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Personality Theory - Victor Frankl Vs Carl Rogers

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PERSONALITY THEORY - CARL ROGERS AND VICTOR FRANKL

Why is it that man lives up to a certain point not knowing what the meaning of life is. Not knowing what path to follow, not knowing if the energy and courage to discover the truths of ones own existence in this world exist. Some persons will drive past a street child on Cape Town roads and look sideways in horror, quickly lock a car door with an "unapparent" elbow; warm, safe, and comfortable in the interior of a brand new sports model car. Others will look away and ignore the feelings of pity, or even perhaps swear or curse this annoyance. But why is it that some will open the window, offer a smile, and return home to sit quietly and try to find a means to correct this sadness. Be it cooking a meal to be delivered back to that robot, beginning the plans in opening a children's haven, or picking up the phone to urge officials to help correct the situation. Some will lie that night in a warm bed and worry about whether they remembered to post the telephone bill, yet others will lie imagining that small child sad at that robot, no shoes and the rain and ice of a Cape Town winter near, with no place to go.

Man is a social being with a purpose. No two persons have the same purpose, and no two person's journey to find that purpose is identical (quoted in Hergenhahn and Olson, 1999). That is the beauty of this world - each individual's life purpose contributes to a fully functioning world. For as many persons as there are in this world, there are as many paths to reach this state of self awareness or life contentment. For this reason, there are those that's body and soul long to perhaps fight in a war and destroy mankind, those that wish to save and protect strangers, and those that never take the leap of faith to find out where it is that he fits into this strange world that we live in. For it is one's personality, ones inner core, that is the deciding factor of ones relative position in any given society. Discovering this life purpose, and finding that one aspect of mankind that makes ones heart sore through the clouds, is paramount for self contentment and ultimately ones own happiness. It affects all actions and man's daily existence. Yet, that first step into this unknown world needs to be taken with nerve. It was once said by an unknown source that, "one can never hope to discover new oceans if one does not have the courage to lose sight of the shore" (Van Lennep, 2005, p.8).

According to Victor Frankl (quoted in Hergenhahn and Olson, 1999), "man has to first lose himself in order to find himself". Man is a spiritual being functioning principally on a conscious level, and has the spiritual capacity to transcend himself and reach for meaning (quoted in Hergenhahn and Olson, 1999). It is only through self-transcendence that man achieves greater clarity about himself. He learns to know himself precisely. Man must search for meaning in order to realize ones intended place in this world.

According to Carl Rogers (quoted in Hergenhahn and Olson, 1999):

All people are born with an actualizing tendency, which causes them to seek those experiences that will maintain and enhance their lives. This drives people towards greater complexity, independence, creativity, and social responsibility. Experiences are evaluated using the organismic valuing process that indicates if experiences are in tune with the actualizing tendency. Those experiences which cause satisfaction are sought; those experiences that are unsatisfying are avoided. Healthy persons use there organismic valuing processes as guides in living there lives".

Hence Victor Frankl (1999)and Carl Rogers (1999) emphasize the meaning in any life and the seeking of those experiences in life that will achieve and maintain life purpose and transcend ones "shell" of existence.

Personality can be defined as "the behavior pattern each person develops, both consciously and unconsciously, as a means of adapting to a certain environment and its cultural, ethnic, national, and provincial standards" (Anderson, 2002, p.1323). "The presenting mood, interests, self esteem and vaue system are important indicators of the personality" (Baumann, 1998, p.55).

DETERMINANTS:

SOCIOCULTURAL DETERMINANTS: Man's personality can be viewed as a combination of the many roles that he plays. Culture, to a large extent, determines what one considers appropriate actions. If one deviates from that appropriate range, social pressures will confront you in some form. The socioeconomic level of ones family, family size, birth order, ethnic identification, religion, and the education of self and ones family are other examples of sociocultural truths that affect ones personality (quoted in Hergenhahn and Olson, 1999). After all, one simply does not have the same experiences in different homes. This affects ones personality to a limited extent since one will still strive to discover that same life purpose, yet perhaps in a slightly different context. For instance, say it was ones ability to sing that one discovered. In a Xhosa, upper-class, South African family one would perhaps grasp and master Hip Hop or Kwaito as a style of performance. Yet, an English, middle-class, Italian person would perhaps perform Opera. So, ones culture does not affect the direction of ones search for life purpose, but rather the context in which it is found. As Carl Rogers (1999) said, "the only reality that I can possibly know is the world as I perceive and experience it at the moment." This subjective world we live in, not the physical world, determines behavior. When experiences are symbolized, they enter awareness and become part of the phenomenological field (their subjective world) (quoted in Hergenhahn and Olson, 1999).

EXISTENTIAL - HUMANISTIC CONSIDERATIONS: Humans are free and are thus responsible in choosing the path towards ones own destiny, and to make choices as a human being. Subjective feelings and personal experiences are extremely important. People are concerned with the meaning of life. Humans have the capacity for improvement and people are urged to explore new possibilities for living in the attempt to find more effective choices. Each uniquely existing human is continually attempting to actualize himself in a threatening world, but the accompanying risk and the existential anxiety cause him to back off. Here, man is unwilling to actualize his potential in an independent manner, and so deprives himself of the most important aspect that motivates personality (quoted in Hergenhahn and Olson, 1999). As Victor Frankl (1999) said, existential frustration exists where the will

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