Gemeinschaftsgefühl is not really a holiday greeting but rather a way of being in the world. But it sounds great for this season, and actually it is appropriate, and my wish is sincere. To be explained later*…
This Christmas I write to you about family and family relationships in a very BIG broad sense. Every single one of us related by virtue of our ancestry to the Big Bang and quite possibly before the Big Bang! So relatives all are we: past, present and future in this Universe we call home. So you can see my preoccupation with the universe continues!
In the past year, more so than ever before, I have experienced new meaning in things I thought I knew in the past. Going back has become the new plunging ahead. I thought I understood … but now I understand better! Some of which is related to Alfred Adler, the Psychologist.
Adler talked about relationships and our influence in those spheres in terms of “constellations” and he also used the word “worlds” to describe other kinds of worlds, perhaps even more relevant to our living in this one! He talked about “UmVelt”s. He was referring to the personal subjective worlds we interact with, such as family, friends, and local community. We exert influence and are affected by what others do in these worlds. These are the worlds we exercise free will, conscience, and ethics in. These are the worlds in which we purposefully try to create Peace and Love in connections with people because it is in these connections that we fulfill our human need for importance and find happiness and mental health.
We bring our own uniqueness, or Individuality, in Adler’s words, and relate from our own distinct perspective. In this sharing we give and receive; growing more refined and hopefully, more fulfilled. If the interchanges are loving, meaningful, encouraging, and respectful we, and others as well, flourish in this milieu of nurture. So you all are my umvelt, my local world, my theatre for playing out my role, exercising my choices, finding my meaning and purpose in the BIG UMVELT, the Cosmos!
*Everything in the last paragraph is actually Gemeinschaftsgefühl, which is another of Adler’s terms. Gemeinschaftsgefühl is his definition for mental health, a community feeling whereby one experiences that he or she is valued and thereby feels they belong in the various worlds in which they move with others. And although Adler did not specifically discuss nature, I am confident he would agree developing a value for an ecological connection with nature further enhances Gemeinschaftsgefühl as we relate respectfully with plants, animals, the earth and the cosmos as a whole. Gemeinschaftsgefühl is achieved by service to others, by giving of our talents and skills and by valuing what others give. In this exchange a sense of importance is achieved for those who practice it. It is, in a way, the recognition of the aspect of FAMILY in our world, with friends, co-workers, associates and humanity at large and extended, by extrapolation, to the entire living universe. See http://phenomenologicalpsychology.com/2009/10/alfred-adlers-concept-of-social-interest/ (My correction to the web page: (Adler’s form of psychology is actually titled Individual Psychology not phenomenological and Social Interest is a term he used to describe “Gemeinschaftsgefühl.)
So Adler becomes ever more relevant to me after all these years. (31 years since graduating from the Alfred Adler Institute in Chicago) Reflecting on Adler emphasizes for me how much a welcoming and encouraging way of being is vital for the growth of the human person toward fulfillment!
As I make this journey through the years of my life, I find I have more questions and fewer answers. Some that have been with me lately are: Is evil absolutely necessary? Perhaps the answer is more valid by looking at Evil as the manifestation and consequence of choosing Harm. And, therefore choosing Love is the manifestation and consequence of choosing to help. Then both evil and good are vehicles of potential and I feel absolutely necessary.
So here we are in 2013, these little infinitesimal specks in the Universe. Our life span is less than a trillionth of a second. But we have intelligence, we struggle between good and evil, and what we do, how we choose, has an effect on people, the planet and eventually our Cosmos! Thus, what happens in our small worlds affects our Big World!
All this entails using Consciousness, (thought, conscience and choice) which has major relevance. I want to know where consciousness resides. We live and act in a closed system where everything is used and recycled. So if all of everything came from what preceded it, when every thing ends it’s present state, does that formula of atoms (of everything) get re-formulated to make something else?
So where does our consciousness go when we get recycled? Could it be part of the 95% of the Cosmos that scientists do not know about? We ‘kinda’ know where our carbon, iron, manganese and etc., goes, but where does our thinking, memories, personhood, conscience go? Do they continue to exist? What are they made of? If they are lost, why? How can that be?
What if they continue existing, what if they are intrinsic elements of the LIVING, CONSCIOUS COSMOS, home of energy, matter, wimps, neutrinos and more? Perhaps they are part of the dark energy or anti-matter! Do you know that science only knows what 4.9% of the universe consists of!!! I’d say there is a lot to learn! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Matter
So let me assume you have taken out time to read everything on the links I sent in this note and watched the videos too! HA HA. I am hoping you can see I am hung up on certain dichotomies, good and evil, matter and non-matter, subjective umvelt and objective worlds… And here is one more. People use the terms past, present, future and beginning and endings, a lot. We like to know about boundaries and time. They help us define things and ideas. They give us a sense of progress. But what if they are just our perspective and not real. We after all, are just tiny little worms or specks and we specks are interpreting our worlds, most of which is beyond our present comprehension.
So what if beginnings and endings IS OUR DEVICE FOR UNDERSTAND OR GROUPING AND NOT REALITY? What if ETERNITY is the DEFAULT SETTING for all that is? Meaning, there is no beginning and no ending. Death, destruction, decomposition… is just the moment when the recipe gets changed, when the ingredients get shuffled according to what is JUST RIGHT at/for that particular (DARE I SAY) time, moment, milieu??? A world without time! How do we even think of such a thing? What about us then? Are we eternal?
What is in that 95% of the Cosmos we do not know about?
Is there a collective live consciousness somewhere?
And not discussed in this letter: What is “alive” anyway?
Merry Christmas and Happy Wondering!