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  #101  
Unread November 11th, 2004, 01:55 PM
Robert L. Powers Robert L. Powers is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

George -- Nothing was ever invented except someone was able to see how it might be improved!

Your suggestion, about Word, and Clipboard, and so on is an example of what the old moral theologians used to call a "counsel of despair," that is, a prescription beyond the capacity of the penitent to perform.

I know this is not beyond my innate human capabilities, of course. If it can be done, I suppose I could learn to do it, if I were to apply myself to the mastering of it.

That I am not likely to do it is a function of my not wanting to devote too much of my life to the technical side of conversations such as these. Not to say this is not a pleasure: Rather, to say that the pleasure is seductive, the feedback is reassuring, and the time spent is felt as rather insignificant as it is passing, and only afterward as costly.

I think that what you and the others are doing is a kind of fun, and I would like to take part from time to time, but not to be too caught up in it day by day. The brachiation from thread to thread swings one on into Saul/Paul and the possible infrastructure damage underlying the mysteries of conversion, another wide realm for wholesome and refreshing investigation, but if not as a pleasant hobby then as a demanding intellectual task requiring a great deal of careful reading and attention. As I cannot afford the latter (as an investment here), and as I am altogether too vulnerable to the pleasant distractions of talk as hobby, I seem either way in danger of overdoing my part in the thing.

If it were possible, my suggestion would be to contrive a way for email letters to be sent to a central address, from which a kindly and devoted manager could forward them into the system. Presumably as cumbersome as the present arrangement, I'm afraid.

I will make this one further effort to recapture some of my thoughts in re inferiority feelings, brain damage (or anomaly), sociopathy, and Adler's schema for some of these matters:

First (as is only right) Adler once put forward a double scale for Level of Activity and Social Feeling, yielding three rough sorts of persons: (1) High level of activity with high social feeling = genius; (2) Low level of activity with low social feeling = neurotic (a term no longer in fashion); (3) High level of activity with low social feeling = criminal.

One should notice at once that he turned away from his device before being required to comment on the fourth possibility, namely Low level of activity with high social feeling!

When I put this to one of my classes, a student who was also a religious brother in a monastic order gave the answer as = contemplative (i.e., a person living a quiet life of prayer and devotion, interceding on behalf of all creation in some way).

Be that as it may, my point is only to say that schema is one thing and person is another, as the quote from Sophia D. was meant to underscore.

It seems almost certain, and a safe assumption, that infantile autism is a reflection of some anomalies of brain structure, and it may be that the same can be said for certain psychoses. Even here, however, when we are able to take the substrate into account, and even when we come to create a social world into which persons marked in this way could enter and be received humanely and for our common advantage, even then we would have the social obligation of providing the kind of education (e ducare) that is a cultivation of proper values, of a respect for others and a disposition and inclination of the soul toward cooperation and contribution.

As for the sociopathic spectrum what I referred to as the lack of an inferiority feeling of any effective kind was meant to draw attention to the need to cultivate, that is, educate us in the use of, inferiority feelings, which in themselves are signs of an ineluctable awareness of our situation in life, which is fragile and ultimately mortal. As such, as Adler put it in one of his wonderfully surprising turns, they are a blessing, and a spur toward solving the problems and overcoming the obstacles that stand in the way of movement toward completeness and satisfaction.

My experience as a counselor of such persons is limited in scope and even more limited as to any sense I have of ever having made much of a dent in the armor of their arrangements, which, perhaps we could all agree, are in themselves handicaps and distortions that work further misery for those who have learned from the start of no other way to live. I do have a story that I like to tell as an illustration:

Some years ago, one of my students was a young woman of less than average height and weight, but athletic and active and undaunted by the particularities of her size. One late evening on her way home by bus, she was aware of a rather tall and imposing young man who had been studying her, and who left the bus when she did, and who was clearly following her. When she got to the door of her apartment house he forced his way into the foyer behind her and moved to assault her in what was clearly an attempt to abuse her sexually. She was not of a mind to accept insults quietly, however. She had taken a self-defense course, and remembering what she had learned had gathered up a big gob of spittle as she was on her way to her door. She now turned and let this fly against the chest of her molester, who, shocked by this temerity, leaped back to study the dribbling mess on the front of his clothes. In a tone that could only be described as one of moral outrage he shouted at her: "This is a brand new suit!"

Did he have an effective sense of inferiority? Not such as would enable him to master the rules of the game of life and to seek sexual satsfaction in the context of cooperative play and mutual investment. True, he could feel that he had been reduced from natty to grubby and soiled, and so could feel the embarrassment that is a sign of social inferiority.

The feeling itself is part of the structures of awareness that make us capable of navigation through the world we otherwise know only through the biased apperception of our subjective schemas. It requires cultivation, as does that other basic feeling of reality, the social feeling, or the sense of co-inherence, in order for our movement to unfold in harmony with the struggles of all humankind and all creation toward the goal of goals and our being caught up in glory -- or whatever language allows us to say on this point.

I must now get on with the other parts of my life. Thank you for allowing me this much opportunity to speak.

Bob Powers
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  #102  
Unread November 11th, 2004, 03:01 PM
sslavik sslavik is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

I would say, George, that sometimes it can be confirmed that some facts related in ERs do or did not exist, but that in general there is no way to verify that the way an ER is reported in not accurate. There are no facts which refute the events in most ERs and no ways to ascertain that the way an ER is reported is a distortion. In general the only evidence that might be brought forward to demonstrate the "distortion" in an ER is the ER of someone else, equally "distorted." In such a situation, the concept of "distortion" becomes meaningless and we have to begin to think in other ways.

this direction is also given to us by the thought that to consider someone's thinking as "distorted" is very pejorative and contrary to the idea of social equality and social interest.
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  #103  
Unread November 12th, 2004, 12:48 PM
Trevor Hjertaas Trevor Hjertaas is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

I would like to make a few comments which may be relevant.

From the theoretical perspective of I.P., I would say that Steve is, of course, absolutely correct. There is actually no objective point of view from which to state that something is distorted or not because there is no objective "something" which is "reality." What there is is merely a large collection of biased apperceptions which then comprise an ever-evolving "common sense" - but it is inaccurate to think of this as an actual reality, it is merely as close an approximation as we are able to come to at this point in time. This is a phenomenological idea, largely foreign to gathering hard, "empirical" evidence. Thus, as Steve notes, it is rare that conclusive "proof" can be found.

Now I would also say that what George states is also, of course, quite accurate from the perspective of I. P. The individual can creat fictions, introduce elements which did not actually exist (or - more accurately, perhaps - which most others would not perceive as existing), or perceive events in a way which is quite contrary to the accepted "common sense" in support of an individual line of movement (as George notes Adler did); (a good literary example of no longer "subscribing" to the common sense can fe found in Sartre's novel "Nausea" where he describes the terror which occurs when the awareness comes of the fragility of "reality." The Existentialists were also well aware of this subjective nature of "reality").

If we are to speak of "distortion" then it must be strictly understood that this merely means a "distortion" from the accepted view of reality at this time, and which none of us has an absolutely firm grasp on (which is what makes dialogue interesting, don't you think, since the views of others are always somewhat distinct from ours and thus can enrich and expand our own).

Somewhere or other (and I am afraid I cannot recall exactly where) Adler advices trying to cope with this uncertainty by using a strategy that he refers to as "the rule of halves" - by which he meant that the clinician should view the client's perception of events as about half accurate, and other people's (including his or her own) perception as also about half accurate. Thus the clinician can keep in mind that there may be some validity to a client's "sense of persecution" and feelings that life is "unfair" at the same time that he or she encourages the individual in the direction of the social interest (which, itself, as a construct, is ever changing and evolving). This approach, perhaps, allows some empathy for and sensitivity towards the client's point of view, which I believe is what Steve - in his last comment - is indicating is important.

Trevor Hjertaas, Psy. D.
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  #104  
Unread November 12th, 2004, 01:35 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Lightbulb Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Trevor yor posting is most helpful. For some reason I could not get a handle on Steve's arguement. Now I see what he is driving at and the way you express it, it is quite clear. We both had an aspect of Adler correct but were at cross purposes. It is nice to have a team approach and thus a meeting of collegial minds. Many thanks.
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  #105  
Unread November 12th, 2004, 02:32 PM
Robert L. Powers Robert L. Powers is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

The discussion of Early Recollections (as of any event of memory) would be helped by a reminder that these are to be understood as behaviors, that is, as acts of deliberate recollecting, and so as reflective of the attitudes and convictions of the one engaged in the recollecting. There can be no "objective" measure as to the historical accuracy of the recollecting, as anyone knows who has taken part in the conversation at dinner during a family reunion.

There is more on this in my (with Jane Griffith) text, "Understanding Life-Style: The Psycho-Clarity Process" available from the Bookstore at the Adler School of Professional Psychology in Chicago (312/201-5900 x228) or (at slightly greater cost) from Amazon.com.

Bob Powers
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  #106  
Unread November 12th, 2004, 07:04 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Lightbulb Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Bob once again your clear thinking mind brings us back to the central issue and I thank you for that. The patient and in particular the neurotic patient, in Adler's parlance, does not have memories, he uses memories. They are sober remembers of what to avoid, of what will harm his prestige, of how he can enhance his prestige etc., all from the view point of a discouraged child. They are the window to the "private logic" that we seek to discern. We have many clues to look at, from the nature of the speech, the way the patient dresses, the way they approach appointments, indeed everything they do! These early recollections since they are being used, all show us as a little skit, the life style. Each one is a little, I guess you could call it "morality play", that is exactely in the direction of the life movement. The real skill of the Adlerian therapist is not to get caught up in the smoke of the recollection, but rather to find the flame, to borrow from a saying Henry uses that I have posted in the Archived older forums where he says "The therapist does not blow away the smoke, he puts out the fire". The slippery slope I find I may fall into, is to be so concerned with "interpreting the E/R" that I forget to look at the vector movement that it shows me. If I watch the movement in the recollections carefully I do not fall down this therapist created "gulch".
So the real trick is to ask ones self, why would a person recall and relate this event to me? What would a person have to believe about self/world/others to retain such a memory? What belief system in private logic would be consistent with the retention of this memory? What is the movement in the memory? Are they active or passive? Do things happen to them or are they acting on things/people? We are using the childhood prototype to discern the line of movement and the historic details are not of great importance but of course, we do not ignore the historic facts they bring. We pay much more attention to the how and why of the "facts! The childhood prototype is often presented in the "choice of the memories" this person retains. Remember, this memory is a fleeting instant out of one day in a period of 10 or more years. The mystery to the non-Adlerian, is why there are so few. There are so few because the person only recalls that which supports his life line or its antithesis.
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Last edited by George Neeson; November 12th, 2004 at 07:35 PM. Reason: clarification
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  #107  
Unread November 12th, 2004, 07:39 PM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Talking Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

I am now working toward a further analysis of the movement. It will attempt to discuss the degree and radius (?sphere) of this movement. Keep checking in ... this is a difficult post to develop but stay tuned and we can have some fun with it!
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  #108  
Unread November 12th, 2004, 08:46 PM
sslavik sslavik is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Trevor, I like this idea that common sense is composed of the set of "acceptable" movements within a social realm. This means that there are extremes at each end, extremes of being too self-centred and extremes of being too other-centred, which sort of define and contain what constitutes the "common."

It also helps us to notice that common sense is a cultural artefact and that what "flies" in North America is not what flies in Saudi Arabia, for example. I have been thinking for a long time on how to express how Adlerian thinking embodies a Western (European and American) conception of rationality and how people ought to be. This looks like it could be the beginning of a handle on it. Thanks.
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  #109  
Unread November 12th, 2004, 08:52 PM
sslavik sslavik is offline
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Default Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

This too is a good reminder that ERs are a behavior, directed towards others, and towards oneself at times (reminders). Mental phenomena are behaviors and should be treated in the same way, as interesting things that others do. I like this. The primary element of Adler's thinking is movement: we all are in future-oriented movement in a social field, and the dichotomy between mental movement and behaviour is false. That is, it is not natural to Individual Psychology. Adler was not a Cartesian thinker. Thanks....
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  #110  
Unread November 13th, 2004, 12:07 AM
George Neeson George Neeson is offline
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Thumbs up Re: From the ground up ... an Adlerian primer??

Bob your comment obout the "contemplative style of living" is priceless. yes indeed, these are folks who contemplate the destiny and connectedness of humanity and seek the greatest human good, but they do it with very little "social connectedness that is evident". I suppose people like Martin Luther come to mind although I am not certain that he was not so active ... seventy (was it?) articles nailed to the door of the church seems quite active. I have heard that at the Diet of Wurms (?SP), he said "Here I stand, I can do nothing else", but said it in such a soft and weak voice that he had to repeat it three times before it could be recorded. I do not know if he had a high level of social interest or a low level of activity but I suspect from his viewpoint he felt the then church had deviated from interest to the common man which could be construed as lacking social interest institutionally, to a goal of institutional superiority that he was willing to stand against in spite of the severe censure he would experience. Perhaps his sensitivity to the perceived wrongs to his fellow Catholics led him through social interest to take the great risk against the liturigical structure, because his interest in the common man exceeded his fear of condemnation. Please, I am not suggesting his actions were "theologically correct" ... I could not know that from my protestant tradition, but perchance it could fit his contemplative life style save with a bit more activity. How does that notion fit with what you describe Bob? Wonderful again to have your insightful postings. I am delighted you undertake the "tecnnological challenges" to be with us. I appreciate your deep understanding and the breadth of your knowledge of Adler.

Blessings to you.
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