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  #111  
Unread November 13th, 2004, 09:51 AM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Cool Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Clarifying thinking!
Before we launch off into movement I first need to clarify our thinking. Movement is a “metaphoric construction of reality”. I am given to understand that metaphor is derived from two Greek words “meta” – over, and “phorien” – to drag or carry. (Just as an interesting aside, Freud’s word that is translated transference [I think a weak translation] is “ubertragen” from uber – above or over, and “tragen” to drag or carry.) So in this metaphoric world we cannot do a perfect job of transferring shades of meaning. All the movement metaphor can do is point out to us, a type of activity a person undertakes by attempting to carry meaning over from a better-known phenomenology!
So what is this movement thing? Well it is an activity … but not exactly because a person who does nothing … just sits there like a bump on a log has a movement. So movement may be an activity or a lack of activity. Frantic running around with anxiety is a movement, but they go nowhere, so the movement here is to stay where they are! This too, is a movement. The person who stays in the house, pulls the shades, turns out the lights and goes to bed has a movement. It is away from mankind. This person who gives all their earthly possessions to the poor and has it announced on CNN has a movement but it may be a “bad” one. They want us to think how wonderful they are. It is a movement to elevate themselves over all the "selfish egocentric people out there", by a sneak attack of egocentricity aimed at elevating themselves head and shoulders above the rest of us. Movement in Adler’s usage is from the inferiority feeling to the goal of fictional perceived superiority. So there is “good movement” and “bad movement”, or perhaps a more palatable way of expressing this, is to say there is movement in the useful direction of benefiting mankind, and useless movement in the direction of “enlarging the self" to have us fix our gaze on this person as high above us all in their self proclaimed kingdom.

Bob Powers in another posting speaks about the contemplative orders. These are people he describes as having “high social interest and low activity”. What is their movement? Are there any takers on this one? Have a shot at it. I think Bob has made a very powerful point in his posting.

Yes movement is a very difficult notion to get your head around, but once you get it, it gives you a real assist in understanding the life style. So watch the movement!

Hint: The movement is from something ... to something.
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Last edited by George Neeson; November 13th, 2004 at 12:29 PM. Reason: Clarity
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  #112  
Unread November 13th, 2004, 03:19 PM
Robert L. Powers Robert L. Powers is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Thank you, George, for your so generous way of welcoming my entries into this conversation. In response, let me say I also enjoyed your borrowing the image of "morality play" which is in line with an image I have used of the ER as a kind of private myth, told to rehearse the meaning of a single life.

There was a photo in the NYTimes some years ago of a man standing next to his brand new luxury car, which, in a bizarre accident, had crashed through the cable-barrier of a parking space in a multi-level parking garage coming to rest, half in and half out and just short of having fallen to the street below. The man was grinning for the camera, and the caption quoted him as saying, "My whole life has been like this." Of course that cannot be true in any common sense of the word. He cannot have gone through life in a pattern of crashes that wreck his every new acquisition. In the alchemy of his arrangement, however, the incident serves as a sort of parade example of his sense of the special difficulties life puts in his way, and his cheerful grin shows the heroism with which he meets them.

As to the distinction between having and using memories, I find that uncongenial to my way of thinking about it. The trouble here (as I experience it) is in the noun-clotted way our language thickens thought. This why I try to put the matter as a remembering, not as a memory. The former is a behavioral sample, to be regarded as paradigmatic, since it is unconscious of its purpose, innocent of its projection of attitude and value into the evaluation of life events. The latter is too easily reified into a thing of some sort, and the resulting effort to locate that thing when it is not being brought forward in a telling of it leads on to speculations as to where these things reside and what is their reliability and consistency over time, etc.

Clinically, one of the most interesting features of the ER is their transformation in the course of therapy, and Dreikurs (with some others) thought that the changes in the ER were the only reliable indexes (for the clinician, not for the members of the client's family and social circle surely!) of change in the client's movement toward the useful side of life and so toward constructive engagement in the work of life. I have a great deal of evidence in my clinical records to illustrate such changes, and my impression is that they are stable.

I enjoyed your reference to the smoke and fire metaphor ascribed to Henry, too. I think I have sometimes gotten caught up in blowing smoke instead of putting out fires!

Bob Powers
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  #113  
Unread November 13th, 2004, 03:34 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Question Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Bob I see the perceptual mine field that you are pointing to. How can we communicate the notion of the use of memories to support the life goal in a non-purjorative and sensitive manner, as opposed to simply "having the memory"? I don't want in any way to appear to depreciate the patient's biased apperception. Yet they do seem to "drag up evidence to support their world view". I should like to convey that in the most gentle and friendly manner possible, but I think the notion is true in its essence. How then can we convey this notion in a very friendly manner? That would have to assume that you would concur that the memory is also part of a teleological systematic whole, of course.
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Last edited by George Neeson; November 13th, 2004 at 03:36 PM. Reason: missing word
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  #114  
Unread November 13th, 2004, 08:14 PM
Robert L. Powers Robert L. Powers is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

George -- Anything dragged up out of a peceptual mine field must be handled with a gentle manner (to mix your metaphors), and tact is required of those who work to make contact with the alienated and the estranged.

When I remember I am acting in line with all else at my disposal in pursuit of the goal. It is not advantageous to think of my movement as if one part reached to other parts for support. It is really a seamless whole, and my ER do not so much support (though it could be said that every part function does support the whole) as express the line of my movement and reveal the limited, erroneous, or personalized image I have of the goal of perfection and completeness.

It is then for my therapist to attempt to think as I think, and to express the meaning of my ER in another mode of expression, that is in a language suggesting the character of my ambition and the goal that strives to answer that ambitiion in every moment and in every gesture of my movement.

"Could it be that you believe that, in order to be worthwhile, you must never allow yourself to be at fault, ever, no matter what the issue or the dispute may be? It looks as if it may be so, and it looks as if that is a rather hard way to proceed, harder than life requires of us, though you appear to require it of yourself."

Bob Powers
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  #115  
Unread November 13th, 2004, 09:02 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Thumbs up Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Bob the second paragraph in your reply in this posting is wonderfully crafted. Indeed that gentle "almost seeming confused thing" that Adler did, that you portray in the approach to aligning this hurting human with an undertaking of playing his fair part in the community of mankind, is couched in the language that must be used. I like to feel that the patient could make "his own discovery" and not even realize that I have influenced him. The questions and power of the Socratic approach make the mine field into a habitable place and a standing among mankind (yes the metaphor is very "mixed" now!) If this happens at a less than fully aware level, we are treading on a very delicate area and it must be done in complete honesty and with a clear view of solid morallity right dead centre. The damage that can be done by the therapist's unresolved life style striving can be horrible. You have a very gentle and precise way of wording things and I sure value your postings.
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  #116  
Unread November 13th, 2004, 10:28 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Lightbulb Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Steve Slavik has called into question my use of the phrase "distorted memories" and that that he and I and others have done some postings I must say I can see the nature of his concern. Let me clarify that I do not believe that the distortion is "deliberate" in most cases although on some occasions that could happen perhaps to throw us "off the scent". Most commonly it is a matter of perception. Experiments have been done and repeated wherein a crime has been staged with expert witnesses observing and the reports that were subsequently collected had substantial deviations from what really happened as recorded on film of video tape. This is not because the witnesses wished to distort the record. They did not, because in one experiment I recall and once more can't reference, a number of the witnesses were professional crime investigators whose credibility would seem to be "on the line". No, it appears that Adler is very accurate indeed when he says "All perception is biased apperception". I suspect that when the brain is exposed to any stimulus, it attempts to make sense of it by "fanning out" to association areas it various levels from higher centres to deep brain centres. What follows is the mind's best attempt to interpret the events, rather than a fully accurate historic record of the events. How much more then, are the earliest stored files affected by the very paucity of reference files adversely affected in the area of historicity. But the mind still attempts to make sense out of the experience. In physiological terms, this attempt is a contributing factor to this attempt to make sense of the flood of impinging, seemingly sensless data, in the formation of the Life Style construct based on these developmentally primitive excursions and sensory incursions. Well that's how I tend to view it from my biased medical apperception.
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  #117  
Unread November 14th, 2004, 01:40 AM
Robert L. Powers Robert L. Powers is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

George -- Treading on a very delicate area is descriptive of standing in a mine field.

I think there is less opportunity to do harm, much less horrible harm, if the therapist is not trying to impress the client with his/her competence and superiority.

If my stance is, "I don't know whether I am right about this, but here is how it looks to me --" then I think the client is able to consider, with me, another (and less self-serving) way of examining him/herself.

Bob Powers
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  #118  
Unread November 14th, 2004, 08:12 AM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Exclamation Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Most certainly. If the therapist is trying "to impress with his competency" as you point out, the therapist still has feelings of inferiority and a fictional goal of superiority so the therapist's own life style is vibrating in such a situation. We, as therapists, must have our own study analysis clearly in view, or at least have learned the humility of being content to be a fellow traveller on the life journey with the patient who grants to us the privilege of sharing their life struggles. We also have our life struggles, but just in a different area. Bob it is such a wonderful and freeing relief to have a sense of needing no more than to be a fellow man who wishes to add what he can to the stream of human evolution because that is what humans must do!
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  #119  
Unread November 15th, 2004, 12:27 AM
Robert L. Powers Robert L. Powers is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

George -- Your comments require no further comment, yet the e-mail telling me that you have posted them tells me also that I must reply or be cut off from further notices of comment on my former comments!

So I will say again that I hope that my therapist retains the blessing of the inferiority feeling, spurring her/him on to do what can be done to overcome the obstacles of my erroneous compensations, and to win through to my seeing a better way, and a useful way, out of my discouragements.

Bob Powers
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  #120  
Unread November 15th, 2004, 12:23 PM
Paul Miedema Paul Miedema is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Hello George,

I would like to react to this, just for my understanding of the material. You quote Adler with these phrases:

"Then, for reasons of clarity, this goal must be made concrete. Real deprivation, for instance the restriction of food during childhood, will be experienced as an abstract 'nothing,' as a deficiency, against which the child will long for 'everything,' for abundance, until it brings this goal nearer, in an abstract way, in the person of the father, in the figure of a fabulously wealthy person, of a mighty emperor."

Do I understand it right that the fictitious goal of "superiority" can take on any form, depending on the creative power of the child?
I tend to believe that this is the case.

Paul
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