Saturday, May 28, 2011

Its for your own good 2

May 28, 2011 - 1:17PM

A man has died after police arrested him on a street in Sydney's southwest.

Police spotted the man riding a motorised bicycle without a helmet (oh my G-d without a helmet!) in Campbelltown about 10.20am today.

They say he became abusive (he didn't speak English well, which in itself is suspicious) when officers stopped him near the corner of Queen and Browne streets.

Police say that soon after they arrested and handcuffed the man, he collapsed.

Its for your own good 1

My partner recently was recently fined $258.00 and lost two points (12 points and they take away your driver's license) for 'double parking" outside Woolharha school. That is, for drawing alongside another car for a few seconds while our child climbed in.

She had rushed there from work to pick up said child (who is still to young to use public transport alone), and was photographed by an unmarked car apparently from the Paddington police station.

Parents routinely stop anywhere they can along Forth street and pick up their children. they do this because from 2:45pm there is often no legal parking available anywhere within a kilometer plus radius of the school; I imagine working parents will continue to violate the plethora of restrictions placed between them and picking up their children in timeous fashion because their is no viable or common sense alternative; and they will remian easy targets for some quick income generation for local councils.

It does, however, seem to me to be a particularly punitive and petty use of police time. Of course we will pay up. There is no real recourse (who has the time and luxury to go to court), and technically we may have even broken the law (if stopping next to another car = parking).

The bigger question is who - if anyone - do these selectively enforced laws benefit. Certainly not working parents.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Resistance and Persistance

Here's a story told to me by a friend, Robyn Gam-Greenstein:

"I found a sick baby pigeon - was dropped at my feet, by a big black crow, as I was walking out of a shop. It was unconscious - i knelt down and starting giving it ‘reiki’.

The people around me were saying ‘dont touch it - its dirty’; ‘oh thats disgusting’; ‘r u mad ?’ and ‘’its dead -why u wasting your time !'

After about 8 mins of doing this the baby pigeon became conscious and then stood up and after about 20 mins flew away.

it happened outside ‘biancas - grub store’ in Old South Head Road, Sydney."

Robyn recalled this after reading a similar recollection of mine:

I found a sick pigeon
and gave it some water
when I returned
it had gone

(but its body was still there)

Although my initial response was to celebrate Robyn for her heroic compassion, or for being the vehicle for such, and to condemn the passer bys conditioned into indifference and fear, I now say:

Bravo to Robyn
Bravo to the Black Crow
Bravo to the baby pigeon
Bravo to the passer's by
who provided the stage
for her compassion


Thursday, May 19, 2011

There's no truth like an old truth

Here's a perfect illustration of the old adage Honesty is the best policy:

A man applying to be a police officer in San Diego admitted on his application he liked child porn - and was arrested.

Cops raided Robert Williams' apartment and car, confiscating computer equipment after he admitted he'd had past sexual contact with a child and also wrote he had "viewed, purchased, sold or subscribed to child pornography", local TV reported.
(mx Nwes, Wednesday May 18, 2011)

And in this manner (as Raymond Carver ended one of his short stories) the matter was resolved.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Water and stone, advaita and attachment

For a piscean like myself - a type 4 on the enneagram - whose watery being tends to flow shapelessly in keeping with midat harachamim - the aspect of mercy - the challenge is to be comfortable with other words to create clear and firm vessels to contain myself and strengthen midat hadin - the aspect of justice - in me. Any suggestions on how water can become stone (without being frozen)?

In a similar artery, in attachment theory "preoccupied" people in their most extreme form are seen as having a lack of belief in their own agency. They are passive, and believe things happen to them which they are unable to control or even influence. Thids lack of belief in their own agency (external locus of control) is seen as debilitating and disempowering. BUT in advaita, lack of agency is understood to be the truth. Human beings do not do, they are done by that which does everything effortlessly and gracefully, the force that through the green fuse drives the flower drives my green age. How is it that the advaita masters do not seem to be disempopwered by the knowledge of their own lack of agency? What piece am I missing, because for me the lack of belief in my"self" as agent has, perhaps, created or exacerbated a tendency towards paralysing passivity??? Vekeragil, hamevin yavin.

See also post personal psychology

I refuse to continue to claim agency selectively: if I did bad, there is far more good that I did. (And what is the bad, that I frightened two women with my longing? Bad and good are relative terms, relative to shape and form - they really mean things I accept and things I reject out of self interest, identification with a part rather than the whole etc.)


compare Reichian/ Lowen's five character types with the enneagram....

Saturday, May 7, 2011

One, Two, Buckle my Shoe

Jung's concept (and of course it is not really his concept, it was given to him freely by the great source of concepts) of the super soul, is early articulated in Jewish sources. Nishmat kol chai - the soul of all that lives, and Kol HaNshama tehallel Yah - the entire Soul will praise Jah (Tehillim/ Psalms) being just two sources that I know of.

The Therapist as Parent

The therapist needs to be a "good enough" parent to the client, so that the client reexperiences a connection with something reliable, consistent, authentic and above all well intentioned (congruence and unconditional positive regard).

The therapist as witness

The therapist as parent...yes, but also sometimes the therapist as witness, modelling for the client how it is to be with what arises, without acting out or suppressing, just gently meeting, being with, seeing - "the seeing is the doing" (Krishnamurti)

It is useful and possibly beneficial to make the distinction between emotional monagamy and occasional sexual acting out

The Guru as Mother and Father

Therapy as avodat kodesh - sacred service

Adlerian doubts

Although Adlerians try to differentiate themselves from Freudians, like every other school of psychology which has tried to individuate because of “the anxiety of influence” ( see the work of literary critic Harold Bloom The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry. Oxford University Press US, 1997.)
in the end most of these supposedly differing schools always have common ground which no amount of new nomenclature can obscure. So distinctions such as the one Mosak and Maniacci (2008) make “The Adlerian is interested not in curing sick individuals or a sick society but in reeducation individuals and reshaping society” (p.73) are essentially specious and meaningless.
Adlerains see themselves as change agents. Why would you be so invested in change unless you viewed the staus quo as unsatisfactory, ie, lacking, or sick in some way?
With its focus on “positive” change (and what exactly is the content of “positive”), connection, contribution and encouragement it seems that Adlerian therapy is a kind of reaction formation to the shadow aspects of life and does not necessarily facilitate the intergration and owning of our destructive impulses.
Because few longitudinal studies have been done on the long term efficacy of Adlerian work, it is difficult to test my hypothesis that the lack of shadow work may eventually undermine gains supposedly made by clients in Adlerian therapy.

Talmudic Psychology

It seems to me that the conclusions that Freud and Jung eventually arrived at after lifetimes of cogitation and G-d wrestling (= Self wrestling, same thing) had been broadly articulated in the Talmud 1500 years prior.

Towards the end of his life Freud jumped to the conclusion that there are two elemental forces at work in the soul of man (and poissibly wo-man!) - eros and thanatos - the life lust urge and the death destroy urge. The rabbis of the Talmud (and let us speak of them as a collective although they lived across several hundred years) posited that there are two fundamental forces at work in the individual psyche/human personality (that we question the ultimate reality of the individual psyche can be set aside for the moment). These two fundemental forces are:

a) The yetzer tov - the desire towrads "good"


b) The yetzer hara - the desire towards "bad" or "destruction"

These two forces are seen as always present, always potentialities which a person may follow. Sometimes they will go with the one, sometimes with the other.

Interestingly, both forces are called "yetzer", which comes from the Hebrew root yud - tsadi - reych = to create, to fashion, to give form to. So there is an acknowledgement that both impulses help forge and shape the ever emerging reality. The Talmud specifically acknowledges the creative power of the Yetzer Hara in several passages. In fact it is conflated with the life-lust urge and these rabbis say that if it were not for the yetzer hara, the world wpould stop turning and chickens would stop laying eggs.

The wise men ( and alas the opions of the wise women are rarely recorded there) of the Talmud speak in seemingly bottomless metaphors about the role these two forces play, and how both can be "transformed" via the light of consciousness.When I read their pronouncements, I never failed to be awed by the inscrutable richness of their (divinely inspired) imagination.

Of course I am drawn to the yetzer hara more, or at least as much, as the yetzer tov, because of its vitality and virility. As Blake said of Milton "he was of the devil's camp, only he did not know it" which is why Milton's descriptions of hell are so much more animated than are his descriptions of hell. (Although Judaism never developed the split Christian cosmology, and always surged towards a more integrated and holistic understanding of self.)

Here are some rabbbinic comments on the yetzer hara:

1)If it were not for the Yetzer Hara chickens would stop laying their eggs and people would stop having children

2)Spying out the talent at funerals: "Even in the hour of a person's mourning, his desires overcome him." (Tractate Kidushin Page Pey [80] side Bet [B])

and conversely

3)The evil inclination is not found in cemetries (Jerusalem Talmud, Kiddushin Perek Dalet [Chapter 4] Halacha Yud Aleph [law 11]

4)The following passage acknowledges the intrinsic divity of the yetzer hara, that destruction emenates from the one source as much as creation: "I created the evil inclination, and I created its antidote - the Torah" (Kidushin lamed, amud bet.)

5) The yetzer hara is a provacateur in this world, and a witness for the prosecution in the next.

6)It is hard for the yetzer hara, that even its Creator called it bad.

7)If the yetzer hara says "do it anyway and G-d will forgive you" do not believe it.

Similarly, in acknowledgement that all pleasure leads to pain

8)The evil inclination - its head is sweet and its end is bitter

9)"Veahavta et HaShem Elokecha bechol levavechecha - im shnei yetzirecha" i.e and you will love G-d with all your heart, ie. with both your inclination towards 'good' and your inclination towards 'evil'


Post -personal psychology

My post personal psychology is influenced by the teachings of advaita, and specifically by the teaching of Nisarghadhatta Maharaj in his book I Am That, and the Satsangs of Gangaji, Mooji and Isaac Shapiro. This psychology has the following theoretical assumptions:

aleph) There is no free choice, and therefore the goal of therapy cannot be to support people to make better choices

bet) Freedom is never of the person, but from the person

gimmel) The client and the therapist are not who they think they are; the story of who they are is what wants to be questioned

dalet) The fundamental transformative force is sincerity or earnestness

hey) Everything happens by itself - the notoion of personal agency is a myth. But there is a doer, who does everything.

vav) Change is inevitable

zayin) All process is postponement

chet) The past and future exist only in the now

tet) The best time to stop retelling the story of the past is now

yud) The best time to modify the story of the past is now

chaf)One of the best "spiritual" practices is the daily act of self-acknowledgement

lamed) The goal of therapy is to facilitate the therapist's and client's never ending process of letting go of the lesser to make room for the greater

mem) The goal of therapy is to investigate where the process has become stunted and blocked, so that the client may flow freely again

nun) By untangling and making conscious the knots that keep addiction and suffering in place Blake;s "mind forged manacles", the client's natural impetus towards reality reasserts and expresses itself more fully. "The seeing is the doing." (Krishnamurti)

samech) all attempts to establish causality are attempts to control the ebb and flood of reality, and only "succeed" in a limited way for a limited time. See why-evidence-based-therapy-is-lacking

ayin) Therapy primarily benefits the therapist. Any benefit to the client is a fortunate by product. Therapists engage in therapy because it benefits them, if all pretence is set aside.

pey) you are not the thinker yet "your" thoughts shape "your" reality

tzadi) no client, no therapist, no therapy

kuf) Enjoy your Self (Mooji)