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Passions in Poetry

Can Anyone Other Than A Recluse

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serenity blaze
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50 posted 07-15-2008 11:25 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

okayyyyyyyyy....

I made kitchen noises and my son did indeed come out of his cave.

So, I stand corrected:

He did not say, "I am that I am."

He simply said "I am."

nod, (mea culpa)

I was the one who replied, "I am that I am?"

and he said, "Yes."

So I just asked him if he was quoting God?

empahtic "No."

I asked him if he was being deliberately ambiguous, and I got another, even more emphatic,

"No."

"Would you qualify what you meant by that?"

He said again, "I am."

And then he did this thing that he does where he walks the ceiling with his hands while his feet walk down our tiled hallway, and I heard his gorgeous girlfriend giggling, (this looks totally evolutionary, btw) but yanno?

I suspect he is.

I'll try asking him another time, though.

I can ask more teens though, if you like.

It seems I'm running a Youth Center this summer.  

Stephanos
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51 posted 07-16-2008 12:04 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant,

Let me get this straight ...

You're saying that Death is not the end of self, but rather the beginning of a "self" that does not live or have the properties of life.  But our whole concept of self is bound in what it means to be alive, not mere physicality like sand or hydrogen.  I think you're taking a whole lot for granted and stretching (exploding) the definition of self beyond anything that can be discussed.  So we're right back to the point of "self" being more than a body.


Karen and Bob,

Though God was first, Popeye can't be accused of plagiarism since his famous line is "I YAM what I YAM", not "I AM that I AM".  

Just thought I'd let the old sailor off the hook.    


Stephen
Essorant
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52 posted 07-16-2008 02:22 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Bob

It is not at all unreasonable to feel doubt or not trust someone after he cheated you or lied to you.  Distinguishing a man from his deeds does not mean that we ignore what deeds a man did, or not associate him with them.  By all means we do.  But we should not treat him as if he is those deeds, or treat him as if those deeds make him who he is, or treat him as if those deeds define who is, as if those deeds are himself, for they are not.  The man's self is simply his bodily whole, the creature we call the "human"


Stephanos,

Your paraphrasis doesn't do much justice to what I said.  I simply meant that a body/self/person dies because he longer has the ability to live.  

  

[This message has been edited by Essorant (07-16-2008 03:02 AM).]

Bob K
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53 posted 07-16-2008 09:53 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Essorant,

          You have succeeded in making a distinction, as they say, without a difference.  I don't see any way in which your treatment of the now untrustworthy person would be different if you were treating him cautiously because he was he was simply untrustworthy as a person, or because you found his behavior more than you cared to put up with.

     The extra steps and distinctions you speak about might be useful if you were a novelist wishing to describe the inner world of a particular type of character.  If, however, you were trying to teach a martian how to treat other people, these are steps you would probably omit at least on your initial pass through your material.  He would not need to know these things to act in any more convincingly human a fashion.  It also "multiplies entities," and so runs counter to the principle of Occam's razor.  Oh, you have set loose a herd of zebras at the Greyhound park!

     Now we must follow around with pans and brooms and rolling trash cans to clean up the mess that been left behind!  Oh woe!  Oh woe!  And I must take extra showers today and run up my electric bill!  Oh woe is me!  For Essorant is not been paying attention and is multiplying entities!  And the poor zebras belong on the Serengetti plain where they would be grazing and keeping an eye out for predators instead of running after a mechanical rabbit around a greyhound track!

Woefully yours, BobK.
Essorant
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54 posted 07-16-2008 02:15 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Well, maybe I know some negative things you did.  From now on you are an untrusty person because I know those things.  

I will call you Bob The Untrusty.  That shall be your Self.

What's the difference?
 
Bob K
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55 posted 07-16-2008 05:48 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


Dear Essorant,

          In terms of the way you treat me, nothing; there is no difference.  In fact, if you don't treat me with a certain amount of caution, no matter who I am, I would suspect you endanger not only yourself but those around you as well.

     And given some of the radical things demanded of us by the people we may most idealize, we should likely extend our cautions in those directions, too.

     It has always struck me as more than a bit ironic that the people who seem to make the most strenuous call for the strict application of Occam's Razor tend to be the scientists.  Along the line they seem to forget that William of Ockham was, I think, a monk or cleric of some sort and probably had little problem including God as one of the "entities" he too for granted.  Unless you know something that suggests otherwise, Bill probably doesn't sell as close a shave as his revisionists would have him do.

     I feel if I could rib you a bit roughly, I might at least offer some soothing balm; Untrustworthy Bob that I am, I may as well add maliciousness to the list of those things I can be untrustworthy about.  I've always wanted to be a man of mystery.
Sincerely yours, Bob.  
Bob K
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56 posted 07-17-2008 06:12 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Having gotten to this point in the conversation, I've taken a moment to look back over the course of it and I noticed that during the time Essorant has been proposing his position, Grinch has been silent.  I've been curious about this, since Grinch has proposed a point of view that I thought was paradoxical.  That is, that "the self" is a creation of the child, and that any modification of that later under the pressure of society is a betrayal of the true self.

     The position has some history to it, certainly inside the community of poets, where Wordsworth seemed to hold it for at least a time ("The child is the Father to the Man...").  Wordsworth seemed to get it from Rousseau.  Anybody with a stronger background in criticism and philosophy here should feel free to jump in with fore detailed or corrected information, by the way.  Grinch asserts and honorable and a venerable point of view.  It happens, though, to be a point of view that I don't accept, probably because my training makes it difficult to use that point of view as a place to begin helping people to change their lives.  I find it impractical.

     Grinch seems to have left the discussion, however, once Essortant joined in.  Where are you, Grinch, in your thinking on the subject?  Are you thinking things over?  Have you decided that things are still the way you thought they were but I've been too confrontative in my approach to the discussion?  Might there be something I can do to help out here to ease the discussion along.

Sincerely, BobK.    
Essorant
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57 posted 07-17-2008 11:11 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Hopefully he is outside enjoying the Summer, instead of wasting time in front of a computer-screen.
Bob K
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58 posted 07-18-2008 12:41 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Feeling Dour, Essorant?
serenity blaze
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59 posted 07-18-2008 08:37 AM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

feeling sarcastic, J-beaux?
Grinch
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60 posted 07-18-2008 01:55 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


Iím still around Bob, Iím just following Kiplingís advice and avoiding the traps.
Essorant
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61 posted 07-18-2008 09:30 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Serenity,

Why "J-beaux"?  Are Jim and Bob the same person?
Huan Yi
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62 posted 07-19-2008 05:20 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


So letís say
As eventually--
You're steeped
In the ultimate dark

No sight or sound
To surround you
In an aura of self

Well who my friend
As you then mill around
Is there finally left?


.
serenity blaze
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63 posted 07-19-2008 09:08 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

Thank you John.

And Essorant? Since we're having enough trouble defining ourselves, I think I'll leave other people's identifications to themselves, okay?

I have no idea who anybody is...

rwood
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64 posted 07-19-2008 10:20 PM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

quote:
One possible answer to Ron's question, "What is "self" if not the choices that we make?" is to remind him that he is using a highly limited reference frame that is focused on the experience of the individual.


I donít find Ronís example to be limiting in reference, and disagree that making choices is completely focused on experience. Or else all that Iíve not yet experienced defines me as much as what I have.  Thankfully, there are holes there along with choices.

I donít see the self as an elementary rock that gets polished with experience. Though we like that thought and it sounds wonderful when someone says ďShe is a very polished individual,Ē but thatís only on the outside. Inside, she may be completely insecure and feel unkempt because she has a chip in her nail polish. So otherís perceptions of her are just as false as the nails she might be wearing, and her perceptions of herself are harsh. So, when the focus is upon her person does that encompass her self? Not hardly.

I also disagree with this:

    
quote:
Once again I remind you all of Harry Stack Sullivan, who provides us with an interpersonal reference frame.  Within This particular framework the self is defined differently.  Sullivan talks about "self" as the sum of the ways in which you are perceived by other people.


Yeah, until other people pry into your life and find that your personal indulgences have nothing to with them. Then they tend to act weirder toward you than the weird they found weird. Not that I know this...from personal experience or anything.

Sullivan and many afore him can framework all they want to about interpersonal perceptions defining self, because I suspect theyíd want a forever of writing about it just to try not to be so wrong.

If everyone felt they could trust their sense of self to be accurately measured or defined by an interpersonal society of role players, why, then, are most driven to separate and establish oneís self, intrapersonally???


quote:
"You" serve as a locus for those impressions and are an embodiment of them.


That scares me. Even a cog has teeth and I feel this way of thinking always bites somebody in the butt. Such a belief is too wide open for people to pass the buck when their God complex card is no longer accepted in any major establishments.

I can honestly say that I donít ever want to truly embody any impression Iíve given anyone. I donít want to be that static, or two-dimensional and easily objectified as such. Which doesnít mean that impressions donít count to me and how I project/present myself, yada yada. I am a source, but a fallible one, and donít want to be held in place even by compliment.

The self is intimately complex by my view, and should be respected as such without exploitation by definition.

Is it any wonder why many of us have a need to lose our self in something or with someone?
serenity blaze
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65 posted 07-19-2008 10:51 PM       View Profile for serenity blaze   Email serenity blaze   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for serenity blaze

"Is it any wonder why many of us have a need to lose our self in something or with someone?"

Nodding in agreement, for the most part.

Then there is the flip-side, of trying to define, or sometimes re-define ourselves through other means, such as um, ownership of properties, our associates, and even through our creative endeavors, all extensions of the ego.

Loved your thoughts on this Reggie, and it's good to see you here again.
Huan Yi
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66 posted 07-20-2008 03:47 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


Has anyone
answered
my question?


.
Grinch
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67 posted 07-20-2008 03:55 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

I gave you my answer - Nobody can be their true self , even a recluse.

Bob K
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68 posted 07-20-2008 04:31 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear rwood,

         I wish you had said something that I might disagree with, here, rwood, but you haven't; nor do I think you've said anything that you would find Sullivan disagreeing with, either.  Sullivan is a poor writer but a very subtle thinker.

     We are all too easily pushed around by the complaints and compliments of others, and we are, unless we are to be socially dazzled by the glamours and deceits of the manipulative, wise to be skeptical of them and on occasion of  the more automatic behavior we ourselves may find ourselves prone to display. We too have been trained by experts.  We too may be prone to be less than attentive to our social contributions.

     Your skepticism of this sort of thing is well observed and well grounded.  Your cautionary note is wise.  Sullivan would join you.  I know I do as well.

     Sullivan is talking about something a bit different here, and the difference is worth thinking about.

     What he is trying to say is that within every statement that passes between two people (or more than two people, for that matter), along with what the identified content of what the statement is about (the grocery list?  the way the car is running today?  the nature of our current administration?  what college would be a good college for little Kelly to attend?) there is an additional list of unvoiced assertions that person one is making about person two and the relationship that the two of them have together.  The replies that the first person gets will be not simply to the overt content (college, groceries, car, politics) but as much and often more to the attempts to define the nature of the relationship.

     About groceries, for example.  Person A is shopping and is getting person B's requests for inclusion.  Included in the exchange is Person B's comment, "I'm sorry, I only have a minute, and I'm a bit rushed, but I'd like it if you'd pick up some. . . ."

     Person A responds, "that's okay, I'll wait till you come back.  I want to make sure I get down everything you want. . . ."

     If we had more time and more space ourselves, we would be able to see that the two people are touching base around an ongoing discussion and disagreement they have about their relationship and which person is the most deferential, and the most polite.  Both are uncomfortable asserting themselves, and this is the way they wage this argument.  Each says, I am more polite than you are and they scarp with each other for this place in the relationship hierarchy.  It is an ongoing discomfort, and neither of them is quite clear where it comes from, but there it is.

     Sometimes arguments like this, each attributing qualities to the other, the other accepting some and rejecting others, can get quite violent, neither person quite knowing where they come from.  There needs to be somebody who is trained to listen to what's actually being said to untangle these things.  It's not on the level of awareness that rwood suggests that it is.  Would that it were.

     Sometimes the problem can appear to be about a car.  Person A says they brought the car in for another checkup and that the cost of the checkup was X dollars.  Person B says, That's outrageous!  You ought to sell that car!  You've had it for 20 years!  Voices get louder, charts come out, doors slam.

     Discussions about who has the right to be the designated expert, and who is the person to make the decisions about the disposition of a piece of property in a relationship are certainly common enough.  During discussions of this sort, however, the discussion sounds as though it were about the property,  and not about the distribution of power and control in the relationship.  Each is asserting they have the right to make the decision because of superior knowledge, gender, power, whatever, without actually coming out and saying that is what they are struggling to define.  Each tries to define the other at the same time as having some different qualities.

     The struggle, then, is a struggle to define each other.

     In these struggles, there is usually no clear cut winner.  Usually each person accepts some small shift in how they see themselves in relationship to the other and in relationship to the world.

     rwood has raised a very interesting point when she talks about the person whom we present to others and the person whom we feel ourselves to be.  This point comes up repeatedly in this conversational thread.  We have spoken about personna as a description of this public self, but there are other ways of looking at it.  And there is certainly the matter of how alien the "inner" self feels from the self that that we show to the world.  With some of us, the difference can be enormous.  
Essorant
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69 posted 07-20-2008 06:40 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

John,

I answered the question as well.  Oneself is simply the actual and bodily being, rather than an image, reflection, or deed.  

Homer even makes a distinction between souls and selves at the beginning of Iliad.  He describes Psychas heroon "souls of heroes" being sent to Hades, but autous "(them)-selves", the men themselves (now corpses), being left as pray to the dogs and vultures.

Bob K
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70 posted 07-20-2008 10:34 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Huan Yi,

           Near as I can tell, everybody is taking a good shot.  Answers differ.  This seems reasonably clear from the text so far.  Essorant, Grinch, and Ron have all come up with good answers.  rwood's recent response has been thought provoking; and mine's not bad.  (The Homeric addition was a very nice touch, by the way, on Essorant's part.  I can count on Essorant to bring new material to the table even in the most trying of times.  Thank you, Essorant.)  

     In all this back and forth, I wonder what your thoughts on the matter might be.  What do you think in response to your own question?   I'd be interested to hear.
Stephanos
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71 posted 07-21-2008 07:09 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Let me be shamelessly Cartesian for a moment ... For me the "self" should be (and always is) tacitly accepted as real, even if it escapes or denies the need of precise or technical definitions.  To me too much debate about the self amounts to mental moonshine, or sophistry.  The evidence for this is that each of us will revert right back to language that reflects an undoubted acceptance of self and other selves, after we're done being philosophic.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy such discussions as much as anyone.  But at the end of the day, if someone fails to pay a debt to me, even if it is as small as five dollars, all that jargon goes up in smoke.


So outside of debating the precise definition of self, or doubting its existence, the question of the "true self" is more interesting to me.  From my religious and philosophical viewpoint, it shows that each individual is at least dimly aware of an ideal person that they should be.  We are all therefore false to our own deepest convictions and knowledge.  The Hebrew word for sin is to "miss the mark".  Why else when we do something ghastly do we say things like "That wasn't me" ... "I wasn't myself" ... or "I didn't mean it".  There is a dualism at play within the "self", and the psyche is a battlefield.  


From this perspective, both self-perception of self, and others' perception of self is flawed to some degree.  But there is at least one divine perspective that is accurate, and revelation is possible by many means, not excluding self awareness and feedback from others.


I guess in that sense, I agree with John that no one is quite themselves  (and I would add, especially a recluse, since anti-social behavior is not ideal).  And yet without a belief in an ideal self, I don't see how that conclusion can be reasonably held.


Interesting topic.


and as always this 'self' has been entertained at watching you guys quibble    

Stephen.          
Bob K
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72 posted 07-22-2008 02:42 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


Dear Stephanos,

          Always a pleasure to hear from you, Stephanos.  

     "Anti-social" is not the same as to be alone."  Monks and nuns of whatever persuasion have spent considerable time "alone" without being anti-social.  "Anti-social" is commonly spoken of as behavior that is actively damaging to society, and as the product of personalities who generate this activity.  Seclusion can often be regenerative, refreshing and of spiritual value.  Jesus is reported to have benefited from it, as have lesser folk.

     Should anybody doubt the validity of Sullivan's point of view, it would be instructive for them to see the number of times others have attributed to me the notion that there is no self.  This is something I do not believe.  But it is an example of how Sullivan suggests folks will try to attribute inappropriate qualities and thoughts to others.  Perhaps eventually I will stop objecting to the false characterizations of my point of view.  Sullivan believes that the self is the sum of the views that other people hold of you.  This is a subtle point of view, easily oversimplified, easily disposed of when it is oversimplified.  I wish I were better at explaining these things than I am.

     I disagree about the true self and the ideal self being the same thing.  There are all sorts of ideals, and while the sorts of ideals you hold might be terrific, not everybody holds with them.  People can get pretty weepy about ideals that would send many of us screaming from the room.  Some of them aren't too happy about me, amazing as that might sound.  Some aren't too happy about either of us.

     I suggest to you that people struggle constantly to avoid to self that's there now when that's the self we have.
We wage a constant war against it instead of inhabiting it and feeling it and learning our way around it, as if there's always someplace better to be.  I think there's not.
Essorant
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73 posted 07-22-2008 03:09 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

quote:
  Seclusion can often be regenerative, refreshing and of spiritual value.


I agree with this very much.

Grinch
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74 posted 07-22-2008 06:48 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
From my religious and philosophical viewpoint, it shows that each individual is at least dimly aware of an ideal person that they should be.


Stephen,

Itís interesting that you, me and Bob have each chosen one of three constructs of Freudís structural model of the psyche as the source of the true self. Youíve plumped for the Super-Ego, the supposed ideal, Bob seems to be leaning towards the Ego favoured by Sullivan and Iím sticking to my guns with the Id. Bob seems to have the advantage in that the outward appearance or projection of ďselfĒ seen by others corresponds exactly to the Ego but as Ron pointed out other people donít really know us which seems to suggest that the projected self isnĎt the true self. Thereís also a problem that the Super-Ego option shares with the Ego option - they are both seemingly absent at birth, only forming during the socialisation stage of childhood development. Which would require the obvious assumption that children don't have a real "self" until they aquire one through social interaction.

Which leaves the Id - instinct and urges that are clearly present from birth but later suppressed by the socially instigated and influenced Ego and Super-Ego.

Of course this relies on Freudís structural model being right(ish).

 
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