It's taken me longer than I intended to begin reading The Presentation Of Self, but I finally found the necessary discipline to keep my arse in the chair. I then noticed I'd lost my voice, or maybe I should say - my ability to communicate in the way that I want. I think this is more an issue of identity, though...as in, I identify with being an outsider and yet I need to let that go if I'm trying to include myself with 'others out there', even if those others are the socially reluctant. I'm finding it helpful to pretend that I'm writing to Mikey; he's a long time friend and someone who also struggles with many aspects of 'being out there'. So, anyway, arse on chair and voice in mind - the chapter is headed Belief In The Part One is Playing, and in itself has me raising an eyebrow before I even begin reading the contents.Read More
The Scold's Bridle was a brutal piece of equipment that first appeared in Britain (probably Scotland) way back in the 1500's. The cage-like device had a protruding metal plate to hold the tongue down and was often used as a punishment on women that were deemed to be gossips or just plain old argumentative. The local magistrate would usually be the one who ordered the bridle to be worn, and the woman would be sentenced to wear it anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Most bridles had a chain which meant the woman could be led through the streets and subsequently shamed into correcting her behaviour.Read More
Erving Goffman (11 June 1922 – 19 November 1982) was considered to be the most influential sociologist of the twentieth century. I am now in possession of three of his books and intend to make a start with The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Rather than do a bog standard book review, I want to make notes about the thoughts it provokes as I'm reading it. This particular book was written way back in 1956 and one of the reasons I'm starting so far back in time is because I want to build up a picture of where today's thinking originated. I need to point out that I'm largely in the dark in regards to current thinking on stigma. Apart from the odd article on The British Journal of Psychiatry and a few others found here and there, I've read very little.Read More
Silence can be violent. I'm not sure what that means for those who are fond of meditating or those who preach of silence being golden, or even if it means anything at all. The silence I refer to here is that which takes place after a fight, or instead of an argument ~ the stuff that occurs on an interpersonal level. Anyone can find themselves in the position of being convinced there’s just no point in talking to a significant other.Read More
The eyes are said to be the windows to the soul, and one of the frequently mentioned body parts of those who are in love. We’re bombarded with literature on the importance of eye contact, and just last week I overheard someone stating that a lack of eye contact between a mother and a child indicates serious problems. But is there truth to any of these not-so-subliminal-messages?
Apparently not!Read More
I can’t tell you how long I’ve been waiting to get a copy of this book. I’d first learned of The Green Book after Gaddafi was killed in 2011. Being curious, I wanted to read the text in full. The snippets I’d seen online appeared to show him as an idealist (borderline romantic) as opposed to the willful and ruthless dictator he was portrayed as by the western press. He is one of those characters that can provoke heated debate, but I don’t want to get involved in the politics of what he was or was not.Read More
I’ve got new books screaming at me for attention, but a chapter on exorcism and possession in The People of the Lie had my head in a spin. I left the woo scene many moons ago and now have trouble reading any book or article which tries to explain superstition or the supernatural. Although my main gripe is that it’s littered with inconsistency and can take excessive amounts of mental effort to sift through the words. Many humans are psychologically affected by ritual. Ritual can be shown to lessen anxiety, improve performance, and help people grieve after bereavement. I’m not only speaking of the hardcore stuff such as exorcisms, weddings, and funerals but the small ones we do too. Tapping on a surface, eating a particular food and lighting candles ~ any of those things you do compulsively to ward off negativity or improve your luck, are rituals.Read More
Children? Evil? Really?
Only joking, I know some can be awful, and yes, I mean make your skin crawl and your blood-run-cold-with-a-certain-look-in-their-eye...
I LOVE the term psychological gargoylism. It's great - quirky yet descriptive of a particular stance displayed by people who are quick to label behaviour as ugly. It's the only reason I'm writing any of this at all. I actually just wanted to put the term out there, the rest of this post may well be no more than window dressing.
But for now, back to the children.....Read More
M. Scott Peck didn’t have much of a reputation as a serious philosopher or even as a critical thinker but had plenty of popularity in the self-help genre. Back in the early days of adult life I read a couple of his books and kept a vague memory that I liked some of what he had to say. I wondered if I would still feel the same way. I had an inability, or at the very least a reluctance, to think critically during those years and wasn’t keen on reading anything that didn’t offer the promise of a life filled with unicorns and rainbows. M. Scott Peck, a psychiatrist who wrote the hugely successful The Road Less Traveled, was actively interested in human suffering and how a spiritual life could help to make life more fulfilling. I’m ninety-one pages down in The People of The Lie, and I’ve found two points which deserve further exploration.Read More
When I first read The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker a few years ago, I was blown away by it. I loved his style as much as what he was saying. This second read through is being done with a more discerning eye. Well, I’m adding a shit-load more critical thought although probably nowhere near enough. It seems appropriate that I start to write up these notes after receiving word that my older sister has passed away from stomach cancer during the last day or so. We weren’t close because of circumstance, so I have no hefty amount of emotional processing to do, but it has enough impact to provoke thoughts about mortality in general, and maybe more importantly, thoughts about not putting things off. I’d known about her illness for a couple of months and wondered about getting in touch with her; but then my own life events took over as they so often do and I figured I’d see where I was at in the new year….that I would then find the time to communicate…but she didn’t have time….Read More