Life span integrationThis paper presents the application of a student’s understanding of the “social development” aspects of “Developmental Psychology” focused on three selected social-related life events within a “life span” context.
The focus of study of developmental psychology are the “changes” that occur in an individual (“intraindividual”) and among individuals (“internindividual”) in a social context (Hurlock, 1980). The scope of study of the discipline spans from “conception” to “death” of each individual—in what is called the “life span.” Hurlock (1980) provides nine “significant facts about development”: (1) early foundations are critical (2) roles of maturation and learning in development (3) development follows a definite and predictable pattern (4) all individuals are different (5) each phase of development has characteristic behavior (6) each phase of development has hazards (7) development is aided by stimulation (8) development is affected by cultural changes (9) social expectations for every stage of development (pp. 5-9).
Closely related to these nine “developmental” facts are “Havighurst’s developmental tasks during the life span,” namely: (a) babyhood and early childhood (b) late childhood (c) adolescence (d) early adulthood (e) middle age (f) old age (pp. 9-10). Developmental psychology is founded on the “theory of personality” of Erik H. Erikson (see Hall and Lindzey, 1980, pp.
87-108) which fall under “two major headings: (1) a psychosocial theory of development from which emerges an expanded conception of the ego and (2) psychohistorical studies that exemplify his psychosocial theory in the lives of famous individuals” (pp. 87-88). The term “psychosocial” is what are separately termed by Hurlock as “intraindividual” and “interindividual” entities interacting in a given social context. It means that the “stages of a person’s life from birth to death are formed by social influences interacting with a physically and psychologically maturing organism” (p.
88).In the psychosocial theory of development of Erikson, development is seen as that “precedes by stages … The first four occur during infancy and childhood, the fifth stage during adolescence, and the last three stages during the adult years up to and including old age. In Erickson’s writings, particular emphasis is placed on the adolescent period because it is then that the transition between childhood and adulthood is made. What happens during this stage is the greatest significance of adult personality.
Identity, identity crises, and identity confusion are undoubtedly the most familiar of Erikson’s concepts” (p. 91). The eight developmental stages of Erikson are: (I) basic trust vs. basic mistrust (II) autonomy vs.
shame and doubt (III) initiative vs. guilt (IV) industry vs. inferiority (V) identity vs. identity confusion (VI) intimacy vs.
isolation (VII) generativity vs. stagnation (VIII) integrity vs. despair (pp. 92-99).
A pocket book published by Reader’s Digest (n.d.) in the early 1980’s entitled, “They Changed Our World,” lists 35 events along with corresponding key personality or person in such event that changed the face of the world forever. Three of the 35 events in said pocket book are selected for this paper.
Socrates “He was a funny-looking man with a high bald dome like a city hall, a face very small in comparison, a round upturned nose and a long wavy beard that didn’t seem to belong to such a perky face. His ugliness was a standing joke among his friends and he helped enjoy the joke,” writes Eastman (n.d., p.
37). Socrates “was the evangelist of clear thinking,” from whom philosophy, logic, and ethics would flourish as one of man’s priceless possession and discovery in the world of knowing (p. 38).Thomas Jefferson “At the foot of the Blue Ridge, near Charlottesville, Virginia, was born the man who set the real American standard of living when, at only 33, he penned the Declaration of Independence,” writes Peattie (n.
d., p. 107). “I have sworn upon the altar of God,” quotes Peattie of Jefferson, “eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
” The man is considered “one of [the] … greatest presidents” of United States of America. In retrospect, during the Cold War, there were only two societies in the world—either a state was a “democracy” or a “communist.” Communism become history with the collapse of the USSR shattered by one Gorbachev. Although democracy still exists today, it is constantly threatened by the whim of “Clash of Civilization” thinking stirred by the current form of terrorism.
The people behind the Ranger VII “An electric hand reached down from space and gripped the pen. It was shortly after 12:50 on the afternoon of Tuesday. July 28, 1964. The pen never stopped writing until the following Friday morning, July 31.
Then, at exactly 49 seconds after 9:25 a.m., Eastern Daylight Time, it did stop—in midsentence. Thus, in the minute transcriptions of an electronically motivated pen, was recorded the eyewitness story of Ranger VII’s tremendous voyage to the moon—at that time perhaps the most remarkable reconnaissance mission in history,” writes Wolfert (n.
d., p. 239). That was a glorious achievement of 40 years ago but something incomparable to some of the compiled achievements of man up to this current decade, such as: the various trips to the moon (after the Roger VII), the deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope, the discovery of far-flung planets although no human beings have ever been spotted so far yet, the landing of two surveyors on the face of the planet Mars, the potential of Mars as another world for man, among other.
History has introduced several key personalities in the world—the heroes and the villains—that played certain roles within the “eighth” developmental stages of Erikson. The heroes are known for their personal “integrity” while the villains are abhorred for their horrendous acts but they met the same fate—that is, they left the world in “despair.” These are the heroes in this student’s mind—JFK, Mahatma Ghandi, Jesus Christ, Thomas Jefferson, Abe Lincoln, and Socrates; and these are the villains that will never be erased—the Hitlers, the Milosovic’s, the decision-makers of Japanese imperial army that instigated the spread of WWII, the Bin Ladens, the Oklahoma bomber and his cohorts, and the false social messiahs. And finally, history has already included the name Saddam Hussein in its list of villains—a stark reminder to the contemplators of oppressive regimes.
References1. Hurlock, E. B. (1980).
Developmental Psychology A Life-Span Approach. (5th Ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill Book Company.
2. Hall, C. S., & Lindzey, G.
(1978). Theories of Personality. (3rd Ed.).
New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.3. Eastman, M. (n.
d.). Socrates: A One-Man Turning Point in History. In Reader’s Digest They Changed Our World (pp.
37-43), (ISBN 0-425-05607-4). USA: Berkley Books, Inc.4. Pettie, D.
Thomas Jefferson, Architect of Democracy. In Reader’s Digest They Changed Our World (pp. 107-112), (ISBN 0-425-05607-4). USA: Berkley Books, Inc.
5. Wolfert, I. (n.d.
). With Ranger VII—To the Moon. In Reader’s Digest They Changed Our World (pp. 239-245), (ISBN 0-425-05607-4).
USA: Berkley Books, Inc.