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  • Writer's pictureCrone

A visitor watched me read...

... and under the eye of the fat pigeon I was reading papers by one Edward Harcourt.

They were a tad involved, as this philosophy stuff tends to be, but the gist was a suggestion that there's a crossover between psychoanalysis and the schools of ethics that are about learning how to live. I think he was suggesting that psychoanalysis helps people become the kind of people who can then develop into moral people.

Sort of.

But there's something in this. My struggles with mania were often related to a kind of inability to see another's perspective. At all. It was irrelevant. All that was relevant was what I wanted. And that could cross into depression too. All that mattered was how sad I was, how much I needed, how let down I felt, how lonely and desperate... but as time went on I came to experience life differently....

I came to feel that my window into 'what it felt like' helped me empathise with others (and not just mad people, but the normal selfishness of normal folk). But perhaps as important, it helped me learn to make 'thinking of others' more of a default, a habit. I was able to make more nuanced distinctions: for example, between normal selfishness and extreme selfishness; between behaviour that was rooted in a 'suffering schema' and behaviour that was rooted in the almost-normal self.

the negative is that it has led me to question my every motivation so intensely that I wonder how often I can be spontaneous... well, I can be spontaneous, but then I question that spontaneity.

In short, I do live an examined life.

I still doubt some of the precepts - like that one must be 'kind' to oneself. I doubt that because it's too... unquestioning. I think compassion for oneself is good, not blaming, then, but still holding oneself responsible.

I doubt real integration... I think the personality is facets that shine at different times. One may not want them all equally strong, those facets. One may seek to reject, retrain, recarve, some parts.

So, who is this one? An integrated self?!! Ah, there you have me.

No, this one is the perspective of neutrality - as much as that is possible. Not a prosecutor, but not the defense either. Not so harsh as a judge... perhaps just a watcher, watching me read.

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