Samstag, 13. September 2014


Tony and PHIL in Beograd 18.08. 13th ICPP

Tony& PHIL in Beograd ?

Lebenskunst How to lead a good life

  • auch unter geaenderten Lebensbedingungen
  • even under changed conditions ?
Roth (Philosophie / Universitaet Konstanz)

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)
9.00-11.00: Workshops: Session 1 (2 hours): V.M. Roth (Germany): Tony and PHIL: Yalom’s literary vision of a co-operation in The Schopenhauer Cure
Take 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. 
Who 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 Safranski´s magnificent biography … and grateful to him for his generous consultation in our long conversation in a Berlin café.”
My 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 and -
discussions among some group members went on into the Mediterranean nights. A German text by Christine Mok-Wendt is published under
The 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))

The 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 door.
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 a living.

Schopenhauer 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 speech-therapy department”.
(END of this detour: The door that was closed had my name with full title and PHILOSOPHICAL PRACTITIONER (Philosophischer Praktiker) on it.)

In aphasia therapy (1) I suggested
 PACT 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 - “without effect”.)

10 days later:  01. Juli 2014 16:19 
Today – 11.30 -13.30 – I have written
From today I can lead „normal“ life again – read, write, go shopping, volleyball.
My daughter with her two kids is still in the plain; soon in Calgary again.
I am writing, what comes into my mind. And I will try to write every day.
Greetings    Oscar Mut

Switching back to Yalom:
In the American paperback edition (3) of Yalom´s novel (not contained in the German translation) one finds an appendix WRITING THE SCHOPENHAUER CURE, 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)
And 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.”

Group 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."

Existential 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 …” follows, ending 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.”
What are these raw facts?”
That we are mortal (and here I think of you Zoran Djindjic)
That we face inevitable death
That we enter and leave existence alone
That we are, to a greater extent than we realize, the authors of our life design and of the shape of reality itself
That we are meaning-seeking creatures, who have the misfortune to be thrown into a universe without any intrinsic meaning

And hence must set about constructing our own meaning – one strong enough to support a (human VMR) life

There 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?

YALOM, the schopenhauer cure
One month of >bibliotherapy< as a form of philosophical counceling

Oscar wanted me to instruct him how to say 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.
Within 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):

IN 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 Schopenhauer-quotes. Quoting 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 English quotes take a little more of Yalom´s text where philosophy is at stake.


What 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))


PHIL asserts that he cured himself with reading Arthur Schopenhauer …

PHIL behauptet, sich selbst geheilt zu haben, und zwar mit Hilfe der Lektüre von Arthur Schopenhauer ...

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

Epikouros: „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 erste Woche
2 meditate on dying p 9... Meditieren übers Sterben
3 in his support group.. Selbsthilfegruppe ... it was as if the group agreed nonverbally that words were not necessary p 10 die Worte nicht notwendig ... were also removing their hats, standing at attention, joining and honoring his life still zustehen und sein Leben geehrten das reicht. ... Spinoza´s and Einstein´s solution: simply bow one´s head, tip one´s hat to the elegant laws and mystery of nature p 10 ... too much of life´s show is missed p 10

In a routine heath check Julius had been informed that he could expect  (only) 1 more good year.
4 „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“<Nietzsche, Zarathustra OSCAR I do not understand (das habe ich nicht verstanden)
Julius understood 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


Julius continued flipping the pages ( of Zarathustra ) and stopped at two passages highlighted heavily in neon pink: “consummate your life” & “die at the right time.” p 11 ... He would live just the way he had lived in the previous year – and the year before that and before that p 12

Strolling over to his wall of file cabinets p 12 The imp of doubt continued to make its presence known: Were you really, truly, helpful to your patients? p 13 He noted his failures, too – p 13 His eye fell upon PHIL´s thick chart p 13 You want failure? He said to himself. There was failure. p 13 ((:OSCAR My failures – women? Meine Misserfolge – Frauen?, Arbeit als Fachreferent?, shop stewart ? Betriebsrat? – gut Berlin!! – good Ruhr district gut Ruhrgebiet!! ... and than (bad) und dann daneben – Stuttgart???(1987))

Patient 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? Warum kann ich nicht das tun, was ich eigentlich tun will? Julius or me ((OSCAR:Julius oder ich )) - PHIL
Chp. 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 existence. Wollust (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

Julius gives PHIL a ring Julius ruft Philip an. ... 22 years later ( ( OSCAR: 1992 ... 1994 – unemployment crisis )).

PHIL tells Julius that he was getting ready to become a therapist / philosophical counselor.

Julius: PHIL a therapist! How was that 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)
But 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 storage? Was it simply because his therapy had been so… unsucessfull? p 24... Though 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 PHIL´s door:
PHIL 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

PHIL: My 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

Meine Klienten 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? wenn wir uns treffen? ) MEIN HONORAR IST, DASS ICH DARÜBER anonymisiert SCHREIBEN DARF – einverstanden? (Mike) my fee is that I may report about our correspondence
And in contrast:
(PHIL 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'. ... (IT-Management war eine Zeit gelangweilt/ bored; then I was kind of a –philosoph ical- shop stewart / dann war ich mehr der – philosophische – Betriebsrat. - SPANNEND! INTERESTING Oscar: Sexual practice / Sexuelles Verhalten (in lots of time; but unfortunately alone /mit viel Zeit; aber leider nur allein)

PHIL: „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 PHIL : „… 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 …

One therapist, who had studied with Jung, suggested I needed more than psychological therapy. He said that for an addict like me the best hope for release was a spiritual conversion p 29... PHIL: „To continue, since therapy had not been the answer, I decided to heal myself - (with)… bibliotherapy p 29
PHIL became a Doctor of Philosophy

Julius: „You 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
Julius: „I know little about Schopenhauer: just the clichés about his gloomy pessimism.”  
Chp. 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

1787 – The Genius (Schopenhauer) is born

Chp. 5 HAPPY LIFE is impossible, the best that a man can attain is a HEROIC LIFE

today nothing seemed important p 35... Aber heute erschien ihm nichts wichtig.
Julius 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 ich habe immer einen Stift und ich habe immer ein kleines Papier, im Portemonnaie. But the words are gone Leider, leider etwas zu schreiben – die Worte sind weg, wie heilst)                                                                                    


>>>>>>03. Juli 2014 19:47> wrote:
(WE ARE IN a group therapy)
(54) 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 Berlin instead.))

>>>>>>>Herzlich von Oscar

04.07.2014 09:11 Mike Roth:

> Dear Oscar, good morning!

Was it easy to tell Doris your plan of a trip to Berlin ?

Have you told her your motivation ? How did she take it ?

Greetings from the Mediterranean Sea 

Guten Morgen, Mike!

Seitdem ich dir schreibe, rede ich mehr mit Doris I am talking to Doris more often, now that I´m writing mails to you

>>04.07.2014 15:03, Mike Roth:

>>>Dear Oscar,

>>>THAT is what I like to call a good first result: getting out of no-talking!

>>> Herzlich Mike

Freitag, 04. Juli 2014 14:21 Oscar :

>>>>Nochmal ... seit dem ich mit dir - Mike - gesprochen habe ... 20 Juni:

>>>>Once again … since we were talking

(1) I have told Doris that I had said to Mike that I am not able to do the separation

>(2) Yesterday 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.

This weekend Doris and I will attend the „Ladydance Meeting“>

(3) ... &then: we will organize our separation

The flats will be separated and locked.

I will take her (smaller) flat; Doris takes my (bigger) flat

(4)* ... and has to pay the difference

> This is on my mind. I have to go

06.07.2014 20:09, Mike Roth:
>wishing you a good end of the Weekend

> herzlich Mike

Sunday, 06. Juli 2014 20:21 

I had just written to you & here comes your mail!
That fits again

Tue 08. Juli 2014 10:51 to:
Hello, Oscar !
I 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 considerations.

I am curious how things will develop for you, living and reading/thinking & writing

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 > /; ich schon wieder ... nix
>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, ist

> "g'scheit", denkt nach, davor (bevor) er redet ((/so ähnlich/)) Julius is a well-educated psychotherapist. PHIL is also prudent, he thinks before he speaks!

PHIL: „I await your decision about supervision.“ Julius: “I´m having a difficult time with that decision. Lots of questions.” p 59

((what will I –OSCAR- do in Berlin and why? was mach ich in Berlin, und warum ?!))

There´s something about your request – a deep contradiction- that puzzles the hell out of me.” p 59

OSCAR: What does this express in relation to me? I am “puzzled”. Oh yes! I am like Julius. Yeah, that fits again.

>3) An der Demo; in Stuttgart: I went down town to the demonstration

DANKE DIR thanks for the links! Mike

Switching back to Oscar:

... And, of course, at the demonstration I meet a nice demonstrating woman

> 4) Now – 9 a.m.- I have phoned „my“ Dagmar… we will meet in August (in Berlin)

>Those are the important things; READ, read, read … ?think?!!

> Gruß ............ gerne ............... an Mike
> von Oscar

Dear Oscar,

good to see this crescent collection of text.
Now off to uni

herzlich Mike

09. Juli 2014 18:56 :
> Lieber Mike,
Philosophical Practice“

1.: think ! later (tonight?) “– and what comes into your mind in connection to your life and your considerations.”

>2.: to Berlin !

> ( ... 1970 in Berlin, Wirtschaftswissenschaften economics (TU-Berlin), da ging vieles los ... many things started

> --> links!! und Liebe left& love)

My women: (1969-1979 Rita: Katrin was born 1976); 1980-1992 Anne; 1992-1995 Irmtrud (Köln), 1996 Doris).

When Naila was born …I told my daughter Katrin,”I will come to Calgary to see you and your baby Naila”

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 later

10.07.2014 08:28, Mike Roth:

> > Dear Oscar,
your daughter Katrin was born 1976 and her daughter Naila in 2010. And now a new baby, your second grandchild…
Sure: you are father and grandfather. Katrin helped (in her manner) her father, as you have told me, even to get divorced!

Have I remembered that correctly?

> > Mike

15. Juli 2014 17:08 Hallo Mike,
> 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.  Vielleicht, 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 war  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!
> Mein 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, > Bla, 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 nochmal nachlesen.
> Pause!! Spaziergang ... Keinen Mut ... Doris kam gerade von ihrer Arbeit  zurück
> Pause !!
> Jetzt möchte ich nicht alles mögliche nachdenken. Ich möchte weiterhin
 "Die Schopenhauer-Kur" ... lesen, schreiben.

 Später ... /wir/ (wie) immer ... Gruß an Mike
> von Oscar

15. Juli 2014 17:48
I want to go on reading The Schopenhauer Cure and continue writing” - & I like it! Mike
Mail 19.7.2014 at 0.45

Will I be liberated from Doris
Werde ich befreit von Doris

Dear Mike

 my daughter Katrin is going back to Calgary I needed time

-… to get used to be in Stuttgart – or back to Berlin again?

Chp. 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 groesste
Weisheit; weil ja jene allein real, alles andere nur Gedankenspiel wäre. Aber ebenso gut könnte man es die groesste Torheit nennen: denn was im nächsten Augenblick nicht mehr ist, was so gaenzlich verschwindet wie ein Traum, ist nimmermehr eines ernstlichen Strebens wert.

PHIL´s first group therapy meeting

Seite 94 - 111 very inspiring !

Having 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 …

We had a 20 min long talk about it

The flats will be separated Klar ist schon: die Wohnungen werden getrennt.

Then I told her that there is a (discussion) on WAR & Violence in town
Let´s 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 (verbohrt),
> Fimmel ... ) ON THE TRANSLATION OF „idée fixe” into Germen (technical term thrown in promptly by PHIL p 80)

Well, Doris has an idée fixe that her father sexually molested her when she was young. She can´t let go” p 80

> (104) Die Frau Doris ... "Sie kommt nicht davon los" (OSCAR: I can´t let go separating the two flats ). ( My Doris?) fear of flying... Angst vor Sex(?), //

Gill: 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 up brutaly roher weise geschlagen)). ...

--> Our sex life is defunct p 80 Unser Liebesleben ist nicht mehr existent.

Julius: „… 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 – this may be a turning point in my life” p 82

> (106) (Gill) "... Ich brauche Rat -- dies ist vielleicht ein Wendepunkt in meinem Leben."

///PHIL: „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 of care, 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

Julius: „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 you - your feelings, your behavior – that´s what counts here because that´s 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."

PHIL: „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
besonders unfähig sind, in der Gegenwart zu leben, ... Sie ist ein
 sinkendes Schiff. ... daher dränge ich Sie, so schnell und kraftvoll
 wie möglich wegzuschwimmen."

>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
> Wünschen bekannt zu machen?*/ ...( (deshalb nach Berlin!! Therefore off to Berlin))


>“weren´t 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 von Oscar


Dear Oscar,
Lieber Oscar,

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 und SCHREIBEN,

where you wanted to start with me
WO du beim Familienseminar an jenem frühen Morgen am 20. Juni mit mir EINSTEIGEN wolltest.

on that early morning of June the 20th.It won´t take long“ was your opening remark. Du 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.

  • It was “not only” a matter of finding the appropriate words or phrases. Es ging " nicht nur " darum, mit mir zu üben, wie Du das hinkriegst: welche Worte, welche Wendungen, ...

You 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. Bibliotherapy (schopenhauer cure) and our exchange of emails would offer the opportunity to form and express your own, still unborn thoughts.

on the banks of Lake Constance  Mike

22.07.2014 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 that so?
After the summer holidays ( & my trip to Belgrade) you (or Doris & you) could visit me at lake Constance.

Oscar´s 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
My 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 on >renewed<    Oscar

Shift of Topic

Initially 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.

Julius, 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 Nietzsche Wept 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 Cure – 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 the two last ones:

How did Schopenhauer´s strange life history influence his philosophy?

How does the awareness of death influence one´s life conduct?

A personal pathology” is also characteristic of PHIL – and that is why Yalom´s figure Tony is essential. In Tony´s words (on the last page of the book): “PHILip will bring in helpful ideas from his knowledge of philosophy /Columbia University/,

  • and 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.


Und 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! …“

Der Entschluss, den möglichen Gründen für (unser?) alltägliches Versagen ernsthaft nachzugehen … markiert … den Anfang des Philosophierens.“ (5)

Literature To 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 Aphasikerfamilie, 39-50

( 2 ) Roth / Staude, (eds.), Das OrientierungsLos, Konstanz 2010

( 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,

with P.S. “Writing The Schopenhauer Cure

( 8 ) Yalom viii: “The idea of bibliotherapy – curing oneself through reading… - comes from Bryan Magee, Confessions of a Philosopher, N.Y. 1999


(6) philosophie MAGAZIN, August/September, Wolfram Eilenberger Woher weiß ich, was ich will? (How do I know, what I want), Editorial


(9) Stefan Müller-Doohm, Jürgen Habermas. Eine Biographie, Berlin 2014 Happy birthday! (June 1929) HB2014