The theory of the Detour
A theory of relativity in psychology


Theory of the Detour
by Michel Cariou


4. Second Detour: The differentiation of Ego and Other (of 2/3ans, with puberty)


Outline of the presentation

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  1. Introduction
  2. First months of the life
    1. The development of the centripetal phase corresponding to the genetic development (construction of the organisation)
    2. Second phase: Birth with the human access (exercise of the vital functions and beginnings of the interactions with the adult)
  3. First detour: Structuring of the emotion and, consequently, the interaction to the human one
    1. First phase: Coordination of the emotional reactions (installation of a basic safety based on the emotional participation)
    2. Second phase: Shaping of the vital energy through the proper action (activity of relation of Wallon) and socialising action.
  4. Second detour: The differentiation of Ego and Other (of 2/3ans, till the puberty)
    1. 1° phase: Appearance of the reflexive conscience, distinction between the emotion of the Other and his own emotion and thus the subjects’ positioning from him even.
    2. Reflexive conscience
    3. 2° Phase: refinement of the others and thus of Ego by the experiment of varied social situations
  5. Third Detour: the access to the adulthood through differentiation Identity/Otherness of Kind
    1. 1st Phase: evolution of the body, discovered sexual emotion and access to the total ideology (self-centred on itself or centripetal position)
    2. Adolescence (From 11/12 years until 19/21ans minimum) and the installation of the identifiers
    3. 2nd phase: differentiation Identity/Otherness of Kind and development of a subject’s position (in realistic projects)
  6. The 4th Detour: the access to the mental activity as concrete activity
  7. References of this presentation
2° Phase: refinement of the others and thus of Ego by the experiment of varied social situations

When the second phase (centrifuges) of this Detour starts, the child is firmly installed in a self-awareness which it differentiates well from that of the other. For as much, that does not summarise the differentiation of Ego and Other, which is much deeper and asks for a continuous work of development of these two terms, by the interactionL'interaction organisme/milieu est au centre de cette théorie car "l'organisme et le milieu ne sont pas dissociables. L'organisation du premier n'ayant de sens que par rapport aux propriétés du second" (Cariou, 1995, p.120). Pour l'Homme, le milieu c'est le social et c'est par l'activité - la vie physique et psychique - qu'il arrive à "maintenir sa propre structure en accord avec les conditions du milieu dans lequel il baigne et dont il est issu" (ibid.). L'activité est donc le "trait d'union indispensable" entre l'être humain et son environnement permettant de maintenir l'accord vital entre ces derniers., and in the register of the unconscious processes (what continues besides and refines all the life).

As with each Detour, this phase is, to some extent, the phase of application of the level of structural organisation set up by the elaboration’s crisis which the first phase constitutes.

The capacity to exist and obtain satisfaction, through basic conduits in which one recognises oneself and one is recognised, remains the base of the basic safetyThe basic safety is not a feeling (conscience), but an unconscious psychological state. It expresses the state of an organism which is in adaptive agreement with its circle (whatever its level). When this agreement is threatened or broken (objectively or subjectively), an alarm signal, the anguish appears, which functions with the psychological level like the pain in the organic plan. of the child. The evolution will thus consist of a differentiation of these conduits, allowing them a finer and more relevant adjustment the various situations and contexts. This one will be carried out according to two main axes:

In the beginning, of share the initial lack of differentiation of Ego and Other, the newborn can truly dissociate a person of the control which it carries out. And, when he imitates this control, in fact, it is the total person, summarised with this control, which is used to him as model. They are there that one of the principal mechanisms of the development of Ego is, through the development of the Other.

Indeed, the child is brought to note that the Other to which it is identified through a control, is not always the same following the circumstances, while remaining itself. See its schoolmistress, if professional, to dance at the time of one evening and to behave as a woman with her companion; to see his/her usually severe father, to make the insane one because he drank too much during the midnight supper, etc, are as many situations where the child surprised, is shocked even sometimes.

Through the fact that the adults’ referents divert, destabilize the knowledge which the child has of them, it is the validity of Ego imitating which is played too. The child does not have then, an other exit only to differentiate, at the others, the total person, in his ways of the economic situation to express itself. And, in the same way that the others remain well themselves, under variable methods, it Me remains single and integrated, when well even it would have multiple contextual facets.

But, like each time, this work on which rests the basic safety of the organisation, will be correlative of another work of development of the Other: the relation with its pars. Indeed, until there, the child knew practically only asymmetrical relations (parents/child, child/grandmother, child/professor of the schools, big brother/child, child/little brother). Even if, nowadays, the children are more numerous with going to the nursery school than of the time of Walloon, they are there, generally, in solitary activitiesIn all the cases, the produced living organism of energy (vital energy) and this one generate and feed an activity which will be, to some extent, its liaison officer with the circle. It is thus thanks to it that the relation organism/circle will build itself. Therefore we call it integrated activity, because it corresponds very exactly to the degree of development and integration of the organism, and consequently, to the definition of the circle. In the case of the man, it is the level and the quality of the development of the psychological one which will determine the nature of the integrated activity and of the circle compared with which it is adaptive. It concerns as well the various stages of development during the growth, as the operation of the adult throughout the life cycle. guided by the adult.

After 5,6 years, the child is brought to collaborate with other children, mainly to play. However, all these children have the same relative hierarchical statute, compared to the adults. At the school, the child does not have an indicated place, specific rights, as in the family. He belongs to him to be made recognise and accept by the others, which do not have any obligation in its connexion.

As already Wallon noticed it, it is necessary that it is enough resembling to the other children so that they recognise it among their and, at the same time sufficiently different so that it interests them.

The child will discover whereas, contrary to the family, it is not its total being which, from the start, is of an interest for the other. He will note that these are the physical and relational competences which open to him the way of a group of comrades.