A divergent thinker who can't abide an echo chamber, Jessie has served as assistant to the Consul General of Japan, Google Policy Fellow, and CIA leadership analyst. She is now an independent writer and analyst.
Years before I first heard the term “positive disintegration,” I was struck by the process as it played out in a biography of Robert F. Kennedy. Intense, quirky, and with a sense of the epic, RFK and his life journey reveal the human drama beneath Kazimierz Dabrowski’s academic jargon, showcasing overexcitability, dynamisms, and inner psychic transformation in all its dramatic glory.
When there’s a sickness in the society around you, Kazimierz Dabrowski argued that being maladjusted to it is actually a way to be mentally healthy. While such maladjustment still often leads us to disintegration, the good news is that this kind of disintegration may simply be a step on the broader process of reintegrating ourselves in a healthier, more powerful way.
To navigate the controversy that has erupted around overexcitability—is it related to giftedness? Is it misused as excuse, or a reason not to seek needed help?—it’s useful to step back and see what it means in the context of the theory that gave it its name.