On growing as a person, on getting guidance, on learning

I wrote this article five years ago. I never published it… Enjoy.

I am using my squeamishness to learn from it.
How I find the next leg of our journey.
I turn a controversy into a guidance.
How I keep on growing… and you could too… but you forget to do it.

I always take a mental note when I quit watching a certain movie. A movie that until that point I liked…
Today that diligence in watching has led me to a rule, and a principle I didn’t know about.

I am trying to remove a rule every day… this is a new practice I’ve started)

I can’t tolerate, can’t watch, can’t stomach someone putting mind altering drugs, heroin, crack, etc. in their bodies.

It has something to do with my ancestry. Being of a tribe who, unless we were aware, and awake, and beware, were killed, annihilated, burned to the ground.

I probably take it to the extreme.

In 1970 I was offered two full ride scholarships to Princeton, and another University I didn’t even consider. I spent almost a year trying to decide, and in the end the usual scene from an American movie: the husband arrives home. Puts down his hat and walks to the drink cabinet, makes two drinks and walks to his wife and says, then: hello.

Really, I did not want to study in a country that was running from being sober, from being aware, from being all there.

I am not against drinking… I just don’t drink. And don’t want to deal with people who like to live in unreality.

It is mighty strange, if you ask me how I ended up with nearly every client and student a TLB 1.
Freud says in Civilization And Its Discontents:
The life imposed on us is too hard for us to bear: it brings too much pain, too many disappointments, too many insoluble problems. If we are to endure it, we cannot do without palliative measures. (As Theodor Fontane told us, it is impossible without additional help.)

Of such measures there are perhaps three kinds:
–powerful distractions, which cause us to make light of our misery,
–substitutive satisfactions, which diminish it, and
–intoxicants, which anaesthetize us to it.

Something of this sort is indispensable. Voltaire has distractions in mind when he ends his Candide with the advice that one should cultivate one’s garden; another such distraction is scholarly activity.

Substitutive satisfactions, such as art affords, are illusions that contrast with reality, but they are not, for this reason, any less effective psychically, thanks to the role that the imagination has assumed in mental life.

Intoxicants affect our physical constitution and alter its chemistry.

It is not easy to define the position that religion occupies in this series. We shall have to approach the matter from a greater distance.
Now, after reading again Freud’s words: I have, I experience the same aversion to the other ‘palliative measures.’

xxxI am observing my students. Not much escapes my awareness.

One of the things I noticed, that what’s missing from

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