19 November 2010

A portrait of the blogger as a young philosopher-III

This is the last of three posts on the nature of the first philosophy I obtained with my college education, inspired by the hoopla over the anniversary of John Lennon. Part 1 here. Part 2 here.

John Lennon was the one man who had more influence over the people of my generation than any other. This was first because of his great music, about which nothing needs to be added. This was second because of his message we took to heart, "All you need is love", &c. Third was the auto-destruct of his band, the falsity of his message, and the meaning that could be constructed from this triple whammy.

Imagine no possessions I wonder if you can. Obviously we can do this. Forager people without a permanent residence do not have possessions. At the most they have gear, which they have to carry with them almost everywhere they go. That is not too hard to imagine, or even to try out as an experiment if one is so inclined. It is possible to go even further: imagine being a gorilla or a chimpanzee or raccoon or a crow or a butterfly. Imagination is powerful stuff. Nevertheless, as a call to action, "Imagine" is no longer an inspiration to me. Imagine if everybody in the world thought like the action figure in John Lennon's anthem; I imagine that would be a pretty dull world in comparison to this messy real one that we have got.

So I conclude the message is false, even though it is a campfire singalong song that ranks up there with Kum Ba Ya.

The last thing we have is the example of his actions--the destruction of his band, the influence of his wife, the relative less quality of the post-Beatles work, and the bare naked revelations of his painful psychotherapy. The destruction of the band is a natural maneuver. I imagine it would be exhausting to be a Beatle for ten years. Good for him that he found other things he was happier doing.

Blaming Yoko for the destruction of the band and the work quality decline is popular, and it is a waste of time. For the curious, we have the psychotherapy revelations--John's mother abandoned him at age five and Yoko mothered him so we can all gawk at it if we want, but really I would rather not. It is useful to us observers as a textbook example of unsound psychotherapy. In real life I once had a friend who was fascinated with the conversations which he had with his therapist, and another far-less fascinated friend who informed him rather harshly that his conversations were sabotaging his therapy so as to render it completely ineffective.

The principle is this: what is discussed in the analysis room stays in the analysis room. Your family and friends do not need to hear about it. Your family and friends do not want to hear about it. And if you go on and on about it you are turning your therapy into performance art, which is not what your health insurance risk pool is paying for. I am sure there are many exceptions to this psychotherapy principle. I doubt that John Lennon's was one of them.

It is disappointing to read in the New York Times about anybody who is forty years old and they are making a big deal out of what happened to them when they were five years old by people who are now long dead. One time I was at a T group with a confrontational paradigm (Landmark Education Forum) and the group leader discussed a similar hypothetical case and concluded with a shout:

"Congratulations! A dead person is running your life!"

And it is very disappointing when this dude you are reading about in the New York Times is the most influential single man for your entire generation of peers. I guess that John and Yoko would have a hard time imagining that.

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About Craig

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Houston, Texas, United States
I have been living in the lovely neighborhood of Spring Branch in the great city of Houston since late in 2005. I started out with the idea of making this blog about my life in this neighborhood. That did not last long. Right now I am posting every five days on the alternating topics of literature, philosophy, psychology, and metaphysics. This project has been ongoing since July 27, 2010 and I believe it will continue for at least a few more months.