File spoon-archives/heidegger.archive/heidegger_2001/heidegger.0112, message 10


Date: Sun, 02 Dec 2001 18:49:27 +0100
Subject: Re: Zollikon: Unconscious


Cologne 02-Dec-2001

Michael Staples schrieb Sat, 1 Dec 2001 16:08:22 -0800:

> Michael,
>
> You wrote:
> ME:
> ...that we are receptive for the
> self-showing of beings themselves to emerge silently out of the blue. We
> cast
> the net of attentiveness and wait for nothing in particular.
> MS:
> >>>That's a nice thought.
> ME:
> Re worldsharing: Worldsharing does not start only when I have something to
> do
> with another person...
> MS:
> >>>Hmm, so when we look together at a picture, and share the experience, if
> we cannot call this sharing a world, do we call it only sharing the
> experience?. I am reminded of the Lincoln's pipe example (can't recall where
> i read this) in which that which makes lincoln's pipe different from any
> other, is the "world" it evokes. Is there a "the" world as opposed to an "a"
> world?
> ME:
> Regarding the articulation of understanding in words and the temporality of
> the
> decisive disclosive moment (Augenblick): My mood is how my existence has
> been
> cast at a given moment; it is 'how I find myself' (Befindlichkeit) in a
> given
> situation as a whole. The work in psychotherapy consists in encouraging
> (enheartening) sensitivity and receptiveness to what is silently said in
> debilitating or distressing moods, so that the unarticulated understanding
> somehow associated with these moods can make its way to spoken language. I
> say
> "somehow associated" because understanding can never fully fathom a mood.
> Moods,
> as resonance with the openness of being, remain unfathomable, like being
> itself.
> MS:
> >>>A very helpful point.
> ME:
> In the case of your friend and the theology program, his future casting was
> already articulated by him inadvertently asking for information about the
> theology program. His slip of the tongue was already a striking clue that
> could
> be followed to see where it pointed to. He was able to follow this pointing
> and
> appropriate the possible casting of self pointed to as his own.
>
> In cases of depression, by contrast, the task could consist more in allowing
> the
> pointing to come to spoken words at all. From the words that occur to one
> out of
> the blue, a meaning could emerge, i.e. a direction and perhaps ultimately an
> existential orientation.
> MS:
> >>>I've been thinking about how our discussion might change the way I deal
> with and think about those with whom I work. First, I would want to
> emphisize "casting the net of attentiveness and wait for nothing in
> particular" (I like that). And in an openness to that which comes from out
> of the blue, my job is to be attentive to it. And the "it" can be a be-ing
> of any sort -- so that I do not destinguish ontologically or practically
> between beings. I mean be this that what emerges might emerge in any number
> of forms --e.g., as a thought, or a feeling, or a movement, or a
> description, or whatever. So anything that comes into the net of
> attentiveness is fair game -- from the blue or not. And a big part of my job
> is to notice it...to attend to it.
>
> Next, I would bear in mind the need for balance. But where Jung thought to
> balance the ego (smaller self) against the unconscious (bigger Self), the
> balance I would conserned is the authentic needs of Dasein, pushing up
> against the resistence of the world in which it is thrown? To this end, the
> dictim "Know Thyself" stands forward. To know thyself, one must come to
> terms with the tension of being thrown into a world, a society, where a
> technological Gestell may indeed rule the day. To know thyself, one must
> also find the words that bring to light the network of meaning and
> significance that can be lost to one's past, such that one's past is no
> longer present for future casting, or such that one's past, or part of one's
> past, is covered over such that its meaning becomes blurred or subverted.
>
> Now let me ask about the good-ol mind-body stuff one more time, because this
> has been nagging at me as well. Let's take our friend the depressed
> personality again. From a scientific perspective, the depression is caused
> by some sort of organic thing-a-ma-jig in the brain. Tweek the thing-ama-jig
> and the depression gets better. Don't know precisely why...don't much care.
> Enter Prosac. Don't know precisely why it works...don't much care. The point
> is that it works.
>
> From another perspective (Depth Psychological perspective), the depression
> is a product of the psyche, which is not organic. Perhaps it is a
> teleological psyche, perhaps not...but the point is that it is not
> organic...or something. The point here is that tweeking the thing-a-ma-jig
> in the brain, or drinking a glass of Prosac would be seen to be
> side-stepping the real issue, which is that the psyche is the thing-a-ma-jig
> that needs tweeking, instead of the brain.
>
> So, where do you come down with this issue, Michael? On the one hand,
> everything could be viewed as organic. On the other hand, everything could
> be viewed as psyche (spirit, soul, or whatever). How is this sorted out in a
> Heideggerian world?
>
> Michael S.
>
>

Michael,
First, re worldsharing. I would say that sharing the experience of looking at a
work of art with someone is indeed worldsharing. I wanted to point out the
fundamental level of worldsharing, however, which encompasses the entire
historical timespace-openness of being. The openness is the _possible_ dimension
of all human encounters. For instance, we share the world with those who are
dead, even those about whom we know nothing.

I like what you say about a psychotherapeutic stance by way of summary. A
psychotherapeutic situation should always be oriented toward showing up
possibilities for individual existence, thus allowing the individual to come to
a firmer stand and a more fulfilling direction in life. This implies that we
have the tendency to cover over our possibilities, or rather, that openings are,
at first and for the most part, in hiding. To take a stand in life requires
courage, so the therapist's role is to give heart, to strengthen the heart and
to help uncover, especially through cool confrontation.

I mean, all of us have 'theories' about ourselves, about who we are, how we
became the way we are, all sorts of explanations, and these self-explanations
are invariably self-obscuring. The psychotherapist is an other who can
deconstruct this fabric of self-obfuscation, if things go well.

The psycho-soma question is one of the most difficult, because a phenomenology
of the body is extremely difficult. Heidegger says this in the Zollikon
Seminars, and I agree. In the first place, however, it is crucial to get the
fundamentals straight and think the psyche as human openness to the temporal
openness of being. This at least provides a guiding thread. There is no need to
make a division between psyche and body; the body obviously participates in our
openness to the world, although it is hard to say so precisely in an adequate
phenomenal language.

You only have to look at the phenomenon of getting tipsy to know that a mood can
be affected organically. But we also know that it's problematic to get dependent
on alcohol to 'manage' one's mood. Same applies to mood-manipulating drugs like
Prosac.

Human being in the sense of an attunedness to the world is in any case of a
different kind or dimension than the organic substances that can have an effect
on it. The weather, fatigue, for instance, can also have marked effects on mood.
How we find ourselves attuned depends on all sorts of contingencies, not all of
which are organic.

In the case of someone suffering chronically from depression, however, there is
something wrong. Since attunedness is the whole of how we find ourselves attuned
with the world (including being out of tune), i.e. a qualitatively rich
phenomenon _in its own right_, it would be an act of violent truncation to
assert that. mood was in principle always the resultant of a complex of organic
causal factors. Such metaphysical prejudice does violence to the phenomenon
itself. Since mood is always how we find ourselves presently as a whole, taking
a closer look at a mood can tell us something about how our existence is as a
whole. That is, there could be a valuable indication, a valuable clue in a down
mood which points to some aspect of our existence which is out of order, some
unfinished business, perhaps.

John Lennon says, "Feel your own pain." If the pain has some organic source,
then'll want to fix it, say, by surgery. If the pain is a diffuse existential
anguish, then manipulating one's mood with drugs only removes a symptom and robs
one of the clue which being attentive to one's moods could provide about what's
wrong in a larger, existential sense. If we are interested in the truth about
ourselves, then we also have to be attentive to what our moods disclose or cover
over. A mood can be understood in some way or other. An understanding can be
articulated in words.

So, whilst it may be advisable to tweak with Prosac under some circumstances or
in some cases, one also has to be aware of how this could block the way to
getting to know one's self (one's self-deceptions, for instance) by removing the
indications lying embedded in moods.

Michael
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