Developing an Interest in Existentialism (04:52)
Rollo May outlines his rural childhood in Michigan, learning experiences at Oberlin College, and teaching work in Greece. He identifies with poor and disadvantaged people and sees the American viewpoint as superficial, without a tragic dimension.
Capacity to Face Death (02:03)
Upon returning from Greece, May was hospitalized with tuberculosis—an experience that taught him the importance of existentialism. After theological training, he became a psychoanalyst.
Community and Tragedy (01:50)
May views human beings as part of himself and part of humanity. He interprets tragedy as the capacity to feel that humans are more significant than the fact that they live or die.
Interest in Human Problems (02:01)
May went into psychotherapy to explore the perspectives of frontier, tragedy and psychology. He writes for a broader audience to connect with humanity, rather than for academia.
Coexisting with Tragedy (02:20)
The American Dream strives to avoid suffering. May sees this as an illusion and delusion; he advocates reconciling with death, which leads to creativity.
Understanding Creativity (02:15)
May argues that utopias are illusions. Productivity arises from a dialectical relationship between our reality and our envisioned reality.
Two Views on Death (03:31)
May advocates reconciling with the finality of death as well as rebelling against it. Humans developed civilization to overcome physical inadequacy compared to other species and the inadequacy of death. Poet Stanley Kunitz advocated writing against the injustice of death.
Fighting against Death (02:56)
May strives to think the best ideas he can, like the demonic and intentionality, and to be honest in each moment. Rebellion inspires beauty and art. He discusses William James' rationale for believing in life.
On Being Honest (01:33)
May talks about the challenges of expressing true feelings in relationships without hurting others.
Schism Between Subject and Object (02:46)
May says subjectivity arises during infant development; this evolution is part of human consciousness. He discusses the creativity involved in transcending the relationship and recognizing others as subjects.
Credits: Rollo May on Creativity and the Tragic (00:39)
Credits: Rollo May on Creativity and the Tragic
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