Sunday, December 19, 2010

Significant Moments: He was always so quiet and shy!

Albert Rothenberg, M.D. first described or discovered a process he termed "homospatial thinking," which consists of actively conceiving two or more discrete entities occupying the same space, a conception leading to the articulation of new identities. Homospatial thinking has a salient role in the creative process in the following wide variety of fields: literature, the visual arts, music, science, and mathematics. This cognitive factor, along with "Janusian thinking," clarifies the nature of creative thinking as a highly adaptive and primarily nonregressive form of functioning.

There is a section of my book Significant Moments whose manifest content describes an imaginary encounter between Henry David Thoreau and the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche.  Superimposed on that text is the metaphor of the Holocaust (Shoah).  Primo Levi was a Holocaust survivor and writes about his experiences in The Periodic Table.  Shoah is the name of Claude Lanzmann's documentary about the Holocaust.

People say about me: "But you were always so quiet and shy.  How did you get mixed up in your current activities?"  Well, I created a new personality for myself.  Or perhaps I had a new identity created for me.  The "Holocaust" changes a person.  You can't live through that experience and not come out a changed person.  For those persons who say "You are paranoid, your perceptions of your environment are ideas of reference," I say, "How do you account for the changes in my personality?"  I must have experienced something beyond mere perceptions.  In point of fact, I conserve pathologically precise memories of my encounters in that by now remote world.  The quotation "I had last seen him a weedy youth" is actually a description of the young Otto Rank, a follower of Freud's, the subject of E. James Lieberman's book, "Acts of Will: The Life and Work Of Otto Rank."

Thoreau required of any writer a simple and sincere account of his life, and no doubt if . . .
Stephen A. Black, Eugene O’Neill: Beyond Mourning and Tragedy.
Friedrich Nietzsche, Nietzsche contra Wagner.
. . . had been able to write straightforwardly of . . .
Stephen A. Black, Eugene O’Neill: Beyond Mourning and Tragedy.
. . . the ugly growths and parasitic creepers infecting the dense Wagner-Nietzsche forest, . . .
Robert W. Gutman, Richard Wagner: The Man, His Mind, and His Music.
All Too Human
George Stephanopoulos, All Too Human: A Political Education.
. . . would not have been written or would have been very different.
Stephen A. Black, Eugene O’Neill: Beyond Mourning and Tragedy.
I should not forget that during my last winter at the pond there was . . .
Henry David Thoreau, Walden.
. . . a serious but . . .
Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit.
. . . welcome visitor, . . .
Henry David Thoreau, Walden.
. . . a gentle, perceptive soul who would have been an ideal companion in the woods, . . .
William O. Douglas, Go East Young Man: The Early Years—The Autobiography of William O. Douglas.
. . . a young man named Nietzsche . . .
Ernest Newman, The Life of Richard Wagner.
. . . who at one time came through the village, through snow and rain and darkness, till he saw my lamp through the trees, and shared with me some long winter evenings. One of the last of the philosophers,—
Henry David Thoreau, Walden.
. . . one of my . . .
Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce Homo.
. . . Waldensian friends.
Primo Levi, The Periodic Table.
At that time . . .
Thomas Hardy, Far From The Madding Crowd.
I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond . . .
Henry David Thoreau, Walden.
Now I conserve pathologically precise memories of my encounters in that by now remote world: well, . . .
Primo Levi, The Periodic Table.
I had last seen him a weedy youth, timid and deferential, much given to clicking of heels and bowing. Now in stalked a wiry, tough man with a masterful air whose first act was to deposit on the table a . . .
Ernest Jones, The Life and Work of Sigmund Freud.
. . . draft copy of a . . .
Colleen Conway, Lakes Region Conservation Trust Has Big Plans for Red Hill.
. . . book with the marks of a great destiny, . . .
Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil.
. . . a collection of aphorisms that bears the title Human, All-Too-Human.
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Genealogy of Morals.
I asked him if he . . .
Henry David Thoreau, Walden.
. . . would like me . . .
Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit.
. . . to contribute to this book. If he would, he should tell me a story and, if he would allow me to make a suggestion, it should be our kind of story, in which you thrash about in the dark for a week or a month, it seems that it will be dark forever, and you feel like throwing it all up and changing your trade; then in the dark you espy a glimmer, proceed groping in that direction, and the light grows, and finally order follows chaos.
Primo Levi, The Periodic Table.
The young man stood in silence . . .
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Elective Affinities.
He would never reply.
Primo Levi, The Periodic Table.
I wish I could say that I had . . .
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis: The Making and Unmaking of a Psychoanalyst.
. . . supplied him with ideas as much as with support.
Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for Our Time.
All that was futile. . . .
We can understand one another; but each of us is able to interpret himself to himself alone.
Hermann Hesse, Demian.
He embraced me then. "Good luck, good luck." I never saw him again.
Claude Lanzmann, Shoah.
There was nothing we could do but part, because neither of us had anything to give the other and neither of us could be fair to the other.
Hermann Hesse, Magister Ludi: The Glass Bead Game.
He never said . . .
Anthony Trollope, The Prime Minister.
. . . just how he went about creating a new personality, but it was a difficult process.
E. James Lieberman, Acts of Will.
Today I know that it is a hopeless task to try to dress a man in words, make him live again on the printed page, especially a man like . . .
Primo Levi, The Periodic Table.
. . . my dear young friend.
Bram Stoker, Dracula.
He was not the sort of person you can tell stories about, nor to whom one erects monuments—he who laughed at all monuments: he lived completely in his deeds, . . .
Primo Levi, The Periodic Table.
—which were nothing less than . . .
Thomas Hardy, The Woodlanders.
. . . the adventures of an . . .
Kate Douglas Wiggin, A Summer in a Canyon.
. . . unworldly young recluse . . .
Ernest Newman, The Life of Richard Wagner.
. . . and when they were over nothing of him remains—nothing but words, precisely.
Primo Levi, The Periodic Table.
I kept . . .
Henry David Thoreau, Walden.
. . . Prof. Nietzsche's book . . .
Cosima Wagner's Diaries (Wednesday, January 3, 1872).
. . . on my table through the summer, though I looked at . . .
Henry David Thoreau, Walden.
. . . a page or two . . .
Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Guardian Angel.
. . . only now and then.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden.
One thing more, which I might later forget:
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Elective Affinities.
I finally left . . .
Henry David Thoreau, Walden.
. . . the distant solitude of the wood, where I was living quietly and peacefully
Richard Wagner, Lohengrin.
At present I am a sojourner in civilized life again.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden.

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