In favor of a "New Humanism" Movement, concrete and pedagogical, with examples and analyses

 

A movement led by the neurosciences, arts, psychology-psychotherapy, spiritualism

 

In the same way that a host is getting ready to receive his guests e.g. for a dinner party. What would my guests like to have? How could I make my guests feel more comfortable? How could I keep them entertained?

 

 

Let us consider the following use case:

Use case: Rumination

What is rumination? (From Google.com)

Etymology: mid 16th century: from Latin ruminat- ‘chewed over’, from the verb ruminari

Definition: Replaying over and over in our head a stressful situation.

 

 

Part I:  Give an example, an experience, a description from an every day life situation

 

Part II : Poetry (ΠΟΙΕΙΝ=TO ΜΑΚΕ) , “making something of a situation, making something based on that situation”

 

(note that in greek “OI” , “EI” ,“H” is pronounced “I” as in “is”)

 

Literature on Rumination

Consider an example. Take one from the literature.

 

Sense and Sensibility

By Jane Austen

Introductory comment from this site: Mrs. Dashwood and her three daughters were living for a long time at the Norland Estate after having received an invitation by the owner, the uncle of Mrs. Dashwood's husband. Now the estate was transferred to his son, Mr. John Dashwood, and his wife. They decide to move in. How does one react to this? Is it a legitimate action but also an intrusion? How does one handle what is considered as a personal attack? (e.g. insult etc)


(CHAPTER I)

Mrs. John Dashwood, without sending any notice of her intention arrived with her child and their attendants. No one could dispute her right to come. But the indelicacy of her conduct was so much the greater, and to a woman in Mrs. Dashwood's situation, must have been highly unpleasing. But in her mind there was a sense of honor so keen, a generosity so romantic, that any offence of the kind, by whomsoever given or received, was to her a source of immovable disgust. Mrs. John Dashwood had never been a favourite with any of her husband's family; but she had had no opportunity, till the present, of showing them with how little attention to the comfort of other people she could act when occasion required it.

 

So acutely did Mrs. Dashwood feel this ungracious behaviour, and so earnestly did she despise Mrs. John Dashwood for it, that, on the arrival of the latter, she would have quitted the house for ever, had not the entreaty of her eldest girl induced her first to reflect on the propriety of going, and her own tender love for all her three children determined her afterwards to stay, and for their sakes avoid a breach with their brother.

Elinor, this eldest daughter, whose advice was so effectual, possessed a strength of understanding, and coolness of judgment, which qualified her, though only nineteen, to be the counsellor of her mother, and enabled her frequently to counteract, to the advantage of them all, that eagerness of mind in Mrs. Dashwood which must generally have led to imprudence. She had an excellent heart; her disposition was affectionate, and her feelings were strong; but she knew how to govern them: it was a knowledge which her mother had yet to learn; and which one of her sisters had resolved never to be taught.


Marianne's abilities were, in many respects, quite equal to Elinor's. She was sensible and clever; but eager in everything: her sorrows, her joys, could have no moderation. She was generous, amiable,
interesting: she was everything but prudent. The resemblance between her and her mother was strikingly great.

Elinor saw, with concern, the excess of her sister's sensibility; but by Mrs. Dashwood it was valued and cherished. They encouraged each other now in the violence of their affliction. The agony of grief which overpowered them at first, was voluntarily renewed, was sought for, was created again and again. They gave themselves up wholly to their sorrow, seeking increase of wretchedness in every reflection that could afford it, and resolved against ever admitting consolation in future. Elinor, too, was deeply afflicted; but still she could struggle, she could exert herself. She could consult with her brother, could receive her sister-in-law on her arrival, and treat her with proper attention; and could strive to rouse her mother to similar exertion, and encourage her to similar forbearance.

Margaret, the other sister, was a good-humored, well-disposed girl; but as she had already imbibed a good deal of Marianne's romance, without having much of her sense, she did not, at thirteen, bid fair
to equal her sisters at a more advanced period of life.

 

 

POETRY (=MAKING) :

Epic (Tell)

Lyric (Play lyra instrument - and sing and dance)

Dramatic (Act)

 

Theatre (ΘΕΩΜΑΙ = I see) : what I see

 

Poetry (ΠΟΙΕΙΝ=TO ΜΑΚΕ) , “making something of a situation, making something based on that situation”

(note that in greek “OI” , “EI” ,“H” is pronounced “I” as in “is”)

 

Let us suppose that we have lived a situation like this. Now let us “make” something of that situation, based on that situation that we have lived. The verb “make” in the greek (hellenic) language is “ΠΟΙΕΙΝ”. The noun, the act of making something is called “ΠΟΙΗΣΗ” =“poetry”.

 

We can say something about it, put words to it, create a narration. The verb “to say” is EΠΩ.  An epic poem would be a narration, one with a rhythmic or metric scheme added to it (e.g. it could rime).

 

You can accompany the narration with an instrument e.g. a small harp called lyre. This would be lyric poetry. You can add singing and dancing in this poetic frame. All these expressions are associated to the term “lyric art”.

 

You can also add some “action”, some “doing”, some “act”. (confer “#ActOnClimate)

The greek verb for “doing-acting-perfom an act” is “ΔΡΩ”. The noun is «ΔΡΑΜΑ». Poetry accompanied by “action” is “dramatic poetry”.

 

This would be “theatre”. Actually, the word is derived from ΘΕΩΜΑΙ (=I see) meaning what we see, the place where we see and who sees (the audience). (Note that “AI” is pronounced “e” in greek as in “air”).

 

 

A major driving force behind the development of Greek theatre was considered to be the Dionysus festivals. As mentioned in Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dionysus) Dionysus is the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness, fertility,[2][3] theatre and religious ecstasy in Greek mythology.

 

As mentioned in greek Wikipedia, a common feature of Dionysus rituals is the state of ecstasis which releases man from everyday troubles.

 

Lyric recitations by singers/actors on subjects related to human conditions, human suffering were termed tragedies. The word tragedy comes (a) from tragos which means male goat and (b) from ode, which means song. It is not known exactly why “tragos” was used; it could be because the performers were dressed in goatskins to represent satyrs (goat-like woodland deities), because when dancing they were jumping in a funny way like goats, because the prize was a goat etc. (Generally, the goat could be linked to the wild, the carefree,  fertility, strong driving force for liberation from everyday suffering etc).

 

Drama: Tragedy (human suffering in general), Comedy (to make fun of) and Satyr Play (to make people laugh)

 

The tragedy was one of the three forms of drama. The other two were comedy and satyr play. Comedy was about making fun of situations or people in order to teach; it was therefore what we would call a satire or parody or ironic play. For instance you would make fun of people who initiate wars or who preach to be virtuous but are themselves immoral. A satyr play would be an entertaining piece by which an audience would have fun after having watched a tragedy.

 

 

"Tragedy is an immitation of a deed that is important a complete"

 

Here is the definition of tragedy according to Aristoteles - Please note that the ancient greek word "mimesis" meaning "immitation" has been translated as "enactment" 

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy

Tragedy is, then, an enactment of a deed that is important and complete, and of [a certain] magnitude, by means of language enriched [with ornaments], each used separately in the different parts [of the play]: it is enacted, not [merely] recited, and through pity and fear it effects relief (catharsis) to such [and similar] emotions.

— Poetics, VI 1449b 2–3[19]

 

In short:

Tragedy is an enactement of a deed that is important a complete

 

 

What can we make of a deed that is important and complete, what can we make based on it?

 

Let us start by calling the arts, and a most important art theorist, Aristotle:

As mentioned at this link:

“some of the most basic conceptual tools of all later theorizing about drama have been anticipated by Aristotle’s magisterially simple delineation of the “six parts” of tragedy: plot (mythos), character (ethos), thought (dianoia), diction (lexis), music (melos) and spectacle (opsis).”

“The first three concepts encompass three aspects of the fictive world represented by a dramatic text or performance: what is done (“plot”), by and to whom (“character”), and why (“thought”) as the character’s reasonings or as the playwright’s and director’s thematic message). The last three in turn apply to three aspects of theatrical world-making whose chief vehicles are, indeed, either verbal ("diction") or nonverbal and either acoustic (sometimes even "musical") or visual (sometimes even "spectacular")".

 

Insightful descriptions and analyses given by art. Also cf. character analysis which explains the driving forces of human behavior.

 

 

Part III: Obtain the facts on the mechanism of the human soul, of the human consciousness by the Neurosciences

 

Here is an article from Christopher Bergland published in Psychology Today providing the brain mechanics of rumination

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201508/the-brain-mechanics-rumination-and-repetitive-thinking

 

Excerpt: 

"The default mode network (DMN) is a network of brain regions that are active when your mind wanders and you find yourself daydreaming, reminiscing, or lost in self-referential thought."

(…)

"It would seem that normally the subgenual prefrontal cortex helps to bias the reflective process supported by the default mode network so that we can consider important problems in the service of developing strategies for solving them."

 

"However, in depression it seems that the subgenual prefrontal cortex runs amok hijacking normal self-reflection in a maladaptive way."

 

Obtaining the facts can lead to suggestions for self-remedies:

 

Christopher suggests that “engaging the cerebellum might "unclamp" the prefrontal cortex's grip on the DMN and allow for stream of consciousness thinking and less rumination.”

 

How do you engage the cerebellum?

 

Christopher suggests “Climb a tree!”

 

“Strong physical activiites requiring dynamic proprioception (such as climbing a tree or balancing on a beam)” (...).

 

“I have a hunch that taking a dual-pronged approach that involves either mindfulness or dynamic propioceptive activities that engage the cerebellum might "unclamp" the prefrontal cortex's grip on the DMN and allow for stream of consciousness thinking and less rumination.”

 

And medical treatments, such as electrical stimulation of the sgPFC:  

“in depression it seems that the subgenual prefrontal cortex runs amok hijacking normal self-reflection in a maladaptive way. This may be one reason that electrical stimulation of the sgPFC is helpful for some patients with severe or treatment-resistant symptoms of depression.”

 

 

Part IV: Obtain complementary insight on human behavior as well as advice on how to deal with rumination by Psychology/Psychotherapy:

 

Here is an article by Edward A. Selby published in Psychology Today and entitled “Rumination: Problem Solving Gone Wrong | How Rehashing the Situation Can Ruin Your Mood”

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/overcoming-self-sabotage/201002/rumination-problem-solving-gone-wrong

 

Excerpt:

"So we need something to "distract" us from rumination. There are many activities that can be used to distract from rumination, and the best one to use is one that is personal for you. For example, some good activities include reading a book, playing a game, exercising, talking to a friend (but not about the problem!), or watching a movie. Of course you are only limited by your creativity and access to different activities. Importantly, you have to enjoy the behavior for it to work."

 

(…)

 

"Some of the activities that I often recommend are cross-word puzzles and sudoku puzzles. These are good because they require you to actively think about the puzzle, and not the problem. Rumination is a bad habit, so you will need to work on distracting activities on a regular basis if you want to break that habit; trying distraction once or twice is not enough!"

 

 

Part V: Spiritualism to help us deal with rumination

 

Page in French here.