Do you agree with or disagree with ?

Rollo May's belief that much of human behavior is motivated by an underlying sense of anxiety and dread?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    Terrific question!

    Because May's brand of psychology was rooted in existentialism (philosophy and psychology), I believe it's important to illuminate -and subsequently debate- the terms "anxiety" and "dread."

    For example, May's definition of "anxiety" is: "the apprehension cued off by a threat to some value which the individual holds essential to his existence as a self." To me, that's quite different than what comes to mind for the average person when s/he thinking about anxiety.

    I believe it's important to position a bit of his life so as to understand where his "thinking" arose from ... for example, he spent three years in a sanatorium suffering from tuberculosis, daily confronted by the possibility of his death. During this period he engrossed himself in reading and took a particular fondness for the works of the Danish, existential philosopher Soren Kierkegaard who quipped, "Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom." May's psychological theory was inspired by Kierkegaard's work.

    As is often said of Rollo May's theory -it is a little off the mainstream ... but that alone should not undermine its intent or efficacy.

    Now to your question ... May's basic motivational theory is aligned with a humanistic propensity and, as such, confronts anxiety (principally) and dread as constructs of our universal human experience. From that premise it seems reasonable to say that human behavior must have a motivational linkage grounded in sense and anxiety and the larger questions becomes "how much of that behavior?"

    For example, is a person motivated to success by the anxiety and dread of failure? Motivated to companionship by the anxiety and dread of lonliness? Motivated to peace by the anxiety and dread of war?

    I believe ther is ample psychological -and physiological evidence to sustain May's believe however, I'm not as sure regarding the deep and breadth of that position. Nonetheless, I do agree with his overarching theory.

  • 1 decade ago

    In a way. It all has to do with stress. The main path that most living organisms follow is that of survival. In order to survive, we respond to different types of stress --hunger, tiredness, the need for oxygen, normal body temperature -- all of these are forms of stress that we encounter that must be regulated in order to survive. So in a way, everything we do is motivated by a desire to overcome that stress and the anxiety that would come with not overcoming it.

  • Nadia
    Lv 4
    5 years ago

    agree disagree

  • 1 decade ago

    i would have to agree with that. Many of the choices we make and things we do are strongly influenced by dread or anxiety. We know the outcome of what we do that affects whether we do it or not.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I agree.

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