Rollo May; “Free Love and the World be Damned!”

“Therapy isn’t curing somebody of something; it is a means of helping a person explore himself, his life, his consciousness. My purpose as a therapist is to find out what it means to be human”.RM

Rollo Reece May (April 21, 1909 – October 22, 1994) was an American existential psychologist. He was the author of the influential book Love and Will, which was published in 1969. He is often associated with both humanistic psychology and existentialist philosophy. He along with Viktor Frankl was a major proponent of “existential psychotherapy,” which seeks to analyze the structure of human existence with the aim of understanding the reality underlying all situations of humans in crises

“One does not become fully human painlessly”. RM

“Freedom is man’s capacity to take a hand in his own development. It is our capacity to mold ourselves.” RM

“Many people feel they are powerless to do anything effective with their lives. It takes courage to break out of the settled mold, but most find conformity more comfortable. This is why the opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it’s conformity”. RM

“To love means to open ourselves to the negative as well as the positive — to grief, sorrow, and disappointment as well as to joy, fulfillment, and an intensity of consciousness we did not know was possible before”. RM – Love and Will (1969)

May’s 5 types of love:

Sex: Lust, tension release

Eros: Procreative love, savoring, experiential

Philia: Brotherly love, liking

Agape: Unselfish love, devotion to the welfare of others

Authentic love: Incorporates all other types of love

May particularly investigated and criticized the “Sexual Revolution” in the 1960s, in which many individuals were exploring their sexuality. “Free sex” was replacing the ideology of free love. May explains that love is intentionally willed by an individual, whereas sexual desire is the complete opposite. Love is real human instinct reflected upon deliberation and consideration. May then shows that to give in to these impulses does not actually make one free, but to resist these impulses is the meaning of being free. May perceived the Hippie subculture and sexual mores of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as commercialization of sex and pornography, as having influenced society such that people believed that love and sex are no longer associated directly. According to May, emotion has become separated from reason, making it acceptable socially to seek sexual relationships and avoid the natural drive to relate to another person and create new life. May believed that sexual freedom can cause modern society to neglect more important psychological developments. May suggests that the only way to remedy the cynical ideas that characterize our times is to rediscover the importance of caring for another, which May describes as the opposite of apathy.

“Now it is no longer a matter of deciding what to do, but of deciding how to decide”. RM – Love and Will (1969)

The constructive schizoid person stands against the spiritual emptiness of encroaching technology and does not let himself be emptied by it. He lives and works with the machine without becoming a machine. He finds it necessary to remain detached enough to get meaning from the experience, but in doing so, to protect his own inner life from impoverishment” RM – Love and Will (1969)

Lucarduca’s ART

 

 

“Life comes from physical survival; but the good life comes from what we care about”. RM – Love and Will (1969)

One way in which Rollo proposes to fight anxiety is by displacing anxiety to fear as he believes that “anxiety seeks to become fear”. He claims that by shifting anxiety to a fear, one can therefore discover incentives to either avoid the feared object or find the means to remove this fear of it

“The chief problem of people in the middle decade of the twentieth century is emptiness”. RM – Man’s Search for Himself (1953)

“Finding the center of strength within ourselves is in the long run the best contribution we can make to our fellow men”.RM – Man’s Search for Himself (1953)

“Vanity and narcissism — the compulsive need to be admired and praised — undermine one’s courage, for one then fights on someone else’s conviction rather than one’s own”. RM – Man’s Search for Himself (1953)

“Creativity arises out of the tension between spontaneity and limitations” RM

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