& PHIL in Beograd ?
lead a good life
is motion via times
of change and events of constancy. In philosophical polylogues these
two aspects are to be taken into consideration. With regard to
“changed conditions” I am in a position to refer to my experience
as a language philosopher in a speech-therapy (1) department of a
neurological rehabilitation clinic. “Philosophical practice” /
Philosophische Praxis (2) is the topic of SEEKING ORIENTATION (cf.
Das OrientierungsLos, Roth/Staude, eds., Konstanz 2010)
August 2014 ICPP Beograd
1 (2 hours): V.M.
Roth (Germany): Tony and PHIL: Yalom’s literary vision of a
co-operation in The
you agree with:
philosophy starts with I-do-not-know? Or:
ich kenne mich nicht aus (Wittgenstein)
philosophizing /Philosophieren should not end there!
into consideration that we do not know for sure how “philosophical
practice” refers to an activity in contrast to others. The bundle
of activities that we might take into closer consideration are
university-philosophy and the >therapy of the soul<. Are some
of todays psychotherapy schools just modern forms of forerunners in
antiquity? Frankly, I do not think that there is a clear cut between
them. But you are invited to argue, to reason with me and I hope
the discussion will be a fruitful philosophical one.
of you is familiar with Yalom´s THE SCHOPENHAUER CURE? Please feel
free to add aspects or elaborate on points of importance with respect
to philosophical practice as you see it – in our discussion. My
starting point was a discussion in my systemic intervision and
literature group. I am taking the opportunity to thank you, Karl and
the ZURICH group! As I am the philosopher in the group I have brought
into our discussion: Rüdiger Safranski , SCHOPENHAUER und Die wilden
Jahre der Philosophie. (AND THE WILD YEARS OF PHILOSOPHY) praised
in a personal communication by Dr. Adrian Deplazes a while ago. To my
surprise I found, that there was a direct connection. As Yalom writes
in the acknowledgements: “I am most heavily indebted to Rudiger
biography … and
grateful to him for his generous consultation in our long
conversation in a Berlin café.”
first “application” of Schopenhauer–material within the frame
of philosophical practice took place in a “Philosophical Week
before Easter” in ISTRA / Istria, April 2014. The 10 participants
came from a range of professions, mainly with an academic (in part a
medical/psychotherapeutic, in part a philosophical) background. We
had enough time to dive into Safranski (2) and I made occasional
detours into Yalom (3). We had our meals together, made excursions
second opportunity was a café philo of two hours at BERN, courtesy
Detlef Staude and the late Thomas Mastronardi. The group meets
regularly once a month and most of the members are non academics. The
topic was “Are you a pessimist? – and is that ok?” Participants
gave their personal answers before I introduced Schopenhauer as a
paradigm of a pessimist – and an influential philosopher at the
same time. (Yalom: “The more I studied Schopenhauer´s life and
work, the more impressed I was by the range and depth of his vision.
It was not difficult to understand why some philosophers posit that
Schopenhauer´s work contains more interesting ideas than the work of
any other philosopher, save Plato … (&) he was a deeply
troubled and (trouble making VMR) SING “he was a most peculiar
man.” (P.S. 12))
third format started within a family seminar of a self-help
organization of people with (partial) loss of language (the different
forms of aphasia). Oscar Mut (name changed) consulted me with a
“communication problem” there: how to communicate to his wife
that he wants to separate? And he mentioned that this would not take
much of my time. So I gave him an early time slot (before breakfast)
and offered another one (after lunch). I was in a casual
conversation with another “early bird” the next morning when Mr.
Mut made a shy appearance in the open door (at a very calm, remote
part of the very big building. Soon we were alone and I closed the
other person was informed in advance that this could happen.) German
Universities have a grade after the doctorate that is called
habilitation and one can apply for “the license to teach” (venia
legendi) as a docente libero (nice Italian phrase), the German
equivalent is >Privatdozent<. This expression focusses on the
aspect that German Privatdozenten are mere members of the
>Gelehrtenrepublik< (the ideal community of investigators) but
as res extensa, physical people they have to find other ways to make
writes sarcastically of professors who live
of philosophy while
he SING(he was rich enough and not too blind to see) Schopenhauer
could live for philosophy.
The bread-winning activity in my case was aphasia therapy in a clinic
where I had the privilege to work as “language-philosopher in the
of this detour: The door that was closed had my name with full title
and PHILOSOPHICAL PRACTITIONER (Philosophischer Praktiker) on it.)
aphasia therapy (1) I suggested
P artner A phasic C ommunication T raining and
the family seminars offer this (among a lot of other things). Mr.
Mut showed me a text starting with “Dear Doris” (Liebe Doris)
and smiled when he added that he did not know how he should give it
to her. So I started a narrative (1) role play. “I am Doris” I
said to him, “Is she working?” And he said, “Yes , she
is still working” (and in contrast: he is not) So I started a role
play: Doris comes home from work. In the role of Doris I opened the
door and said “Good evening, Oscar!” and he corrected: “She
says nothing” There was a long silence between us. He started to
weep. And I said: “There is still hope?” He nodded and said: “I
am longing for love –“ I smiled. He continued: “So I am in no
hurry?” I nodded and said: “Look, I see no quick solution –
but I suggest that we stay in contact. There is a book by Irvin D.
Yalom, The Schopenhauer Cure. Would you like to read it and send me
mails ?” He had books written by Yalom at his home and imagined
that the suggested “bibliotherapy” ( 8 ) could be a way of
rethinking his relation to Doris. (He told me the two of them had
tried partner therapy (Paartherapie) before, and he added -
days later: 01.
Juli 2014 16:19
– 11.30 -13.30 – I have written
today I can lead „normal“ life again – read, write, go
daughter with her two kids is still in the plain; soon in Calgary
am writing, what comes into my mind. And I will try to write every
back to Yalom:
the American paperback edition (3) of Yalom´s novel (not
contained in the German translation)
one finds an appendix WRITING THE
in which the author Yalom looks back. He states: “By adolescence
I had developed the notion – which I hold to this day – that
writing a good novel was one of the very best things a person can do
in life.” (P.S. 8)
he continues: “Now let me explain why I write a particular type of
novel. In my career as a psychiatrist I have had two major separate
but parallel interests: group therapy and existential therapy. Each
of these approaches has a different frame of reference.”
therapy, based on
interpersonal theory, makes the assumption that individuals fall into
despair because they are unable to establish enduring, meaningful,
sustaining relationships with others… The group is the ideal arena
for … exploring what goes (“wrong” or VMR) awry since it can
focus powerfully on the way that members relate to one another ... in
the here-and-now of the group."
therapy makes a
different assumption: that individuals fall into despair because of
their confrontation with the pain inherent in the human condition.”
(P.S. 9) And an impressive list of “individuals have pain not
only because …”
with: “not only
because of current
interpersonal, economic, occupational (-or unemployment- VMR) stress
but also because
of the anxiety inherent in the raw facts of existence.”
are these raw facts?”
we are mortal
(and here I think of you Zoran Djindjic)
we face inevitable death
we enter and leave existence alone
we are, to a greater extent than we realize, the authors of our life
design and of the shape of reality itself
we are meaning-seeking creatures, who have the misfortune to be
thrown into a universe without any intrinsic meaning
hence must set about constructing our own meaning – one strong
enough to support a (human VMR) life
exists - it seems to me – not
only a strong
correspondence to constructive systemic (psycho-social)therapy, but
also closeness to
philosophical practice (6). Is this seems a minority
position in the ICPP-context?
month of >bibliotherapy< as a form of philosophical
wanted me to instruct him how to
to his partner Doris that he demanded a separation. Oscar and his
daughter Katrin had also consulted a lawyer specializing in family
affairs and especially separation.
a few minutes of our contact it became obvious to both of us that
Oscar should and would-like-to take more than that day´s time-slot
before breakfast for working himself through his “problem”,
finding the precise question and experiencing how his feelings were
with regard to possible answers. We decided to have an exchange of
mails in an attempt of >bibliotherapy<. I suggested the
philosopher Schopenhauer, or rather : How
Arthur was a help for PHIL
(in Yalom´s novel). In the following text I will offer the
listener/reader a view into what happened (abbreviated version of our
mails in English translation):
CAPITAL LETTERS and ( ) MY TEXT , (( )) brackets contain text
by Oscar. I have not tried to construct deficiencies that
frequently can be seen in the German original, in my translation.
See Notes in Yalom 347ff to find references for the
from the German edition of Yalom´s book is a way for Oscar to find
a path to “his unborn ideas”.
I have looked for those passages in the original. And sometimes my
take a little more of Yalom´s text where philosophy is at stake.
to do when you have just been informed that you have a fatal
illness?((OSCAR: in October 2006 I lost my language)) The
psychotherapist Julius Hertzfeldt is 65 years old. Everyone has to
cope with being mortal. (He
asked himself:) Was
my professional work really of importance? ((OSCAR: I have studied
Maschinenbau (Ulm), Elektrotechnik (Berlin) & Economics
(Technical University Berlin) ; now I am 72))
that he cured himself with reading Arthur Schopenhauer …
PHIL behauptet, sich
selbst geheilt zu haben, und zwar mit Hilfe der Lektüre von Arthur
Chp. 1 EVERY breath
we draw wards off the death … (all chapter motti by Schopenhauer)
Jeder Atemzug wehrt
den beständig eindringenden Tod ab … S. 7
The Stoics: „As
soon as we are born we begin to die.” p 1
„Where I am – death is not. Where death is – I am not. Why
should I be afraid of death?” p 1 (The two of us won´t meet.)
1 The first week
p 7 Die
meditate on dying p 9...
Meditieren übers Sterben
his support group..
Selbsthilfegruppe ... it
was as if the group agreed nonverbally that words were not necessary
p 10 die Worte nicht notwendig ... were
removing their hats, standing at attention, joining and honoring his
still zustehen und sein Leben geehrten das reicht. ... Spinoza´s
Einstein´s solution: simply bow one´s head, tip one´s hat to the
elegant laws and mystery of nature p 10 ...
much of life´s show is missed p 10
a routine heath check Julius had been informed that he could expect (only) 1
more good year.
„One good year“ But how to spend that year? p 11......One
thing he resolved was not to make that one good year a bad year by
grieving that it was not more than a year p 11 >“To change ´it
was´ into ´thus I will it´ - that alone shall I call redemption“<
Zarathustra OSCAR I
do not understand
habe ich nicht verstanden)
Nietzsche´s words to mean that he had to choose his life – he had
to live it rather than be lived by it. In other words he should love
his destiny… Nietzsche´s message to us was to live life in such a
way that we would be willing to repeat the same life eternally. p 11
EXCHANGE OF THOUGHT I WOULD DO AGAIN (Mike)
continued flipping the
( of Zarathustra ) and stopped at two passages highlighted heavily in
neon pink: “consummate your life” & “die at the right
time.” p 11
would live just the way he had lived in the previous year – and the
and before that p 12
over to his wall of file cabinets p 12
imp of doubt continued to make its presence known: Were you really,
truly, helpful to your patients? p 13
noted his failures, too
p 13 His eye fell upon PHIL´s thick chart p 13
want failure? He said to himself. There
failures – women?
Misserfolge – Frauen?, Arbeit als Fachreferent?, shop
– gut Berlin!! –
good Ruhr district
gut Ruhrgebiet!! ... and
dann daneben – Stuttgart???(1987))
says that phrase, that
paradox – „which I really wanted to do all along.”
p 15 Why can I not do what I really want to do?
kann ich nicht das tun, was ich eigentlich tun will?
2 ECSTASY in the act of copulation. That is it! That is the true
essence and core of all things, the goal and purpose of all
(sensuality, delight) im Akt der Kopulation. Das ist es! Das ist das
wahre Wesen und der Kern aller Dinge, das Ziel und Zweck alles
Daseyns. S. 28
gives PHIL a ring
Julius ruft Philip an. ... 22
( ( OSCAR: 1992
tells Julius that he was getting ready to become a therapist /
possible? He remembered him as cold, uncaring, oblivious (ahnungslos)
of others, and, judging from that phone call, he was still much the
same p 19 could there be a more unsuitable person in the world for
that job? … still no sense of humor, still hung up about money p 21
Chp. 3 LIFE is a
miserable thing. I have decided to spend my life thinking about it
(the young Arthur to the old Wieland, Weimar 1811)
even more intriguing was the riddle of why he chose to revisit PHIL.
Of all his old patients, why choose PHIL to lift out of deep memory
it simply because his therapy had been so… unsucessfull? p 24...
he may have disliked PHIL, he loved
the intellectual riddle PHIL presented. His chief complaint Why
can´t I do what I really want to do? was
an … example of will-paralysis. Though the therapy may not have
been useful for PHIL, it was marvelously facilitative for Julius´s
writing … “The Therapist and the Will” (article) … “Wishing,
Willing, and Acting” (book) p 24
JULIUS reads at
Slate Ph. D. Philosophical Counseling < – Philosophical
counseling? What the hell is that? Next … it´ll be barbers
offering tonsonial therapy and greengrocers advertising legume
counseling p 24 “Well, it has been a long time. Really long.”
PHIL spoke in a formal, professional voice and gave no sign of
nervousness about taking charge of the interview and thereby
switching roles with his old therapist … “And why now, Dr.
Hertzfeld?” … “All right, PHIL. I appreciate it. Your ´why
now´ is never a bad question … As I told you on the phone, some
health problems, significant health problems, have resulted in my
wanting to look back … evaluate my work with patients p 25 f
clients pay me a fee, and, in return, I give them my expert counsel.
Our transaction ends. When we part, they feel they got good value. I
feel I gave them full measure p 26
zahlen mir ein Honorar, und dafür dafür gebe ich ihnen meinen
sachkundigen Rat. // (OSCAR: and how do we
do it? wie
machen wir das, mit dem Honorar?
wir uns treffen? )
MEIN HONORAR IST, DASS ICH DARÜBER anonymisiert SCHREIBEN DARF –
fee is that I may report about our correspondence
And in contrast:
to Julius: “As
I recall, I saw you for three full years. And much of that time we
met twice a week. That´s a lot of hours – at least two hundred.
About twenty thousand dollars.” p 27) - >A drop in the bucket<
(was a thought of Julius))
In a carefully measured pace, PHIL began. “The story´s not at an
end yet – in fact my life has had such a remarkable turn in the
last few years that I feel it´s just beginning. But I´ll maintain a
strict chronology and start with my therapy. Overall, I´d have to
say that my therapy with you was a complete failure.” p 26
PHIL: „When I
started with you I was at the nadir (lowest point) of my existence …”
(40) Als ich bei
ihnen anfing, war ich am Tiefpunkt angelangt, 'völlig im Eimer'. ...
Zeit gelangweilt/ bored;
I was kind of a –philosoph ical- shop stewart
/ dann war ich mehr der – philosophische – Betriebsrat. -
/ Sexuelles Verhalten (in
lots of time; but unfortunately alone
Zeit; aber leider nur allein)
„I remember anticipating each hour (of psychotherapy) with
eagerness and yet ending with disappointment ((OSCAR:
2002-04 Psychoanalytiker Müller (3 Jahre/ years); my
topic was my disappointment with my wife
: „… dropped out of the work force, and turned my attention to
what I really wanted in life – the pursuit of wisdom“(5) p 28
cf. the famous title of Marinoff …
therapist, who had studied with Jung, suggested I needed more than
psychological therapy. He said that for an addict like me
best hope for release was a spiritual conversion p 29...
„To continue, since therapy had not been the answer, I decided to
heal myself - (with)… bibliotherapy p 29
became a Doctor of Philosophy
haven´t finished telling me about being healed.“ PHIL: “Well, at
Columbia, midway through my reading, I developed a relationship with
a therapist, the perfect therapist, the therapist who offered me what
no one else had been able to give. … His name was Arthur … Arthur
Schopenhauer, my therapist.”p 30
„I know little about Schopenhauer: just the clichés about his
4 TALENT is like a marksman (gunman) who hits a target which others
cannot reach; GENIUS is like a marksman who hits a target which
others cannot (even) see
– The Genius (Schopenhauer) is born
5 HAPPY LIFE is impossible, the best that a man can attain is a
nothing seemed important p 35...
heute erschien ihm nichts wichtig.
ordered an espresso, took out his pen and unfolded a paper bag he
found on the floor. As
he began to scribble
… p 37
( ( OSCAR: I
always carry a pen with me and a little paper
habe immer einen Stift und ich habe immer ein kleines Papier, im
the words are gone
leider etwas zu schreiben – die Worte sind weg, wie heilst)
Juli 2014 19:47 Oscaremail@example.com> wrote:
(WE ARE IN a group
Stuart asked for time in the group. His wife had just informed him
in an email that she would leave if he would not go to therapy and
change. She had moved out of their bedroom.
OSCAR: I have no idea, what´s going on with my wife. I had told her
that I will not come along to Sardinia (August – her holidays
are depending on decisions at work). I told her that I will be in
Herzlich von Oscar
Oscar, good morning!
it easy to tell Doris your plan of a trip to Berlin ?
you told her your motivation ? How did she take it ?
from the Mediterranean Sea
Guten Morgen, Mike!
ich dir schreibe, rede ich mehr mit Doris
I am talking to Doris more often, now that I´m writing mails to
04.07.2014 15:03, Mike Roth:
THAT is what I like to call a good first result: getting out of
Freitag, 04. Juli
2014 14:21 Oscar :
Nochmal ... seit dem ich mit dir - Mike - gesprochen habe ... 20
again … since we were talking
I have told Doris that I had said to Mike that I am not
able to do the separation
I told Doris: in August you will be in Sardinia and I will go to
Berlin to see, if it suits me, to live there.
weekend Doris and I will attend the „Ladydance Meeting“>
then: we will organize our separation
The flats will be
separated and locked.
will take her (smaller) flat; Doris takes my (bigger) flat
has to pay the difference
This is on my
mind. I have to go
20:09, Mike Roth:
you a good end of the weekend
06. Juli 2014 20:21 to
I had just written
to you & here comes your mail!
That fits again
08. Juli 2014 10:51 to:
Hello, Oscar !
thank you. In August is the international meeting on philosophical
practice, this time in Belgrade. Presenting our bibliotherapy will be
part of the workshop I offer. I will concentrate on what
passages of Yalom´s book you pick
– and what comes into your mind in connection to your life and your
I am curious how
things will develop for you, living and reading/thinking &
I am fond of
reading your mails
also a shop stewart in my clinic time
08. Juli 2014
> 1) wo möchte
ich in Berlin – vor (für) 2-3 Wochen - wohnen
(2 Stunden >
/http://www.berlin.de/tourismus/unterkunft//); ich schon wieder ...
entschieden (blöd) and
once again … I am undecided (stupid)
> 2) nur bis
Seite 78 gelesen - der Julius und PHIL. Ich habe im Kopf: >
Julius, "sei ein solcher g'scheiter Psycho" ... aber PHIL,
denkt nach, davor (bevor) er redet ((/so ähnlich/)) Julius
is a well-educated psychotherapist. PHIL
is also prudent, he thinks before he speaks!
„I await your decision about supervision.“ Julius: “I´m
having a difficult time with that decision. Lots
of questions.” p 59
will I –OSCAR- do in Berlin and why?
mach ich in Berlin, und warum ?!))
something about your request – a deep contradiction- that puzzles
the hell out of me.” p 59
What does this express in relation to me? I am “puzzled”. Oh yes!
am like Julius. Yeah, that fits again.
3) An der Demo; in Stuttgart: I
went down town to the demonstration
for the links! Mike
back to Oscar:
And, of course, at the demonstration I meet a nice demonstrating
– 9 a.m.- I have phoned „my“ Dagmar… we will meet in August
are the important things; READ, read, read … ?think?!!
Gruß ............ gerne ............... an Mike
good to see this
crescent collection of text.
Now off to uni
09. Juli 2014 18:56
> Lieber Mike,
think ! later (tonight?) “–
and what comes into your mind in connection to your life and your
> ( ... 1970 in
Berlin, Wirtschaftswissenschaften economics
(TU-Berlin), da ging vieles los ... many
> --> links!!
und Liebe left
women: (1969-1979 Rita: Katrin was born 1976); 1980-1992 Anne;
1992-1995 Irmtrud (Köln), 1996 Doris).
When Naila was
I told my
daughter Katrin,”I will come to Calgary to see you and your baby
I told Katrin´s
mother, my former woman Rita, “You may take the first 2 weeks, I´ll
take the second 2 weeks”
But Katrin said
to her mother, “Naila will stay 4 weeks with you”
> Das war das
Ende, dass ich nicht mehr ein Vater bin.
That was the end
of me being the father.
Es ist schon
schwieriger geworden, durch meine(n) Sprachverlust; das stimmt schon.
It has become
more difficult, because I have this language loss (aphasia)
Aber dass ich
nicht mehr der Vater bin ... ? scheiße!
But that I´m not
the father anymore ? shit !
bis später until
> > Dear
daughter Katrin was born 1976 and her daughter Naila in 2010. And
now a new baby, your second grandchild…
you are father and grandfather. Katrin helped (in her manner) her
father, as you have told me, even to get divorced!
Have I remembered
15. Juli 2014 17:08
> um über was
schreiben? was will ich schreiben?. Das ist meine Sachen! es
> geht nicht
gegen dich (das sage ich zur Sicherheit).
> 1) /*das
Ende*/, ist 4). nur kurz (vielleicht später).
> Katrin ist es
sicher nicht einfach, mit dem Durcheinander (Rita, Anne
> und ich). Ich
denke: ob Katrin will oder nicht, sie wird mit Rita am meisten
beschäftigt. Das meiste, was Katrin arbeitet (Stefan, Kinder,
> Arbeit), hat
genug zu tun im Leben; nicht Rita ... das ist schon klar.
> Katrin will mit
allen klar kommen.
denke ich, alles quatsch.
> 2) Das
Wochenende mit dem Tanzfrauen-Treff: die haben vor 12(?) Jahren
> gearbeitet. Sie
treffen sich einmal im Jahr. Inzwischen sind auch die
> Männer dabei.
Letzten Jahre, war ich nicht dabei (Ich war in Sardinien).
> Reden über
dies und das - Frühstücke (reden, reden) ... ein Mann macht
> für uns Qigong
... wir machten einen Spaziergang ... Abendessen ...
> Musik und
tanzen ... reden. Nächstes Jahr, sehen wir /und/ (uns) wieder. Es
> ganz gut.
- * -
> 4) Ich sollte
... eigentlich ... nachdenke(n) ... was sage ich heute Abend
> zu Doris sage
... unsere Wohnungen werden getrennt. Bla, Bla, Bla ... ich
> mache es schon
wieder nicht!! Kein Mut!
Zettelchen: "*Ich möchte in meiner Wohnung allein wohnen. Wie
> können wir das
machen. --- Doris, es wird mal Ernst. Wie können wir
> leben. Jeder
hat seine eigene Wohnung. Wir treffen uns weiterhin mit Freunden
.... Theater ... z.B. wie am letzten Wochenende ...*" Bla, >
> 5) Die
Schopenhauer-Kur, bin ich bis Seite 111 gekommen.
> (78) Julius:
"Ich tue mich schwer mit der Entscheidung. Es gibt eine Menge
Fragen (/was mach ich in Berlin, und warum ?!/) An Ihre Bitte ist
> etwas - ein
tiefer Widerspruch -, der mich sehr verwirrt."
> Ich sollte es
Spaziergang ... Keinen Mut ... Doris kam gerade von ihrer Arbeit
> Pause !!
> Jetzt möchte
ich nicht alles mögliche nachdenken. Ich möchte weiterhin
Schopenhauer-Kur" ... lesen, schreiben.
> Später ...
/wir/ (wie) immer ... Gruß an Mike
15. Juli 2014
want to go on reading
The Schopenhauer Cure and
continue writing” - & I like it! Mike
19.7.2014 at 0.45
Will I be liberated
Werde ich befreit
as my daughter
Katrin is going back to Calgary I needed time
-… to get used
to be in Stuttgart – or back to Berlin again?
a hotel room (in Berlin)
11 The greatest wisdom (5) is to make the ENJOYMENT OF THE PRESENT
the supreme objekt of life because that is the only reality, all else
being a play of thought…
Die Gegenwart zu
genießen und dies zum Zweck seines Lebens zu machen (sei) die
ja jene allein real, alles andere nur Gedankenspiel wäre. Aber
ebenso gut könnte man es die groesste Torheit
denn was im nächsten Augenblick nicht mehr ist, was so gaenzlich
verschwindet wie ein Traum, ist nimmermehr eines ernstlichen Strebens
group therapy meeting
94 - 111 very
read that chapter – and it took me a while – I wanted to tell
Doris about it.
I started – and
all of a sudden I said … : I want to live separately. Our two
flats (next to each other and in the moment connected) will be
disconnected again …
had a 20 min long talk about it
The flats will be
Klar ist schon: die Wohnungen werden getrennt.
Then I told her
that there is a (discussion) on WAR & Violence in town
see, how things will work out. How
will we act?
> This mail has a
second part. Oscar quotes the following passages from chp. 11:
> (103) fixe Idee
"Eine idée fixe" (Duden: Zwangsvorstellung, verbohren
> Fimmel ... )
ON THE TRANSLATION OF „idée fixe” into Germen (technical term
thrown in promptly by PHIL p 80)
Doris has an idée fixe that her father sexually molested her when
she was young. She
can´t let go”
> (104) Die Frau
Doris ... "Sie
kommt nicht davon los" (OSCAR: I
can´t let go separating the two flats ).
Angst vor Sex(?), //
Does she remember any sexual event happening? No. Witnesses? No. But
her therapist believes that if she´s depressed, fearful about sex,
has stuff like lapses in attention and uncontrollable emotions,
especially rage at men, then she must
have been molested p 80
OSCAR:„misused“ by her father ?von
ihrem Vater, missbraucht ? beaten
roher weise geschlagen)). ...
--> Our sex
life is defunct p 80
Unser Liebesleben ist nicht mehr existent.
„… you don´t want to substitute your wife´s imperatives with
the group´s imperatives.” Gill: “Yeah. I guess. Yeah, I see what
you mean. Right. But it´s a mixed bag. I really want, really really
need this encouragement . . . grateful for it … I need guidance –
be a turning point
in my life” p 82
> (106) (Gill)
"... Ich brauche Rat -- dies ist vielleicht ein Wendepunkt in
„Do you know why we so yearn for the golden days of childhood?
Nietzsche tells us it´s because those childhood days were the
carefree days, days free
days before we were weighted down by laden, painful memories, by …
the past. Allow me one marginal note: I refer to a Nietzsche essay,
but this thought was not original – in this, as in so much else, he
looted the works of Schopenhauer p 83 /// MIKE
„Gill, you´re not going to like my answer. But here it is. I can´t
tell you what to do: that´s your job, your decision, not mine. One
reason you are here in this group is to learn to trust your own
judgment. Another reason is that everything I know about Doris and
your marriage has
come to me by you.
… What I can do is help you focus on how you contribute to your
life predicament. We can´t understand or change Doris; it´s
- your feelings, your behavior – that´s what counts here because
what you can change.” p 82
> (107) (/Philip/
JULIUS) " ...Ich kann Ihnen nur helfen, sich /*auf Ihnen eigenen
> Anteil an Ihrer
misslichen Lage zu konzentrieren*/. Doris
können wir nicht
verstehen oder ändern; Sie sind es -- Ihre Gefühle, Ihr
> Verhalten -,
auf den es hier ankommt, denn Sie können Sie (sie) ändern."
„Your wife (( OSCAR: my Doris?!)) is one of those people who is
particularly unable to live in the present because she is so heavily
laden with freight of the past. She is a sinking ship … my advice
to you is to jump overboard and start swimming p 83
> (109) (Philip)
"Ihre Frau (meine Doris?!) ist einer der Menschen, die
unfähig sind, in der Gegenwart zu leben, ... Sie ist ein
Schiff. ... daher dränge ich Sie, so schnell und kraftvoll
> wie möglich
Gill to PHIL: „Welcome to the group. Any other comments you got –
I want to hear them.”
PHIL: „…in that case let me add one additional thought.
Kierkegaard described some individuals as being in ´double despair´,
that is they are in despair but too self-deceived to know that they
are in despair. Here´s what I mean: most of my own suffering is a
result of my being driven by desires, and then, once I satisfy a
desire, I enjoy a moment of satiation, which soon is transformed into
boredom, which is then interrupted by another desire springing up.
Schopenhauer felt this was the universal human condition – wanting,
momentary satiation, boredom, further wanting … Perhaps you´ve
been so preoccupied with your wife´s wishes (that) it (has) kept
you from being acquainted with your own desires?” p 84
> ... Sind Sie
vielleicht so sehr mit den Wünschen ihrer Frau beschäftigt,
> dass Sie das
davon angehalten hat, sich mit Ihren eigenen
bekannt zu machen?*/ ...(
(deshalb nach Berlin!! Therefore
off to Berlin))
you saying that Gill´s personal work won´t really begin until he
liberates himself from his wife?” p 84
see the topic of the mail!
Gruß an Mike
AND I ANSWER:
pleased to hear
of you again.
es freut mich,
wieder von Dir zu hören.
Now you are
Du bist ja jetzt DA,
with the help of
READING and WRITING
mit Hilfe von LESEN
you wanted to start with me
WO du beim
Familienseminar an jenem frühen Morgen am 20. Juni mit mir
that early morning of June the 20th.
won´t take long“ was your opening
meintest: "Ich brauche nicht lange..." When
I started exploring the situation in a role play (1)
talking to you in
the role of Doris,
we realized very soon that something stood in your way hindering you
to suggest a separation to her.
was “not only” a matter of finding the appropriate words or
ging " nicht nur " darum, mit mir zu üben, wie Du das
hinkriegst: welche Worte, welche Wendungen, ...
felt that a heavy load was taken off your shoulders when we reached
the point that you should & could give you some more time to
clarify your relationship with Doris.
(schopenhauer cure) and our exchange of emails would offer the
opportunity to form and express your own, still unborn thoughts.
the banks of Lake Constance
I feel that the Schopenhauer cure with Yaloms figures Julius
especially and PHILip (to some extend) have accompanied you on your
way to do what you really want to do, but could not – until now. Is
the summer holidays ( & my trip to Belgrade) you (or Doris &
you) could visit me at lake Constance.
feedback was: ... Julius and PHILip
(to some extend) have accompanied ME on MY way to do what I really
want to do
And he adds
former girlfriend wrote back to me:
I consider that it´s not wise to change the town in our age, on top
of that as a single. It will be hard to get into contact to others.
> Du, Mike, hast
mir viele, "wunderschön", Gedanken entwickelt!
> Das Leben wird,
*neuer*, weiter gehen ...
You (have helped me) to create >wonderful, beautiful thoughts<
Life will go
I had “Tony & Phil” in the title. (One has to give a title
very early.) At that time I didn´t know of Oscar. And as Oscar later
has been dealing with the first 85 pages of The Schopenhauer Cure in
our bibliotherapy, Tony was not a central figure in this part of the
text and not for him. Oscar definitely found Julius who is the
central figure in the beginning of the novel “a feller” (fellow
man) he could link his own life to. Main point: the serious health
problem. But I think also the experience of times where one “lived
in a daze” p 7 and is “puzzled” p 59.
it springs to the eye, comes close to an alter ego in Yalom´s text.
Both are Jewish-American psychotherapists with ambitions towards
publications. Both love to deal with group therapy. But there are
also differences. Dr. Julius Hertzfeldt dies in the book, and the
author is alive. And Yalom´s second field of interest is existential
therapy. That brings him in contact to “other existential thinkers”
– philosophers and writers. Yalom´s third field is writing what
he calls “teaching novels” (p 10 of P.S.) – in some cases with
a staring philosopher (Spinoza, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche). In When
he examines “what therapy might look like if it had been invented
by Nietzsche, the philosopher-poet, rather than Freud, the
physician-scientist”. And in The
Schopenhauer Cure - the
phrase alludes to Freud´s Talking
– Yalom introduces the reader to a philosophical practitioner who
practices “applied philosophy” or , as PHILip Slate Ph. D.
prefers to think of it, “clinical philosophy” p 30. Of the
4-fold cluster of ideas that Yalom started from in writing The
Schopenhauer Cure, here
two last ones:
did Schopenhauer´s strange life history influence his philosophy?
does the awareness of death influence one´s life conduct?
personal pathology” is also characteristic of PHIL – and that is
why Yalom´s figure Tony is essential. In
(on the last page of the book): “PHILip will bring in helpful ideas
from his knowledge of philosophy /Columbia University/,
me, well, I´m here to learn and to pitch (hit the ball) in any way
I can –I´m more of an expert in emotional accessibility.” This
is Yalom´s literary vision of a cooperation – in a nut shell,
articulated in front of the first meeting of a PHILOSOPHICAL
CONSULTATION GROUP, 3 years after Julius´s last group came to an
end. END of the novel.
wen von uns betrübte sie … nicht, die dunkle Ahnung, dass die
große Mehrzahl unserer Mitmenschen lebenslang mit einem kleinen
(transparenten) Aufkleber auf der Stirn durch die Existenz schleicht,
auf dem steht: … so habe ich das nicht gewollt! …“
Entschluss, den möglichen Gründen für (unser?) alltägliches
Versagen ernsthaft nachzugehen … markiert … den Anfang des
contact: Dr. V. M.
Roth , Philosophie
1 ) Volkbert M. Roth, ed.,
Sprachtherapie, Tübingen 1984, with : Aphasietherapie und Sprechen
in verteilten Rollen (cf. narrative role-play 27 ff, explorative
aspects 33) and Senta Trömel-Plötz, Kommunikation in der
2 ) Roth / Staude,
(eds.), Das OrientierungsLos, Konstanz
3 ) Rudiger Safranski, translated
by Ewald Osers, Schopenhauer and the wild years of philosophy,
Cambridge Mass. 1991 (1989, German 1987)
4 ) Irvin D. Yalom, The
Schopenhauer cure: a novel, NY 2005,
P.S. “Writing The
8 ) Yalom
viii: “The idea of
bibliotherapy – curing oneself through reading… - comes
Bryan Magee, Confessions
of a Philosopher, N.Y. 1999
PLATO NOT PROZAC ! APPLYING ETERNAL WISDOM TO EVERYDAY PROBLEMS,
N.Y. 1999, see Yalom viii
philosophie MAGAZIN, August/September,
Wolfram Eilenberger Woher weiß ich, was ich will? (How
do I know, what I want), Editorial
Stefan Müller-Doohm, Jürgen
Biographie, Berlin 2014 Happy birthday! (June 1929) HB2014
HB2014 (9) endet
philosophisch mit ANTWORTEN AUF SIEBEN FRAGEN, brieflich gestellt von
einer Schulklasse des Liceo Scientifico Galileo Galilei in einem
abgelegenen Ort in den Abruzzen. Am Jahresanfang 2007 teilt Habermas
seine Antworten mit.
(Frage6: Wann erkennen
wir die Wahrheit?) When
do we see the truth?
(Die Wahrheit gibt es
nicht im Singular, wenn wir Glück haben, finden wir einige
Erkenntnisse, deren wir einigermaßen sicher sein können.) TRUTH
does not exist in the singular. But if we are lucky, we come to some
insights we can be moderatly sure of .
(Frage7: Besteht der
Sinn des Dialogs mit einem Anderen oder mit anderen Menschen in der
Feststellung: >Ich bin das DU, das du von mir machst
the YOU that you made out of me in our dialogue”
– is that
a good characterization?
(Im Dialog unter Menschen
macht diese Antwort nur dann einen Sinn, wenn der eine (Mensch) es
ebenso vom anderen sagen kann, wie der andere vom einen (Menschen).)
This statement makes sense
in a dialogue among human beings, only when they can say this to one
PUPILS WERE ALSO ASKING THE POPE IN ROME FOR ANSWERS: but those I
have also done a university seminar on Schopenhauer this July, where
I presented an earlier version of this text. One of the questions
raised: does it have disadvantages to exchange mails instead of
coming together and talk face-to-face?
bibliotherapy have also been done sticking to text of Schopenhauer?