||CHAPTER 11: TASKS OF THE NEW PSYCHOLOGY||Page 33|
(continued on next page)
The new psychology must teach the skills of affiliation. From our study of autobiographies, we have seen that these skills include the willingness to compromise and accept group discipline, the courage to give of oneself and to accept criticism, while curbing the excessive criticism of others, and the patience to help others develop their own unique powers of thought, feelings, and actions. Given the emphasis on "individualism" in the U.S., it is not surprising that introductory psychology books give almost no space to these skills.
The old psychology must be replaced. Like most of our educational system, supports the "myth of individualism." Competition and individualism begin from the first grades of school when they are called "cheating" and they extend throughout a person's academic career, including the Ph.D. process which must be done without assistance, and the tenure process. In psychology departments, co-authored papers are often discounted as evidence for tenure because they do not prove the "individual competence" of the candidate. It is a myth that the U.S. is ruled by such "individualism." In fact, the bankers, corporation managers, military officers, and government officials derive their power not from individualism but from a network of collective action and affiliation. It is even indicated in the words they use such as "corporations."
What are the factors that cause people to affiliate? What are the qualities that an organization needs in order to involve more people in its work? What is the psychology of recruiting and training new members? How does one design an organization and train its members so that it can analyze situations clearly and take effective action? These are some of the questions that the new psychology will face. Here we may take advantage of the work previously done by industrial and management psychology that was developed to serve capitalist business. In order to answer these questions, the new psychologists will have to be themselves affiliated so that they speak from practical experience. Already, we have such groups as Psychologists for Social Responsibility, as well as similar groups for Educators and Physicians and the more traditional peace and justice organizations, where psychologists can develop and practice the skills of affiliation.
The new psychology has a special role to play in helping activists achieve personal integration of their political lives. Burnout becomes more of a risk when activists are faced with an increasing number of potential actions and organizational commitments. If one tries to engage in every action and work with every organization, the task becomes overwhelming. Instead, activists must learn to share the load with others and develop a stable and supportive family and work situation for sustainable, long-term activity.
It is true that the clinical practice of psychotherapy is devoted to the issues of personal integration, but by itself that is not enough. Without the explicit commitment to values of peace and justice, and to action in the cause of these values, the practice of psychotherapy leads only to individualism, the satisfaction of private needs, and withdrawal from the struggles of history which is the only arena in which consciousness can fully develop. We need to develop more "movement psychotherapists" who place the problems of personal integration squarely within the framework of commitment to action and affiliation for peace and justice. Rather than practicing in isolated fashion or small groups, as is done today, the new clinicians should be joined together as a major component of the new psychology and the peace movement as a whole.
Finally, the highest challenge to the new psychology is to help train leaders of the peace movement who have attained world-historic consciousness. As developed by Debs, DuBois, and King, such leadership overcomes sectarianism and unifies all anti-war constituencies into one great working force for peace. It knows the mood of the people. It can analyze the strengths and weaknesses of all political forces in a systemic and radical, not superficial, way. It organizes and broadens the political character of the movement to keep it in step with history. And today, unlike any time in the past, it must grasp and express the emerging vision of peace and give inspiration to the peace movement for the decisive struggles ahead.
The task of developing leadership with world-historic consciousness is not a task for psychology alone, but is a central task of the peace movement as a whole, in which the new psychology should be thoroughly integrated. Out of the peace movement there will emerge leaders who have the qualities of world-historic consciousness and who have made their work for peace not only a profession, but the very core of their being. As Debs puts it, these are the "social builders." Helping to recognize and develop such leaders is the highest task to which the new psychology is called.
(end of Chapter 11)