ⓘ Alloplastic adaptation

                                     

ⓘ Alloplastic adaptation

Alloplastic adaptation is a form of adaptation where the subject attempts to change the environment when faced with a difficult situation. Criminality, mental illness, and activism can all be classified as categories of alloplastic adaptation.

The concept of alloplastic adaptation was developed by Sigmund Freud, Sandor Ferenczi, and Franz Alexander. They proposed that when an individual was presented with a stressful situation, he could react in one of two ways:

  • Autoplastic adaptation: The subject tries to change himself, i.e. the internal environment.
  • Alloplastic adaptation: The subject tries to change the situation, i.e. the external environment.
                                     

1. Origins and development

These terms are possibly due to Ferenczi, who used them in a paper on "The Phenomenon of Hysterical Materialization" 1919.24. But he there appears to attribute them to Freud who may have used them previously in private correspondence or conversation. Ferenczi linked the purely "autoplastic" tricks of the hysteric. to the fact that in the latter the patient has regressed from alloplasticity to autoplasticity; after successful analysis he must pluck up courage to take action in real life.

Otto Fenichel however took issue with Alexander on this point, maintaining that The pseudo-alloplastic attitude of the neurotic character cannot be changed into a healthy alloplastic one except by first being transformed, for a time, into a neurotic autoplastic attitude, which can then be treated like an ordinary symptom neurosis.

                                     

2. Human evolution

Alloplasticity has also been used to describe humanitys cultural "evolution". Mans evolution by culture.is through alloplastic experiment with objects outside his own body.Unlike autoplastic experiments, alloplastic ones are both replicable and reversible.

In particular, advanced technological societies.are generally characterized by "alloplastic" relations with the environment, involving the manipulation of the environment itself.