Identity and the Life Cycle

In Erikson’s famous book, Identity and the Life Cycle, the author takes a close look at the development of the human personality across time, focusing on elements of human development as they relate to the psychosocial sphere of study. The three sections of this book are three famous writings from Erikson, entitled, Ego Development and Historical Change, Growth and Crises of the Healthy Personality, and The Problem of Ego Identity.

The first section, Ego Development and Historical Change, deals with the idea that the ego is a present yet also ever evolving part of humanity, that the ego shifts within the personality, surfacing healthily in times of wellness and separating the person from the leader led mob, balanced out between the super ego and the id, one might say.

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Into the second part of the book, Growth and Crisis of the Healthy Personality, the reader gets a better idea of what Erikson means when he speaks about psychological and social interactions and milestones, developmental levels, which arise as the organism of the human person blossoms and changes naturally through various stages from conception until death. In the final pages of the book, the last paper, entitled, The Problem of Ego Identity, Erikson delves deeper into the meaning of human psychosocial development as it relates to both biological development as well as modern society.
Here he asks the burning question, do we prepare ourselves as human beings for the life cycles which we experience? A look at modern society shows the pitfalls for people who are not developed in mind, spirit, and body together and how people would benefit from being socially, cognitively, and physically adept at certain life stages, primarily at the transition from adolescence to adulthood. References Erikson, E. (1980). Identity and the Life Cycle. W. W. Norton & Company.

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