I’ve written about this concept by DW Winnicott on past posts – ‘the capacity to be alone in the presence of another’ – one that underlies many aspects of our developmental journey – our capacity for solitude, for good reading and attention, love in relationships, and self respect, inter alia…
This excerpt is from a write up that details an interview with Adam Phillips on this topic. Both links are included below:
PHILLIPS: That idea was one of Winnicott’s most radical, because what he was saying was that solitude was prior to the wish to transgress. That there’s something deeply important about the early experience of being in the presence of somebody without being impinged upon by their demands, and without them needing you to make a demand on them. And that this creates a space internally into which one can be absorbed. In order to be absorbed one has to feel sufficiently safe, as though there is some shield, or somebody guarding you against dangers such that you can “forget yourself ” and absorb yourself, in a book, say. Or, for the child, in a game. It must be one of the precursors of reading, I suppose. I think for Winnicott it would be the definition of a good relationship if, in the relationship, you would be free to be absorbed in something else.
From Maria Popova in Brain Pickings…
…Indeed, this notion of “surprised amusement” becomes central to Bruner’s conception of creativity, which he defines with succinct elegance:
An act that produces effective surprise [is] the hallmark of the creative enterprise.
…It is essential, here to distinguish between creativity and originality. In a sentiment that brings to mind Twain’s famous assertion that plagiarism is the seed of creative work, Alexander Graham Bell’s conviction that “our most original compositions are composed exclusively of expressions derived from others,” and Henry Miller’s poetic debunking of the originality illusion, Bruner cautions:
The road to banality is paved with creative intentions. Surprise is not easily defined. It is the unexpected that strikes one with wonder or astonishment. What is curious about effective surprise is that it need not be rare or infrequent or bizarre and is often none of these things. Effective surprises … seem rather to have the quality of obviousness about them when they occur, producing a shock of recognition following which there is no longer astonishment….
…Metaphorical effectiveness is also manifested by “connecting domains of experience that were before apart,” but what distinguishes it from the formal kind is that the mechanisms of connectedness come for the realm of art rather than science and logic — the kind of connectedness that Carl Jung described as “visionary,” in contrast to the merely psychological. (Metaphorical thinking, after all, is at the developmental root of human imagination.) While we are wired to make sense of the world via categorization, “metaphoric combination leaps beyond systematic placement, explores connections that before were unsuspected.”
Read the article in Brain Pickings:
History is a continuing dialogue between the present and the past. Interpretations of the past are subject to change in response to new evidence, new questions asked of the evidence, new perspectives gained by the passage of time. There is no single, eternal, and immutable “truth” about past events and their meaning. The unending quest of historians for understanding the past—that is, “revisionism”—is what makes history vital and meaningful.
President’s column,Perspectives, September 2003
(From review of Taylor, E. (2009). The Mystery of Personality: A History of Psychodynamic Theories. New York: Springer. By Rudy Oldeschulte, 2010)
“Side by side with the exigencies of life, love is the great educator.”
Challenges…and the ‘love of your fate’…
“Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me. At a certain moment in his life,the idea came to him of what he called ‘the love of your fate.’ Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, ‘This is what I need.’ It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment—not discouragement—you will find the strength is there. Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow.
“Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see that this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.”
Joseph Campbell – Reflections on the Art of Living
“With the pressures facing most people today, it is essential to take your mental health seriously. This is especially true for college students and young people, whose lack of experience in the real world could lead to major mental health issues resulting from stress, overwork, fatigue, or even the onset of a more serious mental illness. In fact, up to 75 percent of college students with possible mental health issues do not seek help for what ails them.”
Information on this page is categorized by state or area, gives brief explanations of different struggles, and provides information on services available.
See the link:
“How should we read psychoanalysis? Many of its great theorists – Sigmund Freud, Donald Winnicott, Jacques Lacan – trained as doctors, and their successors tend to follow the rigid formulae of academic papers. However, for Adam Phillips, a practising psychoanalyst who is also a perceptive literary critic, it is “more illuminating” to consider psychoanalysts as poets “rather than failed or aspiring scientists”. “
“This attitude is characteristic of how, since the publication of On Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored 20 years ago, Phillips has distinguished himself from most psychoanalytical writing. He is fond of playfully addressing subjects (freedom, boredom) that he feels his colleagues have neglected, and in a form – the literary essay – far removed from clinical studies. After 17 books, this collection brings together pieces that span Phillips’s career, arranged chronologically, although it excludes his writing on literature.”
See link: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/dec/01/adam-phillips-essays-one-way-review