The Individual, the Group and War
A fundamental issue in the analysis of behavior is the level of focus to which attention is directed. Psychoanalysis concerns itself largely with intrapsychic forces within the individual person as these are patterned by the internalization of his intimate history; second, psychoanalysis concerns itself with the expression of these forces in the behavior of the individual person. A political scientist, J. David Singer,1 has shown that consideration of behavior of the national systems requires scarcely any appreciation of these intrapsychic forces, while the level of analysis of the international system needs none at all. Yet, there is no doubt that the manner of operation of the national and international levels of human organization depends ultimately on the participation or at least the consent of the individual persons whose aggregated behavior constitutes organized action — including war. Might we not, then, consider how the person relates to these larger contexts, how the various levels of transaction may serve to integrate the demands of drive-expression with environmental possibilities in ways that are not too threatening to survival or to such lesser expressions of love as self-esteem.
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Notes and References
- 1.J. David Singer (ed.), Human Behavior and International Politics (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1965).Google Scholar
- 2.Sigmund Freud, Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1920).Google Scholar
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