Paul Rosenfels

American sociologist

Paul Rosenfels M.D. (March 21, 1909 in Chicago – 1985 in New York City) was one of the first American social scientists to defend homosexuality in print as a valid lifestyle. He also made a conscientious lifelong effort to develop the foundations of a "science of human nature."

Quotes edit

Love and Power: The Psychology of Interpersonal Creativity (1966) edit

  • Because psychoanalysis emerged as a medical specialty concerned with the healing of the sick, it focused its attention on the pathological processes arising from the disruption of the adaptive capacities, and this subject matter was taken to be the totality of significant information concerning the structure of the personality. The diagnosis and treatment of mental illness is, however, a poor basis for the empiricism which a basic science requires. Mental illness, when it is seen in terms of the symptoms and syndromes which come to the attention of the psychotherapist, presents a picture of the personality which is readily fragmented and distorted out of proportion.
    • 8. Psychotherapy and Social Welfare
  • In psychotherapy, the impact of love feelings, technically called the transference, is held under some degree of control by the artificial device of interpreting the patient's feelings while establishing barriers to the psychological exposure of the therapist. The therapist is supposed to come to the relationship fully endowed with a stable set of established insights which will be adequate in a practical sense to any application which the patient's needs will require. The patient, on the other hand, is supposed to limit his interaction with the therapist to the areas where he is aware of psychic pain or where the therapist accepts communication in the name of therapeutic technique. If everything else is carefully excluded, neither participant will be called on to deal with areas of the unknown in themselves which would require creative personal investment.
    • 8. Psychotherapy and Social Welfare
  • As long as psychotherapy concerns itself with the relief of psychic distress, avoiding the larger questions which arise from involvement with the creative process, it can perform its medical healing function without doing major violence to the social assets which creativity supplies.
    • 8. Psychotherapy and Social Welfare
  • Life is each human being's workshop. If a man survives a lifetime with his creative capacities intact, he has done his part to make a better world for all men.
    • 12. Prescription for Survival

Homosexuality: The Psychology of the Creative Process (1971) edit

  • The hostility of society toward homosexuality is only a special case of its general hostility toward the adolescent spirit. In order to undermine the creative efforts of individuals to shape their lives by their own standards of human understanding and morality, society identifies their deviancy in terms of its inadequacies and failures, thereby undermining their access to basic social acceptance in adaptive areas.
  • Man lives in a paradoxical world where his human development is hamstrung by the fact that the only kind of free scientific inquiry he does not allow himself is the pursuit of human truth, and the only kind of audacity in engineering enterprise which is alien to his nature is the undertaking of moral intervention in the lives of others.

Psychoanalysis and Civilization edit

  • The Garden of Eden in which Adam and Eve dwelt was only an illusion. Before men accumulated sexual shame and celebrative guilt they lacked that character differentiation out of which the human soul takes its being. Their world was a garden only in the sense that the jungle is a garden to its animal inhabitants. Man means something different when he speaks of a garden, or an El Dorado, or a paradise for the human spirit. Man means a world of eternal springtime in the human heart, where faith never fails and hope never falters, where men always understand more today than they did yesterday, and establish an always broadening responsibility in the world. He means a world of lasting contentment, where the contentment of today passes that of yesterday, and a world of complete happiness where today's happiness is bigger than that of the day before. He means a world of love which fears nothing that the human eye can see, and a world of power which cannot be touched by rage in the performance of any act. When he sees these things he is not dreaming, and when he reaches for them he is not play acting. He is only sounding the battle horn and raising the banner by which he lays claim to ownership of the world, acting in his own name.
    • page 188
  • Man is the animal with a soul who thinks and builds; his penetrating insights into the laws of nature are there for any child to learn, and his impressive mastery of the materials of the earth stands ready to be imitated by anyone, but the home he has built for his own kind is still a lonely and impoverished place for many people. There is nothing about that loneliness that wisdom cannot change; there is nothing in that poverty that strength cannot overcome. Separated from each other, the thinker is a stranger in his own house, and the builder is a beggar at his own door. Together, they can bring the warmth of love and the helpfulness of power into the daily market place of living, taking a human position that is eternal and without compromise. In the midst of the obvious and the commonplace, and only in this birthplace of human contentment and happiness, the thinker and builder can leave the monastic cell and relinquish barracks mobility to claim the world in the name of human beings. When they do so, man can expect a human harvest equal to his dreams, and measured to the nobility of his posture.

A Renegade Psychiatrist's Story edit

  • The science of human nature belongs to people who are not afraid to live independent lives. They alone have the flexible access to experience which can bring human wisdom and strength into being, and once these assets exist, they will send forth their influence with an authority that cannot be resisted, unmindful of artificial man made boundaries, reaching anywhere in the world.

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