Integration and Adaptation, Subjects and Objects
|Integration with one's context, as distinguished from adaptation, is a distinctively human activity. Integration results from the capacity to adapt oneself to reality, plus the critical capacity to make choices and transform that reality. To the extent that man loses his ability to make choices and is subjected to the choices of others, to the extent that his decisions are no longer his own because they result from external prescriptions, he is no longer integrated. Rather, he has adapted. He has "adjusted."|
The integrated person is person as Subject. In contrast, the adaptive person is person as object, adaptation representing at most a weak form of self-defense. If man is incapable of changing reality, he adjusts himself instead. Adaptation is behavior characteristic of the animal sphere; exhibited by man, it is symptomatic of his dehumanization.
Throughout history men have attempted to overcome the factors which make them accommodate or adjust, in a struggle -- constantly threatened by oppression -- to attain their full humanity.
|Education as the Practice of Freedom, Paulo Freire, 1965|
I first encountered these when I was in college, almost thirty-five years ago. They were unexpectedly rekindled when I happened upon The 8th Habit (see previous posts).
The struggle for wholeness and integration continues, now also in places from which prescriptions poured when Freire wrote. We must move, as he wrote "into dialogue with others whose historical "vocation" is to become transforming agents of their social reality."