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Sacred Dialectic - the Centrality of Paradox in the Worldview of Rollo May

Author: Scott Kiser

This article explores the fundamental significance of paradox to the worldview of Rollo May.

The theme and concept of paradox is seen as constituting the essence of his thought and is believed to have strongly influenced his conception of the human psyche, health and dysfunction, and socio-cultural dynamics. Through an analysis of primary sources in May’s writings, it is demonstrated that his philosophical worldview is most accurately represented by the principle of paradox, or dialectic.  Specifically, both the basic characteristics of this principle, as well as its manymanifestations in the form of particular paradoxes, are discussed. This discussion emphasizes the value of paradox to May’s worldview and its role in shaping his critique of psychology and culture.

The article concludes with an emphasis on the importance of May’s view of paradox as a vital contribution to the field of psychology and broader culture, as well as its specific applicability to our own individual struggles to achieve integration and wholeness.

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