Cultural Attitudes in Psychological Perspective
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
Matt Hartman is a freelance editor and cataloguer, running Hartman Cataloguing, Editing and Indexing Services.
Psychiatrist Henderson follows his Jungian roots through what he views as four approaches to the development of a Weltanschauung, described by Jung as having “much in common with an attitude... that has been formulated into concepts.” The awareness of the world is presented through the social attitude, the religious attitude, the aesthetic attitude, and the philosophic attitude; all these perceptive modes are predicated upon the differentiation between the subjective and objective predilections of the Persona.
Henderson hangs his theories on Jung’s “individuation” process, which the author’s glossary defines as “the conscious realization of one’s unique psychological reality, including both strengths and limitations. It leads to the experience of the Self as the regulating center of the psyche.”
With considerable erudition and formidable scholarship, he traces in the literature of sociology/anthropology, religion, aesthetics, and philosophy those themes which contain echoes of Jung’s analytical psychology, paying particular heed to Jungian archetypes as they have evolved from the collective unconscious to become guidelines of attitudinal behavior.
Henderson’s claim that psychology itself can take its rightful place among the cultural attitudes is, however, a hollow man; there can be no doubt that there are psychological overtones (insofar as Jung extended the bounds of human science from those first set out by Freud) sounded throughout the four attitudes. To extend and amplify these overtones — to make of them a category of behavior — is, however, unnecessary. Henderson’s thesis would be better served had it stopped short of such amplification and contented itself with showing (as the author brilliantly does) how Jung’s well-developed ideology is relevant to all the ways through which man communicates with his culture.