Sunday, August 13, 2017

Bye Bye Love

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Piaget, the Swiss psychologist, found in studying how children learn about the world - as opposed to learn about imitations of the world people make - that the structure, the permanence of their knowledge was not to be found in their minds, neither buried in their unconscious or conscious, but in the history of their acquiring bodily habits of perception, moving their eyes across the world and body through the world. Their knowledge of the world exists in their individual experience, which is the story of acquiring new habits of perception. It is not a picture of the world. As knowledge of the world exists only in habits of the body, that leaves the mind free to play, try out new possibilities; the habits of the body are the foundation, not limitation or enclosing frame, to future perception and knowledge. Learning that if I can see you, you can see me, does not enclose future action like rules given by a model, but enlarges possibility: you can do more with a person whose world you can imagine than one whose world is invisible to you.
- That's from another conversation.* Do you remember?
- Yes. Why do you bring it up?
- Have you heard of philosophers doing philosophic therapy or counselling?
- Wouldn't you say all philosophy is healing?
- I would, except perhaps not this philosophic therapy.
- Why not?
- Because the philosopher charges money for his time.
- If you love your work you can see the payment as a separate, practical necessity, isolated from the actual performance.
- Do you think that is possible?
- If you love your work.
- Then you'd ask the philosopher-therapist if he loves his work?
- I'd ask him if he loves or even likes his patients.
- The philosopher for hire may say so, but the only ones doing the job I know of have for clients almost exclusively business executives.
- Who tend to be selfish and aggressive, not the most attractive people in the world.
- So the philosopher doesn't really like his patients. Not liking them, following upon the ideas I quoted, would you agree that not liking means the philosopher's relation to his patient is not physical, not a matter of desire which is absent, but rather of placing his patient in a category of deficiency to which a certain category of remedy should be applied?
- Yes.
- Do you think that helps the patient? Most of the patients complain of working too much and of not knowing any more why they are working. The philosophers tell them to remember to have fun, open themselves to the ecstatic in life, to beauty.
- The philosopher too, not liking his patients, seeing them for the money, is vulnerable to developing the same problem as his patients: his work is not satisfying in itself. He can advise his patients to curtail the unsatisfying work of application of rules. Let's say the philosopher in the rest of his life acts in accord with his desire, wants to know those around him and the ways of the world. In private life his rest from action follows directly from the action. But is that what in the conversation with his patient he is showing the patient?
- No, how could that be? If he knows the patient it is by rules, not investigation motivated by desire.
- The patient pays, goes on with his life with more of acting out of desire and less of acting in accord with rules. He develops habits of both kinds of living. Perhaps he has a lover who, being human, is not perfect. At difficult times he asks himself about his lover, perhaps he should find a better lover? What is the rule? Doesn't he owe himself the best in life? And then what happens with love?
- Bye bye love.

On The Shortness Of Life - Seneca (audiobook)
Prostitution & Torture
* Justice & Terror