Specifically, May shows how bothpsychoanalysis and existentialism catch site of the "breaking up of personalityinto fragments" in the latter half of the 19th century (p.
One ofhis greatest works, (1969) finds May tracing the problem of love in modern society,arguing that "love and will are interdependent and belong together...Willwithout love becomes manipulation [and] love without will becomes sentimentaland experimental." May is perhaps most famous, however, for his existentialanalysis of anxiety in his (1950), written early in his career, which challengedthe popular notion that "mental health is living without anxiety." In thisbrilliant work, May argues that, living in a world in which there is thepossibility of mass destruction with the atom bomb, living anxiety would, in fact, be pathological--and, more generally, he showsthat anxiety is an essential part of being a human being, without whichwe would be overcome with boredom, become insensitive, and live withoutthe necessary tension we require to preserve human existence.
(Note: May would likely have been better served by saying that existentialpsychology seeks to be more "concrete," a term which holds less intellectualbaggage--such as logical positivist assumptions--than the term "empirical.")Essentially, May is asserting, following Binswanger and other existentialists,that traditional psychological theory had more often concealed what isreally going on with the patient rather than revealing such happeningsin a constructive and therapeutic way.
Further, as May points out, existentialismcannot be characterized either as materialist or idealist since existentialismalso undercuts the old dilemma of materialism versus idealism, the veryproduct of the subject-object dichotomy.
But, more challenging felt May was the resistance frommainstream psychology which held that existential analysis "is an encroachmentof philosophy into psychiatry, and does not have much to do with science"(p.
Love, Will and Care
• Rollo May thought that modern society had lost sight of what love really is and confused it with sex and will power.
Both existentialism and psychoanalysis,writes May, are concerned with the historical context of the human beingrather than a human subject detached from the world.
But one of the most interesting aspects of May'sessay is his analysis of the emergence of existentialism and psychoanalysiswithin the same cultural situation.
Rollo May thought that psychologically strong or healthy people can combine will and love because love and will both suggest care, choice, action and responsibility.
Interestingly, May also shows how there are striking similaritiesbetween Zen Buddhism and Taoist philosophies in the East and existentialistphilosophy in the West.
With this starting place, May argues, existentialism providespsychology with the much-needed ability to bridge the chasm (in the sciences)between what is and what is for living persons.
Agape is a spiritual or unselfish love which is undeserved and unconditional.
Freedom and Destiny
• Freedom is being able to accept responsibility for your actions and choices and willingly accept your destiny
• May saw two forms of freedom
• The first form of freedom is freedom of doing or freedom of action, which he referred to as existential freedom
• The second form of freedom is freedom or being, your inner being (your personality).
Tracing the root of "existence" as --literally,, --May shows how existentialism aims to portray"the human being not as a collection of static substances or mechanismsor patterns but rather as emerging and becoming, that is to say, as existing"(p.
Rollo Reece May (April 21, 1909 – October 22, 1994) was an American and author of the influential book (1969). He is often associated with , and, alongside , was a major proponent of . The philosopher and theologian was a close friend who had a significant influence on his work.
Further, May warns that existential psychotherapyis not simply another splinter of the Freudian tradition in two respects:1) the movement grew spontaneously without the influence of one leader,and 2) rather than seeking to construct a new theoretical school of therapy,it seeks, instead, "to analyze the structure of human existence--an enterprisewhich, if successful, should yield an understanding of the reality underlyingall situations of human beings in crises" (p.