Social Interest

The fourth of Adler's tenets is: The value of all human activity must be seen from the viewpoint of social interest.

Social interest is Adler's somewhat misleading translation of Iiis original German term, Gemeinschaftsgefühl. A better translation might be "social feeling" or "community feeling," but Gemeinschaftsgefühl actually has a meaning that is not fully expressed by any English word or plnase. Roughly, it means a feeling of oneness with all humanity; it implies membership hi the social community of all people. A person with well-developed Gemeinschaftsgefühl strives not for personal superiority but for perfection for all people hi an ideal community. Social interest can be defined as an attitude of relatedness with humanity hi general as well as an empathy for each member of the human community. It manifests itself as cooperation with others for social advancement rather than for personal gam (Adler, 1964).

Social interest is the natural condition of the human species and the adhesive that binds society together (Adler, 1927). The natural inferiority of individuals necessitates their joining together to form a society. Without protection and nourishment from a father or mother, a baby would perish. Without protection from the family or clan, our ancestors would have been destroyed by animals that were stronger,

Part II Psychodynamic Theories

Both mother and father can contribute powerfully to the developing social interest of their children.

Part II Psychodynamic Theories

Both mother and father can contribute powerfully to the developing social interest of their children.

more ferocious, or endowed with keener senses. Social interest, therefore, is a necessity for perpetuatmg the human species.

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