WERELD & DENKEN
 
 

Bronnen bij Het alfa- en bèta-denken: psychologiseren

5 okt.2009

Een van de grote verschillen tussen de alfa- en de bèta-geest is de houding tegenover het eigen individu. Daar waar de bèta geneigd is zich bezig te houden met zaken die zich buiten hemzelf bevinden: de levende en de dode natuur, de werkelijkheid, gaat de eerste aandacht van de alfa uit naar de zaken in zijn eigen hoofd. Waar de alfa een psychologische roman leest, leest de beta een sciencefictionboek - en er staat niet veel gepsychologiseer in sciencefiction boeken. Een reden dat sciencefiction door de alfa's, die de smaak in dit soort dingen bepalen, niet tot de literatuur wordt gerekend.
   Je zou zeggen: zo veel zelfstudie dat moet toch wel iets moois opleveren ... Wat natuurlijk een ironische opmerking is, want iedereen weet dat het tegenovergestelde het geval is: de ultieme alfa, kunstenaar, is een neuroot, die zwelgt in Weltschmerz en ook op allerlei ander manieren zich niet gelukkig voelt. Wat zich onder andere uit in een redelijk hoge frequentie van drugsgebruik in die kringen.
    De relatie tussen dit soort Selbstanschauung en de wat minder gelukkige gevolgen is heel treffend beschreven door Bertrand Russell, in zijn The Conquest of Happiness (Hoofdstuk 1:  What Makes People Unhappy)

  ...    Perhaps the best introduction to the philosophy which I wish to advocate will be a few words of autobiography. I was not born happy. As a child, my favourite hymn was: `Weary of earth and laden with my sin.' At the age of five, I reflected that, if I should live to be seventy, I had only endured, so far, a fourteenth part of my whole life, and I felt the long-spreadout boredom ahead of me to be almost unendurable. In adolescence, I hated life and was continually on the verge of suicide, from which, however, I was restrained by the desire to know more mathematics. Now, on the contrary, I enjoy life; I might almost say that with every year that passes I enjoy it more. This is due partly to having discovered what were the things that I most desired and having gradually acquired many of these things. Partly it is due to having successfully dismissed certain objects of desire - such as the acquisition of indubitable knowledge about something or other - as essentially unattainable. But very largely it is due to a diminishing preoccupation with myself. Like others who had a Puritan education, I had the habit of meditating on my sins, follies, and shortcomings. I seemed to myself - no doubt justly - a miserable specimen. Gradually I learned to be indifferent to myself and my deficiencies; I came to centre my attention increasingly upon external objects: the state of the world, various branches of knowledge, individuals for whom I felt affection. External interests, it is true, bring each its own possibility of pain: the world may be plunged in war, knowledge in some direction may be hard to achieve, friends may die. But pains of these kinds do not destroy the essential quality of life, as do those that spring from disgust with self. And every external interest inspires some activity which, so long as the interest remains alive, is a complete preventive of ennui. Interest in oneself, on the contrary, leads to no activity of a progressive kind. It may lead to the keeping of a diary, to getting psycho-analysed, or perhaps to becoming a monk. But the monk will not be happy until the routine of the monastery has made him forget his own soul. The happiness which he attributes to religion he could have obtained from becoming a crossing-sweeper, provided he were compelled to remain one. External discipline is the only road to happiness for those unfortunates whose self-absorption is too profound to be cured in any other way.
    Self-absorption is of various kinds. We may take the sinner, the narcissist, and the megalomaniac as three very common types.
    When I speak of  'the sinner', I do not mean the man who commits sins: sins are committed by everyone or no one, according to our definition of the word; I mean the man who is absorbed in the consciousness of sin. .........

Maar geen kunstenaar die er vanaf zou willen.


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