10 Pages

etting In toO Ou tofO ’ s S

Sullivan (1953,1954) postulated as the impetus behind human personality development that the power invested in thought must be superseded by the ability to see things as other people see them through the capacity for conceptual, objectively modifiable organization of experience. In other words, magical thinking must give way to shared rules (usually totally out of awareness) through which reality is constructed and judged. In a relatively well-functioning individual these rules are not conscious; they simply serve as the organizing mental structures which shape immediate experience into broad patterns of meaning. Focal involvement is normally not with the rules governing reality but is centered on whatever current, ongoing aspect of the world is commanding attention. To put it another way, reality is nor­ mally generated as we participate in it, rather than it being simply an internal template which we apply to the outside world in our biological need to adapt. In a given social situation we "know " which rules frame ongoing reality without knowing that we know, because we are creating "new " rules at any specific moment within the context of applying the shared internalized ones. It is this ability that gives spontaneity to our lives and a sense of continuity to feeling "real" in the real world, and it is this ability which in the primitive mental state of chronic schizoid detachment is wholly or partially lacking (Bromberg, 1979, and chapter 6).