We have, each of us, a life story, an inner narrative – whose continuity, whose sense, is our lives. It might be said that each of us constructs and lives a ‘narrative’, and that this narrative is us, our identities.
If we wish to know about a man, we ask, ‘what is his story – his real, inmost story?’ – for each of us is a biography, a story. Each of us is a singular narrative, which is constructed, continually, unconsciously, by, though, and in us – through our perceptions, our feelings, our thoughts, our actions; and, not least, our discourse, our spoken narrations. Biologically, physiologically, we are not so different from each other; historically, as narratives – we are each of us unique.
To be ourselves we must have ourselves – posses, if needed be re-possess, our life-stories. We must ‘recollect’ ourselves, recollect the inner drama, the narrative, of ourselves. A man needs such a narrative, a continuous inner narrative, to maintain his identity, his self.Oliver Sacks, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, p. 116-117
“What is really happening when something happens?” says on the book cover.. The notion of “event” has been on my mind since the discussion this February during the Psychological Winter School organized yearly by the Saint-Petersburg State University. Which was an event on its own. It was 20st consecutive edition of the Winter School and during one of the workshops we had a super interesting discussion on what is an event? …
Therefore I was thrilled to see this book in a London book shop, and hence the journey of discovering an event has begun.
All Aboard – Event in Transit
1/ Event can refer to a devastating natural disaster or to the latest celebrity scandal, the triumph of the people or a brutal political change, an intense experience of a work of art or an intimate decision…
2/ Something shocking, out of joint, that appears to happen all of a sudden and interrupts the usual flow of things; something that emerges seemingly out of nowhere, without discernible causes, an appearance without solid being as its foundation.
.. something ‘miraculous’ in an event..
- eventual nature of Christianity – belief in the event of the death and resurrection of Christ;
- love is eventual;
- political event – Tahrir Square in Cairo and Mubarak regime;
- rise of a new art form: film noir.
3 / Event – the effect that seems to exceed its causes, space of an event is that which opens up by the gap that separates an effect from its causes.
4 / Event – an occurrence not grounded in sufficient reasons.
5/ Event of the disclosure of Being – of the horizon of meaning which determines how we perceive and relate to reality (Heidegger). Big Bang (or broken symmetry) – the primordial event out of which our entire universe emerged.
These words brought me back to the Existential Analysis course I’m currently taking, where we also discussing the philosophy of Dasein, and where the exchange with the world is essential – how do we have this dialogue, both as an inner one and external one.
Is an event a change in the way reality appears to us, or is it a shattering transformation of reality itself?Event – Slavoj Zizek
I find this question to be a very inspiring one.. was musing over it for some time.. came to think that it’s probably both, these are interconnected things..
6/ Basic feature of an event: the surprising emergence of something new which undermines every stable scheme.
Очень мне понравилась книга Леонида Соловьева “Повесть о Ходже Насреддине: Возмутитель спокойствия”. Еще больше захотелось съездить попутешествовать по Узбекистану. Самарканд уже очень давно будоражил воображение. После просмотра фильма The Desert of Forbidden Art, очень хочется попасть в музей в Нукусе. И теперь, после прочтения книги, очень хочется посетить Бухару…
Но торопливость, как известно, есть свойство дьявола, и, кроме того, всем памятны стихи мудрейшего шейха Саади Ширазского: “Только терпеливый закончит дело, торопливый же упадет”. Ходжа Насреддин свернул ковер нетерпения и уложил его в сундук ожидания.
The Person Who Emerges
Openness to Experience
… individual becomes more open to his experience..
if the evidence of our senses runs contrary to our picture of self, then that evidence is distorted -> we cannot see all that our senses report, but only the things which fit the picture we have.
the individual becomes more openly aware of his own feelings and attitudes as they exist in him at an organic level – he also becomes more aware of reality as it exists outside of himself… he is able to take in the evidence in a new situation, as it is, rather than distorting it to fit a pattern which he already holds.
openness to experience = more realistic in dealing with new people, new situations, new problems; … his beliefs are not rigid, that one can tolerate ambiguity.
Rereading Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull as a good reminder for “Find what it is you want most in the world to do – and then do it.”
Practice it every day. Experiment. Strive to know “what I can do in the air and what I can’t” – “there is so much to learn!” And through practicing this art of being who we really are we feel alive, “trembling ever so slightly with delight” and we let go of fear. Once we find what is it that we want the most, we feel power, joy, pure beauty and “how much more there is to living!”
Jonathan Seagull discovered that boredom and fear and anger are the reasons that a gull’s life is so short, and with these gone from his thought, he lived a long fine life indeed.
On perfection and being there:
You will begin to touch heaven, Jonathan, in the moment that you touch perfect speed. And that isn’t flying a thousand miles an hour, or a million, or flying at the speed of light. Because any number is a limit, and perfection doesn’t have limits. Perfect speed, my son, is being there.
… To fly as fast as thought, to go anywhere that is, you must begin by knowing that you have already arrived…
The trick was to know that his true nature lived, as perfect as an unwritten number, everywhere at once across space and time.
It always works, when you know what you’re doing.
On kindness and love
… and then you will be ready to begin the most difficult, the most powerful, the most fun of all. You will be ready to begin to fly up and know the meaning of kindness and of love.
“Jonathan, keep working on love”
And the more Jonathan practiced his kindness lessons, and the more he worked to know the nature of love, the more he wanted to go back to Earth. For in spite of his lonely past, Jonathan Seagull was born to be an instructor, and his own way of demonstrating love was to give something of the truth that he had seen to a gull who asked only a chance to see truth for himself.
If our friendship depends on things like space and time, then when we finally overcome space and time, we’ve destroyed our own brotherhood! But overcome space, and all the we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now. And in the middle of Here and Now, don’t you think that we might see each other once or twice?”
Chapter 6 – What It Means to Become a Person
108/ I know that the problem as stated in the first interview will not be the problem as seen in the second or third hour, and by the tenth interview it will be a still different problem or series of problems.
It seems to me that at bottom each person is asking, “Who am I, really? How can I get in touch with this real self, underlying all my surface behavior? How can I become myself?”
Memory: the space in which a thing happens for the second time.
~ Paul Auster
The Book of Memory
Back in February 2017 I was reading Paul Aster’s: The Book of Memory and many things there have triggered my own memories and interpretations. Somehow it really triggered particular memories from one of the places we used to live in Riga. Maybe because it was the longest time ever I lived in one place without moving – for 15 years we managed to stay in one place. Otherwise it was and still is a constant change.
Memory as a room…
Amazing how some things never change – I’m currently reading The Heart of Buddhist Meditation by Nyanaponika Thera first published in 1962 – and his words can’t be more accurate to describe our current situation:
“…the turbulence and suffering, that, alas, are generally equivalent with political history, affect increasingly larger sections of mankind, directly or indirectly… Tragic monotony of behaviour that prompts mankind to prepare again for a new bout of that raving madness called war … The same old mechanism is at work again: the interaction of greed and fear. Lust for power or desire to dominate are barely restrained by fear … Fear ..constantly poisons the atmosphere by creating a feeling of frustration which again will fan the fires of hate…”
Some food for thought…
Trying to make sense of a subjective narrative with an asymmetrical timeline
As Abraham Maslow famously noted, “I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.” – I study time perspective and I see traces of it almost everywhere. Here are some of my time perspectively infused notes while reading “How to find fulfilling work” by Roman Krznaric.
“We are not psychologically ready to deal with the expansion of choice in recent history”
While discussing his concept of ‘hardiness’ Salvatore Maddi notes: When choosing a future, or unfamiliar path, over repeating a past, something familiar and convenient, it is most consistent with our pursuit to elaborate life’s meaning (and finding a fulfilling work), but it also brings ontological anxiety – the fear of uncertainty and possible failure: