— Rollo May
Context: Certainly the neurotic, anxious child is compulsively concerned with security, for example; and certainly the neurotic adult, and we who study him, read our later formulations back in the unsuspecting mind of the child. But is not the normal child just as truly interested in moving out into the world, exploring, following his curiosity and sense of adventure- going out “to learn to shiver and to shake,: as the nursery rhyme puts it? And if you block these needs of the child, you get a traumatic reaction from him just as you do when you take away his security. I, for one, believe we vastly overemphasize the human being’s concern with security and survival satisfaction because they so neatly fit our cause-and-effect way of thinking. I believe Nietzsche and Kierkegaard were more accurate when they described man as the organism makes certain values — prestige, power, tenderness — more important than pleasure and even more important than survival itself. My thesis here is that we can understand repression, for example, only on the deeper level of meaning of the human being’s potentialities. In this respect, “being” is to be defined as the individual’s “pattern of potentialities.” … in my work in psychotherapy there appears more and more evidence that anxiety in our day arises not so much out of fear of lack of libidinal satisfactions or security, but rather out of the patient’s fear of his own powers, and the conflicts that arise from that fear. This may be the particular “neurotic personality of our time” – the neurotic pattern of contemporary “outer directed” organizational man.