02 January 2010

Becoming Dabrowskian

About a year or so ago, I encountered the work of Kazimierz Dąbrowski, a Polish psychologist, psychiatrist, and physician who developed the Theory of Positive Disintegration, which describes how a person's development grows as a result of accumulated experiences. "Disintegration," as I understand it, refers to the separation (or un-integration) of the individual as they mature and realize that being well-adjusted to a mal-adjusted world is not the most, well, mature thing. Dis-integration comes from the maturing of thoughts, and it is positive when the process moves one's personality to a more developed level than what is offered by the dominant paradigm.

I've been intrigued by this idea for some time, in no small part because it reflects my own outlooks and approach to the world. Whereas a fair amount of pressure is placed on us as adults to "adjust" to the world, and there is a fairly large focus in psychology and educational circles on creating "well-adjusted" people who can be productive members of society, it has always seemed to me that about the last thing the world needs is more people who are content to accept things as they are.

It seems to me the world would -- and does -- benefit more from ill-adjusted individuals who take it upon themselves to change the things that are all wrong. Where would we be without these folks?

I've been meaning to make a more concerted study of Dabrowski for some time. Of course, work got in the way, as did life in general. But I'm clearing out a whole bunch of extraneous activities and interests that don't look like they're going to amount to anything productive anytime soon, so I'm making more time in my life for the things I really, truly want to do -- which will bear fruit.

Studying Dabrowski is one of the things I truly want to do. I ordered a CD of his collected works in English, as well as plenty of writings by other folks. It seems like the perfect sort of reading for a snowy day like today.

After I clear the snow off my deck and drive and roof, that is.

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