“Aben og sumpen” – metoden der bremser unødvendige bekymringer #brainhack

Photo: Rob

Kender du det: Du bekymrer dig om alt mellem himmel jord til ingen nytte? At du igen og igen kommer i tanke om noget fre fortiden, som du nok Så skal du læse denne tekst…  

KORT FORTALT: Det er din ”indre abe”, og ikke dit rationelle selv, der holder uhensigtsmæssige og irrationelle bekymringer kørende, så hvis du forbinder bekymringen med en mose, som aber frygter mere end noget andet, vil din indre abe ikke bevæge sig ud i den, og ”puf!” så kan de uhensigtsmæssige bekymringer stoppe fra den ene dag til den anden.

Lyder det for godt til at være sandt?

Rigtigt mange, måske os alle? har prøvet at ”obsesse” over noget. Mange har kogt i deres eget indre med alt fra jalousi hen over tristhed til selvhad og tvivl. Hvorfor gør vi det mod os selv? Eller måske nok vigtigere: Hvad kan vi gøre ved det?

Hvad er en bekymring?

En bekymring består af en samling overvejelser om hvordan man bedst håndterer en mere eller mindre indbildt trussel. Følelserne involveret rangerer fra mild utilpashed til voldsom panik. Selve aktiviteten synes at kunne fungere uden af at vi egentlig har lyst til fortsætte den, hvilket afslører at bekymringer er forbundet med et urgammelt affektreguleringssystem, der giver den stressede person et stærkt behov for 1) at spotte en fare og 2) holde øje med den og 3) finde på løsninger for at 4) finde sjælefred. Læs mere her.

Med andre ord er en bekymring noget ”vi aktivt gør”, og det er til dels drevet af en stærk evolutionsbiologisk indlejret motivation for at finde sikkerhed mod farer, reelle såvel som indbildte. Dybt nede i vores underbevidsthed har vi altså en antagelse om, at det giver mening at bekymre sig.

Sagen er uheldigvis, at bekymringerne som regel er selvforstærkende. De kan være svære at stoppe og ”komme ud af” når de først er kommet ordentligt i gang.

Sumpen

For at begribe og håndtere dine bekymringer kan du betragte dem billedligt som en sump eller mose, som du kan komme til at sidde fast i.

Spørgsmålet er, hvor langt du går ud i mosen, og således; hvor dybt du lader dig synke ned i den.

Herunder kridter jeg nogle forskellige niveauer ned af hvor dybt man kan synke ned i bekymringer. Hvor 1’eren den der, der har sunket dybest ned i bekymringerne.

1. Du er smeltet sammen med bekymringen. Du er røget helt ned under overfladen. Du kan ikke se land, om man vil. Du forholder dig ikke skeptisk til dine destruktive/ukærlige tanker om dig selv/verden/andre/tiden. Selv en psykolog skal arbejde hårdt for at få dig til at øjne bare en sprække af uhensigtsmæssighed ved bekymringerne. Du ophøjer sandhedsværdien af de forvrængede tanker til noget absolut sandt. Du forholder dig også skeptisk til at gå til psykolog, for hvorfor skulle du dog gøre det, og hvad skulle du kunne få ud af det? ”Det hjælper jo ikke” siger du efter 3 minutter hos psykologen.
2. Du tænker disse negative tanker tit, men hos psykologen kan du godt af og til indse at de er irrationelle og eller ukærlige. Du er klar over at tankerne ikke er ordentligt repræsentative for virkeligheden. Du er klar på at forholde dig skeptisk til dine egne antagelser, vurderinger, erfaringer, tanker, følelser og fantasier, men din parathed til at give slip på dine negative tanker er imidlertid ret overfladisk. Din forståelse af at bekymringerne er irrationelle, er baseret på spinkle efterrationaliseringer. Du er stadigvæk i bekymringens magt.
3. Du er nu blevet klar over at dine tanker er skrupforkerte, men du falder igen og igen ned i de samme gamle bekymringsspor. Du er ved at være meget klar på at forholde dig kritisk og skeptisk over for egne tanker, du er nemlig ved at udvikle en mild tristhed, og dermed en slags begyndelse på at afslutning. Tristhed kan godt bane vejen for forandringer i og med at tristheden rummer nuancer, hvor bekymringen sædvanligvis er præget af absolutter og sort/hvid tænkning. Du føler dig nu mere ”slået” og træt, end du føler dig overvældet af bekymringerne.
4. Du falder ofte i de samme gamle bekymringsspor, men de fremstår mere tågede og mindre sande. Du kan, hvis du fx har helbredsangst, nu komme til at tænke at du fejler ”x” uden af at det ryster dig synderligt, og uden af at tankerne og forestillingerne får dig til at tjekke og gruble. Du studser over, hvordan man kan tænke en tanke om at fejle noget, at være anderledes, dum eller grim, uden af at blive ked af det eller angst ved tankerne. Du undrer dig over hvad tanker så i det hele taget er? Der er nu længere og længere mellem dine bekymrings-aktiviteter.
5. Du har forstået at dine uhensigtsmæssige tankespor vil dukke op af og til. Du frygter dem ikke længere. Du lader dem være når de dukker op, og er lettet over, at så længe du ikke panikker over dem, går de såmænd hurtigt i sig selv. Du finder det ikke nødvendigt at tale med nogen om det.
6. Du har lange stunder på dage, uger og måneder hvor du ikke grubler over noget på noget tidspunkt. Dette er især tilfældet hvis du har lært at meditere som en del af behandlingen. Du undrer dig over, at du har kunnet bruge så meget tid på at bekymre dig uden grund.

En bekymring er noget, der starter som negative fornemmelser, indre billeder, følelser eller tanker i vores indre, som man ofte aktivt kan vælge at gå ind i eller ej. På den måde er den som nævnt ikke ulig en mose, som man kan vælge at gå ud i, eller ej. En mose som man sidder mere og mere fast i, des længere man går ud i den.

Og nu bliver det interessant.

Introducing the monkey.

Hvis det primært er urgamle og ureflekterede følelsesprægede netværk i hovedet der holder bekymringsaktiviteten ved lige, kan vi kalde det ”abehjernen”. Det er med andre ord, din ”indre abe”, der kan siges at holde de mange unødvendige bekymringer ved lige.

Nu kan du så prøve at forestille dig at din bekymring udgør en sump. At for hvert skridt du går kan du høre et sjappende og sjaskende fodspor. Når du forestiller dig, at du hører, ser for dig eller fornemmer at du er på vej ud i en ”mose af bekymring” skal du tænke, eller sige bestemt til dig selv: ”Jeg skal ikke ud i den mose, det virker ikke for mig. Jeg sidder bare mere og mere fast jo længere jeg går…”.

Et mirakel kan her indfinde sig. Din indre abe frygter mere end noget andet, at sidde fast i en sump og måske dø af sult eller drukne (aber kan ikke svømme) og eftersom det er aben i dig, der gerne vil holde din bekymring i gang trods al rationel logik, skal du blot give den en endnu værre fare forbundet med bekymringen og ”puf!” så frygter aben bekymringen så meget, at den holder sig fra den.

Jeg ved at det næsten lyder for nemt, men jeg har efterhånden prøvet det af på mange af mine klienter (30-50?) og … øhm mig selv, med god succes. Måske du selv skal prøve det? DEL hvis du kender nogen der sidder fast i bekymringer.

15 gode råd til at lade forelskelsen løbe ud i kærligheden, og ikke i sandet…

photo: Toa.

Som forberedelse til et DR1 program om forelskelse skrev jeg følgende essay, og nu deler jeg det med jer. kh og værsgo:

Jeg har som psykolog læst om forelskelser forklaret med hormoner, hjernestoffer, evolutionsbiologi og psykodynamiske teorier, og alt i medens jeg kan fortælle om det, som læste jeg op fra en kogebog, føler jeg mig lidt som en kujon. Forelskelsen er måske kendetegnet ved en cocktail af særlige neuroner og logaritmisk korrelerede personlighedstræk mv. jojo, jaja… men hvad giver disse beskrivelser andet end tørre øjne og trætte ører? De er hverken handlingsanvisende eller inspirerede. De er end ikke forklarende, med lægevidenskabens cirkularitet som det tydeligste eksempel: ”Forelskelse er en forhøjelse af stof X, en forhøjelse af stof X er en forelskelse.”

Hvad er disse lægevidenskabelige perspektivers funktion på forelskelse og kærlighed, hvis ikke en svalende blindgyde for eksistentielle kujoner?

 

Oplevelsen som analyseniveau

Oplevelsen er virkeligheden. Og her bliver din beskrivelse af din forelskelse og kærlighed den virkelige, hvordan du end vælger at beskrive den.

Oplevelsen er samtidigt stien, der leder os mod de liv der er værd at nyde og værd at erindre. For det du oplever bliver det sandhedsvidne, der kan guide dig gennem dit liv.

Oplevelsen hvisker endda til os, at forelskelsesenergien ikke kun er ”fase” på 3-12 måneder, men også en flygtig og lunefuld energi, noget der aldrig dør helt ud mellem elskende.

Forelskelsen strømmer godt nok heftigt i begyndelsen af et forhold, men den løber jo ikke løber ud i sandet, den løber ud i kærligheden, hvis man er heldig, og hvis man er dygtig!

 

Poesi og litteratur som oplevelsens spejl

Kærligheden og forelskelsen stiller sig nemlig til skue for os alle sammen i oplevelsen og den kunst, der så stilfuldt reflekterer den, for medens romantikken ikke velvilligt lader sig underkaste videnskabelige nævnte cirkulære beskrivelser, danser den i poesien, som havde den aldrig gjort andet.

For er det ikke som en fantasi, der helst skal føles, drømmes om, males, synges om og danses? (Hvilken sangtekst har du ikke sunget med på, fordi du var forelsket, eller fordi du var blevet forladt og forsmået?)

Kan du derfor kende dig selv lidt i det følgende?

 

Forelskelse som en (bevidst) fantasi om udfrielse

Forelskelsen kan være som en fantasi, der meget ugenert, baserer sig på forestillinger om en slags totalløsning på eksistensens usikkerhed og ensomhed. Den er stedet for vores udødelige utopiske længsel. Vil vi være den foruden. Nej, vel? For hvad er mere ægte for et menneske, end vores oplevelse? Hvad kan derfor være mere fjollet end affeje det mest virkelige, bare fordi det forekommer den “rationelle”, irrationelt? Spørgsmålet bliver: Hvorfor ikke kigge på din kæreste som hende du har valgt, som hende der har valgt dig, i det ene liv du har. Den bedste ven, den nærmeste. Den du kan give dig hen til, sørge med, græde med, gemme dig hos, og med hvem du kan glemme alle de sværeste tanker og lade de tunge følelser opløse i nattens kram. Hende der kan få dine tungeste tanker lettet fra jorden, og hende der kan bringe din himmelflugt til ende for en stund? – Hvem mærker ikke noget forelskelse i den ubetingede hengivelse. 

 

Forelskelse som prototype på medfølelse?

Den kan være som en fornemmelse af, at det kun er den særlige anden kan få “dit sår” til endelig at hele. Den ophøjer muligheden af relationen til en guddommelighed. Måske vi skylder al vores moral og næstekærlighed denne forelskelsesenergi der som relationen mellem mor og spædbarn, nedbryder grænser og for os til at smelte sammen med andre?

 

Forelskelse som velsignet vanvid

Den kan på den måde også drive folk til vanvid, for den repræsenterer således samtidigt en selvforglemmelse, et tab af kontrol – et tab af vores egen kontrol over os selv.

Skal det så undgås, eller fejres? For alt der kan drive os til vanvid, kan også drive os til store handlinger og den meningsfuldhed, der kan sætte al lidelse i relief.

 

Forelskelse som flugt?

Er den ikke en forestilling om noget, der kan bevæge os over, og hinsides de almindelige behov og krav der fylder hverdagen ud?

Alle disse gøremål, der er som myggestik på psyken, som ballast på den flyvevillige sjæl: Det hengemte selvs trang til at være himmel selv?

Hvad hvis ikke kærlighed og forelskelse kan give os mod til at transcendere den platfodede rationalitet, 8-16-kødsovs, vi binder om halsen, og kalder godt?

Måske kan man glemme flugten i hverdagens trommerum, men den ligger der som en mulighed, for den der er smart nok til at arrangere små (ud) flugter fra hverdagen.

En svalende irrationalitet

Kender du det: Som fugle med kløe i vingerne, prøver vi at være så naturlige i vores unaturlighed som muligt: Afventer du også afsættet over tagrygge, supermarkedskøer og snotnæser? Du, der har glemt dit vingespænd under stramme frakker medens du prøver at ignorere himlens kald.

Kun nattens dyb glimter uundgåeligt for alle, når dagens rester smuldrer ud i drømme. For natten kalder med almægtig tilgivelse på vores trang til vægtløshed.

Du og jeg har aldrig været mere bundet, tynget og velnærede på én og samme tid. Trætte slæber vi os rundt og forelsker os i TV serier, og underprioriterer kærlighedsgudernes kor; sangen om kærlighed.

Forelskelsen! Fortabelsen! Hengivelsen!

 

Kan vi dyrke hverdagsforelskelsen?

Og nu tænker du: Skal vi da give os hen til de drilske muser og vores dumme sjæls tro på at den kan flyve? Man kan da ikke bare gå rundt og forelske sig til højre og venstre?

Skal vi ikke hellere binde os til masten, om man vil, som Oddyseus på vej hjem til konen på Ithaka, så vi ikke sejler på skærene i jagten på de fortryllende sirener?

Jo måske, men forelskelsens løssluppenhed kan måske guides forsigtigt hen til den store disede eng, hvor I først mødtes?

Altså der hvor det hele ikke gik op i praktik, diskussioner og uforløstheder. 

Forelskelsen er den du ænser i din kærestes øjne når du slipper din ballast og elsker hende med uskyld – igen og igen og igen.

 

15 råd til hverdagsforelskelsen 

  1. Lad være med at gå med ubehandlede problemer eller misbrug, detvsætter sig som en kile mellem dig og andre.
  2. Som mand skal du kunne, eller ville noget, ellers gider muserne dig ikke.
  3. Et godt socialt liv fornyr jer selv og jeres forhold. Spænding er centralt for at lokke lidt forelskelse frem.
  4. Tal sammen med ægthed og sårbarhed, minimum 90 min om ugen.
  5. Skab lidt afstand mellem jer af og til. Savnet kan vække de slumrende musern lyst til jagt og begær.
  6. Man skal selvfølgelig støtte hinanden når det går dårligt, men mange glemmer at fejre hinandens successer, og det er lige så vigtigt.  
  7. Vær spontan og lidt skør, for her giver I hinanden mulighed for at se jeres utallige aspekter, både de kendte og de ukendte, reflekteret i hinanden.
  8. Find tanken ”hun er min og mit liv er kun ét. Hun gider mig?! jeg vælger hende!”
  9. Find tanken ”alt det vi har lavet sammen, alt det vi kan lave sammen!” Mærk fællesskabet på tværs af tid, som noget der gør jeg stærke sammen.
  10. Som mand: Vær stærk i nederlag, stå solidt på din bund! Så er hun din. (ved det lyder mærkeligt, jeg forstår det ikke en gang selv rigtigt.)
  11. Lad være med at gøre den anden til eventyret, lev dit liv som et eventyr, som andre får lyst til at være med på.
  12. ”Mindful observation”: Lær at betragte din partner uden vurderinger. Kig på alle aspekter ved den anden, som skulle du male ham eller hende, og skub stædigt  alle de automatiske tyk/tynd, dum/klog, irriterende/behagelig .. vurderinger til side og lysten vil stige mellem jer.
  13. Vær lidt kølig på strategisk vigtige tidspunkter, så fornemmelsen af jagt kan opstå hos den anden.
  14. Altid, altid, altid forsøg at tilgive. Hvem har dog fået den idé, at manglende tilgivelse kan være godt for noget?
  15. Kys min. 30 sekunder hver dag, gå i bad om aftenen, bar mås i dynen. Essentielt. Punktum.

A Battle of Giants: Jordan B. Peterson vs. Nietzsche. Three Rounds. Fun Facts from ringside.

You can read the piece where it was published first:

Medium.com

Presenting: Jordan B. Peterson’s Spirit vs. Nietzsche’s Spirit. Three rounds & “fun facts” from ringside.

The gentlemen’s spirits will be matched against one another in three rounds representing each of the three stages in Nietzsche’s “metamorphosis of the spirit”.

PRE-FIGHT SYNOPSIS

If you know the basics of Nietzsche and Jordan B. Peterson you can skip the intro.

Nietzsche in a few words

Life: Lived from 1844–1900, was Professor of Philology at the age of 24. Didn’t marry — never had a girlfriend. A small and frail guy with an astounding intellect.

Role models, whom he saw as pairs: Epicurus and Montaigne, Spinoza and Goethe, Plato and Rousseau and Pascal and Schopenhauer. — On these eight I fix my eyes, and see their their eyes fixed on me. — Nietzsche

Key skills: Like his role models he bedazzles his readers with wit and insight. His speciality laying out unnerving universes of thought. The true horror though is not that he confronts you as the monster jumping at you from yellowed pages. We are ourselves the monsters and great potentials mirrored in his words. Painting life as a tremendous landscape with deep and treacherous gorges.

Psychology: Calling psychological problems a something that arises from a lack of expression of life, he was a major influence on psychoanalysis and Freud. Throw in his influence on Jung and Adler for good measure and you can get away with calling him one of the most important thinkers in psychology as we know it.

A key point of his: Bereft of religion we must according to Nietzsche overcome our innate vices and learn to shine on our own principles. Thus redeeming the guilt ridden body as a sovereign self and body to cherish in all its nuances under a sun so generous that it also lights up the “netherworld” — all the shadowy sides of our being.

Knocking people out with poetic punches since the 1860’ies: Arguably nothing wrestles your psyche to a pleasant submission like Nietzsche’s writings. Even if you don’t understand most of it, you will still sense the vigour and will to live bursting at you from the pages. Actually you don’t read Nietzsche. You fear him and you study him. Each page a hotchpotch of unsettling ideas.

Critique: Anybody who has truly stepped into the ring with Nietzsche has experienced some of this drama. Revealing that an otherwise renowned literature critique whose name escapes me calling “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” a mistake, never actually had the guts to step into the ring with him.

Nietzsche the overcompensator: In order to understand and appreciate Nietzsche — you have to understand him as a human being first. Nietzsche’s quest was I believe a real and honest attempt to uncover and reveal: What happens in us, what are we, why and how can we live in the best way? This purpose of wanting to understand our psychology combined with the light tower like virtue ethics of his role models shows, that he was at least partly a classical renaissance humanist.

His military mustachios and bravour regarding the superman and the will to power made a super-strong meme by Michel Foucault, should perhaps be taken with a grain of salt. Being frail, sans employment, money and someone to love and tormented by headaches he was obviously want to overcompensate. His so called male chauvinism is but veneer, shiny and superficial, betrayed as it is by his deep and unfulfilled need for a woman to love. Freud would have called his male chauvinism a “reaction formation”. Jung interpreted his overcompensation as stemming from “enantiodromia”, a counter reaction to the puritan Apollonian zeitgeist of his times.

Stability: Really not stable at all.

Nietzsche really, really wanted to tell us something, and his books will still be some of the scariest and most profound in centuries to come. A little guy but a heavy weight in spirit and a great contender in the following battle.

Jordan B. Peterson in a few words

Professor of Psychology, 55 years old, very productive and with a talent for seeing the drama of life inspiring millions of people to pull up their socks and live more meaningfully.

Peterson is easier to get a grasp on than Nietzsche. Not because he is a simple man, primarily because he is alive and Nietzsche is not. You can readily follow Petersons train of thought on Youtube and Twitter — especially if you are open minded.

Role models? Tough guys working in the freezing cold of Canada, Jung, Alexandr Solchenitzyn, Howard Bloom, his daughter, Piaget, George Orwell, Jesus and Joe Rogan (for his formidable openness).

Style: Combining among other things history, mythology, art, evolutionary biology, social science, psychotherapy, psychometrics, philosophy and religion to shed light on existence, he is academia’s answer to a mixed martial artist, or rather an artist needing a large palette to serve justice to his landscape painting. He is into what one might call “wisdom” and stringent thinking, having written a how-to guide to writing essays which is unparalleled in academia.

In a sense he mirrors Montaigne and Nietzsche who lamented the lack of wisdom in a world, where people were learning to read and write but not to think.

For this Herculean effort he is chastised by a mainstream media that seems more intent on being politically correct and abiding to the rule of the “one bite size media friendly causality discussions”, leaving intelligent people heaving for fresh air.

The fact that Peterson’s “renaissance” thinking stands out, may also be due to us living in a world splintered into specialized branches of science. From these places the virtue of contemplating the meaning of it all is seen as a bit silly. Researchers, scientists and intellectuals seem caught in the pit of their respective silos, calling their speck of light the “truth”. Biologists can’t see “free will” under a microscope and via ex cathedra scientificus conclude that it doesn’t exist. Consciousness gets labeled “the hard problem” and is stowed away for new age people and Youtubers to play with. To top it off, many get caught like shoals of fish in group think dynamics on social media. Making clear thinking a tertiary priority to group membership or rather; making clear thinking the greatest threat to the tribal identities of our age.

Postmodernism-gate: Peterson suggests that people curious to understand these state of affairs of “non-thinking” to read “Postmodernism Explained”, but why try to take responsibility for understanding something like postmodernism which is unclear and boring. Surely such intricacies should be unravelled by the thinker, and not the reader? At least people like Nietzsche and Jung remain entertaining through their philosophical musings and Montaigne even has the courtesy of being funny, teaching us that philosophy is meant to serve life, not the other way around. Peterson deals primarily with postmodernism’s effects on society rather than unravelling their textual excursions and for that he is chastised, when he rightly should be applauded.

Character: The battles in the media and at court regarding funny made up pronouns (long story) have given Peterson something truly heavy to lift up off the ground. Giving him the opportunity of developing his character in an era of an unbearable lightness of being. That was good for him and inspiring for the rest of us.

Stability: He is “driven” as Nietzsche was before him. Perhaps he is also a little bit disturbed his gloom and dystopian perspectives taken into consideration:

Should we subtract some doom and gloom from Peterson’s ideas as one subtracts “overcompensation” when reading Nietzsche?

It is hard for people, myself included, to fathom all the mayhem that transpired in twentieth century and possible pending doom in a world where the only truly psychopathic despots left are relegated to disgusting caves in the mountains of the jagged Himalayas in Afghanistan and eerily weird North Korea.

Being cushioned by late modernity perhaps we lose sight of the truly important things — like avoiding doom? Many even seem to think that Donald Trump is as bad as the “leader” (read: dictator) of North Korea signifying a total lack of insight into the what dictators actually do to people.

Whatever one may think of that, Peterson is a contender to be reckoned with.

The Audience

Peterson has a score of intelligent, relatively normal people rooting for him. Nietzsche’s fans on the other hand tend to be a bit weird. Most seem to root for both Nietzsche and Peterson at the same time, them being friends despite their differences especially when it comes to religion. Peterson wanting to remain religious by revising “God“ into a mythopoetic version of the best life to be lived and Nietzsche realising you can’t believe in the word of the Bible in an age of the enlightenment. I am not sure that there is a big disagreement. (The main difference would be that Peterson thinks that Nietzsche thinks that we can coin our own values, Peterson thinking that we can’t because the powers within us are somehow to great to be molded by our free agency.)

The Peterson fans have a few beers, the Nietzscheans split into two groups; some being dangerously drunk, the others just drinking water texting their therapist while sat in the crowd.

The three rounds have as mentioned different backdrops or themes based on Nietzsche’s three step theory of the development of the “spirit”.

Thus, my brethren, will the differences between Nietzsche and Peterson be exemplified.

Fun fact: As Peterson I believe in rambling my way to clarity. The “art of logos” unwittingly perfected by Michel de Montaigne in the sixteenth century who inspired Nietzsche to do the same. (Them all being brilliant ramblers, me mostly rambling.)

Fun fact II: This is a painful pilgrim path leading up to a local holy place above Rapallo, a small coastal town in Genova, Italy. This is where Nietzsche lived and trekked for hours every day while penning down the idea of the “metamorphosis of the spirit” in the winter 1882–1883. We can be certain that he walked here.

Rapallo, Genova, Italy, photo: Me.

THE RING: THE THREE STAGES OF THE SPIRIT ACCORDING TO NIETZSCHE

The spirit starts out as 1) camel, becomes a 2) lion that fights a dragon and dies to rise again as 3) an innocent child.

ROUND ONE: Camel Nietzsche vs. Camel Peterson

photo: Kawtar

The first phase of the spirit could be called “the heavy self-sacrificing phase”.

Strong people feel inclined to lift heavy things to test their strength, and so they load themselves up — with pleasure.

In this way they kneel down like camels so that stuff can be heaved up onto their backs.

At this stage the soul is also want to humiliate its own pride and mock its own wisdom.

In this phase the spirit willingly subdues itself. It lets itself be beset by masters, schools, schools of thought, theories, habits, rules, traditions, religions and routines.

“All these heaviest things the load bearing spirit taketh upon itself ….” — nietzsche

The importance of “Camelness”: Many discussions on social media, in politics and the news seem brought on by the uniformed being uninformed together brought on by a combination of laziness and helpfulness, which is a peculiar vice. Modern preachers (anybody with a laptop) rarely possess anything resembling expertise regarding the topic they are concluding stuff about.

The same phenomenon can be observed at university. I have helped countless students give up their pride and kneel down like camels to the textbooks and the access-giving courses and discourses ruling the joint, letting themselves be colonized for a while.

You need to let yourself be enslaved and “carry” a load of things you don’t necessarily readily appreciate nor understand in order to become civilized: Get your head down, participate, be a generous participant, forget yourself and your pride for a while. The fact is: Nothing comes from nothing, you need to submerge yourself in traditions and systems of thought to produce better systems and better thoughts.

Here we also see the potential danger of the Camel phase, individual freedom and independent thinking being equally as important as the willing colonisation of the spirit. As a Camel the spirit loses the personal or embodied sense of direction, hence Nietzsche sees this as a kind of wilderness for the spirit.

“… and like the camel, which, when laden, hasteneth into the wilderness, so hasteneth the spirit into the wilderness” — Nietzsche.

So although many good things can be said about being a Camel, Nietzsche let’s the Camel venture into the wilderness, a place deserted of personal meaning carrying burdens not freely chosen.

Points for Round One

Peterson doesn’t act much like a Camel himself, his burden primarily his own patchwork of ideas, but he sure does promote being a Camel. When talking to full theatres he admonishes people to be good Camels. Bow down. Lift up something heavy. Do what is important in the long run (read: Golgotha, self sacrificing bleeding feet walk). Peterson simultaneously “detests” what he sees as ideologically possessed Camels on the extremes of the political spectrum. He doesn’t like the herding kind of Camel unless it is the Christian or Buddhist sort.

Nietzsche had been a heavy Camel from he was a child, reading and re-reading the Bible for all to hear. As such he carried the heaviest book on the tiniest of shoulders. He also bore its remnants; the corrupt, child-beating, soul wrenching not very Christian Christian culture of his times. He thus came to hate the Camel spirit. He went on to lose all Camelness when entertaining the “blasphemous” meta-perspective; that the Camel phase is but a phase bordering on vanity, self-deception and slavery. In this meta perspective, if you want, the primary reason for picking something up, is to find somewhere better to put it. Or as he puts it, acknowledging the Camel phase as a necessary precursor for freedom: You need to be a slave first to become free.

Fun fact: When Nietzsche so rarely owned up to the people he was inspired by, rarely quoting people, it could have been because he refused to be a Camel carrying “heavy names”?

Fun fact III: To make sense of these transformations of the spirit it is helpful to see Nietzsche’s understanding of the shifts and developments in personality as influenced by the tradition of “alchemy”. Alchemy is the process by which things can change completely as an effect of two things being brought together. In that respect, as we shall see, a camel can easily become a lion if you mix “camel” with “meaninglessness in the wilderness”, and in the same way a “lion” and a “dragon” can easily become an “innocent child” if you mix them up. In other words: The “you” that emerges when you mature and change and develop is something that you can’t fathom before you are there. The soul “transforms” on your path to ever growing self realization. Hope you get it, if you don’t check out Youtube/Alan Watts/Terence McKenna/Jung/alchemy.

ROUND TWO: Lion Peterson vs. Lion Nietzsche — Fighting a Dragon

”But in the loneliest wilderness happeneth the second metamorphosis: here the spirit becometh a lion; freedom will it capture, and lordship in its own wilderness.” — Nietzsche

At some point you will discover that you are carrying a burden not freely chosen. You are carrying ideas contrived by others. You start yearning for your freedom. You start sensing a need for autonomy.

You also discover that you are shaped by a thing called society, or as Nietzsche puts it; a “dragon”.

“‘Thou-shalt,’ is the great dragon called. But the spirit of the lion saith, “I will.” — Nietzsche

”The values of a thousand years glitter on those scales, and thus speaketh the mightiest of all dragons: “All the values of things — glitter on me.” — Nietzsche

All values have already been created, and all created values — do I represent. Verily, there shall be no ‘I will’ any more. Thus speaketh the dragon.” — Nietzsche

The Lion stage is a classical “existentialist moment”, the spirit discovering its deep yearning for self determination.

In Nietzsche’s dramatic take on things the Lion has to fight to the death in the battle with the dragon.

The lion has to die presumably because you can’t beat society. Also the Lion dying is symbolic of the fact that the anarchy thus represented has nothing to offer but riot. It must be short lived:

”To create new values — that, even the lion cannot yet accomplish: but to create itself freedom for new creating — that can the might of the lion do.” — Nietzsche

Anarchy that lasts is a form of insanity. Nietzsche even warns that you can become a dragon yourself if you fight one (kind of):

“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster..” — Nietzsche

Fun fact: Nietzsche most likely found inspiration to the rebellion against society’s hold on the self or spirit in Montaigne’s essays, in which he thought of the self as a hotel where you shouldn’t let the visitors decide things.

Fun fact II: The fight or “lion-stage” is an impulse, not a viable perspective on life, which makes it fun to see how post structuralists and postmodernists essentially are creating their paradigms on top of it. They might as well be building a house on a landslide.

Points for Round Two

Calling the Camel spirit supremely important Peterson’s actions on the public stage has been more Lion-like. So far — in the beginning of 2018, the Lion spirit of Peterson hasn’t died, as it rightly should, but perhaps his smile and ease in for example the Cathy Newmann interview in late 2017 reveals that the Lion is losing its roar? Which would be a good thing. Funnily enough his combatants see him as the dragon and themselves as lions. Whatever the case Peterson’s courage under fire in the trials and tribulations has given him many points in “Lion spirit”.

Nietzsche may sound like a lion, or rather a bunch of crazy hungry lions in much of his writings, but in reality he actually torments his “inner Lion” by calling it a fool (my reading of Zarathustra’s fool). Nietzsche wins the Lion stage however as he can’t help being in riot. So while Peterson won as Camel and scores highly in the lion phase, Nietzsche has got to be the winner in round two even if he would prefer not to win.

Fun fact: Postmodernists are said to be heavily inspired by Nietzsche. I think however that Nietzsche would laugh at Foucault’s reduction of all our drives to “power”. At Derrida’s “there is nothing under the word”, he would roll his eyes in contempt at the hubris connected with discounting our inner devils.

ROUND THREE: Innocent Child Peterson vs. Innocent Child Nietzsche

The little prince, arguably the most innocent of innocent children in literature

“Innocence is the child, and forgetfulness, a new beginning, a game, a self-rolling wheel, a first movement, a holy Yea.” — Nietzsche

Thus Nietzsche expands on the last stage of the soul characterised by an absolute openness to experience, mirroring ancient wisdom like that of Tao te Ching:

The simple child again, free from all stains.” — Lao tze

Nietzsche apparently argues for finding your will to life and experience (not power!) inside yourself and letting it have the way with you as it were. He talks about a phase of loving being itself.

“Aye, for the game of creating, my brethren, there is needed a holy Yea unto life: its own will, willeth now the spirit; his own world winneth the world’s outcast.” — Nietzsche

The emptiness of the wilderness now becomes the very prerequisite for the free creation of meaning by the sovereign individual. A sentiment echoed by repeatedly by Albert Camus and symbolized by Exupéry in the sublime existentialist story about a little boy with blond hair, who has come down to earth from a small asteroid.

“What makes the desert beautiful, said the little prince, is that it somewhere hides a well” — Exupéry, The Little Prince

The Camel bows down to the forces of history and society, the lion fights and the Child wonders:

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” — Exupéry

The child allows himself to let his purpose come from his own body. The child’s knowledge is “embodied” and marked by an urge to participate innocently in a world of wonders.

“It is such a mysterious place, the land of tears.” — Exupéry

When you begin to master the Child phase of your spirit your relationships improve on account of the honesty, openness and niceness belonging to this phase. You also get that funny feeling of having seen it all before. It’s a bit like coming home. It feels like a spiritual awakening for some. In the New Testament it is a seen as a the very road to salvation:

… Truly, I say to you, If you do not have a change of heart and become like little children, you will not go into the kingdom of heaven. — Matthew 18:3

— –

“Three metamorphoses of the spirit have I designated to you: how the spirit became a camel, the camel a lion, and the lion at last a child.”

… thus spake Zarathustra….

– Nietzsche (1844–1900)

— –

Fun fact: The Child spirit represents a paradox: The completely open mind is a disaster waiting to happen for the unskilled person and a hallmark of honour of the skilled person. Michel de Montaigne has a laugh when pondering this paradox saying that he prefers to talk to peasants and enlightened people, because both of them stand with their bare feet on the ground, the rest of us caught in a limbo somewhere along the continuum between illiteracy and enlightenment. A continuum which is a really circle where the extreme ends meet, along the idea of the ancient Greek observation of “enantiodromia”.

Fun fact II: As Zarathustra the little prince has two animal friends a fox and a snake, where Zarathustra has an eagle and a snake. The Little Prince and Zarathustra both traverse places a strangers wondering what all the diverse traditions and beliefs are all about while they try to make sense of it all, as strangers to the planet as it were. The difference is that where Nietzsche tells the story of the little vulnerable child on a few lines and stops that particular analogy there, continuing his Zarathustra ramble, the story of Little Prince is all about that particular phase of the spirit and how to integrate the Child spirit into your being.

Fun fact III: Exupéry introduces unwittingly (?) a “fourth Spirit”, that of the grown up, the Pilot in the story, who integrates the Child spirit, the little prince, resulting in what one could call the actualised or self realized individual.

In the Story of The Little Prince, we see the Prince letting himself be bit by a snake (snake = symbol of wisdom). While dying the little guy tries to comfort the distraught pilot who crashed in the desert and befriended him, with these words:

“You — you alone will have the stars as no one else has them…In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night…You — only you — will have stars that can laugh.” — Exupéry

And thus the Child spirit vanishes as it becomes your inner compass, an abstract value guiding modern man through it all, like stars shimmering above the desert giving faith and meaning, leaving the individuated person with transcendent values and a (manageable) sorrow over our irretrievable innocence.

Points for Round Three

Nietzsche is the author of this three stage model of personal development so he, of all people, should be the most of what he apparently somehow aspired to. Alas. Nietzsche scores very unevenly as a Child spirit. His Zarathustra is childlike in places but very unstably so. It takes a “fully lived life” to become like an innocent child and Nietzsche just doesn’t really manage that. I think that Nietzsche in this way mirrors Kierkegaard who was also relegated to observing the world somewhat neurotically rather than living fully in a happy unworried and innocent way. Many great thinkers haven’t been able to become what they knew they had to become. Yup — pretty sad.

Peterson doesn’t seem to be a particularly good Child either. He seems so heavy and Camel-like that the wild foxes may hesitate to befriend him (see “The Little Prince”). That Peterson wins this phase hands down is due to the fact that when he rambles a bit, and agrees to let himself be interviewed by people who are set on “doing him in” and when he breaks the authoritarians speech codes, he does it with an openness and courage signifying not the Lion, nor the Camel but the embodied sense of the Child that knows that something is important and it is important to try to understand it.

In any case Peterson wins… , for why on earth would anyone want to:

“-let the dead bury the living”

-Nietzsche

Fun fact: If there is anything to be said about this admittedly not so stringently evidence based story of the development of the spirit, it is that true love and readiness to a transcendence, or even “anima integration” is keys to unlocking your highest potentials.

Fun fact II: Nietzsche attacked the church for its inhumanity. Having torn down the church he lets the sun break through the ruins, letting nature grow from its ground. Here (as I read it) in the resulting wilderness he leaves a innocent child for us to ponder. Can this be seen as a redemption of the Jesus myth? Yes.

Kort sagt: Om karakter

Livet er bygget af lange seje stræk med indskudte dovne pauser og den lettende latter. ‘

Vi går nogle gange automatisk og ubevidst. Det kan være godt og det kan være skidt.

Andre gange betræder vi sten så hvert et skridt føles hele vejen op igennem kroppen.

Ingen kan gå dog lige (efter et mål) uden af at træde på skæve sten af og til (uden at opleve problemer).

Man skal aldrig slå en sti efter dens lethed, men efter den retning man har sat for sig selv.  Nogle gange kan en “retning”, være det, at leve i overenstemmelse med en værdi.

 

“..dyden nægter at følges med det letkøbte.. den kræver en anstrengende og tornet sti..”

– Montaigne

 

Ingen kender stien til deres hjertes tilfredshed, som ikke har gået på de stejleste og sværeste skråninger.

.. og alle ved, at vejen altid laver et knæk!

Man er ikke særligt gammel før man opdager, at stien også afbrydes af tænders gnidsel over broer af frygt og håb, hvor vi balancerer mellem kærligheden og himlens afgrund af stjerner.

Reglen er at turde at gøre det rette, upåagtet vores sårbarhed, for den rette vej synes altid at bære den højeste belønning på sigt uanset hvor smertefuld den end måtte være i nuet.

Kort sagt. Om døden

 

Vedrørende døden

Som den sene Montaigne skrev, skal intet menneske have sin slutning i sine tanker, for slutningen klarer det fint uden vores indblanding. Den ved fint hvornår det er tid, og behøver ingen hjælp.

“Døden kommer ikke os ved, for så længe vi eksisterer, er døden her ikke, og når den kommer, eksisterer vi ikke længere.” -Epikur 341-271 fvt. 

Intet er dog værre end andres fortvivlelse, for vi ved, at døden bare er endnu en afslutning. Det er meget sværere at bære andres tvivl. Det er min erfaring.