Will and work

In the 2 month absence of my therapist due to an unknown skin condition I am left to try to sort some things out on my own. She gave me numbers to some suggested replacements in the meantime, as well as recommended that I could find somebody else through my insurance. I don’t mean to sound weird or overly attached here but it’s like your husband telling you to just find somebody else to have sex with some random stranger, since he isn’t feeling up to it. I can’t just start over with somebody else, trust and uncovering of deep-seated issues takes time, all my emotionally intimate eggs are in this basket so I found it interesting this casual suggestion to see somebody else, I wonder if others may take this more lightly if they were in my situation. I am feeling better than I was 9 months ago when I started all of this, and it gives my expenses a break so I’m not too sad about it, but was kind of on a roll with this whole self-discovery thing so I’ve been exploring different theories in psychology just through random readings. This can be dangerous, probably just as dangerous as Googling any symptom you may have as it ultimately just sends you to worst case scenario thinking. Well maybe better because I’m skimming scholarly materials from established professionals.. BUT, if I keep this in check, it’s just interesting to see what theories are out there in the field, and how they could (possibly) pertain to my own web of consciousness.

I stumbled upon Alexander Lowen, who came up with the idea of bioenergetics analysis. I won’t even attempt to explain this, as I’m only like 40 pages into 1 of his many books, but here is a link to his bio on Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Lowen (now I must side shame myself for using Wikipedia and being an academic librarian, but it’s just a blog). When he talks about the schizoid personality and its tendency to force behaviors to attempt to seem like a functioning emotional being he explains how it is a facet of society that we all have to force behaviors from time to time and this is a normal part of being in today’s modern world (especially the work force). This quote about it really stuck to me.

“Yet, the fact is that many people in our culture are forced to use their will in routine activities. How often one hears the remark ‘I had to use all my will power to get to work this morning’. If this sounds like a schizoid statement, it should be realized that conditions of work in modern culture alienate the individual from the creative process and deny him the pleasure and satisfaction of his productive effort. One works under these conditions because of compelling necessity, not desire. To regiment oneself of the mechanization and standardization of a mass production system requires an effort of will” (Lowen, pg.48, 1967).

It’s crazy that we have set up our society to basically oppress our own creativity to maximize profit and production. I mean, this doesn’t apply to everybody, but for a long time I struggled with this working in real estate for about a decade. It’s hard to swallow that people spend their life in a constant state of misery just trying to feed themselves and their families squandering any attempt at creative output. It’s such a struggle. And one I fight with too, even now that I’ve found a career that allows to me express creativity, and encourages it.

Anyway this book is old, and looks boring as heck, but Lowen has some great ideas about identity and the schizoid personality. If you happen to be struggling with your own identity or sense of self it may be a good read for you, it’s kind of dry, obviously.

Lowen, A. (1967). Betrayal of the body. New York: The Macmillan Company.

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