Sunday, April 29, 2007

I my SELF?

In a fascinating post and discussion on what constitutes 'the self' Ktismatics has topped off a series of posts (developed over some time) discussing the ideas of Hegel, Derrida, Gadamer, Lacan, Deleuze, Tomasello, and many others, and charting out some new territory too on subjects as diverse as language, hermeneutics, psychotherapy relationships, and the self.

Particularly in our work with autistic children, but also with those who have other developmental problems, we often encounter the process of discovering and developing the sense of self. Our interaction, though, is always on the practical side. We are trying to 'correct deficits' and the norm is always what the majority of kids of that age group would attain.

How much is 'just' genetics and what effects do changes in nurturing style and other 'inputs' have on these children? Even if one is inclined to see the self as largely genetically programmed, one is still reminded that an awful lot depends on skill, and skill is something that is very relationally learned. But, my own feeling is that it is not even 50% genes. I believe that environment and social context make a huge difference. I have witnessed what effect some focused therapy can have on a child. We also see marked changes with modifications in physical factors like diet and sleep and exercise.

Children should indeed be encouraged and helped to reach their full potentials. How exactly we go about doing this is something that every parent, teacher, therapist, or anyone else that is around kids a lot, needs to keep struggling with. The child's sense of self and the child's developing personality do require and demand our attention and care.

I am very thankful indeed for Ktismatics' massive effort to help to clarify some very confusing issues even though a large part of my confusion still remains! Indeed very often the discussion has gone right over my head but always in the process setting off various trains of thought and bringing much needed fresh perspectives.

I won't even attempt to summarise what I am now thinking on this fascinating subject. I find that my reliance on a few thinkers such as Piaget has left me with an inadequate foundation (not Piaget's fault!) and so much rethinking is now going on in my mind that whatever I might say now would be just garbled. So, do read for yourselves...

I have some other selfish reasons for frequenting Ktismatics' blog one of which is the ongoing discussion with Ivan that was graciously hosted by Ktismatics shortly after a spam catcher on another blog set some of us adrift as we began a discussion on atheism, religion and evolution-creation! Which then led to the discovery of ktismatics nascent book on creation and in turn, that fascinating topic morphed into a fullscale, ongoing, exegesis of Genesis at OST. Right now, of course, the creation of the self is what it's about!



john doyle said...

Thanks for the kind words. The reason I'm posting on these topics is that I too am trying to figure out what I think about them. Your work, and your sense that you can be of help to kids, is encouraging to me as I get ready to start a counseling practice for the first time in many years. It's all very complicated, with multiple perspectives in multiple disciplines clamoring for at least a little bit of attention. Your comments have definitely helped me understand what questions need to be asked, and kept me open to more possibilities rather than locking down prematurely. Plus it is kind of fun just kicking the ideas around.

Unknown said...

I couldn't agree more, the ideas are very stimulating and reading from a PoMo perspective opens up new worlds of possibilities for both both client and therapist!
i look forward to your continued explorations...

Anonymous said...

Hi there Saml,

Thank you to you and to John for hosting our discussion all this time. I am not sure I am posting this on the right page. Had some trouble keeping on your web page for some reason.

Kind regards


Unknown said...

Thanks for dropping by, Ivan. Not surprising that this blog is a bit of a pain to view, one of these days I will have to clear out most of the sidebar as loading that takes a huge amount of time!

Jonathan Erdman said...

Yes. I'd like to express my thanks to Ktismatics for taking the time to draw up a series of the most stimulating and still accessible psychological posts I have seen. There are very few who take the time to pour original ideas into their blogs on a daily basis - very rare.

How glad we all are that John's book was not published! If he were famous he wouldn't have time for peon bloggers like me!

Unknown said...

and me..., thanks for dropping by Jon. One of these days I will have to sort out my thoughts on all of this for it has definite implications for me as a parent, a friend and a spouse!

Perhaps I'll find the courage to actually post up some thoughts.

Jason Hesiak said...

I agree with Sam. The Doyle is cool. I agree with Jon. Thank you Doylomania for not being famous, and for posting cool stuff on the regular.

And...Piaget...argh! He influences my church small group times greatly (through our leader). I can't stand it. I think this is where The Doyle's talk of the unstructured unconscious can be helpful.

Blessings :)

Unknown said...

Absolutely, Jason though Piaget himself is not so bad, quite a pioneer, and set us all on the developmental track with our kids.

The Doyle is doing some amazing stuff, just glad to be along for the ride!

Odile S said...

I'm reading Piaget, but especially his criticism on education I find so actual, even though he wrote many of this nearly 75 years ago. The problem with great thinkers like Piaget and Freud is that their ideas are not always seen as challenges or stepping stones, but more like monuments. Then the monuments get in the way of thinking.
I'm not happy that the book isn't out. I love books! Plus I might be able to sell some around here in the Netherlands.
Maybe you need a Dutch publisher?


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