Monthly Archives: August 2013

Saudade

“We are all strangers in a strange land, longing for home, but not quite knowing what or where home is. We glimpse it sometimes in our dreams, or as we turn a corner, and suddenly there is a strange, sweet familiarity that vanishes almost as soon as it comes…”  Madeleine L’Engle

This quotation from L’Engle brings to mind the concept – or philosophy – of ‘saudade’ – a Portuguese word that some feel defies translation.  This state of emotional longing, quite similar to nostalgia or yearning – though different – in that the longing is for a thing, a place, a person that is absent, a lost loved one – and it may carry a repressed knowledge that the person or thing may never return.   A Portuguese dictionary has defined saudade as a melancholic feeling of incompleteness. Noted in an essay by George Monteiro, the scholar A. Bell’s 1912 definition was offered: “The famous saudade of the Portuguese is a vague and constant desire for something that does not and probably cannot exist, for something other than the present, a turning towards the past or towards the future, not an active discontent or poignant sadness but an indolent dreaming wistfulness.”

  As I am writing on this concept – with all the varied interpretations possible – I would enjoy hearing of your thoughts – AND your experiences of what this has felt like to you, or what has evoked this sense of saudade in you.  Send your responses through WordPress or through my email: roldeschulte@gmail.com 

Thank you.

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Ikigai 生き甲斐

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Ikigai (生き甲斐, pronounced [ikigai]) is the Japanese equivalent of the French, raison d’être. In English, these translate respectively as ‘something one lives for’ and ‘a reason for being’. Although the meanings are similar, cultural attitudes toward the concept they embody differ.

Few possess a raison d’être. Those who live with an enduring passion for something can be consumed by it to the detriment of social relationships and a “normal” lifestyle. Thus, there are desirable and undesirable aspects to having a raison d’être.

Everyone, according to the Japanese, has an ikigai. Finding it requires a deep and often lengthy search of self. Such a search is regarded as being very important, since it is believed that discovery of one’s ikigai brings satisfaction and meaning to life.

Credit to: journalofanobody and artemisdreaming – Tumblr

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Introverts…

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     Those that tend toward introversion – often confused with shy individuals – face a number of difficulties (or challenges) each day.  Many can circumvent the issues, sometimes more easily than other times.  The following article addresses some of the more important considerations, especially as psychiatric entities attempt to pathologize introversion, shyness…One can certainly be pleased that this topic is being talked about more openly now…in the news, in professional journals…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/20/introverts-signs-am-i-introverted_n_3721431.html

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Finding comfort in being with yourself…

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“Find meaning. Distinguish melancholy from sadness. Go out for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a romantic walk in the park, spring at its most spectacular moment, flowers and smells and outstanding poetical imagery smoothly transferring you into another world. It doesn’t have to be a walk during which you’ll have multiple life epiphanies and discover meanings no other brain ever managed to encounter. Do not be afraid of spending quality time by yourself. Find meaning or don’t find meaning but “steal” some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self. Opt for privacy and solitude. That doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject the rest of the world. But you need to breathe. And you need to be.”

—  Albert Camus, from Notebooks, 1951-1959

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August 25, 2013 · 1:57 pm

Shyness

Shyness – fascinating essay on this topic – that will make a connection with many that remain concerned about their place in our world...

The essay also touches on the psychological community’s need to pathologize so very much – rather than forming an understanding of others…. (See also Joe Moran’s blog – http://joemoransblog.blogspot.com/ )

http://www.aeonmagazine.com/being-human/shyness-cannot-be-cured-it-is-part-of-being-human/

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August 21, 2013 · 1:20 pm

clark groupFreud visiting America…

Freud’s visit to America…

Though this article was published a bit ago, it gives some detail to Freud’s wish to bring psychoanalytic thinking to a wider venue, perhaps influencing cultural issues and literature. The article also notes Freud’s concern about the ‘medicalization’ of psychoanalysis…a fight about ‘lay analysis’ that was finally brought to the fore in the 1980s…

See the link…

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August 15, 2013 · 11:30 am

Reading Winnicott…

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A review done for the Association of Child Psychotherapists – The Bulletin, Issue No. 224, September 2011. 

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Caldwell, L. and Joyce, A. (2011) Reading Winnicott.  Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.  (The New Library of Psychoanalysis: Teaching Series)

 The editors of this work – Leslie Caldwell and Angela Joyce – intended to write a ‘scholarly introduction’ to the ideas and work of Winnicott for ‘advanced students’ and practitioners.  They have done far more in this incredibly well integrated contribution – establishing the history of Winnicott’s work, the development of his ideas within the larger psychoanalytic realm, and the application of his ideas to not only our clinical thinking, but also to our understanding of development. 

Details of the dramatic changes in his theoretical understanding of children and development, and his practical application of psychoanalytic ideas to the clinical situation are eloquently contextualized with the historical shifts taking place in not only the British system of thought, but also within the international psychoanalytic environment.

Winnicott’s desire to have psychoanalysis meet a greater audience was evident throughout his career.  The editors comment early in this book on Winnicott’s large interest in social affairs and the ‘lives of ordinary people.’ Winnicott did achieve this goal in his work with non-analysts and in his publications with non-analytic journals  and magazines, as well as his radio broadcasts.  The immense impact within the psychological (psychoanalytic and psychiatric) field was perhaps felt most in Winnicott’s emphasis on play – as an essential part or element of creative living.  This impact is also evident in our conceptual understanding of ‘normal development’ –  in several theoretical schools, in paediatric work, in formulations about treatment of delinquency,  and brief psychotherapeutic efforts, to name just a few.  Play as a criterion of health has permeated our socially accepted notions of psychological wellness, influenced our views about ‘cure’ within our clinical work with patients, shaped our diagnostic considerations . 

I would add here that this contribution of Caldwell and Joyce has opened up access to an even wider audience of professionals and scholars, in that it made the ideas of D.W. Winnicott available to those that have not had the luxury of (or the time for?) studying the intricacies and nuances of psychoanalytic developmental thought.  The potential for fusing his ideas with those of other disciplines is greatly enhanced as a result of this publication.  To this end, Winnicott’s very particular perspective on development, and especially his thoughts on the importance of play – of developing the capacity for concern, of empathy and in turn, democratic citizenship – each of these have been embraced in the recent writing by the philosopher Martha C. Nussbaum – a work that is concerned with education and ultimately democracy.[1]  Nussbaum cites Winnicott’s belief in the importance of play in shaping democratic citizenship, drawing on play as a ‘precondition’ of developing concern.  This capacity to “…imagine what the experience of another might be like” (in play) is crucial to the developmental unfolding of concern, of empathy, and ethics. Providing this basis through the developing capacity for play is fundamental for a healthy democracy.  It is in play, Nussbaum states, that empathy and reciprocity is developed – and in turn these activities have enormous  developmental consequence in the confidence and trust within the child.  As Winnicott emphasized, these components of play, of concern, and of empathy are critical to the shaping of citizenship within a democratic society. 

The focus on Winnicott’s distinctiveness in this work by Caldwell and Joyce affords all of us a unique opportunity to apply his ideas and his work to our conversations in a widening range of disciplines – and gives us a new appreciation of this individual’s extraordinary gift for understanding the development of human character. 

Rudy Oldeschulte


[1] Though Nussbaum’s* work was published prior to the publication of Reading Winnicott, I am referring to the need for such works as Caldwell and Joyce’s Reading Winnicott to clarify psychoanalytic thought for scholars in diverse disciplines of study.  *Nussbaum, M.C. (2010) Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities. Princeton University Press. 

Rudy Oldeschulte

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