I recall a social work teacher I had saying the main purpose of the training was to develop the professional identity of a social worker. I liked that idea. Especially once I saw that as a social worker I embraced a set of values, a body of literature and a community of practice. We valued a social systemic rather than individual approach, this meant seeing the world in quite a different way to, say doctors whose only systems were the human biological ones, who could make individual diagnosis but not social ones. Even better it distinguished us from psychologists, who adapted the medical model to the psyche, enviously creating a system of diagnosis based on the medical one.

Maybe it was a good thing at the time. There were variations on the theme, there were Christian social workers who I did not identify with and radical social workers who I did identify with. This blurred the edge between personal and professional identities. My family was not strong on identity. Atheist/Agnostic Dutch/Australian, humanist left rather than right. I must have craved a more defined identity as my first forage into this realm was to be able to say ‘I am a bushwalker”. In Sydney at the time, for me it had an almost religious existential meaning. Value words included intrepid, nature, hard, travelling light. It distinguished us from mere tourists, and I’m sure there are still people around who are part of that circle, and have let it define them to some degree. Now, 56 years later I retain some of these values. I trained first as a teacher but did no embraced the identity. Bushwalker softly morphed to mountaineer – but I saw it as an extension of my BW ID. Traveller was another extension I aimed to embrace, Peter Pinney style (See my blog post) but I was too much of a settler.

Philosopher, hippie, marxist were all on the journey. Now I’m writing a paper: “Being a Psychodramatist.” I don’t think I’ve landed in a fixed place. Identifying with groups and activities is one thing, belonging to a community is another, being conversant with a philosophy of life… All ok and maybe steps in the developmental pathway. As a trainer in psychodrama I want trainees to become psychodramatists, not just learn some techniques. To that end it is good to hold fast to a tradition and to embrace it. Not to cling to it, not to hide behind it. And the value in this particular tradition is that it is aware that the tradition is a conserve and that from a conserve we warm up to spontaneity and creativity. That is – from the old to the new.

Lynette Clayton wrote about the personality emerging from the roles we enact. Maybe it is also right to say that it emerges from the identities we embrace. Hmmm maybe the identities are things we discover in our selves, and then embrace. Over identification with a philosophy or group is a form of narrow mindedness, yet to be forever eclectic and skeptical is just confusing.

We need to develop an ego, personality, self, identity – all words, all useful especially in their respective philosophies. And there are stages of life for each.

In Erikson’s scheme’s_stages_of_psychosocial_development

“The teenager must achieve identity in occupation, gender roles, politics, and, in some cultures, religion.”

Thankfully he adds somewhere that this phase can go on for many years. And it is also clear that in his scheme there are many identities, professional being just one of them.

I think I developed a stable professional identity, did not get there till well into my 30s though. I see it as a cluster: psychodramatist, psychotherapist, counsellor, philosopher. Within that identity there is a lot of scope as well:

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

Colin Wilson online — Intentionality

Philosophy « Colin Wilson online:

One concept I recall from my Colin Wilson reading phase was Intentionality. This was one of the ideas I have stuck with as being useful. I associate it (rightly or wrongly) with Aldous Huxley and the “Doors of Perception”. We are capable of seeing far more than we do. We evolved to see everything and then evolved to select to see only what we need to survive. We can transcend our survival mode of perception with “intentionality”. I think that sums it up.

“Wilson has a sporting analogy for philosophy: ‘You could say on the billiard table of philosophy there are only two pockets – the positive and the negative. In philosophy, all kinds of people who belong to the negative side like David Hume, don’t really believe that the human will serves any purpose whatever. In other words it seems to me that in philosophy you’ve got people who believe that to a large extent, will really matters, and that we human beings have a certain control over our lives, and people who belong to the other side. And basically Derrida is one of these.’ He describes intentionality with another sporting analogy here: ‘Intentionality should not be seen as a synonym for ‘directionality’, an essentially static attribute, but as a dynamic description, involving consciousness and its freedom to act. It is better described by analogy with a baseball pitcher than with a signpost. Paul Ricoeur was the first to state this with clarity. I will suggest that Husserl saw intentionality as a creative act, capable of altering consciousness, and potentially as a kind of mystical discipline.’ That is to say, consciousness is active (perception is intentional). You can see this in Fitche’s statement ‘to be free is nothing; to become free is heavenly.’ This is completely opposed to the passive ‘signpost philosophy’ (semiotics) of Barthes and the ‘language speaks us’ of Derrida.

All of Wilson’s work is concerned with Husserl’s techniques [and Nietzsche’s optimism]. Not just his philosophy books though: the true crime paperbacks, the luridly covered supernatural volumes, the pulp fiction and even the books on booze or music are all in the positive pocket. In The New Existentialism he explains why – ‘Phenomenology is not a philosophy; it is a philosophical method, a tool. It is like an adjustable spanner that can be used for dismantling a refrigerator or a car, or used for hammering in nails, or even for knocking somebody out.’ (p.920).
In the seven volumes of his excellent ‘Outsider cycle’ (1956-1966), Wilson demonstrates the phenomenological method. ‘Husserl has shown that man’s prejudices go a great deal deeper than his intellect or his emotions. Consciousness itself is ‘prejudiced’ – that is to say, intentional.’ (ibid. p 54). So, in order to really experience phenomena, we have to grasp it, like a hand picking up an object. This selectivity is so deeply entrenched in our perceptions that we fail to see it operating and think that things just ‘happen’. But it is not so: perception is intentional, rather like an arrow fired by an archer. The illustration below shows this selectivity in action, as we can choose to see either the faces or the vase, rather like flipping a coin.


The Soft Edge

I find it very hard to live on the soft edge. I crave order, but can’t really find it of course. I like the hard edge, everything in neat little boxes, with an index and rules for access et. etc. But it is no way to live… computers are forcing us too much in that direction. Developing more tolerance for the mess is important. Perhaps it is not a mess, it is all birth, becoming, framentation and death!

This outline meditation helps – it is in itself a hard edge form, to find the soft edge. This is so relevant to me right now as Kate seems to manage that soft space, and I freak out!

From Richard Seel

Continue reading “The Soft Edge”

Harville Hendrix Audio

Click to play & download Harville Hendrix Helen Hunt Freud to Buddha

Note from:

The Challenge of Creating Change: Freud and the Budda in Dialogue with Imago
Join Harville Hendrix for a preview of the keynote presentation at the 8th Annual Conference

I listened to it and found it quite wonderful.

Harville places connectedness as a form of consciousness akin to or surpassing enlightenment. That is quite something. It makes sense to me as there is a resonance through the cosomos, things connect.

Spotted another Harville Hendrix one there on Behaviour Change:

Click to play & download Harville Hendrix on BCR

Language – Resources

There are too many to keep track of here, but exploring the related posts (below) should find them all.

David Grove – cleanlanguage–business.txt

David Grove – Less is More- grove-cleanlanguage.doc

David Grove – PerceptualPositions.txt

The Language of Nonviolence.doc

The Language of Nonviolence
When words come from the heart, they break through barriers and elicit compassion, says Marshall B. Rosenberg

by Sarah van Gelder, Marshall B. Rosenberg