Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Two Books

I am eyeing this book but have not decided to buy it or not: ``The Singularity of Being: Lacan and the Immortal Within,'' by Mari Ruti [Amazon link].

If anything, I would like to pause my studying for a while and go back to writing my own ideas. Anyway, this book is in the area between psychoanalysis, ethics, and politics. I hate politics and to a lesser extent ethics, but for that exact same reason, I feel that it may be something that I need to work on and reconcile with. In the past few days, the importance and the wide implications of the ``castration anxiety'' in its more exclusive sense of ``dealing with power and submission-domination issues'' has blown me away like a powerful storm. Here is an interesting quote--unrelated to castration though :)

In the opening chapter of his famous seminar on the ethics of psychoanalysis, Lacan draws a contrast between Aristotle’s “science of character” and psychoanalysis. He explains that while Aristotle’s method of self-fashioning is centered on the cultivation of habits, psychoanalysis defines itself “in terms of traumas and their persistence" (1959, 10). At first glance, this distinction may appear misleading, for what could be more habitual than the persistence of trauma? What Lacan is getting at, however, is the distinction between habits that are intentionally cultivated and others that motivate the subject’s life choices without its conscious awareness. He stresses that psychoanalysis is interested in how the involuntary repetition of trauma shapes the subject's destiny independently of its willful efforts either to develop a character or to arrive at particular existential outcomes. If the habits that Aristotle talks about arise from the subject's deliberate attempt to manipulate the contours of its being, the “habits” of trauma determine its actions and overall life-direction in ways that are neither logically explainable nor rationally containable. They give rise to repetition compulsions that unfailingly guide the subject to specific goals, hopes, and modes of meeting the world at the expense of others, thereby ushering it onto the trajectory of its distinctive “fate,” “fortune,” or “destiny.” ---p. 13, The Singularity of Being
Another book that I'm considering, and still undecided, is ``Contact with the Depths,'' by Michael Eigen [Link]. I have bought and have read parts of another book of this author, ``The Psychoanalytic Mystic.'' That is a difficult book to read, for me, because it pinches some old wounds of mine (religion and submission to a God) that I had put aside (try to forget?) for a long, long time.

Another quote from the first book that I liked:

Even though the subject's affective trajectory (or destiny) may appear largely accidental, it is in fact driven by its characteristic way of experiencing and coping with trauma. In a way, nothing distinguishes one subject from another more decisively than the particularity of is approach to suffering. Trauma, as it were, resides at the loot of the subject’s and more or less inimitable character—what I have in this book chosen to call “the singularity of being.” ---p. 14, The Singularity of Being

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Prayers

How frightened
How sad
did I feel
as I watched you
torturing the baby
then and again


In silence
as your eyes were shutting
I prayed
for your soul

your
raped
violated
lonely
soul

You exclaimed
``The God, who
cannot torture,
is only
a feeble excuse.''

***********************

This poem is partly motivated, in a strange subconscious way though, by the following, beyond-amazing, documentary:

Children Full of Life
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oc7S8HAfDzk&list=PL27D7F51F4598CD0A



Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fart-Induced Coma and Mysticism

I had a mini-stroke this morning. We woke up early but did not leave the bed and talked about many subjects. At one point, Sima was describing one of her friends who is always serious and never lets her true emotions and personality come out. I felt the air grew dense and the talk became too serious, so I broke a fart. Sima was not sure what happened and came to a pause, and I broke the second one louder. She had mixed feelings of anger and surprise and started to laugh. And I broke the third one, the strongest, and by this time I was already laughing so hard that I felt I was not getting enough air … and then it happened: I went to some sort of momentary sleep, Sima's voice faded, and I had the strangest dream, that the flow of my thoughts had changed. Specifically, my normal thought process was vertical and in the dream I had horizontal thoughts. And I got really surprised. After a couple of seconds I heard Sima again and everything was back to normal.

I have started reading Michael Eigen's, ``The Psychoanalytic Mystic.'' [Link] It is a dangerous book, for me, and I would not read it a year ago, but I feel ready now. I have been involved with mysticism, as some sort of coping/defense mechanism, since I was 10-12 years old. It is a very tricky subject for me.  

Monday, November 25, 2013

I.ron.y

I run "you".
Reach "you",
by accident.
Who's "you"?
A father, who
could not protect
A mother, who
could not love
when most needed?
Accident
Danger
Death
I seek.
I seek "you"
hoping
this time
I am found
protected
loved
and to feel complete
once more
once again.

********************

Where do we make the decision to forgive ourselves? To look back at our past, what they did to us, what we did to them, and say, you are forgiven, you are free from those horrors, now let them go and get on with your life.
Am I going to be free?
At least, I won't carry any secrets anymore, everything is coming out in therapy.

The salvation of man is through love and in love.---Victor Frankl (p. 49, Man's Search for Meaning)

There is a place in our soul that has to, and want to, accept us: now be, no escape, struggle, fight, trying hard, anymore, just be.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Lacan: Lack, Separation, and Addiction

A quote from ``Lacan and Addiction: An Anthology,'' a collection of articles edited by Y.G. Baldwin, K.R. Malone, and T. Svolos, that I am browsing on Amazon [Link]:
When Lacanians refer to the Phallic order, they are referring to the profound effects of castration and lack on the subject. The Lacanian notion of castration and the desire of the Other is tied to the subject's assumption of lack; it is a matter of separation, … Once a person enters the symbolic world, a world of symbols, they incur a loss, a lack in being. This loss exists in tandem with a lack in the Other (which in turn is covered over by drugs, ideologies, the drama of everyday life, scientific knowledge, etc.) 
I am really interested in this book because of (1) My current obsession with Lacan! and (2) My long time obsession with the topic of addiction.

What really draws me to Lacan is that when I read Lacanian psychoanalysts, I can smell Molana (Rumi) and his poems, specially when he talks about separation. More generally, I am beginning to see a close connection between psychoanalysis and mysticism!
Just to drive this point a bit further, here is a quote from another book, ``Kabbalah and Psychoanalysis,'' by Michael Eigen that I am browsing on Amazon [Link]:
It is one of the themes in Kabbalah, and one of the themes in aspects of psychoanalysis, that we are broken. And, at the same time, there is an odd paradox---a kind of paradoxical monism rather than dualism---that we are whole and broken at the same time.
You tell me, if this is not Persian style mysticism, then what is it?  

Friday, November 22, 2013

Introduction to Lacan

I started another round of my studies in psychoanalysis about two months ago. These past few days, I am reading a collection of papers on the connection between the two of the most important psychoanalysts after Freud, Lacan (French) and Winnicott (British): ``Between Winnicott and Lacan: A Clinical Engagement,'' Edited by Lewis A Kirshner. A quote from ``Chapter 4: Vicissitudes of Real'' by Mardy Ireland:
What is real for Lacan can be defined as what resists the grasp of the symbol and cannot be circumscribed by language. The Real suggests the realm of the impossible or impossible to conceive, of which death is a paradigmatic example. Lacan's (1958) somewhat cryptic statement of what it means to be human---``Life has only one meaning, that in which desire is borne by death'' (p. 277)---suggests that to be truly human is to welcome the gain of desire and to accept the loss inherent in being a symbolic subject. It is because of such subjection that we are the only creatures with consciousness of our impending death. Each person is given calibrated degrees of freedom to pursue their desire and shape a singular life and death through the gift of language. The Winnicottian caveat to Lacan is that to creatively sustain desire in the face of impending death requires individuals first to establish a psychic place in which they feel real. Lacking this, there is only potential psychic catastrophe in every experiences gap in the self---something against which the subject must strenuously defend. This crucial issue returns us to Lacan's introductory quote---``The umbilicus of a treatment is the question of desire and how it is trapped in its birth or its movement'' (1954, p.167). ---p. 67, Between Winnicott and Lacan

Here are some quotes that I wrote in the last week of my employment at the GSU. I was about to return all books back to GSU library that same day (May 16, 2013 probably).

The first set is taken from ``Chapter 1: The Trauma of Language'' by Lucie Cantin, of the book, ``After Lacan: Clinical Practice and the Subject of the Unconscious,'' written by Willy ApollonDanielle Bergeron, and Lucie Cantin, and edited and with an introduction by Robert Hughes and Kareen Ror Malone.

Human beings are living creatures capable of speech and, as such, have been exiled from the animal kingdom regulated by the logic of the natural satisfaction of needs. ... Language has transformed us into beings subject to a logic that is other than biological or natural logic. Lacan described as ``real jouissance'' such unmediated satisfaction as is sought by the animal who pounces on its very prey out of hunger or follows the rhythms of its mating instinct. ---p. 35

Human beings speak and language has certain effects---perhaps most significantly, the body. Only humans have bodies. ... Animals, by contrast, have an organism, a biological machine regulated by needs that must be satisfied. ... The body is contrasted from the organism insofar as it is a body that is spoken of, ... carved up and made visible by language. ... Hence, the body is a series of pieces that no longer function according to the organic logic of the organism, that are marked by the Other, by language. ... ---p. 36

Thus, the human subject is a creature of language. For humans, the most natural events, such as birth and death, are wholly caught up in the symbolic web created by language. Human beings have reasons to live and to die. At birth, one is already linked to the realm of symbols and words that define one's future destiny. Long before conception, one is born as a subject, subjected to the discourse and the desire that resulted in one's conception and birth. One is born of a parental desire, which often predates one's birth by many years, and which may even date back to the desires of the parent's own childhood, now buried in the unconscious, of the little girl, for example, playing with her doll twenty or thirty years before becoming a mother. ... Bound to the unsatisfied desires of parents, to their fantasies and to the expectations built up through past generations, the child is born as a subject by this very capture into signifiers coming from Other. ... ---p. 37

A certain number of satisfactions are inaccessible to a being capable of speech. As Lacan would say, language makes impossible real jouissance, or jouissance of the need. In Civilizations and its Discontents, Freud had already remarked that civilization not only forces human beings to give up instinctual satisfaction in the name of a cultural ideal, but also substitutes for instinctual satisfactions various other satisfactions which are mediated, partial, and delayed. What Freud attributes to the renunciations inherent to civilization is understood by Lacan as an effect of language. The symbolic world of myths, beliefs, laws, moral and human values---which form the very tissues of civilization---is created through language.
A need aims at its satisfaction by searching for a specific and adequate object. Satisfaction implies a total appropriateness of the object; satisfaction is by definition complete. The originary capture of human being in language diverts the subject from that form of satisfaction. ... Culture imposes rules and behaviors; it dictates the framework, the places, the times, and the objects from which it is acceptable to gain satisfaction. ...
But the child is not directly confronted with the lack of satisfaction imposed by language. Rather, the child encounters parental demand which are in turn related to the prescriptions of culture. ... Only with adolescence will the subject face that which is beyond the arbitrary Oedipal and cultural prohibitions in all their forms by encountering that which is impossible to any human being. The subject's own desire as a subject will then become the way to claim a relationship to the lack of satisfaction, as it results from the human condition, and not just from some seemingly arbitrary parental or cultural prohibition.
... It is that lack, which is inherent to the ability to speak, that creates desire ... there is desire because there is something impossible. ... ---pp. 39--40

Freud insists on the fact that the child accepts the loss imposed by civilization only out of fear of losing the love on which the child depends for survival. At birth, one is in a state of total dependence, at the mercy of the other for the satisfaction of primary needs. ...
The law of father is what represents, for the child, the law of culture ...
... Thus, the father is purely a signifier. He is a metaphor; for the child, he represents the signifier of cultural law, the signifier of the effects of language on human beings.
... In addition, the parent introduces something other than the cultural requirement. With or without knowing it, what the parent demands from the child is fraught with the dissatisfactions that have marked the parent's own life. Such demands carry unconscious and unsatisfied desires from past generations ...
the parental demand addressed to the child in the name of culture always carries some surplus meaning. It represents a lack other than that which is imposed by culture, a parental lack, which manifests itself as such to child. ... This could be expressed as a question: ``What does the Other want out of me?'' or ``What jouissane would my mother have if I become this or that?''
... The question ... is: How far will this demand go? To what extent will the subject devote a lifetime to responding to the demand of the parent or to the demand of anyone who would occupy that place during the course of a lifetime? ...
Each culture has its ways to represent the impossibility of total jouissance. The signifier of the Law ... is represented by the father and serves to link up the child with the lack inherent to human nature. As for the signifier introduced by the Other's demand, it rather refers to the imaginary of a possible jouissance, that the Other requires. ... The imaginary of a possible jouisssance, as it is claimed by the Other, blocks any possibility for the subject to claim the lack in being as something that results from the linkage to language. From that, one can see how important it is that the parent---in this case the mother, since she is in a position where she can refuse to give a father to her child---has assumed the impossibility of jouissance and, accordingly, that she does not expect from a husband or from her child the satisfaction of her unfulfilled desires. ---pp. 40--43, After Lacan
The last quote is from the Stein's Book, ``Partners in Thought,'' and kind of expands on the theme of `psychic catastrophe' in the very first quote:
The least fortunate people, whose personalities are most rigid, because they must protect themselves from the experience of the uncanny, from the eruption of not-me at bay, tolerate relationships that feel continuously dead and boring or hateful and destructive. The more urgent the need to isolate one's own not-me in the other, the more hateful and intensely sadistic the enactment necessary to accomplish the task. All enactments, especially those of not-me but even including bad-me, are adversarial; but it is much more likely, in enactments that protect one from having to bear the unbearable, for the relatedness to degenerate into violence, phsycial or emotional. There is no reason to hold back when the consequences of the enactment's failure (i.e., when a particularly virulent not-me threatens to come home to roost) are worse than any outcome of the interpersonalization of the dissociation. The dread of not-me can be compelling enough to lead to murder, sometimes of a virtual stranger, sometimes of a spouse or other family member, as Stein (2006) shows in a case culled from Federal Bureau of Investigation files of violent crime.  Fonagy and his collaborators (2002) describe patients, incapable of mentalization, who are reduced to protecting themselves from an outer world that, because the patient operates in the mode of psychic equivalence, seem as literally dangerous as their inner world of fantasy. ---p. 156, Partners in Thought

Friday, October 18, 2013

Dark Side: Who Cares?

I am in a vulnerable position these days, constantly questioning my decisions and also indecision. I want to review some of my history and facts and conjectures using quotes from the Joseph Newirth book, ``Between Emotion and Cognition: The Generative Unconscious.'' I read the book last year and I finally bought it a few days ago and received it in the mail today.

One of the main questions that were the force behind my journey a few years ago was this: What is the source of our vital energy? Why do I feel such a low level of energy and enthusiasm for life? I asked people around me these questions and I did not receive satisfactory responses. My intuition was that the energy was related to our relationships, and I was right as I discussed in a previous post [A Trip and More ...]. But there is another aspect to the answer that I want to discuss here. Our source of energy is intimately related to our dark side!

Why does anyone want to know his/her dark side. This is a dangerous endeavor:
Feud cautioned in 1905, ``No one who, like me, conjures up the most evil of those half-tamed demons that inhabit the human breast, and seeks to wrestle with them, can expect to come through the struggle unscathed.'' --- p. xiii, Between Emotion and Cognition
And here is Newirth's answer:
... the goal of treatment is not simply an expansion of the patient's capacity for decision making and consciousness, but the symbolization and integration of previously externalized unconscious fantasies that then become a source of creativity and energy: the generative unconscious.
... symbolizing unconscious fantasy is particularly important for patients who present the modern dilemma of being successful in their activities in the external world while simultaneously feeling deadened and disconnected, and that their choices are not meaningful, subjective validating, or emotionally enriching. --- p. xv, Between Emotion and Cognition
The last part is an exact description of my life only a few years ago! But what is the objective, the goal, of therapy as a tool for transformation and growth?
A patient's ability to symbolize unconscious experience is a critical aspect of the development of subjectivity, the experience of being emotionally alive, of a sense of control or agency, and the capacity to maintain intimate relationships with others. --- p.xvii, Between Emotion and Cognition
And a final note, back to discovering our own demons and dark side:
In my own work I have often thought about reversing the common view of psychoanalytic cure as `making the unconscious conscious' to `making the conscious unconscious', through helping our patients to integrate and symbolize their terrifying and unacceptable fantasies, which would allow them to enjoy and benefit from their own experience of ``wrestling with the demons of the unconscious.'' --- p. xvii, Between Emotion and Cognition
I have an amazing talent in psychoanalysis; and not just understanding its theories but practicing therapy in my day to day relationships!

I am not quite sure what ``symbolization'' means in practice. And yet, tonight I made an attempt at interpreting one of my strongest and most potent recent fantasies. I may later write it here, or not, but it was quite an interesting endeavor. I enjoyed it and felt empowered by being able to move from being the object of a fantasy, a follower, to the subject or the interpreter of the fantasy.

There was a discussion in the FB comments on this post around the question of, ``what is unconscious anyway.'' First, here is an article that I came across today and seems relevant:
http://pps.sagepub.com/content/3/1/73.short
``The Unconscious Mind,'' by John A. Bargh and Ezequiel Morsella

There is a fine distinction to be made here, using quotes from the ``Between Emotion and Cognition.'' In traditional psychoanalysis literature, ``conscious and unconscious experience are defined by the presence or absence of awareness. ... The unconscious mind is thought of as containing either pathological or infantile wishes, drives or relational patterns, and not as a developing structure of mind that makes important positive contributions to the individual development.'' An alternative (post-modern?) model is based ``on a view of the unconscious as a developing structure that allows the individual to create personal meaning, which leads to a dynamic sense of subjectivity.'' (p. 7)

And here is a terrifying observation. The essence of our humanity, the creative, god-like aspect of our being, is captured by the "freedom" that we give ourselves when we interpret the symbolic contents of our unconscious!
This distinction between presentational symbols that function as iconic, poetic, evocative images or actions that generate experience and meaning, and discursive symbols that represent information is critical ... Most traditional and contemporary psychoanalytic approaches view symbols primarily as discursive symbols, which suggests that the unconscious is a container of disguised, immature, and hidden meanings. Those approaches influenced by Klein, Winnicott, and Matte Blanco tend to view symbols as presentational symbols in contrast to discursive symbols, and view the unconscious as a generative organization creating meaning and evoking new experiences. ... discursive symbols represent a report function of language in which information is exchanged, while presentational symbols represent a command function through which an individual organizes his/her relationships and specifies how a particular message should be experienced and received. --- pp. 8-9, Between Emotion and Cognition
And finally, the first two minutes of this performance when Mitsuko Uchida talks about the piece and performance is so beautiful. When she says how "being present" is so amazing and scary at the same time:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9a7XiHRjTGI

Sunday, October 13, 2013

My Catcher in the Rye :)

The worst thought, you know, is the thought of killing yourself. It's annoying, as hell, that's what it is. It's like you're reading a good novel, say ``The Catcher in the Rye,'' and you think you're having a good time. Then, you see this beautiful black lady and think, what if I have sex with her? But then she approaches you, and hugs you, and you feel her full, firm breasts pressing against your chest. And you think, What the fuck am I doing here? What is this life anyway? And you think, I should end my life, yeah, that's what I should do. And all other thoughts, even sex, disappear, and all you can think of is how to end your life. Fucking annoying, man.

***************************************

Here is a friend's video response to this piece (on FB):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l81W-jcOuj0

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Trip and More ...

I was visiting family and friends back home and came back on Tuesday. Today a friend reminded me that this blog has been private, for more than a month. So I changed it back to public. And I am writing this post.

Interesting trip. Had a few very difficult days, but I enjoyed it all, even the hard part. My parents are getting old and I felt that they may or may not be alive the next time I go there. The pain was real, especially the last day of the trip. Heavy pain in the chest. I cried and it helped some.

I am becoming more wholesome, lol, I mean, I feel that I am bringing back part of me that were isolated, hidden and denied. The main sign of gaining back your wholesomeness is that you become your own best friend and your main audience. In this trip, I felt less compelled to convert people :) I observed my parents, the way of their lives, and realized that I have good parents, decent people, moderate, reasonable. Especially my dad. Their emotional side takes a back seat in their lives, hidden and denied, but overall they have a good and happy life. I do not need to worry about them or feel responsible to make them better people. So this time I stopped imposing my ideas and values on them. Observed them and lived with them. And we fought some times, but who does not? LOL

I am making small but steady progress. Have not figured out what I am going to do, career wise. Tonight, however, I had a realization. We went to the usual coffee shop with Sima and met some friends there. When we left I realized that I "need" a special type of connection in my life. A deep connection with people. Genuine conversations. I cannot be a researcher. It does not suit me. I enjoy some form of consulting job, combined with limited amount of teaching. I need to make this more precise and come up with an implementation plan. But it is not a bad start.

There is much more to say about the trip. I took many pictures, shot video clips, and discovered interesting music.

Let's start with the music. Here is one of my favorite bands and songs--Iranian fusion-jazz style :)

Dang Show - What Ever Might Be 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70gkz85l92Y

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Spider

Do you hear the calls of a boy
who went to a forest
with his parents,
on a sunny, delightful afternoon?
Playing in the woods
he heard a faint voice:
``Find the magic mushrooms!
Find the magic mushrooms!"
``What are the magic mushrooms?''
``They are magical,
give you power,
make you attractive,
and you won't need your parents
anymore!''
The boy looked at his parents,
busy talking and fondling,
and he started to walk off,
following the voice,
hypnotized
by tall trees,
deep scent of wood, and
vibrant colors.
Hours went by
and he suddenly realized
the voice was gone
the sun was setting behind trees,
shadows long and frightening,
mushrooms
all deadly and poisonous,
and he could not find
his way back
anymore.

Do you hear the calls of a man
still wandering
the deep dark forest?

*********************

Inspired by David Cronenberg's movie, Spider

This poem has a piece of my soul. I could feel it last night after I wrote it. It does not make it better or worse, but it's a fact :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

On The Verge

Speechless
Mesmerized
by the formidable force of
the undercurrents deep down the ocean
and in comparison
the mighty Titanic
is puny,
forgettable

You
want to know
what's
Horror?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6tV1yfEPTk

چه دانستم که این سودا مرا زین سان کند مجنوندلم را دوزخی سازد دو چشمم را کند جیحون
چه دانستم که سیلابی مرا ناگاه بربایدچو کشتی ام دراندازد میان قُلزُم پرخون
زند موجی بر آن کشتی که تخته تخته بشکافدکه هر تخته فروریزد ز گردش‌های گوناگون
نهنگی هم برآرد سر خورد آن آب دریا راچنان دریای بی‌پایان شود بی‌آب چون هامون
شکافد نیز آن هامون نهنگ بحرفرسا راکشد در قعر ناگاهان به دست قهر چون قارون
چو این تبدیل‌ها آمد نه هامون ماند و نه دریاچه دانم من دگر چون شد که چون غرق است در بی‌چون
چه دانم‌های بسیار است لیکن من نمی‌دانمکه خوردم از دهان بندی در آن دریا کفی افیون

********************

Yesterday was difficult. I started today fearing the worst to come. Then, I got lucky and had a moment of clarity that changed today's path, and I was more hopeful ... LOL

During the day, I came across this on a friend's blog. I wanted to write more but I did not. Too long and not sure about the consequences :)

Sex is not a goddamn performance

***************** 
This is amazing. It is much more than it first appears, much more! :)

http://www.intervoiceonline.org/2204/voices/personal-experience/learning-from-voices.html

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Me and Them

The teenage barista, she
is always worried
How do I look
Am I perfect
Enough for 
People to love me
Annoys everyone, but
I see in her
How hard I tried
Pretending, wondering
Am I good enough 
To deserve their love?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Random FB Posts/Revelations :)


No one who is familiar with the nature of neurosis will be astonished to hear that even a man who is very able to carry out an analysis [i.e. psychoanalysis] on other people can behave like any other mortal and be capable of producing the most intense resistances as soon as he himself becomes the object of analytic investigation. When this happens we are once again reminded of the dimension of depth in the mind, and it does not surprise us to find that neurosis has its roots in psychical strata to which an intellectual knowledge of analysis has not penetrated --- Freud

Sometimes a fear comes over me. I ask myself: "What if everything you have done is wrong? All the decisions. Leaving your job. Spending your time thinking and writing, or doing nothing. All based on a whim, a feeling!" And then, I feel the urge to eat, to do something to distract my attention, watch TV, or look for someone who can reassure me. Then, I remind myself that unless I accept the risk of losing, making errors, and hurting myself and others, I will never be able to find out who I am. The only person who is safe, makes no error, and does no harm, is a DEAD person! And I am learning to deal with the basic, inherent anxiety of being a fallible human 

I am thinking about writing five short essays on the following topics:
(1) Death
(2) Dreams and Creation
(3) Emotional Abuse
(4) A Cyclic Theory of Moderation
(5) A New Approach to Decision-Making...See More


Therapy Lesson (today): 
I love/like you but I don't like what you did.

At the highest level, the concept of "self" is constructed from narratives that we impose on our life experiences. Hence, "Self Knowledge" is more like "Self Construction". The tricky part is that the construction, for the most part, does "NOT" take place at the conscious level. I believe, the subconscious processes involved in the construction of a "self" are very similar to those involved in "dream construction." Reaching a coherent self (i.e. Buddhist's enlightenment?!) is limited by the scope of our conscious influence on the process. I am convinced that the main challenge of the 21st century will be in understanding these subconscious processes and integrating them in our elaborate conscious knowledge of the world (i.e. science and technology). It's the ultimate science-fiction! LOL

I started my work/study today with a mental image and I ended with a cool ``Osmosis Theory of Self-Realization'' that combines (and explains) areas such as self-knowledge, acceptance, shame and defense, healthy narcissism, authenticity, transitional space (of Winnicott) and more. 
Wow, sometimes it is so amazing to be alive! 

Inner wisdom and God are similar in that they are stories that we create for our lives. As we polish our heart and enlighten the dark areas of our mind, our stories become more coherent, our inner wisdom deeper and our God more powerful. At some point we become the God and wisdom that we have created .... Magic!

For the record, I am listening to this, so you can blame Stravinsky if you do not like my post, LOL, everyone knows he was a crazy dude  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycOatuaQmbs
www.youtube.com
David Shallon conducts the Orquesta Sinfónica de Radiotelevisión Española (Spani...


Monday, August 12, 2013

Self-Abuse

In my previous post, [Healthy Narcissism and Abuse], I defined the abusive relationship as one in which the abuser invades the natural narcissistic space of the abused and induces a deep sense of shame and worthlessness in the victim. Often, the abuser loves the abused and this invasion is done in the name of the improvement and betterment (of the abused) and in many situations the abused person agrees, at some level, with the abuser on the necessity of this invasion.

This bring a rather fascinating question: Can a person abuses his/her own self? The natural question is in such a scenario is, ``who is abusing whom?'' My answer involves a simple construct of the mind. [I am going to explore this structure in more depth in my essay on dreams and creation. Hopefully :) ] In this structure, the conscious part of the mind appears to be in charge for the most part when a person is awake. But this is rather a delusion. People make decisions with a faculty that is greater, and subsumes, their conscious and subconscious mind processes. Due to the lack of a better term, I call this ``whole mind/being.'' Self-abuse happens when a person's conscious mind tried to invade the narcissistic space of the same person by forcing changes upon the "whole mind.'' The attempt results in self-doubt, shame, and self-inflicted sense of worthlessness.

Is this scenario too far fetched? Based on my observations, most people engage in such self-abusive behavior on daily basis and with good intentions. Remember that very often, the abusive relationship has an element of love and affection. Abuser typically tries to change something deep inside the abused in order to deal with some of his/her own basic insecurities and shame. It is possible, and quite probable, then that the abuser does not stop at abusing others and engage in self-absuive behavior as well.

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An amazing modern dance piece:

http://vimeo.com/53287720

Sigur Ros - Valtari by Christian Larson from Christian Larson on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Healthy Narcissism and Abuse

We can imagine ourselves to be the best and greatest existence in the world. Many feel uncomfortable doing so. I propose that we need a small ``transitional'' space around us, a little extension of the imaginary world to the real world, in which we act from the conviction that we are the best and greatest thing in the whole universe. I call this the ``healthy narcissism'' because having this space around us protects us against shame and the resulting need to prove ourselves worthy of our being.

I suggest that abuse, specially the psychological and emotional abuse, happens to us when we allow someone to invade and intrude this space and try to change our basic sense of worthiness. Therefore, the abuse victims are identified by a damaged sense of self-worth and a deep and threatening shame that runs through many aspects of their lives.

When the abuse is severe, specially if it's physical or sexual, dealing with it is an important step in any meaningful life improvement. The inherent problem is that most adults enter an abusive relationship in search for a safe and reassuring environment because they have grown up in similar abusive relationships. Setting oneself free from a familiar and yet abusive relationship is one of the hardest challenges in life.

I think of my previous job as such an abusive relationship, not with an specific person but with a situation (or even with myself, if that makes any sense!) I forced myself into situations that would end up hurting my sense of worthiness. I felt ashamed of pretending to be someone else, someone with different likes and priorities. Maybe if I was stronger, I could transform that abusive relationship into one that would respect my basic sense of worthiness. I tried to do that but I was not successful. I had to terminate it, at least temporarily.

Notice that for an adult an abusive relationship is a partnership that is partially created by the victim. In milder forms of (emotional and psychological) abuse, the best approach may be to grow within the relationship and establish that healthy narcissism, that tiny space around us, extension of our imaginary world, in which we are the best and greatest. In fact, there are therapists who believe that ``finding, creating, establishing and maintaining yourself in a difficult relationship'' is the best and surest way to self-knowledge. Yet, this process only starts when you consider and mentally open the ``exit option'' (i.e. the option to terminate the relationship) for yourself.

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On hearing voices, abuse, and self-discovery:

http://www.intervoiceonline.org/2275/voices/understanding-voices/exploring-the-meaning-of-voices.html

http://blog.ted.com/2013/08/08/everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-voice-hearing-but-were-too-afraid-to-ask/

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Therapy Lessons


Today in my therapy session something happened that reminded me of a discussion with a friend of mine. Back in May, a friend asked if I looked at my therapist as a role model, or someone that I would want to simulate in my own life, and my initial reaction was dismissive, in the sense that I did not think of my therapist necessarily as a role model.
Today there was an interaction between us around the topic of separating someone's action from his/her character. Basically, I realized that I often confuse the two. :) For example, someone does something that I do not like and I subconsciously start "not liking" that person. Or more importantly, when dealing with people, I act based on this subconscious presumption that if my action goes against their preferences, they won't like me anymore.
Anyway, at some point I "felt" that my therapist is not interacting with me based on these presumptions and seems able to separate his likes/dislikes of my actions from his like/dislike of my character. And then, I noticed that by interacting with him I have learned something at a deeper, subconscious level. I probably had read about this before, and knew it at the intellectual level. But the embodiment of it by my therapist had a crucial role in my deeper understanding.

Dreams and Self-Construction

At the highest level, the concept of "self" is constructed from narratives that we impose on our life experiences. Hence, "Self Knowledge" is more like "Self Construction". The tricky part is that the construction, for the most part, does "NOT" take place at the conscious level. I believe, the subconscious processes involved in the construction of a "self" are very similar to those involved in "dream construction." Reaching a coherent self (i.e. Buddhist's enlightenment?!) is limited by the scope of our conscious influence on the process. I am convinced that the main challenge of the 21st century will be in understanding these subconscious processes and integrating them in our elaborate conscious knowledge of the world (i.e. science and technology). It's the ultimate science-fiction! LOL

http://blog.ted.com/2013/08/08/everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know-about-voice-hearing-but-were-too-afraid-to-ask/

"I sometimes discuss dilemmas or problems with them, or ask their opinion about decisions, although I would never let them dictate something to me that I didn’t want to do – it’s like negotiating between different parts of yourself to reach a conclusion ‘everyone’ is happy with. So, for example, maybe there’s a voice that represents a part of me that’s very insecure, which will have different needs, to a part of me that wants to go out into the world and be heard. Or the needs of very rational, intellectual voice may initially feel incompatible with those of a very emotional one. But then I can identify that conflict within myself and try to resolve it. It’s quite rare now that I have to tell them to be quiet, as they don’t intrude or impose on me in the way that they used to. If they do become invasive then it’s important for me to understand why, and there’ll always be a good reason. In general, it’ll be a sign of some sort of emotional conflict, which can then be addressed in a positive, constructive way.

I think there’s actually more continuity between voices and everyday psychological experience then a lot of people realize. For example, everyone knows what it’s like to have intrusive thoughts. And most of us recognize the sense of having more than one part of ourselves: a part that’s very critical, a part that wants to please everyone, a part that’s preoccupied with negative events, a part that is playful and irresponsible and gets us into trouble, and so on. I think voices often feel more disowned and externalized, but represent a similar process."

Judgement Day

Death rose to his feet
Waving his long hands
``How many lives, you tell me
Have I saved? Have I saved?''

Gods shook their heads
In utter disbelief
``Such blasphemous vanity!
Such blasphemous vanity!''




Tuesday, July 30, 2013

In an Art Gallery in Savannah, Georgia


There is a place 

and a moment


That I feel welcome 

as I am

Just because 
I am there and then

Just because 
I am present

And I feel my heart
escaping a beat

A Phoenix rising from ashes?
A dragon coming to life?

A shift in tectonic plates

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What really counts is what you feel and think as the sole author of the journey of your own life. No one can tell you how to tell your story and how to interpret it.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Deep Dark Sea

``Where there is light, there must be shadow, and where there is shadow there must be light. There is no shadow without light and no light without shadow. Karl Jung said this about `the Shadow' in one of his books: `It is as evil as we are positive ... the more desperately we try to be good and wonderful and perfect, the more the Shadow develops a definite will to be black and evil and destructive ... The fact is that if one tries beyond one's capacity to be perfect, the Shadow descends to hell and becomes the devil. For it is just as sinful from the standpoint of nature and of truth to be above oneself as to be below oneself.'' ---p. 464, 1Q84
I am in front of a dark sea; deep, unsettling, sometimes stormy and wild, sometimes serene and meditative. I tip toe around its shore for a while. Then, I walk slowly in ... more and more ... the water comes up to my knees ... to my waist ... to my chest ... to my neck ... and I feel the sand emptying underneath my feet. Do I take the last step? What will happen if I do? Can I swim the deep dark waters?

The quality of my decision making is changing. Sometimes decisions come from a deep place within, and as long as I trust this place and as long as I do not force my thoughts into action, the decisions are executed with a flow. No, in fact, the decisions are the manifestation of the actions and hence are the flow! I feel a force, an energy, is being released inside me. Is this strange? Not really, the sea, specially a stormy sea can be a good source of energy.

Wind has no morals. It can generate electricity or destroy buildings. To harvest wind's energy, a structure should be in place that would keep its balance amidst strong winds; that would move with the flow of wind, and transform its energy into a useful form. Hence the balance is more fundamental than morality.

Related
December 2011; My starting point: Communicae Darya ; Shadow
Trust ; Good and Evil
The Wild Horse
Revolt
Children Playing

November 2012: Learning about unconscious from psychoanalysis:
http://myimpossibilitytheorems.blogspot.com/2012_11_01_archive.html
Highlights: Addiction , Being in Touch , More on Unconscious
Psychic Agency and Vulnerability!
Ruthlessness and Intimacy


January 2013: Objectivity and subjectivity in decision-making: Found God or Something , Love, Promises, and Freedom
All in, all the way in
Imagination, Art, and Psychoanalysis
Sleep , Fear and Sleep
Revelations: It's in Front of Me
External Conflcits
HELLO PRIMATES!!! [Explicit Content]
Of Monkeys and Men

Acceptance Path:
Stopped fixing myself: How things are ... , Moving on ... , Where I go ... Where I came from , I Will ...
Balance: Freedom , Revelations: Evil Arises from Too Much Goodness ,  Acceptance and Decision-Making ,  Conflicts and Mental Constraints, Part 3: Healing , Good, Bad, and the Balance
Kindness: Baby Questions , The Source , Shadi and 1Q84 , Regrets of a Fascinating Being
Playfulness: Transitional Space ,  Conflicts and Mental Constraints, Part 6: Choice and Agency ,  Conflicts and Mental Constraints, Part 8: Story Telling , Diving Bell and Butterfly , Lie Baby Lie

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Very interesting program from ``On Being":
Restoring the Body: Bessel van der Kolk on Treating Trauma with Yoga, EMDR, and Healing Therapies
http://www.onbeing.org/program/restoring-the-body-bessel-van-der-kolk-on-treating-trauma-with-yoga-emdr-and-healing

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Good, Bad, and the Balance

The beauty of this part of Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 2 is simply destructive. Something in your soul bends and breaks but does not find a way to escape :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoLQYe_EPik



When the force of coincidence increases, it first makes you euphoric, but at a certain point you feel the pressure of the truth of the imagination, the ``what if'' effect becomes unbearable. Maybe that is the origin of the truly extraordinary art.
``In this world, there is no absolute good, no absolute evil,'' the man said. ``Good and evil are not fixed, stable entities but are continually trading places. A good may be transformed into an evil in the next second. And vice versa. Such was the way of the world that Dastoevsky depicted in The Brothers Karamazov. The most important thing is to maintain the balance between the constantly moving good and evil. If you lean too much in either direction, it becomes difficult to maintain actual morals. Indeed, balance itself is the good. This is what I mean when I say that I must die in order to keep things in balance.'' ---p. 447, 1Q84
Coincidence?
http://myimpossibilitytheorems.blogspot.com/2013/04/revelations-evil-arises-from-too-much.html
Yet, you cannot discuss them openly, because revealing secrets is devil's temptation:
``There is an episode involving the devil and Christ in The Brothers Karamazov, I recall. The Christ is undergoing harsh austerities in the wilderness when the devil challenges him to perform a miracle---to change a stone into bread. But the Christ ignores him. Miracles are the devil's temptation.'' ---p. 447, 1Q84
In any case, humor and humility are important assets for the journey :)
Safar: My Life Journey: Balancing Acts and Humor: Gone with the Fart!

And let's have one more quote, this time from NPR, for the hell of it, lol
Poems and poetry are, for me, a deep a form ofknowing, just like science. Yes, obviously, they are different. But each, in its way, is a way to understand the world.
From: 
http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2013/07/09/200064088/physics-and-poetry-can-you-handle-the-truth

Friday, July 05, 2013

I Will ...

I will be able to observe, accept, and ultimately love imperfections and inconsistencies, things that I perceive as bad, in myself and in others. Then, I will know my self as who I truly am, not based on some preconceptions.
I am familiar with this process through art. The most influential artistic works are not perfect and symmetric. They are full of imperfections, and they stir up contradictions inside the audience. So I want to see my own life (and others') as an artwork, beautiful because of everything it is ...

The lack of such acceptance, on the other hand, results in excluding parts of our self as undesirable and bad. When excluded consciously, we feel them as dark areas in our soul. When rejected and suppressed unconsciously, we feel them as void and emptiness inside.
... Ayumi had a great emptiness inside her, like a desert at the edge of the earth. You could try watering it all you wanted, but everything would be sucked down to the bottom of the world, leaving no trace of moisture. No life could take root there. Not even birds would fly over it. What had created such a wasteland inside Ayumi, only herself knew. No, maybe not even Ayumi knew the true cause. ---pp.368-9, 1Q84
This void inside, the emptiness that I have written here about and from it over and over, instigates an insatiable urge in us to "do something", something that we cannot identify, and because we cannot identify the source and the cause, some of us try everything to numb and distract: drugs, sex, porn, internet, gambling, computer games, and the list goes on and on! And sometimes the intensity of the urge to fill the void leads to self harming activities:
Ayumi must have feared that such a thing might happen. She needed intense sexual activity at regular intervals. Her flesh needed it---and so, perhaps, did her mind. ... She preferred wilder, riskier sex, and perhaps unconsciously, she wanted to be hurt. ---p. 367, 1Q84
In response to the uncontrollable urge to risky and addictive behaviors and activities, people with more discipline and will power develop and impose very rigid structure on their life. These constraints and rules assure them against the surge of emotions that originate from the void or the dark place within their soul:
I have to keep my emotions in check, ... It's time for me to stop crying. I'll have to change my attitude again. I'll have to put the rules ahead of my self, ... ----p. 369, 1Q84
And this is the tragedy of our time. We wonder what is the roots of extremism and the revival of fundamentalist readings of religions. There you go. When I have a void inside, a defense mechanism to deal with the resulting uncontrollable urges is "to put the rules ahead of my self.''

This final observation brings me back to the beginning of a journey that I embarked on, a series of posts on ``Conflicts and Mental Constraints, in April (link) and May (link).

Internal Conflicts and Mental Constraints: Part 1
Apparently there is no part 4 :)

Finally, another description and interpretation of the void inside:

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Regrets of a Fascinating Being

How did I miss the amazing aspects of my self all these years? By passing judgement on some of them, labeling them as bad and undesirable! By being absorbed in becoming someone else!

How sad! And how magnificent! At the same time.

Those who withstand the torturous thoughts of being torn apart will see the lights of unity; life is nothing but the sum of all contradictions. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Jalil Shahnaz

He was a great "tar" player, a master of traditional Persian music, and in my opinion, a Zen master, LOL

Unfortunately, he passed away yesterday, rest in peace.

Here is the set of all my posts what have a reference to him or a piece he played:

http://myimpossibilitytheorems.blogspot.com/search/label/shahnaz

2013-6-24: Shajarian singing in Shahnaz's memory:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gf3FZb3qKU 



Sunday, June 16, 2013

Shadi and 1Q84

A few months ago Shadi had a post on losing innocence [Link: http://measer-pear.blogspot.com/2013/04/blog-post.html). I read it a couple of times and asked myself, when did I lose my innocence?

Tonight, I read the following paragraph from ``1Q84'':
Sunday collection rounds were an absolute rule: no exceptions, no changes. If he caught a cold, if he had a persistent cough, if he was running a little fever, if he had an upset stomach, his father accepted no excuses. Staggering after his father on such days, he would often wish he could fall down and die on the spot. Then, perhaps, his father might think twice about his own behavior; it might occur to him that he had been too strict with his son. ---p. 90, 1Q84
I had a strange feeling, like remembering something quite vague, after reading this. This wish feels very personal to me.

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And a video clip that I enjoyed very much:

http://vimeo.com/32958521

Traffic in Frenetic HCMC, Vietnam from Rob Whitworth on Vimeo.

Monday, June 10, 2013

1Q84: Special Light

When I like a novel (any book?!?) I cannot help quoting it, lol
But this seventeen-year-old girl, Fuka-Eri, was different. The mere sight of her sent a violent shudder through him. It was the same feeling her photograph had given him when he first saw it, but in the living girl's presence it was far stronger. This was not the pangs of love or sexual desire. A certain something he felt, had managed to work its way in through a tiny opening and was trying to fill a blank space inside him. The void was not one that Fuka-Eri had made. It had always been there inside Tengo. She had merely managed to shine a special light on it. --- p. 48, 1Q84
I am creating my own approach to enlightenment and awakening these days, making good progress :) Anyway, I will write about that subject when I feel ready. But I sense an interesting connection to this quote based on my personal experiences. For the past few years, I have met people that would give me this feeling, of a light being shined on some parts of my psyche.

Why? I think terrible and terrifying experiences are not the only ones being dissociated. Another possible reason for dissociation of some experiences/states of our psyche is that they are so good, emotionally riveting and invigorating, that they frighten us. The people that deeply affect us (n the strange way that the quote describes) shine a light on those forgotten aspects of our being!

Lessons in enlightenment! LOL  

Clear Shallow Water

I started reading this novel, `` The Driver ,'' by Hart Hanson , and I did not like it much and decided to stop. But then I came ba...