LIFESTYLE, A Textual Portrait of Contemporary American Lifestyle
LIFESTYLE: The Lifespan of a People, the Group, the Community, the Nation, the World – how Does it Measure Up? by Alfred Adler. ( 1928) LIFESTYLE is an eight volume work on the relationship between human behavior and ideas. The term was first introduced by Austrian psychiatrist Alfred Adler in his famous 1929 book, The Case of Miss R. This concept was refined and developed further by Sigmund Freud in his Psychological Review, publication number II.
As part of the research into human behavior, Freud examined the aspects of different lifestyles in detail, and LIFESTYLE includes his detailed analysis of the role of various types of living styles in creating personality traits and behaviors. While each of these lifestyles can provide a wealth of unique benefits to the individuals that embrace them, some negative aspects of such lifestyles are also found within the LIFESTYLE itself. Such elements as excessive dependence on alcohol and cigarettes, the adoption of dangerous sexual behaviors, and overall unhealthy living conditions are all well documented within the pages of this book. The importance of this book is highlighted, however, not by its content, but by the relevance of its findings for the present-day world.
Freud’s analysis of LIFESTYLE, as he viewed it, helped to shed new light on the issue of unhealthy and sedentary lifestyles, which are often found in the lives of today’s ‘yuppie’. According to Freud, people living an active lifestyle experience an increase in energy and stamina, as well as greater self-confidence. Lifestyles that are active and involved in vigorous activity promote a healthy lifestyle, in general. By extension, this means that a person who chooses to live an active lifestyle is in a better position to better handle stressors and other challenges that may come his or her way. Living an active lifestyle is also an important component of LIFESTYLE because, as mentioned above, it promotes a healthier, happier and more positive outlook on life.
Along with recognizing the value of LIFESTYLE, the work of Dr. Arnold Adorno, a cultural studies professor at the University of Miami, sheds new light on this phenomenon. Adorno’s analysis, which he conducted in the 1950s, revolves around how the values and beliefs we have developed throughout our lives, to varying degrees, determine our behavior patterns. According to Adorno, what separates civilization from the mass culture is the difference between people living active and healthy lives. Cultures, he believed, are based on values and beliefs that have become conventional, over time.
According to Adorno, this is why the mass culture and LIFESTYLE cannot be separated. LIFESTYLE, in essence, defines and describes the values and beliefs of the masses, which have become customary and have become deeply rooted. It thus provides an insight into the mass culture and, by extension, the manner in which that culture may be changed and interpreted so that it may become a source of pride and gratification for the members of the masses.
Although LIFESTYLE was written many decades ago, it is pertinent today because the values and beliefs surrounding LIFESTYLE and the mass-culture are in constant flux. The changes in LIFESTYLE such as the dissolution of the nuclear family and the rise of what is called the “work cluster” have had a profound effect on the values of the LIFESTYLE-based society. In this light, one could say that Adorno’s theory of Habakkurn (a term taken fromodor Adorno’s work, quoted in Stili di Vito) is relevant today even though the concept of Habakkurn itself has been greatly antiquated. In light of these points, one may conclude that the relevance of LIFESTYLE should not be overlooked or taken for granted because it still has relevance even today.