The explanatory system of the person in the process of growth which we have just covered leads to a perception of the “ordered” person. We will now describe the goal individuals tend to achieve when they set out on a growth journey.
Let us say first of all, that the “order” discussed here has nothing to do with an acquired state of permanent equilibrium, nor with immutability. It is not like a room, perfectly arranged, each item with its permanently defined place, where all movement would be destructive of that “established order”. On the contrary, the order in question here cannot exist except in association with change, and innovation, but also renouncement of former acquisitions, destabilization, agonizing indecision and discomfort. It is the orderly interaction of the pivotal centres of the personality that best foster harmonious functioning and growth of the person and therefore of groups and society as a whole.
The normal and the abnormal
Researchers in psychology have often been confronted with fundamental questions such as: what is normal or ordered in a human being and what is abnormal, even pathological? Should the normal be evaluated in relation to quantitative criteria (what the greatest number of people are living can be perceived as normal; the exception, as the abnormal), or to qualitative criteria (all that is harmonious can be felt as normal, and all that is disharmonious as abnormal?) What is harmony? What is psychological health? Can one be healed of dysfunctions, or are they organic? What is an ordered personality? What is an accomplished human being? …
By observing people who were less wounded in childhood and people who have been healed from past traumas, as well as studying individuals from the point of view of growth and the five pivotal centres, it has been possible to specify criteria for normalcy in the way individuals function and distinguish these from what is ab-normal. (Functioning ab-normally does not mean that the person is abnormal). This distinction between the normal and the abnormal is paramount, because it generates lucidity about oneself and about the possible changes that can be made. As long as people live without guidelines, unaware of their confusion or illusion, they stagnate. They have the impression that they are normal and even comfort themselves with comparisons to those who live in a similar way. The observation and study of people have brought to light characteristics of the mature and healthy adult on the way to self-accomplishment, a person whose way of functioning is normal or ordered.
In general, one can postulate that normalcy for an individual, is to exist in harmony with what one is at the level of one’s being, in harmony with the deep conscience. What is normal is to grow. The personality then develops harmoniously, in line with one’s original potentialities. As a corollary, the abnormal includes all of one’s ways of functioning, all of the behaviour patterns which deviate from the person’s path to existence, are not in harmony with the deep conscience and hamper or stop the natural growth pattern.
The progress of individuals toward adult maturity, in which the pivotal centres of their personality function normally, is a very gradual process which often takes place at the price of a struggle. It is so easy to let oneself be taken in by instincts, desires or ambitions, without any concern to be in accordance with the being.
It feels so comfortable to fit in to what is being done in one’s surroundings, to appear to be rather than to be. One can find so many benefits in being unaware or “half-hearted” in life, instead of confronting the reality of one’s problems or simply the reality of one’s immaturity.
Choosing to become oneself, to affirm one’s uniqueness, to make one’s own way, to grow, is an exacting task, especially in social contexts which are not very open to these values, even critical of them. Seeking to live an ordered life requires determination.
Having said this, each victory won, each progress recorded, each stage of growth surmounted brings increased life and additional motivation to pursue one’s Way, plus a taste for happiness. In fact, to be oneself, faithful to oneself, to function harmoniously, rewards one with so much essential please as to put all the difficulties and frustrations that this progress entails into perspective.
The characteristics of the ways of functioning of persons “in order”
The characteristic of the ways of functioning of adult persons are the following:
– They are fully aware of their riches of being and their limitations. Their personality has a solid foundation on which they can lean to affirm themselves such as they are. They can face life’s turmoils even though they may be sorely tried at times.
– The path of their “essential course of action” is more clearly defined. Individuals thus put into action the essential of themselves with more and more efficiency and productivity for society. Their essential bonds gradually appear, fostering the actualization of their “essential course of action”.
– Once it is established, the relationship to a Transcendency becomes more alive, confident, free, exacting and blossoming. Individuals are brought to their peak with dynamism and determination. They experience a profound serenity in face of the newness of Life. Their existence takes on meaning.
– The deep conscience, more and more enlightened by the lucidity of the “I”, becomes the reference by which they conduct their lives. Individuals become more faithful to their conscience and more confident in their deep intuitions. They open their own furrows in spite of the inner solitude that this entails, sometimes including incomprehension on the part of the people around them, and therefore suffering, but also profound peace and internal freedom.
– The “I” enters into a healthy relationship with the reality it perceives, accepting things more and more as they are. It is active and obedient to the deep conscience, clearly governing individuals on the path for which they were made to exist and be creative. They become more and more aware, humble and free, in a word, unified.
– The sensibility is gradually freed from interference, from encysted sufferings, notably those which hampered the actualization of the essential potentialities of the person. The life of the being has a tendency to irradiate the deep zone further. This produces more harmony in the reactions of the sensibility and in the general behaviour of the person.
– The body is perceived as a friend, a faithful reflection of internal life. It externalizes the life of the being. Individuals increasingly get to understand its messages, its needs and its limitations and take them into account more spontaneously, relying in some way on the wisdom of their body.
– The relationship to others is open, tolerant, respectful. At the same time, its demands are fitting and stimulating and it is authentic. Persons can develop close relationships while remaining free. They are capable of loving whomever crosses their path, not to say that this is always easy, particularly with those who do not return the favour.
– The relationship to the material environment, the lifestyle and nature, is peaceful, respectful and creative. Individuals satisfy their needs in moderation.
Thus, ordered persons are those who:
– Have become unified around the being;
– Base their life on the actualization of the being;
– Refer to the being and to the deep conscience;
– Answer the needs of other centres (the “I”, body, sensibility) in harmony with the being. These individuals thus function normally, according to the dynamics of their profound nature.
“This normal way of functioning depends on:
– The degree of life and emergence of the being. The higher the degree, the more this way of functioning is habitual,
– The degree of healing of the past, because past wounds, even though they are not conscious, cause interference in the person, disturb the normal way of functioning and give birth to disharmonious ways of functioning”.
One can also say that the normal way of functioning depends on the degree of humanization of the human environment into which individuals are inserted and the quality of the relationships which ensue.
An accessible fullness of existence
Having arrived at the adult stage of their progress and actualizing that for which they were made, individuals experience “a fullness of existence which keeps on increasing”. Because their innermost aspirations are in the process of being realized, individuals are internally fulfilled. In fact, a human being is not fulfilled by arriving at a static human perfection, an immutable order, or an idealized state of happiness where all suffering is absent. These fantasies are not fulfilling, the most they do is to help one flee from an unacceptable reality. What really fulfills people is:
– To feel the best of themselves existing;
– To perceive the deep meaning of their existence;
– To experience their bond with a Transcendency;
– To progress in the actualization of their “essential course of action” and journey with people associated with them in this actualization;
– To feel that they contribute, in a modest way, to the advancement of humanity.
In other words, what fulfills is to grow and to foster growth. Therein lies the fullness that a human being can experience.
“Naturally, at the beginning of the journey, one does not savour this sensation of fullness except in fleeting moments. But it is enough to have tasted a bit of the real happiness of being oneself, so that the memory remains and nostalgia becomes established, motivating one from within to pursue that Way”.
This fullness of life, experienced by those who place their priorities in the growth of their being, coexists with the inevitable difficulties of life and the sufferings inherent therein.
“Stripped of the armour which in the past one had concealed for protection, one is more sensitive and therefore, to a certain extent, suffers more but is touched less deeply, only the sensibility is reached. The being is not shaken”.
Education as a means of establishing order in the person
This description of the individual in order may seem idealized to many people. This is so much the case that the majority of human beings function normally only on occasion and many abnormal ways of functioning are “standardized” and even valued in certain circles (intellectualism, activism, perfectionism, voluntarism …). Only persons who were just slightly wounded or who have healed from their wounds of non-existence function normally most of the time. Their dysfunctions are rare and of short duration. They usually live in obedience to their conscience. Such persons are relatively rare.
In fact, most people do not even suspect that a better life could be theirs. Many have made efforts to improve and have become discouraged because of the lack of results. They doubt the possibility of growth and justify their dysfunctions as traits of character, even as a necessity, saying “one must have a few faults”, or else they blame others. These failures can be attributed to their lack of know-how in that area of their growth. Some people, wounded at their very core, say they do not believe in what they call “pipe dreams”. They are satisfied to conform, as best they can, with the behaviour proper to their surroundings, or else they are in constant rebellion against society. For them, existing as they are awakens too much fear or too much pain, so they unconsciously repress their fundamental aspiration to exist.
To become oneself, to be healed from what prevents one from being oneself, to live harmoniously and gradually accede to a fullness of life, is something which can be learned. This apprenticeship is available to everybody. It requires an acceptance of the collaboration of others, because becoming oneself is an adventure which cannot be undertaken alone. That collaboration is the role of education systems and growth accompaniment. It is the role of all educators, who should have received this education themselves as an aid to becoming true adults.
(Persons and their growth p.207-213)