HUMN 330 Values and Ethics Personal Reflection on Values and Ethics Assignment Guidelines Erik Erikson, one of the most influential psychoanalysts of the 20th century, proposed an eight stage theory of growth as a model for how we live, think, learn and change throughout our lifetimes. What we value, our character and psyche are determined
as a result of the developmental tasks we face in each stage. For more information on his last stage is sometimes referred to as late adulthood, maturity, or old age (Erikson’sterm is Ego Integrity vs. Despair), and begins around the
age of 60 or when we typically retire.According to his theory, during this final stage of life we take a deep inventory of our lives and our sense of usefulness. The basic question most people grapple with at this stage is: did our life have meaning? However, we do not need to wait until the latter part of our life to answer this question. We can do it now!
Some people become preoccupied with the past, their failures, regrets, and the bad decisions they made, knowing they do not have the time or the vigor to reverse how they lived and treated others. Sometimes this results in people becoming depressed, vindictive, resentful and spitefulin old age. They often wish that they had lived a life that was different, more positive and had deeper meaning. Conversely, others look back and accept the choices they made, realizing they did their best given the choices they had and the circumstances they faced. If you were dying now, into which category would you place yourself?While most of us are not dying, we do know that we are not guaranteed a tomorrow. In fact, we cannot even be sure we will live through the day. Yet, in the face of the one certainty in life we all share—that everything outside of the imminent moments in which we live and breathe—Western society continues to deny the presence and possibilities of death. This is true even when we are directly confronted with it witness, for example, the lengths to which we will go to live longer even when those measures vastly deteriorate the
quality of our lives. Rather, as the essential, defining element of life itself, death should be embraced as a means of learning how to live a full and truly meaningful life. So, perhaps now is a good time to reflect and take aninventory of how we have lived.
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