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by Dr. A. Kawczak

Created: (Posted) January 27, 2003.

Distributed by Dr. A. Kawczak at the 2002 Dabrowski conference.

You are invited to join a general discussion of Dabrowski's theory and raise any objection or question which may deepen our understanding of this theory and help overcome disagreements, misconceptions, and doubts. To facilitate our exchange of ideas you are encouraged to present your questions and/or comments in writing.

Here are examples of issues which might be dealt with in this session:

1] Is positive disintegration necessary to reach higher levels ?

Are there other alternative types and patterns of authentic mental development ?

2] Is positive disintegration a process that one can go through only once in a life time or can one experience positive disintegration several times ?

3] Can one be hypersensitive and overexcitable in some receptors and less than average, hyposensitive in other receptors ? In other words, can one be psychoneurotic and psychopathic at the same time, although not in the same respect ?

4] Is primary integration necessarily a negative concept ?

Is this concept always related to immaturity, uncultivated simplicity or vulgarity

Are there more refined, benevolent, and developmental forms of primary integration ?

5] Should we distinguish the depression during a creative process from the depression of an individual who is idling and aimlessly drifting, because he encountered insurmountable obstacles to creativity ?

6] What is the relationship between creativity and authentic, global mental development ? Is creativity of high quality possible without reaching higher levels of mental development ?

Can we distinguish between the types of creativity requiring empathy and those types which do not ?

7] Did Dabrowski deny the presence of pathological ingredients in all forms of neurosis ? Did he deny the usefulness of chemotherapy and other medical treatment ?

Lincoln as an Exemplar:

We can find in Lincoln distinct presence of all the characteristics cited by Dabrowski as indications of a very high level of mental development, particularly the level of autonomous personality and secondary integration. They are:

A self-chosen, self-confirmed and self-educating harmonious and stable organization of highly refined mental qualities, such as higher emotions, higher instincts, higher intellectual processes, interests, concerns, abilities, ambitions, aspirations and goals.

A high degree of autonomy

A high degree of authenticity

A dominant role of higher emotions

A high degree of insight into oneself

The disposing and directing center at its highest level

Retrospection and prospection

Profound reflection and autonomous behavior

Independent judgment and independence of the esteem of other people

A weakening of susceptibility to environmental influences

Diminution of psychophysiological tension

Broad and multilevel understanding of reality

Multidimensional knowledge, transcending narrow specialization and one-sided developmental interests

Manifold concerns, interests and involvement

Openness to the full range of experiences

A high level and great intensity of emotional life

Refusal to adjust to lower levels emotions and drives

Growing empathy toward other people

Universal compassion and responsibility

Clear hierarchy of values

The ability to recognize the actual hierarchy of values of other people and their hypocrisy

Goals of essential and lasting value

Freedom from jealousy and conceit

Courage of a high level

No regression into lower phases of development

Ability for further development

Constantly working on his own improvement and education

A growing need to transcend the sensory empirical reality


The clear presence of all these qualities makes Lincoln an eminent example of what we can identify as mental growth truly worthy of human beings.