Dewidd Bendith

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Dewidd Bendith (1859-1935) was a Kemrese psychologist and founder of Multi-Functional Psychoanalysis. He and the Bohemian Sikmunt Frojt are considered the leaders of the school of thought which includes emotional and mental factors in the treatment of mental illness (as opposed to the purely organic approach favored by Estonian physician Emil Kraepelin). Bendith was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1934.

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Life

Bendith was born in the town of Muilfren to Hyw and Gianeth Bendith. His mother, a deeply religious woman who had longed in childhood to become a nun, was extremely strict to both Dewidd and his younger sister Caroleth (1862-1944). His father, an undertaker, was much more relaxed. Both encouraged young Dewidd in his studies, as did a local teacher who ultimately arranged for the young man to receive a scholarship.

At age nineteen (1878), Dewidd began to take classes at the University of Castreleon. Interested in medicine from youth, he began to become more and more fascinated by the fledgling science of psychology. He later attributed this to the culture shock of suddenly living in the thriving metropolis of Castreleon. He was both entranced and frightened by the city, happy to be there and yet homesick for the town he'd been so eager to leave. Contemplating such a seeming contradiction in himself led to specializing in the study of the human mind.

Dewidd was also gifted in several languages, which allowed him to study abroad in Prussia as well as (briefly) Helvetia. Upon returning to Kemr in 1889, he met and married a young woman named Mari (1864-1933).

It was at this time that Dewidd Bendith's extraordinary talents as what would later be called a therapist became increasingly evident. A famous anecdote has him correcting a younger colleague for telling a delusional patient his tales of trips to the moon were "lies." To the patient, he insisted, they were not. And treatment would be impossible if doctors assumed delusions or hallucinations were symptoms of dishonesty. Bendith's practice grew as his reputation for helping others grew. His first book, Case Studies of Emotional Distress (1894), gained him an international reputiona as well as a periodic correspondence with is contemporary, Sikmunt Frojt. The two were sometimes polite, even friendly to one another, but at other times argued bitterly.

Bendith's primary disagreement with Frojt stemmed from their differing concepts of the unconscious. Bendith saw Frojt's theory of the unconscious as incomplete and unnecessarily negative. According to Bendith, Frojt conceived the unconscious solely as a repository of repressed emotions and desires whereas Bendith believed that the unconscious also had a creative capacity. The inheirited self of archetypes and images which made up the human psyche was processed and renewed within the unconscious. In effect, Bendith's unconscious, as opposed to Frojt's, serves a very positive role: the engine of the collective unconscious essential to human society and culture.

His further books included Mythology and Psychology (1901) and Religion and Mental Health (1903). Although he retired from private practice in 1911 to devote more time for research, he volunteered to help veterans suffering from the trauma of the First Great War begining in 1917. For this work, he was knighted by Gereint XII in 1920, a distinction which did much to popularize his theories.

In 1930, Bendith had the first of several strokes. He was forced to almost completely retire, although he continued work on multi-volume Basics of Trans-Functional Psychology which was published after his death. His own wife's death in 1933 left him deeply depressed. Soon after winning the Nobel Prize he suffered the first of two major strokes, which left him paralyzed and blind. He died on December 21, 1935 from a heart attack.

His Work

Dewidd Bendith is responsible for several key ideas in development of modern psychology.

The Three Selves

He maintained that the human mind had three different levels which functioned dynamically together. First was what he called the Conscious Self, that is to say the aware and conscious mind. Second was what he called the Unconsious Self, namely the individual portions of the mind that are below the surface and not directly accessible. Third was what he called the Inheirited Self, by which he meant a resevoir of archetypes, images and reactions which were common to all mankind and formed the basis for mythology.

Brandith described the archetypes found in the Inheirited Self as a cast of characters out of dream and myth. It was he who coined the term "Dream is the individual's myth, just as myth is the society's dream."

Among the archetypes posited by Brandith were:

  • The Animus/Anima, the vision each individual has of themselves as the opposite gender (modern pyschologists tend to see each person as having both).
  • The Shadow, the diametric opposite of the conscious self.
  • The Wise Old Man, an image of wise masculinity and age.
  • The Earth Mother, a fundamental image of motherhood.
  • THe Trickster, a source of mischief and sudden insights.

Psychological Types

He coined the terms "introvert" and "extrovert," although often those terms are misunderstood in common practice. Brandith was attempting to describe a tendency to how mental energy tended to be directed in terms of the functions of the human mind.

Brandith theorized that the conscious mind had four primary functions:

  • Sensation which consisted of actually acquiring data through the senses.
  • Reason which identified the context of these sensations based upon past experience and knowledge.
  • Emotion which evaluated--that is, assigned value--to what was perceived and identified.
  • Intuition which provided the inheirited knowledge of humanity to a given experience, albeit in an indirect and often difficult-to-understand form.

Each of these functions would tend to be either directed inward (introverted) or outward (extroverted) in any given individual to some degree, and that Reason/Emotion tended to be each other's opposites just as Sensation/Intuition tended to be the same. However, this was always meant as a description of tendencies rather than absolute rules. More, he held that the relationship between the functions was always a dynamic--that is, an ever-changing--one.

Spirituality as Treatment for Alcoholism

Bendith corresponded with several NAL physicians and others attempting to treat those suffering from an addiction to alcohol. Many of his letters as well as notes from numerous lectures later inspired the so-called "Twelve Step Programs" in treatment of many addictions. Some scientists decry this as a blending of religion and medicine that has no place in the modern world.

The Complex

Bendith is also credited with the concept of the Complex, which can be described as a "node" of conflicts within the unconcious. He pioneered the use of word association in order to discover the location and components of such nodes in order to facilitate treatment.

Controversy

Bandith caused considerable controversy at several points in his life.

  • He wrote a paper in 1907, "Tendencies to Aggression in Civilized Social Settings" which was widely regarded as a critique of the English and most especially of Queen Victoria. He never completely denied that was his intention.
  • He lent the prestige of his name and reputation to the Kemr's Green Carnation Party soon after being knighted, having concluded there was no mental defect involved in homosexuality. This was a change of opinion, because in the 1890s he had called such tendencies "a benign symptom of neurosis." That quote has likewise been a source of debate, both by those in favor of and those opposed to Gay Rights.
  • Rumors persisted throughout Bendith's life of his relationship with some female patients and colleagues. While he did become and remain close to several women other than his wife, he himself always maintained their relationships were that of friendship only. None of his supposed paramours ever claimed to be such. Virtually all witnesses agree that Bendith himself was very flirtatious.
  • Several papers and lectures by Bendith, noting the advantages of monarchy as a form of government from a psychological point of view, were eventually used by Snorist Russia's government to justify their regime. Most Bendithian scholars believe the SNOR severely misrepresented the man's words, but such did lead to many in the Anti-Snorist Movement to disparage Bendith in favor of Frojt.

Legacy

It would be difficult not to consider Dewidd Bendith as one of the great pioneering scientists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His theories about the nature of the human mind are widely taught and even those who disagree with many of his conclusions--such as the adherents of Behaviorism or the proponents of Lobotomies--find themselves often having to respond to Bendith's premises. His influence in the Federated Kingdoms and the NAL as well as Francophone countries like Louisianne and New Francy as well as France itself was largely unquestioned until the 1960s. It was at this time that other ideas began to percolate through the psychological schools and publications, including a resurrection of Frojt's theories of the libido (which had always enjoyed support in much of the Holy Roman Empire) and a resurgent interest in drug therapies.

However, it should also be noted that Bendith went on record many times in saying that Frojt, for example, accurately described certain types of personalities. He also did not discount purely physical sources for some mental conditions. And while his star has somewhat fallen in the last few decades, in much of the former SNOR-held nations of Eastern Europe his work is undergoing increased study.

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