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Kelman, H. Weiss, F.A. Tillich, P. Horney, K. (1952). Human Nature Can Change a Symposium. Am. J. Psychoanal., 12(1):62-68.

(1952). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 12(1):62-68

Human Nature Can Change a Symposium

Harold Kelman, Frederick A. Weiss, Paul Tillich and Karen Horney

Human nature can change. This affirmative proposition prompts many questions and to them a host of possible answers. What is human nature, essentially? We do not assert that man by nature is inherently destructive and only secondarily constructive. Nor do we agree that innately he is both good and bad. Rather do we believe that in all human beings there is the potentiality, as a lifelong tendency and direction, to realize and to fulfill his possibilities as a human being and as a particular human being, as circumstances permit.

What has changed? Our knowledge of the psychological, emotional, physical and social nature of man has increased and been revised so that we now hold this optimistic philosophy regarding human beings. What can and have we changed? As physicians of the body and the soul we have helped many individuals to become less sick and more healthy in their relations to themselves and in their social relations. And through these efforts we have helped individuals in the environment of persons analytically treated to change the direction of their life patterns. The trend toward increased sickness has been slowed and even reversed. And the younger members have been helped toward straighter growing to the end of more joyously and productively assuming their responsible places as citizens of a world in which they will live. In short, we have helped potentiality become actuality.

What has essentially changed in human beings as we study man on the canvas of human history? Here again there are many evidences of the change of potentiality into actuality.

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