mark Jabbour's Blog - Posts Tagged "love"

this is old but relevant

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sigmund Freud believed that insight and interpretation were the keys to unlocking human potential, and freeing the mind from the restraints of hysteria and dementia praecox, what we now call neurosis and psychosis, that inhibit or prevent love and work. As a therapist he was mostly unsuccessful, not because he was wrong about the healing properties of insight and interpretation—but because of his intransigence regarding his theory of sexual energy, aka, The Oedipus Complex, as the sole cause of psychological and emotional problems. In short—his interpretations were often wrong. He was successful as a therapist when he abandoned his own doctrine of belief and methodology, and instead was open, warm, and affectionate with his patients. Of course, this behavior was predicated upon the person falling in love with him.


Love heals. Love is a natural state. We are all born with the capacity for, and indeed, the expectation of love. Healthy love is a behavior that engenders wellbeing. We all need it to thrive. 


Everybody needs somebody to love.


The problem is, as with many things,iiiiiiiiiiikiu99999999999 [the cat on the keyboard:] is that love is conditional—meaning it can be unlearned. And instead of being reciprocal, can be replaced by an abusive, self-serving hierarchy. This distortion of love sucks love from those below, passes on through the subject, and then is deposited (in the form of worship) to those above. Sound familiar?


Let me clarify who I am. I am a fiction writer—writing about the human condition. In the writing of fiction I am subservient to no one's interpretation (including the Authority) of the "facts." I am free to put forth my own interpretation of truth and let that stand, or fall, on its own validity. I am formally educated in Anthropology, Psychology, and Social Work. I have worked in the Field with abandoned, neglected, and/or abused children and young adults, all of them hostile, some aggressive, and some violent. And, I have never ceased learning. My curiosity is almost infinite. 


I think I know what love is.


Love cannot be faked, but it can be distorted, abused, and misrepresented. It is not possible to love fully and completely without being loved fully and completely. Love is reciprocal. If you, like I, have had it stolen from you—it is very difficult to get it back. To do so, you must enter into a non-abusive relationship, a loving one such as the therapeutic interaction that Freud sometimes, inadvertently, fell into with his patients and colleagues. 


There are five elements to the successful recovery, or discovery, of your loving Self:

1) There must be collaboration between partners (not a hierarchy) to fight against anti-love.

2) Together you must identify unhealthy situations and patterns of behavior.

3) Together you must strive to stop and/or block those situations and behaviors.

4) Together you must make a commitment to change.

5) Together you must begin to practice new loving behaviors.

These five elements aren't necessarily, and probably never will be, in sequence, with the exception of the first one. They will develop within and as, a spiral. Some of you may recognize this as the ideal therapeutic relationship. It is, but it's truly hard to find. I think it is as likely as not to be found in the relation understood as friendship. Outside of the restrictions of the professional practitioner/client interaction, that partnership is free to advance to a sexual/romantic one. Within the pay-for-service relationship, the partnership must dissolve and a clean break be made. Unfortunately, this could cause a retraumatism, because of the separation and loss, and start the cycle over again. 


So, who am I to say all this? I am not your therapist. I am not a man of faith. (I am an atheist.) I am not a self-help guru or a doctor. I am not your grandfather, father, or brother. I am simply a friend—who like you—is looking for somebody to love.
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Published on October 09, 2009 15:52 • 219 views • Tags: freud, friendship, love, relationships, writing
Books, e-books, reading, bookstores, bookshelves & the Pointer World.

Stuffed and feeling as if I wasn’t doing my fair share of contributing to society, after lunch with a friend in Boulder, Colorado, I spied a Barnes & Noble across the lot and thought I could remedy both feelings by getting some much needed exercise for both my mind and body by browsing the bookstore’s aisles for thought provoking and informative literature; but that turned out not to be the case. That thought was a fool’s fantasy.

I write (obviously) and read – a lot. I also teach classes in creative writing, as well as having been the proud, very, very proud, owner and operator of “Stories: A Bookstore,” in Evergreen, Colorado, back-in-the-day (2001-2). But, the book and bookstore experience today can be frustrating and overwhelming, and even detrimental to one’s mental health if one isn’t careful, vigilant, and discerning. Yes.

Consider: What to read? I walked into the store, excited, with not a real sense of purpose as to what I wanted, other than “something good” – meaning well written and informative about a person, place, or thing. All. Some Thing to take home with me and spend time with, even in bed and/or to share a meal with – to assuage my aloneness instead of the talking, no not talking but shouting, heads on the TV or some “news” documentary, or some director’s and corporate sponsor’s idea of what is “entertaining,” or my “friends” Facebook posts’ or any of Youtube’s (Is it a person, or a program?) suggestions as to what I might want to watch. In other words, I wanted a book to be intimate with.

I stood, feeling lost, and slowly turned, back and forth, like Mitt Romney at a town hall meeting – trying to think clearly and connect. I thought, Too many books, too many choices. I need some help … and then a clerk appeared and asked if he could help. “Literature, essays, fiction …” I said, shrugging and pointing, as if I flipping pages on my smartphone. “Follow me,” he said, and took me to where I had thought I wanted to be. “Anything in particular?” he asked politely. “No, I’ll just browse,” then added as he seemingly vaporized, “thanks.” I recognized some authors, many, but no, no, no. Ahh, Fransen; How To Be Alone. I flipped to page 99 … What am I doing, I thought, I’m an expert on living alone. I don’t need more of that! Here’s one, Christopher Hitchens’ Arguably. I’d seen Hitchens on TV and thought him erudite and pompous. I read in his introduction referencing another writer and thinker, “… a serious person should try to write posthumously. By that I took her to mean that one should compose as if the usual constraints—of fashion, commerce, self-censorship, public, and perhaps, especially intellectual opinion—did not operate.” And I put the book back. Confirmed. Russell Banks, a truly great writer of fiction said it this way, “I write to my dogs.”

I tried a few other books, but was beginning to feel agoraphobic—too many books, too many unknown people, much too much anonymity in a crowd—increasing the feeling of aloneness, the exact opposite of that which I had hoped for. I decided then I’d go home, where I felt comfortable and was reading an e-book some stranger had sent me. The cyber person wanted me to review it because, she (?) said, “After reading your reviews, I think you will enjoy the read.” And the clincher, “Thanks for your wonderful work.” Nice, I thought. I read ‘her’ novel and then thought, what a mess. I had wanted to fuck the “heroine,” a loopy, over-sexed, rich, young, heiress, but that wasn’t enough to make it worth the ten hours I’d spent with it (‘her.’) I could get the same affect with a few minutes of porn on the Net.

I can’t ever get that time back. Does she know that, the e-book cyber author, who used a pen name. A “pen-name!” What an insult! You can’t trust anything about what a writer writes who writes under a false name. (And by extension - all of the new IT/pointer world must also be held suspect.)

There is a problem in publishing now. (Not that there wasn’t before.) There are too many books, and far too many not very good ones. Even if you allow for personal preferences. Consider a book like Franzen’s Freedom. It debuts as #1 on the New York Times bestseller list before it is even released, and then it is both loved and hated by professional critics. As for non-professionals: of 1,033 readers who bothered to review it on Amazon, 285 gave it five stars, and 298 gave it one star; and “2,862 of 3,260 people found the following review helpful,” says the bot-blurb at Amazon, and said review had just one star. What to make of all of that information? But I bought it anyway and read it, because I had to because of all the hype. Franzen was on the cover of Time! Before the release! I had read his earlier novel, The Corrections, and thought it was amazing but awful, despite it being named the best novel of the decade. (Which is why I thought I had to read it, too.) But none of that means anything because the money was already banked. The money was “in the bank” before Franzen even wrote one word of Freedom. Such is the publishing industry now. (You can read my review of Freedom here, as well as on Amazon and Goodreads.)

So we have strangers and bots and authors and “friends” recommending books for us to read, but the question remains unanswered. With “Stories,” as well as other small, local, independent bookstores, the owner and staff generally know all their customers personally. I knew every book in my store, as well as every customer (we called them “bookies”) and could match them up—book to bookie. I was a matchmaker. But times have changed. Now there are very few such bookstores, fewer serious readers, and more writers and books; and blogs and movies and Youtube videos and friends and tweets and texts and pictures, and e-books and “zines” … all competing for your time and attention … and less and less intimacy, honesty, and authenticity. And everyone complains as they immerse and surround their selves in “IT” — the pointer world.

Back-in-the-day, before IT and the Pointer World, one of the surest gateways to intimacy, and even to a person’s personality (beneath the mask you could say) was a person’s bookshelf. (Guess what it said if there was no bookshelf and no books, just magazines.) The bookshelf and its contents could tell you so much about a person. How many were there? In what rooms? Where in the room? What kind of wood was it, or was the bookshelf manufactured and made in China? Was it handcrafted? What books were on it? How were they ordered? Or not. Had they been read? Highlighted? Written in? In the margins? What did the reader say about what the writer said? None of these clues could be faked. A few minutes, a few hours – and you were intimates. You knew who you were sharing space with … and could decide if you wanted to continue … if you wanted more—more of that person’s time and attention, maybe even to become true mates—intimates. Friends. You might even fall in love.
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Published on March 26, 2012 05:59 • 106 views • Tags: amazon, books, bookshelves, e-books, love, publishing, reading