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Man in the world is characterized by fear, anxiety, and despair, when faced with the unknown, the freedom to choose, the responsibility aligned with it, the fear of being and not being at the same time, and the kind of life the human-person should live in-spite of these fears has been the quest of philosophers and psychologists since the beginning of time. Rollo May tries to analyze, describe and solve the problem of anxiety and despair in man and he believes that for one to be able to live an authentic life, one must take courage and move forward to create. This work has done an examination of May’s theory of man in the world which is the analysis of anxiety and despair, and in conclusion maintains that man must be able to search for himself and have the courage to move forward in-spite of despair.                                                                  



Title Page        -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           i          

Declaration      -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           ii

Certification    -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           iii

Dedication      -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           iv

Acknowledgement      -           -           -           -           -           -           -           v

Abstract          -           -           -           -           -           -           -           -           vi

Table of Contents       -           -           -           -           -           -           -           vii


1.1              Background of the Study        -           -           -           -           -           1         

1.2              Statement of the Problem        -           -           -           -           -           1

1.3              Objective of the Study            -           -           -           -           -           2

1.4              Significance of the Study       -           -           -           -           -           2

1.5              Justification of the Study        -           -           -           -           -           3

1.6              Methods of the Study             -           -           -           -           -           3

1.7              Scope of the Study                 -           -           -           -           -           3

1.8              Clarification of the key-term  -           -           -           -           -           4

1.9              Organization of the Study      -           -           -           -           -           5


2.1       Review of Related Literature              -           -           -           -           6

CHAPTER THREE: ROLLO MAY’S THEORY OF MAN IN THE                                  WORLD

3.1       Background of Rollo May      -           -           -           -           -           15

3.2       May’s Concept of Anxiety and Despair         -           -           -           16

3.3       Man’s Search for Himself       -           -           -           -           -           19

3.3.1     Rediscovering of self -           -           -           -           -           -           22

3.4       The Courage to Create            -           -           -           -           -           24


4.1       Evaluation       -           -           -           -           -           -           -           28

4.2       Conclusion      -           -           -           -           -           -           -           30

Works Cited -  -               -               -               -               -               -               -               31                               



1.1              Background of the Study

            The search for meaning has been the quest of man since the beginning of time. Man strive to understand the meaning of world they are in. Rollo May as an existential psychologist and philosopher, tries to improve the life of his patients and make them understand the meaning of life through the use of existential psychotherapy, which is the use of personal life situations and experiences in the treatment of mental illness. It is based on a regular personal interaction to help a person overcome his or her problems. Thus it asks the following questions:

i.                    How could an authentic existence be attained?

ii.                  How could man live in the society and in relation to people around him?

iii.                Is man really free to live the way he wants?

            These and many other questions puzzled man and in trying to solve or find answers to them, man plunges into fear, anxiety, alienation, and loneliness. These questions will form the focus of this work, which will basically be an examination of man in the world with reference to one particular philosopher and psychologist, Rollo May.

1.2              Statement of the Problem

            Man naturally in one way or another engages himself in the quest to finding the meaning of life and to understanding what it means to live an authentic existence. May tries to point the way towards achieving of authentic existence and towards the achieving of self. Having discovered that anxiety and despair are some of the major inner problem of man, he systematically sought to define the meaning of these concepts and as well move forward to propound a guideline that could enable man to overcome anxiety and despair, and equally put it into constructive use. This work shall examine the view of Rollo May on anxiety and despair, and his views on how man should live in the world in-spite of them.

1.3              Objective of the Study

The objectives of this study are:

i.                    To examine Rollo May’s theory of man in the world.

ii.                  To do an evaluation of Rollo May’s view of man in the world.

1.4              Significance of the Study

The relevance of this work is that it would enable people to understand what it means for man to live an authentic existence, using Rollo May’s theory of man in the world as a yardstick. Thus, the significance of this work is that;

i.                    It shall enlighten people on how to live an authentic life.

ii.                  It shall enable people to take courage in pursing such life in-spite of fear, anxiety and despair.

iii.                It shall proffer a solution to the problem of anxiety and despair that man faces in today’s world.

1.5              Justification of the Study

            This work is researchable because it centres on human existence, and it concerns important issues such as; human freedom, choice, autonomy of man as a person, and human responsibility. Therefore, it would be worth researching. And examining Rollo May’s theory of manz in the world would give us a basis or guideline on how to attain an authentic life in our contemporary society.

1.6       Method of the Study

            Based on the topic of this work. “An examination of Rollo May’s theory of man in the world”, the means through which I intend to carry out this research work is by consulting the primary works of Rollo May both in the library and on internet, using analytic method. Also a review of other related literature about man in the world shall be carried out so as to examine Rollo May’s views properly.

1.7              Scope of the Study

            This research seeks to examine Rollo May’s theory of man in the world. It would be worth stating that the aim of this work is not to examine the entire work of Rollo May but rather to examine some of his works within the period of the 20th   century and how he points the way towards achieving selfhood.

1.8              Clarification of Key Term


            Man according to the Oxford Learners Dictionary can be seen as a person either male or female (901), this mean that man is a unit of humans in general. For Burke, man is a symbol making animal, separated from his natural condition by instruments of his own making, goaded by the spirit of hierarchy and rotten with perfection (16). What this definition of man for Burke, points to, is that man is different from other creatures, by the virtue of his use of symbols from nature, by his own techniques, and by his need to move towards order. He naturally aims higher to be better than he is. Nevertheless, not only does man use symbols, man makes and misuses symbols as well.       

For Heidegger, when man chooses not to aim higher, to be better than he is, when he chooses not to project himself into the world, man becomes a “lower degree of being or less being (64)”. That is, less of a man or lower degree of man. Man is a being, diverse in nature with relative and different interest. He is a social, political, appetitive, religious and as well as a rational being, who is capable of producing tools, employing symbols and knows of his own mortality.  He is equally capable of saying yes or no to a given situation or circumstances.

            However, man in the light of problem might be plague with anxiety and despair and is to this end, that May try to point towards the way in which man can achieve self-hood in-spite of the vices. It will be important to note that the use of “man” as a general term for male and female has in recent time been in controversy but the issue is not yet conclusive, therefore for the purpose of this paper, and for clearer understanding, the term “man” will be used for both male and female, it will also be used interchangeably with the “human person”

1.9              Organization of the Study

            This research work is divided into four chapter, chapter one shall lay emphasis on the background of the study and also give an insight into the terms used. Chapter two shall deal with review of related literatures on man’s existence in the world, and chapter three shall focus on examination of May’s theory of man in the world. The last chapter, chapter four shall deal with evaluation and conclusion of the research work.

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