Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Talk and Quotes

Here is an interesting talk on TED by the New York Times columnist David Brooks based on his new book, ``The Social Animal,'' [Amazon Link]. I like the talk but ultimately he is emphasizing much more the positive aspects of emotions than their dark side, which can be misleading.


Working with emotions requires practice. As you open yourself to your hidden, suppressed emotions, they can initially overwhelm you, take over you like strong waives in a wild storm. Ironically, an important sign if being overpowered by emotions is a false sense of certainty! You may feel quite sure about future, or someone else's state of mind, or about a course of action. I have not seen anyone talking about this, and I feel this is a real danger.

Talking about our emotional life, I am reading a novel about bullfighting, ``Love Lies Bleeding,'' by Peter Viertel, and so far I like it a lot. Here is a quote:
``In Spain, every man dreams of being a torero,'' he continued, once the car was safely on the dirt road. ``Every uncle sitting up in the tendido, every waiter, every shoe salesman. That is the reason they howl and scream when we fall down in the ring. It is a little of their own disappointment that they are getting rid of. Fairy, pimp, coward, they yell, but they are yelling in part at their own failure. Which is why it is important for a torero never to listen.'' ---p. 35, Love Lies BleedingPeter Viertel,
Here is a piece of guitar music that about a year ago brought back memories of watching bullfighting on TV, when I was a kid. I think of this song as the bulls plea with the torero for his life:
Also, the quote above point to a general theme in watching sports. We use the games to project our own emotional life, often times hidden and forgotten, on the players. That is one reason why watching sports becomes such an important part of the modern individual who has abandoned a good part of his/her emotional life.

The last quote is from Arnold Modell's ``Imagination and the Meaningful Brain.'' I am reading this book very slowly and have one more chapter to finish.
There is a facet of one's self that is intrinsically personal and unknowable. Donald Winnicott wrote, ``Although healthy persons communicate and can enjoy communicating, the other factor is equally true,  that each individual is an isolate, permanently noncommunicating, permanently unknown, in fact unfound'' (1963). ---p. 195, Imagination and the Meaningful Brain, Arnold Modell
There is something mystical about D.W.Winnicott's approach to psychoanalysis, for sure, but this quotation is very puzzling and interesting. We are inherently unfound! Maybe, we have a core that is behind knowing. And maybe, that unknowable core is what drives us to know ourselves better, to offer ourselves to be known by others. If I have learned one thing in the past few years, it is a respect and acceptance for contradictions and puzzles :)

Which at the end brings us back to this little amazing clip:

I think our sense of beauty and wonder when we confront the world comes from the fact that we have that unknown and unknowable inside.

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