The book titled "Becoming," by Gordon Allport, remains informative as well as elaborate as he defends and outlines his stance on man's personality and his uniqueness. The author encompasses the work displaying an arsenal of support claiming a psychology need for personality within its realms of growth and development. Allport makes the connection from historical and contemporary foundations and their forms of psychological, theoretical, and practical constraints. As he shares his views and criticizes modern thought, Allport considerations for a basic personality psychology appear more attractive and hold extended relevance to our existence, while simultaneously criticizing and revealing little support for contemporary psychology's growth. Nevertheless, Allport immediately points out psychology remains a target for critics of other sciences and neighboring sciences whom also denounce its trends.
The author goes back and broadly scopes modern psychological thought to John Locke's traditional thought of the mind being an empty slate at birth, the tabla rasa. This premise alone gives the author and the reader his ammunition needed to criticize psychology's dormant state. He furthers and identifies with another historical model of influence, appearing nearly dichotomized in views, that of Leibnitz. Therefore, in contrasting the two traditions, we trace the dominant Lockean view to our Anglo-American psychology. Its representatives remain located in associationism of all types, including environmentalism, behaviorism, stimulus-response psychology, and all other stimulus-oriented psychologies, in animal and genetic psychology, in positivism and operationalism, in mathematical models- in short, in most of what is cherished in labs as truly "scientific" psychology (Allport, 1995). The opposite and tradition of Leibnitz, supported by the author, do not hold that external and visible existence remains more fundamental than what is not. On grounds that causes remain external to organisms, the support rallied from this view gives internal motives now, rather as drives. The author claims the presuppositions of Lockean externalization only perpetuates and accounts for its popularity; the set of guidelines of conditioning offers physiological descriptions only and not organized ideas (Allport, 1995). Locke's ideas of what is small and molecular remain more fundamental than what is large and molar. The author reminds us that John Locke's and Lockeans preoccupation with molecular structure assumes the belief of species equivalence; we are all animals with enhanced capabilities. This led to Lockean positivism, which the author criticized as discouraging the investigation of consciousness and denying personality as a complex structure. Leibnitz describes the person as the source of acts, describing striving toward becoming of personality in the forms of self-preservation and self-affirmation (Allport, 1995). In this tradition, he soaks his foundation for the basic considerations for a psychology of personality.
Allport (1995) states the opposing tradition of contemporary cognitive psychology and motivation led to the gestalt movement of cognition dynamic principles. One could consider the parts or the whole, but not both at once; perception held that simple perceptions were "wholes" made up of integrated parts (Allen, 2006). While Gestalt psychology is the most influential version of the active intellect reaching America, it is interesting to see what happened to it in the process of adjusting to Anglo-Saxon empiricism (Allport, 1995). He describes modern day cognitive psychology's flourishing school of knowledge as uninfluenced on American psychology. The Gestalt school remained compromised with experimental traditions leading to more concepts. The American cognitive theory has reduced Gestalt concepts greatly, exchanging for hypothesis, expectancy, and empty organism over a self-active intellect (Allport, 1995). The arguments for instincts remain supported as the only energy of all forces, but must consider cognition dynamics for a psychology of personality.
The author supports the idea that multiple objectives, views, models, and theories as all goals of psychological thought support a scale of probable truths. The fear of assuming one preference over another regarding whole truths remain avoidable. However, the future goal is to have an interpretation where the truth prevails over all.
We reach a level where personality describes itself as being more incomplete and endlessly undergoing change, in what the author describes as the dilemma of being unique. Personality is the dynamic organization of psychological systems that determine characteristic behavior and thought (Allen, 2006). The writer point out that uniqueness is the results of individual idioms, which are arbitrary unless compared with species syntax. Herein lies his dilemma, idiom differences describe a violation regarding same rules of content of the species. The author point outs the requirement to ignore idiomatic patterns of becoming. The author believes it is helpful to establish a science of personality doing better than in the past with the outstanding personality feature- manifest uniqueness of organization (Allport, 1995). He states that this idea of uniqueness remains ignored in other sciences as well denouncing analogies that show reactions are from manipulations only and cannot "become." Furthering it remains that all the animals in the world are psychologically less distinct from one another, than one man is from other men and warns against the fallacy of projection (Allport, 1995). Allport claims, the outline for the need of a psychology of becoming already exist within us; it is all the aspects and components in their relationship to each other that constitutes the make-up.
Inclinations exist that point towards our in-born dispositions or raw material accounting for our development of personality: the instinctive, inheritance, and the capacity to learn. In-born dispositions are yet, influenced as we grow, by our traditions. Raw dispositions that underlie human developments, points out that dispositions and their maturation depends on a (social relations) concurrent state of becoming (Allport, 1995). Research has shown simple responses activated from stimuli patterns somewhat leads to complex social behavior, so content is important. However, our inheritance or gene-linked characteristics, the author describes it as an initiation to beginning our own road of individual uniqueness, however, it remains in reality that when we discuss this topic or think of it, we note our associations with family similarities. Speaking straightforward terms, a trait "guides" a person to respond to similar elements of the environment in much the same way (Allen, 2006). This truth and fact heavily arms Allport's need for establishing a psychology of personality. In addition, the author investigates the neglected uniqueness of temperament, neural plasticity, and various gifts of the exclusive individual personality (Allport, 1995). Challenging contemporary psychology fires yet another neglectful sense of crucial importance, that referring to ones ability to learn, which only transpires off the prior two dispositions.
The standard the author reveals for the innate unsocial child or infant is depicted as needing rescued from destruction. So here, the author argument begins for the need for clarity in psychology regarding development even after detection in teenage years. Adolescents try to cast off the conscience that parents, peers, friends, and society has forced on them (Allen, 2006). The primary problem then is to account for transformation by which unsocial infants become adults, structured in emotions, taking place in a complexly ordered society (Allport, 1995). Again, the author points to the neglect of transformation explanations, but gives an account as to the temporary preoccupation and underdevelopment stage. However, with some regularity, a child's character and mental health depend to a considerable extent upon his relationship with his mother (Allport, 1995). This he describes as affects from deficiencies or adequacies from childhood that are, regardless of their states, sometimes ineradicable. Still to the author, this understanding remains partial in grasping the process of becoming. The additional relationship circles around the child's natural state of being unsocial and control affiliations, all ranging up to and throughout adulthood. He remains coerced into conformity but not with complete success; he shows capacity at birth to resist impact of maternal and tribal demands (Allport, 1995). The author goes to support his claim and furthers that, a long life process to reconcile these two modes of becoming the personal versus the tribal.
The author attacks the poor defining concept of self in psychology and the empirical findings that render dissatisfactions with results of inadequacy. He argues for the distinction between matters of importance to an individual and matters of fact. He describes characteristics of our life or matters of importance, as not propriate functioning or not consistent to our sense of who we really are. These ideas only give way to his claim of need for a psychology of personality. He calls the ego or self the proprium in respect to behaviors of wholesomeness of warmth and innermost expressions of a unique individual's life. The opposite of one's proprium would describe easy met drives, tribal or cultural customs, and habits. To have a well-developed proprium, he speaks of eight mental mature characteristics or functions that may, as the proprium develops, concrete matching behavior recognized easily and applicable across cultures.
The author defensively refers to that of self-insight and declares it the most vital attribute of personality maturity; an acquired condition, knowing aspects of the proprium are engaged (Allport, 1995). He defends this stand declaring fusion and acquisitions of functions at every stage of becoming takes place. One common error in psychology is to center attention upon only one propriate function and attribute it to all or nearly all of the process of becoming (Allport, 1995). The author answers the question and determines the usefulness of all senses of the term self, ego, and proprium as data relevant to psychological scientific personality studies, again supporting his claim of need. How about the concept of emotion, an agitated state proven to claim a definition that clearly never describe propriate states consistently and therefore regarded separable from the proprium. Our discussion is primarily psychological, not philosophical....it is much easier to feel the self then to define it (Allen, 2006). He reiterates to critics that growth is part guided by propriate functions and also conditions and circumstances of life. He adds the part opportunistic that seeks aid in adjusting; these provide subsoil for propriate development for becoming.
The author appears to have placed blame on the swiftness and complexity of man's evolution for the current state of affairs. Furthering on propriate striving, he notes theories of motivation or excitability common assumption is that all behaviors are drive reductions toward equilibrium; the more severe the disturbance the greater is the urgency to reduce the tension (Allport, 1955). The fact declare that propriate striving can only confer unity of the personality, not the unity of completion.
Conscious is vital to personality growth regulating short-lived impulses and opportunistic adjustments for long-range goals (Allport, 1955). This plays out well contrasting childhood self-image and virtues in adult behaviors. Unlike childhood, adults hardly tie conscious to fear of discipline especially in reference to religion. Conscious personality is not always religious, as high moral character exists among the nonreligious (Allport, 1995). Existentialism calls for a set of guidelines of an active intellect and clarity on anxiety, courage, and freedom. These guidelines shape structure of the personality, which describe the challenge of becoming; what goes in comes as what comes out. Selected stimuli become important; they are intentions of propriate personality characters. Being cannot be assessed by the usual scientific or psychoanalytic methods, it can only be intuitively grasped (Allen, 2006). It is worth noting experimentalists are now working on the dynamics of value-schemata (Allport, 1955). It appears structure of personality understands value-schemata decisive factors of becoming. The religious insight, from a psychological view, the author claims it gives us only attachments to mysterious features of becoming. This appears to remain evident realistically. Becoming has been much more studied for years preceding puberty than for adolescent and adult years (Allport, 1955). The author quickly refers to the possibility of all phases of becoming remained subject to arrested development, and as a science, psychology cannot support or disapprove of religious foundational claims.
In concluding the support for the authors stand on becoming and his basic considerations for a psychology of personality, Gordon Allport (1995) and the honing in of the inclusive concept of the proprium has shared a holistic insight for all. Its value as a construct in personality theory remain highly plausible should rallied support from experimentalist and well as others. Regarding conscious, the author moves from childhood to adulthood, transitioning views from must to ought. Overall, I agree with the author's point of view, however, it appears that the future of a personality psychology already knows its quest. It appears all sciences need to encompass and consider the traditional thoughts and conditions of inner workings of the unique and dynamical personality in psychology. The author elaborately supported his stand while strategically exposing weak or fruitless premises among the leading schools of thought and those supporting them. I am in favor of the author's stand and look forward to the future for a psychology of personality supported by similar theorists. The author gives contemporary ways of psychology and all "sciences" a perception makeover in retrospect of American methodical formats.
- Allen, B. P. (2006). Personality theories. Boston, Ma: Pearson Education, Inc.
- Allport, G. W. (1955). Becoming; Basic considerations for a psychology of personality. Chelsea, Michigan: Bookcrafters, Inc.