“My little wallet of enthusiams” : How to fight Anhedonia?

Jim Harrison says somewhere that with the years our “wallet of enthusiasms” becomes thinner.

Well, this speaks to everyone, right? From a truckload to a wheelbarrow (“une brouette”), then to a small briefcase, to a wallet, that’s it. At 50 you don’t jump around screaming in joy about whatever new comes to you, like at 20!

“The moment when things you do become absurd” is probably something I should wonder about more. A kind of “inverse epiphany”, the sudden WTF moment

There’s this moment when you watch in an awe the others keeping being happy and goat-jumping at anything new. Are you becoming just grey?

So I just learned about Anhedonia, reduced motivation or ability to experience pleasure, and I think it’s about it.

There’s the good old temptation of getting “stoned”, or to being “entertained” until death, Netflix like, or trying weed or booze, or worse : become workaholically busy like a running headless chicken. Put a lit on enlarging boredom…

You can also FOCUS on your little wallet. Think about it : what makes you enthusiastic, the “like a kid” state? Art exploration? Creativity? Writing (about what?)?

Could one find a new thin paper, in their wallet? One activity you never tried?

Of course I feel this! Therefore what?

What puts me in the “happy child” state? I thought about it and found two things :

  1. Taking pictures, walking outside the-nose-in-the-wind.
  2. Exploring geniuses (I’m with Fellini and Schubert these days).

Someone told me recently (he’s a bit older than me) that he for now focuses on geniuses only. What would be YOUR list of geniuses?

Proust, Welles, Picasso?

These days I’m with two geniuses. Fellini for cinema, and Schubert for music. Both need organization and efforts.

  1. Fellini comes from realism to crazy surreal monster films. It’s complex, evolving, multi-layered, a whole exploration is needed to understand : films, bonuses, interviews, biography and many books. At THIS level on invention, it becomes almost toxic. It haunts you (like when you explore Proust, Mahler’s music or Manet’s paintings). And it’s so much fun too!
  2. Schubert is complicated : he died young, but composed many many musics, chamber music, piano and 9 symphonies! As usual, for a composer you don’t know, you have to listen to many things almost randomly – to discover if you’ll like it, to sponge it into your head. I bought books, a huge biography, and found my entry : the Great Symphony, his last, which obsesses me so much that I listen to different versions all day long. They I read pages of classical music fan forum (in French : http://classik.forumactif.com), smiling at all the passion people put into this…

Anhedonia’s here, but I fight, and it works! If you see me mimicking an orchestra director in front of my Macintosh : I’m good.

What’s next? What about you ?

A field you don’t know, and you’ll explore it. What is it? A language? A painter? A country? An author? Who?

Thanks for reading!

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“What’s the point?” : Anhedonia, a reduced wanting

I needed to be in my fifties to hear about this concept of “anhedonia“, a diverse array of deficits in hedonic function, including reduced motivation or ability to experience pleasure. (Wikipedia).

Inability to experience pleasure, but also reduced

  1. motivation
  2. anticipatory pleasure
  3. consummatory pleasure

Well : the wanting and the liking are reduced. A big lost of interest!

This preliminary itself is interesting : it’s NOT depression. It’s just what we call in French “à quoi bon ?” : what’s the point, what’s the use, what good would it…, etc…

Association with boredom, a will to stay in bed, a will to sleep all the time! You can feel this even without being sad!

If one makes, in a good movement, an effort – like me with this article – one will stop very soon, because… what’s the point, right?

It’s sometimes a bit surprising, because in the past you LOVED to do it, right?

Then there’s probobly a seek for… oblivion. Video games? Stupid sports? Alcohol?

It can be helpful, after all, and more if you feel guilty! (because in our societies, one has to be busy, right?).

Anything vain will maybe help, like driving your car in the night, anywhere, for hours, with music.

And there are the old tricks : call a friend, get drunk, pick up a randombook, listen to some music, trance (go dancing?), shopping. It can work!

But most of the time, you don’t care about all this anymore… either!

Of course here I don’t talk about “major depressive disorders”, where you stay in bed crying or in catatonia for months.

No, it’s just the “not in the mood now”, a social detachment, random indifference…

We’ve all been there, right? Our mind like a Steve Reich music…

I am also convinced it can be linked to a loss. When you’ve been at war, for example, you’re into a “mode”, and then when you’re home you’re just… not bored, but not valued, not understood, alone, and you don’t understand what people do anymore. And lifting weighs seems suddenly… what’s the point?

What happens after a break up?

Wiki says : “There is no validated treatment for social anhedonia.”. Voilà !

I just found another word to explore : “Avolition”.

How do you deal with that? What if it becomes a constant mode? How to get out?

For me :

  • I do a little step anywhere. It can trigger…
  • A good book. There’s no better trick.

Thanks for reading!

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Astronomers, astronauts, Hopper’s letter and the banality of life

In an old French movie we hear :

  • “Deux intellectuels assis vont moins loin qu’une brute qui marche”.
  • (“two sitting intellectuals don’t get as far as a walking brute”)

I read this and I smiled, because, darn it, I’m one of the two sitting guys!

So, well, listen : I went to my mother’s house this week-end and I helped her in her gardening activities : I weed-eatered a big part of the garden to prepare it for tillage.

Happily, her string-trimmer was on batteries, and lasted like 15 minutes before I had to stop. Phewww.

I hate to “do” these things. I hate DIY and odd jobs. It’s awful! I feel sad, and dirty, I’m bored. I am terribly bored. I want to be after. I want to go home.

In a garden, I want to read a book, to have a conversation, to take photos, or watch the buzzing world & butterflies.

I’m a cat person – in MBTI I’m INTFJ and my enneagram is 5 : The Observer – I’m perceptive, I watch and think, instead of… doing things.

Reading, writing (in the morning), eating, sex (evenings), taking photos – my entertainment thing is NOT linked to displacement – which, for me, is a dumb way to kill the banality of life.

And but yeah, Hopper’s letter :

…how life works. It’s moving. Always moving, whether you like it or not. And, yeah, sometimes it’s painful. Sometimes it’s sad. And sometimes… it’s surprising.

Maybe I fear surprises? Why is that? Always moving? Nope.

Make mistakes, learn from ’em, and when life hurts you, because it will, remember the hurt. The hurt is good. It means you’re out of that cave.

Mmmmh I think I prefer the cave, now. Hurt not good. I’m OK!

Have a nice day!

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Complementary Partner?

When you’re young, you like simple, you like big statements. “Life is sad”, or “I’ll find my prince”, or “I wanna be an actor”.

Some people stay there, it’s why they love categories. They REALLY think they are INTJ – and if you say that sometimes you are also an INFJ, they say you don’t understand the concept. They use boxes and labels. For themselves.

Big question I had when I was in my twenties : “What’s better, to find a complementary partner or a same as you partner?”.

With easily guessed consequences :

  1. If you marry someone like you, it’s easier, you party together, you love the same movies and musics, and your sex life is paradise.
  2. If you marry someone not like you, it’s a mess : quiet vs loud, classical music and hardcore rap, reading in bed and motorbiking in the mud.

After all : BooksTeaCat, SportsBeerDog & their Social Interactions Necessities

Then you grow up and you live and the constant rain of complexities, disillusions and surprises end up to your upgrade : it’s A Matter of Levers – simplicity is senseless.

As we are moving forward in our days, we change, we plug to possibilities, we have many speeds, many joys, many powers and weaknesses, we have many intensities, and feelings.

(And it’s the same for your partner, silly!)

Whoever your partner is, the result is a mess, right? So what? That’s life! Amor Fati!

Oh snap : When you hate someone and 3 mn later you deeply love this person

  1. When your other is a lot like you, it’s great : my lover is a cat person, a book lover, a quiet person, and she has no car (oh this is perfect!) – we evolve in the same aquarium. And I can write or take photos as much as I want!
  2. When your other is a lot NOT like you, good. Why did you choose this person? How do you dance? Isn’t complementary perfect? Don’t you like to read alone when your spouse kills ducks in mudfens? Don’t you have a friend to talk to when your lover is a man of zero words? And also don’t we all need to be disturbed?

What’s the secret here? To stay yourself, of course. Not to bend too much, at the risk of losing your inner light…

Mmhhhhh…

“Opposites attract, but similarities bind”. Is that true?

The “Let’s make it a dance” tool says this : “When it’s difficult somewhere but you have to insist and you have to stay in the system, just accept and absorb the difficulties – and invent a dance. Your dance. It’s a mess, but you can dance it, smile, and climb the stairs”. And ignore the others. Nobody can understand your own dance. It’s a secret.

Sorry, this article is a mess, tant pis. I don’t even know where it went. Hence, I found a picture of my Eliette playing watergunning (or squirtpistoling) with a friend, voilà.

Bonne journée ! Thanks for reading!

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Everything that goes wrong goes right

Are our Fears camouflaged Desires?

Empathy – and words linked to it

Empathy? I wrote an article about having too much of it : The “Too Much Empathy” Syndrome

The ability to feel (or guess) what another person is feeling, believing…

We thinkers like to examine it, but I realize there aren’t so many books about it.

My first idea is it’s because it’s a big-deep quality. It’s like being dexterous or green fingered, and being clumsy. You can’t, really, change that.

  1. One can not develop their empathy.
  2. One certainly can not make someone develop their empathy.

My second idea is that though we all have, built in our deeprofound mind, a prehistorical dose of empathy – some people only, then (education? culture?) can develop the flowers of empathy from it, some others don’t. It’s dry. That’s it.

Another word? Attention. If you have empathy, you watch people around you, your kids, your love – you have a like perpetual computing algorithm which “guesses and reports” what probably happens in others’s heads. You read them continuously.

Another word? The decentering process. To have empathy you have to decenter. The next word is selfishness, then.

Another word? Relational Intelligence. A dance between a dry empathy which we need to understand the others’ intentions and feelings, and a warm empathy which is deeper and linked to love.

Maybe one can develop the first one? A rational empathy, is it possible?

Then it leads to empathy as a tool, in management, teaching, or therapy. It becomes, then, a… lever (or a leverage, which one’s the best?).

How to we detect a lack of empathy? How does empathy rejoin the love of stories? And what about “types of conversations”? Where and how does a lack of empathy become an… asset? What about justice, or police? What about mother/baby? And father/baby? What is vicariance, and how is it used in pedagogy? What is the “pleasure to help”?

A teacher who has empathy knows how to interest his class, then he has their attention, then they learn

Thanks for reading!

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Ohh I found a book on my shelves, “A History of Empathy”. I’m on it, OK?

The wish for mentor

Mentor sounds good. It’s not a guru – where you feel it’s toxic, too much, manipulation. It’s not a guide. It’s maybe in the middle…

It’s not a muse, nor an authority, it’s not a coach, not your parents, or disturbers.

I’m reading Irving Yalom‘s autobiography, where he tells his constant need, during his growing life, for a mentor. An adult person who would have “detected” his uniqueness, his talents, his whatever makes one special…

Then, this person would guide you a little, would show you things you should know, and would probably tell your parents (who aren’t aware, of course).

It’s a cousin-pattern of many things, linked to Types,

  • like the teacher who unblocks you with a single phrase,
  • the uncle who offers you a magnifier (or a telescope),
  • the best friend who marks/scars you forever with a single innocent observation,
  • the soul-mate lover who disturbed you so much you’re reconfigured in the whole of you, or almost.

Wishing you had a mentor is almost a Type in itself : overthinkers, introverts, shy people, book lovers, quiet seekers.

Everybody needs attention and understanders (and I think it’s why some love stories are so intense), good conversation lovers, listeners, good askers. Here, it’s something else, right? Not sure…

Every other helper I listed here can embody the role of the Mentor… one needs. Someone who gets you, even in a 2 seconds sentence,

  1. points you out to others
  2. shows you possible paths (doors, windows)

 

Well, we should NOT need that, but… we do what we can!

Have you met a mentor? Have you been a mentor to a kid? Should you? How?

 

Thanks for reading!

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Watzlawick wrote somewhere that when something is bad…

Watzlawick wrote somewhere that when something is bad, the contrary is not necessarily good.

The idea of “choice” is really a problem, right?

  1. If you INSIST, you’ll maybe fail : “More of the Same Thing”, when insisting is a failure
  2. If you QUIT, you’ll maybe fail too. Or succeed. You have to try!

There’s this : if you walk on one path, you’ll never know what you could have discovered on the other one. One just imagines (convinces oneself) it’s the good choice.

In a way, it’s understandable. A choice, and you close a part of your brain. It’s simpler.

The Frenchness in me is a bit mischievous, and tells me that in front of a choice, I’d choose both – “Bake Two Cakes”, or the dangers of segmentarity

But the crux (I just learned this crux word, and I’m happy!) of these problems is Haecceity.

Insist on A and Quit B, and you just close possibilities, that’s all.

Life is not made of A or B, but to plug with possibilities, it’s constantly moving along the day, along days. Therefore big choices (apart of choices like “I quit smoking”, which is obviously clever) are maybe mistakes : one should always be prepared to play with propositions of life. Don’t you think?

But some days, we are tired, I agree.

Have a great day!

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