profession.
New fields of ethics, such as bioethics, engineering ethics, and environmental ethics, dealing with issues not previously contemplated and with problems of concern to all, are now developing rapidly. Abortion and euthanasia are examples of moral problems in medicine becoming moral problems for the wider society (Microsoft Encarta, 1996).
Morals. A moral sense has traditionally been considered to be a unique attribute of the human personality. The transformation from a biological organism to a socially responsible individual is the hallmark of the development of personality and is a shared social development necessary for viable human society (Grolier, 1993).
Kohlberg (1981) presented a theory of seven stages of moral development which has, so far, proven to be highly successful. His stages are:
Levels and Stages Reasons for Moral Behavior
I. Preconventional Morality
Stage 1. Pleasure/pain orientation To avoid pain or not get caught
Stage 2. Cost-benefit orientation To get rewards
II. Conventional Morality
Stage 3. Good child orientation To gain acceptance, avoid disapproval
Stage 4. Law and order orientation To follow rules, avoid censure
III. Principled Morality
Stage 5. Social contract orientation To promote society's welfare
Stage 6. Ethical principle orientation To achieve justice
Stage 7. Cosmic orientation To be true to universal principles
Kohlberg's formulation of moral stages is a social cognitive theory, and like all theories, is open to question (Craig, 1989). Level II, which includes Kohlberg's stages 3 and 4, is based on social conformity and it is here where social influences of behavior are directly evidenced.
Piaget (1965) coined the term moral realism for the first of two stages in moral development in which children form a belief that rules are real things rather than abstract principles. He coined the term moral relativism for the second stage where children realize that rules are agreements, and can be changed when necessary.
Society, especially the religious sector, encourages moral development to help assure acceptable behavior.
Media. There are four major categories of mass media: print media (newspapers, magazines, books); recordings (records and audio tapes, videocassettes and videodiscs); motion pictures; and radio and television broadcasts (Grolier, 1993).
The average citizen only has contact with the political world, for example, through the "pictures in their heads" put there by news accounts or other public-affairs media presentations. As a result of this dependence, what people think about politics is subject to considerable media influence (Grolier, 1993).
The strongest media effect on public opinion is referred to as "agenda-setting"--those issues or events which receive a greater degree of media attention become the issues and events that are uppermost in people's minds. When extended news coverage is given to drug abuse, for example, people often cite drug abuse as a significant national problem. In effect, the media direct individuals' attention toward particular issues and away from others (Grolier, 1993).
Modern psychology is currently being used in mass media advertising to persuade people to buy products using methods not generally recognized as persuasive techniques. "The use of psychological knowledge to persuade covertly is very common in advertising" (Hunt, 1993, p. 619).
Education. Probably the best known deliberate organizational attempt to influence behavior is in the modern school system. There has been a rapid evolution of the field of child development. This is as significant for the new directions being taken as for the new information being provided. Instead of focusing on academic investigations of interest to the specialist, child developmentalists are now focusing efforts on solving real problems of children in society. One notable and effective social effort came in the form of the establishment of the program named head start.
The head start program was initiated in 1964 by Sargent Shriver and twelve child psychologists under the auspices of the Office of Economic Opportunity (Dr. Harold Abel, personal communication, April 1997). Head Start was conceived as a way to give children from low-income families a head start on their education. The program was planned to aid in all aspects of behavior: physical, socio-emotional, and cognitive. It has been successful in providing important help for underprivileged boys and girls, and for the parents of these children as well. According to the 1969 Westinghouse Study, most participants gained as much as 12 points in IQ scores the first three or four months of the program. However, most of this initial progress was lost after attending regular school programs two years later (Craig, 1989).
The physical welfare of children has remained primarily the province of the pediatrician or family physician. As persons become more aware of the close connection between health and behavior, however, the field of child development increasingly has also come to emphasize matters of health and nutrition. Specialists in the field have moved from simply giving information about behavior changes from age to age, and about different kinds of personality and how to deal with difficult or troubled children, to providing advice about ways to prevent many health difficulties (Grolier, 1993). School violence and vandalism, for example, may be partially understood through the social-learning theory of the Canadian-American psychologist Albert Bandura, which describes the conditions under which people learn to imitate models (Microsoft Encarta, 1996).
A Transpersonal View of Group Behavior.
The Transpersonal Model of the Psyche.
A model of the psyche based on Jung (1990) is shown in Figure 1. This model is a dynamic one. The central archetypal Self is at the center of the psyche. The Self looks outwardly at the conscious ego, which interacts with the physical world through the filter of the persona. It looks inwardly at the archetypes of the collective unconscious through the filter of the anima or animus. Assagioli (1993) has a similar model, but he splits the unconscious into three levels: a lower (subconscious), middle (personal), and higher (superconscious).
In Jung's model, psychic energy flows between all components of the psyche. Jung (1973) called this energy "libido analogue" after Freud. However, Freud conceived of libido as sexual energy while Jung modified and broadened this concept to include any energy of a psychic nature. Normally the libido is tuned to specific psychic functions, however, it can be redirected or "canalized" into other channels by the use of symbols.
"I have called a symbol that converts energy a "libido analogue." By this I mean an idea that can give equivalent expression to the libido and canalize it into a form different from the original one." (Jung, 1973, p. 48).
Thus symbols can help us to become conscious of the unconscious, and to be aware of the various unconscious processes going on in our psyche.
The model shown above is called transcendent because the Self transcends the personal ego. According to Jung's individuation process, normal growth is for the ego to develop and mature during the first half of life. During this time, the ego individualizes itself from the unconscious Self. The goal of the psyche during the first half of life is to develop a strong ego-personality. During the second half of life, the ego assimilates the Self, by becoming consciously aware of it (Edinger, 1974). If done properly, this assimilation process gives meaning to the ego as well as a sense of fulfillment.
Jung's Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious.
Jung (1978) taught that the human mind or psyche is complex and is composed of parts, much like the physical body. He coined the word "complexes" for various unconscious parts of the psyche. Complexes are the focal and nodal points of psychic life (Jacobi, 1973). He also divided the unconscious into two distinct regions, the personal and the collective: Whereas the personal unconscious consists for the most part of complexes, the content of the collective unconscious is made up essentially of archetypes (Jung, 1990, p. 42).
Behind the personal unconscious lies the collective unconscious which contains the archetypes. The archetypes represent the structure of a "psychic world" whose reality is seen through its effects on the conscious mind (Jacobi, 1973).
The structure of the psyche is similar to that of the physical body. According to Jung (1990), the archetype is "a psychic organ present in all of us" (p. 160). Archetypes are structures, not images. They allow for the periodic creation and dissolution of images. The archetypes have a hierarchical order. The "primary" archetypes are those that cannot be further reduced. The next in line are the "children" or "secondary" archetypes. Then come the "grandchildren" or "tertiary" until we come to those which are closest to consciousness and which have the least intensity, meaning, and numinosity or energy charge (Jacobi, 1973).
When we find ourselves in a grave psychic situation, archetypal dreams will often come to us that will suggest possibilities of progress that would not otherwise have occurred to us (Jacobi, 1973). Activation of an archetype usually is accompanied by an alteration of the conscious situation, a new form of compensation, which in turn, leads to a new distribution of psychic energy and a corresponding reordering of the psychic situation (Jacobi, 1973).
Jung (1976) says, "The archetypes are the numinous, structural elements of the psyche and possess a certain autonomy and specific energy which enables them to attract, out of the conscious mind, those contents which are best suited to themselves." (p. 232). Symbols, not words, are the language or expression or form used by the archetypes to communicate.
According to Jung (1990), the eight stages of archetypal activity are:
1. The archetype is quiet, a structural factor in the collective unconscious.
2. Through a psychic process called constellation it received energy and its charge increases and it becomes dynamic.
3. The charge is manifested as a kind of magnetic pull on the conscious mind.
4. Attracted by the charge, consciousness turns its attention on the archetype until it is perceived.
5. When touched by consciousness, the archetype either takes the form of an instinct or an image. If an image, it becomes a symbol.
6. The symbol acquires a degree of autonomy.
7. The conscious mind must come to terms with the meaning of the symbol either spontaneously or over time.
8. The symbol may:
a. be understood in degree and is owned by the ego in degree but is not fully understood. It continues living.
b. be completely understood and integrated with the ego. It soon dies.
c. not be understood at all until it causes a dissociation in the psyche. It becomes an autonomous splinter psyche which is felt in all kinds of neurotic and psychotic symptoms (Jacobi, 1973).
The term self-actualization was originally used by the organismic theorist, Kurt Goldstein to mean the motive to realize all of one's potenialities (Reber, 1985). Abraham Maslow later used the term as the seventh stage in his famous hierarchy of needs (Zimbardo, 1985) as shown in Figure 2.
The following are the chief characteristics of self-actualized people (Darley, Glucksberg, & Kinchla, 1991):
1. Able to perceive reality
2. Able to accept reality
3. Natural and spontaneous
4. Focus on problems rather than on themselves
5. Need privacy
6. Self-sufficient and independent
7. Appreciate objects, events, and people they meet
8. Have peak experiences
9. Identify with mankind
10. Deep relationship with at least some friends
11. Democratic egalitarian attitude
12. Strongly held values
13. Sense of humor
14. Inventive and creative
15. Resist conformity to society
16. Transcend dichotomies, bring together opposites
The Psychological Processes
According to both Maslow (1968) and Jung (1977), there is a natural tendency in every human being toward psychic maturity. Maslow (1968) calls this a "need for growing in a direction that can be summarized in general as self-actualization" (p. 155). Jung (1977) calls it the individuation process, and says that it is the central developmental task of every human being during the second half of life. But what is individuation? It is a process of maturation in which the psyche ages or matures in much the same manner as the physical body. The general guidelines are summarized by Jacobi (1973) as consisting of four parts:
1. Becoming conscious of the shadow. The shadow is our dark side, containing those things that we have repressed or ignored for one reason or another. It usually manifests to us in dreams as an archetypal figure who is dark and ominous. Just as the persona is that part of us that we want to present to the world, so the shadow contains those things that we want to hide from the world, and from ourselves. This dark side of ourselves must be confronted and accepted, at least in part, as the first step in the individuation process. Johnson (1991) emphasizes the need to acknowledge and accept our shadow in order to become a whole and complete person.
2. Becoming conscious of the anima or animus. Basically, the anima is the feminine soul or inner femininity of every man, and the animus is the inner masculinity of every women. The individuation process is, above everything else, a process of wholeness. This includes sexual completeness. Jung (1978) wrote that the anima and animus represent "functions which filter the contents of the collective unconscious through to the conscious mind" (p.20). Thus when the ego seeks to find the inner Self, it must look through the anima or animus, which colors its perception in many different ways. Edinger (1996) distinquishes four separate progressive states of maturation in the ego's relation to the anima: (1) the infantile state, in which the ego is totally unaware of the anima or animus, (2) the projected state, in which the anima or animus is projected outward into people of the opposite sex, (3) the possessed state, in which the ego is possessed or governed by the anima or animus, and (4) the conscious state, in which the ego becomes conscious of the anima or animus.
3. Becoming conscious of the archetypal spirt. This archetype, as I noted above, is often represented in fairy tales as the wise old man, especially for men. For women, it often takes the form of Magna Mater, the great earth mother. The individuation process is primarily one of uniting opposites. In the first step, we unite good and evil and try to see ourselves as capable of both. Eastern religions often symbolize this with the lotus, which has its roots below in the dirty mud and its flower in the clean air above. In the second, we see ourselves as containing both masculine and feminine characteristics. Now we must unite matter and spirit, form and formlessness, body and psyche. Jung (1990) called the archetypes of spirit and matter "mana-personalities" where mana means extraordinary power. In part, this step includes liberation of a man from his father, and of a women from her mother leading, in both cases, to true individuality.
4. Becoming conscious of the Self. Jung called this final step self-realization-- "We could therefore translate individuation as "coming to selfhood" or "self-realization"" (Jung, 1977, p. 173). Jacobi (1973) says "For the conscious personality the birth of the self means a shift in its psychic centre, and consequently an entirely different attitude toward, and view of, life--in other words a 'transformation' in the fullest sense of the word" (p. 127). The Self is often symbolized by a circle or mandala, glyphs which represent completeness. Each step of the individuation process has its dangers that must be avoided, and each has its rewards. Jung (1978) warns that individuation is an ongoing endless process, and that as it progresses, the chief danger is an inflation of the ego.
Jung's individuation is similar, if not identical, to the self-actualization of Maslow (1968; 1971). But why does the ego need to approach the Self, if it is to all end in death? Jung (1991) says "The psyche itself, in relation to consciousness, is pre-existent and transcendent " (p. 91). So, while the ego is born, grows, and dies, in the same way as the body, the psyche itself, and especially the Self, is not under the same limitations. Jung's eternal archetypal Self is probably the chief subject of disagreement with other psychologists, and one reason why mainstream materialistic psychologists fail to take him seriously. He is, however, taken seriously by today's transpersonal psychologists (Boorstein, 1996).
Society influences the behavior of its members in many ways. It can pass laws through its governmental institutions, creating severe punishments for particular antisocial behaviors. It can develop a strong desire for ethics and morals, usually through its religious institutions. It can hold its professionals to strong ethical codes of conduct. It can educate and inform through its school systems and media outlets. But the primary reason why a society can control the behavior of most of its citizens is our inherent psychological need for psychic growth and maturity. Whether we call it self-actualization or individuation, there seems to be a natural inclination within the human psyche to behave in a moral or ethical manner.
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