Two rare gems hightlight volume 3: Adler's glowingly postive review of a book by Jung, and his letter of resignation from Freud's psychoanalytic circle. The twenty-four articles contained in this volume cover a wide range of topics. It would first appear that there is an absence of thematic consistency or any pattern of development in the subjects that Adler addresses--he seizes upon any issue that he feels to be important at the time. Yet there is no chaos in this seeming whirlwind of mental activity. Each article reflects several theoretical constructs of the bountiful palette of Individual Psychology. As a totality, everything he writes about fits into one coherent, consistent whole. In a broad sense, although he often seems to repeat ideas, if we study his sentences carefully, we will always find yet another important, new nuance of meaning.
Adler's article about Alfred Berger's Hofrat Eysenhardt is especially fascinating, since it deals with an author's creation of a fictional character. When I first discovered Adler's writings, as a graduate student majoring in theatre arts, I was astounded with the abundant parallels between Adler's view of personality structure and the dramatic theory of Constantine Stanislavksi, the great Russian theater director. Stanslavski suggested that the actor and director analyze fictional character using tools and terms remarkably similar to Adler's constructs for understanding real people. For example, Stanislavski's construct of the "super-objective" is nearly identical to Adler's construct of the "fictional final goal." It is not surprising that two highly creative minds from different fields, contemplating the dynamics of human behavior, would arrive at similar teleological conclusions. Adler often commented that understanding human nature was more of an art than a science.
For readers unfamiliar with Adler's ideas, a brief overview, titled "Basic Principles of Classical Adlerian Psychology," is included in the appendix. More comprehensive articles, titled "Classical Adlerian Theory and Practice" and "A Psychology of Democracy" have been published in Volumes 1 & 2 of The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler.
I encourage the reader to patiently follow Adler's early efforts to articulate his full theory. It is a fascinating journey of positing , correcting, and refining his insights into the mystery of human nature. By reading the complete series of his clinical writings in chronological order, we can appreciate the gradual emergence of Adler's remarkably integrated theories of personality and psychopathology, principles of prevention, technique of psychotherapy, and philosophy of living. His ground-breaking odyssey of psychological exploration and refinement creates a uniquely unified vision of man. It is time for The Collected Clinical Works of Alfred Adler to finally be placed in the spotlight beside the writings of Freud and Jung. His wisdom and optimism about human nature shine through the pages, lighting the way to a more hopeful future.
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