Surprising Reversibilities

– I owe you so much!
– No no no, it’s I who owe you…

 

  1. A therapist takes care of his patient.
  2. Stravinsky or Hindemith were influenced by Bach.
  3. Someone is watching and analyzing a painting.

All these three examples are simple and clear. You can draw the arrow, right?

We thinkers like to go deeper, though. To find nuances, subtleties :

  1. There are many ways of listening, of helping someone…
  2. What are the elements which makes us notice the influence?
  3. What do we seek – and find in Arts? An emotion? Links?

You can spend months on each, reading books. Refining concepts is a bliss, right? Good!

 

Today I study one thing : reversibility. It’s meeting a surprise “the other way around”, and it’s charged with intensity :

  1. A therapist suddenly talks about himself. Instead of listening, he tells his own story. The patient is suddenly captivated. This is a well known trick in this field! Psychotherapists say it gives a stronger link (therefore a power) on a patient. Adding humanity in the bond is a strange and powerful idea…
  2. Many specialists come to a point where they see where is Bach in Hindemith, but also that there is some Hindemith (1895-1963) in Bach (1665-1750). Two centuries before, OK, but you can study this the other way around – even if you think it’s “not OK”. It’s a game for spirits, to study how the now can be seen as an influence for the past.
  3. An Art lover studies a painting, a music, and he realizes it works in the other way : the piece of work moves him, changes him, teaches him, overwhelms him. You explore yourself through another person’s work. You are amazed by unconscious and historical forces at stake. Your skin (or your guts) are activated. Astonishment is a trigger for your brain. Then, maybe, you’re… slaked (and this can be in MANY ways), right?

 

A child comes from a mother, a father. But parents are also transformed by the coming. In the end, the person who is a child gives parents… motherhood and fatherhood.

Mhhh I like that. You feel that I touch something here, oui? Where, in what other examples can you imagine this reversibility process? Business? Couple? Creativity? Ads? Poetry? Where, when it’s obvious “things are going this way”, could you reverse something? Therefore what?

Thanks for reading!

 

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Seeing to Finesse amid Chaos

There are many levels and kinds of chaos. You can be in the middle of a furious battle or a sales assistant in an overcrowded store near Christmas time, it’s chaotic.

There’s a dial to watch on every agent working in mayhem. From 100 (“I use my skills and I understand & master everything in my field”) to 0 (“I give up, I crash, I cry, now fuck this shit”).

It’s interesting to watch the cursors and levers (“I activate”) and dials’ needles (“I see what is happening here”), between efficient overactivity and sarcastic sloppiness.

In this blog I already studied three different states :

  1. “Staggering State” & Observation Amusée du Chaos
  2. The “Titanic Octet” state : stop panicking & arrange twinkles
  3. The Hummingbird Tale

 

Ernst Jünger (German) was in continuously bombed trenches during WWI, and he was reading Léon Bloy, an angry French author, and noticed how the birds were back to singing, slowly, after a night of explosions.

Seeing to Finesse amid Chaos is a state of mind. It’s a security inner mode. A way to keep safe and calm when a part of you wants to scream. It’s to restore a Middle Age painting in one besieged city. To order, in December, a single book about the letters between a musician and a philosopher in the middle of piles of cardboard boxes full of best sellers. To study the youth of Goethe in a city ravaged by plague. It’s a long conversation about Pondichery, India, next to an overexcited screaming foam party…

Stay safe!

Have a nice day!

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Photo : B. Plossu

 

Do you think different?/Are you gifted??/Do you think too much???

Self Help books are written… to help you, right? You feel “not enough” this (happy, fast, effective) or “too much that” (sad, angry, etc). Well, these are done to hold you hand, give you knacks maybe, show possible paths…

I love some of them, a special category, when they attack the problem the oblique way. They tell you to wait, or to stop paying attention, or make you think about the real importance of being always “happy” (well, the contrary of the others, right?).

https://afrenchtoolbox.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/opposite-coursewrong-foot-another-type-of-self-help-be-happy-books/

 

There are many self-help books about how… you feel different. I explored a little this area, and found three possible ways around gifted people.

(In fact, if you were really a brainiac, it’s another thing. I want to talk about this common feeling of being “slightly different”).

You can feel :

  • Gifted. You’re just faster, knowledge hungry, you’re a thinker, etc…
  • You think too much. You notice everything, you’re focused. You love words.
  • You think different. Globally, in the oblique way.

Hey, well, yes : I KNOW you’re not “this OR that”. It’s about shades.

Imagine a orthogonal spatial system of axes. X is the gifted one. Y is the “think too much”. Z is “think differently”. And you’re somewhere in this mess, little human being!

Most of these books tell you this : you have the right to be like this. So there! And of course that you have to know yourself, to know how you operate, included “with others”. More : they have to make you understand that you must not try to tame it. Use it. Use it!

You know you’re a mess, and a pain in the neck when you’re in a group, with your “questions”. 

Socrates said “Know Thyself!”. Wasn’t he right?

 

Thanks for reading. Have a nice day!

 

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On what foot will you dance? What if in a situation you don’t feel what you’re supposed to feel?

Being neutral, or hilarious, at a funeral. Feeling nothing after being fired. Laughing when you read a drama book. Crying in front of a comedy.

What if in a situation you don’t feel what you’re supposed to feel?

  • It’s surprising for people around you, which means there’s a social pressure, right? You are “supposed to”.
  • It’s surprising for you.
  • Or maybe you exactly know why you react “out of the frame” – but it’s a secret.

 

In “A Streetcar Named Desire”, a woman visits her sister in New Orleans, who lives with a violent man (Marlon Brando). You’re “supposed to” dislike a man who beats a pregnant woman, right? But Brando is so good (and he’s a movie character) that you begin to love him, then you hate him, then you admire his work as an actor, then… Vous ne savez plus sur quel pied danser : “don’t know what foot to dance on” – You don’t know where to stand.

And this is made on purpose.

 

What are situations when you don’t know what to feel, where to stand? Manipulation? Sudden truths? Out of focus? What triggers feelings-confusion? Are you tired? What is this gap, between what you feel and what you’re supposed to feel? What if it was wrong? What if your radar needed to be fixed… or other people’s radars??

 

Thanks for reading!

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“This” Tropism : what you read understands you

The King of Kings of the world, for this, is Marcel Proust.

Buy, one day, a good translation of “A la Recherche du Temps Perdu” (In Search of Lost Time). If you want to explore Proust, buy first How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain De Botton, it’s a really great book, and a great key to this author. Buy it for your birthday! Say it’s from Jean-Pascal, OK?

I try, here, next to my little tools, to talk about “very little movements of the minds”, what we call here “Tropismes”.

There is ONE tropism you know pretty well, you blog reader, it’s this one :

When you read an article and you jump off you chair saying : “It’s true! I feel that too! Never seen it written though!”.

It’s lovely to suddenly see someone who struggles with the same tiny mind movements as you, right?

Someone wrote one day that

We read to know we’re not alone

Isn’t it true?

 

Jean-Pascal

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When your brain has pop-up windows…

– Focus, dear, where are you?
– I have pop-up windows, sorry…

To go blank. To zone out. I searched for English vocabulary, you see?

When do we have pop-up windows? Why? Someone? Somewhere? Is something in our brain capable of “taking the lead”, cutting us from reality to throw the whole package into dreamy states? Yeah, probably. Inattentive because faraway. Is it dangerous? What if it was a sign? Of what?

Let’s trigger a game :

Each time you have pop-up windows, you stop, you stand up, you stop everything, you take your car and you GO physically, exactly, where you were pop-up windowing. I mean really. NOW. What if? What will happen?

Will you, then, have other pop-up windows? Or will you be stopping your zoning-out to be just… there and happy?

Thanks for reading!

 

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Every bookstore is the result of its clientele

One day I saw an interview of a celeb journalist and TV show presenter, a person I like very much, directing good shows and a pretty good interviewer herself. She was asked why TV was so full of trash. I saw her face changing, she was really upset, then answered something very surprising : TV broadcasts were so bad because “It’s what the audience wants!”.

She continued on this mode, telling something like “If people were watching operas, literature documentaries and great movie classics, all trash TV would broadcast in front of nobody, then would disappear for ever, then we would have great TV everywhere!”.

Her anger was noticeable, and that’s why I remembered it clearly. When smart people complain, you listen. Then, you wonder, right?

Because of course this all seems to be too good to be true, and it’s easy to counterattack. People watch trash TV because it’s prepared and broadcasted to them, etc.

 

So, there’s a balance here to find. After counterattack I have to admit that we all have a responsibility here, nonetheless. It’s like when I hear someone complaining about dense traffic… from a car. I have to answer to this person that he is a brick of it.

In some countries, if you are stuck into a traffic jam, you get a ticket! Which, in a way, is fair : you’re a part of it, it’s your fault!

OK, there’s a balance to find…

 

I work in a bookstore, and I’m confronted with this “structure”. The axiom could be :

“Every bookstore is the result of its clientele”.

You can be appalled, but it’s true. For a part, at least.

Yeah, there are other dials to watch. You need to have serious booksellers on board. And you often have to sell tons of “best sellers” on end displays… to be able to present entire tables of great books (your choice) in the store. Etc.

In a serious bookstore, all kind of books are bought then presented on tables and shelves. Employees, then, watch (weekly) closely the sales, then books are reordered. Never sold volumes (for months) are a bit dirty or torn, and therefore sent back to editors, and this is it : little by little, the customers, by the way they act and buy, model and form the store.

You just need a year or so to adjust, understand and change your store to adapt to your clientele. If you have an architecture school a street away, your architecture department will grow, you’ll have rare books, theory books and even anthropology books for the thinkers around. A visitor will pass and will be in a awe : “Oh wow, what a great architecture choice you have!”. Yessss it’s thanks to the bookstore employee, but mainly because he found the clientele, too. It’s a dance, a tango.

There’s a balance to find.

There’s a split of responsibilities in front of trash TV, in traffic jams, in poor supplied bookstores. Suppliers, of course, but audience too.

Do you meet this structure too, in your job, in your life? Don’t hesitate to comment, here.

 

We have an old idiom in France, about couples : “L’homme propose, la femme dispose”. It’s something like “the man proposes doings, the woman makes the choice” – I’m sorry for the translation, it’s almost impossible to do it, but you got me, right? Tango.

 

Thanks for reading!

(Really sorry for my English today. Have a nice day!)

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