Western Civ Continuous or Discontinuous

Is Human Development Continuous or Discontinuous? Human Development is lifelong, continuous and discontinuous and goes in so many different directions throughout a lifespan. It is plastic, multidisciplinary and is embedded in a changing socio-historical context. I truly believe I live in a continuous development pattern, as I believe the rest of us hope our children to follow in our footsteps of continuity. Sigmund Freud addresses continuous versus discontinuous in the understanding of mental illness. We tend to wonder if a mental illness if just an ordinary person taking something to an extreme, or if it is just a matter of degree.

I think there is a difference in the way someone with a mental illness experiences reality. There are so many different kinds of mental illnesses so it is far more complicated than a single entity. There is even debate out there as to what exactly is considered a mental illness versus what is not. I guess to some it is all in the eyes of the beholder. What do we know about Sigmund Freud’s theory? His Psychoanalytic Theory is an intrinsic struggle between ego, id and superego. In children, it focuses mostly on the manifestation of disorders as seen from individual case studies.

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This theory has psychosexual stages which include oral (birth-1year), anal (1-3yr), Phallic (3-6yr), Latency (6-11yr) and Genital (Adolescence). This theory is unique in that it is a kind of lifespan and states that behavioral manifestations are a result of internal struggles. This theory emphasizes on the role of early experiences on child development and the mediating role of parents. Sigmund Freud proposed that if the child experienced anxiety, thwarting his or her sexual appetite during any libidinal (psychosexual) development stage, said anxiety would persist into adulthood as a neurosis, a functional mental disorder.

The biggest problem with this theory is that it is hard to verify. A continuity life is one that basically believes of having stages of development. From infancy and learning to walk and talk to adolescence and making decisions on your own a person living a continuity life accepts life as it changes and adapts to it. Whether it be first day of kindergarten and learning to read to becoming a first time parent we accept that something new is about to happen in our lives and adjust for the change. I don’t know how often people would not accept the stages of life and move forward with the stages/changes but o feel it’s important to do so. Another theory from the text I found interesting with respect to continuity was in the sensorimotor period (behavior reflecting on actions) to the formal operations period (perfection of development) are part of Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development. The cognitive development theory is one that I found to be quite interesting. This theory suggests that a child could adjust to the surroundings based on what was happening at the time; that the stage of a child’s life and growth is a continuous process.

The stages, according to Cleverley & Phillips Piaget’s theory suggest that “whenever a difficulty was encountered, it threw the child out of mental equilibrium, and the child was then forced to make some addition to its mental apparatus; cognitive accommodation occurred. ” (pg. 87). In other words, what I think this means is that whenever an event would occur in a child’s life that was of a difficult nature, it would force the child to adjust to the situation and then move forward.

Ultimately, every decision that is made (whether these decisions are made during infancy, adolescent or adult) these decisions impact the next stage of life. It’s clear that the cognitive theory of Piaget is one that the stages of development occur in the cognitive state of mind. Discontinuity on the other hand appears to me to be more a religious theory and a basis that there are not necessarily stages to life but events and that the events occurring don’t necessarily predict how the future outcome of that individual might be.

The idea behind a discontinuity life is that the events or obstacles that a person is faced with are the pre mapped out plan of god. According to Augustine’s theory that all children are born in sin and act of free will it is my understanding that Augustine’s theory is a theory of discontinuity. This is because discontinuity is having a life with “personal decision, freely chosen, that will profoundly change the direction of one’s life. (Module Commentary – Historical Antecedents II)   From what I’m understanding Augustine’s theory on discontinuity is that a decision has the ability to significantly impact the outcome of one’s life.

According to module commentary research suggests that the past of an individual doesn’t necessarily suggest what the outcome of that person may be. When looking at my life and trying to determine whether my life would be of continuity or discontinuity I have to admit I struggled with the differences. I think that I my life could be either actually. However, after reading the text I would have to say that I would think the majority of my life is continuous in that my life has been full of stages.

From infancy to adolescence and then into adult hood these were distinctive stages to which I lived through and made distinctive decisions. I recall events during my childhood such as my parents divorcing that helped me to comprehend and realize that life isn’t perfect. Instead of pitying on the fact that my parents were no longer together and revert back to being an infant (i. e. inability to cope with life and depend on others to make decisions for me and becoming depressed) I opted for the continuity approach and accept the event and move forward.

I will say I’m one of five siblings and I can tell you that my youngest brother reverted and fell in a life full of bad decisions with severe impacts and he struggles with moving forward and accepting life as it is. I graduated high school and went off to college. My first child was born while I was in my associates program in college but I kept plugging along with my studies determined and focused to get what I was working so hard for. I had many relationships that ended badly, however, I didn’t revert to a life of pity but rather felt the pain, dealt with the impacts of my decisions and moved forward.

Every stage in my life whether it be when I was a child and care free to being a mother of two beautiful children and full of responsibility I’ve realized that my life is continuous. I will keep moving forward with all the events and stages that take place in my life. I do believe these events have the ability to mold a person just by the decisions that were made. I believe that people can have an event happen in their life that in turns has a drastic impact. Take the death of Ivan Ilych for example. He struggled with an illness and then was given the opportunity to reflect on his life and to see things differently.

This man had an incredible transformation. In essence what I’m suggesting is that while my life is continuity I am married to a man whose life to me appears to be of discontinuity. The more I learn of what his faith and beliefs are the more easily it is to find complications between the two. According to Cleverley & Phillips “descriptions of typical behavior can only be made in the context of a theory, because what is to count as typical behavior very much depends upon the point of view of the observer, and furthermore, the language that is used to describe the behavior is usually orrowed from theory, or may have political or ideological connotations. Thus, what the observer sees in children depends upon what model he or she brings along. ” (pg. 96). Therefore, I take this to mean that how a person views either their life or the life of someone else is a matter of opinion by the basis of what their foundation of knowledge is based on and what they bring into your life with. References: Cleverly, John & Phillips, D. C. (1986) Visions of Childhood. Influential Models from Locke to Spock

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