Saturday, September 29, 2012

Educational Goals From The Perspective Of Ego States

Dr. Eric Berne, Dr. Thomas Harris and Muriel James have made the world familiar with the theory that there are four psychological positions one of which each of us takes in any given situation:

I'm Not OK - You're OK.
I'm OK - You're Not OK.
I'm Not OK - You're Not OK.
I'm OK - You're OK.

Did you ever see a Super Man? You may not remember now, but as a child, you knew one. In fact, every child knows a Super Man and that's his dad, who, to him, seems (or at least seemed at one point of time) to be capable of doing anything and everything. It doesn't occur to him that he would be able to do those things just as well, may be a little later, only if he tried of course. This attitude of underrating one's own abilities and wondering at others' capacities is typical of the first position: I'm Not OK - You're OK.

You might have seen the ringmaster in the circus commanding tigers, lions and elephants. He can do that only as long as they don't become aware of their own strength, and, that's not in the normal course of events. They have taken a Not OK position. So do many of us.

You might also have seen people who seem to think they know everything better than others (which really annoys those of us who do!). They are fond of doling out good advice and they do it without being solicited and without considering the feelings of others. Bullies in classrooms have more or less the same nature. This exemplifies the second position: I'm OK - You're Not OK.

The third position: I'm Not OK - You're Not OK, thanks to the Almighty, is relatively rarer. It is the most destructive of all. A man in this position thinks his life is not worth living; nor are the lives of others. Suicides and homicides are often motivated by this psychological position. Hitler notorious for having sparked off World War II and also for the worst-ever holocaust in the history of humankind must have been a victim of this mindset.

The fourth, that is, I'm OK - You're OK, is a psychological position in which a man has discovered not only his own worth but also the value of others. He is in harmony with himself and with the world around him. When we talk about developing the right attitude in life, it may be summed up as this position.


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