Fritz Kunkel and We-Psychology

Fritz Künkel isn’t really a historical figure that you would most naturally gravitate towards to find inspiration from since he is rumored to have supported the Nazi regime (although apparently never openly expressing anti-semitism). It’s worth noting that there’s enough evidence to support that he did not, in fact, support the Nazis at all. Eh. Neither here nor there.

But it’s what he did after that period of life that inspired me the other day as I read more about his work in psychometric study and psychology. He eventually coined the term “We-Psychology” and expressed a unique objective: To understand the development and operation ofof egocentricity as it relates to God.

He synthesized an explicitly religious psychology based on Freud, Adler, and Jung – his starting point? The question of why it is so difficult to move beyond the self. Unlike Jung Kunkel believed it was more than just knowledge that brought a man into greater clarity of his relationship with the spiritual world and especially with fellow man.

He went on to describe specifically Christ’s paradoxical teaching that “he who would save his life must lose it” (Luke 9:24) and how it appears to be that in order to save one’s life – that is to really live – they must lose that which appears to be their life and the system of mistake ideas and values.

The solution? The person must involve “finding one’s place within the service of the we,” that is through commitment to and engagement with others. Fascinating, right?

Now regardless of his personal historical affiliations – and it seems that he’s changed his perspective over time – the point is very clear: To understand ourselves we must engage with others, commit ourselves to one another, and serve each other well.

This is why I partner with other people in my startups and why I do team-based coaching via ChairCo – I learn more about myself and do better work when I invest in others as part of the growing business and venture.

There is something powerful with Kunkel’s “We-ness” and “We-Psychology” – I think we all know it intuitively which is always surprising when I see so many people go it alone. I coached someone even last night 1:1 via Skype (thank goodness for technology) and all he needed was a little direction, some encouragement, and a 3rd party objective voice to be a sounding board for his vision and dreams. I love being part of that “We-ness,” I love being used in that way.

How often are you being a part of the “we” in your network and relationships? Are you just “there” or are you actually engaged?