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RE: [existlist] eduard's path...

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  • Eduard Alf
    james, I would agree that Existentialism provides some kind of guide for living ones life, but I should think that it is a bit much to say that,
    Message 1 of 18 , Feb 10, 2002
    • 0 Attachment
      james,

      I would agree that Existentialism provides
      some kind of guide for living ones life, but
      I should think that it is a bit much to say
      that, "existentialism provides the hope and
      license that we can remake ourselves". Hope
      for what? I don't see anything in
      Existentialism that gives a perspective of
      ones life within the context of life/death.
      Even Daoism would go that extra step to
      define an object of ultimately submerging the
      self into the oneness of the universe. In
      other words, there is a desire for
      fulfillment of a spiritual need which
      Existentialism does not contain.

      That is what I am into on this "eduard's
      path". I am striving to find a spiritual
      perspective that resonates with my own
      understanding of the world, and which gives
      me some satisfying answers as to a direction
      as I leave it.

      eduard

      -----Original Message-----
      From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@...]
      Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2002 1:42 PM
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [existlist] eduard's path...



      rosa,

      ur qn:
      >>How can the philosophy of the absurdity of
      life be an
      encouraging approach to a counselee with a
      fragile psyche? Were May and
      Frankl really existentialist?<<

      when i first read this qn, the first person
      that came to my mind is not may
      or frankl, but neitzsche. therapy is not
      necessarily for the mentally
      fragile; sometimes it can be for someone
      suffering from bad faith in the
      sartrean sense. people come to therapy for
      all sorts of problems; it will be
      too sweeping to assume that all who comes for
      help will be having a fragile
      mentality. of course, some will be
      emotionally weak or even
      psychopathological. some are just confused.
      some will like to see how they
      can grow as a person. nietzsche said that god
      is dead (thus we are living in
      a world where there isn't any inherent
      meaning to be found, thus absurd with
      reference to man's yearning for meaning),
      meaning that values henceforth has
      to be determined by the person himself. this
      is a call to absolute personal
      responsibility for the kind of life one would
      lead. one of the indicators of
      a person who is psychologically not healthy
      is his attitude towards life. a
      lot of the times, problems are created by
      refusing or being afraid to assume
      individual responsibility. they don't dare to
      face the music. this emphasis
      on freedom and responsibility in nietzsche
      got passed on to later
      existential thoughts, such as may and frankl.
      'absurd' over here is not to
      be understood as 'ridiculous' or
      'unreasonable'. sartre said man has not a
      fixed essence where man has to behave in
      rigid ways as if he has no choice
      about it. to think he has a fixed essence is
      bad faith in sartre's
      terminology. it also creates psychological
      problems, in that such person
      will think he is helpless about who he is; he
      will stick on to what or where
      he is even though he is not coping well.
      existentialism is not a set of
      ideas or dogmas, but a attitude towards life
      that encourages the person to
      return to becoming (rather than staying put
      of a perceived fixed essence), a
      defiance of predefined limits, either imposed
      by society which stifles
      authencity, or by oneself through past
      conditioning. skinnerian conditioning
      explain why man behaves in a certain way; but
      existentialism say man is
      beyond conditioning. this is a important
      message, esp in the context of
      therapy where change is the aim. if one
      resign to fixedness, why bother
      about changes at all if there is no such
      possibility? existentialism
      provides the hope and licence that we can
      remake ourselves from within our
      deeply conditioned lives. if we are fuckup,
      it don't have to be in this way
      forever. frankl was an existentialist in the
      sense that he recognised that
      it is meaning that one gives to his life that
      ultimately could enable one to
      see life's problems in the 'right'
      perspective. a mother will have a reason
      to work hard, a soldier will have a reason to
      withstand the hardships of a
      war. a eclectic approach will be more
      appropriate because different people
      will come to therapy for different reasons,
      but by and large, i think the
      strong pt of a existential approach is this:
      whatever approach one uses (i
      am sure as a student of psychotherapy u are
      familiar with the various
      approaches), existentialism provide a
      philosophy of human development of the
      importance of the issues of choice, meaning,
      authenticity and self
      actualisation and of the therapeutic
      alliance.
      and as far as therapy is concerned, the
      aspects of freedom - choice, action,
      and change - are broad guides. once clients
      accept that they have freedom,
      no matter what their circumstances are, they
      have responsibilities: to be
      aware of themselves and options; to consider
      their past history and their
      future potential; to exercise courage and
      thought in making changes and
      choices. the existentialist therapists
      basically have issues like choices,
      responsibilities, will towards meaning, etc,
      as their themes and frameworks
      in the therapuetic processes, and u have the
      skinnerian the behaviours
      (stimulus-response contingency), the
      cognitive the thoughts and beliefs
      (which affect perception, which in turn
      affect behaviours and emotions), the
      gestalt the whole experiencing, etc, etc. for
      me, may and frankl are
      existentialist in the sense that they are
      concerned with attitudes towards
      life the existentialists stress about. don't
      be mistaken that existentialism
      contained dogmas, and as such it doesn't
      exclude spiritual paths as one
      possible way to attain authenticity or
      meaningfulness. it is more a attitude
      towards life, and the wrong attitude may not
      only create psychological
      problems, it can affect the entire life. and
      we only live once. and we live
      life in the here and now, so attitude is
      important. as such i think it is
      highly relevant to therapy. for the details
      of how it can be implemented in
      a practical way, in the actual session, u
      need more than just a post. u need
      a supervisor and experiential training.

      james.
    • james tan
      eduard, existentialism is not the same as christianity, taoism, or anything that pretend to give u the answers. as i said over and again, there are no dogmas
      Message 2 of 18 , Feb 11, 2002
      • 0 Attachment
        eduard,

        existentialism is not the same as christianity, taoism, or anything that
        pretend to give u 'the' answers. as i said over and again, there are no
        dogmas except that u are totally free and responsible. u are free to be a
        christian if that is what give u spiritual meaning; or buddhist, or taoist,
        or anything at all. if u are looking in existentialism for 'answers', pal u
        are in the wrong place. existentiallism does not give u 'answers' as such,
        only attitudes. if u go to a church or mosque, they will tell u what is
        'the' meaning of life for u and all, they will give u an answer; if u go to
        existentialism, it will just tell u: eduard, i have no answer, no 'truth' to
        give u, yes it can be frustrating but u know, ur path is something that has
        to be determined by yourself, for yourself, through yourself. if u choose to
        be a christian, good for u; the important thing is, it is not imposed on u
        from society, parents, peers; it is self chosen. u are 'gladly', 'soberly',
        'committedly' responsible for it. what u choose is not important (no
        dogmas); it is not the 'what' but the 'how' that is all important in
        existentialism. at the heart of existential therapy is 'relatedness', the
        power of entering into a relation which belongs, in a different way, to each
        individual, unique to each. no dogmas, just attitudes. do u understand what
        i am saying, eduard? existential therapy works on the premise that, what is
        discovered is half cured; and it strives to depict THE human condition or
        situation with its themes of thrownness, 'being-there', freedom, existential
        absurdity, facticity, etc. it is recognising things for what it is, for what
        it is not, and whether one can be submerged into 'oneness with the universe'
        is never something existentialism will pretend to know (eduard, u may like
        to consider metaphysics or religions instead to fulfil ur particular
        spiritual needs). knowing what is going on is the first step to any
        authenticity or personal growth. then u do have to have the 'burden' or
        'responsibility' or 'freedom' to decide what to do with it - and this
        usually comes along with hell lot of anxiety. if u want 'ready made'
        answers, u can always go to anyone who self proclaimed to be the Teacher who
        has the answer to all mankind. but if u go to existentialism, they will just
        say: the answer is within u (ur freedom to decide what it is for u -
        sickening, huh? frustrating, huh? well, baby, too bad, we don't solve and
        decide for u). so what is the big hoo-haa about existentialism? nothing much
        really: no ready made answers, no given salvation, no eternal promises...
        but it is precisely this that make it a big deal: u live once, be aware and
        responsible for it; ur game, u play it yourself. i hope u will find ur
        eduard's path soon. best wishes.

        james.

        From: "Eduard Alf" <yeoman@...>
        Reply-To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
        To: <existlist@yahoogroups.com>
        Subject: RE: [existlist] eduard's path...
        Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2002 18:01:02 -0500

        james,

        I would agree that Existentialism provides
        some kind of guide for living ones life, but
        I should think that it is a bit much to say
        that, "existentialism provides the hope and
        license that we can remake ourselves". Hope
        for what? I don't see anything in
        Existentialism that gives a perspective of
        ones life within the context of life/death.
        Even Daoism would go that extra step to
        define an object of ultimately submerging the
        self into the oneness of the universe. In
        other words, there is a desire for
        fulfillment of a spiritual need which
        Existentialism does not contain.

        That is what I am into on this "eduard's
        path". I am striving to find a spiritual
        perspective that resonates with my own
        understanding of the world, and which gives
        me some satisfying answers as to a direction
        as I leave it.

        eduard

        -----Original Message-----
        From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@...]
        Sent: Sunday, February 10, 2002 1:42 PM
        To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [existlist] eduard's path...



        rosa,

        ur qn:
        >>How can the philosophy of the absurdity of
        life be an
        encouraging approach to a counselee with a
        fragile psyche? Were May and
        Frankl really existentialist?<<

        when i first read this qn, the first person
        that came to my mind is not may
        or frankl, but neitzsche. therapy is not
        necessarily for the mentally
        fragile; sometimes it can be for someone
        suffering from bad faith in the
        sartrean sense. people come to therapy for
        all sorts of problems; it will be
        too sweeping to assume that all who comes for
        help will be having a fragile
        mentality. of course, some will be
        emotionally weak or even
        psychopathological. some are just confused.
        some will like to see how they
        can grow as a person. nietzsche said that god
        is dead (thus we are living in
        a world where there isn't any inherent
        meaning to be found, thus absurd with
        reference to man's yearning for meaning),
        meaning that values henceforth has
        to be determined by the person himself. this
        is a call to absolute personal
        responsibility for the kind of life one would
        lead. one of the indicators of
        a person who is psychologically not healthy
        is his attitude towards life. a
        lot of the times, problems are created by
        refusing or being afraid to assume
        individual responsibility. they don't dare to
        face the music. this emphasis
        on freedom and responsibility in nietzsche
        got passed on to later
        existential thoughts, such as may and frankl.
        'absurd' over here is not to
        be understood as 'ridiculous' or
        'unreasonable'. sartre said man has not a
        fixed essence where man has to behave in
        rigid ways as if he has no choice
        about it. to think he has a fixed essence is
        bad faith in sartre's
        terminology. it also creates psychological
        problems, in that such person
        will think he is helpless about who he is; he
        will stick on to what or where
        he is even though he is not coping well.
        existentialism is not a set of
        ideas or dogmas, but a attitude towards life
        that encourages the person to
        return to becoming (rather than staying put
        of a perceived fixed essence), a
        defiance of predefined limits, either imposed
        by society which stifles
        authencity, or by oneself through past
        conditioning. skinnerian conditioning
        explain why man behaves in a certain way; but
        existentialism say man is
        beyond conditioning. this is a important
        message, esp in the context of
        therapy where change is the aim. if one
        resign to fixedness, why bother
        about changes at all if there is no such
        possibility? existentialism
        provides the hope and licence that we can
        remake ourselves from within our
        deeply conditioned lives. if we are fuckup,
        it don't have to be in this way
        forever. frankl was an existentialist in the
        sense that he recognised that
        it is meaning that one gives to his life that
        ultimately could enable one to
        see life's problems in the 'right'
        perspective. a mother will have a reason
        to work hard, a soldier will have a reason to
        withstand the hardships of a
        war. a eclectic approach will be more
        appropriate because different people
        will come to therapy for different reasons,
        but by and large, i think the
        strong pt of a existential approach is this:
        whatever approach one uses (i
        am sure as a student of psychotherapy u are
        familiar with the various
        approaches), existentialism provide a
        philosophy of human development of the
        importance of the issues of choice, meaning,
        authenticity and self
        actualisation and of the therapeutic
        alliance.
        and as far as therapy is concerned, the
        aspects of freedom - choice, action,
        and change - are broad guides. once clients
        accept that they have freedom,
        no matter what their circumstances are, they
        have responsibilities: to be
        aware of themselves and options; to consider
        their past history and their
        future potential; to exercise courage and
        thought in making changes and
        choices. the existentialist therapists
        basically have issues like choices,
        responsibilities, will towards meaning, etc,
        as their themes and frameworks
        in the therapuetic processes, and u have the
        skinnerian the behaviours
        (stimulus-response contingency), the
        cognitive the thoughts and beliefs
        (which affect perception, which in turn
        affect behaviours and emotions), the
        gestalt the whole experiencing, etc, etc. for
        me, may and frankl are
        existentialist in the sense that they are
        concerned with attitudes towards
        life the existentialists stress about. don't
        be mistaken that existentialism
        contained dogmas, and as such it doesn't
        exclude spiritual paths as one
        possible way to attain authenticity or
        meaningfulness. it is more a attitude
        towards life, and the wrong attitude may not
        only create psychological
        problems, it can affect the entire life. and
        we only live once. and we live
        life in the here and now, so attitude is
        important. as such i think it is
        highly relevant to therapy. for the details
        of how it can be implemented in
        a practical way, in the actual session, u
        need more than just a post. u need
        a supervisor and experiential training.

        james.









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        Join the world�s largest e-mail service with MSN Hotmail.
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      • Ryan Dewald
        Heya Ed, Read much May and Frankle lately? Can you recommend some to me?? Thank you so much, Ryan ... From: Eduard Alf [mailto:yeoman@videotron.ca] Sent:
        Message 3 of 18 , Feb 11, 2002
        • 0 Attachment
          Heya Ed,

          Read much May and Frankle lately? Can you recommend some to me??

          Thank you so much,

          Ryan

          -----Original Message-----
          From: Eduard Alf [mailto:yeoman@...]
          Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2002 8:13 AM
          To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: RE: [existlist] eduard's path...


          rosammmm,

          There is a tendency to try to bracket someone as to a particular philosophy.
          As for example, to point someone out and refer to them as being an
          Existentialist. It begs the question of what an "existentialist" actually
          is. If we refer to Sartre and his additions to existentialism [thrown in to
          the world ... hell is other people ... etc ...] then we are really looking
          at something which is effectively frozen in time. Like a cookie cutter
          pattern that we find in an old book and then try to make it fit on other
          people. I should think that Viktor Frankl would suit some of the pattern,
          but then he is much more complex than that, and has many other attributes.
          Rollo May [for as much as I have quickly learned of him] is of the same
          nature. That is, he might be referred to as existentialist, yet there is
          more beyond that.

          The same applies to the people on this list. We all have a certain affinity
          towards existentialism, but for myself I don't see it as fulfilling all my
          philosophical needs and especially my spiritual needs. Of course I am
          thrown into this world and I have to make my life out of my own decisions,
          but I need something more than just some truisms ...

          So to answer your question ... yes Rollo May and Viktor Frankl were really
          existentialist ... but they were more than just that ..

          eduard



          -----Original Message-----
          From: rosammmm@... [mailto:rosammmm@...]
          Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2002 6:48 AM
          To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [existlist] eduard's path...


          By way of introduction, I am in a graduate class, "Developing Individual
          Counseling Skills." The students were asked to research and make
          presentations on different approaches to psychotherapy. I was fortunate
          to
          get assigned a presentation on the therapeutic approach of existentialism
          and
          I loved it; it so fell in line with my own Zen Buddhist practice. I read
          Rollo May's The Art of Counseling and Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for
          Meaning
          . Through my research is how I came upon this list. In reading the
          postings
          here though, I have seen almost an irreconcilable great tension between
          the
          application of these two men's humanistic approach and the positions that
          I
          have read here. How can the philosophy of the absurdity of life be an
          encouraging approach to a counselee with a fragile psyche? Were May and
          Frankl really existentialist?

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        • Eduard Alf
          james, I may well be in the wrong group. From what I can see, Existentialism does not offer anything of significance. Sure, you can say you are thrown into
          Message 4 of 18 , Feb 11, 2002
          • 0 Attachment
            james,

            I may well be in the wrong group. From what
            I can see, Existentialism does not offer
            anything of significance. Sure, you can say
            you are thrown into the world and that you
            have to make your own life, but that is
            already known. It does not take a particular
            philosophy to tell me that. I honestly have
            not seen anything in this so-called
            Existentialism that is of any real worth. It
            has been mostly a lot of arguing back and
            forth.

            Which is the reason why I said, at the start,
            that this may not be place to deal with
            Spirituality.

            eduard

            -----Original Message-----
            From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@...]
            Sent: Monday, February 11, 2002 3:33 AM
            To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: RE: [existlist] eduard's path...



            eduard,

            existentialism is not the same as
            christianity, taoism, or anything that
            pretend to give u 'the' answers. as i said
            over and again, there are no
            dogmas except that u are totally free and
            responsible. u are free to be a
            christian if that is what give u spiritual
            meaning; or buddhist, or taoist,
            or anything at all. if u are looking in
            existentialism for 'answers', pal u
            are in the wrong place. existentiallism does
            not give u 'answers' as such,
            only attitudes. if u go to a church or
            mosque, they will tell u what is
            'the' meaning of life for u and all, they
            will give u an answer; if u go to
            existentialism, it will just tell u: eduard,
            i have no answer, no 'truth' to
            give u, yes it can be frustrating but u know,
            ur path is something that has
            to be determined by yourself, for yourself,
            through yourself. if u choose to
            be a christian, good for u; the important
            thing is, it is not imposed on u
            from society, parents, peers; it is self
            chosen. u are 'gladly', 'soberly',
            'committedly' responsible for it. what u
            choose is not important (no
            dogmas); it is not the 'what' but the 'how'
            that is all important in
            existentialism. at the heart of existential
            therapy is 'relatedness', the
            power of entering into a relation which
            belongs, in a different way, to each
            individual, unique to each. no dogmas, just
            attitudes. do u understand what
            i am saying, eduard? existential therapy
            works on the premise that, what is
            discovered is half cured; and it strives to
            depict THE human condition or
            situation with its themes of thrownness,
            'being-there', freedom, existential
            absurdity, facticity, etc. it is recognising
            things for what it is, for what
            it is not, and whether one can be submerged
            into 'oneness with the universe'
            is never something existentialism will
            pretend to know (eduard, u may like
            to consider metaphysics or religions instead
            to fulfil ur particular
            spiritual needs). knowing what is going on is
            the first step to any
            authenticity or personal growth. then u do
            have to have the 'burden' or
            'responsibility' or 'freedom' to decide what
            to do with it - and this
            usually comes along with hell lot of anxiety.
            if u want 'ready made'
            answers, u can always go to anyone who self
            proclaimed to be the Teacher who
            has the answer to all mankind. but if u go to
            existentialism, they will just
            say: the answer is within u (ur freedom to
            decide what it is for u -
            sickening, huh? frustrating, huh? well, baby,
            too bad, we don't solve and
            decide for u). so what is the big hoo-haa
            about existentialism? nothing much
            really: no ready made answers, no given
            salvation, no eternal promises...
            but it is precisely this that make it a big
            deal: u live once, be aware and
            responsible for it; ur game, u play it
            yourself. i hope u will find ur
            eduard's path soon. best wishes.

            james.
          • Eduard Alf
            Ryan, I have only done a cursory review of Rollo May on the web. As to Viktor Frankl, the one I read was, Man s Search for Meaning . You should be able to
            Message 5 of 18 , Feb 11, 2002
            • 0 Attachment
              Ryan,

              I have only done a cursory review of Rollo May on the web. As to Viktor
              Frankl, the one I read was, "Man's Search for Meaning". You should be able
              to pick it up at the library or perhaps some book store.

              eduard
              -----Original Message-----
              From: Ryan Dewald [mailto:rdewald@...]
              Sent: Monday, February 11, 2002 11:42 AM
              To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: RE: [existlist] eduard's path...


              Heya Ed,

              Read much May and Frankle lately? Can you recommend some to me??

              Thank you so much,

              Ryan

              -----Original Message-----
              From: Eduard Alf [mailto:yeoman@...]
              Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2002 8:13 AM
              To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: RE: [existlist] eduard's path...


              rosammmm,

              There is a tendency to try to bracket someone as to a particular
              philosophy.
              As for example, to point someone out and refer to them as being an
              Existentialist. It begs the question of what an "existentialist" actually
              is. If we refer to Sartre and his additions to existentialism [thrown in
              to
              the world ... hell is other people ... etc ...] then we are really looking
              at something which is effectively frozen in time. Like a cookie cutter
              pattern that we find in an old book and then try to make it fit on other
              people. I should think that Viktor Frankl would suit some of the pattern,
              but then he is much more complex than that, and has many other attributes.
              Rollo May [for as much as I have quickly learned of him] is of the same
              nature. That is, he might be referred to as existentialist, yet there is
              more beyond that.

              The same applies to the people on this list. We all have a certain
              affinity
              towards existentialism, but for myself I don't see it as fulfilling all my
              philosophical needs and especially my spiritual needs. Of course I am
              thrown into this world and I have to make my life out of my own decisions,
              but I need something more than just some truisms ...

              So to answer your question ... yes Rollo May and Viktor Frankl were really
              existentialist ... but they were more than just that ..

              eduard



              -----Original Message-----
              From: rosammmm@... [mailto:rosammmm@...]
              Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2002 6:48 AM
              To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [existlist] eduard's path...


              By way of introduction, I am in a graduate class, "Developing Individual
              Counseling Skills." The students were asked to research and make
              presentations on different approaches to psychotherapy. I was fortunate
              to
              get assigned a presentation on the therapeutic approach of
              existentialism
              and
              I loved it; it so fell in line with my own Zen Buddhist practice. I
              read
              Rollo May's The Art of Counseling and Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for
              Meaning
              . Through my research is how I came upon this list. In reading the
              postings
              here though, I have seen almost an irreconcilable great tension between
              the
              application of these two men's humanistic approach and the positions
              that
              I
              have read here. How can the philosophy of the absurdity of life be an
              encouraging approach to a counselee with a fragile psyche? Were May
              and
              Frankl really existentialist?

              Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
              ADVERTISEMENT




              Our Home: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/existlist
              (Includes community book list, chat, and more.)

              TO UNSUBSCRIBE from this group, send an email to:
              existlist-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

              Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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            • George Walton
              James, ... From: Eduard Alf To: existlist@yahoogroups.com Sent: Monday, February 11, 2002 3:50 PM Subject: RE: [existlist] eduard s path... james, I may well
              Message 6 of 18 , Feb 11, 2002
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                James,

                Allow me, if you will, to translate Eduard's...uh...confusion in a way that might be more readily apprehendable:
                ----- Original Message -----
                From: Eduard Alf
                To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Monday, February 11, 2002 3:50 PM
                Subject: RE: [existlist] eduard's path...


                james,

                I may well be in the wrong group. This group doesn't offer me any Answers regarding how I ought to understand or live my life. If I don't get Answers from people...just more perplexing questions...how can I then Go about comparing them to my own Answers to see if they are the Right Ones...the really spiritual ones?

                From whatI can see, Existentialism does not offer
                anything of significance. Sure, you can say you are thrown into the world and that you have to make your own life, but that is already known.It does not take a particular philosophy to tell me that. I honestly have
                not seen anything in this so-called Existentialism that is of any real worth. It has been mostly a lot of arguing back and forth. You see, when you are on the path to spirirual perfection instead, everything kind of just falls right into place for you. The closer you get, in fact, the more you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. You know, inner peace and tranquility....I guess what you guys who use the big words might call equanimity, equillibrium and immaculate transcendental rapture.

                Which is the reason why I said, at the start, that this may not be the place to deal with Spirituality. Well, anyway, spirituality that has nothing to do with philosophy, right?

                eduard

                -----Original Message-----
                From: james tan [mailto:tyjfk@...]
                Sent: Monday, February 11, 2002 3:33 AM
                To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: RE: [existlist] eduard's path...



                eduard,

                existentialism is not the same as
                christianity, taoism, or anything that
                pretend to give u 'the' answers. as i said
                over and again, there are no
                dogmas except that u are totally free and
                responsible. u are free to be a
                christian if that is what give u spiritual
                meaning; or buddhist, or taoist,
                or anything at all. if u are looking in
                existentialism for 'answers', pal u
                are in the wrong place. existentiallism does
                not give u 'answers' as such,
                only attitudes. if u go to a church or
                mosque, they will tell u what is
                'the' meaning of life for u and all, they
                will give u an answer; if u go to
                existentialism, it will just tell u: eduard,
                i have no answer, no 'truth' to
                give u, yes it can be frustrating but u know,
                ur path is something that has
                to be determined by yourself, for yourself,
                through yourself. if u choose to
                be a christian, good for u; the important
                thing is, it is not imposed on u
                from society, parents, peers; it is self
                chosen. u are 'gladly', 'soberly',
                'committedly' responsible for it. what u
                choose is not important (no
                dogmas); it is not the 'what' but the 'how'
                that is all important in
                existentialism. at the heart of existential
                therapy is 'relatedness', the
                power of entering into a relation which
                belongs, in a different way, to each
                individual, unique to each. no dogmas, just
                attitudes. do u understand what
                i am saying, eduard? existential therapy
                works on the premise that, what is
                discovered is half cured; and it strives to
                depict THE human condition or
                situation with its themes of thrownness,
                'being-there', freedom, existential
                absurdity, facticity, etc. it is recognising
                things for what it is, for what
                it is not, and whether one can be submerged
                into 'oneness with the universe'
                is never something existentialism will
                pretend to know (eduard, u may like
                to consider metaphysics or religions instead
                to fulfil ur particular
                spiritual needs). knowing what is going on is
                the first step to any
                authenticity or personal growth. then u do
                have to have the 'burden' or
                'responsibility' or 'freedom' to decide what
                to do with it - and this
                usually comes along with hell lot of anxiety.
                if u want 'ready made'
                answers, u can always go to anyone who self
                proclaimed to be the Teacher who
                has the answer to all mankind. but if u go to
                existentialism, they will just
                say: the answer is within u (ur freedom to
                decide what it is for u -
                sickening, huh? frustrating, huh? well, baby,
                too bad, we don't solve and
                decide for u). so what is the big hoo-haa
                about existentialism? nothing much
                really: no ready made answers, no given
                salvation, no eternal promises...
                but it is precisely this that make it a big
                deal: u live once, be aware and
                responsible for it; ur game, u play it
                yourself. i hope u will find ur
                eduard's path soon. best wishes.

                james.


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              • George Walton
                Rosa, It helps to understand how existentialism goes about circumscribing the nature of human language itself. What is the absurd , after all? It s not
                Message 7 of 18 , Feb 11, 2002
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                  Rosa,

                  It helps to understand how existentialism goes about circumscribing the "nature" of human language itself.

                  What "is" the "absurd", after all? It's not like a hammer or a table, right? It's not a Thing that can be described in such a way that everyone walks away convinced they are denoting the same...well...thing. In other words, you can't pull The Absurd out of your pocket like a rock and say, "hey, look everyone, I have The Absurd here!". As soon as you do that [even among existentialists] others pull out their own rocks [bigger, smaller, brighter, duller] and exclaim, "no, that's not The Absurd, this is!!". The same with Freedom and Justice and Human Nature and Moral Truth and God and Wisdom and Reason all the other words that connote meaning far, far more than they denote anything at all.

                  So, will a philosophy that denotes "the meaning of life" as essentially connotative, be a good tool for approaching therapy? Well, like with everything else, the therapist will take out of it what he or she puts into it: their own particular vantage point...a vantage point that necessarily reflects his or her own upbringing, experiences....his or her own existentential context and trajectory. How can it be otherwise? It can work with particular therapists and/or with particular patients.

                  What folks like May and Frankel were suggesting is that, in order to treat someone, you have to do so in the context of the actual life they lived; not try to hammer that life into some normative contraption that flows in large part from compartmentalized renditions of human interactions that rely rather heavily on the Right and the Wrong way to behave around others. Of course, the danger is this: realistically, how can anyone even begin to grasp "reality" as it is perceived by another? How do you go about treating someone you can never really know unless your own existential trajectectory overlaps in significant ways? For example, if a distraught 15 year old girl blurts out to her therapist, "I'm pregnant and my parents will kill me if they find out....I want to get an abortion!" and the therapist is a 55 year man who works with the Jerry Falwell organization he might approach the sessions a tad differently from a counselor who is a 25 year old woman who works for Planned Parenthood.

                  There is no way to know how we ought to behave around others. Thus, in my view, psychology, like philosophy, must seek to construct ways that teach people to bridge the gaps between many necessarily complex and contradictory vantage points....bridge them in such a way it teaches folks more practical ways to keep their relationships from growing farther apart. Instead, most therapeutic [like most philosophical] renditions try to figure out ways to bring people closer together. They invariably do this, of course, by proposing the most Rational or Moral approach [their own] to go about this. Thus in the case of the young pregnant girl above, just as, philosophically, there is no way to know if abortion is moral or immoral, there is no way to know which therapeutic approach is the best. At least with an existential approach, however, the patient is seen far more as the complex, convoluted and contradictory "I" that she really is and not as someone who must be hammered back into the Right psychological [or moral] frame of mind.

                  Biggie

                  Biggie




                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: rosammmm@...
                  To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2002 6:48 AM
                  Subject: Re: [existlist] eduard's path...


                  By way of introduction, I am in a graduate class, "Developing Individual
                  Counseling Skills." The students were asked to research and make
                  presentations on different approaches to psychotherapy. I was fortunate to
                  get assigned a presentation on the therapeutic approach of existentialism and
                  I loved it; it so fell in line with my own Zen Buddhist practice. I read
                  Rollo May's The Art of Counseling and Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning
                  . Through my research is how I came upon this list. In reading the postings
                  here though, I have seen almost an irreconcilable great tension between the
                  application of these two men's humanistic approach and the positions that I
                  have read here. How can the philosophy of the absurdity of life be an
                  encouraging approach to a counselee with a fragile psyche? Were May and
                  Frankl really existentialist?

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