The Three Life Tasks

By
Rudolf Dreikurs, M.D.

 

I.   Work

The three life tasks, Work, Love, and Friendship, may be regarded as representing all

the claims of the human community. Ultimately right fulfillment depends on the development of social interest and readiness to co-operate. Consequently if one of the tasks is evaded difficulties will sooner or later be experienced in fulfilling the others also. Occasionally it may seem as if one of the tasks is completely fulfilled, while no real effort is made to fulfill the others. The most striking examples of this apparent inconsistency are found in the different ways in which the same individual seems to regard the tasks of work and love, but closer examination reveals conflict and uncertainty and a very superficial and insecure feeling of happiness beneath all the apparent harmony. In the end the apparent success and evasion can always be reduced to a common denominator. The consistent life plan invariably decided whether and how any achievement is to be attempted or evaded.

Any apparent inconsistency in fulfilling the three life tasks results partly from differences in the demands they make on the courage and social interest which is necessary for their fulfillment. Most people somehow fulfill the occupational task. Only the most discouraged people evade it, which is why inability to work is often regarded as being in itself a symptom of a serious illness. Of the three tasks the occupational task is still the most important for the maintenance of life, and non-fulfillment of it almost imperils existence. Some people devote practically the whole of what capacity for so-operation they have to fulfilling the occupational task. Also, though they could not do their work if other people did not cooperate with them, they are able to maintain a certain distance in their relationships with their fellow workers, for few people devote their whole personality to their work. The more demand the work makes on the whole personality the more plainly every defect of the personality is betrayed.

Occupational work may be defined as any kind of work which is useful to the community. It is by no means restricted to work which is remunerated by a wage or its monetary equivalent, but includes the work of the housewife and voluntary worker at welfare centers, provided that such work is not done at irregular intervals as the individual alone sees fit, but as a regular responsibility and obligation. The ultimate test is whether or not useful work is done for the commonweal. Under our present social system recognition of work most often takes the form of monetary remuneration. On the other hand the money paid to a shareholder corresponds to no kind of occupational work. But we shall be justified if we include preparation for a trade or profession in our definition of occupational work.

As occupational work is characterized by the value it has for other people, it seems to be connected with the idea of duty. It certainly deprives the worker of some opportunities to indulge his whims and inclinations which he had when he was not a worker. Apart from quite small children and old and infirm people there are few human beings whom special circumstances exempt from all occupational duties. All other people have some kind of work to do in the interest of their fellow beings, or have a certain necessary function to perform for the human community.

There are differences in the age at which different people begin to have work to do. Girls are usually given some duties to carry out for the family much earlier than their brothers. The more the child evades useful work the more difficult the occupational task appears. This applies to spoiled children whose duties the parents try to shoulder. On the other hand it applies with equal or even greater force to willful and stubborn children who succeed in evading the duties allotted to them by their parents. However, every child is compelled to face the occupational task as soon as he becomes of school age.

The fact that we all have to take over duties does not mean that duty is necessarily characterized by being disagreeable, as many people think. Duties should not supersede the child’s games, but grow out of them in fulfillment of the laws of organic development. After all, games constitute a necessary preparation for practical life and in this way they are also connected with preparation for an occupation. Unless wrong approaches are used, it is easy to get the child to undertake duties which are harnessed to games. The apparent contradiction between games and duties exists only for adults, for the child takes his games at least as seriously as the adult his duties. It seems as if this contradiction must have been suggested by mistakes in upbringing. The child sensed that strong pressure was being brought to bear on him and resisted it, and finally allowed himself to be betrayed into a hostile attitude.

If hostility to duty develops during childhood, it generally persists in some form throughout the remainder of life. But it is not in the least necessary to feel resentful about duty. There are many people who derive a feeling of genuine satisfaction and happiness from the fulfillment of obligations in any form, including even the fulfillment of occupational tasks under difficulties, while other people cannot be induced to undertake any occupational tasks no matter how pleasant the conditions of work may be. Ultimately readiness to take over occupational tasks depends on the individual’s attitude to society. Only a positive attitude to society permits any satisfaction in making useful contributions to the commonweal.

Difficulties in fulfilling the occupational task arise out of difficulties connected with the problem of personal prestige. We have seen how strongly a feeling of inferiority can affect the individual’s attitude to society. The more he is oppressed by a feeling of being lower or less adequate than the others, the more he will try in all he does to overcome it. He will do his utmost to influence events in a way which he thinks will help him to win greater significance. He will tend to think of his work less as a useful contribution to the community than as a circumstance which helps or hinders him in his struggle for prestige. The feeling of inferiority may be aggravated in occupations which are regarded as menial and in subordinate positions where one depends on the arbitrary authority and “prestige-hunger” of a capricious superior.

Many people are ready to put their hearts into their work only on one condition—that is to say, only when they feel that it involves no danger to their prestige but satisfaction of their ambition. They dislike their work as soon as they feel that their personal prestige is threatened, whether by humiliation and slights of the most various kinds, or by possible failures which will prove that they are unfitted to do the work. Nor can one who feels that he is being undervalued or exploited feel happy in his work.

If one begins to evade the occupational task he does so either by skillfully and more or less “unconsciously” accumulating difficulties which make it impossible for him to go on working, or he will suddenly become quarrelsome and irritable and develop nervous symptoms which interfere with his work. These nervous symptoms are generally disturbance of thinking, lack of concentration, deficiencies of memory which often are attributed to insomnia; or we find functional disturbances of the motor activity, cramps which interfere with certain occupations such as writer’s cramp.

As a rule these methods of evading the occupational task are employed when failures threaten or have already occurred. Occasionally, however, we find an individual resorting to the same methods immediately after he has achieved an outstanding success as he thinks that people will now expect him to go on achieving successes on the same level and does not feel able to do so.

Even the crucial moments at which various types of people evade the occupational task may be characteristic. Some break down just before they reach their desired goal, others just after reaching it. This behavior, which is typical of some individuals and constantly recurs, can always be traced back to an expectation that personal prestige is at stake. Many people content themselves with insinuating that they could achieve special successes in some occupation but never attempt to achieve them because they are afraid that if they do their best their want of capacity will be revealed. It depends on how much courage they have whether they turn away from the path to achievement at the very beginning, perhaps by constantly chopping and changing from one kind of occupational training to another, i.e., by hesitating between several occupations, or whether they face about just before they reach the goal of achievement. The worker who breaks down when he reaches the goal or after he has reached it is afraid of not being able to hold the position he has gained.

If any nervous or characterological disturbance interferes with an individual’s work, he will not feel completely fit to work again until his life plan has been explained to him and his over-wining ambition corrected by psychotherapy. Naturally, any ambition which he can satisfy without trespassing beyond the boundaries of useful achievement will not cause any disturbance in his life, but on the contrary will provide a special impulse for doing extremely valuable work.

While nonfulfillment of any of the life tasks is at once the expression of undeveloped social interest and an experience which aggravates the feeling of inferiority, failure to fulfill the occupational task—that is to say, unemployment is the heaviest burden any human being can have to bear.6 The burden of unemployment weighs most heavily on people who have met with failures in their love life and in their friendships. These people have no other effective ways of keeping in touch with the community. They do not know how to feel useful except in their work. Some of them may have utilized excessive professional ambition as an excuse for evading the love task or for failing to form friendships. It is very understandable that they should feel that the involuntary termination of occupational employment owing to illness, reduction of staff or superannuation spells complete expulsion from the human community. Sundays and holidays have a similar deadening effect on such people. For when work no longer provides them with an outlet, their failures in love and friendship become all the more conspicuous.

II.    Love

In contrast to the occupational task the love task is fulfilled comparatively rarely at the present time. On the one hand defective social interest can more readily reveal itself in evasion on this task, because the consequences of evasion do not seriously limit the chances of maintaining life. On the other hand right fulfillment of the love task demands a maximum of social interest, because it involves the closest of all contacts between two human beings, tests their capacity for co-operation to the utmost and destroys the distance which can always be preserved in occupational and social relationships. Further, fulfillment of the love task is bound up with special difficulties at the present time.

By right fulfillment of the love task is meant close union of mind and body and utmost possible cooperation with a partner of the other sex. Such a solution of the problem can be reached only if each partner fully accepts the other and a feeling of mutual obligation grows up between them.

There are several reasons why this task appears to offer more difficulties nowadays than in the past and is fulfilled by only a small number of people. It is obvious that people are less courageous today than they were in the past. Their want of courage is due not merely to economic and social insecurity but also to the smallness of most present day families, for when there are only a few children the danger of spoiling is much greater. We have seen that the more discouraged people are the more value they set on what they regard as their prestige and the more desperately they fight for it. Today the struggle between the sexes for prestige is more bitter than it was in the past. The reason is that the already precarious balance between man and woman has been violently upset of recent years. Formerly on sex was subordinate to the other. This inequality was always a source of sufficiently serious disturbances to make the scales waver, for repression always evokes resistance. Nevertheless, solidarity of the male sex, that woman had to resign herself to her fate of playing second fiddle. During the last decades, however, as a result of changes in the economic, social and political institutions of human society, masculine supremacy, which had existed since civilization began, was undermined. This gave woman an opportunity for rejecting her subordinate role. All men and women individually were then obliged to win a position for themselves in relation to the other sex instead of having their position allotted to them by a hard and fast system. Woman now seeks to obtain equal rights with man, if she does not strive for superiority as over-compensation for her past subjection. Man fears to lose the superiority which was assumed to belong to his sex.

So men and women are now running after a masculine ideal, which no longer corresponds to anything that exists in reality. They measure their own value, expressed in what they are and do, by a standard of masculine superiority, which, as we have seen, they set up for themselves in childhood. This standard can only have corresponded to facts as they were in the time of the absolute autocracy as they are now. Most people have a strong “masculine protest” because their idea of their own value compares so unfavorably with their masculine ideal.

This masculine protest seriously hinders co-operation between sexual partners. Women now revolt much more frequently and violently against the role of their sex than they did in the days when they had fewer rights and were kept in greater subjection. Men, too, are troubled more than ever before by doubts as to their own manhood, doubts which sufficiently explain not only their horror of marriage, but also the fear of any deep love relationship which they so frequently betray.

Together with this difficulty in fulfilling the love task, which arises out of the struggle between men and women for prestige, we find the problem of sexuality. Apparently, however, this second difficulty is quite independent of the first. Very few people are just as natural in their attitude toward sex as they are toward any other biological problem of natural science. A very widespread fear of sexuality weakens the comradeship—already so deficient—which should exist between man and woman.

Is there any natural foundation in human modes of thought and feeling for this special attitude to sex? Freud thinks that the fact of people living together under civilized conditions, which involves the necessity for guarding against incest, is responsible. It is at least true that the human attitude toward sexuality is characterized by shame. Shame alone gives certain natural processes a meaning which they would not otherwise have, and shame is undoubtedly a product of social conventions. There is no natural shame. Otherwise the motives for shame would not differ in different ages among different peoples. Shame presupposes the existence of certain laws and rules, the observance of which it guarantees. The educators try to train the child to obey the laws which are changing gradually.

The purpose and origin of shame are plainly recognizable in the view people take of the act of defecation. The child must learn clean habits if he is to be properly adjusted to civilized conditions of life. At first he cannot control his digestive mechanism and naturally at the same time his interest is aroused. The object of the upbringing is to change this. Unfortunately the method generally employed is an unsuitable as most of the methods employed in upbringing. The educators try to suggest to the child that there is something disgusting about metabolic functions and the organs which perform them. This is the method which suggests itself most readily to them since they were familiarized with it through the mistakes of their own upbringing. So they say, “Ugh, how nasty! How horrible! No, that isn’t at all nice! You disgusting child!” The more easily and skillfully the educators can teach the child clean habits, the less emphasis they place on metabolic functions and the more natural the processes of defecation appear.

Children who have ranged themselves against their parents and have some grievance against them are inclined to frustrate the parents’ efforts to teach them cleanliness. Educators use terms and expressions of disgust more freely against these children than against any others. It follows that the clean habits which the children do finally learn will be associated in their minds with an unusually keen sense of shame.

Shame is akin to aversion and it is noteworthy that aversion characterizes people who are inclined to resist the laws of the community. Just as shame and aversion indicate that the child is resisting pressure brought to bear on him by upbringing, these feelings are employed in later life as ready excuses for further evasions of certain tasks.

The close similarity between shame and aversion is the origin of the error which associates defecation with the sexual function. Therefore the tendency to regard the excretory organs and the sexual organs with similar feelings of shame and aversion is purely and simply the result of identical educational methods.

The question of why people repudiate their sexual desires by a trick of repression similar to the feeling of shame which distorts their view of the act of defecation now claims our attention. The need for cleanliness certainly complicates the problem of defecation, but why must people subject their sexuality to such a strong external check?

We know that the Mohammedans, for instance, have particularly strict shame laws. At the same time we are bound to notice that their women have be shorn of their rights that they have been practically enslaved. Masculine domination has never been so barefaced as it was among the Mohammedans until a short time ago. This is not to be regarded as a coincidence. Subjection of one sex is always found side by side with particularly strict sexual laws, which operate chiefly against the subjected sex. So in the time of the matriarchy men were forced into a position allotted to the women by our social code until the end of the last century.

As people did not know the real reasons, they thought that shame belonged to the nature of woman and attributed its existence to the wisdom of a divine law. Only the collapse of masculine autocracy in our time has made it clear that woman’s greater feeling of shame has nothing to do with her function as mother, for even in the time of the matriarchy when shame had not yet taught her to be submissive, she had to bear children. So the sense of shame which society requires of a woman proves to be a means for keeping her sexually and personally dependent on man. By demanding virginity and forbidding intercourse outside marriage man kept virgo intacta completely in his power.

Shame laws were directed exclusively against woman, but of course they could not fail to impose some checks on man also, even though he was little restricted sexually. First of all, he could not get away from the fact that he always needed a woman as his partner. Secondly, he was obliged to mount guard as husband, father and brother over woman’s honor, and lastly he was himself the son of a woman, whose feeling of shame had helped to confuse him when he began to acquire sexual knowledge.

It was necessary to go into this somewhat lengthy discussion of shame in order to show that even the social problems of sexuality turn entirely on the rivalry between man and woman. Nowadays when the feeling in favor equality of rights between man and woman is steadily gaining ground, shame complicates sexual problems relatively less, merely because it is no longer necessary for keeping woman in subjection and depriving her of rights. Already it is possible to write and speak openly about these questions. This in itself shows that shame has nothing whatever to do with a danger of incest, which, of course, is hardly more common in our times than it was in the past. Further, this danger does not really exist. Children do not seek sexual intercourse with their parents; neither do healthy parents have such desires. So the fact that human beings live together in civilized communities is not in the least responsible for the tendency to ban sexuality or regulate it by a system of punishments and sanctions.

Nor can any responsibility for this tendency be attached to culture. Culture is not a sublimation of sexuality, but the fulfillment of man’s desire to overcome a feeling of weakness and inadequacy.

The nearer we approach the goal of equality of rights between man and woman, and the less danger there is of subjection of one sex to the other, the easier it will become for human beings to regard their sexuality as naturally and fearlessly as any other problem of natural science.

Humanity is still under the spell of fear of everything sexual which has been instilled into every child. Above all, girls can easily get the impression from what they observe and hear and from experiences shared with other people that sexuality involves a special danger for woman. It is a source of disgrace and dishonor. It is the cause of pregnancy with all its perils and suffering. On these grounds a prejudice against men is often formed at an early age. Many women regard themselves as mere objects for satisfying man’s desires and think that he derives only pleasure and they only harm from sexuality.

Adolescents will always continue to form mistaken ideas and magnify certain dangers they see in sexuality until explanations of sexuality are made as dispassionate and straightforward as the explanations given in all other branches of knowledge which help to fit the child for life.

If the educators themselves have no fear of sexuality they need not regard the presentment of sexuality, on which so much depends, as a difficult task. All they have to do is reply in language which the child can understand to the questions he asks at a very early age ­– often when he is only three to four years old. If they adhere strictly to the language of the child’s questions their explanations will be given naturally and easily, since the child goes on asking questions only in so far as his understanding permits him to frame them.

In additions to the masculine protest (which arises out of the doubt felt by both man and woman in their ability to play a superior masculine role) and fear of sexuality, a third difficulty impedes fulfillment of the love task - namely, the difficulty people have in submitting to a union. Anyone who has resented compulsion and dependence in childhood easily imagines that freedom and independence give a secure and lasting feeling of personal value, and anyone who is conscious of being weak fears a close union which may reveal this weakness. As men think they are expected to play a superior role but know how little fitted they are to play it well, they fear union much more nowadays than women do. Women on the other hand require the surrender of the man’s whole personality, and overestimate the value of such a surrender, because they regard it as a pledge or token which they ought to receive in recognition of the sacrifice they consider they make by yielding. So the sexes turn the question of union into a dispute about prices, each trying to gain an advantage over the other. In particular, the union which involves the most far reaching consequences, that is to say marriage, often proves to be of greater social and economic advantage to the woman than it is to the man. The wish to gain complete possession of somebody is expressed most plainly by jealousy. Jealousy is never a sign of love. It only indicates fear of not being able to hold another person.

The role of virginity nowadays complicates the difficulties connected with sexuality and the real or imaginary sacrifices demanded by union. Although society no longer requires women to practice chastity so strictly as in the past, the transition from virginity to womanhood still represents an insoluble problem for many women. They fear the step which makes them complete women. This is, of course, due both to their upbringing and to their attitude toward sexuality. The dread of losing virginity is particularly marked in women how regard everything sexual as beastly and degrading and therefore resent the manifestations of their womanhood, as for example menstruation. (This resentment is the origin of many menstrual and premenstrual disorders.) On the other hand many men no longer regard virginity as an estimable or particularly valuable quality of womanhood. This, of course, is only because he wishes to evade responsibility, because he fears that too close a tie will bind the woman to him, and because- unlike men in the past- he does not want to play the part of the first man in a woman’s life. (So he voluntarily surrenders the most characteristic position of masculine supremacy.)

In view of what has been said it becomes easy to understand why the love task is seldom satisfactorily fulfilled. It requires the exercise of great courage on the part of each individual. For this reason the love life of so many people is based on evasion of the real solution, and so many mistaken experiments and evasive arrangements are made by married and unmarried partners.

People betray their want of courage even in their choice of a love partner. We have only to observe how the feeling of love grows and declines to realize over and over again that the human beings not controlled by irresponsible urges, as he likes to think. In reality his intentions control his apparently automatic “urges.” People are easily deceived by an alleged contradiction between emotion and reason. If they cannot justify their intentions by an appeal to reason they say that emotion and reason are irreconcilable and they rely on an emotion, which appears to be independent of their will, and therefore irresponsible, to execute their intentions. Sexuality is by nature without direction. The direction it eventually takes depends entirely on the individual’s choice of a personal goal.

Many people drift into unhappy love affairs, chiefly because they are capable of loving only while real union is impossible. They give the impression that they would like to take steps to fulfill the love task. In reality they have no intention of doing so. Instead of admitting that they are at fault in some way, they pretend that they are the victims of their emotions- victims of a fate which stands between them and fulfillment of their desire. Desire and emotion are strongest when the individual is least prepared to take any step in the direction of real solution. No love seems so passionate as unrequited love, or the love that can never hope for fulfillment because external circumstances make a union impossible. The wildest erotic fancies fill the minds of people who are anxious to evade every practical possibility of a union. In their day dreams they go on a quest which they never undertake in real life. On the other hand their emotion usually begins to decline as soon as it becomes possible for them to realize their “wishes.” In this way they show how skillfully they can use their emotion as a weapon for resisting the demands of a union and for evading reality. Often a love emotion banished altogether if the danger of a close union arises. A desire for distance may cause one partner to draw away from the other. This is what happens in marriage when distance, which could be maintained previous to marriage, is inevitably decreased by living together.

A particularly clear example of the way in which emotion can be employed for creating distance is to be found in the tendency to feel an attraction to more than one person at the same time. This is sometimes regarded as an argument in favor of the view that some human beings have dual personalities. The reason why people so often seen to find their physical ideal in one person and their spiritual ideal in another is that they do not wish to give themselves completely to either, and so are determined to go only halfway in accepting either. The tendency to create distance in a marriage may be expressed by a sudden passion for a third person. The Don Juan type uses every new love emotion to end an old liaison. It may be that the Don Juan and the vamp owe their numerous conquests to the fact that they are the most unsuitable partner to have.

In particular, all perversions show how people choose wrongly in order to evade the love task. A long training prepares the way for these perversions and accustoms the naturally blind sexual urge to objects which make a natural love choice impossible. Likewise, people who say that they are incapable of experiencing love emotions or allege the impossibility of finding a love partner show that they intend to evade the love task.

Even if a successful love choice is made and leads to marriage or a union outside of marriage, the subsequent history of the relationship often shows how perverse the choice really was. It is not at all rare for people to choose and assign a value to their partners chiefly on account of their faults (though, of course, they do not admit this) so that later on they can shift the whole blame for disaster on to the partner. SO many people have too little self confidence to try to find lasting happiness in love. They feel all the more uncertain of themselves if in childhood they saw how difficulty the love task could be. It is natural for children whose parents live unhappily together to overestimate the difficulty of this task. In their caution they choose unwisely and give their love to somebody who fulfills their desire for superiority or defensiveness. We may be sure that the man who accuses his wife of want of independence chose her for the very reason that her need for someone to lean on made his superiority apparent, and that the man who complains that his wide is masterful and tyrannical really chose that kind of wife because she looked after him, took all responsibility off his shoulders and mothered him.

Under cover of illness also people may attempt to evade a union or to create distance after a union has been consummated. Illness as a mode of evading the love task includes perversions, sexual impotence and frigidity, which are not organic in origin and are therefore forms of neurosis.

Courage to accept a partner of the opposite sex is necessary for fulfillment of the love task. This suggests an answer to the question: what is love? Desire and acceptance of the partner is essential. If the partners accept each other desire is awakened, and, unless it is intended to keep open a way of retreat, leads to fulfillment of the love task. The partner is not then regarded as a mere object, but is joyfully accepted as a fellow human being. Love is a task for two. When two people completely want and accept each other the problem is solved.

 

III.   Friendship

No one is ever in touch with the whole human community. Each individual is connected with only a few people, but in his relations with them h expresses his attitude to the whole community. Once we know how a man gets on wit the other members of his family and his fellow workers, whether he has many friends and how much trouble he takes in order to enjoy the society of other people we have the key to his personality and know more or less what to expect of him. The human being has to establish social relationships and come into contact with other people in order to satisfy an everyday need. The way he behaves to other people is a most trustworthy indication of whose social interest is comparatively undeveloped fulfill the occupational task relatively well and on the other hand people wit the average amount of social interest nowadays encounter special difficulties in fulfilling the love task, but each person’s social relationships reflect faithfully his attitude to society. No external pressure compels fulfillment of this task as is the case with the occupational task; on the other hand it is not complicated like the love task by difficulties which go deeper than ordinary human relationships. Everyone is free to decide whether and to what extent he will form friendships, adapt himself to friends and co-operate with them, or whether he will choose solitude and detachment. He uses his judgment spontaneously in these matters. Therefore the way in which he fulfils the task of friendship is the best measure of the strength of his social interest.

A man who makes a muddle of his social relationships will, of course, try to excuse himself before his own conscience, as he does when he fails in the other life tasks. He will blame the mistakes of others for his own mistakes conduct. He may be inclined to regard all other people as worse than himself- more selfish, more disagreeable, and more difficult to get along with. This attitude is adopted by people who are conscious of any kind of deficiency when they compare themselves with other and fell that they cannot quite keep pace wit them or compete with them. They can even make a virtue of an inferiority by attributing their failures to their “fineness of feeling,” their good-nature, or some other supposed quality. In the end they withdraw into a “splendid isolation” and seem to think it worth their while to break off their friendships with other people, because the other people deserve nothing better.

A hostile attitude to society may be concealed beneath pseudo-ethical or philosophical ideas. It is not at all unusual to find a small clique closing itself against the community. Properly developed social interest is ready to recognize the needs of society and above every small group. The small group is generally actuated by selfish interests and tends to range itself against society just as the neurotic ranges himself against his fellow human beings. Family solidarity frequently helps to strengthen feelings that are hostile to the community. A love union may grow out of the partners’ common hostility to other people. It may be a union which seems to offer a complete solution of the love problem, but no attempt is made to solve the problem of wider social relationships. The apparent solidarity of these narrow associations, which are formed from motives of hostility to the great human community, recalls the semblance of solidarity found outside the human community among criminals.

Interest in other people also leads us to make efforts to understand universal problems which unite large groups of people. So the individual’s attitude to politics is typical of his attitude to his fellow beings. A man who holds aloof from all political discussions, and does not try to help in any active or positive way to solve the problems of the community, and so does not support any of the existing political movements, betrays his lack of interest in universal problems. He may excuse himself on the ground that all the political programs are inadequate and that political life is full of absurdities and abuses. If he were really community minded he would be willing to co-operate even when things are not done just as he thinks they should be done. We never find a community, a movement or a system of through which entirely corresponds to our views. No one who is continually emphasizing how much he differs from other people and regard the differences as all-important will be able to co-operate. The individualist arrives at his intellectual and emotional conclusions by a private logic, which is biased by secret hostility to other people and amounts to hostility to the whole society.

Reserved feelings may be concealed by exaggerations in social relationships just as easily as by any other tricks. Many people who are very active in politics and other spheres are actuated less by social interest than by their prestige-hunger, and many ultra-sociable people are secretly lonely and isolated. Even the hail-fellow-well-met person can make it impossible for other people to get any idea of what he is really like by keeping his inmost thoughts, feelings, conflicts and problems to himself. He takes refuge in sociability in order to evade more significant human relationships, whether in his family or in a circle of friends.

 

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