Per-Fiction

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Perfect                        -                    Flawed
Absolute                     -                    Relative
Literal                         -                    Figurative
Solid                           -                    Liquid
Heaven                       -                    Earth 


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The main damaging movement away from the soul's double nature Adler calls "the masculine protest," the need to win, to come out on top. He also called this the "striving for perfection" or "superiority."

The psyche constructs; it invents images and the mind follows them as its guides; "guiding fictions," Adler calls them.

So, perfection is a necessary fiction, pragmatically necessary just as truth is "merely the most expedient error." When we realize the goal of perfection toward which we strive as an impossibility in every objective and literal sense, then we are also able to recognize how necessary is this fictional perfection.

Goals are thrown up by the psyche as bait to catch the living fish, fictions to instigate and guide action. As Jung said, "A spiritual goal that points beyond ... is an absolute necessity for the health of the soul."

One feels purposefulness, that there is a way and one is moving on a way, a process of towardness, called by Adler striving for perfection, by Jung individuation.

We can keep this way moving only by keeping purposefulness from becoming literalized into definite goals.

Goals, especially the highest and finest, work like overvalued ideas, the roots of delusions that nourish great canopies of sheltering paranoia, those spreading ideals of size and import which characterize the positive goals of so many schools of therapy today.

We see enough of the disastrous effect of goals in daily life, where the belief in an overriding idea about one's purpose in life, what one has to do, the raison d'etre for one's existence turns out to be the very goal which blocks the way.

'To be healed' is the goal which takes one into therapy, and we are healed of that goal when we recognize it as a fiction.

So the best psychotherapy can do is attune the fictional sense. Then the goals toward which therapy strives - maturity, completion, wholeness, actualization - can be seen through as guiding fictions. Then they do not close the way.

Therapy becomes less a support of the "great upward drive" than it is a job of deliteralizing the fictions in which purpose is fixed and where one is actually defending oneself against the soul's innate 'towardness' by means of one's goals.

This suggests that the only possible perfection that the soul can want is perfection of its fictional understanding, the realization of itself in images, itself a fiction among fictions.

This method of as-if keeps the way open, and it seems to be where the Adlerian approach comes closest to the religious idea that the final goal is the way itself, in this case, the way of fiction.

[James Hillman]
Healing Fiction, p.103-6


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The normal person, says Adler, takes guiding principles and goals, metaphorically, with the sense of 'as if.'"To him they are a figure of speech," heuristic, practical constructs.

"The neurotic, however, catches at the straw of fiction, hypostasizes it, ascribes to it a real value." Finally, "in the psychoses, it is elevated to a dogma."  

What makes madness is literalism.

To be sane we must recognize our beliefs as fictions, and see through our hypotheses as fantasies.

[James Hillman]
Healing Fiction, p.111


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Related posts:-
Shades of Gray
Adventure on life
Everything is connected
Living With Roughness
Guiding Fiction
Process vs Outcome

3 comments:

  1. Healing, and cure, positive and negative, ego and the unconscious, matriarchy and stages of development, are not literal 'reals,' but heuristic fictions or fantasies which must be recognized as such if psychotherapy is to keep connected with what Giegerich calls "the neurosis of our own discipline."

    [James Hillman]
    Healing Fiction, p.113

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  2. Any idiot can look at the world and see that it is fragmented, that a lot things don’t seem to fit together or make sense, and that in a diverse world with diverse cultures there are diverse beliefs and multiple framing-stories that people have used to make sense of it all. Religion in general is a way of framing the diversity and fragmenation of the world into a larger meta-narrative that helps us human beings to cope and make sense of it all. Religion exists in order to make order out of chaos and help us find connective meaning to our lives - connective meaning that we are connecting to something larger, more meaningful, more real. The crisis of belief comes when you think you are only part of a smaller framing-story that doesn’t make sense of reality and then life becomes meaningless because the story can’t hold the whole. That’s when existentialism comes in (if I feel, that at least gives me meaning) or the will-to-power (if I take control, at least I can give some meaning to my life.)

    So that’s why I love deconstructionism. Deconstructionism allows us to see what the framing stories are in our life, how they have helped us make sense of our lives, and where they came from. It shows us the provincial nature of our world-view (geographically, experientially, culturally, philosophically) and shows us that other people have other stories that make sense of similar realities differently. It’s like comparative religious studies on a personal, cultural level. So here’s what I love - decontructionism allows us to see our beliefs for what they are, for their reach, and for whether or not they make sense of the real realities we face. They allow us to compare our framing-stories to see which ones make more sense.

    From blog 'Embarking', see [here]

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  3. Derrida plays [oops typo, but a nice one] close attention to every word he reads, and every punctuation mark. Such a technique is called close-reading. Derrida loves playing word games, one advantage of which is the break this makes with the notion of "correspondence" between words and "reality," and with the idea that "content" matters without concern for "form."

    Male - Female
    Knowldege - Opinion
    Objectivity - Intersubjectivity
    Permanence - Change
    Reality - Appearance
    Being - Neither being nor nonbeing
    Light - Dark
    Absolute - Relative
    Certainty - Possibility of Doubt
    Logic - Rhetoric
    Reason - Feeling
    Immaterial - Material
    Non-spatio-temporal - Spatio-temporal
    Necessary - Contingent
    One - Many
    Clean - Dirty
    Sharp-Edged - Fuzzy
    Hard - Soft
    Eternity - Time
    Up - Down
    Rational - Emotional
    Inside - Outside
    Reason - Madness

    Many of these are attacked in a way close to denying that the one on the left (certain uses of this word) "exists," that there is any point in talking about it. But once the one on the left is gone, the one on the right changes its meaning or vanishes as well. People who agree with Derrida that we are better off dropping or radically changing certain uses of these terms are fond of using them in quotations and speaking of this as "writing under erasure." The idea is that we cannot avoid these words while the rest of our culture is saturated with them, and we cannot question them while leaving them unspoken, but we do not ourselves want to speak them.

    [David Swanson]
    From his blog, here

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