(continued from Part 1)
THE AUTHORITY / FOLLOWER ROLES
The preliminary style of conditioned interaction (namely, desire/approval and worry/concern), in turn, allows further crucial insights into the distinctive dichotomy between the authority and follower roles within the power hierarchy. In a strictly formal sense, the personal authority is defined as that role which comes first in the operant sequence. The respective desirous/worrisome perspectives effectively dictate the upcoming bestowal of reinforcement by the personal follower figure. This latter follower role (as its title implies) directly follows the preliminary perspective of the personal authority figure, further playing up the potential for the forthcoming reinforcement. Indeed, without this ultimate bestowal of reinforcement, the personal authority’s preliminary procurement behaviors will all have been in vain, similar to the case previously established for the celebrity and his fan base.
This respective interplay of authority/follower roles, in turn, is modified with respect to the second stage of the conditioned interaction. This subsequent phase represents the active bestowal of reinforcement by the personal follower, as schematically represented in Part-B of Fig. 3A. This second stage is phase-shifted one step further into the past. Reinforcement (Y) now occupies the present, whereas procurement (X) is displaced into the past-directed time wedge. In essence, the personal follower is respectively thrust into an immediately active role, directly reinforcing the past worthy deeds initiated by the personal authority figure.
THE ERRONEOUS ZONES
For clues to the specifics of this follower-based terminology, it ultimately proves crucial to return to the literature of self-help psychology, a genre specializing in such personalized emotional themes. Take, for example, the run¬away bestseller, Your Erroneous Zones, by Dr. Wayne Dyer. The clever title (a play on the sensationalism of the erogenous zones) piqued the interest of an entire generation, although its more profound themes ensured its enduring significance. This work specifically examines the phenomenon of emotional dependencies and how they can become damaging to one’s personal self-esteem. The fact that Dr. Dyer considers them to be “erroneous” is based upon his personal value judgement of what constitutes a truly self-actualized individual.
In Chapter VII, Breaking the Barrier of Convention, Dr. Dyer introduces the novel concept of the focusing-on-others-line, cleverly abbreviated “f.o.o.l.” It alludes to the foolishness of looking outside oneself for sole advice on how to feel or act. It represents a conceptual continuum linking the affiliated erroneous zones of hero-worship and blame, both of which represent externally directed behaviors that focus upon others to the exclusion of taking responsibility for oneself. According to Dr. Dyer, there is nothing inherently self-defeating about appreciating others or their achievements so long as this tendency does not repudiate of one’s individual self-worth. For instance, the hero-worshipper warmly exalts the lofty standards set by another, becoming “erroneous” only when one’s personal hero becomes significantly more important. In a related sense, blamefulness aims to direct the focus away from oneself, seeking external reasons for one’s feelings of helplessness or frustration.
As the first term within the focusing-on-others-line, hero-worship colloquially represents a rewarding style of positive reinforcement bestowed by the personal follower. It specifically rewards the past notable achievements of the personal authority, experienced as a poignant sense of nostalgia. For instance, in the familiar example of the “autograph hound,” the personal follower worshipfully acts in a rewarding fashion towards his authority figure in hopes of receiving an autograph or other such token of acknowledgement. This worshipful perspective, expressed in terms of a glowing sense of adulation, is generally sufficient to elicit a modest acknowledgement of appreciation from the respective authority figure.
The celebrity figure (from the preceding example), in turn, is reciprocally dependent upon his retinue of admiring fans. Indeed, any nostalgia perspective remains entirely meaningless without such suitable fanfare. This poignant acknowledgement of past worthy achievements is certainly warranted within such a worshipful context, a role directly in keeping with such a grand authority status. The personal authority, accordingly, is someone the personal follower looks to for personal direction/guidance, providing a fitting sense of purpose to the latter’s hero-worship role.
A similar circumstance further holds true with respect to the remaining sequence of terms based upon guilt/blame. As the opposite pole on the focusing-on-others-line, blame exhibits distinct sim-ilarities to hero-worship with the exception that leniency (rather than rewards) is now called into focus. Similar to hero-worship, blame is essentially a verbal perspective, wherein impugning the sensibilities of one’s authority figure in a censuring display of concern. In spelling-out grievances in terms of such blameful expression of censure, the personal follower, in turn, solicits the sincere acknowledgement of culpability from the personal authority figure. In this latter respect, the personal follower leniently acts blamefully, wherein prompting the guilt perspective of the personal authority figure. In response to the blameful treatment of the personal follower, the personal authority guiltily acts submissively: a verbal expression of culpability along the lines of an appeasement perspective. Through such a submissive stance, the personal authority plays-up his vulnerability within the conditioned interaction in response to the lenient treatment of the personal follower figure. In essence, his professed sense of guilt effectively cuts short the potential for any further conflict. Any subsequent action taken against the guilty party is now motivated out of a blameful sense of concern. According to this more moderate strategy, lenient rehabilitation (rather than vengeful retribution) now remains the order of the day.
THE EGO AND ALTER EGO STATES
In this highly interdependent sense, the personal authority and personal follower effectively complement one another within the conditioned relationship, wherein formally maintaining an equal balance of power. Indeed, the hero is equally dependent upon the attentions of his sidekick. Similarly, the master craftsman is essentially lost without the cooperation of his apprentice. Herein lies the fundamental paradox underlying the authority/follower interaction: namely, one hand is definitely needed to wash the other. The old Zen Buddhist adage describing how the follower leads the leader (as much as the other way around) certainly rings true in this basic respect.
It remains only a further minor step to formally label this dual complement of colloquial terms for both authority and follower roles. The choice of the “erroneous zones” (I & II) was an initial consideration in deference to Dr. Dyer’s considerable contribution to the field. In addition to hero worship and blame, Dr. Dyer also discusses both guilt and worry in Your Erroneous Zones. In order to avoid confounding these two basic groupings, the ultimate designation of the ego and alter ego states was ultimately selected.
The first-mentioned listing of ego states (guilt-worry-nostalgia-desire) formally specifies the motivations specific to the personal authority role. This initial complement of terms directly confirms the basic observation that procurement behaviors serve to initiate the two-stage operant sequence. The ego is defined as the most basic sense of self to emerge through self-reflection. Accordingly, the elementary character of this respective class of ego states directly bears out this interpretation. The ego states prove equally applicable with respect to inanimate objects within the environment (such as in desiring a cup of water), further verifying their elementary status.
The remaining listing of alter ego states, in turn, refers to motivations specific to the personal follower role: e.g., hero/worship-blame-approval-concern. As their name implies, the alter ego states represent higher-order perspectives on the more elementary complement of ego states. For instance, the blame perspective of the personal follower builds directly upon the guilt expressed by the personal authority figure. Furthermore, approval complements desire, whereas hero worship reciprocates nostalgia. Generally speaking, the personal follower consummates the sequence initially established by the personal authority figure: in essence, objectifying the role of the latter, wherein lending credence to the term “alter ego.”
(continued in Part 3)