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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Carl Rogers

Carl Rogers is known for his contributions to Humanistic Psychology. The basis of his theory is that humans are naturally good and that they are trying to reach their full potential. Humans want to do the best that they can. He calls this the "actualizing force" that we all have inherently. He applies this idea even to ecosystems in which the ecosystem will try to fulfill its potential. An example of this is when a bug dies out in a forest other species takes its place (this should remind you a little of systems theory BTW). He also applied this to culture and that it is a living and growing organism.

This idea of humanistic psychology is important for the way we develop our characters, because it brings up one point that I want to talk about today. Do we believe that the characters in our books are naturally good or evil or neither? We will develop our characters differently depending on our belief of the nature of the characters in the book. For example if believe that the characters in our books are naturally evil then our heroes may be constantly fighting their own desires as well as the rest of society. Keep in mind that just because we believe that our characters are naturally evil it does not mean that the majority or even a lot of our characters will be evil. It only means that when the characters were going through their formative years they learned appropriate ways of living within the society they were raised and do not behave in an evil manner in fact they are probably behaving in a good manner. (Side note I am using the terms evil and good in a general sense that probably should be discussed at a later time, but for this post lets just say that evil is going against the welfare of the whole while good is trying to benefit the whole....yes I know that brings up many more questions as well but....) The same is true with those who believe that humans are naturally good. The children/characters are raised to conform to society and so they do. This does not mean that everyone turns out good.

When looking at the story that I have been writing on my blog lately the characters are natural wanting to do that which is evil, but they have been trained to conform to the society in which they live in and so they are considered good (generally speaking). This being said it does not mean that the cultural is entirely good or that it is looking after the welfare of the whole. In fact as has been seen there is something brewing within the society that the powers are not entirely aware of yet. Tim is enigma to the society in that he is not acting as expected. We also have something going on with Tabatha in that she is trying to steal/save/? a child. Is she a good person or an evil person. Is she fighting society and therefore evil or is she reshaping society and therefore good. As we explore the story of Tabatha more hopefully you will see how this idea of naturally good vs. naturally evil works.


  1. nice...i really like how you related this to the story of yours that we are reading...i dont know if you can keep it up but doing that gives us a prime example...

  2. Very interesting point about how the different approaches affect how the characters are written.

  3. Nicely written. I don't believe my characters are naturally good or evil. I like what George R.R. Martin says: My characters are neither good nor evil. They're individuals with flaws.

    Speaking of people by the name of Rogers, it's Won't You Be My Neighbor day. Fred Rogers is another man who believed people were inherently good.

  4. I'm totally with Christine - I love characters who are gray - neither bad or good... they have their own story and in their mind they are doing the right thing...

  5. The interesting thought I had was that whenever I pick up a book, I believe the main character to be good. A brand new story that I've had no experience with, I expect the MC to be good. Now, whether that means they follow all of their own societal rules is another thing. But I feel like for the most part, they follow my idea of a "good" person in a "good" society.

  6. When I was in high school we used Mr. Rogers a mnemonic device to remember that we should be good people. I love how even when people are doing good they don't have to be good if you consider their motivations. That brings up a whole n'other topic.Nice post.

  7. I'm with April. When I begin a book, until proved otherwise, I believe the MC is 'good', whatever the definition of that is in that world.

    Part of my degree was Social Psychology. I wish I could remember more of it!


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