Archive for September, 2013

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I chose freedom?

Not many people will argue that freedom is better than restraint. But in reality many people are ready to sacrifice freedom for tranquility, comfort, tradition.

Do we really want to have freedom and be free people?

Lately we talk about freedom quite often. I really never thought about what freedom really is, what does it mean. Are we born free of we acquire freedom with experience?

And what is the difference between freedom that single people talk about and freedom that politicians promise?

“All people are born free” – repeated quite often by people who desire best for humankind. But there are always been those that felt that our relationship with freedom is not as simple. There are freedom that poets talked about, and kids in schools used to write essays about. Psychology has a different view on freedom, for them our freedom that we were born with is not obvious. Just because psychology associates freedom with our actions, but not with our beings. And until there is actions, there is no reason talking about freedom. But when I think about a newborn, does he have freedom in his actions? He is born in loving home, he can sleep whenever he wants, he eats when he wants to eat, he plays if he choses to… Does that mean he is free because he does what he wants? No, because all this actions – expression of spontaneity, immediate impulses, explains psychologist Dmitry Leontiev. “Freedom relate with spontaneity as a higher psychological function with lower. Lower psychological functions act  more on their own, more mechanically.  Higher functions – our actions that we do consciously, from our own experience and notions as to how are we suppose to act.” And although manifestations of higher and lower functions may be simlar, the reasons for them are often completely different.So what actions coupld be counted as the real manifestations of freedom? Those that we commit with clear awareness of the consequences and willingness to answer for our actions. Acting free does not mean act good, freedom can not be evaluated. With freedom – by your own will, with full awareness of the consequences, – we may act very badly.

There is another side to freedom, freedom tied up in conjunction with responsibility. Freedom and responsibility is the same thing, it is two sides of one coin, each of which does not exist by itself. Freedom and responsibility have different roots. Beginning of freedom is that childish freedom. Responsibility is raised in us by restrictions: restrictions set by parents, religious beliefs, and even our own self control. These parallels cross each other later in life, or sometimes do not cross at all. But the point of cross suppose to be around teenage years. I recently read one of experimental study on correlation of freedom and responsibility in teenagers, study was done in 1980s and psychologists found 4 types of behavior that worth mentioning: autonomous, impulsive, symbiotic and conformal. Autonomous behavior – is a perfect balance of freedom and responsibility; that is the behavior of a truly free person. In impulsive teens (usually it is boys) the spontaneity of conduct clearly prevails over the responsibility for their actions. “Symbiotic” teenagers are ready to adapt to any requirements:they demonstrate high level of responsibility and distinct lack of freedom. And finally conformal teens they prefer to “swim with the tide” – they lack both freedom and responsibility.

MANIFEST OF FREE PERSON

Working on this “Manifest of free person” I was trying to understand from different points of view, what is freedom? The answer seems so simple, “intuitive easy to understand”… but so elusive.  For me important not the concept, but the way of existence as a free human being. What is he/she feeling, what are his/her actions, what is the most important for him/her, what does he/she believe in?.. So after deliberate research I came up with 10 main point that i think are applicable to the description of “free human”

  1. Freedom for me – not the purpose, but a way of life
  2. Everything that I think about is consistent with what I say or do. I avoid lies and hypocrisy.
  3. I support the manifestation of freedom in others and respect other people’s opinion
  4. I take responsibility for my thoughts, words and actions. I do not wait for someone else make a decision for me, and I am not complaining about circumstances
  5. I remember, that I can make mistakes, like any other person. I can see my mistakes and recognize them
  6. My opinion may change. If I think today differently, that I thought yesterday, I will not hold on to my ideas for the sake of illusion
  7. I understand, that I might not know everything. I strive to differentiate my knowledge from my speculation, guesswork and desires
  8. I do not trust somebody elses opinion just because I respect that person. I strive to receive information from many sources, to analyse it myself and to check with the experience
  9. Fear – is the main obstacle on the way to freedom. I get rid of fear – fear of life, fear of others and myself, fear of being judged. My first step towards conquering my fear – is to notice and honestly admit, if I afraid of something.
  10. I understand and accept all my feelings and desires. I am not ashamed and I do not blame myself for them. When I express my feelings, will I pursue them and how I chose to do it, depends only on me.
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I decided to continue the topic about Love and why for so many people it is not easy to experience love… Couple months ago on one of the forums that i sometimes visit, me and couple other girls decided to talk as to why it is so difficult for us to fall in love and to say that we love. Usually we a driven by other part to respond, “Honey, i love you”, he says – what is there for the girl to answer? “me too Honey…”, she says – but does she really mean it?  So in our research of this topic we found out that 96% of the time after the “love confession” – we run, we break up the relationship, we just push that person away. Why does that happen? Is it soviet, “under iron curtain” education that we were susceptible to, so did it influenced us, made us “bitchy” or is there more to it? Most of us turn our hearts “off” and try as hard as we can to not fall in love and stay clear minded, and if we do fall in love it scares us because it makes us “weak” so we run from love, we push it away.

And as my curiosity never stops, i decided to research all the psychology books and other forums to see what others say about this, since i was sure we are not the only ones feeling that way… so here is what i found. I found out that there is a  term called “philophobia” – it is a fear of emotional attachment; fear of being in, or falling in love. Medical science defines philophobia as an abnormal, unwarranted and persistent fear of falling in love. Its name comes from Greek roots, “philo” meaning love and “phobia” meaning fear of. This fear of love isn’t merely a distressing emotional condition; it can result in actual physical symptoms, and may even heighten a person’s alienation from family, friends, coworkers and neighbors.

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The fear of love is truly an enigma in contemporary psychology. Human beings are the most social of animals, and yet the prospect of being loved – of expressing love to another, and thereby being emotionally vulnerable – evokes enough fear in some people that they run screaming for the nearest exit.

When i started thinking about this, i recalled an element of philophobia showed up during the first season of the hit TV show, “Glee”. i do not know if anyone watched it, so i will try to describe:  a high school club teacher, Will Schuester, has a date with Emma Pillsbury, the high school counselor who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and few other phobias, nonetheless she insists that she loves Will and wants to make love to him. However after seeing the two in romantic contact to the tune of Madonna’s hit song “like a virgin”, viewers later learn that Emma ran screaming from Wills apartment before they could consummate their love. A distraught departure from potential partner is certainly one of the signs of philophobia. Emma;s character exhibited some of the classic signs of the conflicted emotions endured by many people who suffer from fear of love and/or intimacy. As i read, they can experience a momentary exhilaration when they think of the prospects of giving or receiving love, than, at the crucial moment, philophobics become overwhelmed by their fears of what the previous emotions imply, such as the loss of emotional control and the vulnerability of physical contact.

I have read that some people have such severe philophobia that they cannot  even get as close to the potential lover as Emma came to Will. They suffer the classic reactions of many people with persistent, unreasonable fears including dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea, dry mouth, sweating, trembling, weeping, panic attacks and roller-coaster emotions. These physical symptoms signal that something has gone wrong emotionally, that the body is responding to a mildly cautionary situation with an extreme expression of the “fight or fight” reaction.

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In other words, in these severe cases, the mind is thinking that falling in love poses a life-or-death threat to such degree that it automatically prepares the body to fight for survival. this excessive emotional response forms one of the clearest signs that a person is in grip of a phobia, in this case, the fear of love.

It’s important to understand that the fear is a normal human emotion. On fact, although it generally causes an unpleasant experience, fear is helpful emotion. It heightens people’s alertness to potential dangers and releases adrenaline useful for “fight or fight”. However, when fear becomes debilitating in the way we’re discussing here, it becomes an obstacle to life and not an ally.  I have seen couples where i know for sure, that the woman pushed away a person she really loved, because she was scared of love, and married the person she chose based on pure calculation. Yes, no doubt, sometimes marriages based on calculation survive longer than the ones based on love, but this is topic for discussion for another time and another post 🙂

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Despite what some people may think, there is no way to “just get over” severe phobias such as the fear of being in love, or falling in love. Even though the quest for love is an essential part of human life, people who develop a persistent, unwarranted fear of relationship often need professional help to be able to engage in normal relationship.”

Yes, as any phobias it can be treated with therapy, but what if you do not want to go to therapy, or you case of anxiety as not as severe as it will require therapy… so here is what i found interesting suggestions  on wikihow site…

  • Understand that the feeling of love is permissible. Let yourself be overcome by feelings of affection, care, intensity, and warmth. These feelings won’t destroy you––they are good, positive feelings. And if you let your own feelings of love show, it is so much easier for the other person to feel safe about reciprocating their mutual affection. Sometimes it is as much about you making it obvious that love has a place in your life as it is about expecting others to take care of your fragile heart––you’re not alone in feeling worried about love!
  • Rid yourself of past shadows. When you start feeling great affection for someone but the ghost of love gone wrong in the past starts fluttering by, tell yourself that this is a different situation and a different person. Remind yourself that you’re a wiser, more emotionally healthy self too. Emotionally healthy people learn from the lessons in the past, then move forward leaving the past behind. Make good now and trust this new beginning, as it is going to be worth it for both of you.
    • If you find that the past colors everything you’re doing in the present, then it might be time to get some talk therapy with someone you trust. Sometimes it takes talking it through to form a clearer picture of your fear and sense of loss.
    • Some people are not inhibited by the past so much as by the future. Such people constantly worry about how their future instead of living in the now––this can put the brakes on love too because unnecessary energy is spent on “what ifs”, such as “what if this doesn’t work out and I’ve wasted all my energy on building this relationship?”. If this is you, remind yourself that time spent building a relationship is never wasted, even if the person passes through your life, it still matters at the time and teaches you things about yourself and others.
  • Face your fears. If you feel a sense of suffocation, loss of self, or disillusionment about love, then you probably have a tougher road ahead than a person who fears a repeat of the past. For you, the fear is about losing yourself, your individuality. Think about the past and anyone who may have made you feel this way, suffocated, watched over, criticized too much. Put that memory into its place and recognize that that person or situation is very different from a love in which two people at an equal level care about one another and make mature decisions together.
  • When fear of love grips you, it helps to set very clear but friendly ground rules about yourself from the start of a loving relationship. Let the other person know that you will always feel a need for space, time alone, and opportunities to do things separate from your relationship but that this does not impact your love and care for this person. Rather, make it clear that this is a healthy way for a couple to be together, always growing and being individuals as much as being part of a couple.In relationships you can have alone time and you both need to have the understanding that nothing is wrong with having time to yourself.
  • Take the plunge slowly. You’re never going to be the type who sees fireworks and feels love at first sight––you’re too cautious and need to reflect. However, this is a positive, not a negative––only fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Take your time developing your loving relationship, and be mature, honest, straightforward and open with your partner. The love that flourishes from this slowly-does-it approach is often an enduring and respectful one. Moreover, slowly developed love tends to be more forgiving of the other person’s ways than a lightning bolt love that unravels when all the habits and foibles of the other person begin to show
  • Don’t give up your other passions. Being in a loving relationship means being in a supportive one. It is not about being changed by another person, or trying to change someone. If you fear that the person you love might end up wanting to change something about you, deal with this early on. Always make it clear that you come with the fox terriers, the summer vacation hunting trips, the night-out-with-the-girls once a week, the desire to never have children, the weekends locked away reading a book. If you have passions that define you, a partner who seeks to take them away from you will leave both of you unhappy and if this is what is stopping you from falling in love, return to the mantra of being open, clear, and up front from the start. Now that all this is out of the way, you can start open up and to fall in love and finally enjoy the journey to self-discovery that includes discovering someone else who cares for you. Good luck leaving fear behind!

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Since i was in Portland, i could not pass on an opportunity to go to one of the oldest museums in United States, Portland Art Museum. The exhibition that i really wanted to see was called “Man/Woman” by Gaston Lachaise.

The exhibition surveys Lachaise’s lifetime production and his complex and powerful celebration of woman – heroic, monumental, sensual, earthy and erotic, – as well as sample of work with more nude and insightful portrait busts.

Man/Woman reveals Lachaise as a sculptor of a ripe and vital maturity, whose art paved the way for twentieth century abstraction…

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The Elevation may not be declined: it should not and cannot be seen; as a super Wagnerian poem of flesh, a graceful colossal music” – from 1920 review of Lachaise exhibition by E.E.Cummings.

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“His women were goddesses, idols to be worshiped rather than earthbound realities” – by art critic and historian Barbara Rose 1991

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“In Lachaise the mold of the classical tradition is broken – broken one may say, by a sense of life too forceful and too confident, to unbounded, to contain it” – Hilton Kramer

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“In the dark night, man and woman lie side by side on the bare earth – naked before eternity” – Maxwell Armfield commenting on Dans La Nuit, 1905

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“Lachaise followed his aesthetic demon like a true artist and his demon was perfection, ideality, the reality of ideal experience in life first of all. He was a romantic poet besides, a kind of lyric architect of a human from who saw the entire universe in the form of  a woman” – from the essay on Lachaise, 1939, by painter Marsden Hartley.

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love is freedom…

Posted: September 3, 2013 in Philosophy
Tags: , , , , ,

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google translation:

the anguish of my moments of doubt the certainty of my moments of faith.
Because I knew that my Soul was coming one day, I just started learning the Tradition of Just to be certain of your existence, so you continue to exist.
Brida could not suppress the tears.
Then you came and understood all this. You came to set me free from the bondage of slavery I myself had created, to say he was free, he could return to the world and the things of the world. I understood everything I needed to know and I love you more than all the women I met in my life, more than the woman loves detour me unwittingly into the woods. I will remember always that love is freedom. This was the lesson to learn years later attempts.
This was the lesson that I exile and now sets me free.