The prototype of the easy-simple life world
is the infant. Perezhivanie is impossible in the purely easy-simple life world, because everything is provided and the pleasure principle faces no resistance. With immediate satisfaction there can be no contradiction or any situation creating psychological challenges to be ‘worked over’. However, as soon as some difficulty arises in this infantile life-world, the only psychological resources available are those already acquired in the easy-simple world of hedonistic, here-and-now satisfaction. Whatever the nature of the difficulty or complication which has arisen the infantile response will be manifested in diffuse, senseless activity. Perezhivanie entails a denial of reality, a delusion that the need has in fact been met or that it was never felt.
The prototype of the difficult-simple life world
is the fanatic. The perezhivanie of the difficult-simple life world is Realism, but perezhivanie in this world begins with patience; patience differs from denial in that although it believes in a good which is not present, it does not deny the problem and believes it can be solved. But when patience runs out, and frustration sets in and it is faced with the impossible situation, the reality principle offers two alternative ways out. The first way is to postpone satisfaction, or lower one’s sights and make do with a substitute for what is impossible according to the reality principle. In the second way, the subject abandons the former pursuit (the meaning of their former life) and takes up another which is in no way a substitute for the loss of the first or a continuation of it by other means.
This may be what is called ‘coping behaviour’.
The easy-complex life world
is an aesthetic and moral world. The perezhivanie of the easy-complex world is value-perezhivanie. The critical situation may arise when an activity which is attractive to the subject comes into conflict with the subject’s life-project; either the offending activity is morally discredited and postponed or abandoned or the subject finds a way of mentally reconciling it as not really in contradiction to the life-project. Alternatively, value-perezhivanie is required in the wake of a wrecked life-project, searching amongst other projects for that which is most valued and could restore meaning to their life, such as ‘in memory of’ the lost lifeproject. Alternatively, the crisis may be resolved by a radical restructuring of the subject’s entire value system, maintaining continuity through forgiveness and redemption. The principle of value-experiencing is phronesis or wisdom, rather than intelligence, but it is theoretical not practical work.
The perezhivanie of the difficult-complex life world is creative perezhivanie and entails an entire reconstruction of the self.
The first alternative
is to continue the pursuit of the values which had hitherto defined one’s life but were identified with a particular person or project which is no longer available; however, the identification of the life-intent with this particular form of realising it can be overcome by reformulating these values in more general, abstract terms, so that they can be realised in some other particular form (or person), and the fixation on that former particular embodiment was unnecessary.
The second path
is to discover that life has hitherto been based on false values and to formulate a new value system, but in such a way that preserves the meaning of the past life, showing how it has conquered error and at last won through to life’s true intent.
The third type
of creative perezhivanie is connected with the highest stages of personality development as the life-intent moves away from egoistic projects and places the self in the service of higher motives, proof against any misfortune and for which, ultimately the person is prepared for any sacrifice including life itself.
The leading psychological formation in this life world is the will. The integrity of the person as presented in self-consciousness is not something present and achieved, but has to be actualised in life-activity and the will is the only organ which can achieve that actualisation. The will is therefore the central psychological formation in the formation of the personality. The will is first developed in childhood, according to Vygotsky, in the passage through the series of childhood life-crises which separate the successive phases of childhood, when the social situation of development which defines the social position of the child must be transformed for child to ‘grow up’ and the child break through to the next station in life. Likewise in adulthood, the personality develops precisely through the person’s passage through life-crises by means of creative perezhivanija, which reconstruct the self while not discarding the former self, but allowing the past to be rationally understood from a new, higher standpoint.