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Gottlieb: Evolution of Mind Forum

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Name: Paul Grobstein
Date: 2004-03-28 21:14:23
Link to this Comment: 9041

Welcome to the forum area for discussion of The (Continuing) Evolution of (My) Mind: An Engagement with Dan Gottlieb This is a place for informal conversation about minds and how they come to be ... through, among other things, interaction with other minds. Join in, before Dan's talk this coming Wednesday or after, and let's see what we can make of it all. Together.

Maybe a good place to start is an excerpt from a recent Inquirer column Dan wrote after an extended hospital stay:

Because we have learned so much in medicine and because we so value technology, most medical schools overvalue technical skills and undervalue compassion and kindness. Many departments of psychiatry no longer teach psychotherapy. Instead they emphasize the biology of mental illness and psycho-pharmacology.

My diagnosis? The people who care about money have too much power. The people who care about people don't have enough.

I was quite ill last week. Fortunately, I turned the corner.

Medicine is quite ill. We don't know yet whether it will turn the corner.

That's Dan. Kind, compassionate ... and blunt. The best kind of person to talk with/grow with. And I, for one, think his story about medicine is an important one, one more people need to hear/listen to/get uncomfortable about.

How about Dan's story about psychotherapy versus "biology of mental illness"? That's one where Dan's mind and mine have done/will do a little grinding against one another (see A Bi-Directional Bridge Between Neuroscience/Cognitive Science and Psychotherapy). Kindly and compassionately. With the expectation that both our minds will evolve in the process.

What's on your mind? There's lots more on Dan's, as any of those who have read his articles or heard him on the radio know. Add your own thoughts and we'll all evolve together.

Name: Anne Dalke
Date: 2004-04-01 12:05:43
Link to this Comment: 9115

I got lucky: being invited to participate publically in the "continuing evolution" of Dan Gottlieb's mind was an astonishing experience for me last night. Many, many thanks to Dan for offering his mind, and to Paul Grobstein for staging the conversation. There's lots that was said, that I found significant, and I'm going to try just listing some of it here, for my own reference and, perhaps, for others to make use of:

Then there was just all the wisdom Dan's mind had to offer: for instance, about "making the container (for pain) bigger" (i.e.: pour your tablespoon of salt in the spring, not in the glass); and throughout, throughout, his strong sense of doubleness, of "being a foreign correspondent" from another world:--that is, with an awareness both of being IN the world and NOT in it, able to participate and yet be amused @ one's participation/investment. This sense of a doubled self has also formed a very strong thread in current conversations in the Graduate Idea Forum, where discussion of the care (rather than the cure) of the soul has also been ongoing. So I'm (doubly) grateful again to find it extended here.

the event
Name: Paul Grobstein
Date: 2004-04-01 17:08:13
Link to this Comment: 9119

Absolutely extraordinary evening. Thanks to all involved for demonstrating how rich, powerful, and satisfying an engaged conversation about one mind can be in both illuminating and contributing to the (continuing) evolution of mind(s).

My thanks most particularly to Dan, who is not only " kind, compassionate .... and blunt" but even funnier, wiser, and more powerful than I knew from my previous brief personal acquaintance with him.

Anne sketched a few of the things she learned from the engagement with Dan, and I hope others will add their own additional ones. For my part, what struck me was Dan's stubborn and life-long refusal to accept prepared and prepackaged meanings, his persistant insistence on making meaning of the events of his life himself and in his own terms. From this, it seems to me, comes Dan's no less remarkable ability to enage with others, to allow them to contribute to his own life and to make poweful contributions to their lives.

There are times when one feels one has been in touch with something unusually fundamental about the human experience. Last night was one of those times.

waves and ripples ...
Name: Paul Grobstein
Date: 2004-04-02 07:41:14
Link to this Comment: 9127

Minds are affected by minds, both directly and indirectly. Copied below is part of a posting from the on-line forum of a course in progress (The Story of Evolution and the Evolution of Stories). We're currently reading Moby Dick in the course; the meaning/significance of writing has emerged as one of the themes of the course; Orah Minder is the commentator (the complete posting is currently available here. By next week it will be in an archived location).

3. Also, i think that amidst all the characters in this book, including meville himself, ishmael is the only one who is not a clinger. he does not cling to the whiteness as everyone else does, instead he is objective and reports. and that is why he survives. as i've said before: i think that the life of the drifter is one that is safer yet lonelier than the life of the clinger. the clinger attaches herself to people and things and is thus easily broken. but, the drifter who is not attached to any single thing, any single person, or notion, is not dependant. and though ishmael is orphaned he survives. because he is the only drifter. and as we talked about on tues. the whole ship becomes one mob, without selves and so when ahab leads them to the vortex there is no way to scramble free, because they are all one with him ... all except lonely ishmael who again is cast out, upward burst.

4. and then grobstein talked about gottlieb. and how gottlieib has lost so many people he has loved in his life, as ishmael does. and yet he is able to say that he would not be the person he is today, he would not be the person he wants to be, unless his life had been as it was. and gotlieb does not seem like a clinger. his loved ones die and he continues he does not follow them into the vortex ...and i would guess that loosing loved ones makes him lonely ... but, he survives .... while a clinger would not. and this is ishmael. ishmael loves, but does not cling. and he survives. and i guess that writers cannot be clingers because writes must know the deepest human tragedy of loss, but must not leave. ... writers are present.

ripples update
Name: Paul Grobstein
Date: 2004-04-10 13:17:47
Link to this Comment: 9256

A new Serendip page, maybe a whole new Serendip section? And further from "The Strory of Evolution and the Evolution of Stories. A different student, Cham, and a different but related direction: According to Dan Gottlieb: "to acknowledge our smallness is to acknowledge our vulnerability". However, i assert that to acknowledge our smallness is to acknowledge our opportunity.

And here we find a conflict: to acknowledge our vulnerability "takes the pressure off" of us and allows for safety, while to acknowledge our opportunity posits greater control over our own destiny and allows for adventure.

The way(s) in which we choose to interpret our own smallness is often a matter of deep personal conflict. I can easily say that I choose to see my own smallness as opportunity rather than vulnerability, but have I acted in any way as to justify this statement? have I or will I throw caution and practicality to the wind, in pursuit of adventure or greatness? ...or will I remain on the safe and steady shore?

I wonder if ishmael struggled with such an internal conflict prior to embarking on his journey...and as I graduate this May and set my own sails into the sea of opportunity...I wonder if he regrets his choice.

Presently here. Soon to be archived here.

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