Excerpts About Autonomy
Pearl Beyond Price, p. 46 • discuss »
Pearl Beyond Price, p. 42 • discuss »
Pearl Beyond Price, p. 49 • discuss »
Spacecruiser Inquiry, p. 393 • discuss »
Spacecruiser Inquiry, p. 394 • discuss »
Diamond Heart Book V, p. 64 • discuss »
The findings of object relations theory, however, show that these phenomena which are taken by society to indicate autonomy may only be skin deep. These findings identified a more basic level of autonomy, that of emotional independence, as the core of actual autonomy. Thus some individuals who may appear autonomous, because they are successful, productive people, may lack the intrapsychic achievement of independence and therefore lack a true inner core of autonomy. In these cases, it is well known, the individual lives a life of emptiness and emotional desolation. This situation of apparent autonomy without its real emotional support is regarded as characteristic of certain character pathologies, especially those of the narcissistic personality and the borderline conditions, and sometimes even the schizoid character. These personalities have not accomplished the tasks of the separation-individuation process, and thus the sense of self is not formed cohesively. It is fragile and vulnerable, very dependent on external achievements and praise, and largely defensive.
Pearl Beyond Price, p. 41 • discuss »
When one does have the experience of ceasing to identify with the self-image and simply being, it is clear that the autonomy of ego is a sham, since the ego personality is perceived not only as ephemeral, a kind of surface phenomenon which is in the nature of an idea, but also as reactive, responding automatically to the world. From Being, which is felt as the true and solid reality, ego’s individuality is seen as simply a dark network composed of beliefs in the mind and patterns of tension in the body.Thus the supposed autonomy of ego is, from this perspective, nothing but
the feeling that accompanies an image in its relation to another image. It is striking that this is exactly what object relations theory states: that autonomy is based on the establishment of a self-image. We wonder how one can know that what he believes he is, is simply an image, and stop at that, without feeling that something is not right? The answer, of course, is that as long as one identifies with the self-image, the implications of the theory are not suspected, or if they are suspected they cannot be clearly seen without an experience of Being. One must go through a very deep process of inner transformation to see the profound implications of this apparently simple understanding of ego identity.
Pearl Beyond Price, p. 43 • discuss »
Since the Personal Essence is the true individuality, it is closely related to the capacities of primary autonomy, which are usually referred to as the ego functions. We have seen that the development and integration of these capacities is intertwined with the development of object relations. Thus we might wonder what happens to these capacities when the object relations are finally metabolized.The answer is that they finally come into their own. They become more developed, more integrated and more synthesized into a harmonious whole, not dependent on a mental structure. Their true origin, the extent of their function and their real meaning become clear. In general, the presence of the Personal Essence brings about a radical expansion and individuation of autonomous functioning, indicating the greater development and integration of the apparatuses of autonomy. Its realization brings about an increasingly radical movement towards autonomy and individuation, leading to greater actualization of one’s potential. One becomes more creative, more productive, more original and more fulfilled in personal involvements.
Pearl Beyond Price, p. 169 • discuss »
The implication for our discussion is quite clear: As long as an ego structure is used for defense it acts as a barrier against the experience of the Personal Essence. This point brings us closer to understanding what might be the factor contributing to maturity. It has to do with the fact that when ego becomes more developed and rounded it becomes also less defensive. This process was seen by Hartmann, which led him to coin the concept of secondary autonomy. Blanck and Blanck describe the process as follows:
"As thought processes develop, involving delay of drive discharge, intelligence serves the ego by aiding the organization of percepts and memory traces, making meaningful action possible. This organization of the inner world—the world of internalizations—is the very process of structuralization. As this proceeds, certain forms of behavior change in function. A process which had originated as a defense—for example, the essential mechanism of reaction formation in toilet training—acquires adaptive autonomy when the purpose changes to maintenance of hygienic habits and orderliness. With change in function, the activity becomes pleasurable in its own right, whereas when it is still in its archaic defensive form it counteracts pleasure. The end result of change in function is attainment of secondary autonomy."
In fact, it is possible to see the process of psychotherapy as partially that of attaining secondary autonomy. Processes and structures that started as defense, which created emotional conflicts, can change functions toward adaptation, through the process of therapy. This contributes to ego strength and development, which leads to maturity. ......... Most people do not show signs of real maturity with the passage of time partly because the secondary autonomy does not develop well. Increasing rigidity and stereotyped behavior patterns indicate an entrenchment in the defensive position.
Pearl Beyond Price, p. 135 • discuss »
Now, we can understand in a deeper way the autonomy of Being. From the perspective of Being, what we are is not determined by either the past or the present situation. We are not a reaction; we simply are, an essential existence, totally free from the past. Our nature, our identity, cannot be influenced by situations. The main difference between Being and ego—which is that Being is just being-as-such and ego a reaction from the past—makes Being the true autonomy, and ego autonomy a delusion.
Pearl Beyond Price, p. 57 • discuss »