To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems; we are continuing to work to improve these archived versions. The wicked stepmothers and fairy godmothers he translates as, all, Mother, and the kings and hunters and even wolves as, simply, Father. By Bruno Betteiheim. New York: Alfred A. But as symbols of psychological happenings or problems, these stories are quite true.
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Bruno Bettelheim Is Dr. No By David Dempsey Credit To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems; we are continuing to work to improve these archived versions. Inside this hell stands a therapeutic treatment center for the psychologically damned.
This is the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School for severely dis turbed children, which Bettelheim has directed since on the campus at the University of Chicago. His books on the emotional disorders of children have contributed a dis proportionate bulk to the weighty canon of treatment in this field, and on the broader, more controversial subject of modern youth, he is an indefatigable speaker before both lay and professional audiences.
For millions of Americans who are under standably nervous about the radical young, the Bettelheim view of what ails them seems both timely and important: Many of the hippies, militants, Yippies and assorted fringe groups of the New Left, he believes, are emotionally sick. Although, unlike his patients at the school, the radical young do not realize it, their hell is no less real.
The chaos these young people rage against, Bettelheim says, is within themselves, not the world. Changing society will not do the job, since no change is ever enough for the truly militant.
At the University of Chi cago, where he has taught for the last 30 years, Bettelheim enjoys—the word is appropriate— the reputation of being a tyrannical figure the classroom and out. When students occupied the administration building in the spring of , he turned up at a press conference, took the microphone and denounced them as para noid. BETTELHEIM denies that he is unsympathet ic with the legitimate aspirations of the young but insists that much of what passes for ideal ism is misdirected psychic energy.
The task must be possible, and it must be meaningful. Ease has no place in it. How can you find an identity? He is at his best during such con frontations although small of build, with an accent not unlike Dr. He is capable of a scathing wit and has access to an analytic nomenclature of such technical resonance that authority is exhaled with breath.
What was wrong was that it disregarded the need to modify the fear in continuous process so that irrational anxiety would steadily give way to more rational motivation. In public, this aggressiveness is suggested by a forceful way of speaking that belies an underlying good humor.
At the youth meeting in New York, during remarks by Goodman and Fiedler, the microphone re fused to work.
He is not, he has insisted on other occasions, one of those men that La Rochefoucauld speaks about who give good advice simply because they are too old to set a bad example. As an analyst, Bettelheim sees the bad examples almost exclusively, and this, his crit ics point out, has colored his view of the young. Robert Coles of Harvard. He thinks that most adolescents are not aware of the risks, and his work with them has convinced him that the price is too high.
And it is because they do that he feels a duty to shake up the young. I have absolutely none. Originally a Uni versalist church and seminary, it is now a tidy complex of dormitories, lounges, dining halls and classrooms. A steeple still rises overhead.
Once inside the door of the vestibule—alive with carved angels, gilt edged cupids, playful gargoyles—there is a feeling of sanctuary. Books line the walls and upholstered furniture occupies the center area. It could be a setting for Arthur Schnitzler. A few minutes later he returns to introduce him self. This is Bruno Bettelheim. Magni fied, his eyes seem to pene trate the psyche like laser beams.
Later, he will relax, swivel sideways and prop one foot on the window sill, but until that happens he is taking your measure from above. Portnoy would never bring his complaint here. As a particular style of life it can only be possible if people are not part of the working force.
The first really typical adolescent was created by Richard Wagner in Seigfried, a young man utterly truthful, fearless and somewhat dumb, I may say, who fought the evil world of the Establish ment. And it was very much after the Seigfried myth that the youth movement in Ger many became a special cul ture. Now we have it all over again. This is really sad. It is such a nice thing to do, you know. So what do we mean by freedom? So if you look at them you see that the same fashion has occurred and reoccurred.
As a matter of fact, wigs are back. So what is so great an innovation that people wear wigs? Do men wear colorful dress and jew elry? Well, my God! We are not yet back to lace col lars, but they will come. They will come. And they will go again. There was no real gain of freedom in the time of the French Revolu tion, when women bared their breasts as they now do again.
I tell you nothing is more re strictive in fashion than the freedom of the hippie. Actually, I think this movement has enslaved women much more than they were before. The Victorian state was not simply imposed on women; it was desired by them. Then after a while they found how much they had shackled themselves, and then they objected to the shackles.
They were not the wave of the future. Let me give you another example. Let us say that one per cent of the Uni versity of Illinois went on the peace march. But a consid erably larger group suddenly believes in astrology. Is this a blow for freedom or a re gression into medieval super stition? If you listen to Jerry Rubin or Paul Goodman, they are waste material. Now whether you are going to make a con tribution to society or become waste material is a psycho logical view of yourself.
It has nothing to do with ex ternal society. I think, per sonally that it is highly de sirable that more groups in the population, particularly the young, be permitted to experiment with a wide va riety of views.
I think what is evil—and I use here the religious term — is that the mass media push them into extreme positions, because that is what gets attention. The young person who is insecure is always a sucker for public attention. If they had been, most of them would have found their way back sooner or later.
By becoming glorified in the public eye, being weak to begin with, they were sucked into a life that became utterly destruc tive to them. If adult society mistakes such quite necessary youthful experimentation with the portents of the future, then something very bad hap pens to society and the young people.
Bettelheim read about the Woodstock Festival? Why not Fort Lauderdale? It was a football trip every other weekend. And you heard the same stories that you got from the March on Washington — how wonderful that somebody shared his blanket with me; somebody shared his food with me. We had a wonderful time, we sat up all night, sang all night, drank all night I can not be too impressed by the external forms because I see the underlying need, which is the same—to escape my lone liness, my isolation, to find a reaffirmation that I am a worthwhile person by the fact that so many other people do the same things that I do.
The individual who fights all by himself might at least come up as a genius. No guarantee; he might be a quack. What concerns me most is that suddenly the macs mina, the mob spirit, is advertised as the highest achievement of Western so ciety, where Iv to very re cently it was the individual struggling alone who was the culture hero.
Let me put it this way: If you had put on a demonstration in the time of Copernicus, that the earth is flat and the center of the uni verse, millions would have demonstrated in favor of this position.
Would that have proved anything? The merits of the case have nothing to do with how many followers it has. All the screaming that we do it wrong will not get us better ideas of how to do it right. But this is an age that wants easy solutions. Well, the militants want to change society to please themselves, without asking how society works They are impossible people; they destroy everybody around them.
The sooner they go to heaven the better, be cause that is where they belong. At the school every thing is done to make that journey cheerful. Bettelheim selected the paintings on the walls, picked out the light fixtures and chose the wall paper and color schemes for the rooms.
Children are al lowed to select the colors of their rooms only if Dr. Dormitory rooms are replete with stuffed dragons, koala bears, pen guins, boa constrictors, tigers. Still churchlike in appear ance, the exterior walls also illustrate the Bettelheim ap proach to environmental therapy. Some time ago, Bettelheim had a large mural painted on one of these walls. In working with the most asocial young sters I have found that the only sure way to prevent their defacing the walls is to decorate them with objects of beauty.
It worked for Bruno and it seems to work very well for these kids. A controlled environ ment helps make this pos sible. One associate purchased Modigliani painting a few years ago and proudly brought it in to show Dr.
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