HughesResearchPaperErikson - Erik Erikson, with his...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Erik Erikson, with his background as a Bohemian artist, and his training under the Freudian school of psychoanalysis, created a revolutionary way of looking at the human life. The critical reader senses a deep validity to Erikson’s famous epigenetic theory of development, in accordance with personal and external experiences, and is suddenly surprised by the artful way that Erikson can predict that the reader is, “feeling under his right thumb the thing sheaf of pages left of this book…(pg.359)” His work is also extremely complex, and at times a little hard to access. Integrating the scientifically rational with an aesthetic creativity, Erikson made a wise, valuable, and complete approach to the psychology of religion. Erikson, raised in a family with a medical background, turned his back on science, and wandered into art. Erikson however developed a somewhat scientific principle he called epigenesis. Epigenesis is a term from embryology that he used to draw an analogy between the development of prenatal organ systems and psychological systems of the ego. His epigenetic principle means that, like the fetal infant, the ego develops in chronological stages, and the characteristics must develop healthily to culminate into the complete ego. For Erikson, the ego’s intent is basic and vital; to make and keep the individual whole, and operating purely. Erikson widely expanded Freud’s limited ideas about the ego and childhood, to complete a model that included all stages of life from infancy to old age. Erikson chose 8 phases for his epigenetic principle. In each phase, a potential virtue arises from the duel of two opposite ego qualities. One is the ideal quality that arises from an ideal set of circumstances, and the other quality is the possibility of what can occur in an antithetically bad phase. All of these phases include important developments within the individual, and in the interpersonal relationships with parents or other significant individuals. Society has elements, Erikson says, that have developed with a deep interconnectedness with the process of human ego development, which bolster the virtue manifesting from each of Erikson’s epigenetical stages. The ego’s relationships with the self, the other, and society are vital components, all necessary to understand the human drama. Erikson approaches the ego’s relationship with the self as a specifically physical or somatic entity, the physical body. These psychic connections to the body bring us back to Freud’s ideas. In infancy, for instance, all physical interactions are oral, making this the oral stage. Erikson’s model not only completes Freud’s by adding stages, but by expanding from the limited frame of psychosexuality into the realms of society and integral human virtues. It is fair to say that Erikson’s non-scientific background would explain his lack of
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Page1 / 4

HughesResearchPaperErikson - Erik Erikson, with his...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online