When teachers face themselves

Citation preview

themselves

ARTHUR

T.

JERSILD

When

Teachers

Face Themselves

A PUBLICATION OF THE

HORACE MANN-LINCOLN INSTITUTE OF SCHOOL EXPERIMENTATION TEACHERS COLLEGE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Digitized by the Internet Archive in

2012

http://archive.org/details/whenteachersfaceOOjers

When

Teachers

Face Themselves

ARTHUR

T.

JERSILD

Professor of Education, Teachers College

Columbia University

TEACHERS COLLEGE PRESS TEACHERS COLLEGE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

COPYRIGHT 1955

by teachers college, columbia university lc:

55-12176

FOURTEENTH PRINTING, 1970

MANUFACTURED

IN

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

The

'work underlying this book was done under the

auspices of the

Horace Mann-Lincoln

Expemnentation

in association

Institute of

School

with Dr. ]ane Beasley and

with the assistance of Miss Leah Noble, and Dr. Ann Walsh.

Ann

Green, Dr. Jeanne

Foreword

T

book is Professor Jersild's most recent study of the relation between self-understanding and education. His discussion centers on the teacher whose "understanding and his

acceptance of himself

any

effort

is

the most important requirement in

he makes to help students to

know

themselves and

to gain healthy attitudes of self-acceptance." Professor Jersild sees

no short cut

to self-understanding, but his interviews

and

conversations with hundreds of teachers suggest to him the seriousness of their search for intimate in

what they

are doing.

and personal meaning

All too often, this quest

is

under a heavy burden of anxiety and loneliness and Professor Jersild describes

what

this

means.

He

pursued hostility.

stresses the

hopefulness, however, and not the discouragement in teachers are doing to face and understand themselves.

argument

is,

in

most

instances, inferred

what His

from the kind of

data a psychologist naturally seeks. These data are reproduced in considerable detail in the

Appendix.

In the text

vn

itself,

FOREWORD however, the author does not hesitate to speculate with great sensitivity

upon

the

more

subtle meanings of the data.

Professor Jersild writes with disarming lucidity about abstruse conceptions.

He

many

has the courage to discuss forth-

rightly important topics that are generally skirted in discussions about education.

I

believe that

When

Teachers Face

Themselves will help any but the most recalcitrant reader to face himself

more

realistically.

Stephen M. Corey, Director Horace Mann-Lincoln Institute of School Experimentation

Vlll

Contents

foreword

Stephen M. Corey

vii

CHAPTER ONE Introduction

1

Background and Theme Major Concerns Underlying Sources

CHAPTER

2

4 11

TWO

Anxiety

20

Anxiety as an Essential Concept in Education The Nature and Some of the Conditions of Anxiety Some Theories of Anxiety Anxiety and Fear Perception, Feeling, and Impulse in Anxiety Anxiety in Childhood and Youth Teachers' Reactions to the Personal Implications of Anxiety

25 27 29

40 42 53

63

CHAPTER THREE Loneliness

65

Conditions Contributing to Loneliness Loneliness and Self-Alienation Homelessness

66 74 75

IX

7 5 3 1

CONTENTS

CHAPTER FOUR

Meaning

78

Education and the Search for Meaning Helping Others through Facing Oneself Hopelessness and Despair The Paradox of Meaninglessness

80

91

Religion

95

Humility

96

The Search

for

82 88

CHAPTER FIVE Sex

100

CHAPTER

SIX

Hostility

106

Externalized Hostility The Feeling of Being Abused Using the Arts of Love to Accomplish the Purposes of Hate Hostility in Education Attitudes toward Authority Hostility, Guilt,

The Right

to

and Anxiety

110 1 1 1 1

1 1

1 1

120

Be Angry

123

CHAPTER SEVEN Compassion Love of

Self

125

and Love for Others

So Small -in the

Infinite

—And Yet So Great BIBLIOGRAPHY

Scheme of Things

130



134 135 139

APPENDIXES

Appendix A Appendix B Appendix C Appendix D Appendix E

145 149 159 162 169

When

Teachers

Face Themselves

ONE

Introduction

X

.his

tions, hopes,

book

is

concerned with the

satisfac-

strivings,

and heartaches that pervade the teacher's

which

and work. It deals with aspirations and struggles numbers of teachers have described and which all of us It

searches into meanings

centers

on

in other

teachers,

walks of

we

most of what

life.

the help of teachers.

It

The

This

is

these findings a personal

helped prepare

it

large share.

While

it

contains applies to people

it

has been written for teachers with

research findings underlying

noted mainly in the Appendix.

on what

seek to embrace.

all

life

The

mean from

are is

a personal point of view.

document, for the voices of those

speak through

it

emphasis in the text

it.

Many

who

of them, in the

course of the study, glowed with the dedication of their calling, bristled

with anger, trembled with

troubled souls can weep.

Many

of

fear,

wept

them unveiled

as

only

a little of

the pride and shame and tenderness people usually keep con-

cealed

from one another, and they

also

voiced hopeful ex-

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

They spoke

pectations of things to be.

in

the language

through which people reveal their weaknesses. This

is

also

the language of humility and courage and kindness, through

which people reveal

The

their strength.

author and his associates have also tried to speak with

this voice, for the

concerns expressed by the people in

Many of them said Many spoke of their

study are our concerns. anxious



so have we.

too, have tasted the loneliness that flows

the tides of

life.

Many

said

are involved in this search.

unless

we

they have been loneliness

through so

—we,

many

—we,

they search for meaning

Many

this

of

too,

expressed faith and hope;

shared this hope, there would be no point in under-

taking a study such as

this,

and

it

would be

foolish to remain

in the teaching profession.

Background and Theme This book

is

one of

a series of writings carrying the

that education should help children and adults to selves

The

theme

know them-

and to develop healthy attitudes of self-acceptance.

present volume considers

what the concepts of self-understanding and self-acceptance mean for teachers. It discusses concerns teachers feel they must face in their personal and

when they examine the meaning of what and what they teach and when they seek to share the

professional lives

they are

personal problems of their pupils.

This

is

the fourth installment in a continuing inquiry.

The

inquiry began with a theoretical statement concerning the

meaning of the concept of selfhood for education (24). 1 The next phase of the inquiry was centered on children what



1

141.

Numbers

in parentheses refer to items in the Bibliography,

pages 139-

INTRODUCTION they think and

feel

about themselves and what problems

when they try to help children to face The inquiry into the role of the teacher was

teachers encounter

themselves (23).

continued in a third undertaking, consisting of a workshop for high school teachers of psychology (27). Other writings

by

the author dealing with theoretical and practical considerations related to the

ography. All of the

work

with children, in

theme of

this

book

are listed in the Bibli-

— conferences with involved— book

that has preceded this

teachers, in the literature

has emphasized

dealing with the theoretical issues

one

The

fact.

self is the

and acceptance of him-

teacher's understanding

most important requirement

to help students to

know

emerged again and again

mean

in

any

effort

he makes

themselves and to gain healthy

attitudes of self-acceptance.

students

in classrooms

The crucial question that has What does this effort to help intimate, personal way in the

is this:

in a distinctly

This book endeavors to explore some of

teacher's cnvn lije?

the issues that must be explored

when we

seek an answer to

this question. It

has

become

work

increasingly clear over the years, as the

in this inquiry proceeded, that self-understanding requires

something quite different from the methods, study plans, and skills

of a

education.

"know-how"

sort that are usually

Methods and techniques, group work,

and other devices are useful can be used merely so used, they

as a

at certain points.

role playing,

But these edu-

primarily needed.

They

kind of external manipulation.

When

cational techniques are not

we

emphasized in

what

is

do not further and may even defeat the purpose

are seeking here.

What

is

needed

is

a

more personal kind

of searching, which will enable the teacher to identify his

own

concerns and to share the concerns of

his students.

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

Major Concerns In this

book we have drawn heavily on an empirical study

(described on pages teachers.

Among

of the personal concerns of

13-19)

by

the concerns voiced

the problem of meaning.

Many teachers have

amine the significance of the

work they

ing of the education.

life

name

are doing in the

agree that

all

it

felt a

They

these

is

need to ex-

is

of scholarship and

that learning *is good.

a fine thing to

scholarly pursuits, to do research, to acquaint the

our cultural heritage.

partici-

they are living and the mean-

These people do not deny

They would

who One of

those

pated in the study, two especially stand out.

encourage

young with

accept the idea that education

should help people to use the methods of science and to think

But they recognize that

logically about current problems.

these undertakings are often rather empty. that

is

There

much

is

meaningless along the academic road, from the kinder-

garten to the doctor's degree.

Much

of

what goes on

consists

of scholarly motions, lacking the vital spark of personal concern.

The

search for meaning

is

not a search for an abstract body

of knowledge, or even for a concrete is

a distinctly personal search.

intimate personal questions:

What values am in

I

seeking?

my relations with

What

What,

others, in

body of knowledge.

The one who makes in

really counts,

my existence

my work

it

for

I

me?

as a person,

as a teacher,

is

concern to me, perhaps of ultimate concern to me? teaching

It

raises

of real hi

my

seek to transmit the meanings others have found in

and that is good as far as it goes. But young people to discover meaning, have I perhaps evaded the question of what life might mean to me? How

their search for truth, as

I

try to help

INTRODUCTION can

I,

my

in

study and

my

that engage

my

teaching and in the countless topics

thought, find a

This search for meaning is

true that the lessons

of course, an ancient search.

is,

we

home within myself?

are taught in school

It

and college

usually center on objective facts rather than personal mean-

They

ings.

tell

us

how man,

through the

into rhe nature of things as he looks

the

world

teachers

which he

in

who

tell

upward and outward upon

now and

But

lives.

ages, has penetrated

then, also, there are

Through the ages, voices calling man home to himself,

us to look inward.

have again and again been

raised,

upon him once more and what and why am I?

calling

to face the timeless question:

When the teachers in this study raised the ing,

they raised

therefore ironic

Who

question of mean-

human race. It is many have said concern-

a question as old as the

when

people say,

as

ing the theme of this book and of the works that preceded that here tion is

that the learner should seek to

is

not

something "new," that the "latest" idea

is

new

at

all.

know

tence goes back to the time

when

he

first

wonder, and to dream. In each human taken up anew when seeks to discover the this timeless search

matter?

when

What difference

he

the

first

does

it

same search

begins to ask:

Many

child joins in

What

selves.

But questions such

it

are old,

move on

in

think they have learned even to stop asking them-

again as long as there

The

does

children learn to stop

putting them to others, and there are many, as they

who

is

groping endeavors,

why. Each

make? Such questions

but they are not alwavs welcome.

school,

his exis-

began to think, to

life this

a child, in his first

how and

himself. This idea

meaning of

Alan's inquiry into the

it,

in educa-

as these are

question of meaning arises

upon himself and

also

bound

to arise again

and

is life.

when

when

a teacher looks

inward

he looks outward upon the world

— WHEN TEACHERS He

about him.

how

sees

FACE THEMSELVES

boldly scientists proceed to explore

how

the properties of the physical world and yet

among them

great ones

inner

He

life.

can move

He

himself.

by

we now

sees that

at supersonic

speed does not make

are

speed

him

then realizes that such to find himself, or to lose

sees the fabulous strength

breaking the secret of atomic power

science has increased the average life

man

life

He

when he

turns

many

span by

years

been somewhat delayed?

A teacher's questions about meaning do

not become

from the world of science

even here questions of meaning

religion, for

asks:

sees that medical

acquire meaning, or acquire richer mean-

ing, because death has

sistent

by Does

has gained

—and then he

he also have the strength to face himself? but he asks: Does

man

have machines in which a

—and

easier for

it

baffled the

questions concerning man's

to the

arise.

less in-

world of

According

to one recent investigation, about nine out of ten people in the

population that was studied professed religious

only about one to

make

(46).

in six held to these beliefs in a

a vital difference

We

can ask:

portions typical?

emerge

if

we

say and

know

after the

What do

total

way

be. Actually,

be as

it

is lip

them?

How

service?

lines?

life? it

pertains

We

It is

How much of what they much

is

scholarly posture,

strikes the correct pose

and

How

do not

vidual scholar and teacher himself.

to

much is interwoven with their know what the answer would not matter much what the answer might does to others. The thing that matters to the indi-

proper of

life

these people formally profess, and

mean

manner of an actor who

recites the

seemed

own

Were the tests adequate? Are these proWhat findings analogous to these might

actually

it

that his

but

could make a similar study of scholars and edu-

cators, asking:

what does

way

within the privacy of

beliefs,

from

is

what

these questions

this distinctly personal

mean

for

point of view that

NTRODUCTION

many

of the teachers in the present study raised questions con-

cerning the meaning of their

The

search for meaning

personal search.

It is

some

is

learning.

real

much

a distinctly

said,

it.

and people can draw en-

of what

is

done

in the

his

ing in the forest. But a at

underlying

this

in

it,

all,

and

book)

uneasy

name

of

encounter with the problem must take

own

place in the privacy of each person's

no clearing

can be

It

others, like them, feel

life.

Even

D. H. Lawrence (37) has pointed out, the meaning can embrace within

although

a scholarly enterprise,

extent, with others,

But the

been

an important aspect of

couragement from the fact that about the emptiness of

and works.

lives

as has

is,

not just

the pursuit of learning shared, to

own

known little

it is

self

may

clearing

is

be only a

then, as a

person

little

clear-

infinitely greater than

better (according to the philosophy

to dwell in such a clearing,

with things that count, than

just to

and to work

go through the

It is better to have such a home in the wilderness than move through life in a mechanical way, unreached, untouched, and unmoved bv what one learns and uninvolved in

motions.

to

what one

teaches.

The second is

pervasive concern with

anxiety. Chapter

Two

discusses the

which

way

this

book

deals

anxiety permeates

the lives of teachers and their pupils. It takes the position that the concept of anxiety should be regarded as an essential topic in all teacher-training

One

sponse teachers cussed.

programs.

of the most impressive features of this study

Many

made when

at

the

once related

and were eager to explore

it

its

was the resubject of anxiety was dis-

to their personal experience

meaning

in their

own

lives.

Others, of course, did not see the subject as having any rele-

vance for them.

The

writer had not expected so

much

readiness to face the

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

problem of anxiety. While there

we

of us, fense

also build defenses against

to see anxiety as

is

A

selves.

not

are

it,

something that

similar defense

logical problem,

There

anxiety in the lives of

is

to see

is

as

it

and one

common

affects others,

many who seem

de-

not our-

an interesting psycho-

own

pervasive reality in our

as a

all

lives.

to succeed quite well, for rather

long periods of time, in avoiding direct awareness of their

There

anxiety.

are others

who do

not recognize anxiety ex-

cept dimly, at times, through feeling vaguely depressed, edgy, driven, irritable, or uneasy, or through having a tendency to

become angry about

when or

little

things, or to feel abused or rejected

mildly criticized, or to hurt others, or to feel impatient,

restless,

or defensive, or through

a

need always to be

right,

or to say something, or to impress everyone, or to be endlessly

busy and on the go.

The

who

people

have the courage to face anxiety and

who

its meaning accept the fact that they, like all some degree anxious. They recognize that many teachers and students have lived with the burden of anxiety day after day, scarcely knowing that the burden might be

seek to explore people, are to

lightened.

offered ities

They

them

realize that schools

little

in the

way

and colleges have usually

of help except academic activ-

that sidestep anxiety, or perhaps even increase

When that he

a

is

it.

may

person pursues the subject of anxiety, he

among

those

who

have been involved

struggle against awareness of being anxious. this struggle

may

to

all

persons, involved in a

in a

On

appearances be well-organized, busy

round of meetings, conferences, home-

the surface, such people lives.

long

Those who make

work, community projects, research, and professional productive

find

They may

may

activity.

appear to be leading rich and

say that they like their teaching,

that they find educational pursuits rewarding.

But

if

the inner

— INTRODUCTION dimensions of their personalities could be examined,

would show

a large

amount of

tension, appearing, say, in dis-

discouragement,

proportionate resentment, competitiveness, efforts to impress or to placate, to play the safe.

Many

many

game and

to play

it

of them, in their anxiety, probably place excessive

demands on themselves and

others, have inordinate needs for

approval, persistently avoid writings or discussions dealing

with subjects that carry unpleasant reminders of something they do not wish to face, or

now and

then are swept by intense

waves of anger against themselves, or by unaccountable longings or feelings of depression.

There as

many

or,

the

realization that

one cannot

They may know that they all

mankind and

others, ture,

— —

on the other hand, people who have faced

persons in this study indicated, wish to face

are,

by

they

may

it

be able to

without becoming anxious.

share the experience of anxiety with

realize that,

living with

live

by accepting

it

in themselves

and seeking to understand live

with

less strain

its

and tex-

and learn to be

more compassionate in their view of themselves and more humane in their relations with others. There veal

are other pressing personal concerns that teachers re-

when they push

aside the curtain behind

which people

the teaching profession, as in other professions,

conceal their inner selves.

Many

in

commonly

teachers expressed a deep

loneliness, a loneliness related to the fact that so often (amono-

among others) there is little mutual understandcommunity of feeling with associates or even with "friends." Many were disturbed by their hostile tendencies tendencies that prevail in the life of everyone. There are few teachers as

ing or

unforbidden, frank and direct channels for expressing hostility in education,

but

much

tion or scholarship

is,

of

what

is

indirectly, a

done

in the

name

means of venting

of educahostility.

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

We fall in with institutionalized expressions of hostility when, for example,

we

unhesitatingly inflict hurt on others, get chil-

dren by the millions into situations where they will

we know

advance they will

in

fail,

know

stances are such that they cannot help but

from the pain of

fit

in education

failing again

when we

fail

—and

that the circum-

fail

and get no bene-

We vent hostility

and again.

who are less inwhen we join in the

snobbishly scorn those

telligent or less learned than ourselves, or

antagonism that often prevails between colleges of

and schools of education. Such

liberal arts

institutionalized manifestations

of hostility were not, however, the central concern expressed

by

the people

who

took part in

who

hostility was, to those

this study.

identified

problem, and they wished to face

it

it,

The problem

of

a distinctly personal

as such.

Closely related to the problem of coming to terms with hostility

pressed

is



a

an even larger concern, which

concern about emotion

a desire for insight that

upon

many

in general.

teachers ex-

Many

expressed

might enable them to draw more freely

might enable them to know what their Freedom to think is a perennial issue in but an even more significant issue in the lives of

their feelings, or

real feelings were.

academic

many

is

life,

freedom to

feel:

freedom to allow feeling to surge

within themselves without being compelled to snuff

deny

who

it; is

freedom

not afraid?); of hate (who

tenderness

(who does not

own

is

not swayed by

possess it?); of joy

does not have some capacity for

not

it

out and

to experience the full impact of fear (and

it? )

;

it?); of

(what person

of compassion

(who does

a rich potential store?).

Other concerns expressed include the burden of conformity, under which many labor (in the name of being sensible and socially well adjusted)

to live

up

;

the oppressive load imposed

to an impossible ideal 10



a

by

striving

kind of striving some edu-

INTRODUCTION cators cultivate as though

were

it

when

have in "being themselves" wields authority or

who

many have

concerns

a virtue; the difficulty

dealing with someone

to them, a

is,

many

who

symbol of authority; the

in the sphere of sex.

In an earlier book the writer, in commenting on the poignant

way

children reveal their problems to teachers they

trust, said that

one can hear through them a cry of pain, a plea

and eager

for help arising from millions of troubled people. Perhaps this

statement seems extreme, but

same statement can

When

as truly

it

was true

in

its

context.

The

be made in the present context.

one works individually with teachers and gives them a

chance to share

a little of that secret

burden each of us usually

bears alone, one can hear this same cry of pain and plea for help..

This does not mean that pain

ant condition in their

But

it

does

mean

that

is

the only or the predomin-

They know many who usually

lives.

joy as well as pain. find

it

necessary to

conceal their troubles and their hurts would like to find an

opportunity to share them.

The hopeful

thing about

it is

that they have the courage to

utter this cry and to phrase this plea. Indeed, students in edu-

cation courses are prepared, under appropriate circumstances, to reveal needs in their personal and professional lives that

schools of education have barelv to ask for

more than

begun

to meet. Students dare

colleges following the usual safe and im-

personal channels of education have dared to give.

Underlying Sources

THEORETICAL ROOTS While

this

book centers on personal concerns,

several theoretical areas.

chology, particularly

as

One it

of these

pertains to

is

it is

rooted in

developmental psy-

growth and 11

to the con-

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

ditions influencing the emotional lives of children

As one

studies developmental psychology,

through observation of people, one quently of the power of the

This impulse

is

human

in

through writings or elo-

being's impulse to grow. it is

strong also in a

chance for

the inner dimensions of personality.

Develop-

how

mental psychology reveals the business of bruised,

adults.

reminded often and

strongest in the young, but

older people, for as long as there

growth

is

and

life,

how

is life

there

is

boldly children venture into

often they are frightened, hurt, and

how strong the surge of life is. From developmental we learn how great is the human capacity for

psychology self-repair.

This capacity

been deeply wounded

A second

persists

even though

one stage or another

at

influence on this

person has

book comes from psychoanalytic

psychology, especially from the works of Sullivan (48-50), and

a

in his life.

Fromm

(9,

Horney (15-19),

10) and the

light these have

shed on issues raised in an earlier day by Freud (6-8), Adler

and Jung (29-31). These writers have greatly increased our understanding of the difficulties that beset a person in his (1),

growth and

There

to

They

draw attention to resources sources of hope on which man can rely.

search for himself.

are important areas of

analyst or a therapist can

genius

also

who

can show

human

work on but

how

a

for

experience that an teacher cannot.

The

the full range of the benefits of

psychoanalysis and psychotherapy might be incorporated into along.

How-

areas are already obvious.

There

the regular educational process has not

many of much in the

common

ever,

the

is

professional

also

A

be made part of the

come

work of a good therapist work of the teacher.

that can

book comes from meaning of man's existence,

third influence that runs through this

philosophical inquiries into the

especially those of Kierkegaard (32-36) 12

and Tillich

(52, 53).

INTRODUCTION Kierkegaard's explorations of the concept of selfhood, the

human

nature of the

struggle, the conditions of man's anxiety,

the personal character of meaning, and the subjective dimen-

much that is now in the forecontemporary thought. The issues with which he

sions of truth have anticipated

front of

dealt have been

echoed again and again by the students,

teachers, and colleagues likewise, voices

many

who

took part in

this study.

when he

of their concerns

Tillich,

speaks of

man's predicament in facing the problems of emptiness and rejection and inquires into the nature of man's courage to be himself.

THE EMPIRICAL STUDY Several thousands of people helped in one in the

undertaking

written

this

statements,

book

The

discusses.

opinion

lengthy

polls,

way

or another

help came through

con-

personal

ferences, and the sharing of clinical experiences.

Some

of the

were colleagues and students who have undergone

participants

the experience of psychotherapy and

might mean

discover

what

of those

who

engaged

in part-time

this

who

in their

have been seeking to

work

as teachers.

Most

took part were students (in large part, teachers or full-time graduate work) in courses

taught by the writer. In these courses a position familiar to those

who

cussed. It

An

have read earlier writings in is

was

dis-

reviewed briefly here:

essential function of

child to

this series

know

good education

himself and to

grow

is

to help the

growing

in healthy attitudes of self-

acceptance.

A

teacher cannot

make much headway

in understanding others themselves unless he is endeavoring to understand himself. If he is not engaged in this endeavor, he will continue to see those whom he teaches

or in helping others to understand

13

WHEN TEACHERS through the

bias

FACE THEMSELVES

and distortions of

his

own

fears, desires, anxieties, hostile impulses,

The

unrecognized needs, and so on.

process of gaining knowledge of self and the struggle for and self-acceptance is not something an in-

self-fulfillment

It is

It is not something he does to or for something in which he himself must be involved.

The study

involved four procedures: a survey of reactions

structor teaches others.

them.

to the idea of self-understanding as a basic aim in education; a series of personal conferences; a as revealed

by written responses

survey of personal problems to an inventory;

and ratings

and evaluations of lectures and discussions dealing with various aspects of self-understanding.

the findings that emerged

The book draws

heavily on

from these procedures;

however, bound by them.

Response to the Idea of Self -Understanding.



is

not,

In the

first

it

survey, over a thousand teachers and students of education

were asked to express

their views

anonymously concerning

the concept of self-understanding in education and

its

implica-

They were also asked to indicate what they was needed most if education for self-understanding was become part of the education of every child. They had a

tions for them. felt

to

choice, for example, of asking for workshops, of indicating that

more

attention should be given to distinctly personal and

emotional aspects of the teacher's work, or of expressing a desire for personal help

(The questions used

through means such

in this part of the

as

group therapy.

study and a tabulation

of responses appear in Appendix A.)

Eleven groups, numbering from 33 to 149 and totaling 1,032 persons, responded to these questions.

The groups

in-

cluded classes taught by the writer, a few classes taught by other instructors, and the faculty of a high school.

In

all

these groups, the concepts of self-understanding and self14

INTRODUCTION acceptance had been discussed, but the emphasis varied considerably according to the views of the instructor.

The

time

given to the theme ranged from a short twenty-minute talk in

one group to

The

many

class sessions in

some of the

others.

responses of these people indicate that the idea that

the school should least, a

promote

selj -under standing is, in

theory at

very acceptable one. In most groups over ninety per

cent indicated that they thought

it

was "promising and worth

trying."

Likewise, nine out of ten people indicated that the idea that

understanding of others

tied to self -understanding was, to

is

them, a "promising" and not an unpleasant or distasteful concept.

Fewer

people, but

cated that the idea

"most significant"

The most sisted of

two thirds, indiof self-understanding was or might be still

from one

in their

own

half to

professional education.

significant feature of this set of questions con-

four options relating to the kind of personal help the

people desired or the kind of personal commitment they

would make

in an effort to put this idea to

was workshops,

much

or very

special courses, etc.

little

work.

One

option

(which might mean very

involvement). Another option was pro-

vision for discussing personal

and emotional

issues

(implying

a personal commitment but permitting the participant to keep

himself at arm's length in the discussion).

psychological services for others.

A

third option

This option,

if

was

chosen

alone, suggests that the person sees self-understanding pri-

marily

The

as

something other people should be helped to achieve.

fourth option was personal help such as might be gotten

from group therapy.

Of

all

the options, this indicates the

commitment and

the deepest involvement.

permissible to check one or

more than one of the four

strongest

15

It

was

options.

WHEN TEACHERS

When

a

FACE THEMSELVES

count was made of those

who

chose either the

option of therapy or the discussion of personal and emotional issues,

four

or both, the

fifths of the

tallies

showed

that

from about

half to over

people in the several groups had selected one

or both of these options.

In six of the eleven groups, over

seventy per cent made such a choice. Between about one

and one half

in

fifth

each group indicated a desire for help such as

might be gotten from group therapy.

What

do these figures mean?

They mean

that at least as far as verbal assent

concerned,

is

people in groups such as those canvassed here lean strongly

toward incorporating the concept of self-understanding into the educational program.

The

climate of opinion

is

also favor-

able to the idea that this will require teachers to face personal issues in their

own

lives

—through therapy or — manner

discussion of

"personal and emotional issues"

a

that differs

how many

people really would

in

from the usual academic work.

The

figures

do not reveal

take the initiative in

becoming deeply involved

of their personal and emotional concerns visions for

if

the necessary pro-

we know how

doing so were made. Neither do

many would

take the plunge into therapy

were actually

offered.

The

in a discussion

if

the opportunity

writer's general observation has

been that when some kind of group work with

a personal

reference, explicitly planned to foster self-understanding,

offered in

body represented

Due

is

connnection with courses attended by the student in this study, there are

many volunteers. when actually

to a variety of factors, such as reluctance

faced with an opportunity and difficulties in timing, scheduling,

and

staffing, the

number

is

usually smaller than that of

the people who, in this survey, indicated a desire for such

work. Moreover, 16

this

kind of group activity, while

it

seems

INTRODUCTION to be significant, also falls short of a systematic

under the guidance of

group therapy

a professionally trained therapist or

analyst.

We

cannot assume that other groups

would respond

institution

in a teacher-training

groups have responded.

as these

Groups of undergraduates probably would react differently. People who have had no contact with the concept underlying this book and no interest even in taking courses or in coming to talks that might deal with this concept would probably respond differently. It

does seem to be significant, however, that a favorable re-

sponse was shown, for example, by a group of high school

(Group B) who had had only

teachers

brief contact with the

writer's point of view, at a meeting held at the school at the

end of

a

busy day, and by

(Group G), who had no

a

group of curriculum majors

special reason for favoring a dis-

tinctly psychological approach.

Personal Conferences.

had indicated, like to



It

was suggested

who

that those

in the first part of the study, that

they would

have some personal help might come once or oftener

for personal conferences of an hour or

they had in mind.

some of them

more

to

tell

what

Eighty people came to be interviewed,

several times.

In the interviews, which were

who had had considerable experience in individuals and who had been involved to some

conducted by people counseling

extent in the practical aspects of therapeutic work, most of

them revealed themselves during the five years

this

quite openly and freely. In addition,

study has been in progress, several

hundred other people, students writer, have disclosed

some of

in

their

courses taught

by

the

problems and reactions in

written individual and group reports.

The

Personal Issues Inventory.

—We were now ready 17

for

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

The

the third part of the study.

records of interviews were

examined for recurring personal problems and concerns, and the language those interviewed had used in expressing their

The problems and con-

problems was extracted from them. cerns revealed in

all,

but

it

into a

fell

was decided

number

of categories, about thirty

to focus attention

on the nine

that

appeared to receive the greatest emphasis: meaninglessness, loneliness, sex, attitudes

toward authority, freedom to

feel,

feelings of homelessness, feelings of hopelessness, hostility, distress

because of discrepancy between the "real"

demands and expectations imposed by

On

self

self

and the

or others.

(shown in Appendix B) was devised which included thirty-six statements of problems or symptoms, four in each of the nine the basis of the interviews, an instrument

This instrument

categories listed above.

after as the Personal Issues Inventory.

On

is

referred to here-

the left side of each

page, statements of personal problems were given as examples

"What

of

there

own

On

the right side of each page

"My

was provision for responding under the heading, feeling, as

myself,

is

heading. it's

others have said."

that

The

consider what I'd like to understand about

I .

.

Several choices were offered under this

."

respondent could check "I've

one of the areas

in

which

standing myself"; or, "IVe ularly see

it

as

I

felt this

an issue on which

not been an issue in

my

felt this

probably need help

life"; or,

I

way, but

I

need help";

way, and in

under-

don't particor,

"This has

"I'm not sure."

This instrument was administered to two groups of students (a total of 229 people) near the

end of the semester, after the

students had had considerable opportunity to

become

ac-

quainted with the theme underlying this book and to develop their attitudes

toward

it

through

cussions, individual conferences, 18

class discussion,

and the

like.

group

Most of

dis-

these

INTRODUCTION people were graduate students at Teachers College, Columbia

The

University, working for a master's or a doctor's degree.

median age was over thirty

who

specialized in a

years.

They

represented people

wide range of educational

areas,

including

curriculum and teaching, guidance, nursing education, psychology,

religious

education,

physical

teaching of social studies, language larger of the

people

who

who were

responded to the Personal Issues Inventory

relatively unselected

in

who

either elected or

who from

Originally they were a

group within the student body

were required

developmental psychology.

people

The many

carrying other responsibilities.

cannot be called a random group. whole,

the

art,

and others.

two groups met on Saturday and included

part-time students

The

education,

arts,

They were

as

a

to take a course not, in the main,

the start were seeking to ally themselves

with the writer's views concerning the importance of the concepts of self-understanding and self-acceptance.

(One of

the courses had not originally carried the writer's name; the listing in the

catalog had merely stated, "Instructor to

Announced.")

However, by

the

time

the

semester

Be was

nearly over, these people had had an opportunity, over a period of

many

weeks, to become familiar with the underlying

idea and to accept or reject

Ratings and Evaluations.

body of

it.

—There

is

an additional large

material that has influenced the content of this book,

including ratings and evaluations growing out of

many

work with

small groups and with several large classes, reactions to

specific topics introduced in classes

(including the topic of

anxiety), lengthy personal documents, and the like.

19

TWO

Anxiety

O,

urs

is

is

called an age of anxiety,

an age of anxiety. Ever since

stress

man

and so

1

it is.

Each age

has been affected

by

the

of conflicting tendencies within himself, he has been

He

anxious.

threats that

he also bears

Man

is

is

not only apprehensive about dangers and

overhang

his physical existence; as a

this additional

burden: he

is

human

being,

anxious.

capable of a kind of uneasiness, apprehension, de-

pression, disturbance, or distress arising

from conditions that

threaten his existence from within. These feelings are usually tied to

unresolved problems of the past.

A

person resides on

1 This chapter, unlike most of the others, does not take its departure from empirical findings but introduces, instead, considerations pertaining to the concept of anxiety which, in the writer's judgment, need to be brought into the mainstream of educational thought. At the end of the chapter some findings pertaining to the way teachers react to this concept and its implications are commented on. brief summary of the main quantitative findings is given in Appendix E. I am indebted to Professors Millie Almy and Stephen M. Corey, Dr. Jane Beasley, and Professor Anne McKillop for counsel and encouragement in connection with the preparation of this chapter and those that follow.

A

20

— ANXIETY an island between what has been and what

can glory in

his past

or dread

The

lives,

it.

— or rue

it.

He

is

yet to be.

can dream of

past lives in the present within

He

his future

most people's

often in the form of unresolved problems. These prob-

lems produce anxiety, especially

when

person does not rec-

a

ognize them for what they are.

One danger man

shares with other creatures

him from the time he

certainty that faces

Life and death are close companions.

is

to

all,

some people, and

young and

brings

life

life

leads,

and death

moments of

is

terror

old, at times of accident, catastrophe, or

other great danger. But

We

it

linked to a

Wherever

death comes close behind. This closeness of terrifying to

is

born: he will die.

it is

not a chief source of our anxiety.

learn to live with the prospect of dying, for usually the

He who moves most fully into life feels most removed from death. He who is least afraid of living is least afraid of dying. And he who has had a reasonprospect

ably

is

quite remote.

full existence

back and

would

relive his past,

not, at

any stage along

life's

way, go

even though he might wish the

stages had been different

and even though he

new stage brings him nearer More conducive to anxiety

earlier

realizes that

each

his end.

than the certainty of physical ex-

tinction are the conflicting tendencies within man's inner

life.

These psychological forces that contend with one another

may

appear in

his

conscious awareness, or they

may

reside

mainly in what some have called the unconscious, hidden, or unrecognized reaches of

At

the level of awareness, for example, one

that to live

and

may

oneself. still

his life.

means to venture; but

leave regret, guilt, or

Yet

if

a

venture

may recognize may go wrong

some other tendency

to punish

one does not venture the impulse to venture

persists, so that

some people

are as disturbed 21

by

conflicts

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

concerning what they have not done

as others are

concerning what they have done.

An

by

conflicts

example of

this ap-

peared in the present study: some people said they

felt guilty

about sex experiences they had had, while others said they

To

guilty about sex experiences they had not had. to strike it

safe

some

—and

On

sort of balance

live

felt

means

between venturing and playing

to find a perfect balance at

times

all

is

impossible.

the level of awareness there are also other issues that

To

produce

conflict.

struggle

between dependency on other people and the

live

means to

There

struggle.

is

a

need to be independent; the need to be accepted and approved

by

others and the need to assert oneself and to live a

one's

own, even

those

whose good

if it

life

of

hurts others or brings disapproval from

will

is

To

very important.

live

means

to

face the inevitable and often conflicting promptings of love

and

hate,

producing tensions so strong

at times that

some

people will not take the risk of loving and dare not boldly risk feeling anger,

and so

live uneasily in a state

To

calm built upon inner tensions.

live

means

of outward also to seek

acceptance and to face the possibility of rejection; to love

and to take the chance of losing what one

loves.

These and

many

other alternatives are tied to living, and conflicts are

bound

to arise.

These

Some

conflicts

human

part of the price

theories of anxiety,

size the role

his parents

may

lead to anxiety,

which

is

beings must pay for being alive.

which

will be noted later,

of a person's relations with others

when he was

a child

—and

he has concerning himself. But anxiety

empha-

— notably with

consequent attitudes is

linked to a larger

set of circumstances than those involved in the relations be-

tween as

a child

human

later (if

and

his elders.

relations can be,

he uses 22

Even it is

if

these relations are as

good

likely that a person sooner or

his capacities for

thinking and doing) will be

ANXIETY subject to anxiety because of the complexities and the hazards

The

involved in his relation to himself and to the universe.

theory here

is

his faculties

and

human

that a

being,

by

virtue of the nature of

and predica-

limitations, will face possibilities

ments that will lead to anxiety.

Man is finite, are right or

wrong, wise or

foolish.

made

In a decision he

have taken another. In

his plans for the future

course, but, as he sees

it,

it,

in

he might

he elects one

elect another.

The

actively he avails himself of the right to choose, the

more

he might

still

He

responsibility he will feel for the course he chooses.

make

faces

that, in retrospect,

the past he took one road, but, as he later sees

more

He

yet he has a vast amount of freedom.

innumerable alternatives; he makes choices

will

And

choices that have consequences he cannot foresee.

the greater the realm of choice, the greater the possibility of conflict

between contending

desires

and impulses within him-

but the

possibilities for aspiration

self.

Man's powers are

limited,

and action within the

limits are

He

almost staggering.

is

igno-

rant, in a relative sense, yet his capacities for discovery are

tremendous.

He

his limitations,

has every reason to be

pride are very great. as

is

He is easily tempted

equal to every occasion

make

it

as

he views



to regard his

powers

yet reminders of his inadequacies

impossible for him to rest easily in this delusion.

tempted, especially

tist

humble

yet the possibilities for smugness and for false

if

he looks upon himself

He

wise scien-

as a

and a scholar, to regard the knowledge he has gained, and

the theories he has brought forth, as final and conclusive

he can never escape from uneasy doubts. soars

and

leashed, he

truth



his is

As

his

—yet

imagination

powers of observation and reasoning are untempted to conclude that he has found absolute

yet he can never fully avoid reminders that often he 23

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

When he contemplates what man's mind has accomplished, he is tempted to believe that if men would only use their reason and properly discipline their

is

fallible

and

foolish.

minds, they could achieve endless and unlimited progress and

conquer pain and fear

name of

often, in the



yet he

is

reminded that men have

truth and right, perpetrated cruelty and

error.

Even when men make pacities, then,

the most ambitious use of their ca-

they are faced with their

more towering

their pretensions

own

and the

flnitude;

become, the more likely

that such reminders will produce conflict and anxiety. conflict

and anxiety are

inevitable, for

man

it is

Such

so constituted

is

that he will put his faculties to use and seek even to transcend himself.

But anxiety such as the foregoing, which a person faces more or less openly and knowingly as an aspect of the uncertainty that goes with living, is not the most burdensome kind. People can learn to take these tensions more or less in

They

stride.

As we have

will

said, a

even seek experiences that involve person

who

into situations that are likely to arouse anxiety.

welcome from

this anxiety,

tive in

disturbing in

its

effects

ful in the effect

of

less direct

ways not

it.

on

origin.

This

is

is

anxiety

the kind of

by unresolved problems of the past, which, by the person himself, leave him

fully recognized

unable to face the conditions of his realistic

more destrucand more harm-

one's dealings with others

and more hidden

anxiety generated in

has

will not

painful consequences,

its

on the growing personality, it

He

move

but neither will he try to run away

order to avoid

life in

More

conflict.

seeks to live will actively

way

because he

is

at

life in a

dition prevails, for example, in a person 24

forthright and

odds with himself. Such

who

a

suffers

con-

from

ANXIETY irrational guilt

when heaven and

forgiven him.

Such

earth have long since gladly

when

a condition prevails

a person har-

bors illusions about himself that the realities of again and again to expose

him

teacher appears to

knowledge but

is

—when,

life

for example, his

to spring

from

threaten

work

a desire to

as a

advance

actually a vehicle for competitive drives, or

the expression of an insatiable need to gain recognition and to

overcome

The

a feeling that he

anxiety that

conflicts involving

is

is,

really,

most disturbing

something

false

is

not

much

good.

that arising because of

or devious, including pre-

cariously maintained pretenses concerning oneself and others.

This kind of anxiety

is

especially

burdensome because

it

is

necessary to be so careful in keeping up the pretenses and in

avoiding circumstances that might expose them.

from the

fore necessary to avert one's eyes

anxiety

It is

there-

fact that the

exists.

Much

that goes

on

anxiety of this kind.

in

To

education say this

really a kindness, for although

it is

is

a

means of evading

may sound

harsh but

is

painful to face anxiety,

it

is

even more painful to try endlessly to evade

it

does not

it

or to pretend

exist.

We will have more to say concerning this and other specific aspects of anxiety. deal

more

At

a later point in this

chapter

we

will

particularly with theories of anxiety and with dif-

ferences between anxiety and fleeting episodes of fear, anger,

and other emotions.

Anxiety as an Essential Concept in Education

The concept as

of anxiety has for a long time been regarded psychopathology, important in psychiatry, psychoanalysis, 25

WHEN TEACHERS and

psychology.

clinical

be regarded

and

as a crucial

It

FACE THEMSELVES has also, in recent years,

come

to

concept in the practice of medicine

in the profession of nursing.

Increasingly, theologians

and clergymen are recognizing the importance of anxiety in

work of the pastor (42, 52). The concept of anxiety should be regarded

the

cept in education as well. Anxiety the personal lives of teachers, and the lives of

we

all

is

it

pupils. If in education

as a

key con-

an important element in penetrates variously into

we

try to evade anxiety,

thereby try to evade the challenge of facing ourselves;

we

evade an essential task and make added trouble for ourselves

and others.

The theory underlying this book is that to teach we must know the people we teach and the obstacles to learning (and teaching) that exist. To know the people we teach we must recognize that anxiety plays, or may be playing, an important role in their lives and in our own. The one who cannot learn is often an anxious child. The one who will not learn is often an anxious child. The rebel, the cut-up, the scatterbrain, the is often hostile child, the child who is aggressive and defiant only not those who tremble who are It is an anxious child.



anxious.

For

know those whom he teaches and their must know himself and seek to face his own

a teacher to

anxieties,

he

anxieties.

This, in brief,

is

the rationale for bringing the con-

cept of anxiety into teacher education. Attention to this concept

is

at least as

important in teacher preparation

as the atten-

tion that has been given to academic aspects of educational

psychology. In the writer's judgment, as the attention that has been given to

it is

just as

important

methods of teaching and

supervision or to such subjects as the history and philosophy

of education. Actually, these disciplines do not rule out the 26

ANXIETY

The

treatment of anxiety.

some depth,

The philosophy

meaning of

face anxiety



studied in

things,

is

of education,

in large

if it

really cuts

measure an endeavor to

especially the anxiety of meaninglessness

emptiness.

Yet, as

taught in a

way

and

we know, history and philosophy can be

that

is

almost purely academic, with

attention to the personal implications of the

no

if

in part a history of man's efforts to evade or

is

to face anxiety.

into the

history of education,

little

human

or

strug-

gle.

The Nature and Some

of the

Conditions of Anxiety

Anxiety

may

arise as a reaction to

anything that threatens

one's existence as a separate self or that jeopardizes the atti-

tudes one has concerning oneself and one's relations with others.

Anxiety occurs both

as a

response to a threat and as a

way

of alerting a person to evade or be on guard against anything that

might threaten an

irrational attitude or style of life

has adopted in trying to cope with the problems of his

Anxiety can be described

it is

of distress, uneasiness,

or disturbance arising from some kind of stress

disorder,

within the personality. that

as a state

he

life.

The

essential feature of this stress

is

due, at least in part, to inner or subjective conditions

from external or objective threats and danWhere there is anxiety, there is some kind of threatening

as distinguished

gers.

condition,

dislocation,

within the

self.

beset

by

Such

conflict

within himself



tween what he

rift,

disharmony,

a condition prevails

or

inconsistency

when

a

person

is

between opposing impulses and tendencies when, for example, there is a difference be-

is

and what he pretends to be and 27

his pre-

WHEN TEACHERS tense

one

threatened in some

is

who knows

ignorance; or he

but

who

There

way

is

(he

is

eager to see himself as

the answers, and then

eager to see himself

is

uneasy because he

feels

those

FACE THEMSELVES

is

reminded of

is

bitterly

his

generous person,

as a

ungenerous toward

question his generosity). a state of anxiety

when, for example,

a

person

skill-

fully uses democratic techniques to ingratiate himself with

them (possibly for ends

others, or to manipulate

worthy), but cannot bear to face himself

as

that are very

an ordinary

human being whose motives are rather mixed and include many very undemocratic leanings. There is anxiety when a on rigorous scholarship happens

person's insistence

on

in part,

a desire to

openly to face doubts

now

and needs to see himself,

this

and then,

to rest,

dominate others, but he cannot bear

as

in spite of

uneasy

motivated only by an interest in

scholarship.

There

is

anxiety

when

the aggressive people

who

habitually

dominate educational meetings suspect (by the intensity of their impatience

when

other people are talking), but dare not

face the thought, that they talk so

much

because of

pulsion to talk rather than because they have so

a

com-

much

to

contribute. There is anxiety, likewise, if those who do not talk, but would like to, feel tense and aggrieved but do noth-

ing about

There

it.

is

anxiety

good fellowship

as

when

a person

who

puts on a

show of

he dashes from one meeting, conference,

who appears to be living a life companionship, now and then is disturbed by

party, or tea, to another, and that

is

full

of

the deep current of loneliness that runs through

his life.

There is anxiety when a person, claiming that teaching to him means everything, uneasily, once in a while, is confronted with the thought that 28

his

work does not

satisfy all his needs

ANXIETY and that perhaps something important

is

missing from his

life.

These

are only a

producing conflicts

few of

may

which anxiety-

the situations in

occur, and each of these situations

represents, of course, only a surface manifestation of a deeper conflict.

Some Theories

of Anxiety

Theories concerning the origin of anxiety have already

been touched on. Prominent among these are the theories ad-

vanced by Freud (8), Horney (18, 19), and Sullivan (50). Other theoretical contributions have been made by May (38),

Mowrer

(in

Hoch and Zubin

has discussed conditions in

anxiety and has

made an

[14]), and others. Tillich (52)

human

existence that underlie

interesting distinction

between anxi-

ety as a psychological and as a philosophical and religious

problem.

Many

of Kierkegaard's works of over a hundred

years ago, notably the book entitled (35), deal with anxiety as

it

The

Sickness unto Death

appears in connection with a

person's struggle for selfhood.

FREUDIAN THEORIES Freud advanced several conjectures concerning anxiety.

One

of these related the origin of anxiety to separation from

the mother in infancy. has

on

many

ramifications,

The concept

of "separation anxiety"

and some features of

later in the discussion of loneliness.

it

are touched

Freud's classic

work

on anxiety (8) deals with the phobia of horses exhibited by little Hans; underlying this phobia, according to Freud, was anxiety stemming from ambivalent attitudes toward his father



attitudes associated

with an Oedipus complex. 29

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

horney's theory more space will be given to Horney's theory of anxiety than to any other. There are several aspects of In this chapter

anxiety that Horney's theory does not touch upon, and leaves

many

questions unanswered (as do

ety, including the present one), it

but

it

accounts of anxi-

all

has a merit that makes

especially meaningful in this book: there

tinctly

personal about

it.

A

it

is

who

person

something

reads

dis-

Horney's

account of anxiety with an open mind cannot help recognizing

Moreover, many of one's

characteristics within himself. sociates are reflected in

Homey holds up The account

to

one

human

that follows

is

way

as-

or another in the mirror

nature in her discussion of anxiety.

The

abbreviated.

certain liberties with the theory

by applying

The

people in the educational profession.

writer has taken particularly to

it

theory applies to

others equally well, of course.

and Attempted Solutions.

Basic Anxiety

Horney's concept

(18, 19), there

linked to a child's helplessness

world that

is

hostile, unjust,

is

a

to

kind of basic anxiety

when he

has to deal with a

and unaccepting and with an

environment that blocks the free use of

his

energies and

Conditions that interfere

hinders his efforts to be himself.

with the child's freedom to grow do not his elders are malicious

—According

arise

simply because

or harsh or wish to do him harm.

They

may occur partly because these persons are so absorbed in their own problems or in their own anxieties that even though they love the child as much as it is humanly possible for them to love him, they

still

do not have the inner freedom to

notice,

accept, and encourage him.

A but

child in such circumstances it is

is

thwarted and frustrated,

dangerous for him to show anger openly or to fight 30

ANXIETY back. So he develops certain defenses and "strategies" in cop-

own

ing with his

inner response to the threats that are visited

upon him from without. While

may be the moment and under

these strategies

only measures he can possibly take at the

the circumstances to protect himself against a forbidding en-

may become

vironment, they

they function

when

like

so strongly entrenched that

acquired personality

Anxiety

traits.

these strategies are threatened, as happens

She

take.

when they

one another.

conflict with reality or with

Horney

arises

three major directions such strategies

lists

also indicates that

may Nor are

may

they seldom appear in pure form;

the same person

use different strategies in different cir-

cumstances.

these

ways of behaving,

in themselves,

signs of disturbance.

One

may

strategy a person

environment that thwarts his

own

right

is

move

to

with others, to outdo or to

rise

employing he

is

medium

this strategy

a person in

becomes

a person

He

seeks to control, to

above them. In the scholarly

world, the strategy of aggressiveness using scholarship as a

become

Such

against.

and competitive.

aggressive, expansive, vie

develop in coping with an

his striving to

may

take the f©rm of

for outdoing others.

A

person

pursues learning not primarily because

curious (although at times his curiosity will be strongly

aroused), or has a practical need for knowing, but as a means of vying with others.

of such a neurotic

One can

find

employment of

much apparent

scholarship at

all

evidence

academic

levels.

Another strategy thwarted in

his

may

that

striving

for self-realization but

who

openly to oppose those

be used by a person

thwart him

withdraw, to remain aloof and detached. strategy does not

move

is

to

A

move

is

who

is

unable

aivay, to

person using

this

freely and fully into the center of 31

— WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

things with his feelings as well as his actions and his thoughts

now

now

yielding,

now

resisting,

now comgo his own way-

cooperating,

peting, free to like or dislike, to join or to

according to the promptings of

his

own

purposes and desires.

Instead, he remains emotionally uninvolved.

may

world, a person's bookishness

when

it is

a

way

his

His thoughts flow freely but

person

who

of meeting

A

his conflicts.

one who, so to speak, teaches with

A

be a form of detachment

not something spontaneous or freely chosen but a

means of side-stepping heart.

In the scholarly

detached teacher

head but not with

his feelings

do

is

his

not.

has developed a strategy of detachment as

problems

life's

blooded, although he

is

likely,

is,

emotionally, rather cold-

sometimes, to give the opposite

appearance. In the sphere of sex, for example, the detached

person full

may go from one

affair to

But the sexual

of passion.

another as though he were

exploits of detached persons

are actually rather pathetic and futile, involving tional closeness ing.

with another person and

little

Although such people seem potent, they

emotionally impotent.

When

a person

who

no

real

emo-

sharing of feelare, in a sense,

has a capacity for

entering into a deeply affectionate relationship with a

member

of the opposite sex reads or hears about the exploits of these

detached people, he

may

be impressed.

capacity for relatedness to others

may

A person with a strong actually have

at all for the fly-by-night affairs of the

He may

even see himself

as

is

talent

comparatively impotent until he

recognizes that the detached individual, quate,

no

detached individual.

who

seems so ade-

a compulsive and probably also a very lonely and

unhappy person.

A

third strategy that

environment

may

be developed by a child in an

essentially hostile

and thwarting

is

the strategy

of compliance, conformity, self-effacement, and appeasement. 32

ANXIETY

The

compliant one moves with the

bucking

who

person

like the

it

becoming

yields, instead of

a

to

may meekly

what he should

of

resorts to aggressiveness.

He

who

uses

bystander like the one

the technique of detachment.

compliant one

tide, so to speak, instead

In the educational world, the

accept everyone

He may

learn or think.

verdict as

else's

be so compliant that

he gobbles up any and every kind of academic fodder. But this

compliance

means of

a

is

form of

self-protection, not a

self-fulfillment.

means of

Strategies such as the foregoing, undertaken as a

may appear in many forms and are likely The same person may use compliance as a

protecting oneself, to be mixed.

maneuver

in

one

situation, aloofness in another,

But what

siveness in yet another.

To

expedients.

is

important

is

himself, so to speak.

playing an assumed

The

them



a

way

of

his

he were free to use

in an unfettered

When

He

denying

would

enterprises he

his resources

and to draw on

manner.

though they were an

life as

—and not driven endeavor appease — he begun The — order a

or to

essential part of his

to compete, to

withdraw,

a process of alienation

has

from

%

Idealized linage.

as the foregoing,

In

to support strategies such

according to the Horney theory,

will resort to all kinds of additional expedients. his

is

person goes on to incorporate these strategies into

nature

himself.

role.

devious ways he has adopted are not

enterprises reflecting his "real" self if

and aggres-

that these are

the extent that a person lives according to

these strategies, he

undertake

is

He

a

person

will use

powers of reasoning and imagination to convince himself

that his strategies are an intrinsic part of his real nature.

may see

his

competitive striving for

power

possesses a kind of primitive strength in a

as

He

evidence that he

world where one 33

— WHEN TEACHERS must

bite or be bitten.

he

this light

that

it is



surrender his

he succeeds in seeing himself in

moment, from painful

competitiveness has a compulsive quality

his

not he

compliance

When

spared, at least for the

is

awareness that

FACE THEMSELVES

who

his

drives, for

he

own

He may

driven.

is

tendency to give

in,

see his

to efface himself, to

and wishes and to calculate always

rights

what others want and wish



as a sign that

who

generous person rather than one

is

he

a noble

is

and

impelled to appease

others in irrational ways. If he acts according to the strategy

of detachment, he it

alone



may

one

see himself as

a strong, reasonable individual

who

is

able to

go

with a lofty talent

for disinterestedness and objectivity.

According

Horney, there

to

is

tendency for

a

such as these to become integrated into what she

The

"idealized self."

idealized self

through which a person gains a

is

a

strategies calls

the

kind of pseudo-identity

false rationale

and integration

of strategies and "solutions" he has been driven to adopt in his dealings

with others. This idealized

might be called the

or potential,

real,

a person's actual resources for

Gershman

self differs self,

from what

which represents

growth and

self-fulfillment.

(11) refers to this idealized self as the epitome of

a person's defense system. It

is

important to bear in mind that these "solutions"

(which do not

really resolve the

problem) have

to outlast the occasion that required them.

meekness, for example,

may

persist

become an adult and, when viewed

own

A

a

tendency

strategy of

even after a person has objectively,

is

a strong

right.

Likewise, a tendency toward aloof-

ness and detachment, or

toward compulsive competitiveness,

person in

his

can become so strongly entrenched ditioned personality

youth and

as

trait,

so to speak

an adult retains the 34

in

trait

childhood





as a

con-

that the person as a

even though the external

ANXIETY conditions of his

no need for

have changed and, objectively, there

is

any longer.

it

Anxiety as

life

Discrepancy between Real and

a Result of

—Anxiety comes

into this picture, according to

Ideal.

Horney, when

which a person has built as a defense in an compromise with life and in a desperate need to pro-

a false system, effort to

tect himself against hostile circumstances,

threatened.

Anxiety

threatened.

It enters

between the

ancies

aroused

is

when

by

into the picture

idealized

tampered with or

is

a neurotic solution

is

virtue of discrep-

image and the

real self.

There

many ways in which such threats may occur. Anything that is false is, of course, precarious. There

are

danger of being exposed others.

There

is



to oneself

and

the healthy part of his nature

unhealthy attempts

For example,

a

come

person

and self-effacing

of revolt against this will feel that he

who

is

is

tries to

rage.

the promptings of

cope with what he per-

world by being meek, com-

of dealing with

to feel a surge

life.

At

times he

being put upon, that others are taking adInstead of always enjoying a

glow of subservience, he

feels defiant.

if

into conflict with his

bound now and then

way

vantage of his good nature. virtuous

person uses

at solution.

ceives as a predominantly hostile pliant,

also, incidentally, to

also the possibility of collision if a

a mixture of incompatible strategies or

He may

But when he

feel the

feels this

will

have moments

when

own

is

likely to externalize

compulsion to appease.

feel

abused by others and

self

who,

fail

He

to recognize that

in effect, has invited others to take

if

directed outward



—even

is still

a

is

it is

than

likely to

he him-

advantage of

"good nature." But the upheaval of anger even

he

beginnings of an upsurge of

way, he

his difficulty, to see himself as a victim of others rather as a victim of his

the

is

his

if brief,

and

very disquieting thing:

it is

35

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

incompatible with his view of himself suffering, compliant sort of person.

as a charitable,

So

long-

involves, as indi-

it

cated above, a threat to his idealized image of himself. threatens to

unmask and expose

And

has so carefully cultivated.

It

the picture of himself that he this,

according to the theory

The

here under review, produces anxiety.

may

anxiety

be so

horrible and terrifying to the appeaser that he plunges into

the task of banishing any impulse to be defiant.

He may

solve with desperate fervor to let his compliance sees as the

We

good part of

have in such

his

nature



re-

—what he

take possession of him.

person a form of goodness that

a driven

is

demonic.

who

In like manner, the one

and

who

uses aggressiveness as a strategy

has built an image of himself as an enterprising,

strong person may suffer from misgivings that become threatening. A compulsion to compete and to achieve power over others is a very cruel kind of compulsion. A which is different from person who is driven to compete energetic,



competing is

a slave.

in a zestful,

There

this slavery.



way is in bondage. He when he would like to rebel against times, too, when the promptings of

spontaneous

are times

There

are

compassion and friendliness, which are potential within every

human

being, clash with his aggressive need to

people.

This

is

is

When

threatening.

to hold a view of himself

as

a

person

someone who

is

move

who

against

struggles

hard suddenly

confronted with impulses within himself that are "soft/'

there

is

assumed

There

conflict. self

is

conflict

between

and tendencies that belong to

and that might have been

his idealized

his potential

a part of his real self.

or

self,

So he be-

comes anxious.

The detached with threats to example,

may

person

his

is

also

detachment.

bound,

A

now and

then, to

meet

young man or woman,

for

be moved toward emotional closeness with a 36

ANXIETY person of the opposite sex even though, as noted

may

or she

danger of

he

previously have entered into sexual relations in

an unfeeling way. There

volvement

earlier,

in

danger of deep emotional

a

is

There

this relationship.

Now

falling in love.

is

in-

perhaps even the

such an involvement, moving

the person toward intimacy and tenderness and perhaps an

attachment to another,

all-out emotional

from standing aloof and apart

different spectator.

To way

So there

some people

something very an unconcerned

and conflict and anxiety.

collision

is

who

is

like

have carefully cultivated

a

detached

of living, the threat of becoming intimately involved

emotionally with another to almost

any means

to

so frightening that they resort

is

ward

off the threat.

They may

pre-

tend that they really are incapable of feeling deeply about

anyone.

If their

detachment

aggressiveness, they

may go

that he or she does not have feelings:

is

what

— every

a streak of

the other person

takes to really stir

it

up

their

not physically attractive enough, or has other

person has

his

own

means of supporting the need

between himself and others



a

to

may

be quite

brand of limitations

they are used by the detached person a

tell

and shortcomings. These shortcomings

faults real

he

combined with

is

to pains to

as

—but

an afterthought,

as

keep an emotional distance

need stemming from lack of

emotional closeness to himself.

One can sometimes tions

between

pupils

who

a pupil

see a similar

development

and a teacher

at school.

There are

have cultivated an attitude of aloofness, seeming

not to care about anything or anybody,

who

react with

seems almost a savage kind of hostility (for a time)

come

in the rela-

what

when they

Such a teacher wave of fellow-feeling, which

into the hands of a kindly teacher.

threatens to release in

them

a

they have sought to suppress.

The

pose of being aloof, remote and removed from others 37

WHEN TEACHERS and from the mainstream of

The detached still

person, for

a creature of

FACE THEMSELVES life, is a difficult

all his

Now

emotion.

one to maintain.

seeming lack of

feeling,

and then he may

surge of anger toward someone (and being angry

is

is

feel a

definitely

from being uninvolved), or he may feel a surge of tenderness for someone (and one cannot have both a feeling different

of tenderness and a need for aloofness and feel comfortable

There

about

it).

trickle

—and perhaps even

And

this is

The

armor through which

are cracks in his a flood



a

of emotion might enter.

threatening and produces anxiety.

person whose detachment takes the form of moving,

through scholarly pursuits, away from the personal into the impersonal, from the emotional into the intellectual, vulnerable.

He

suffers

also

is

from anxiety when someone or some-

home

thing threatens to bring

him

to

that he

is

using his

scholarly activities as a stratagem: he has taken flight from self into

One way

an ivory tower.

induced by

this threat

threat of exposure

is

is

to

people show the anxiety become enraged. And since the

so painful, they sometimes try to enclose

themselves even more firmly within their academic tomb. In the present study

it

was not

possible to explore, in a

when some-

systematic way, the theory that anxiety arises

thing threatens a person's idealized image of himself, for to

do

so

it

would have been necessary

to delve into the unrec-

ognized or unconscious aspects of the idealized image. possible, culties

It

however, to look into some of the recognized

was

diffi-

people have because of the demands and expectations

they place upon themselves.

A

large proportion of the people

showed

that they placed heavier

than they were able to meet.

who were

demands upon themselves

Many

revealed a lack of con-

fidence and assurance that they were 38

interviewed

worthy

in their

own

ANXIETY This was shown, for example, by the need constantly

right.

compare themselves with others and to assure themselves

to

that they

were better than

Many

others, or at least as good.

demands they were placing upon by complaining that others were demanding more than they could live up to. It is probably correct to assume that frequently, when people tell of the exorbitant demands others place upon them, they are attributing to others stern oughts and shoulds that they are imposing upon them-

indirectly expressed the

themselves

selves.

up

They

are saying, indirectly, that they are not living

to an ideal of

On

what they ought

to be.

the Personal Issues Inventory almost

two

thirds of the

people in two groups, totaling 229 persons, identified a dis-

crepancy between the selves as

real

and the

ideal

—between

them-

they are and as they think they ought to be

"one of the areas

in

which

I



as

probably need help in under-

standing myself."

This discussion does not imply that

They range.

definitely are desirable

when they

But the idealized image of

person, in striving to live

ideals are undesirable.

up

fall

within a healthy

when

unhealthy

self is

a

to an impossible expectation,

devotes his energies to unrealistic aims and, in the process, fails

to discover

Also,

by

self, a

person

and neglects to develop

striving futilely to live

may

find

it

up

his real strength.

to an idealized

image of

come to terms with with all human beings.

impossible to

ordinary shortcomings he shares

the

sullivan's theory Sullivan's theory of anxiety (50), like Horney's, takes into

account the concept of the developing

dependence on others. The

self

and the

child's self develops in

personal field in which there are persons

who

child's

an inter-

are significant

39

WHEN TEACHERS to his

FACE THEMSELVES

growth, and well-being.

life,

Sullivan, has

Anxiety, according to

significant in the child's interpersonal world.

ing on his attitudes toward himself, for his

The

"reflected appraisals."

according to Sullivan,

about him.

The

If others

The

toward the child have

these significant people

way, the

who

roots in the disapproval of people

its

is

attitudes of

a crucial bear-

self is

made up of

child's earliest appraisal of himself,

what others think and feel about him in a derogatory

in terms of

think and feel

child's attitudes

are

toward himself

will be derogatory.

attitudes that prevail in the child's interpersonal relations

become a part of the intrapersonal feature of his being and go into the making of what we call the self. When what Sullivan refers to as the "self-system" has been formed, anxiety

may

be aroused by anything that

even

if

the picture of self

is

is

alien to

it

or threatens

it,

and unhealthy one.

a false

Anxiety and Fear

One way

of clarifying the concept of anxiety

guish between

may

what

commonly known

is

to distin-

is

as fear

and what

be described as anxiety.

In this section

many

such distinctions are drawn.

the differences outlined may, to versial,

and so they

are.

insist that this is fear

some

The purpose

and that

is

readers,

in listing

Some

of

seem contro-

them

is

not to

anxiety, but to try to

com-

municate some of the meanings and experiences related to both fear and anxiety. a certain reader this, in

might

If

something

list

the present context,

distinctions

may

experience or

40

described as fear that

is

writer believes that

not a serious shortcoming.

help others to identify elements of their

assist

in clarifying his

is

as anxiety, the

even the

own

critic,

meanings.

through

The own

a negative process,

Moreover, even

if

one does

ANXIETY not fully accept

a

given distinction, one can

This point

a difference.

implications; and one

its

on

insist

a letter-perfect definition

meanings

until the

is

form of



There

resistance

at all.

the criterion of objectivity -subjectivity

is

.

dog advances toward me, and

snarling

On

fear.



I

This

get scared.

A

subjective.

is

that

is, all

dog

friendly or

is

instance there

is

sake, so to speak,

To

person has a phobia of dogs,

anxiety



anxiety

am

is

the

dog

but for what

danger ]rom 'without I

held in a safe leash, etc.

is

state this distinction

so

is

let

dogs touch off an irrational and unrealistic

complex of inner disturbance, regardless of whether ticular

A

as such.

the other hand, an important element of the threat

in anxiety

us say

Generally

objective, in the sense that there

is

an external danger that others would recognize

hit,

to

is

specific criteria that help distinguish

speaking, the threat in fear

a

of

and

from anxiety.

One is

it

concept becomes only an academic matter

some rather

are

way

to resist

to keep fiddling with

and ceases to have any personal significance

fear

recognize

labored here because one

is

responding anxiously to the idea of anxiety to avoid

still

it

not feared for

(this fellow

danger

its

own

symbolizes.

another way, fear

afraid as long as the

a response to a

is

a par-

In this

is

a response to

is a mean guy and might mean fellow is around);

pom within

(the presence of

an unpleasant person touches off strong feelings of

hostility, or

even an impulse to murder, and these are more disturbing than the physical danger represented by the

Yet another distinction

is

inating in his fears (although

he is

is

by no means

perfectly so), while

quite undis criminating in his anxiety.

frightened, and for

a superior

who

has the

good

mean person).

that a person tends to be discrim-

reason,

power

to

fail

when

For example, he

he

is

criticized

him or demote him. 41

by

On

WHEN TEACHERS the other hand,

may

body, he

if

he has

a

FACE THEMSELVES

deep need to be approved by every-

be seriously disturbed by criticism from some-

one whose opinion really does not mean much from

a practical

point of view.

Generally speaking, the response in fear tends to be proportionate to the external stimulus, while in anxiety quite disproportionate.

it is

often

After having been in contact with

dangerous germs, a person

is

somewhat

and takes pre-

afraid

cautions until the danger of infection or incubation

is

past.

But the anxious person may take elaborate precautions be-

yond

that.

Usually fear

"conscious" in the sense that a person rec-

is

ognizes and perceives quite realistically

him. Anxiety

what

it is

that scares

"unconscious" in the sense that the decisive

is

ele-

ment in the distress is frequently not recognized for what it As implied by the foregoing, there is a difference also

is.

in

the duration of fear and anxiety. Fear tends to be temporary; it

may

danger

last is

long and often recur, but

when

over, the fear usually subsides.

the objective

Anxiety, on the

other hand, tends to be persistent; the disquiet lingers even after the

danger

past or the obvious physiological effects

is

worn

(such as occur in intense fright) have

Other

off.

differences, in general, are that fear tends to be acute

and anxiety chronic; fear tends to be sive; fear tends to

specific, anxiety perva-

be localized, anxiety not

be fixed, anxiety more

so; fear tends to

fluid.

Perception, Feeling,

and Impulse

Many rough

in

Anxiety

distinctions

between fear and anxiety can be

made, but the meaning of anxiety 42

is

perhaps shown most

ANXIETY

when it is viewed in terms of the three classic compocommonly regarded as belonging to a typical emotional

clearly

nents

experience, namely, the perceptual

of the exciting event)

;

component (perception

the affective, or feeling, component;

and the impulse component (the tendency to

toward or

The

against, etc.).

changes that occur

move

bodilv (visceral and skeletal)

emotion are not

in

fight, flee,

now

the center of

attention.

In anxiety these three components are

less clear, less easily

than in what

we

identifiable,

and

upon

or in any of the other classic "emotions."

as fear

less specific

usually look

PERCEPTION

we

In the typical instance of fear (as usually defined), perceive is

not so

An

what

it is

clear,

we

and

are afraid of. In anxiety the perception

it

may

anxious person says,

etc.,

but

don't

I

I

be utterly unclear and confused.

know why. The

that excites the emotion

is

He may

feel

perception of what

it

is

There is no clear condition which he can attribute his un-

fuzzy.

or object or circumstance to easiness.

low, guilty, depressed, uneasy,

feel

uneasy and depressed and think that

he can perceive, or partially perceive, what the disturbing event

is

when

(as

he fixes upon

a

symbol, such

as a

dog

if

he

has a phobia of dogs; or projects his feelings, as an angry

person does

when

tributes anger to is

he does not see himself as angry but at-

someone

else

and then, so

seems to him,

it

angry because the other fellow has given him grounds for

anger), but, as the phrasing of the examples indicates, the

perception his

is

emotion

faulty. is

What

he perceives

as the

not really the "exciting event"

thing arousing



instead

it

is,

so to speak, the trigger.

As an example of

unclearness of perception 43

we may

cite

WHEN TEACHERS the anxious person

mild

show

so badly

who

within him:

on guard

so eager to perceive

disturbed

The

of disrespect.

lies

uncertain, so

him

is

FACE THEMSELVES

it

by

a

little

criticism or a

circumstance that disturbs him

is

because he

so sensitive, so

is

against rejection (and at the same time

it)

that a

little

rebuff from others puts

agony. There is, of course, an element of clear percepsomeone actually did make the casual remark he perceives as the event that caused him such agony. But this in

tion;

explanation does not take account of the condition that caused

him

become so deeply disturbed by it. would be possible to point to many examples of

to

It

a faulty

perceptual element in the anxieties of teachers and pupils.

who

teacher

grimace

who

anxious

is

may

already uncertain of himself

is

as a sign

see a little

of ridicule and feel deeply hurt.

may

A

A

pupil

perceive a minor question as a major

and so on.

insult,

FEELING

The

feeling

component

in anxiety, in contrast

anger or joy. in anxiety at

all,

his

is

An

also blurred or

extremely varied

with ordinary experiences of fear or

important thing about the Reeling element

that an anxious person

at least as far as

own

is

may not

view, feel anything but anxious (unless or until he

has acquired a good deal of insight into his

This does not mean, however, that there

One

"feel" anxious

he can discern: he may, according to

of the

many

feelings that

is

own

feelings).

absence of feeling.

betoken anxiety

is

a feeling

of fear, although in the sphere of feeling, fear and anxiety

made of the same psychological stuff. The by the anxious person may be very intense (as when a person is disturbed by a phobia) and it may appear in any of a vast number of manifestations, ranging from terror,

are not necessarily

fear experienced

,

44

ANXIETY uncontrollable fright, and horror to apprehension, foreboding,

uneasy anticipation, and the

One

of the

ways

like.

a person feels anxiety

The anger may range from

of anger. flaring of

bad temper or a deep,

dull,

through feelings

is

towering rage or

a

a

racking feeling of hatred

to milder forms of annoyance, irritation, edginess, exaspera-

and the

tion,

like.

one's temper" are

The feelings that one has when one "loses among the prominent feelings connected

with anxiety.

Losing one's temper, and the feeling of anger involved in often represents a "feeling" of anxiety although

it,

When

usually recognized as such. his

temper with

a child, for

it

not

is

an anxious teacher loses

example, there probably

some

is

kind of blocking or thwarting that touches off the anger, but there is

the added fact that

is

Anger may

involved.

more than an

flare

external thwarting

because the inner expectations

are so terrible, not because the provocation

A

so great.

patience quite

when

thwarted he

from outside

teacher striving to live up to an ideal of

beyond what anyone can achieve pupils do not confirm the impossible

be

will

demands

placing on himself and, through himself, on them.

is

teacher

is

and

skill

A

who cannot forgive himself the weakness of making may fly into a temper when he makes an error or

a mistake

when

a

pupil makes a mistake that

malicious. Again, a teacher or parent

is

neither serious nor

who

is

in conflict

himself because he cannot accept his sexual impulses

is

with

likely

to be anxious about behavior in others that appears to have a

sexual meaning,

frightened at

all;

he

but he

may

rage, having nothing to

Anger it is

is

perhaps

may

feel

feel

anxious or even

nothing but pure and righteous

do with anxiety.

so often the feeling as

not

component

in anxiety that

appropriate to link anxiety and anger as 45

it is

WHEN TEACHERS to link anxiety

and

FACE THEMSELVES

Sullivan (48, 50),

fear.

many

described some of the

occasions

among others, has when peevishness,

annoyance, and outright anger are the feelings associated with

As

a condition of anxiety.

(perhaps in most)

when

more meaningful

it is

simply to

many

fact, in

situations

teacher or a student gets angry,

What

to ask,

What is anxiety, we

ask,

question of

matter of

a

a

is

he anxious about? than

he angry about?

When we

raise the

recognize that the explanation for his

anger cannot be found in what happened but in what the

happening triggered off

One anxiety at

of the is

many

in him.

reasons anger

that anger

is

frequently associated with

is

one often has when one

a feeling

odds with oneself but manages to make

someone

that

else is to

it

is

appear to oneself

As noted above, one way of

blame.

evading the discomfort of anxiety one might experience from facing the fact that one

is

person

a hostile

anger onto others, and then to

feel

is

to project one's

angry with them. Ex-

amples of projected anger can often be found with examinations or seminars.

A

in

connection

person seeks to evade the

pain of facing the discrepancy between his real performance

and the performance he expected of himself by blaming the teacher for giving a stupid examination or for being unfair.

He may his

feel

weak

anger toward

spots and view

a critic

him

as

who

touched on one of

dogmatic or

anger springs from inner thwartings, but

it is

diabolic.

The

directed outward.

In most schools, examination time provides a field day for the activation of anxieties and for the marshaling of a vast

array of feelings, anger prominent

among them,

that divert

both the student and the teacher from the inner volved.

It is interesting that

of examination often arouses

be noted that an objective 46

issues in-

the so-called "objective" type

much

In passing,

it

may

grounded on

a

sub-

anxiety.

test is actually

a

ANXIETY concerning

jective base: the particular bias the instructor has

the facts that must be that

is

remembered and the

particular phrasing

the only correct one.

Another feeling component of

a state of anxiety

This feeling

of being "blue" or depressed.

may

is

a feeling

range from

deep despondency and melancholy to milder forms of the blues.

It

may



take the form of a longing or yearning

hard-to-describe feeling that there missing, that a deep desire loneliness, discussed in

is

something lacking or

The

unfulfilled.

is

experience of

Chapter Three, probably often repre-

sents a condition of anxiety.

Another phenomenon of feeling associated with anxiety anomalously, a curious absence of feeling. define, but

it

"I feel dead,"

This

hard to

may be expressed variously by such phrases "I feel numb inside," "I feel so empty."

Another indication of

when

as

conflicts that involve anxiety appears



in attitudes revealing inconsistent currents

example,

is

is,

a person expresses a

of feeling

for

very loving or generous

and condemning

attitude

toward humanity but has

feelings

toward large groups of human beings. The teacher

who he

hostile

claims that he loves children but dislikes parents; or that

likes girls

but dislikes boys, or vice versa; or that he

bright children but shows in

many ways

a

likes

deep contempt for

dull children; or that he likes teachers but not administrators;

or that he likes Whites but not Negroes; or that he feels

compassionate toward Gentiles but not Jews, and so on, betraying an inconsistency of It is inevitable

some people than

that each person will be to others;

But

a generalized feeling

this

drawn more

any honest teacher

admit that there are some pupils in better than others.

is

this kind.

is

of active

will

whom

his class

to

openly he likes

something quite different from ill

will

toward

others.

47

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

IMPULSE It is

through the impulses connected with anxiety that a

person can often get the most revealing clues to anxiety in himself and in others.

It

The impulse in anxiety is may even be the opposite more or

In a condition of

citement, the impulse take note of

it.

When

is

often quite devious or obscure.

what seems

of

less

appropriate.

uncomplicated emotional ex-

usually fairly clear,

one stops to

if

frightened, one has an impulse to

flee;

when angry, an impulse to attack; when joyful, an impulse move toward and into the joy-producing situation and prolong it. Where there is anxiety and it is experienced anger or

and be

impulses to attack or to

fear, these

fairly clear;

pulses, springing

but they

Inconsistency of Impulses. anxiety

may

up

—The

be quite inconsistent,

impulses associated with

at least is

time shun competition, then seek

when

ment of

his greatest

may

it;

he

may

feel

may

is

will belie or destroy his victory.

mo-

live

up

is

a

flee,

or to

There

is

confusion of motives

to an external standard of

involved in compulsive competition.

person whose anxiety

likewise behave in

an impulse to run

ways

when

is

linked to his sexual desires

may

He may

have

that are inconsistent.

may way of

temptation threatens, but he

have an impulse to go out and actively get in the 48

one

triumph, an anxiously competitive person

underlying the striving to as

at

an impulse

have an overwhelming impulse to weep, or to

worth such

For

surface.

related to an endeavor to

a confusion of impulses, just as there

also

on the

he wins, or feel deeply depressed; at the

do something that

A

secondary im-

to impossibly high competitive standards

to exult

as

that are not so clear.

example, a person whose anxiety live

to

flee will also arise

are, in a sense,

from impulses

to

ANXIETY

He may

temptation.

who do

have an impulse to punish those

what he fears to do, but he may also have an impulse to admire and envy them; and he may go to great lengths to peep at them by reading about sexual exploits.

The complexity creased

by

of impulses connected with anxiety

is

in-

the fact that the anxious person not only has im-

ways when

pulses to act in several conflicting

his anxiety has

actually been aroused; he also has an impulse to evade, escape,

or blunt the impact of anxiety. In acting on this impulse, he

may

Many

resort to an almost endless series of maneuvers.

of these have the character of compulsive acts, acts a person is

or

driven to do, regardless of whether they solve the problem

make

deaden

In order to ameliorate his anxiety or to

worse.

it

its

pain, he

may

resort to alcohol

and drugs. Some

persons acquire a knack for going to sleep threatens or

becomes

acute.

when

anxiety

In others, conflicts that are

anxiety-producing express themselves in the form of psychosomatic ailments. Resistance.

—Much

that

is

done

in response to

an impulse

to evade anxiety falls in the category of resistance. Resistance tied to anxiety

is

one of the most significant phenomena con-

nected with learning, yet those

who

have been most con-

cerned with the psychology of learning have taken notice of

it.

Resistance of this sort

may

little

take the form of not

learning (not noticing, not hearing, not catching the meaning,

not trying, not going to a certain source, not remembering the assignment).

A common

form of

resistance

is

to avoid

contact with writings on subjects likely to arouse anxiety, or,

while reading such writings, to carry on an active criticism

fire

of

and rebuttal.

Another form of touch off one's

resistance

is

to avoid people

anxieties.

49

whose

ideas

WHEN TEACHERS Flight Reactions. in fear,

is

—One

FACE THEMSELVES

impulse that

way that would openly show he common methods of flight from

is

a threatening truth

and so

is

glimpsed,

One

in flight.

do so

of the most

is

ward

words.

flight into

it

by

off

Another form of

arguing, dis-

flight

is

to treat emotional problems as

One way,

logical problems.

for example,

of resisting the emotional implications of anxiety

much

example of

it

that

flight

home and

personal meaning

its

from emotion into

at school,

is

arguments or complaints

on

their

tional

own

is

Another

lost.

logic, often

encountered

the procedure of taking a child's

at face value,

arguing

arguments

his

merits rather than seeking to examine the

emo-

A

child

meaning they have for him and for

may say,

to spend

is

time and effort in getting a precise, logically perfect

definition of

at

If

forth.

though they were so

as

in a

anxiety in education, and in

the scholarly professions in general,

cussing,

arises in anxiety,

to flee, but the anxious person does not

oneself.

for example, that he was not given his turn, or that he

always gets the smallest helping, or that he others are praised. Although he the feeling he has about



this feeling

it is

may

is

criticized

be wrong on

the important thing.

But to face

to face the fact that even though one

ulously fair as a parent or as a teacher, there

something lacking, something withheld,

where

counts,

all

is

still

as far as the

metic-

may

be

emotional

—can be very

threaten-

might induce,

we

argue

the issue on logical grounds and do not try to face the

emo-

experiences of the child are concerned ing.

To

evade the anxiety

this threat

tional meanings.

There are other ways of fleeing from emotional involvement in order to avoid anxiety. The person who is anxious because of irrational expectations or doubts regarding himself

may

try to avoid any close friendship, or love, or marriage, 50

ANXIETY

by

constantly

balancing one

prospective

mate

or

friend

against another, seeking through a process of logical weighing

and measuring to avoid any intimate emotional relationship.

A

form of

related

of what

is

flight

threatening

feel if

it

meaning

into a discourse dealing

of avoiding the anxiety

one were to face the personal implications

of the bitter hostility often ple,

to dilute the personal

One way

with impersonal aspects.

one might

is

by carrying

shown by

delinquents, for exam-

to deal with delinquency primarily as a sociological

is

problem. Another

way

of avoiding the personal implications

of an emotional problem aspects.

After a

is

to deal only with

class session,

members had faced

mechanical

its

which many

for example, in

the problem of anxiety about as well as

people can in class discussion, one of the students

(who had

not previously taken part) complained that the real problem

was physiological and

that the instructor should have spent

the hour in dealing with bodily changes in emotion.

an-

Still

other example, which the writer has frequently encountered, pertains to the concept of self-understanding: there are

who seem is

eagerly to accept the idea that self-understanding

important and then at once proceed to

strip the idea

potentially anxiety-producing personal implications

ing

it

some of

its

by apply-

to others rather than themselves.

In teaching and in

all

the learned professions

it is

a justifi-

able source of pride to be scientific in one's approach to

But

things.

insistence

on being scholarly and

also serve as a defense against anxiety.

scientific

This does not imply

that the typical scientist or scholar or teacher

energies to evade his anxieties.

can

is

using his

But there are occasions when

anxiety prompts scientific and other scholarly undertakings, just as

it

enters into other pursuits.

The study

of psychology

itself

can be used 51

as a

means of

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

when

evading anxiety. This happens

a student of psychology-

clings to a theory or a set of facts as an

evading personal

issues.

academic device for

There probably

is

no system of psy-

chology that has not sometimes served people

as a protection

against the anxiety of examining themselves.

Work as an Endeavor to way of blunting or evading

Blunt or Avoid Anxiety. anxiety

—One

to distract oneself

is

by

keeping busy. In the educational world (and in other spheres of

life)

work

of a compulsive nature

is

one of the most widely

used means of warding off or deadening anxiety.



Work

and

more work can serve this end work that others call overwork; work that makes one a drudge; work one takes on even though one's work basket is already full; work one does on the plea (to oneself) that it must be done, and on the plea that one's performance of this or that

portant but indispensable; driving,

any kind of work,

as

busy to face oneself,

drug

Of

to blunt the

long

may

as it

is

duty

restless,

work

not only im-

is

relentless

work;

that keeps one too

serve the purpose, functioning as a

impact of anxiety or to avoid

its

activation.

work is a form of evasion or blunting of anxiety. Nor is the work done under the spur of anxiety useless: it may be quite productive. And some of the work may be essential and inescapable, since a person who uses work as a narcotic gets himself so boxed in that a piece of work must course, not

indeed be done or study letter

all

—he must

this lesson

give this report or practice this piece

or meet this appointment or write this

or the consequences

may

be serious

thing, the thing that betokens anxiety,

into that

The

box

is

—but

the important

that he got himself

in the first place.

person

who

uses

work

as part of his

evading or anxiety-blunting technique pulsion to drive others to 52

work

may

own

also

anxiety-

have a com-

just for the sake of

working,

— ANXIETY

without

them

2iviri£

chance to discover the kind of work

a

through which thev might be most useful or creative. The grievances teachers have about tasks that seem arbitrary and

meaningless probablv often stem from the compulsion of

work

a

means of

In any class in school, picked at random, a great

amount of

work and

administrators to

coping with their

Anxiety

in

anxietv prevails. ious,

showing

they are

at

to

assign

as

anxieties.

Childhood tmd Youth

There

are children

who

are obviously anx-

forms of ''problem'' behavior that

in various

odds with themselves. There are those

to be "blocked'' in their learning; those

who

who seem

are frightened

at

trying themselves out, timid, afraid to express themseiv^.

as

though struggling against

who

are deeply hurt

those

who

a barrier

on the defensive. There as

criticizes

overdo or underdo, or always

them mildly;

strive desperately to

and on the go. or are alwiys

please, or are endlessly restless

having

within themselves; those

when anyone

are those

though they care too

who seem nonchalant, bewhen actually they cir>

little

not bear the pain of caring too much.

There are those who constantly bring severe punishment upon themselves by their misbehavior, surliness, rebelliousness,

and defiance.

surlv child

is

which means child's

We

cannot, of course, infer that every

an anxious child, but a

state

we can

of disharmony and uneasiness in the

relationship to himself

—when,

peatedlv and for no apparent reason

misbehaving in

a

way

YYe can infer anxiety those

who would

infer anxiety

that if

he

is is

not at

all

for instance, he reis

surly or defiant or

suited to the occasion.

defiant, let us

saw even toward

befriend him, or quick to take offense where 5?

WHEN TEACHERS none

viously

but

intended, or

is

is

not just a healthy kind of protest and self-assertion

When

himself.

we

Anxiety appears ous" behavior.

who

children

is

meeting the present

manner

in a

that

many forms

of so-called "nerv-

shown by the nail-biters and by the driven by a kind of uncontrollable restlessis

is

anxiety in

many

of the forms of behavior generally

considered polite and desirable.

quick to deprecate himself,

who

not simply responding to a

an excess or fever of activity.

There

is

and damaging to

painful experiences in the past.

also in the

It

are

is

by

has been distorted

futile

it is

matter of habit, seems to over-

a child, as a

can assume that he

present situation but

ness,

he misbehaves in a manner that ob-

if

so out of proportion that

is

react,

FACE THEMSELVES

It

who

appears in the child criticizes himself

who

unduly,

holds himself to a standard no one else would impose

on him, who

is

frightened at the thought of being anything

but perfect. Such a child's uneasiness stems from distortions within himself in the form of excessive expectations, oughts,

and shoulds.

When

likely that there

is

a child

judges himself very harshly

a large gulf

between what he

and achieves, on the one hand, and the is

reaching, on the other.

himself

is

as

though

so

much.

The

exorbitant

an inward condition, but he it

were

ideal

his parents, teachers,

is

it is

and does

is

toward which he

demand he

places on

likely to externalize

or peers

it,

who demanded

who are anxious are not solely those who show fright. They are the children who are not responding to the demands of the moment in a realistic way or to the The

children

opportunities of the situation for are responding in a flicting a

way

that

what they

shows they

are.

Instead, they

are driven

by con-

demands, expectations, grievances, and fears that are

carry-over from the past. 54

The

anxious ones are the young-

ANXIETY sters

whose response

to the objective situation

is

distorted

by

own subjective condition. The demands by others are confused and obscured by the demands they make on themselves. They are unable to meet life and all it has to offer, or to say yes or no on the a response to their

placed upon them

strength of healthy wishes of their own.

When

a teacher faces a class of forty children, forty chil-

dren are there in a physical sense, but psychologically there are

many more. Each

child brings to his present state the

child (or children) he once was, the child he child,

perhaps the impossible child, he

If, as

this

is

now

is,

and the

striving to be.

we could look upon a particular child from view, we might discover a kind of multiplicity

teachers,

point of

within him.

We

might see that although he seems quite

composed, he harbors within him the character of

a rejected

who uses various strategies to avoid the hurt of rejection. He may live according to the inner protective devices of a child who has been abandoned and might be abandoned again. He may contain within himself, psychologically, the child who bases much of his life on the premise that he must

child,

be suspicious, guarded, cautious, careful in

with even the kindest people, because once only by being defensive that he

The

felt

all

his

dealings

in his life it

was

he could survive.

ghosts of old hurts, the souls of agonies of an earlier

day, live on in

many

colleagues with

whom we

of our children at school

work, and

—and

in ourselves.

in the

And

it is

to the extent that each of us has the courage to look into the

haunted house within himself where these ghosts reside that he can gain some insight into the

way

the lives of others are

ravaged by anxiety.

The view who are all

that there

may

be, so to speak, other children

part of the child

we

actually see can be illus55

WHEN TEACHERS trated further.

The

child

FACE THEMSELVES

who

seems so free to decide whether

he will study or not study, be an obedient pupil or a trouble-

maker, a

may

not be free

at

all.

His present attitudes may have

driven quality. If he rebels, this need not

His present rebellion

to rebel.

guard actions against

mean he chooses

be a carry-over of rear-

imagined enemies belonging to

Sometimes the driven nature of

his past.

his

way

of

when he over and over again does things that are many children who do this, and

obvious, as

him

real or

may

There

pain.

life is

cause there

who oblige by punishing again and again these youngsters who are driven almost to destroy themselves. The child who obviously sticks his chin out for a blow is probably no more troubled than the one who allows himself many

are

adults

to be hurt again

who

and again and carefully conceals

it.

A

child

thus conceals things may, for example, be a youngster

who, hours

after,

"kicks himself" for a

little

mistake he made,

or winces in anguish at the thought of some

little

"foolish"

thing he did or said, or blames himself for mistakes that no

one

would hold

else

against him, or puts himself

on the rack

of feeling rejected.

STUDIES OF CHILDREN'S PROBLEMS

Many age,

who

studies of children, particularly at an early school

show

that in the typical class there are several youngsters

are obviously troubled and

themselves and to others.

who

In a review of studies in this area that while not 2

Among

Ullmann

less

exist as

"problems" to

2

Ullmann (54) pointed out

than eight per cent of school children are

the investigations in this area are studies by Rogers (45) and Other studies dealing in one way or another with emo-

(54).

problems in childhood and adolescence have been reported by Havighurst (12), Symonds and Sherman (51), Powell (41), and Hertzman

tional (13).

56

ANXIETY regarded as "maladjusted" by teachers, servative (and, are

many

tify children

vealing

we

lines of

is

con-

might add, not very meaningful). There

evidence indicating that

who

figure

this

when

teachers iden-

are problems or troublesome, they are re-

more concerning

their

own

ideas of

what

child

a

should be like in his external behavior than concerning the

man

The

study by

Wick-

(56) showed, for example, that teachers were

likely,

emotional condition of the child.

some years ago,

classic

who were

to rate as "problems" children

aggressive, disobedient, or destructive, while they tended to

overlook the child whose sive

affliction

was not shown

in aggres-

ways.

Rogers (45) used

a

number of

ratings

and other means of

detecting maladjustment, such as evidence of being rejected;

truancy; school failure; reading disability; being a "misfit" academically, intellectually, or chronologically.

per cent of the children in the fourth,

Forty-eight

fifth,

and

sixth

grades in the population studied by Rogers could be labeled

not well adjusted according to a combination of of the criteria used.

at least

two

Nearly one eighth of the pupils

in

these three grades could be considered seriously maladjusted.

Rogers pointed out that when to four or

who

more of the

criteria

a child

is

maladjusted according

used in his study, he

is

a person

has a long and often tragic history of unhappiness and

unfortunate

One

of

life

.circumstances.

many

indications of anxiety in children appears in

connection with their worries (26). Large numbers of chil-

dren say, for example, that they worry over not passing

tests

(even though most of them will pass), over not being pro-

moted (although most of them will be), and such a state of worry prevails, it betokens inner stress that

may

the like. a

When

condition of

include self-doubt, feelings of self57

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

disparagement, and feelings of inadequacy quite out of keeping with reality. Studies at the high school and junior high school levels

many

indicate that

with others and

among youngsters Hertzman

[4],

What we

disturbances, such as inability to get along

a considerable

amount of

self-rejection, exist

(See, for example, Fleege

in these grades.

and Spivack [47].) are heading toward is the general conclusion, on [13],

empirical grounds, which has been stated earlier on theoretical

grounds: Every child

some

is

we may

children,

to

some extent an anxious

child; but

assume, are more anxious than others.

EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS The

observation that so

profound and pervasive there

is

learners are anxious has a

significance.

In the writer's opinion,

no observation of more general import

made with less

many

that can be

in part,

Un-

respect to the nature of the educator's task.

he grasps the concept of anxiety and understands, at

how

it

might affect the

child's private life

least

and

in-

fluence the learning and teaching process, the teacher will be

unaware of

To

a crucial factor in his

say that every child

that he

is

is

work.

an anxious child does not imply

therefore neurotic or that there

Nor

herently bad about being anxious. is

is

does

something

it

in-

imply that

it

necessarily the teacher's fault or the school's fault or the

fault of

anyone

be more clever

in particular,

many

children

anxious to not being anxious.

and that

if

somehow we could

would be converted from being

No

matter

how

clever people

were, some anxiety would probably remain. But the burden of anxiety need not be so studiously ignored, nor sary, in the

many

name

of education, to

of the conditions that aggravate 58

is it

neces-

condone and encourage it.

Just as

we

encourage

ANXIETY every effort to relieve physical pain, especially needless phys-

we

ical pain, so

should encourage every effort to relieve or

ameliorate needless psychic pain in the

form of anxiety.

Just as one cannot deal with physical pain unless one that

there and

it is

under which unless

is

it arises,

aware of so

one cannot deal with psychic pain

one faces the fact that

it exists

aware of the conditions underlying anxiety as gloss

exists, as fully as

we

it.

and seeks to become only by facing

It is

can, without putting a false

on the human struggle, that we can begin

tically

own

it

we

with the children

knows

nature and the conditions

its

to deal realis-

teach and with the nature of our

humanity.

Conflicting Views Concerning the Value of Anxiety. this

point

it is

—At

necessary to face the fact that people in educa-

tion (and in psychology) differ quite sharply concerning the

uses and values of anxiety.

who

On

the one hand there are those

take the view that anxiety, while painful,

thing.

Their arguments are about

vides an incentive to

is

good habit formation;

really a

good

Anxiety pro-

as follows: it is

only because

of anxiety that some children will behave, conform, toe the

mark, and learn what they are supposed to learn; under the

may learn more subject matter than much of the productive work of the

spur of anxiety, a student

he otherwise would;

world has been done by anxious people. In emphasizing arguments of

was

this sort,

one educator,

discussing anxiety,

education

is

more, not

at a

meeting where the writer

commented less,

anxiety.

what we need in There are others who

that

take a quite different view of the matter.

Anxiety as a Spur to Activity. stances, anxiety least for the

may

—Under

certain circum-

be a spur to activity and learning, at

moment. Because of

industrious, vigilant, careful to

his anxiety, a

person

may be

do what others expect (or 59

WHEN TEACHERS not to get caught

he

may

have

as a

nonconformist)

As one means

done.

Because of

.

compulsion to work incessantly

a

in an earlier section),

his anxiety,

FACE THEMSELVES

may

he

may

and he

get a vast

his anxiety,

was noted amount of work (as

of dealing with the conflicts underlying

be highly competitive, and in the process

outdo others in the volume of enterprises he undertakes; he

may

be a compliant conformist, and in

wise

may

playing

his

compliance he

many things. As one of his may become a perfectionist and

accomplish

it

he

safe,

devices for in that role

achieve a degree of accuracy and meticulousness that extraordinary; he

may

(in

like-

quite

is

keeping with the Horney theory)

resort to detachment, in his

detachment taking refuge

in an

ivory tower and there turning out a large volume of scholarly

work.

Much

of the

work he performs may be productive and

socially useful.

Anxiety in Relation

to a

of motivation just described

son

who

is

motivated by

a lot, but he learns a free

Philosophy of Life.

we

as

who

does the driving.

kind of motivation

only basic motivation there tended that

The permay learn a lot and do one who is driven, not as

anxiety

and performs

this

kind

essentially negative.

is

his

and spontaneous person

be contended that

—The

is

in life.

should promote

this

It

is

It

good, or

might

also

might is

the

be con-

kind of motivation in

education and not do anything drastic to minimize

it.

This

contention does not, however, in the writer's judgment, rest

on the merits of anxiety

which amounts

as such.

It rests

to a philosophy of

life.

on

a broader premise,

This

is

philosophy

a

that views the achievements of life in quantitative terms, as

though there were a lot

of things.

tive terms, as

from

intrinsic value in learning a lot

It is also a

philosophy that views

though living consisted

tensions, frustrations, hurts, 60

and doing

life in

nega-

some

relief

in seeking

and conflicts and

as

though,

ANXIETY without such

There

a different

is

no value

irritants,

in the

what one does

there

would be no

activity or striving.

philosophy: the philosophy that there

unless one

is

achieving some kind of self-ful-

According to

fillment in the process of learning or doing.

view,

this

it

cannot be taken for granted that learning ten facts

in history or ten

even

The

is

volume of what one knows or the quantity of

theorems in geometry

a little bit better,

living of a

life,

is

ten times better, or

than learning one fact or one theorem.

according to

this

view, consists not simply

coping with hurts and frustrations (which do, of course,

in

occur);

it

involves also an

onward sweep,

a positive

ment, an endeavor toward self-fulfillment,

grow. Life should not be regarded

move-

an impulse to

simply a struggle against

as

the road blocks a stubborn environment puts in the way, for

has an impetus of

it

potentials with

Anxiety

Waste.

as

something positive

own,

its

which

it is



If

and

a zeal

we

in life that

adopt the premise that there is

worth

seeking, and that this positive value

is

striving for

we must

apparent that

assumed

is

chapters.

It

is

liabilities

in this chapter,

it is

not the amount that is

elaborated in later

expressed especially in the chapter on the

ultimate test of the significance of

what

becomes

rather than assets. This

and

search for meaning, in which the view

of

it

regard most of the forms of anxiety

described in this chapter as

premise

is

and worth

best expressed, in the

of the individual, through self-realization,

life

is

a striving to realize

endowed.

learned.

is

On

is

set forth that the

what we teach and

learn

learned but the personal implication this basis,

we would

not condone

anxiety or encourage the conditions that produce anxiety.

We

would not encourage conditions that drive spend their energy in keeping up the pseudo-

certainly

people to solutions

of competitiveness,

compliance,

and detachment, 61

WHEN TEACHERS which were described

FACE THEMSELVES

earlier in this chapter.

encourage conditions that make pretend to be what he possible flicts,

demands upon

is

We

would not

necessary for a person to

it

not or that drive him to place im-

himself.

the dividedness within the

We would see

the inner con-

the compulsions a person

self,

develops in his endeavors to evade or to blunt the impact of anxiety, as a ficial

form of waste,

form of

a

self-defeat,

not

bene-

as

either to the individual himself or to society.

Anxiety

as a Barrier to Learning.

—Even

if,

however,

take the position that the only task of the educator

people to learn academic subject matter, whether

is

it

we

to get

any

has

we would still have to view anxiety more of a hindrance than a help. There is an increasing body of data indicating that many of

personal meaning or not, as

the difficulties children and adults have in learning are not

due to poor teaching methods or poor learning habits but spring from, or are related

work of Ephron (3), with a few cases, how

as

emotional problems.

to,

such

The

for example, illustrates dramatically, crucial a part emotional disturbances

may play in reading disability. One of many recent studies tween anxiety and academic

touching on the relation bea

study by Penty (40)

Among

other things, Penty 's

failure

of poor readers in high school.

is

study shows that while youngsters with often drop out of school,

it is

a

reading disability

possible for such youngsters,

if

they receive some psychological support from others, to stick it

out and to maintain enough courage and hope to graduate

from high school. In the process, many of them show great

improvement

Even

if

in reading.

our philosophy were to

theory that

it

does them good,

let

we

still

simply on academic grounds and for face the problem of anxiety. 62

children suffer, on the

would have

reason,

utilitarian reasons,

to

ANXIETY

Teachers' Reactions to the Personal Implications of Anxiety

One

work underpeople made when the conOne would hardly suspect

of the most impressive features of the

lying this book was the response

cept of anxiety was discussed.

anxiety of being a particularly popular subject for a lecture

or a class discussion.

It is

virtually impossible to talk about

anxiety, or to listen to a talk about anxiety, or to join in a

discussion of the meanings of anxiety without

what anxious view the

developed so strong

oneself. Unless a person has

a defense against

awareness of

human

strain of the

own

his

becoming some-

anxiety that he can

struggle in a completely de-

tached way, the subject of anxiety has a sharp emotional

bite.

members of

class

For

this reason, the

favorable reactions of

groups in which anxiety was discussed were rather unex-

The

pected.

people in these groups

who

expressed themselves

expressed an overwhelming sentiment in favor of dealing with

They

the subject of anxiety.

expressed a desire to try to face

the implications of anxiety in their

of their

way

own

lives.

iMany went out

to say that the treatment of anxiety

was one of

the most meaningful experiences they had had in their post-

graduate work.

When

rating forms and direct requests for

written statements were used, a large

number expressed them-

selves as strongly favoring consideration of anxiety as a central issue in education.

tionnaires,

Some

evaluation

of the results obtained from ques-

slips,

and the

like

are

presented in

Appendix E.

Our

evidence concerning the exact meaning a consideration

of anxiety has for graduate students in education, and the value

it

might have for them,

stands out: People

who

is

limited.

But certainly

care to express themselves (and 63

this

more

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

people in the groups in question expressed themselves on the subject of anxiety than on

any other topic among the dozen

or so that were considered) not only favor the idea of bringing anxiety out into the open for as as possible

full

and frank

but are generally eager to have

though there

is

nothing pleasant, and

much

threatening, about anxiety, they are far

the thought of facing

this

that

a discussion

Even

done.

is

painful and

more comfortable

in

than in the idea of continuing to avoid

it

it.

Why, we

might

ask,

was the sentiment of those who ex-

pressed an opinion so strongly in favor of facing the issue

The

of anxiety?

writer hazards a personal interpretation,

based in part on testimony such as that already cited, on bits of conversation with thirty or more of these people, on writ-

what

ten comments, and on grapevine information concerning the

members of

selves.

The

the classes were talking about

interpretation

meant, to them, a

way

is this:

Facing the

of sharing a

mate personal meaning.

The

human

among them-

issue of anxiety

situation

discussion of anxiety

with

was

inti-

a dis-

them was real, even if painful. It them personally, instead of telling them, as so many discussions in education do, how to do something to somebody else. It penetrated to some degree the wall of isolation that keeps people emotionally separate from cussion of something that to

was something

that involved

one another.

Many when

said that

anxiety

was

they

felt a

strong surge of fellow-feeling

discussed. Actually, of course,

delve into the problem of anxiety in a meaningful

out feeling a current of compassion that flows out to others because

for oneself.

64

it



a

one cannot

way

with-

kind of compassion

springs

from compassion

THREE

Loneliness

A,lmost

all

study spoke in one

the people

way

who were

interviewed in

or another of their loneliness.

this

They

spoke of feeling isolated and cut off from others. All of them, directly or indirectly, mentioned barriers that separated

them

from other people or separated other persons from them. In a sampling consisting of the first group of eighteen interviews, every person, according to two independent judges, expressed loneliness in

one

way

Almost

or another.

half of the 229

people responding to the Personal Issues Inventory identified

one or more conditions of loneliness in their lives

Many

as representing a

which they probably needed help

problem

in facing.

of the people interviewed spoke directly of their

loneliness,

while others expressed loneliness indirectly yet

poignantly.

Some spoke

of the

artificial

human

relationships; of the remoteness

people

who

nature of

many

between people, even

are supposedly close associates; of the barriers of

mistrust that keep people

from expressing

their feelings or 65

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

revealing themselves; of the danger of showing oneself to others as one really

down

is;

of the danger of being hurt, or looked

on, or thought queer

need to keep up

a

if

one shows

how

one

of the

feels;

posture and a pretense.

Conditions Contributing to Loneliness

A4any circumstances contribute tion of an adult.

and

to the loneliness

isola-

Prominent among these are conditions

in-

fluencing his development during childhood years.

ALONENESS One

aspect of the child's growth as an independent indithat he seeks and maintains a great deal of privacy.

vidual

is

There

are

many

reasons, and very healthy reasons, for reserv-

ing the right to keep his thoughts and feelings to himself.

he grows older, he

everyone

One

is

As

careful not to bare his naked self to

—nor does or can he completely bare

indication of strength in a personality

be alone, walk alone, think and

feel alone.

is

it

to anyone.

that one can

The

further a

maturing person goes toward choices, commitments, and con-

him are of ultimate significance, the more he where he stands alone alone at least in the

victions that to is



in a position

sense that he takes full responsibility for himself.

vote in each mature person's

person himself itself loneliness,

who must but it may

life is a single

cast

it.

The

vote, and

Such aloneness

is

decisive it is

the

not in

contribute to loneliness, for

when

each person keeps his thoughts to himself, the other does not quite

know how

to approach him,

nor does he

know what

might share with him. Each person becomes, little

island

unto himself. 66

he

in a sense, a

LONELINESS

As

person matures, he will also become increasingly

a

aware of

of differing from others

his aloneness, in the sense

in his tastes, interests, hopes,

desires,

Such

and sentiments.

mean

conditions of being alone do not, however, necessarily that he

is

lonely, for he

own good company

his

is,

good company

in a sense, in

—when he

is

free to



draw upon

in

his

resources and has the courage to be himself. Different, however,

because there

is

a rift

is

the state of being alone that arises

within oneself or because there

thing strange and alien in one's relation to others.

we

call loneliness

rather than aloneness because

it

is

some-

This

state

involves an

element of sadness and often helplessness.

SUPPRESSION OF FEELING There

are strong cultural forces that bring about loneliness.

Quite apart from inner needs connected with

many

there are

pressures in society and

in child-rearing at

home and

his

many

own

growth,

circumstances

at school that lead the

growing

child to isolate himself and to keep himself at a distance from

others

—and

eventually from himself.

child to think that

it is

Anything

that leads a

not right for him to feel or to show

his feelings to others contributes to the process

by which he

cuts himself off.

From

an early age nearly

all

children are told not to cry,

not to show that they are hurt or afraid, not to reveal that they are angry.

This process goes on

greater extent, at school.

Even

at

home

been observed, for example, that children

home than

and, to an even

at the preschool level feel freer to

to shed tears in a nursery school.

it

has

cry at

But the process

of destroying the child's right to feel often goes on both at

home and

at school.

In the elementary school there

is

a great

amount of sup61

— WHEN TEACHERS

Not many

pression of feeling.

boys, feel free to cry or to

very dangerous for them to direction.

are

(It is

FACE THEMSELVES

probably not

their fears,

and

often

it is

their anger except

by

a coincidence that boys,

under greater pressure to conceal

number

many

children, at least not

show show

their feelings,

in-

who out-

approximately four to one in showing various

girls

forms of "problem" behavior.) In high school and college

person to show any feeling anger, and those indirectly.

it is

almost unthinkable for a

—except In

pleasure, perhaps,

all his

years as a student, the

writer does not recall once seeing a teacher

The

who wept

in class.

unmoved—and were supposed —and probably would have been

teachers remained

main unmoved

and

to re-

by some anxious members of the class if they had been moved even when the class was in contact with deep human feelings. ridiculed

In literature classes, for example, students and instructors

study writings that recreate

There

pain.

There

passion.

with

tears.

are

It is true,

moved by such

He

visibly.

deep for writings

life's

tragedy, tenderness, joy, and

who draw upon deep wells of comsome who write as though on pages wet

are writers

of course, that a person can be deeply

expressions of feeling without showing

can be stirred by "thoughts that do often

tears."

become

But so often, just

lie

it

too

in the literature class, these

another assignment. There are objective

tests

(preferably multiple-choice) to measure what the student

gets

from the outpourings of these great minds and

though they were merely another

We ness

academic

set of

hearts, as facts.

contribute to the growing child's isolation and loneli-

whenever we,

know how

he

both boys and

in effect, tell

feels.

Yet there

girls that

express intense emotion 68

him

is

that

much

would make even if

we do

not wish to

in the school life of

the sturdiest child

the pressures against

it

were not so

LONELINESS In seme schools,

strong.

it is

true, there

much

is

gaiety and

At

laughter, but painful emotions are often squelched.

elementary school

the

example, millions of children feel

level, for

the sting of failure, the lash of sarcasm, and the pain of rejec-

There

tion.

who, week

are thousands

torture of helpless rage. If

encounter countless hurts imposed, some that gle



these

if all

all

these children,

—some

deliberately and maliciously

arise in the natural

were

know the and others' who

week,

after

course of

strug-

life's

free to cry, as well they might, there

would often be a flood of tears at school. But such signs of distress would be unseemly. It is better, for the sake of decency and order, to keep up a pretense that all is well. And bv a strange irony, which persists in our culture from a more primitive time, to

show

more appropriate,

it is

if

one

would be

frigrhtenin^ to teachers r

schooled themselves never tions of their

We lumps

deeply moved,

through signs of anger (sarcastic laughter, for

it

example) than through grief and affection. feeling

is

own

lives

o

show

let

An

outpouring of

who

have risddly

emo-

the hurts and tender

in public.

ask that the child hold back his tears and swallow the in his throat,

swallow

his rage

and

his fear

We

ask compassionate teachers to do the same.

like

swallowing

a

sword.

takes long practice, and

It it

can be done, but leaves scars.

and

his pride.

To

do

it is

If the

this

is

not easy;

it

school

is

in a

"respectable" neighborhood, in which stolid parents in stolid

homes

aid

and abet the school's policy of suppressing emotion

and denying the child the right to that he

feels

will be in



good order, and

of course, those for

include

a

feel



or the right to

show

the policy will be quite successful. Everything

whom

rather large

children," children

who

all

the children will be fine except,

the ordeal

number

of

is

too great. These will

"emotionally

disturbed

conceal their feelings but harbor 69

WHEN TEACHERS vengeful thoughts, children

low them

into adult

life,

FACE THEMSELVES

who

nourish grievances that fol-

who

children

suffer

from psycho-

somatic ailments or take refuge in dreams of glory tragically different

from the

who

reality of their lives.

They

will also include

whose lives are from themselves people who have forfeited the freedom to feel, who cannot draw fully and wholeheartedly on their emotional capacities, who feel baffled and at a loss when others show those

quietly join the multitude of people

lived in isolation

from others and

in alienation



their feelings.

Fifty-nine per cent of the group responding to the Personal Issues Inventory identified

freedom to

feel as

one or more problems related to

"one of the areas

in

which

I

probably need

help in understanding myself."

REJECTION Another condition

when

that contributes to loneliness

children are judged predominantly

by

is

created

an impersonal

standard of value and are not accepted for what they are. repudiate the child as a creature set

him apart from

worthy

ourselves, as

kinship with him,

when we

petitive standard.

We

though

deny the

to judge

him) primarily by the marks he

twenty or

a

hundred

we had no human

(or, as far as

he can

gets.

when we applaud

who

We

right and

child's right to respect

when we judge him

children at school

own

judge him according to a com-

affection

many

in his

We

tell,

and

seem

repudiate

the one child in

wins the prize and pay

little

heed

to all the rest. We cast a child out from emotional communion when we look only at the grade on his report card and have no concern, at least as far as he can tell, about how he feels, about whether it was through fear that he did poorly or whether his less than perfect performance at school springs 70

LONELINESS from

a feeling of

surprising

being abused or a desire to rebel. So

when we

find that these children,

some years

as teachers in their twenties, thirties, forties,

press loneliness

and say that they

feel

it is

and

not

later,

fifties,

ex-

out of touch with others

Their experience of feeling out of touch has a long

at school.

history.

BARRIERS BETWEEN TEACHERS There

is

much

in the school situation that cuts teachers off

from one another.

What

name

goes on in the

of discussion,

faculty meetings, committee meetings, and the like often does

not bring people emotionally together but keeps them emotionally apart. intellectual

who

teachers

Everything

and logical

level.

may

be discussed solely on an

Even though

there are individual

try to break the ice, seeking to reach out to

others and asking others to reach out to them, there usually

many who keep a nice distance. One condition that expresses a teacher's loneliness and also contributes to it is that feelings, when they are allowed to

are

show, are often projected

feelings.

Instead of openly reveal-

ing his feelings as his own, he imputes these feelings to

This

others.

but

it

grief.

is

especially noticeable in connection with anger,

appears also in connection with fear, tenderness, and

Anger,

as has

been noted above,

is

one emotion

that,

curiously, often seems to be permissible; yet even anger quite

commonly can be teacher

is

expressed only in a secondhand way.

The

not free to admit to himself, "I hate that child (or

fellow-teacher, or parent, or principal, etc.)" and then pro-

ceed to face this feeling and what

it

means.

Instead,

it

is

usually necessary to avoid so blunt an encounter with his real feelings;

he must

justify his

first

attribute

ill

will to others in order to

anger at them. 71

WHEN TEACHERS When

a teacher feels angry, hurt, abused, spiteful,

venge-

unfairly treated, full of grievance, and the like, there are

ful,

two

One

facts that are important.

another

is

that this feeling

thing or someone. In

is

many

more important, but

the

FACE THEMSELVES

is

directed toward or against somerespects the

first

By

a thing apart

else

(perhaps justifiably), the anger

his

though

person often keeps a lonely

it

were

Even

essential feature of oneself.

feeling a bit guilty, perhaps not daring to ask

meaning of

aired,

is

detached

a sense,

so to speak, outside oneself, as

and not an

his anger, then, a

is

a process of attributing a grievance to

something or someone

becomes lodged,

of these facts

usually the latter that

it is

with the result that the feeling becomes, in

and impersonal.

way;

that he feels this

in

perhaps

vigil,

what the hidden

anger might be, keeping himself removed from

the personal implications of his anger and keeping others

removed from him. If

I

am angry (whatever

justifiably),

the reason and

an important fact

is

that

it is /

no matter how

who

feel anger.

The anger is mine. It is something of me. It is an emotion me that might provide a bridge (although not a particularly inviting one) between me and another person. It is also an in

emotion

that, if

I

could confront

a bridge that brings

me

its

meaning, might serve

closer to understanding myself.

coming forth candidly with

my

anger,

as

But

project

if,

instead of

it:

gripe about the weather, events or characters in the day's

political

the I

news, the principal, the

community,

etc.,

then

it is

size

not

I

of

I

classes, the parents,

who come

with myself.

center attention on objective and external aspects of the situ-

ation and thereby immediately divorce myself even

own

anger and from any opportunity for sharing

(which means sharing something else.

72

in

me)

with

from

my

my

anger

someone

LONELINESS

FEAR AND STRANGENESS Some

features of loneliness

One

anxieties.

go back to childhood

fears

and

shown by a child is the fear In some of the writer's was reported as quite common

of the early fears

of being alone, or being left alone. earlier studies (28)

after the age of

ways.

It

may

his parents are

on

a walk,

shopping

this fear

one or two years. The fear appears out of sight for a

when

or

It

moment when

the child in the

may

a doctor or a barber or

appear also left

is

baby

mother and

trip loses sight of his

faces about him.

by

in various

appear in the tension shown by a child

for the

the family

is

on

a

carriage

only strange

sees

when

when

the child goes to

time in a hospital

first

himself.

This apprehension appears

for

it

may

arise in a child

form of

also in the

separation and abandonment. Often

it

a fear of

seems quite groundless,

whose parents

are near at

hand and

have no thought of actually leaving him. But there

when

certain element of reality

being

left alone,

for he

is

a

The

seems to be most conspicuous after

but

he

is

child

fear

reached an age

a child has

This early fear of being alone

human

closeness to

his physical

psychological dependence on others.

may

contain the beginnings

of a feeling of loneliness, a condition that exists

needs

a

of abandonment

aware to some degree not simply of

also of his

is still

afraid of

is

actually unable to fend for himself

physically or psychologically.

when

young

contact but cannot find

someone

in this condition

is

else

it,

when

seeks

but does not receive

it.

a

person

emotional

A

person

out of psychological communication with

other important people.

A

child so situated

is

like a stranger,

helpless in an alien country.

Probably

all

children, at one time or another in their early 73

WHEN TEACHERS lives,

FACE THEMSELVES

have had acute experiences of being strangers

or at school or in the neighborhood. There

when

strangeness

him and he

to

will of others

a child

feels

This

is

whom

important

is

thrown; when he

feels

terror.

as the child

may have

moves on

an especially

into adult years.

absence of secure and friendly anchorage in relations

with others

—which

less in his loneliness

at first threatens to leave the child help-

through separateness from others

have the effect eventually, his

his lot is

an aspect of loneliness that

important influence

The

such a feeling of

is

in a situation that

out of touch, unable to count on the good

with

and perhaps even

distrust

is

home

at

if

confidence in himself.

simply a condition that people;

—may

severe enough, of undermining

So ultimately

loneliness

not

is

with other

exists in a person's relations

a condition that exists in his relation to himself.

it is

Loneliness and Self-Alienation

There

are people

who

or hardly anyone, to

are lonely because there

whom

is

no one,

they can turn, with the excep-

odd person in the neighborhood or a pet they can share some intimacy. But these are

tion perhaps of an

with not

whom

among

the loneliest people as long as they are able whole-

heartedly to seek and enjoy the companionship of another creature. in the

This creature need not be one

scheme of things

most others have or someone

who

cat or a dog or a a

cast off, or a child

who

maimed or crippled. bird. As long as a person is

who

figures

much

—he may be an aged person whom has It is

little

influence,

may even

be

a

able to maintain

wholehearted flow of feeling and has the capacity to go

out to

this

other creature, he cannot be counted

among

the

loneliest ones.

Even

the person 74

who

happens to be physically alone, hav-

LONELINESS ing no other creature near at hand to in

an intimate way,

lonely ones, for he

Who,

is

whom

he can reach out

not necessarily the loneliest

may

still

among

the

turn to himself for company.

It is the person who is own thoughts, the one who is alien to his own feelings, the one who is a stranger to himself—he is the loneliest person of all. And a large proportion of the people who took part in this study seemed to realize this fact:

then,

the loneliest one?

is

home with

not at

his

that loneliness denotes not simply a lack in relations with

others but also, perhaps primarily, a lack within oneself.

did not ask merely that a friend should

relieve their

gay companions should divert them from

solitude or that their loneliness.

come and

They

They

asked for help in understanding them-

selves.

Homelessness

Some

of the most poignant expressions of loneliness are

voiced through feelings of homelessness.

Homelessness was

one of the categories of experience that emerged from our conferences with individuals and was included in the Personal Issues Inventory.

Over

a third of the people

to this Inventory identified lessness as a personal issue

who

responded

one or more conditions of home-

they needed help in understanding.

In expressing the condition referred to here as homelessness,

some

said

they had roots nowhere; some said they went from

what they were seeking; some that they felt at loose ends, without any sense of belongwhether they were at work or on vacation, at home or

place to place without finding said ing,

on the

job.

Some

in a physical

had

lost this

The

and

said that while

they had once had a home,

a psychological sense,

home and

they

felt that

they

had not been able to find another.

condition of homelessness, as here described, 75

'

is

an

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

much

expression of loneliness and also has chologically, with

many

the people in this study.

of where he

less

work or

or what job he holds, whether he

is

may

at play, it

He

He

with others.

world without

dwelt

in

though he moved about

It is as

It is

as

though he

an empty house.

much

person feels homeless because he expects

of himself or others (the condition identified as

discrepancy between real and ideal).

some of those who

feel

It is

which they

also likely that

homeless are not able wholeheartedly

to seize the emotional possibilities offered in

at

not absorbed by what he

is

light or substance.

It is possible that a

too

is

be inferred that he also faces the

does not find satisfying values in his activities or

in his relations in a

common, psyby

When a person feels homeless, regard-

problem of meaninglessness. does.

in

of the other conditions mentioned

find themselves

by

the situations

(the condition identified as

lack of freedom to feel).

The the

condition of homelessness

self.

find a

For

home

this reason, its

is

cure

a

kind of emptiness within

is

in the physical sense.

not to build or rent or

The

keenest experience

may occur when a person is well housed and with his family. One person in this study spoke

of homelessness is

dwelling

of his feeling of homelessness as being most acute at the very times its

when

height

ing at

the

—on

a

home and

meaning of home should presumably be Christmas Eve, for example. Instead of

at

feel-

experiencing the sentiments appropriate to

the occasion, he sometimes able feeling of sadness.

He

was swept by an almost

intoler-

attributed this feeling as an adult

unmet needs for affection as a child. book (20) the writer described the condition of a child who was psychologically homeless even though, to

In another

physically, he had a 16

home and

shared

it

with several brothers

LONELINESS and

He was hungry

sisters.

for a kind of emotional accept-

ance and warmth his busy parents apparently were unable to

So he

give.

He

tried himself to

the

fill

empty emotional

space.

constructed a whole imaginary family: father, mother,

and two children; and

in his

fancy he enjoyed with them

homelike intimacies

his actual life did

though imagination

is

home

vide a

he could, by other means,

tried, as best

to maintain a makeshift

"good" boy

So the child gave up the

for a homeless child.

imaginary family and

not afford. But even

powerful, fantasy alone cannot pro-

He became

home.

in his relations

with

his virtue to avert disapproval

an excessively

seeking through

his parents,

and to win some acceptance.

He also went out to others, by being docile and helpful, to win a bit of fatherliness from this man, a bit of motherliness from that woman. Out of his condition of homelessness as a child grew a state of homelessness which for a long time afflicted him as an adult. The is

state of

not at

being homeless

home with

himself.

is

He

an inner

is,

in

state:

the person

many ways,

an aimless

weary wanderer, who can find no place to rest and no rock on which to build. Linked with his emptiness there one, a

may

be yearnings and longings and an awareness that some-

thing

is

lacking.

He

is,

so to speak, seeking something he

never has found: "a stone, a a homeless

—he must

learn to be at

easy undertaking for one the people

leaf,

an unfound door."

one would find a home, he must

who

home with

who

took part in

such

himself

This

not an

himself.

feels homeless.

this

that this might be the real issue

If

first find is

But many of

study seemed to recognize

when they recorded

that to

face their feelings of homelessness they needed help in under-

standing themselves.

77

FOUR

The Search for Meaning

L.n

the

first

chapter the problem of meaninglessness was

introduced as one that faces teachers and people of the present day. that runs through

all

The

all

other thinking

search for meaning

is

theme

a

chapters of this book, just as the problem

of meaninglessness arose in most of the interviews and in a large proportion of the written statements in this study.

search for meaning constitutes, in

Where

many

there

is

is

essentially a search for self.

respects, the substance of the self.

meaning, there

something has meaning, one is

meaning, there

viction

is

is

The

A^eaning

is

is

involvement.

committed

conviction.

to

it.

When

Where

there

Such commitment and con-

something different from conformity, or merely

playing a part, or living as a cog in a machine, or losing one's individuality in 78

what Kierkegaard has

called the "featureless

THE SEARCH FOR MEANING crowd." the self

ing

is

Where meaning is lacking in one's work as a teacher, is uninvolved. The substance is lacking, and teachan empty formality.

just

The problem a lack of vails



meaning

when

largely

It is

by

the

virtue of

a kind of emotional emptiness that pre-



things don't matter

that the lonely person feels

partly because of a lack of

lonely.

It is

tion of

meaning such

as is

meaning or

a distor-

found in pretenses and inner

harmonies that the anxious person

About

many ways

of meaninglessness overlaps in

problems of anxiety and loneliness.

dis-

anxious.

is

sixty per cent of the people

responding to the

Personal Issues Inventory indicated that meaninglessness was a

problem on which they would

standing themselves.

like to

have help in under-

In expressing this problem,

many

said

—what

they were not sure what they wanted from life was important to be or do or get from life; some

it

said that

what they were doing or what was happening didn't seem to mean much; some said they saw little or no meaning in

many

Some

of the things they had to learn or teach.

meaninglessness

by

got involved in so

they had

little

The need

expressed

default, so to speak, indicating that they

many

activities

and

responsibilities that

time for themselves.

for helping children and

grown men and women

to face and find something essentially meaningful glares at

us

from headlines

Man

has

telling of tensions in the

made fabulous progress

dimensions of his world and in controlling erties,

world we

live in.

in exploring the external its

physical prop-

power has not been matched by a cultivation draw upon other resources of his humanity. frightened lest he use his power to destroy himself.

but

this

of his courage to

We

are

Modern man,

for

all his

contrivances,

is still

as

much

in

need

of finding himself and facing the meaning of his existence as 79

WHEN TEACHERS he was

many

in education

eras ago.

No

FACE THEMSELVES

invention in science or gimmick

can obviate the necessity for

The problem

of meaninglessness

this search.

—which

Tillich has re-

ferred to as the anxiety of emptiness and the anxiety of

meaninglessness



Meaninglessness

their captive pupils.

and graduate teaching.

in college in the

Even

name of

learning

religion, as has

in a meaningless

among

not simply

prevails

is

a

is

Much

teachers

common

and

condition

of what goes on

simply an academic enterprise.

been pointed out

earlier,

can be pursued

way.

Education and the Search for

The

Meaning meaning in education what we learn and teach. In

crucial test in the search for

the personal implication of

is

some educational

sound strange, for

circles this will

seems to be assumed that a body of information

is

it

often

in itself

meaningful.

we as educators are to face the problem of meaninglessness, we must make an effort to conduct education in depth If



to

move toward something

beyond the facade of behind which

and

that

is

personally significant

facts, subject matter, logic,

human motives and

strivings are often concealed.



rejection of subject matter

far

This does not mean the

from

it

helping the learner to relate himself to

and to

fit

what he

and reason

a person's real struggles

—but

it

what he

does is

mean

learning

learns into the fabric of his life in a

mean-

ingful way.

Such an endeavor means an

effort to

overcome the

prevail-

ing tendency in education to encourage the learner to understand everything except himself. 80

— THE SEARCH FOR MEANING It

means an

effort to achieve a better integration of think-

ing and feeling on the part of both children and adults. It

means an

effort to cut

through the pretense of "interest"

which children and

in learning,

adults so widely adopt in

order to conform or to escape disapproval from their elders. It

a

means

also that the process of learning will

not be used as

means of competing with others and gaining power over

them. Actually, each subject that

is

taught in elementary or high

way

school or college could, in one

or another, for certain

could, in

Each subject one way or another, help some young person dis-

cover his

skills

be deeply charged with meaning.

learners,

The study

and explore or use

his resources.

of history, to give only one example, can be

an intensely meaningful experience, for history the substance of his pride, his

perhaps

all

human hopes and

fears:

shame, his courage, his joy.

—can

be taught in such a

direct line of emotional and intellectual historical characters

is

filled

with

man's struggles,

Much of history way that there is

a

communication from

and actions to the intimate personal

lives

of the learners.

The same

is

true with respect to literature and

academic subjects. education and

all

It is

all

other

certainly true with respect to physical

the arts,

skills,

and

enterprises can be undertaken in a

crafts, for

manner

each of these

that has a direct

and

immediate personal implication.

But

instead,

much

of

what

teachers have to learn,

of what they have to teach, and of pupils

who

much

attend our schools are compelled to study

not meaningful but meaningless, largely because

assumed that knowledge has value apart from for the one

much

of what the millions

who

acquires

it.

When we

its

we

is

have

meaning

consider the problem 81

WHEN TEACHERS of meaninglessness,

it is

FACE THEMSELVES

not extreme to say that one of the

basic troubles in education

is

that as educators

we

have not

had the courage to face the personal implications of our calling.

Helping Others through Facing Oneselj

To must

help a pupil to have meaningful experiences, a teacher

know

This means,

the pupil as a person.

as has

been

repeatedly emphasized in this book, that the teacher must strive to

know

himself.

In the school there are countless opportunities for helping

He

the child in his search to find himself.

discover his aptitudes and difficulties,

and to

can be helped to

some of

face

abilities, to

What

realize his limits.

his inner

the teacher does

strongly affects the pupil's attitudes regarding his worth as a

person since,

as has

been noted,

life

at school

is

heavily

invested with praise and blame, pride and shame, acceptance

and rejection, success and

failure.

between

student has or might have a sig-

a teacher

nificant effect

To

and

on what

a

Everything

a child thinks

and

feels

in the relation

about himself.

have insight into the child's strivings and the problems

he faces, the teacher must strive to face the same problems within his

own

life.

These problems

are largely emotional

in nature.

To is

be able to understand and sympathize with

hostile

must face

(and his

all

own

children are,

implications of his anger as

with

his pupils, in his

it

less),

who

the teacher

and try to accept the

occurs, say, in his annoyance

impatience with himself, and in his

feuds with other teachers. 82

more or

hostile tendencies

a child

THE SEARCH FOR MEANING

He

must seek

to understand the devices

responsibility for himself

by blaming

To appreciate another's his own fears. He must

fears, a

others.

person must try to examine

them

face

he uses to avoid

they appear in

as

his

phobias, squeamishness, fear of misfortune, timidity, uncertainties,

unwillingness to take a chance,

worry concerning

what others may think of him. Unless a teacher can, at

least to

some

own

extent, face his

anxiety, he will be

uncomprehending when children help-

lessly express theirs.

He may

eties

be harsh

break through in such signs

when

children's anxi-

as inability to learn,

tinence, inattentiveness, restlessness, irritability,

A the

and the

like.

teacher's understanding of others can be only as deep as

wisdom he

The more life,

imper-

the

possesses

when he

looks inward

upon

genuinely he seeks to face the problems of

more

himself.

own

his

he will be able to realize his kinship with others,

whether they are younger or

older, like

him or unlike him

in education, wealth, religion, or professional rank.

How does one achieve understanding of self? One broad

principle

is this:

To

gain in knowledge of

one must have the courage to seek accept what one

may

find.

If

it

in

to

one has such courage and such

humility, one can seek professional help and one can

on many resources

self,

and the humility

everyday

draw

life.

One can learn from experience of life's joys and tragedies. One can profit from trying to catch the meaning of one's anger, joy, depression, fear, desire to inflict pain, and so forth.

A valuable intellectual

help in self-examination, which

but

may

also strike at a

the reading of books written

be mainly level,

is

by compassionate people who

have made some progress in their

know

may

deep emotional

own

painful struggle to

themselves. 83

WHEN TEACHERS The method

of "participant observation" offers one means

of taking a look at oneself. sees

FACE THEMSELVES

One

and what one's feelings are

records what one hears and

on a discusThen, with the help of others, one record and compares it with records kept byone

as

listens in

sion or visits a class.

examines

this

other observers. This comparison notices

is

granted.

may show how what one

determined by habits of thought that are taken for

What one perceives own subjective

"objectively"

tion of one's

state,

often a projec-

is

may

and thus

tell

more

about oneself than about the people one observes.

This broad principle

also holds: Just as

it is

within an inter-

personal setting that one acquires most of the attitudes in-

volved in one's view of oneself, so it is likely that only in an interpersonal setting can a person be helped to come to grips

with some of the meanings of these attitudes. A relationship that can promote knowledge of

when one

self prevails

seeks private therapy or joins with others in a

group therapy

situation.

1

It exists also, to

some degree, when-

ever one enters into relationship with people in any walk of life

a

who

person

can help one gain perspective on oneself. In

may

be helped to see

devices as others see them.

his anger, fear,

The way

a

group,

and protective

others express themselves

1 In an earlier study (27) in this series, a workshop consisting of teachers of psychology in the high school recommended that all high school teachers (not just psychology teachers) should be provided with such opportunities to grow in self-understanding as might be obtained through group therapy under the leadership of people professionally trained for such work. Such a proposal would involve many practical considerations that will not be discussed here, and it might not be an adequate solution for some people. It is mentioned here, however, to emphasize the point that many teachers recognize the need for help if they are to make full use of their personal and professional potentialities. As indicated in the first chapter, over forty per cent of the people in a majority of the groups answering the questionnaire on self-understanding stated that they thought they would need personal help such as might be gotten from group therapy if they were to put the concept of self-understanding (which over ninety per cent endorsed) into practice in their professional work.

84

THE SEARCH FOR MEANING or respond to him

may

help him perceive in

new and

a

some of the evidences of shame,

revealing light

self-

self-efface-

ment. anxiety, vindictiveness, and other outcroppings of deep-

which ordinarilv he

seated attitudes of

to witness a mimickingr of his

plaving peer

Some

may throw some

not aware. Similarlv,

is

conduct bv light

a child

or

bv

on unrecognized

a role-

conflicts.

of the richest possibilities for self-examination can

be found in relationships with others from

and from year

to year.

month

to

In the teaching profession

month

we

have

hardly begun to explore and to tap these resources for growth

although some

in self-knowledge, area.

from behind tions

work

being done in

is

people could encourage one another to

If

the curtain that

commonly

conceals

this

come out their emo-

from others and from themselves, these emotions might

be faced in an insight-producing way. In a larger sense, particular procedures that are used for

growing

in self-understanding

courage to face

this

are

less

manv wavs. It is not something that is all. Those who are blind to themselves a capacity- to acquire

who

attained once and for

have

search

the

through

No

all

a little

of

it.

and

more; and an outstanding mark of those

have acquired the deepest knowledge

are seeking.

since

important than the

need. Self-knowledge can be acquired in

is

that they

still

one procedure alone will give the answer, for

selfhood,

when

channels of experience

as

genuine,

long

as a

is

pursued

person

lives.

FACING THE ROLE OF FEELING IN THINKING In the foregoing section the emphasis has been on the need for facing our

own

emotions

if

we

are to

in understanding the emotions of others.

make anv progress But there

is

a

need

for facing emotion also in dealing with what, on the surface, 85

WHEN TEACHERS may seem

to be the purely intellectual

the school's program. ally

Much

governed by undisclosed

desire; intellectual

To

fear or anger.

of

what seems

To

shared.

FACE THEMSELVES

of

what

and academic aspects of

is

feelings.

called thinking

Logic

the extent that this

is

is

meaning

not revealed or

think straight, to communicate what

it is

we

what someone

important to

are

else is

know how we

feel,

feeling influences our thoughts and the thoughts of

others. It

thinking

true, the full

to be an intellectual discourse

trying to communicate,

how

by

often ruled

arguments are often the instruments of

thinking, and to think effectively about

and

is

actu-

is

is

necessary to take account of emotional factors in the intellect

if

is

to be given a chance to function

freely.

We

let

our feelings govern the nature of our reasoning,

without knowing that

own

bias

onto

we

a discussion

are doing so,

when we

of a historical

issue,

discipline or scholarship, or a decision as to

or

project our

a

problem of

what courses

a

high school student must take to be allowed to go to college, etc.,

without once asking ourselves:

ing, or

in

am

I

perhaps projecting

Is this really

my own

meek but compulsive compliance

to

pure reason-

prejudices or yielding

what

others have de-

manded? During the presidential campaign of 1952 a forum was held whose avowed purpose was to try to inquire beneath the reasons people usually gave to others and to themselves for sup-

porting one candidate or opposing another. the

forum were

became apparent that

it

even to ask themselves: apart

from the

The members

instructors and graduate students.

was very

Is

difficult for these

It

of

soon

people

there perhaps an emotional reason,

logical reasons

I

give, for

my

support of one

candidate or bitter opposition to another? What, on an emotional level, does this 86

campaign mean, and what do the can-



a

THE SEARCH FOR MEANING

my own

didates symbolize in

toward the

from what

and

personalities, parties, I

believe

arguments used

in the

The

much

of

least try to

human

venture was a

parties.

that to ask people in education even

might be an emotional

bias in the reason-

nature.

Maybe

it

is.

is

simply asking

But unless we

at

understand the role of feeling in our thinking,

we

We

are

are simply going through the motions of thinking.

not making

feel

I

spent in a rehash of the hackneyed

ing they use to support a political candidate

too

do

issues, as distinguished

campaign materials of both

Someone might say to consider that there

How

life?

think about them?

I

The hour was

failure.

emotional

full use

of our capacity to reason.

FACING THE PERSONAL IMPLICATIONS OF IDEAS

One complaint

often

made by

teachers in training

is

that

they have to learn a lot of theory without being shown

how

This

to put the theory into practice.

probably not the basic problem.

the realities of

Any life

it

is

that

as it applies its

roots in

has an immediate practical meaning to

who are willing to Often, when teachers a

problem, but

theory in education that has

those

method,

a

meaning of the theory

teachers are resisting the to themselves.

is

The problem may be

accept

it.

look for a practical application

gimmick, a prescription,

a rule of

thumb

—they

— are

trying not to grasp but to avoid the meaning a theory might

have for them. Theory and practice are often out of gear in education because

we

as teachers

like to externalize rather

immediate response often

something to someone

The

is



like all other

human

beings

than internalize a theory. to

become manipulative:

Our to

do

else.

writer has faced this problem repeatedly in his 87

work

WHEN TEACHERS with the concept underlying tion of education self

is

FACE THEMSELVES this

to help the

book: that an essential func-

growing

child understand him-

and develop healthy attitudes of self-acceptance. In some

classroom situations dealing with self-understanding which the writer has had an opportunity to observe, teachers have

done almost everything except the one thing that

They have They have gotten the

gotten long check

lists

talked to parents about the pupils.

young people

seemed to be

They have

their

to express

is

needful.

of children's interests.

by

a vote

They have

what

them

to

most urgent and important problems.

supplied movies and exhibits and have used

kinds of paraphernalia.

But

seemed to leave out the one

in

doing

all

this,

essential thing: their

all

they often

own

direct,

personal involvement.

Hopelessness and Despair

Many

people interviewed in connection with this study

expressed themselves as rather hopeless of ever finding a solu-

some problem or problems in their lives. In no was there a consistent or pure attitude of hopelessness. The people who said or implied that they were without hope with respect to a particular difficulty also showed they still had a lot of courage left. tion for

instance, however,

The concept

of hopelessness was also included in the Per-

sonal Issues Inventory.

Over

a third of those

responding indi-

cated that one or more of the conditions of hopelessness described in the Inventory represented a problem in their

own

lives.

What we ments such things in

treated as hopelessness

as the following:

life I

was expressed by

"I feel that there are

have missed and never will

find,

state-

important

no matter

how

THE SEARCH FOR MEANING hard

things in

age

how much

try or

I

it is

life I

have had to give up, and

too late to

may

struggle

sometimes

I

wonder whether

is

it

I

suspect that at I

believe

my

life's

often seems rather hopeless;

worth while

who

true that a person

them probably there is a more

feel that there are

complicated and mixed up that

feel that life is so it is

I

for them; Although

note of hopelessness in

a

is

make up

be worth while,

I

There

accomplish;

I

to keep

all

up the

struggle."

these statements, and

by

shares the feelings expressed

faces a large area of emptiness in his terrible condition of emptiness



it

But

life.

the condition

of despair.

The utmost condition of meaninglessness in life is a state of despair. Where there is awareness of hopelessness, there is an awareness of what might be, and ray of hope. There

a possibility, as the Prophet has

is still

the well of pain might yet be filled with joy.

said, that

prospect

state of despair the is

this in itself contains a

to surrender.

is

bleaker than

The one who completely

up the quest for meaning.

He

deeper than death.

It is a

is

To

despair

despairs has given

up the struggle

has given

be himself or to find himself. Despair

this.

In a

like death,

kind of living death.

It

but

to

it is

what

is

Kierkegaard has called "the sickness unto death."

Death death there

is

is

not in

itself a

a recurring

is still

But the one

symbol of

theme

The

prospect of

in the history of a life in

which

a surge of

growth. Death can never be denied.

who

in search of selfhood faces death

is still

incorporates the thought of existence.

despair.

He may

it

into the larger

go even further and accept death

thing swallowed up in that his identity lives

life.

He may

on even

hold but others deny.

on

as

his

some-

believe, or try to believe,

after death

He may

to believe, that he will live

and

sweep of



believe, as in the

a belief that

many

some have sought

memory 89

of those

who

WHEN TEACHERS He may

remain.

though

FACE THEMSELVES

somehow he

believe that

some have endeavored

believe,

to believe, that he can find eternal

not through timeless existence, but through fullness of

According

ence.

even

will survive

He may

bones have been interred.

his

life,

exist-

to this belief, a self that plunges deeply

fully into the possibilities of living captures

as

and

and embraces the

essence of immortality, whether or not the spirit survives the

body. These are some of the ways of accepting or seeking to accept the threat of death and the inescapable fact that death will occur.

As was

stated earlier, he

himself as one

prepared to of dying, the one

he

Who

He

die.

His

fully accepts to live

is

if his

despair

it is

otherwise. For

complete, has died while

is

a living death.

is

The

are these despairing ones?

despairing ones, ac-

cording to the view presented here, are not those who, in study, spoke of areas of meaninglessness in their

they

felt

alive in the search for selfhood.

They have

the humility, to accept the fact that there

They

in their existence,

are

lives,

among

not found

those

say that there

are

those

most

who

alive.

is

still

the courage, and

something empty

something of deadness

but by virtue of facing

who

among

is

this

or said

lonely or homeless or hopeless. These people are

in their lives.

best

one who, though facing the prospect

is

despairs,

alive.

who accepts himself He who is best able

In a state of despair,

still lives.

who

is still

who

will die.

The

this

condition they

despairing ones are

have the courage to face their

anxiety, hostility, loneliness, and search for meaning, as did

the people in this study

who

openly affirmed that they needed

help and courageously asked for

more

likely

to be

among

The despairing who pretend to

it.

those

adjusted and claim to be above ordinary

"adjustment"

may 90

human

ones are

be well

frailty.

Their

be a form of despair: Adjustment to con-

— THE SEARCH FOR MEANING Adjustment by way of surrender of

formity.

feeling.

Ad-

justment to a condition of not even daring to face the issues of anxiety and meaning. Adjustment gained at the price of

not daring to ask the question:

There

is

when one

lessness

But there

when

Who and what and why am

says, "I dortt

know what

something deeper than

is

this



really matters."

there

is

person says, in effect, "Nothing matters.'

a

despairs

when

humanity

I?

doubt and fear and perhaps an element of hope-



despair

A

person

he renounces the most intimate possessions of

meaning, and choice.

passion,

feeling,

presses despair

,

when

he says that existence

is

He

ex-

simply a mechan-

chain of cause and effect, one event in an endles«

ical link in a

succession of antecedents and consequents, and that the searcn for meaning and value, or even the notion of the uniqueness

of humanity

good to

It is

in

itself, is just

feel

an

illusion.

sympathy for those who weep, but more

need of sympathy are those

feeling feeling

loneliness or

those

who

hope for anything

The Paradox

When

who

lives

it

else.

One's heart goes out to

say that

life itself is

people feel that meaninglessness



as so

empty.

of Meaninglessness

many

in this study did

of despondency. But there for

despairingly have sur-

It is

say their lives are empty, but more deeply in need

of compassion are those

own

who

good to go out in fellowto those who feel lonely, but more in need of felloware those despairing ones who do not dare to face their

rendered the right to weep.

is

a

is

a

problem

—they

paradox

in this

in their

express a kind

despondency,

expresses both an awareness of emptiness and an under-

current of hope. There

is

hope because concern with mean91

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES meaning might

inglessness in itself implies the possibility that

be found.

If a

ask for help

person did not have some hope, he would not

—he would

give

up

Where

in despair.

there

is

some assurance

a desire to seek for meaning, there remains

that life has, or might have, meaning. Aiost teachers

who

raise

the problem of meaning probably have an unspoken faith that life

some worth, and an unvoiced conviction

has

that their

existence might have a significance richer than anything they

have yet discovered.

This hope, which

persists in spite of

roots deep in the soil of

life's

standing characteristic of the seeks to understand. lessly

In his

disappointment, has

early experiences.

young

first

child

is

how,

proceeds

a

though he had implicit

what, a why. Early in

though

as

it

though the child

is

were

A

accounting of things.

material he

teachers

is

who

remnant of

compelled to took part in

hope

this

this

who were

persists

even

this study,

much

that

body of academic

This hope

learn.

hope

persists in the

even when, by their

is

own

empty and meaningless

were

remains true that many many who responded to deep suffering when they

persists, it

interviewed and

questionnaires in this study revealed testified that there

areas of emptiness

and meaningless-

ness in their lives; that they tried helplessly to live possible expectations; that they real feelings.

he

and to give an

are compelled to teach.

Granting that people

an early

often rebuked when, in school, he seeks to

testimony, they see so

what they

at

faith that there

his strivings, likewise,

possible to get

grasp the significance, for him, of the vast

in

word-

and then through language, he seeks to examine, to

stage of life he strives as a

out-

that he actively

explorations, at first

probe into the what, the how, and the why. Even

is

One

There 92

is

were not

in

up

to im-

touch with their

pain and probably often an element

— THE SEARCH FOR MEANING of tragedy

when

people say, as did a goodly number in this

study, that they feel lonely, homeless, and hopeless. If a limited

encounter with the idea of self-discovery

much awareness

so

of lack, meaninglessness, and loneliness,

and so many evidences of

become even gloomier

if

would not

disquiet,

it

the picture

these people launched into a further

and deeper search into themselves? The answer

would

elicits

not be better to avoid

this,

to leave

And

Yes.

is

untouched these

longings and yearnings, to leave uncovered these undercurrents of tragedy?

of his

The answer

life,

he

is

likely to feel uncomfortable.

that he has been pretending.

is

as

long

if

the trouble

by

feel actively disturbed

a process of repair

even

as the conditions are there,

trouble, even

meaning will find

will face feelings that are

To

before he started to inquire.

them can be the beginning of

mean

He

He

But these conditions were there

disturbing and depressing.

And

No.

is

true that often, as a person inquires into the

It is

is

if

and growth. hidden, they

not directly perceived and

experienced through states of restlessness or aimlessness or

vague apprehension, depression, boredom, anger, or frustration,

such

as

were discussed

in the

there are dislocations in one's

The problems The ful,

if



and although

it is

is

somehow.

looks at these are old

the search for selfhood

healing, the person

worse before he

ing oneself as one

a price

When

they seem utterly new.

search for meaning

likely to feel

one pays

when one

that are faced

and troublesome, even

life,

chapter on anxiety.

—having

who

feels better. It

is



is

pain-

undertakes

it is

only by accept-

the courage to perceive and the

humility to appreciate and to savor one's loneliness and hostility

and the meaninglessness of so much of what one does

that the process of healing

The

position in this

book

and repair can get under way. is

that

we

should face the question 93

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

of meaning in education, not evade or avoid

This

hurts.

writer has been told

not enter into

on which not

a position

is

by some people

all

even

it,

if

it

The

will agree.

that education should

We should not touch upon issues that We should not press into the deeper lest the student become distressed. We

this area.

might arouse anxiety. areas of

meaning

should not even discuss anxiety (so a few have said), for to

do so might make people more anxious than they already

Yet what

is

cant that

we can undertake

the alternative? Actually, there at

any

is

nothing

are.

signifi-

level in education that will

not arouse anxiety in some students.

As

has already been noted, in the most conventionally

oriented and psychologically naive learning situations, chil-

dren face scale.

and rejection on

failure, ridicule,

They

monumental

a

constantly face conditions that create anxiety or

aggravate that which already prevails. So to center our attention only

what

on the academic, and to avoid any emphasis on

has implications for the

even though

it

self,

will not rule out anxiety,

fusing to look at in education

We

might rule out some occasions for anxiety.

do not avoid the actuality of anxiety by ignoring life as it

is.

completely

is

The only way

it

or

by

re-

to sidestep anxiety

to stop educating children alto-

gether.

But, even apart from

Should we,

this,

proceed in our pedagogy mechanical

what

is

the alternative?

in order to avoid the risk of stirring people up,

way with

as

though

we were

dealing in a

disembodied facts? Should the teacher

of English, for example, in sharing a

with hate or passion or

tears,

poem or

a

novel

filled

avoid these emotions because

they might evoke a resonance of feeling in

this

or that

member

of the class? Should he blunt the impact, strip out the passion,

dry up the

tears?

94

Should he water things

down

so that

no

THE SEARCH FOR MEANING one will

anything?

feel

If the

poetry, drama, or fiction? fullest

is

is

why

Yes, then

teach

No, then why not try for the

impact and the deepest possible significance?

The same teach

If

answer

question can be raised concerning everything

—every

subject, every

skill,

every

art,

we

every craft that

part of the curriculum.

What is the alternative?, becomes even more insistent when we look at the children we teach. If we look at them realistically, we see that their lives, like the But the question,

lives of teachers, are guilt,

touched by anxiety,

and many other conditions of

these children as they are, realistically as

we

hostility, loneliness,

distress.

we must

If

we

are to face

face the conditions as

can.

Religion

Many

of the people interviewed in connection with this

Some spoke

study spoke of religion.

some voiced

bitterness

and

hostility.

in a mood of charity; Some spoke with quiet

assurance of their faith; some spoke of their religion as though

they were trying by means of it to escape from anxiety and were not succeeding very well. There was not enough material or enough of a common thread in the statements about religion to provide the basis for a separate chapter in this

book. But one feature of the com-

ments on religion does

into the present context

fit



the search

for meaning. Several people,

seemed

when

referring to religion, did so in

to be a rather self-conscious

manner,

gion were hardly a proper thing to discuss talks to another. is

as

though

when one

what reli-

teacher

In the opinion of the writer, this attitude

rather depressing, emphasizing again

how

people have been 95

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

schooled to avoid sharing with others the things that concern

them most.

another

It is

symptom of

a tendency to avoid the

implications of the search for meaning. Religion,

if it

means anything

intimate personal meaning.

through

cere, seeks

The

at

his religion to

ultimate concern. Religion

is

my

assurance that

life is

which

my

It is

becomes

a final decision.

the ground of

I

I?,

build

For

being?

worth

it

he

him

to

is

sin-

of

is

some, the utmost in

when

many

people, the

Who

he asks,

and

a religious question

when

other questions:

What

raises

What

living?

if

is

the foundation of

What

is

my

the substance on

hope?

not just the credulous and unlearned or those seeking

an easy escape

who

raise questions of religion.

tions face every scientist

These ques-

and every scholar when he has gone

to the outermost reaches of his discipline, is

what

find

at least for

is,

question of meaning a person raises

what and why am

has a profound and

In the view of

the search for meaning.

pursued to

all,

religious person,

if

not before. So

anomalous that when questions of religion are raised

education, they are often raised apologetically



as

though

it

in a

person should apologize for seeking, or claiming to have found, the ultimate answer to the meaning of his

life.

Humility book humility has been mentioned as essential to the search for meaning. Why is this, and what is meant by In this

humility?

Humility

makes It is

one

is

it less

is

a

form of inner strength,

a

kind of dignity that

necessary for a person to pretend.

something quite different from weakness. The humble not humble because he 96

is

spineless.

To

be humble

is

THE SEARCH FOR MEANING not the same

as to

be obsequious, or an easy mark, or

a

person

without robust convictions.

Why He

is

the one

who

seeks for

meaning humble?

cannot help but be humble

when he

looks

beyond the

appearances of things and contemplates the vast reaches of the unknown. The more he grows in understanding, the more he realizes how much there is that yet lies hidden. He realizes that this fact

He

he cannot see the distant scene, but he can accept

without

bitterness.

cannot help but be humble

human growth. What

marvel of

when

he looks upon the

parent can contemplate, for

example, the development of language in a child without a feeling of

reverent

awe?

What

teacher has not had an experience of

wonder while watching

the mental

life

of his pupils

unfold?

When a person seeks to realize the meaning of his own emotions, he cannot help but be humble. He is baffled by the play of love and hate in his life. He cannot penetrate the clouds of anxiety that move across the horizons of his inner world. He is

perplexed

by

the conditions that sometimes

move him

to-

ward depths of longing. He is bewildered by the complexity of his feelings, which lead him at times to accept what he should reject and to reject what by rights he should accept. He is baffled by the worries that assail him and the forebodings that sometimes seize him.

He

cannot help but be humble

poignancy of

his

grief;

when he

considers the

the weight of his melancholy

on

occasion; the inexpressible quality of the joy that sometimes

wells

him

up

as

in him; the

ominous waves that threaten to engulf

he stands on the brink of despair; and the

surges through

him

as

he

tastes in

advance

a

happy

of his hopes. 97

thrill

that

fulfillment

WHEN TEACHERS He

cannot help but

feel

FACE THEMSELVES humble

as

he absorbs

that he

all

can know, and in so doing glimpses depths he can never

fathom and heights he can never and valleys of

What

are the

Above

He

who

marks of one

he

all,

scale in the majestic peaks

his inner life.

one

is

who

is

is

humble?

able to wait

and to be

silent.

can wait, for he does not expect that he should immedi-

from within or have

ately understand each question

He

query from without.

to each

a

response

can wait, for he does not

expect to reach an instantaneous insight or to have an instantaneous answer or to offer an immediate competing or echoing remark

when

not knowing

when he

is



He

others speak.

at least

does not feel guilty about

not always.

Nor

does he feel guilty

by doubts concerning something he once

assailed

thought he knew.

Being able to wait enables him to listener

when

them out

if

he thinks

more, he

is

a

good

it is fit

or timely to do

listener to his

own

listener,

is

a

good

so.

But even

inner voice, which

often speaks very slowly and indistinctly.

good

He

listen.

others have something to say, and he will hear

If

he were not a

he would not give himself time to experience

the impact of his feelings, to catch the meaning or at least to try to capture the meaning of a nascent

mood

or a vaguely

pleasant or disquieting thought that crosses his mind.

This It is

ability to

wait and to

when

acquired only

with some of

make

a

listen is

his pretensions

exorbitant demands

not just a cultivated pose.

person has become able to dispense

and has begun to learn not to

upon

himself.

He

is

then able to

appreciate, without enthusiasm but also without protest, the

simple fact that so

much

in his life

and

in life

about him

uncertain, untried, untested, and unknown.

There

is

a condition opposite to that of humility

98



is

a false

THE SEARCH FOR MEANING kind of pride and a harsh kind of arrogance, which cannot tolerate doubt.

This arrogance

is

a

form of

anxiety.

It is a

condition of feeling mortally threatened unless one has diately at

hand the absolute and certain answers

to questions

When

pertaining to the nature of man's existence.

imme-

such an

cannot search for meaning; and

attitude prevails, a person

even the meaning he has found, or thinks he has found, probably only an academic possession. carious truth

embraced by one whose

faith

is

the kind of pre-

It is is

so

weak

that he

does not have courage to doubt.

The humble

person can tolerate himself not only as one

whose knowledge imperfect.

is

imperfect but also

as

one

who

It is

only

he can tolerate himself as an imperfect creature, without

feeling apologetic about listen

is

Here humility interweaves with compassion and

provides a person with the beginning of wisdom.

when

himself

and to

it,

that he can have the

freedom

to

learn.

The humble person is willing to accept truth and to seek it it may be found. x\ humble teacher, for example, will accept a child as one who, in a given situation, may give a

wherever clearer

and more profound glimpse into the meaning of things

than the teacher himself.

And

a

humble scholar

when a less learned person why, he may be more profound than the

realizes that

is

is

one

who

puzzled and asks

erudite person

who

knows the contents of a hundred books but never wonders what his erudition means.

99

FIVE

Sex

W.

hen teachers face themselves, one of the

cant aspects of

life

they face

istic

of healthy selfhood

and

abilities.

is

is

sex.

An

signifi-

important character-

acceptance of one's sexual appetites

Sex provides the consummate physical experience of fulfillment. It

is

also, for

many,

a

self-

stumbling block in the search

for selfhood.

There

is

much about

sex that

is

paradoxical.

It is

through

sexual intimacy with a loved person that one realizes the deepest

experience of relatedness to another

human

also possible to enter into sexual experience

detachment that

may

is

But

it is

the antithesis of relatedness to others. Sex

be an expression of tenderness, but

It is a

being.

with a kind of

vehicle for sharing, but

it

it

can also serve hate.

can also be a means of giving

without taking or taking without giving.

It

may

instrument of conquest, as a means of venting

be used as an hostility, as a

tool for taking revenge, as an endeavor to assuage feelings of 100

SEX inferiority, as a relief

or

womanhood, and

One tion

Sex

from

of the problems about sex

an

is

life

as a

is

that

it is

often, in educa-

problem and

as

nothing

essential possession of one's being, a gift

has

manhood

so on.

and elsewhere, treated

which

anxiety, as proof of one's

through

most absorbing physical experience of

its

else.

life.

One of the tragedies of our culture is that large numbers of human beings are unable to use or enjoy this gift. The lack of access to the sexual part of themselves may occur both among those who see sex as an aspect of a mechanistic lifeprocess and among those who see it as a gift from the Creator. Although there our culture about this

who

is

is

sex, the data

perhaps hardly a parent or teacher in

not, or has not been,

obtained from those

who

participated in

study were limited. 1 Although sex was one of the cate-

gories represented

on the Personal

about

people identified

in

somewhat anxious

a third of the

which they needed help

Issues it

as

Inventory, only

an area in their

in understanding themselves.

lives

The

reasons for the comparative lack of mention of sex, both in

interviews and on the Personal Issues Inventory, can be a

matter of speculation only. Even in a therapeutic situation, of course, feel free to

it

often takes

many

sessions before

some persons

speak about sex. In the present study, interviews

seldom numbered more than two or three.

It is possible, also,

was not mentioned by many who did express condifficulties because they felt that some of these difficulties were, in a sense, more fundamental. The most self-revealing confidences concerning sexual problems would probably disclose that sex is not the sole problem,

that sex

cern over other

nor even the central problem. But regardless of

this,

many

teachers undoubtedly have important problems relating to sex 1 It is

hoped to deal more

fully with this topic in a later study.

101

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

more thoroughly than it was possible to explore them here. This holds whether we believe (as some people still do) that sex is the key to all human perplexities or take the view (which is increasingly being advanced) that problems pertaining to sex are usually imbedded that could be explored

with others and

in a larger context of difficulty in relations

with oneself.

Many

who

of those

problems did so in the

raised sexual

One such

context of other concerns discussed in this book.

men and women spoke

concern was loneliness; both

troubled because their sexual relations consisted, so

closeness or psychological intimacy.

like

it is

Sexual problems were

meaning and meaninglessness

when people said, in effect, "I have man (or woman), but he (or she) thing to me;

seemed

without any emotional

to them, of a physical connection

also discussed in the context of

of being

it

sexual relations with this really doesn't

mean any-

going through some motions, and these

motions alone don't matter enough." This concern about the

meaning of sexual

would be youth,

less

when

those interviewed.

among people

prevalent

sex

is

was expressed by some of the

relations

among

older persons

new, so

to speak,

to find a sexual "outlet" (as

It is

likely that

it

in the full flush of

and the biological urge

Kinsey so poetically puts

it)

is

strong enough to sweep other considerations aside.

Some

of the people

who were

about their sexual partners,

A

being exploited.

as

interviewed complained

though they

few boasted about

felt that

they were

their sexual freedom,

and yet the very fact that they boasted revealed that they

were uneasy,

as

though recognizing that

from one sexual adventure person, one relations

who

to another

and

a

person can

still

move

be a very lonely

has not found anything meaningful in his

with others or any substantial meaning within him102

SEX self.

Some spoke

Quite

guiltily.

a

few spoke with regret about

sexual experiences they had not had, deploring the fact that

they had avoided sex (and time was running short); others regretted sexual experiences they did not regard as measuring

up

to the promise of their

The

who

people

own

sexuality.

many

participated in this study revealed

of the contrasting attitudes toward sex that can also be observed in everyday these attitudes

were

life,

and

it

was impressive

to note

tied to a larger pattern of attitudes

others and themselves.

Some

how

toward

people, for example, spoke of

sex as something belonging to a larger emotional context, in

which there tion.

At

mutual regard and some tenderness and affec-

is

were people who seemed whose only desire appeared to be with someone who happened, at the

the other extreme, there

to be sexual opportunists,

to find physical release

moment,

to strike their fancy.

The motives underlying these and other approaches to sex of course, diverse. The person who will accept the idea

are,

of sexual relations only with a person with

ready formed an emotional set of values

hand, he

tie

may

whom On

and a mature emotional outlook.

may

he has

al-

be a person with a healthy

be a frightened person

who

the other

carries the idea of

emotional affinity to such an extreme that he effectively cuts himself off from sex altogether.

opportunist

may

The motive

of the sexual

be to make a conquest, or to establish a

fleet-

ing illusion of intimacy and closeness with another person,

or to satisfy a gnawing need to prove his potency.

The

fact that

even

a relationship

intimately as a sexual relationship a passing desire to

involving

may

two people

as

represent to one simply

enjoy the sensations of the

moment

while,

represents a profoundly significant emotional

to the other,

it

experience

one circumstance, among many, that contributes

is

103

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

problems of loneliness and meaninglessness, discussed

to the

elsewhere in this book. In the sphere of sex, as in connection with other currents of there

life,

is

a great deal of projection.

Several people, in

when

interviews, said in effect, "Sex has avoided me,"

they might better have

reality

Some people

find

it less

in

have avoided sex."

"I

said,

threatening to attribute their lack of

courage to outer circumstances than to look into the role of evasion they themselves are playing.

problems

also takes place

when

a

factoriness of sexual experiences he has

out inquiring what his

own

Projection of sexual

person blames the unsatis-

had on others, with-

responsibility in the matter might

be.

In the writer's opinion, the relatively infrequent mention

of sex by the participants in this study, even though the level of self-revelation was comparatively deep,

is

another indica-

tion of the great need in teacher-training to face the facts of life.

Every person original

feels the

promptings of

sex,

form are healthy. By the time he

even long before, he

may

also

is

which

in their

a teacher,

and

have acquired impulses that are

not so healthy, such as an anxious need to seek a solution for the problems of

through

life

sex, as

though

it

had

kind of

a

magic, or a desperate desire to keep sex out of his

though sex

classes ings,

it

were

a horrible threat.

something of

is

vital

and take part

in

Yet

concern to

group

life,

in spite of the fact that

all

people, one can go to

discussions,

committee meet-

curriculum conferences, symposia on needed research

education, and the like, and never hear any mention of

even

when

in

sex,

the discussions are supposed to deal with real con-

cerns.

As long

as

as

we 104

evade the issue of sex in education



in the

SEX education of teachers and in the education of the children

they teach

—we

are play-acting. This does not

have to magnify sex

as the

not. Neither should

we

for

it is

from unit

mean

only real problem in

minimize

it as

life,

that

for

we

it is

something subsidiary,

As long as we remain aloof (wholly or by relegating it to a little

not something subsidiary.

this aspect

of

life

on sex education), we are promoting and abetting the

conditions contributing to other problems so

liness,

many

of the



lone-

meaninglessness, anxiety, obsequious or rebellious

atti-

teachers

who

took part in

this

study found disturbing

tudes toward authority, homelessness, and hopelessness. Call

passion as

what we will, sex, Eros, the emotion tied to life's to renew life, cannot be denied. Whether we regard it

it

an expression of human love or

force,

we must face its power and if we would take the

promptings

as

an elemental physical

seek to be at first

step

home with

its

toward accepting

or understanding ourselves.

105

SIX

Hostility

T

face anger and hostility as an aspect of one's

.o

one must draw to the

fullest extent

self-acceptance, sympathy, hostility affect us

Anger

is

They

all.

tive

Anger and

are inevitable.

linked from an early age to a person's efforts to

by

a person's wishes are thwarted,

others.

and

is

It is

mobilized

linked as a primi-

emotional companion to the child's earliest strivings.

a sense,

we may

call

anger the handmaiden of

efforts to assert himself

anger, although is

life,

one's capacity for

and understanding.

protect himself from interference

when

upon

it is

and to be himself. As long

own

With flares

human

being's effort to be a person

right.

the passage of time, children not only

on the occasion and then persists 106

show anger

that

subsides; they also acquire

form of

potential

beyond the occasion. Attitudes of

hostility,

attitudes of hostility, a lingering or residual

anger that

as life lasts,

often misplaced and takes foolish turns,

an essential factor in a

in his

In

a child's earliest

HOSTILITY as is

noted in more detail

may

later,

prevail in the

form of

grievances or a chronic disposition to have a chip on one's shoulder.

They may appear

They may

prevail in the

to bristle or rebel

in a

tendency to be

form of prejudices, or

(or to cringe)

authority figure, or in a tendency to

annoyances

may

in a

tendency

dealing with an

become angered by

little

do not merit so much wrath.

that, objectively,

Attitudes of hostility

when

sarcastic.

also

appear in a tendency to be

defensive or suspicious or to assume that others have un-

blow (especially by way of a cutting or belittling remark). Hostility may appear in the form of activities and interests that, on the surface, have the mark of pure scholarship. While hostility is usually unpleasant, it is also inevitable. It is impossible to face all the demands of life without feeling friendly intentions, or in a compulsion to strike the

put upon.

many unavoidable of life without becoming angry. And repeated of anger may lead to an attitude of hostility. It is It is

frustrations

experiences

first

impossible to meet the

probably impossible for even the best students, under the best conditions, to submit to rules and regulations and

all

the re-

quirements that come under the heading of discipline without feeling at times that others are thwarting, blocking, or coer-

Even under

cing them.

the best circumstances, in the hands

of the most skillful parent and the most competent teacher, discipline

is

likely, at times, to

that rules must be imposed.

that

it is

something

first

ously from within.

bound

taste.

Life

is

such

nature of discipline

imposed from without, not spontane-

Somewhere along

the way, a person

is

to feel aggrieved.

Hostility, while to protect

vast

have a bitter

It is in the

it

originally

and preserve

amount of

grows out of

a person's efforts

his individuality, eventually entails a

suffering.

There

is

suffering

when

107

a person

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES from an

earlier

day. This burden weighs heavily on the people against

whom

burden of

carries a

the hostility

directed, but

is

who

the one

is

Much

is

it

happens to drive

how much himself.

hostility

whom

underground.

it.

it is

It is

directed.

often very

Hostility appears in

therapy or psychoanalysis often find that

even after they have

considerable progress in understanding themselves. is

person seeking to understand himself.

of great value to a Hostile attitudes

one can catch a glimpse of them) and angry moods has the courage to consider

what they mean) can give

cant clues to self-discovery. person, like anger in a

(although often rather

person preserves

to assert himself.

Moreover,

waking up, so

placed

—he

hostility in

(if

(if

one

signifi-

an older

young child, often serves as the means awkward and misdirected) by which

his right to

Sometimes

be himself or realizes

it is

compulsively compliant person is

many

often works like Satan in the garb of a saint.

It

who undergo

Recognition of hostile tendencies

a

Fre-

it.

fool others and also fool the hostile person

their hostile tendencies are hard to grasp

made

harbors

people frequently do not even suspect

they are governed by

which

disguises,

more heavily on

(or the earlier, simpler expression of

punished by the person against

elusive, so elusive that

People

who

painful to the person

quently, in childhood,

anger)

often weighs

it

hostile.

is

Hostility

hostility like a leftover load

to speak.

feels hostile

His

by way of

first

his right

hostility that a

begins to

show

that he

may at first be miswho have pushed him

hostility

toward people

around and taken advantage of him, perhaps not realizing

at

he

of

anger such

who has invited them to do so. But a wave as this may be the beginning of a healthy process

self-repair

if,

in

due time, the person begins to perceive that

first

that

it is

the abuse inflicted

brought on himself. 108

upon him by others he has

of

in reality

HOSTILITY In the present study

all

the people

expressed hostility, some openly, some

who were by

interviewed

indirection.

Many

probably would have denied vehemently any suggestion by the interviewer that they

ample,

("The other teachers and the cultural

was

were expressing

by heatedly describing



for ex-

school are frightfully unbalanced,

level of teachers

through

expressed

also

my

in

hostility

the faults or frailties of others.

is

horribly low.")

Hostility

people

Several

self-criticism.

spoke of their difficulty in meeting the high expectations they placed on themselves. One, for example, mentioned inability to be lenient with respect to her

own

Another

inadequacies.

spoke of the exorbitant demand placed on himself by the feeling that he should

Many

know

all

the answers.

of the people interviewed

their

hostility-

Some complained about administrators, They griped about restrictions;

through grievances. colleagues,

showed

and students.

working conditions;

salaries; the rigidity

of the administrative

by people in superior positions; the demands placed upon them by parents, children, or other teachers; and so on. Such complaints often have a hierarchy; the superior attitudes assumed

realistic

when

basis.

But there

a person looks

is

evidence of disguised hostility

upon everyone and everything

else as

being in the wrong.

The

four statements that, in the preparation of the Personal

Issues Inventory,

were selected

as representing

more or

less

consciously recognized hostility were the following: "I sometimes lose

my

that disturb

temper or have feelings of anger or intense rage me;

I

often feel bitter and resentful at being

pushed around or imposed on by others without being free to complain or show

my

resentment;

Even though

I

try to get

along smoothly with others, so often other people don't really consider

my

feelings; I

have a feeling that one must be on

guard and not take things lying

down, for people 109

will take

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

Of those who responded

advantage of you."

to the Inventory,

about half identified one or more of the statements tive

as descrip-

of an area in which they probably needed

help

in

understanding themselves.

"The four statements

above give only a meager clue

listed

to the role of hostility in the lives of teachers. Hostility often

appears in actions and states of mind that do not contain any clear element of anger

motive to

inflict

and that seem utterly devoid of any

hurt or to take revenge.

Externalized Hostility

One

of the it

wrong with angry or

commonest ways of dealing with



externalize

to state the

"problem"

from an early makes

own

it

The

As with

age, are

fact that anger

usually a

is

all

children, feel

necessary for us to avoid the sharp impact of our

else

who

angry or

is

many

already noted, this

is

under pressure not to show or even

anger by pretending that

someone

to

others, or to attribute to others a state of being

bitter or unfair.

rather painful emotion, coupled with the fact that

it,

is

what

hostility

in terms of

it is

not

in the

we who

are angry but

wrong.

of those interviewed in connection

study spoke of their problems

as

though they existed

outside themselves and could be blamed entirely

One

situation or person.

individual, for example,

on some

who

re-

about

many personal problems, spent most of his time talking how "frightfully in need" of help other people were.

Many

of the teachers discussed their problems as existing

vealed

exclusively in the

Actually,

many

problem of

behavior and attitudes of their pupils.

of their pupils were very irritating; but the

hostility

faults of others. 110

cannot be faced by simply

listing the

HOSTILITY

The

Feeling of Being Abused

In one of her most revealing writings,

Horney

discussed the feeling of being abused in a

(15) has

manner

that

is

helpful both for understanding oneself and for understanding

She points out that the feeling of being abused

others. first

be based on a hard core of reality, but that

especially troublesome it.

Every

child in a sense

parents and

teachers

reasonableness

be

—he

among

is

when

—which

are

it

irrational elements are

is

an abused person.

at

becomes added to

Even

if

perfect models of patience

his

and

no parent or teacher could possibly

bound here or

there to meet people in authority, or

or in the neighborhood at large,

his peers,

may

who

vent

upon him. Further, he must yield to rules and which he would not impose upon himself and which often seem foolish, coercive, and

their hostilities

restrictions, necessary for society,

unfair.

But the feeling of being abused can readily go beyond the sphere of righteous and realistic anger to an attitude that unrealistic.

A

justification,

angry.

Now

child, for example,

may

feel abused,

because of what his teacher demands, and be let

us say that after having been angered he

becomes guarded, defensive, and inclined to be This attitude teacher,

him.

who

Now

is

is

likely to arouse anger or

rebellious.

annoyance

in the

then short with him or otherwise punishes

may be started. The child gets a He may be overly ready to take offense.

a vicious circle

chip on his shoulder.

He may

is

with some

see others

through the haze of

his feeling of

having

been mistreated, and so even when people come to him with

good

intentions, he

may

see

them

as

coming with bad

tions. Ill

inten-

WHEN TEACHERS As

FACE THEMSELVES

many circum-

has already been suggested, there are

stances in

life at

school that aggravate feelings of being abused

—circumstances such

as

examinations, excessive

and regulations. Each of these

strict rules

concerned, but

as far as the teacher

is

inclined to put his

own

may

a student

if

One

who

Perhaps

his parents

were unduly

severe.

that

he was the victim of cruel people in

is

irrational.

that in looking that

When

tility

this

may

person

may

his

re-

school

also contain

use selective recall, so

he seizes only upon events

his life,

need to find someone or something to happens, he

upon conditions

when

A

back on

his present

fit

blame.

to

in this rationale.

Maybe he was

or in his neighborhood. But the afterthought

much

is

a rationale of himself as having been an abused

Maybe

jected.

abused

feels

There may be strong elements of truth

child.

out of touch

is

childhood and, through an elaborate afterthought,

up

to build

may

realistic basis for feeling aggrieved.

of the devices of the adult his

already

This feeling

be embroidered and elaborated until the person

review

justifiable is

sour interpretation on things, his

feeling of being abused will be intensified.

with the original and

homework,

be

a person, in his

projecting his present hos-

own

in his

own

is

earlier life.

Accordingly,

thoughts or in his conversation

way on how tough a time may not be giving a realistic

with others, dwells in an aggrieved he had as a child, he

account of

his

may

or

childhood, but he

is

definitely revealing hostile

attitudes prevailing in the present.

Another quite common form of projecting abused

is

to think in a

social class

mood

one was reared

feelings of being

of resentment or self-pity of the

in,

or to blame

all

the

woes of

life

on economic circumstances. There is no denying that economic circumstances do have an important bearing on a person's

life,

but they 112

may

also

be used

as a substitute target

HOSTILITY and

scapegoat for feelings of resentment that might better

as a

be faced openly and directly in an effort to deal with one's hostility in a rational

way.

Using the Arts of Love Accomplish the Purposes of Hate

to

Many conditions of hostility

are so subtle and so thoroughly

disguised that they are difficult to detect. hostility is disguised as love. There are people, whose hostility takes the form of an insatiable need for power over others, and who dominate others with

Sometimes

for example,

seeming kindness.

They may

be extremely "nice," "thought-

ful,"

and "considerate" in the eyes of those they are trying to

bend

to their will.

The

arts of love

may

be used

as

instruments

of hate.

The

arts of love are

way by

sometimes used in a hostile

who are overprotective in their dealings One way to reject a child is to go through the

parents and teachers

with children.

motions of doing everything for him and giving him everything he wants except the one thing he most needs

warmly accepted Seductiveness

is

for his

own sake. way of using

another

without

having

any

obvious

to be

the arts of love in the

service of hostility. This kind of seductiveness ticed



may

sexual

be prac-

connotations,

although at adolescence and beyond the seducer often uses

A

may

sexual motivation as a

means of conquest.

employ

lures to get students to "fall" for him.

He may to

a

wide range of

compete with parents for students'

make them

every

known

lovable,

loyal to himself and to

no one

teacher

affection, or try else.

He may

use

more understanding, attractive, entrancing, and wonderful than any other teacher in device to appear

113

WHEN TEACHERS the school. lot,

He may

notice

flatter,

perform thoughtful

victims'

FACE THEMSELVES

acts,

and

in

little

many ways prey upon

hunger for attention and approval and

aim of such

a

seducer

is

mean

things that

love.

a

the

But the

not to go out to others with whole-

hearted love and friendliness. others abjectly attached to

His hidden aim

him and

is

to

make

then, later, to reject

them. 1

One arts

who uses the may be an unrecognized need to may have left so sharp a sting that he

of the driving forces in a hostile person

of love to hurt others

take revenge.

Old hurts

must get even, although he does not recognize

this to

be the

Old wounds may have left pains so deep that someone Old injuries to the pride may have been so harsh that someone else must suffer. When such a drive prevails, there is hostility in one of its most pitiable forms. Such a case.

has to pay.

hostile person

is

a sick person.

He

is

so sick that he will use

even the sweetest syllables in the language of love and the tenderest gestures in the art of loving to accomplish his bitter end.

There

are always people waiting to

seduction. All

human

become victims of

beings have a great hunger for approval

some people, and at certain points in the lives of all people, this hunger may be so overpowering that a semblance of affection is accepted as though it were the real and affection, and

in

thing.

There someone

may

be,

are people so starved for attention that whatever else offers, is

no matter what

his

underlying motive

like a precious gift.

A

1 powerful account of the demonic craftiness of this kind of motivation has been given in Kierkegaard's classic "Diary of the Seducer," a section of Either/Or (33).

114

HOSTILITY Hostility in Education In an earlier chapter

While

in education. as

genuine and

as

it is

who

was

stated that hostility

prevalent

is

who

are

generous in their attitudes toward students

as

possible for a

others

it

there are innumerable teachers

human being

are punitive or

who

to be, there are also

many

unthinkingly carry out puni-

tive practices.

One

of the most obvious manifestations of hostility in

education appears in the feuds that sometimes prevail between

members of

the teaching

a long-continued,

When

staff.

bitter feud,

hostile tendencies carried

it

is

a

person

likely

is

involved in

that unresolved

over from his earlier experience,

rather than the unpleasantness or unfairness of the people with

whom culties.

he

is

carrying on the feud, are responsible for his

There

are

many

As was mentioned

expressions of hostility, however, that

open feud.

are less obvious than an

as the

diffi-

earlier,

we

are venting hostility or serving

instruments of hostile attitudes

when we

needlessly

expose students to failure and humiliating criticism. general expression of hostility in the academic world

One is

to

treat difficulty in learning as a deliberate kind of rebellion,

which should be punished. There hostility in intellectual snobbery.

when we

feel

ourselves or

inferior to our

There

are

contempt for people

who,

as

we

see

it,

is

also

We who

an undercurrent of

are venting hostility are not as bright as

have academic wares that are

own.

many

practices in education that, in the writer's

opinion, directly or indirectly express hostility even the element of hostility it is

may seem

hard to account for the

rather remote.

rigidities that

though

For example,

appear in course

requirements and in courses of study, or for the great areas of 115

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

meaninglessness discussed earlier in this book, particularly at the high school and college levels, without assuming that

somebody had These

a great

rigidities

need for pushing somebody

A

who

teacher

are

is

not noticeably hostile while performing the

This happens,

hostility.

not easy to trace the hostility

act as an agent or instrument of hostility

He may show passive

act.

it is

most responsible.

may

even though he

around.

may, of course, become so commonplace and

hallowed by tradition that to those

else

acquiescence in policies that express

in the writer's opinion,

when

school

people slavishly and without a second thought impose arbitrary academic requirements that happen to be unsuited to

many time,

students just because someone, somewhere, at

had the power to write

his

own

some

prejudices into the

curriculum.

Again,

it

is

perhaps only by assuming hostility or ac-

quiescence in hostility that

goes

by

we

much that For example, in many

can account for so

default in school systems.

schools with elaborate budgets for other things, the provisions for guidance or therapy for seriously disturbed pupils are

woefully inadequate and the methods of dealing with such pupils very cruel.

Many

teachers, of course, struggle as best

they can against such cruelty; obviously they cannot be accused of being hostile just because they are in a school

where children

can suspect hostility

when

are ill-treated.

staff

But we certainly

administrators and teachers are

complacent about such mistreatment or even abet

Even ity.

scholarliness

may

members

it.

function as an expression of hostil-

This can be seen most obviously when scholarly disputes

are expressions of personal animosities

between

scholars.

The

violence and sarcasm that creep into scientific papers are also

an

illustration.

Book reviewing 116

often provides an outlet for

HOSTILITY

When

hostile feelings.

hostility crops

are probably right in assuming that

with

a

may

also

mixture of other motives.

be

moved by

out in these ways,

it is

The

we

usually interwoven

person

who

hostile

is

a strong desire to further

what he

regards as the truth.

During the course of attitudes

a

week

teaching profession,

it

would be

own

spent in observing one's

and the open and disguised feelings of others

in the

possible to get a great pile of

data on the play of hostility in the professional activities of the

And why

scholar and the teacher. are

human,

not? Scholars and teachers

We would probably get as large

too.

even larger one,

if

we

a pile, or an

observed people in some of the other

professions.

To

say that hostility enters so freely into the

scholar and the teacher

is

not to find

fault.

It

life

of the

does provide

another point of emphasis, however, for the theme of

book, namely, that we,

The

as teachers,

blinder our hostility

is,

we can

destructive

it is

we are likely to be The more courage and

the harsher

with others and with ourselves. humility

this

need to face ourselves.

bring to bear in facing our hostility, the

less

likely to be.

Attitudes toward Authority It is

usually in relations with parents and parent substitutes

that the conditions leading to hostility first occur.

grow

older, attitudes

As

children

toward parents and toward other author-

ity figures in their early years color their attitudes

toward

other people. This process continues even when, supposedly,

they have become independent and responsible people in their

own

right.

Judging from what one can observe

in

everyday 117

life,

there

WHEN TEACHERS is

a vast

FACE THEMSELVES

amount of carry-over of childhood

One sees it group when the boss

attitudes

toward

sudden change in

authority into adulthood.

in the

atmosphere

or the chief or someone

in a

with seniority or greater prestige enters.

been informal

easy exchange of small talk ceases. a ribald story

who

People

The

stiffen into a posture of respect.

and

The one who was telling who previously

suddenly becomes prim. Those

were bored now hang on the words of Mr. or Mrs.

when their pronouncements are quite inane* One of the many fascinating observations is

have

free

that old attitudes of resentment

can be triggered off by people

in

Big, even

group therapy

toward the father or mother

who

for one reason or another

symbolize these characters, even though objectively they are quite different.

Thus, to one participant,

certain "strong" traits

may

An

woman

with

represent the strong father; and a

man, to another man or woman, mother.

a

may

represent a demanding

older person's attitudes toward authority

may

be

projected onto a younger person, and so on.

Many

of the people interviewed in this study voiced prob-

lems concerning their attitudes toward, or their relations with, people in authority, and the category of attitudes toward authority was included

Although not with

all

this aspect

those

One

many

Personal

Issues

Inventory.

obviously did voice some kind of

of the four statements pertaining to author-

ity expresses rebellion.

put upon

the

indicated that they needed help

of their relations with others were thereby

expressing hostility,

resentment.

in

who

Another expresses annoyance

at

being

because of a tendency to yield too readily to de-

mands from that parents

others.

(In connection with this,

it

may

be noted

and teachers sometimes invest children with

authority and allow themselves to be pushed around to an

unreasonable extent.) 118

One

statement, without openly express-

— HOSTILITY ing resentment, reveals a tendency to be put

when

in the presence of a person

likely that is

where such

who

seen as a superior;

is

The

often an undercurrent of resentment.

the standards

conform

rather than

of others

who

Often, no doubt, a person

may

(which this

it is

freedom occurs, there

a curtailment of

describes a strong tendency to

upon or subdued



fourth statement

to act according to

personal

convictions.

expresses this kind of coercion

be largely self-imposed) feels resentment, but

can only be inferred.

Of

the group of 229 people

who

responded to the Personal

Issues Inventory, fifty-five per cent

recorded that relations

with people in authority represented an area in which they

probably needed help in understanding themselves. Attitudes toward authority constitute

important problems teachers must face

Here,

as

the problem

is

selves.

true of

all

when they

face them-

the topics discussed in this book,

primarily a subjective one.

simply

resolved

Many

is

one of the most

by manipulating

external

It

cannot be

circumstances.

naive forms of such manipulation have been widely

used in educational circles to deal with "status" problems that

is,

figures. titles

The

problems pertaining to attitudes toward authority

Everyone

is

called only

by

his first

are dropped, so that there are

name. Professional

no doctors or

professors.

administrator becomes very folksy and informal. People

sit in a

circle so that there

delegates

management

to

is

a

no head of the class

table.

committee.

abandoned and only the discussion method

is

A

teacher

Lectures are used.

And

so

on, ad infinitum.

These devices may, sort of atmosphere.

in

some circumstances, produce

a

cozy

But to deal only with externals may leave

the basic attitudes completely untouched.

sory takes place in the

Much

that

is illu-

name of "democratic procedures," 119

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

although these procedures are probably good

But even

they go.

in a situation that has every appearance of being

democratic, there

To

attitudes.

amount of projection of personal something more is needed than the

a great

is

get at these,

who

presence of a benign authority figure

motions of sharing

may

ity figure

his authority.

not, for

all

which people

goes through the

Actually, the

members of

What

psychological authority figure. in

as far as

is

official

author-

the group, be the

essential

is

a climate

are free to express their feelings regarding

one

another and to uncover feelings they themselves do not recognize but others

may.

Hostility, Guilt,

and Anxiety

We touched

Hostility, guilt, and anxiety are closely linked.

on

this

when we

discussed theories concerning the role of

Hostile attitudes, whether or not clearly

hostility in anxiety.

perceived for what they

are,

frightening.

are

frightening to a child because his hostility

is

They

are

usually directed

upon whom he most depends, and who therefore greatest power of retaliation. The people who give

against those

have the

offense are likely also to be those the child goes to for love

and protection. is

It is

dangerous to strike out against them.

It

threatening even to have the impulse to do so, for this im-

pulse involves inner conflict.

There

is

between the

conflict

impulse to love and the impulse to hate, between the surge of the child's anger and his impulse to be a grateful offspring.

These childhood

conflicts related to hostility are likely to

persist into later years.

teachers



By

the time

we

are old

enough to be most of us

or even to enter training for teaching



have been schooled for years in suppressing and repressing our hostility.

But the residue of grievances and resentments may 120

HOSTILITY be there. Although

still

with

we may

and blindly driven by

it,

some of

we are stuck until we can face

be blind to unless or

it.

it,

meanings.

its

Many of the conditions that caused resentment in childhood may also persist into later years. This happens when a teacher in his twenties

dominated

in

—and

even

parent

and benign person, but coercive as one

continue even

he

who

if this

away and seldom is

old,

may

a

is

One who

parent

who

still

is

is

a

kindly

seems kind can be

as

older teacher's parents are dead or live

Such

cross his path.

a teacher,

although

might be)

as a child

if,

on

coerced and dominated by the image and

this

with

on the other,

and,

domination and resentfully

it

resists this

happening and

is

feel his anger, let alone face

it

way.

in a rational

has angry thoughts and vengeful feelings that go

what he regards

nature feels guilty.

as his better

teacher cannot help recoiling

he does



appearances be

all

unable to recognize what

strive to deal

against

fifties

seems unkind. Parental domination can

cannot allow himself even to

and

to

teachings of his parents,

he rebels against coercion but

may

be in conflict (much

the one hand, he

memory and

and

forties

his

obvious or subtle ways by his father or mother.

The dominating

far

in

when he

A

has a "death wish," as

when

for an instant, has a feelingr he secretly, J o of relief on hearing that a principal he dislikes has been in an accident

and

his

flash

too, his

mind

leaps to the thought that

he dismisses the thought. There

when

it

is

might be a

fatal,

but in a

murderous thought,

he hears that his most troublesome pupil

racing fancies see this pupil out of the

way

then in the same instant the fancy fades.

sick,

and

— and

This wish that

another person be dead or forever out of the fleeting that the teacher does not recognize

is

forever

way may

it

for

Yet although fleeting and not fully recognized, 121

it

what is

be so it is.

an out-

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

cropping of hostility of a kind he has been trained from childhood to suppress, and therefore to

produce

guilt

and anxiety. The

from such murderous impulses

it is

disquieting and likely

guilt

and anxiety that flow be especially

are likely to

acute unless this teacher can learn, to some degree, to accept hostility as

an aspect of his existence and to be at

himself as a hostile person.

accept himself as one

who

When

he can do

has hostile impulses,

compulsion to punish himself

a brutal

He may

—or

he will

without feeling

others

even be able to smile indulgently

home with

this,



for them.

when someone

quips that a death wish a day keeps the doctor away.

For one who has long suppressed

his

who

himself the right to be angry at those

very

thwart him,

difficult to regain the ability to feel a full-bodied

of anger or an upwelling of rage. in

denying

hostility,

The

old sequence of events

childhood through which suppression took place

the impulse to attack, fear of attacking

and of

guilt because the impulse to attack conflicts

to love

and to seek love), and anxiety

impulses

—can

it is

surge



anger,

retaliation (or

with the impulse

tied to these conflicting

have so powerful an effect that

it

is

almost

impossible for an older person to acquire again the ability to

be angry in a forthright and spontaneous way. This does not

mean

that such people are never angry.

who

be irascible people

anger

is

They may

devious and rooted in conflict.

A

person

not have the freedom to be angry, and to direct against the real offender,

happens when

as

a

actually

are hard to get along with, but their

may

w ho

does

r

his

anger

turn the anger against himself,

person suffering from guilt (which

kind of self-imposed punishment) abuses

his health

is

a

or places

himself in a situation where he will meet a painful accident.

Or

he

when

may

blindly take out his anger on others, as happens

a teacher does not face the conditions that 122

have actually

HOSTILITY angered him but colleagues

is

hostile

who happen

toward

his students or quarrels

to be convenient targets but

with

had noth-

ing to do with the origins of his hostility.

The Right There

are

to

many

Be Angry

people

who

have, to a large extent, sur-

rendered the right to be angry. These people are not limited to those

who

keep turning the other cheek when even the one

who

seriously advocates this policy

flail.

Among

who

those

there are some, as noted above,

of anger. There castic or to hit

someone

within oneself the

full

simple condition:

am

Some people

who

I

to use a

actually

show

a great deal

between freedom to be

a difference

is

would begin

have surrendered the right to anger

sar-

and freedom to accept

in the teeth

and impact of

force, meaning,

this

an angry person. (with

actually strike out at others

polite phrases) in a desperate effort to

ward

off

fists

or

and block the

full

sweep of an upsurge of anger within themselves. One

way

to blunt awareness of one's

that the other person

is

own

anger

really the hostile

in a sense, justification for one's

sponsibility in this out,

making

it

a social

possession, before

When that he

is

a

way

means, in

angry, he

is is

make

it

one and the one

own

effect,

phenomenon

one has fully taken

person

to

seem

who

shows antagonism, there

started the fight. If the other person is,

is

anger.

Shifting re-

throwing one's anger

rather than a personal it

home

to oneself.

able fully and freely to accept the fact less likely to hit

out than he would be

if

he tried rather desperately, in mid-phase, so to speak, to "do

something" about

who

is

his anger.

subject to anger and

To accept who often

means that one can allow oneself

to

oneself as a person

does become angry become aware of what 123

.

WHEN TEACHERS the anger

FACE THEMSELVES

about and thereby deal with the anger-producing

is

circumstance more effectively.

To

accept oneself as an angry person also means to accept

who

oneself as a person

This

for anger. in

which anger In

one

draw on

situations

appropriate and even necessary.

is

human being

has a capacity and a susceptibility for rage means that is

(who

able to accept oneself even

is

who

there

tion, as seen

by

is

angry

foolishly

human

by

his

own

(who conforms

afterthoughts?

)

,

or even

so perfectly to an exalted,

image of himself that he does not allow himself once

in a while

—perhaps only by way

feel malice

toward someone

Observe that

this

being who, like

all

radically different

by punishing ferent

one

has not often been angry without justifica-

others or

maliciously angry idealized

if

times?), or unjustifiably angry (what

isn't, at

being

from

else?

of a fleeting thought

concept of accepting oneself

humans,

is

given to anger

from giving way

anger, as one

as a

who

human

to anger in a blind It

way,

is

condoning of one's anger.

who

forgive himself even for being stupidly angry, difficult aspects

dif-

To

subject to

is

has the right to be angry, as one

one of the most

to

something

is

others or brutally punishing oneself.

a self-righteous



)

accept oneself as an angry person, as one

in

his capacity

many

expression, acceptance of oneself as a

its full

who

has the right to

important, for there are

is

who

can

to succeed

is

of the struggle for self-

acceptance. If one has succeeded in this struggle, or partially so, it

does not mean that one will henceforth be above anger,

or always deal with

it

in a beautifully "integrated"

one thing can be counted on.

A

person

who

has

way. But

made some

progress in this aspect of the struggle for self-acceptance likely to feel his anger in a

more

more healthy way,

constructively, and to live with

bring far

less

it

to deal with

it

in a fashion that will

needless suffering to himself and to others. 124

is



SEVEN

Compassion

W,

hen teachers face themselves, they face

may

struggle; but they

The

Compassion of others. It is

also look

greatest of these rewards

It is

is

forward to great rewards.

growth

in

compassion.

inextricably linked to acceptance of self and

the ultimate expression of emotional maturity.

through compassion that

peak and the deepest reach

We

is

hard

a

a

person experiences the highest

in his search for self-understanding.

often think of compassion as something soft, perhaps

touched with sentimentality. Compassion sometimes has connotation, but

meaning. There

it

is

also has a

something soft and tender

in compassion,

To

be compassion-

but also something rugged and very hard. ate,

this

more profound psychological

one must be able to accept the impact of any emotion

love or hate, joy, fear, or grief

enough and with and to enter into

moved by passion in



tolerate

it

and harbor

sufficient absorption to accept its a fellowship of feeling

the emotion.

its fullest

This

is

it

long

meaning

with the one

who

the heroic feature of

is

com-

development: to be able to face the ravage 125

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

of rage, the shattering impact of terror, the tenderest prompt-

embrace these in a larger context, which involves an acceptance of these feelings and an appre-

ings of love, and then to

ciation of

To

what they mean

to the

who

one

experiences them.

be compassionate means to partake in passion:

the

passions of others, the passions that arise within oneself.

It

means

it

as a

spectator might.

fellowship.

who

is

It

means

It is a

way

of entering into emotional

home

to take feeling

Compassion

is

the weak.

The

It is

human

compassionate person

He

gives the measure of

It

being.

is

He

fear.

who goes out in who is having a tough He partakes in courage,

partakes in joy, but also in grief.

compassionate person

is

who

not just one

sweet emotions, for he also enters into bitterness.

not the emotion of

It is

not just one

but he also hates.

loves,

but also in

power and

the hard-gotten property of the strong.

good-hearted manner to someone

time.

its

stronger than anger, mightier

than love, more powerful than fear. a person's strength as a

one

to oneself as

willing and has the strength to sustain

realize its force.

a

view

to participate in feeling rather than simply to

The

range of compassion

is

The

goes about with

life's

harshness and

the range of

human

emotion.

Anger may be used sion.

To be

to provide one illustration of

compassionate with one

who

is

one allows oneself to enter into the meaning of does not as

mean

enraged

that, at the

other person.

as the

absorbed in rage

moment

as the

compas-

enraged means that this rage.

It

of compassion, one becomes

If

one

did,

one would be so

primary emotion that there would be

no room for compassion. Neither does it mean that one feels sorry for the one who is angry (one might feel sorry, but that is

not the essence of compassion), nor that one deplores

anger (one might 126

feel that the

anger

is

his

deplorable, but that

is

COMPASSION not compassion).

The primary

pertains to anger

to feel the impact

is

of the emotion of anger.

dones

it,

This does not mean that one conin

nor that one joins the fray to fight with the person

whom

the anger

is

any of these

who

compassionate with one

One might

directed.

separate consideration, do

as a

it

and to savor the meaning

nor that one hastens to confirm the angry person

his anger,

against

quality of compassion as

is

angry

know,

to

is

or might not,

things.

To

be

in

an

emotional way, the nature of anger.

To

feel

who

compassion for one

angry means that one

is

own capacity for One realizes, as it

must draw upon one's experience of anger.

anger and one's were, through a

process of fellow-feeling, the rack and grind of anger, the bitterness of

it,

the driven character of

which one can be possessed by destroy that goes with in

it,

feel

the suffering and

it

it,

the helpless

who

in

often involved

is

sometimes ensue from

it.

To

angry means to enter into the

is

might be

way

the impulse to rend and

the self-hate that

guilt that

compassion for one

meaning of what It

it,

it,

if

one were that angry oneself.

means, for the moment, a kind of acceptance of the fact

and the

To

state of anger.

feel

compassion for one

draw upon realize what might be,

is

joyful or sad, one must

these emotions consist of and

what

as a personal experience, to those

To

sorrow.

who

one's capacity for joy or sorrow in order to

feel

compassion for one

who

their quality

who is

rejoice or

frightened or

lonely or sexually aroused, or hungry or jealous or anxious,

or in a to

mood

draw upon

appetites,

Why

is

of tenderness or melancholy, one must be able one's

own

resources for experiencing

what

these

moods, and emotions mean. compassion so intimately tied to understanding and

acceptance of

self

and others? The answers have already been 127

WHEN TEACHERS

FACE THEMSELVES

we must

implied. First, to understand another person

be able

what he is thinking but also what he is It is not enough to know what is in his mind; it is also to know what is in his heart. Second, to under-

to realize not simply feeling. essential

stand oneself one must be able to be at

emotions. This second condition

would understand

If I

face

my own

anger, taste

home with

must be able

I

home with

be at

it,

deepest emotional connotation of that word.

my

anger

if

anger in

me

obscured with a feeling of feel

/

must accept

who

person, as one

if,

about

As an

I

before

might even

I

himself

able to

is

I

permit myself to

To know my

it.

angry

whose

I

may have many second

or that episode of anger, perhaps feel sorry

afterthought,

would have gone

in the

know

has the right to be angry, as one

or foolish, or realize that

it,

offense.

angry,

this

it

cannot

?nyself, for the time being, as an

right to anger should be respected.

thoughts about

know

I

to

immediately clouded over and

guilt;

have already passed judgment on

I

it,

anger

is

own

essential to the first.

is

another's anger, it,

one's

feel that

I

when

had

I

I

was too quick have been just

a little

been equal to the occasion,

into a towering rage, for one

become

to take

passionately angry.

who accepts And so on.

These considerations are important, but only of secondary importance.

emotion

essence of compassion

know,

to enter into the

thus enters into, and in this sense seeks to accept,

to feel the impact of one's

passionate toward oneself. This others.

is

itself.

When one to

The

I

is

own

emotions, one

essential to

is

com-

compassion for

cannot, for example, accept another's fear in a

way unless I can accept myself as a person who now and then, or who once was a very fright-

compassionate is

frightened

ened

child.

Let us look briefly 128

at

compassion

in

relation to another

— COMPASSION emotion



the emotion of joy, although usually

think of compassion as pertaining to gladness.

we do not One can be

compassionate in relation to joy only to the extent that one

draw upon

able to

savor

it,

relish

one's

own

capacity for

home with

be at

it.

it

oneself.

it

who

deserves to

One cannot

be joyful and has the right to rejoice. unless one possesses

one's ability to

it.

one

as

is

share joy

one had the money or the

If

power one might, of course, do much to provide means or from which others obtain joy. But this is not the

situations

same one

as

who

The

compassion. is

joyful

compassionate with

ability to be

— whether

this

one be another or oneself

implies the highest degree of self-acceptance and should per-

haps be regarded

To

as the farthest

be compassionate means,

reach of self-fulfillment.

among

view emotion from the standpoint of

we

look

at

emotion

we might

out hate. But to love for the one

who

is

is

of.

not to surrender the ability to hate,

loves deeply often hates intensely. if

there

is

such

The con-

a condition,

is

fear:

from loving or hating or rejoicing or

drawing upon any and one

kind of accounting

a

say that to love fully, one should cast

dition that rules out love, fear that keeps one

we

When

self-fulfillment.

way, we have

from what we usually think

quite different

Ordinarily

in this

other things, that

all

of the emotions that flourish

when

Qneself.

One might be without fear: the

say that

fear.

one

who

frightening things. that one

if

one had enough courage, one would

But courage does not mean the absence of has courage to be himself will dare to face Similarly,

to

be jovful does not

must exclude sorrow, for the one

most fully

is

The one who

the one

who most

who

mean

can rejoice

exposes himself to sorrow.

takes a chance at jovful self-fulfillment takes

the risk of shattering disappointment.

But

if

sorrow takes the 129

WHEN- TEACHERS FACE THEMSELVES

who

place of joy, the one

would rather that

feel

removed from

farthest

is

has the courage to be himself

sorrow than

The

feel nothing.

condition

feeling joyful or sorrowful

is

to

feel nothing.

The

opposite of despair

or even a state of there

is

faith.

an opposite,

is

not simply

is

hope

a condition of

Rather, the opposite of despair,

if

self-acceptance and compassion.

Love of Self and Love for Others

The concept

of compassion incorporates the meaning of

love for others and for oneself.

Compassion involves

acceptance and acceptance of others

The

person

who

know

The one who

is

who

the one

accepts himself

the meaning and to grasp the impact of

own

self-

profoundest sense.

can most fully accept himself

can most fully accept others. seeks to

in the

what what

is

happening

is

happening to others. The relation between acceptance of

self

in his

inner

life,

and acceptance of others

writings, talks

and apparently

it

is

and he

is

responsive to

emphasized in

many

current

needs to be re-emphasized.

In

with other teachers, the writer has again and again met

with objections to the concepts of self-acceptance and

self-

understanding on grounds that amount to self-rejection and a denial of compassion.

Some people

object to the idea of self-acceptance on the

ground

that a person

danger

of

becoming

self-accepting person tion,

who is

accepts himself

falsely

complacent.

anxious,

we

is

Actually,

the

in relation to self-

that instead of helping people to

should make them more 130

in

anything but smug. Another objec-

touching on the concept of anxiety

acceptance,

smug and

is

become

anxious; only

if

less

people

COMPASSION Both of these

are anxious will they have an incentive to learn.

views are based on a concept of motivation that

reflects

a

punitive attitude toward self and others.

another objection

Still

is

that the concepts of self-accept-

ance and self-understanding involve

According to

tion.

this

a futile

kind of introspec-

view, in order really to get things

done we should direct our thoughts outward and not inward.

But ful.

just

doing something

In seeking to

is

know

not in

oneself,

motives that are involved

itself

one

valuable or meaning-

tries to

when one

sets

understand the

out to get things

Without such self-examination, what one sees may be what one does may be without much meaning. It has also been said that what we need in education is more self-denial rather than more self-acceptance. In the writer's judgment, an objection such as this represents a form

done.

distorted and

of self-rejection and rejection of others, coupled with mis-

understanding of the underlying idea.

The

notion that

it is

only by self-denial that one can be of

The

service to others deserves special attention.

idea that

love of others and love of self are incompatible

is

widely held.

Actually, this idea goes counter to fact; and

it

also collides

with some widely held rules of conduct, such

as the

bodies both love of

self

admoni-

This admonition em-

tion to love one's neighbor as oneself.

and love for others;

it

definitely

does not imply that one should hate oneself in order to love others.

As Fromm, Homey, and

hatred of

self is

Sullivan have emphasized,

linked to hatred of others; without healthy

love of self there can be no genuine love for anyone

Many

of the teachers

who were

interviewed in

expressed or implied the belief that oneself that one can serve others. the really devoted teacher gives

it

is

this

else.

study

only by denying

Some seemed to think that much and takes nothing. 131

WHEN TEACHERS There

many

of course,

are,

FACE THEMSELVES people in the teaching profession

who seem to live according to this belief. There are teachers who go all out in helping others without demanding any rights for themselves. There are some who tolerate acute discomfort without feeling that they have a right to see to their own comfort. There are some who believe they must suffer fools gladly without having the right to be foolish themselves.

There

are

some who seem

to think that they should be able

to absorb the bitter anger of others without having the right to be angry themselves.

There

should go out in love to

all

for

them

some who think

are

creatures but that

to ask for love, or to seek

it,

it is

that they

not proper

or to demand

it

with

a

kind of savage passion.

A

teacher

come home right

may is

teacher.

He

who

way,

cannot

not actually realizing

his

One

own

poten-

Sacrifice

can devote oneself to others in

means of escaping anxiety or atoning

as a

In order to

really count,

is

stops at the halfway mark.

not compassion.

make

one's efforts in behalf of others

one must do more than go through the motions

of being a good-hearted person. ing person.

to others but

to himself and experience emotion in his

a compulsive

for guilt.

go out

tries to

be noble, but he

tialities as a

of self

who

One must

One must

be an understand-

be an accepting and compassionate

person.

One cannot understand

another's hurts in a

manner

that will

enable one to minister to him most effectively unless one has

enough concern for oneself to realize and to appreciate what means in one's own experience to be hurt. One cannot understand another's hunger for affection, nor sense his craving for being accepted, nor realize how starved he is for companionship, unless one can draw upon one's own realization it

132

COMPASSION what this hunger means and what the nature of the experience is by which the hungry one can be filled. Without self-acceptance a teacher may, to be sure, accomplish much for others and teach them many things. The good of

he does

may even

own capacity, for the one who is friend may read into the teacher's

exceed his

desperately seeking a

friendly acts an emotional content they do not actually pos-

But to go all out, to feel for others (as distinguished from going through the motions of doing for others), to feel sess.

with others

(as distinguished

of cooperating with them),

upon

own

his

essential that the teacher

it is

capacity for feeling.

he respects his feelings and

them

from going through the motions

as part of himself.

is

And

he can do

home with them,

at

if

this

draw

only

if

he accepts

This means self-acceptance, which

involves compassion for oneself.

Where there is a lack of ability to accept oneself and one's own feelings, the process of giving, as has been suggested above, may be an unhealthy compulsion. One person may be as

greedy to give

much

the same.

as

another

One

not.

to take,

and for motives that are

For the moment, compulsive giving may be

very satisfying to the one is

is

can see

who

receives, but in the long

this at times

when one

run

it

observes the reac-

Here is an adult who comes laden He plays the games the children want to play. He

tion of children to adults.

with

gifts.

defers to every

whim and

wish, and his patience and forbear-

ance seem inexhaustible. But after a time the children

He

tire

of

They look on him as something of a Here comes another; his bosom does not swell only with bounty for others. He joins the children in play, but he also has some ideas of his own about how and what him.

is

boring.

stuffed shirt.

to play.

His patience

is

thin at times, he gets annoyed, and in 133

WHEN TEACHERS now and

other ways

somehow he want him

to

he goes to

FACE THEMSELVES

then his emotions

show through. But

has a spark; the kids get sore at him, but they

come back. And when one

this

of them

person rather than to the one

One

erous in such a deadly way.

is

who

in trouble, is

so gen-

brings his bounty; the other

brings himself.

So Small

in the Infinite

Scheme of Things— In education there are

many

influences that emphasize the

importance of quantity, number, and assume, almost as though

were

it

to learn a lot about a subject

is

size.

Many

teachers

in the nature of things, that

better than to learn a

little.

We

often take for granted in our measurements that large numbers are better than small numbers.

one

who would

better than a

When we

not take

low

I

Q.

it

And

We

have to look far to find

for granted that a high

I

Q

is

so on.

enter the sphere of selfhood, however, these

quantities,

numbers, and dimensions are not so important.

When we

deal with the concepts of selfhood, self-acceptance,

and

self-fulfillment,

smallest quantity

is,

we move

number, short of nothing,

is

where the

into a dimension

in a sense, the greatest,

all-important.

and the smallest

The

ultimate test

what we teach is its implication for the inMeanings may be shared, but they are realperson. personal experience by one person, and by him alone.

of the meaning of dividual ized as a

The

ultimate statistic in the world of the self

is

N

not the

= 1, and many, nor even the few, but a statistic in which that one is you, or I. This does not mean that the you or the I dwells in isolation in a separate world. The self and the other are closely bound together. But the final repository of meaning

is

within each person 134

as a separate self.

COMPASSION

—And To

Yet So Great

who

those

quantity, this self

are

accustomed to think of value

a difficult thought.

is

of yours, or this self of mine,

number,

In time,

in terms of

us pursue

what does

it.

This

count?

it

In

expanse of visible and invisible

sion, it is so small in the vast

things.

let

one among the countless many. In dimen-

just

it is

Yet

it is

bound

to a fleeting

moment

in the eons

that have gone before and will follow.



This

self

shadow

a dot, a speck, a



is

from one point of

view quite near to nothing.

Yet

it is

everything.

dot and a shadow, yes, but the shadow of a mighty

It is a

the center of ultimate significance in the

rock. It

is

person.

It is

existence

the core of individual existence.

you or

find

If life is

If there

here within myself that

here

I

I

must

is

value,

is

worth

it is

living,

something

is

it is

must embrace

here

I

must

in existence that

is

it.

realize its

worth.

of ultimate concern,



Here in this self my self, your where time touches on the eternal. Here the finite and

here



self

it is

it.

If there

it is

of each

the only

can know.

I

meaning,

If there is

life

It is

I

must cling

to

it.

the infinite are joined. It is

through

my

—and through your —

self

self

timacy of individual existence this self that

The

is

realized,

and

it is

intimacy and relatedness with others

self is the citadel

of one's

own

that the in-

also is

through

achieved.

being and worth and the

stronghold from which one moves out to others. It is to this

self

(which

is

concept of respect for

self

and acceptance of

the fountainhead of respect and compassion for

others) that this

book

is

devoted.

What

does this concept 135

WHEN TEACHERS mean

in practical terms?

as best

means that each teacher

will seek

he can to face himself and to find himself in order to

further his step,

It

FACE THEMSELVES

own

growth.

an effort to

ences in

grow in

educational

To some

may mean,

this

an

initial

self-discovery through group experi-

settings,

which

becoming more enter group therapy; are

widely available; some may wish to some may seek individual therapy. These sonal expedients.

as

More fundamental

courage the process of self-discovery,

is

are

among

the per-

the idea that to en-

we must

raise the ques-

tion of personal significance in connection with everything

we

seek to learn and everything that

is

sery school through postgraduate years.

taught from the nur-

What

does

it

mean?

What difference does it make? What is there in the lessons we teach, the exercises we assign, the books we read, the experiences we enter into, and in all of our undertakings, that can help us to find ourselves and, through their search?

136

us,

help others in

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141

Appendixes

A. Self-Understanding

Questionnaire Used to Test Reaction to Idea of Self-Understanding

Do

not sign your name.

Sex: Male

Female

Age: 20-30 Over 40

30-40

_

Marital Status: Single

Married vorced) 1.

2.

(inc.

widowed or

di-

The

idea that a major goal in education should be to help young people to understand themselves and to develop healthy attitudes of self-acceptance a.

Makes me

b.

Is

c.

Is

uneasy and resistant. I doubt its practicability. promising and worth trying. feel

challenging, but

The

idea that to help young people to understand themselves it is necessary also for the teacher to be involved in the process of growing in self-understanding strikes me as being Rather unpleasant and distasteful. a. b. Quite sensible, but probably not much could come of it.

Challenging and promising from the point of view my own personal and professional growth.

c.

of 3.

Assuming

that the theory has merit

a teacher, nurse,

(Check a.

b. c.

d.

as

clergyman,

etc.),

and

is relevant to your role (as what are the main obstacles? you wish.)

many or as few items as I am not prepared to venture

into this area.

My

load as a teacher is already heavy enough. The administrative set-up makes it impractical. There may be obstacles, but none great enough to

keep

me from

at least trying.

145

SELF-UNDERSTANDING 4.

you feel favorably disposed to the idea, what provisions would you wish for? (Mark one item or several.) Workshops, special courses, seminars, etc. a. Better arrangements for discussing personal and emob. If

tional aspects of the teacher's

work.

d.

Specialized psychological services for the students. Help of a distinctly personal sort, such as might be gotten from group therapy.

e.

Other?

c.

Any

other comments?

146

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