Positive Disintegration

So true:

We don’t like to talk seriously about our values—and certainly not how they relate to mental health of individuals and nations—because such conversations, if honest, would necessitate change. And nobody likes change. 

via Third Factor


He also noted that all creative people who have left the positive mark on the world—especially artists, philosophers, moral exemplars and saints—frequently struggled with similar psychological difficulties which, painful as they were, often enriched their characters, stimulated their creativity, and propelled their development.

Thus, rather than pathologize such symptoms or otherwise make his patients conform to the status quo, Dabrowski stressed their positive value as both harbingers and mechanisms of personality development.

His clinical experience led him to develop the theory of positive disintegration (TPD), which posits that, far from being destructive and undesirable, many forms of psychological suffering—anxiety, depression, doubts, inner conflicts, even psychosis—are positive and necessary for emotional and personality development.

More often than not, they are expressive of the emerging understanding of the multilevel nature of reality, inner and external, and, related, an objectively existing hierarchy of human values. This understanding becomes a basis of personality growth through positive disintegration.

So many of our personal and professional breakthroughs have been a result of the near-total annihilation of oneself, in an almost-preparatory and necessary way.

I think of many of the trials that I’ve had that have opened up new frontiers, new realities, and new opportunities for me to explore. It required death to oneself, mortification even.

Fascinating how we can’t seem to escape this apparently natural cycle of how life really operates — between life, death, and everything in-between.