Movement/Law of Movement
Note: Page numbers enclosed in parentheses are citations from The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler: A systematic presentation in selections from his writings. (H. L. and R. R. Ansbacher, Eds.). © 1964, Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. Used by permission of Perseus Books Group.
Movement is Adler's term for what other theorists call behavior (which is not to say that Adler never used the latter term, as the next to last of our illustrative quotations, below, illustrates). Movement is meant to include all thought, feeling, and physical activity; the law of movement of the individual is therefore the basis of the style of living. Movement connotes the understanding of human being as always in process1, moving away from the felt minus toward a subjectively-conceived fictional plus position, away from the intolerable feelings of worthlessness (G., Minderwertigkeit) toward the desired feelings of mastery and worthwhileness (G., Vollwertigkeit). [See Inferiority Feeling; Superiority Striving]
Human life . . . expresses itself in movement and direction toward [successful solutions] p. 163).
The law of movement in the mental life of a person is the decisive factor for his individuality (p. 195).
All is movement (p. 195).
It is necessary to freeze the movement to see it as form (p. 195).
The findings of Individual Psychology point to the fact that all the behavior [movement] of a human being fits into a unit and is an expression of the individual's style of life (p. 358).
Where there is tension there is action in the central nervous system; the individual drums on the table, plucks at his lip or tears up pieces of paper, he has to move in some way. . . . By means of the autonomic nervous system, the tension is communicated to the whole body (p. 224).
1Tim Flannery, in a review of The tree: A natural history of what trees are, how they live, and why they matter by Colin Tudge (New York: Crown, 2006), writes, "Living tissue, [Tudge] says, 'is constantly replacing itself, even when it seems to stay the same. It is not a thing but a performance'" (The New York Review of Books, February 15, 2007, p. 35).
© Griffith, J., & Powers, R. L. (2007). The Lexicon of Adlerian Psychology: 106 terms Associated with the Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler (2nd ed.). Port Townsend, WA: Adlerian Psychology Associates (p. 70).
Definitions of concepts are used by permission of Jane Griffith. A comprehensive list of concepts and definitions can be found in The Lexicon of Adlerian Psychology: 106 Terms Associated with the Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler by Jane Griffith and Robert L. Powers, available for purchase on Amazon.com.Horizontal vs Vertical Movement (PDF for enlarged viewing)