Monday, July 31

individual & society

i wonder if you ever came across the book by r.d.laing "the politics of experience" (penguin 1967)....highly esteemed at the time, but because its findings would upset the social order, disapproved...and the (glaswegian) author rotted in drink. the maintains that, when an individual is disturbed, we must treat the setting in which it occurs every bit as much as the individual : a commonplace today, doubtless, but still mostly ignored in practice. to operate the principle would, presumably, change everything. (it applies to murderers and all)

it influenced my thinking back then (i would maintain that most crucial western thinking occurred in the middle of the last century..when atom, gene, and speech yielded to analysis, the bomb had dropped, and all was open. there has resulted a cover-up , during which nearly all of what our species knows scientifically has been learnt....all except how to associate , for which older wisdom is best), and i will copy out a few lines from an introduction i wrote to short stories by the austrian robert musil (which footnotes laing's book) :

"life is commonly experienced as a series of demands : to learn one's lessons, earn one's living, find someone to marry, bring up one's children , stand by one's friends - with periodic breaks for recuperation. if attention is distracted from the worry of satisfying these demands, perhaps by means of some "break-down", such as hospitalisation, falling in love, bereavement, drug-taking or old age, then life may be experienced differently :as a series of absorbing patterns in which one has a place, possibly an important one, but no worries at all. attention is then directed, not at maintaining one's position in society, but at the patterns themselves........"

well, it goes on, but of course, if one's "distraction" is immature and occurs in the midst of a worried society, then one may get paranoid. (Musil as a writer - an artist - had difficulty, but found a lady who protected him - and wrote some excellent stuff, though herr hitler & company successfully ruined his marianne told me hitler at least was elected....nothing so far has improved in human society world-wide) a "breakdown" an opportunity, or should it be papered over? at what price the former...on any particular occasion?

i'm a thinker. i think about what comes up in my life, or times. forgive me what will happen will be the cosmic move , reality, and ....i watch and work and pray till society renews. i also care deeply for libby hugh

(laotse's my eldest daughter, studied chinese, lives in singapore, married, 2 chinese tradition the eldest daughter is a second mother)


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