(From now on, look at everything that happens to you not as horrible, painful or sad, but as cute and silly, like this duck.)
The Misleading Thermodynamic Theory of Being
“Modern psychology began to flourish at a time when the thermodynamics theory of heat and the theory of potential were finally put on a firm basis and clearly formulated by some of the most eminent scientists of that time. Thus, the idea that energy can neither be created nor destroyed became more or less common knowledge. Any educated person knew this, and it was quite natural to formulate the libido theory on the same lines, that is, to be analogous with the energy theory. Emotional energy could accumulate, be dammed up; and, as it could not be destroyed, either steam had to be let off or sublimation had to take place. The same background prevails today and some excellent authors, who now see quite clearly the fallacy in the libido analogy, inadvertently make the same mistake with other emotional manifestations — such as aggression.
The energy analogy does not hold good for emotional urges because there is no question of energy here, but of forms of action. Aggression is a form of behavior, not an energy. There is no such thing as dammed-up aggression that increases in pressure until the dam breaks down and aggression flows freely. There is no screen to aggression that contains it and allows its accumulation and there is nothing in the nervous system or in any other part of a man where aggression can accumulate.
In the same way, there can be no question of the sublimation of libidinal energy, because there is no accumulation of libido in the form of enegy. The sexual glands do not continue ot be active, and sperm is not continually formed if there is no sexual outlet. There is a self-regulating mechanism at work here, as in all glandular secretion. …
The personal experience of each individual does foster the development of certain feelings, faculties, and functions and excludes others. But there is no question here of binding up energy with the fostered functions out of a total available, so that there is no energy left for the others. …
We must beware of accepting the facile explanation of dammed-up emotional urges, because it suggests erroneous solutions, through which the learning of the proper use of self is neglected and no real change occurs. We think of insights, of becoming “conscious,” and of similar things as sufficient to make a breach in the dam and let the energy flow into the proper channels. But these only show us clearly which functions have been excluded form use to the point of remaining in an undeveloped state. And the sooner we get about furthering the apprenticeship the better.”
- Moshe Feldenkrais, The Potent Self, p. xiii
(I was looking for Caspar David Friedrich’s Monk by the Sea, and Google images gave me all of these. The original painting was obviously one of these combinations of colour, not all… but this is kind of beautiful, like some illustration of how a single painting might actually be different to different people; in different eyes, heads…)
(Another incentive to stop asking why: because interpretation means treating my life — and life in general — as a text, which it is not, and maybe it’s a kind ofblasphemy to think of life that way. Which of course I do all the time.)
- quote from Charles Taylor’s Philosophy and the Human Sciences, vol II, first essay
(I could spend a few hours thinking about this…)
(OK, for instance: if it’s true that our “explanations” — those elaborate structures we’ve built up in our minds to explain how our own lives work, or how life works — require “laws” — and yet one has to admit that it’s very unlikely that any laws we humans might derive from our explanations could actually be true enough to reflect the patterns (or non-patterns) of life, should we stop asking why questions? Must the attempt to answer them only lead us into absurdity?)
(Should I try to not ask why for the rest of June? I’ll try, though I doubt it’s possible. But it might be neat to see what comes to replace it; if new things begin happening in my brain.)
- quote from Professor Adam M. Goldstein’s blog
Talking to three coins
Does this primal fear come from my mother’s inconsistency?
Does it also come from the demons or the monsters?
Is there anything to be done about it, to quell it?
Even a deeper spirituality wouldn’t help?
Yes it would help or wouldn’t help? Would help?
Because it’s not so frightening to be in relation to God or something like God, because God is more consistent than any human including my own brain?
Because I would simply have more faith?
Should I start having more faith today?
Does that mean praying?
Can I just pray to the best of my ability?
Should I do it out in the garden?
On a walk?
At my desk?
Does it matter where I do it?
In the park?
By the railroad tracks?
In the shower?
(623,069 human beings like this flower)
What sort of world are we living in?
Are we living in the best of all possible worlds?
[she shakes the coins, then throws them; two tails]
The worst of all possible worlds?
Somewhere in the middle?
[three tails turn up]
Are we living in many worlds simultaneously, not just one?
[three heads turn up]
And do these worlds vary in “bestness”?
[she shakes the coins; two tails]
Are they equal in bestness?
Is “bestness” a totally false way of categorizing these worlds?
[two heads turn up]
Former football player Rosey Grier performs It’s All Right To Cry from the 1974 kids’ special Free To Be, You and Me. (Happy Friday morning!)
The alchemists say that nothing can be created if you do not put the lid on the pot. Things have to heat up. I think about this when I think about solitude and creation. Solitude is like heating up; like putting the lid on the pot.
"The behaviour of human beings is firmly based on the self-image they have made for themselves. Accordingly, if one wishes to change one’s behaviour, it will be necessary to change this image."
"The greatest leaders of men, such as Buddha, Confucius, Moses, and Christ, altered the behaviour of millions, making them do very difficult things, not by bullying them, but by ordering them in the same human way they ordered themselves. They are admired, even by disbelievers like myself, not for their willpower but for their poised reflective manner. Kind and objective, they had a clear understanding of what was necessary for the men of their time, and they treated themselves likewise."
Moishe Feldenkrais, The Potent Self