January 2011

“The reaction to any word may be, in an individual, either a mob-reaction or an individual reaction.  It is up to the individual to ask himself:  Is my reaction individual, or am I merely reacting from my mob-self?  When it comes to the so-called obscene words, I should say that hardly one person in a million escapes mob-reaction.”  D.H. Lawrence

In a language there isn’t just words to communicate with, there is also a whole psychological structure specific to it. It gives us a model with which to view the world and to communicate about the world we sense, both the world within and the world without. But it also gives us our identity, since each language has its own history and also its own character. That character transmits itself into us a “national personality,” a sort of personality that deeply structures the human psyche from birth. In other words, stereotypes.

On one hand this can be useful; as we can see that languages and the qualities they carry are the accumulation of experience from history. Through language we are being transmitted the “wisdom of the ancestors”. On the other hand it can also carry the rubbish, the karma, of the past which is undeserved by future generations. Language isn’t just an encoding of ancestral wisdom, it has also acted as a waste bin to conveniently give the load of one generations responsibilities on to the next.

Time to sort the wheat from the chaff. Time to make a review of the type of language we use and how we use it. Say no to what is useless and harmful and encourage the growth of what is useful and healthy. Languages contain patterns, and we have to ask ourselves do we really want to repeat the past blindly? In a synchronicity a friend made a comment on Facebook about not letting an anger he had inherited from his ancestors carry on further. His affirmation that since it was not his it would stop with him and within him.

Like this we can all reject the “mob- reaction” within us, the stereotypes that have been transmitted to us through the generations, and so, as the Great Invocation says, “seal the door where evil dwells.”

For me it has been an important experience to move to another country and see my own country from “outside”, to see it from a different perspective and see its virtues in comparison to other cultures and also its vices . And so also see myself from an other perspective. Learning a new culture, and a new language, makes me rely less on the “safety blanket” of my native culture and seek to communicate with the world in a new way, and so I can only grow, retaining the benefits of my culture and discarding the disadvantages of it too, and adopting a broader view of the world that is not so limited.

La humanidad no sirve la nacionalidad, la nacionalidad sirve la humanidad. Hay mas que una lengua en el mundo y por eso el aprender otras lenguas, sólo es sentido común, el sentido de la humanidad (Thanks Mika for correcting this).

“We can argue forever what personhood means, but there is no empirical or logical way to prove it. It’s the beginning of the argument, not the endpoint.” The Wizard of Oz

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” Leo Buscaglia

A relative, who has studied psychology, said something which suprised me: that some psychology uses mathematical formulae to understand the human mind (something that he didn’t agree with by the way).

I sort of knew it, but… I mean… I’m… it’s… I mean… REALLY!?

Ok, maybe you can get some idea of how some things work in the human mind like that, it might be worth an experiment in the name of science, but… really?!

The problem, sorry, the “problem” with this approach is the human mind is better understood qualitively than quantatively. Is a person a nice predictable, defineable quantity that can easily fit into mathematical formula? ………. R E A L L Y ? !

Head. Brick wall. Head. Brick wall.

Personhood may not be an empirically proveable reality, as in when you take apart all those neurons and when you start dissecting personhood with words and formulae it disappears. Personhood is a gut feeling, it’s a reality of human perception. When I point at “you” there is a curious and very concrete reaction within the lump of meat encased in a skull. “You” know exactly what I mean and it needs no formal explanation to understand. Without it we’d be robots, programmed along predictable lines and would not be such a challenge to the filing system of bureaucracy.

Bureaucracy is a symptom of having a very large, unwieldy, convoluted and messy society. It’s a way of keeping it organised and balanced in its daily functioning. But it is impersonal and quantitive and is not made for “persons”. Reducing the study of the human mind into something logical is a symptom of this impersonal system and, I think, detached from the real human perception of personhood. It’s not something that shouldn’t be studied, it could prove to be useful in its place. But human psychology cannot be reduced to that, and I suppose that the people that do this “mathematical” type of psychology know that (or if they don’t they’re in for a nasty shock lol).

In working with persons, there has to be a basic value: that of valuing personhood, of respecting it and of understanding it in the way it can be understood. Personhood, in my opinion, is something sacred, and it should not be reduced to a “mere” quantity. And perhaps this is why many people just aren’t interested in it, because the way it sometimes works just doesn’t value a person enough. *

One film I recommend (though with some caution, it is quite hard) is Family Life by Ken Loach. It has a good example of the different approaches in psychology, one being a more human form of therapy and another which looks more traumatic than therapeutic. One treats the person, the other treats the behaviour and puts the person on hold. Check out this IMDb link here.

And that’s why I hate paper work. Just saying it I get a bad taste in my mouth. Seriously, I could have half-filled in application forms for various works sitting in a drawer for months. I could never explain why I didn’t like it, especially as people would say “You’ve got to do it, you can’t avoid it.” But now I know, it’s because I’m more person than robot LOL.

But that’s another rant…

*I had two councellors in my teenage years. One good and one bad. The “good one” spoke to me as a human being. It was like having a “chat”, though a chat about important stuff. The “bad one” asked fairly formulaic questions, repeating “How did that make you feel?” type questions that didn’t really me tounderstand myself. Those questions are designed to help you reflect on your thoughts and feeling – hahaha :-/