The process of humanizing physiological man

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Fam Proc 3:280-301, 1964

The Process of Humanizing Physiological Man
aDepartment of Psychiatry, Indiana University Medical Center, Indianapolis, Indiana.

How man, the physiological animal, becomes man, the social human is presented here as a social theoryof human behavior. New born man is basically an animal who first relates to other men because of his physiological helplessness. Through his physiological dependency on sophisticated members of his species, he learns to also become psychologically dependent, but further growth introduces a struggle for autonomy. The establishment of an autonomous existence sets the stage for development ofreciprocal relationships between autonomous individuals of roughly equal status. This humanizing process follows an orderly pattern from birth to death and any "normal" or "abnormal" human behavior can be explained or predicted by this parsimonious theory. Also presented is a superficial consideration of some physiological concepts which make the development of human psychological behavior not onlypossible, but extremely probable. It is obvious that if no human infants were able to survive, the human species would soon disappear. In this theory psychosociological behavior is considered to be a special case of adaptive behavior designed specifically for human survival in an environment of other humans. The physiological dependency of the infant man on an adult human for his individual, as wellas species, survival is the crucial factor in development of those behaviors which we term social and psychological i.e., the humanizing process. Reared by monkeys, wolves, or porpoises, he would become psychosociologically a monkey, a wolf, or a porpoise with marked physical limitations if he survived at all (15). Being a living organism, man has the basic characteristics of any protoplasm plusthose unique to his species. In addition to the uniqueness of his anatomy and vital physiology, man inherits a potential repertoire of "human" behaviors. These potentials are passed along to him by his ancestors in the form of information stored in his genes. (Recent work (18) (25) suggests this information storage is an active process related to the metabolism of ribonucleic acid (RNA).) To be evermore than potential, this stored information must first be activated and developed by environmental stimuli (2, 12, 22). The time-space factor of being born in a certain geographic location, at a certain period in time, to a certain family, etc. so limits the available stimuli that any individual develops only a small segment of this potential. Those traits of man which we refer to as "human" arethe result of the interaction between his inherited (species and individual) potentials and his environment of other humans (37). Infant man is slowly taught how to become an adult man with "human" characteristics by those who have already learned how to behave as humans (5). Whereas the time-space variables in his human education account for his group or cultural uniqueness, his individualuniqueness depends on his personal environment experiences to stimulate and develop his personal inherited uniqueness. There is a wide range in the variation of "human" behaviors in individuals. In adults this can be conveniently conceptualized as a continuum with a range from A to Z. Although the psychosocial experiences of the developing child have the greatest influence shaping these characteristicbehaviors, potential differences exist from the moment of conception but with a small rangeA to C. Intrauterine experiences expand these potentialsA to F (44, 45). Although individuals markedly differ in the way they perceive and respond to stimuli, the patterns of any individual are rather fixed and quite predictable. Each of his experiences is recorded by irreversible structural changes...
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