When thinking hurts us

descartes

My title has two meanings.One is that sometimes we have to think about a painful event or a person who has hurt us.Or even some past events…I recall pain when  I was told about Hitler and Stalin

On the other hand some of us  use thinking in words as a way of blocking painful emotions.whilst this  may work for a time,it may give  a lot of trouble when we need to deal with pain.Essentially we do not wish to “know” the truth in the full sense… we deceive ourselves and maybe others too

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201110/the-essential-guide-defense-mechanisms

William Blake wrote this poem

Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine,
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
It is right it should be so;
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Through the world we safely go.

IM000484.JPG

I’ve been reading Sylvia Plath recently.I see that after her husband left her she went into a frenzy of activity.She had two very young children.was often i ll with flu but she wrote all her most famous poems at this time;then she moved to London antd socialised a lot to prove she was not just a deserted wife.After this she became more, ill,there was a severe winter….then she crashed into the depths…I feel that  her frenzied writing was a way of not admitting her grief… and she got worn out and decided death was better.

Some of us who are quite cerebral are not in touch with  our bodies.We don’t feel that knife in the heart,the tears unshed,the anger that threatens… and eventually this cam lead to problems.,sometimes flu sometimes a breakdown,sometimes a broken marriage.

and also the thinking can take on a life of its own so  it keeps us awake at night… and the feelings can come out in nightmares.

So thinking can  be a curse.We all need defences at times but too much cuts us of from our own lives.

And brooding and ruminating are very damaging to the mind and soul.Thinking is not wisdom

.11257109-old-mosaic

A lovely poem that i am fond of

O sweet spontaneous

by: e.e. cummings (1894-1962)

sweet spontaneous
earth how often have
the
doting

fingers of
prurient philosophers pinched
and
poked

thee
, has the naughty thumb
of science prodded
thy

beauty, how
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy knees
squeezing and

buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive
gods
(but
true

to the incomparable
couch of death thy
rhythmic
lover

thou answerest

them only with

spring)

Is thinking a conversation? And dreaming…?It takes two!

Dwelling on these thoughts about thinking,and knowing much thinking is blind and cut off from the people outside us is it valid to compare they say it to different kinds of talk’conversation?

Thinker-

Free thinker?

With a trusted friend or teacher we may open our hearts and ears.We may talk and listen .We may learn and give our friend new ideas…but also this conversation may be risky.So more frequently we gossip,talk about the weather or argue over trivialities.We may chat with a friend simply to show we are with them or as they say,To touch base…in other words to comfort and give security.

When we are alone,we might worry for hours.Some people used to worry a lot about their sins.Or whether  they had enough money.Or some daydream and fantasise about,Fifty Shades of Grey.Maybe actual thinking or thought is rare.

I am not proposing we should be thinking all day.We would go mad!But were we to think,would it be like a conversation with the Other within?So we’d be listening as well as talking silently?A kind of internal conversation may be taking place.We all know that our unconscious mind may be thinking while we are woolgathering or taking a a bath.Eureka..Archimedes famous cry.And dreams are also a kind of thought  in images.They are a communication.Some people have had dreams which they felt were a message from God.

In a real conversation something new might be born…And why is thinking associated with tension and effort?

Geza Vermes:An interview

Geza Vermes:An interview

This is well worth reading,if only for the history of one Jewish man’s survival of the Nazi‘s attmept to wipe out Hungarian Jews.I feel his books would be worth reading.I shall post  if and when I read them

Plato on drugs? I don’t believe it;I do believe it

PHILOSOPHY_AND_LITERATURE_01http://becomingintegral.com/2013/09/19/was-plato-on-drugs/t

This is not a book but a blog.It’s really fascinating.not just th above article but  for all its other thoughtful

discussions.If you are not a philosopher still many pieces are understandable to the general reader.

My blog up to now

tWeeds or flowers

I am a woman over the age of sixty.My hair has fallen out not to mention my teeth.Yet.I still enjoy learning,talking and seeing new perspectives.I h ave been advised not to put my photograph on the Internet . If you want to see a photo of a woman can  you get friendly with, please look elsewhere.I am looking for people who like books and ideas and humor.I am not looking for love online.I don’t believe it is possible or wise for me

This blog is about thoughts, writers,books,humor and related topics .As and when I discover  writing  I feel is worth sharing I will share it here

After a short time I seem to have gone into philosophical  issues more than I imagined and it has proved hard work.I shall return to books again of a different type.I think it’s the people who interest me…trying to imagine what it was like in Germany in the 1930′s and wondering what I would have done.~Yes,people fascinate me.Sometimes I think education can be a bad thing unless it’s very high quality.We learn a little and grow conceited.We believe we know everything and can tell others what to think,This worries me about even University education in Britain now.

I am also veering into ethics and into the interface between being an intellectual who thinks and being someone who considers the impact on our personal and inner life of the issues I come across.And how even thinking can be bad for  you!True of feeling too sometimes.So which part of us decides on where the line should be drawn?

I had finished with Arendt but came across another good article

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/aug/29/hannah-arendt-adolf-eichmann-banality-of-evil of Kant

Interesting as it gives a better definition of what she meant by thinking.And horrifyingly

Eichmann claimed to be a follower of Kant

The shadow of a human

th Cloudy sju wiki

One side of us is good and the other is bad

We are like old gramophone records

Sometimes we are playing the good side

Then late we play the reverse.

The brighter the appearance

The darker the shadow

so Jung decided

Which may explain

why he and Heidegger

did not see the truth about the Nazis.

Jung got a top job

because all the Jewish psychoanalysts had to flee Austria and Germany

And later France

Jung was unable

to use his own insights

I guess we are all  a bit like that.

But we must keep trying…..

We need to accept  the pain

Of knowing we have a shadow.

If not,we will do harm

for if we don’t know it

we cannot control it

What puzzles me about Arendt and Eichmann in Jerusalem

After reading the material  I have posted on,I saw that Arendt  believed Eichmann was not psychotic or crazy.She said he “did not think”.It puzzle me because one factor above all would seem to me to be relevant.That if a senior Nazi had decided he  did not agree with the Final Solution or any policy of the Nazis he would have been shot and/or his family would have been attacked.So fear would have played a  major role even if he had wished to stop what he ws doing.A big factor that allows humans to murder others en masse like the witches is to define them as somehow not human.And secondly to criticize their behaviour when it is cause by the conditions they are forced to live in.Jews were moneylenders because Christians were not allowed to do it [ charging interest was not allowed them]Being  rather intelligent some Jews became wealthy and were criticised as being only interested in money,grasping and avaricious.Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.Now in the UK this is happening to the sick,poor and unemployed.Scapegoats are attacked when times are hard. Whenever people meet a murderer they are surprised how normal they look.And other people look weird but are in fact good and kind,maybe a little handicapped in some way or just eccentric.Judging by appearances is an error; and especially if they are first  impressions

Keeping reality at bay

       “Clichés, stock phrases, adherence to conventional, standardized codes of expression and conduct have the socially recognized function of protecting us against reality.”
Hannah Arendt

An article about critical thinking

http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/becoming-a-critic-of-your-thinking/478

The above website is very good,in my view

EXTRACT

Thinking Gets Us Into Trouble Because We Often:
  • jump to conclusions
  • fail to think-through implications
  • lose track of their goal
  • are unrealistic
  • focus on the trivial
  • fail to notice contradictions
  • accept inaccurate information
  • ask vague questions
  • give vague answers
  • ask loaded questions
  • ask irrelevant questions
  • confuse questions of different types
  • answer questions we are not competent to answer
  • come to conclusions based on inaccurate or irrelevant information
  • ignore information that does not support our view
  • make inferences not justified by our experience
  • distort data and state it inaccurately
  • fail to notice the inferences we make
  • come to unreasonable conclusions
  • fail to notice our assumptions
  • often make unjustified assumptions
  • miss key ideas
  • use irrelevant ideas
  • form confused ideas
  • form superficial concepts
  • misuse words
  • ignore relevant viewpoints
  • cannot see issues from points of view other than our own
  • confuse issues of different types
  • are unaware of our prejudices
  • think narrowly
  • think imprecisely
  • think illogically
  • think one-sidedly
  • think simplistically
  • think hypocritically
  • think superficially
  • think ethnocentrically
  • think egocentrically
  • think irrationally
  • do poor problem solving
  • make poor decisions
  • are poor communicators

Why ruminating is bad for you.

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/01/20/why-ruminating-is-unhealthy-and-how-to-stop/

When I was young I used to ruminate or brood.Looking back it made me feel terrible.But  thinking is not the same as ruminating.And neither change our reality unless we act.To stop ruminating it may be enough to say it does not usually help when you feel down.Then maybe take a walk,look at the world of nature.Try talking to a kind friend instead if you can.

Thinking again

Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.” — George Bernard Shaw

Heidegger did one service: He showed us that thinking is not enough

When we say someone is a great thinker,what do we mean?And can someone be a great thinker about some aspects of life,the world,society,philosophy and a very poor thinker in other aspects?Naturally I am thinking about Heidegger.Greatly admired,influential and a tutor to the likes of Hanna Arendt.

We could say he  did us a service in reminding us that not even a great philosopher is always a good judge of society,politics and new  ideas.Moreover,he must have shut his eyes to the attacks on Jewish people across Germany….How can this be?I hear someone saying,thinking is not enough if it is restricted to what is safe to think about.Character,ethical status,love of humanity seem to be absent from some of our academics and scholars.And  how much more is that likely when our Universities  are run as profit making  businesses where the number of citations you receive is the measure of your work’s worth…. so noone may ever read it yet if you ask all your colleagues,friends and contacts to cite you then success and acclaim await.Meanwhile society crumbles,the poor are punished  and  old made anxious.

Re Hannah Arendt  [ Wikipedia’

Film

In 2012 a German film titled Hannah Arendt was released, directed by Margarethe von Trotta, and with Barbara Sukowa in the role of Arendt. The film concentrates on the Eichmann trial, and the controversy caused by Arendt’s book, which at the time was  WIDELY  MISUNDERSTOOD as defending Eichmann and blaming Jewish leaders for the Shoa/Holocaust

 

 

 

“What is called thinking” by Heidegger

What is called thinking”         by Heidegger

This seems a good introduction to the book and to discussing thinking  in our era

Short Extract from the article

Heidegger refers to Nietzsche’s diagnosis of our age as a time of nihilism: “The wasteland grows.” If it is Being that most calls for thought, what most calls to be thought about in our age is the forgetting or withdrawal of Being. And it is due to the withdrawal of Being that we are still not thinking. In contrast to Hegel’s notion of history, Heidegger’s is a history wherein we find ourselves increasingly fallen from and more distant from Being. Being withdraws in our technological age as the experience of thinking is reduced to calculative rationality. “Thinking” has become the experience of using rationality as a device to operate on a world of things already reified into a network of ends. In our age, Heidegger (1968) will go on to argue, ratio has trumped legein. The thoughtfulness of calculative rationality threatens to obliterate the possibility for being-thoughtful.

“I will say this…..being truly human

“I will say this quite plainly, what truly human is -and don’t be afraid of this word- love. And I mean it even with everything that burdens love or, i could say it better, responsibility is actually love, as Pascal said: ‘without concupiscence’ [without lust]… love exists without worrying about  being loved.”
― Emmanuel Lévinas, Of God Who Comes to Mind

Here is a good article

 

And another

 

About Peter Lomas

About Peter Lomas

Although Peter Lomas was a psychoanalyst he was a rare rebel,a wonderful writer and a master of the language

I read his books regularly for their wisdom and courage.And his stories.Most of all I love his truthfulness

 

“In this regard, the centrality of ethics in human relations, I think Peter has much in common with Emmanuel Levinas, the French Jewish thinker who put ethics at the very heart of our being, as what makes us human beings, ethics in the sense of the priority of the other and our responsibility to that other.  Of course Levinas’s language was not Peter’s, but for myself I still find him inspiring, despite the predictably obscurantist and cliched ways in which his thought has been taken up and the horribly religious-like tone of too many conversations about his work.  Not for the first time is a return to the source called for.”

From the cited article