Archive | May, 2013


31 May

Wachtel (2001) observed that not only can we deceive others but also ourselves.

The Self

27 May

Gardner Murphy (1947): The self is a thing perceived and it is also a thing conceived.


23 May

Mindfulness is being truly in the moment, giving a chance to be fully alive in the present without self-criticism or trying to be anyone but who one is right then.


21 May

Seneca: There are more things to alarm us than to harm us, and we suffer more in apprehension than in reality.

This observation made in the first century AD still holds true.


19 May

Hegel (Phenomenology of spirit, 1807) recognized that the more we try to control others, the more alone we become because they are not able to be fully present as themselves while they are being manipulated into being what we want them to be.

Teachers, Beware

9 May

Teachers across the USA report high exposure at their schools to student violence and harassment that is directed to them personally, according to an article in the American Psychologist, 2013.

More Literary Boredom

6 May

In J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy (2012), a middle-aged woman, remembering a promise made in their youth by her husband to travel the world, bemoaned that he was backing out. She had always expected that someday they would leave “in search of heat and freedom” to escape “the pettiness and the sameness.”

Again I protest the everyday life must be boring. Perhaps it would have been better for her to have sought psychotherapy than to have gone traveling, which can also become tiresome if one is prone in that direction.


2 May

In both Edith Wharton’s The Age Of Innocence (1920) and Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus (2011) there is an important young male character who feared a potential future immersed in routine and boredom. Ms. Wharton’s young man speaks of the “haunting horror of doing the same thing everyday at the same hour…’sameness-sameness.'” Ms. Morgenstern’s adolescent’s family expected him to stay on the family farm where he anticipated a life “always the same, year after year.” Both feared, in Ms. Wharton’s words, “being buried alive under a static future.”

These books are set in the latter 19th, early 20th centuries. The Wharton novel renders the the culture of New York’s moneyed society. Ms. Morgenstern creates a circus of Merlinesque magic placed in that time period but transcending actual time.

The young men handle the fear of a boring future quite differently. Wharton’s character gives into society’s pressure and chooses the conventional life. He experiences much boredom as the years pass. Interestingly in his fifties, when another chance comes to be unconventional, he does not take it: “Looking about him, he honored his own past and mourned for it. After all, there was good in the old ways.” In contrast, Morgenstern’s youngster ran away and joined the circus. The novel ended before we know much more than he became the circus director. I assume that he was never afterwards oppressed by routine in a world of magic and illusion.

Neither choice do I find particularly appealing. It seems that it is worth the struggle to find variety and meaning from one’s choices in the real world.