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[xmca] Notions of suffering, enduring, undergoing
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- Subject: [xmca] Notions of suffering, enduring, undergoing
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- Date: Sat, 5 Nov 2011 05:46:06 -0700
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Hi Rod and Andy
Thank you for the article on Dewey. I thougt that article should remain
the focus of that thread, but the question of the centrality of suffering
to experience is also worth exploring.
Rod, you wrote
I am intrigued by the focus here, as in many of the postings on
perezhivanie, on experience as 'suffering'. The etymology of 'suffer' (from
'sub' - under and 'ferre' - to bear) makes it a close cousin of 'undergo'
and it is, I think, interesting that both terms have been used in ways
which have moved their meaning towards the dark side.
Rod, you caution us not to impose our care-worn adult sufferings onto the
experience of children who are more "care free".
In my work in schools I am called to respond to children who are
experiencing what I will call "foul frustration" as an experience of what
is not working. This experience is often expressed as anger that is a
passionate response to what is not working. Infants also seem to express
e-motions that may be understood as frustration for what is not working.
A developmental psychologist in Vancouver [Gordon Neufeld] sees development
as biological and innate. Though his origin narrative I don't agree with,
he does have an interesting perspective on how to respond to a childs foul
frustration for what is not working.
He believes that a person must come to a place of "rest" before going in a
new direction. What is sometimes needed to move frustration from anger to
experiencing saddness are for what is not working are "tears of futility".
He suggests that these tears of futility are expressed within particular
types of relational configurations that are safe, secure, and "attached".
When the tears of futility are met and "held" by the other this releases
the frustration for what is not working and the child can lean into the
other person and come to rest. Often the child at this point is
exhausted. However, after coming to rest the child is now moved to
exploration of the world and is care free and open to new experiences.
This idea of expressing "tears of futility" for what is not working [foul
frustration] within intersubjective forms of caring and "holding" gives me
a way to respond to expressions of "anger". Suffering or enduring or
undergoing can sometimes be an experienceof stuckness in patterns that are
The ideal is for children to be care free but frustration is an inevitable
aspect of becoming and e*motion. If not met and "held" by others this
frustration can lead to a stuckness that must be endured, and undergone.
It is others who are central in channeling the path of frustration for what
is not working. Now I want to emphasize it is not "merely" intersubjective
as the artifactual "worlds" mediating experience are the conditions which
lead to frustration or being care free. Focusing on changing the conditions
that lead to the frustration is also a central project but frustration is
inevitable and unavoidable. When undergoing foul frustration how one is met
within this experience is vital for how the child goes on.
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