Monday, September 27, 2010

Acting Out

Acting out is a much used term in the social services. It's not a positive designation.  The child is considered to lack the capacity for introspection which was valued highly in the 19th and 20th century pre Hollywood.  Introspection was considered 'adult' and 'adult' behaviour was seriously considered 'superior' to child behaviour. This has been in doubt with the observations that many adults do not appear to be able to return their toys to the toy box, clean up after themselves or know not to go toilet where they eat.  The division between adult and child was more distinct when the language of psychoanalysis was developed.

That said, acting out was defined as expressing an unconscious wish or impulse through action thereby avoiding having that wish or impulse have to be addressed in the conscious realm.  Acting out was an avoidance technique whereby an individual could avoid 'getting real'.

Acting out has great popularity.  It's popular with individuals.  It's popular with countries and politicians.  It's considered an "immature' defence or coping strategy but it's fairly ubiquitous.

An example today might well be  the terrorist who destroys a country that he might 'desire', thereby not having to address his own unconscious wishes and impulses.

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