Friday, June 15, 2012

Bullshit or Not: Erik Erikson Edition

There's an old sketch film called Amazon Women on the Moon which contained a spoof of Leonard Nemoy's old program In Search Of that had the tagline, "Bullshit or not, you decide." We use it as a basis for an occasional series of posts where we assess a passage from a prominent writer.

Today is the 110th anniversary of Erik Erikson's birth.  A post-Freudian Freudian, Erikson was born out of wedlock and not told who his father was.  Questions of alienation and identity in childhood development became the center of his research.  Seems a great place to launch another episode of "Bullshit or not." 

From Erikson's Identity and the Lifecycle:

"Therapeutic efforts as well as attempts at social reform verify the sad truth that in any system based on suppression, exclusion, and exploitation, the suppressed, excluded, and exploited unconsciously believe in the evil image which they are made to represent by those who are dominant."
 Is self-hatred a necessary result of oppression?  Do out-group members really internalize the picture of themselves painted by the in-group?  Bullshit or not?  You decide.  As usual, responses may be a single word or a dissertation.