"Another means applicable to dreams as well as in a wakened state that brings us closer to realizing our intent is to think antithetically, to think in terms of opposites. Although everyone knows that certain ideas and concepts are not opposites, they are used antithetically partly from thoughtlessness but at other times intentionally to support certain purposes. Thus, there are still many people who represent 'woman' and 'man' as opposites, even though they should know that they are not opposites. It is interesting to observe, given the richness of language, how such views are reflected. In English, for example, one spoke of the opposite sex not too long ago. Here you find the shadows of past childish thinking. You will find antithetical thinking in problem children. Consider the burning question in such children: Who is the stronger? They know only strong - weak. Every neurotic contrasts: All or nothing. How advantageous does antithetical thinking lends itself to arouse oneself! Think of criminals: It's either him or me for whom there is room in this world! A murderer says: That man wears beautiful clothes; I have none! Such contrasting seems to justify killing. How well Dostoyevsky observed Raskolnikov who after hesitating a long time used these words to arrive at a decision: 'Am I Napoleon or a louse?'"(From a new translation of an unpublished manuscript, "Medical Course at Urban Hospital," a lecture by Alfred Adler, in the AAISF/ATP Archives.)
"People develop a tendentious apperception, i.e. the tendency to see themselves, others, or events and situations, not as they really are, but as they imagine them to be. One of the chief tasks of the psychologist is to help his consultees adapt their perception to the realities of their life space, i.e. their own real factors and the real factors of the environment." (From "An Evaluation of Adlerian Psychology from the Standpoint of the Scientific Method," an unpublished manuscript written in 1947 by Anthony Bruck in the AAISF/ATP Archives.)
"The process of selection after persons have built their prototype, Adler has called tendentious apperception. They take out of their surroundings only what fits into this picture; everything else disappears. If you listen to people, and you are aware of it, you will find tendentious apperception is present in everyone and naturally, in ourselves too. For example, let us assume that someone looks through a prism. The person will see light differently from the light he would otherwise see without the prism, light would appear to him as if it were in different colors. If someone has built or found a pattern of life, he looks at things, or at life, through such a prism. He sees things from a particular angle. This has nothing to do with reality, only with his former experiences, or what his pattern allows him to see. For example, two people have an argument, in the course of this argument they both think and say that one always tries to dominate the other. This might be true, but for either one of these persons it is impossible to make the simplest statement without the other one assuming this was meant against the other. It is not possible for either of them to say anything without the other person interpreting it as aggressive, or as trying to hurt, to be overbearing, and so forth.
Sophia de Vries:
"The antithetical mode of apperception means seeing things in black and white, and seeing the world as good or bad. You may notice that patient's never see things in colorings of grey, or in between shades, it's always, 'either/or,' and this is one of the signs of neurotic thinking." (From a transcribed, tape recorded seminar presented by Sophia de Vries on 7-16-76, in the AAISF/ATP Archives.)
"Under the influence of the fictional final goal, style of life, and private logic, an individual's perception is very selective. The antithetical scheme of apperception is how he cognitively processes what he has selected, giving it meaning and fitting it into a self-consistent unity. For example, a client circulates around a room full of people and pays particular attention to certain expressions and reactions that fit his style of life. He may yearn for flattery and adoration, but expects frequent criticism and disdain. He may tend to bend most of the expressions he perceives into only one of two opposite beliefs--no middle or grey zone exists in his antithetical scheme. He may either disregard the experience of someone simply liking him (because it does not satisfy his desire for adoration) or he misinterprets someone's innocent question as criticism or depreciation. Similar distortions can occur with antithetical schemes of stupid/brilliant, center of attention/completely ignored, first/last, etc. The individual is not as interested in the reality of what is happening, only in the accumulation of impressions that support his style of life." (From an edited transcription of a tape recorded lecture given on 10-27-90, in San Francisco, in the AAISF/ATP Archives. Available in distance training course DT102A - Intermediate Theory: Part I )
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