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, till the 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
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.

The second detourThe concept of Detour proposes a “process which consists, for an organism, to set up a new type of adaptive relation with the circle, by another elaboration of its internal organisation leading to a new form of activity in circle, having a more general range” (Cariou, 1995, p.127).
In other words, the organism, while being confronted with the various modifications of the circle in its interaction with him, will always operate a reorganisation of its internal organisation thanks to the internalization of external elements, which will be able to give place to new more adapted behaviours, with an aim of maintaining the agreement vital, but more indirectly.
starts with the stage of the “personalism” of Wallon, who constitutes the first phase of it (centripetal). It carries out a qualitative revolution in the adaptive step of the child.

The symbolic’ function, which appears at this time by cerebral maturation, by its exercise (play of alternation, role-play…) makes it possible to rebuild on the mental age the assets of the sensorial-motor activityIn 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.. The child is from now on able to know himself through his action and to be distinguished from the Other thanks to their interactionsL'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.. The rocker is carried out when gather all the elements which are own for him (competences, desires, felt), in opposition to all those on which it does not have direct control: action of the Other, desire which can be opposed to his, emotion which origin not in him.

This intimate bipolarisation of the relation to the action, to the situations and to the Other, crystallises then thanks to the symbolic functions’ system, in two mental categories which reorganise, in a simultaneous and complementary way, lived the participative former one: Ego and the Other.

Ego will be all what the child feels like directly dependent on his past, his action and his desires. The Other, internal symbolic representative of the concrete other ones, which will be all can act starting from different desires, which can help or be opposed to the desires of the child, and of which lived can only be imagined according to his. The Other will be it on what the child can act that in an indirect way, by obtaining his agreement (in one way or another).

The access to this stage appears through the use of “I” and “ego” by the child. It is a standpoint by which the child is posed in a report of otherness, but also of his own identity. This position, it will need to exert it and stabilise it by a phase of opposition. “It, Me is posed while being opposed”. Because, in its effort to separate, “me” cannot do it differently than to be opposed the company in the primitive and larval form of a social according to the expression of Pierre Janet.” (Wallon, 1946Wallon H. (1985 [1946]), Le rôle de "l'autre" dans la conscience du "moi", p.92.).

This obviousness, this insight, to be oneself, different from the Other and partially from the situation, are only one beginning which still leaves many uncertainties on the contents of this Me and of this Other. It will be the work of a whole life, but particularly, development’s phase of this stage, until approximately 6 years, then of adolescence.

With the differentiation of Ego and Other the child reaches the self-awareness: reflexive conscience. He knows, from now on, that he is actor of what he saw, which the first name that one gives him is it his, that he is a boy or a girl and that, which he feels, he is the only one to feel it. It knows that it is, but it does not know really which it is. However, it is mainly in the development, the construction industry and the recognition of what is not him (the Other), that it will be able to be discovered and be built out of mirror.

From that moment, on the basis of what it already interiorised and of the imitation, a whole period of experimentation in the manners of acting or of reacting which will be encouraged, approved or repressed by the entourage. 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 rests then on his capacity with being recognised through basic conduits which cause the encouragements, approval, or at least, of the results, for him positive. There still, it is “to do it” which precedes the “being”. By the subtle play of the positive and negative reinforcements, the child learns how to know himself and to affirm himself, by the mediation of behaviours which are automated in conduits, in which he recognises himself and by which he is recognised by the other.

However, before even as these conduits are not sufficiently differentiated and interiorised, it “Me” need has to seek contents. It must preserve the coherency of this new positioning of Ego and Other, with the profit of one positive Me. Finding its source in the initial lack of differentiation, a period of confusion between ego and mine is inaugurated then, which tends to give contents to ego while possibly facing the other concrete one for being better distinguished some. This confusion between Being it and To have is to it a natural passage, that the internalization of developed basic conduits will come soon to exceed, if the circle is positive. However, it can be it only partially if the development of these conduits, expressing it to me, cannot be carried out in a sufficient way to ensure the basic safety. Then, from the elements concerned with conscious (A) would come from there to compensate of the methods to make interiorised and unconscious. That is likely to have an effect over the stability of Ego, but also on the definition of the Other like on the nature of the interaction Me/Other until in the adulthood, because in certain cases, the definition of Ego and Other (then of the Identity and Otherness) will be built by substitution To have it to be it, and this, all the life during.