Maslow on Peak-Experiences: Diary 4/11 to 4/14/21

Abraham Maslow

Text only copyright 2021 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

{4/11/21}  Weight 214.6 at 7:00 am.

Catastrophe.  This was not supposed to happen, but I relaxed my guard yesterday at the Hemlock Club meeting and had both a non-diet Dr. Pepper and a lemonade, from which I tried to recover by a light lunch and light dinner, but failed.  So it seems that I must get even more serious about my weight.  The thing to do is to not eat unless I’m “starving”; putting off eating for an hour at a time.  If I had been following this rule yesterday, I wouldn’t have eaten dinner, possibly; as I recall, it was about 6:00 and I hadn’t eaten an evening meal, I wasn’t especially hungry, but went ahead and had my standard light meal, two slices of toast and jam.  I think that the important thing is not my .8 pound gain this morning, but rather the recognition that this might work as a weight-loss rule.

An addition to bleakspeak:  “Until it isn’t.”  A reminder that things change.  I used this a few times yesterday in talking to Nog at the HC, and he even picked up on it and used it once or twice.  Possible example:  “Panera is a good place to meet.  Until it isn’t.”

The Hemlock Club meeting yesterday was good.  I was first to arrive, at Raising Cain’s, so I wrote a bit [see below] about Maslow’s Motivation and Personality, which I had brought with me because I wanted to review it.  Pablo arrived, and talked about “topics,” listing:  writers’ block; pitfalls of writing about those you know; jealousy; and the Lazy Susan method (expressed in my words).  I talked about my disgust with my novel project and that I was abandoning it.  Nog arrived and told us about wolf berries that he had with him, and showed us the silver spoon handed down to him by his parents—it was only silver-plated, he said.  Pablo raised the issue of “balm in Gilead,” because I had been reading the novel, Gilead, and elaborated on the meaning of the word in the Bible.  Nog talked about Victor Borge’s “inflationary language,” explaining the word “fivehead” as a joke substitute for “forehead.”  Nog had with him The Wisdom of Native Americans, which he’d bought at Barnes & Noble, and talked about Ohieyesa (Charles Alexander Eastman); he read a couple of quotes from the book, which included “development of personality” as a goal of education; I said that our original model of education included “the repression of personality” or perhaps “standardization.”  Pablo said he had finished reading Shantaram and that he was planning to leave early.  I talked about publishing a book on my blog, free but with a request for donations; Nog said this would be a “Go Read Me.”  He also said, “I’d rather be a happy doormat than a miserable foot.”  After Pablo left I stopped taking notes, but Nog and I talked for a couple more hours.

Oddly enough, I heard the word “fivehead” later on TV, I think in the first episode of Andromeda—or possibly I misheard what was said, having been “primed” by the HC discussion.

Maslow’s M&P:  “To be able to recognize one’s own needs, i.e., to know what one really wants, is a considerable psychological achievement.  This is doubly true for the higher needs.”  p. 148.

“Clinical work with nonneurotic people gives the clear answer that sexual deprivation becomes pathogenic in a severe sense only when it is felt by the individual to represent rejection by the opposite sex, inferiority, lack of worth, lack of respect, isolation, or other thwarting of basic needs.” p. 157.  If pathology exists, what happens when pathogenesis stops?  Next sentence, in part:

“Sexual deprivation can be borne with relative ease by individuals for whom it has no such implications…”

That’s what I wrote in the BuJo; the hope and thought was that, since I am “bearing my sexual deprivation” rather easily, that “my neurosis” might be improving, the sexual attraction becoming disgust, as blathered about in yesterday’s entry.

Now, as for my fiction writing future, this morning I was thinking about an “end of the world old people love story.”  Lying in bed in twilight sleep or whatever, I envisioned a man or a couple walking down a hallway, encountering a dead derelict, and summoning a “sani-squad” of robots to dispose of the remains.  This to be the start, perhaps.  Last night, while watching and greatly enjoying Arch of Triumph, a sad movie with a young Anthony Hopkins in a very good performance (turning on his waterworks a few times), I got the idea of writing a love story; the apocalyptic setting came later, but has often occurred to me as a necessary subject.  Perhaps the necessary subject, since “that’s where we are now.”

Later thought:  what about a dead baby?  Or to crank up the horror to 11, a dog gnawing on a dead baby.

An amusing/annoying/disturbing thing at the HC yesterday:  I wanted to tell Neal about the muddle-headed/simple-minded categories of A.N. Whitehead, but he kept talking and I kept getting distracted and then raising the issue again, it became a running gag, and when I finally started talking about it, I made a hash of it and really couldn’t remember his definitions.  I’ll print out the text and take it with me next time.

In addition to the three books I bought at Bookhounds and the three that I got in the mail yesterday, I have more on the way and will likely get several more in the mail on Monday (tomorrow).  I’m flat out of shelf space and it’s appalling, how much I buy and how little I read.  Twitter and TV suck up all my “reading time.”  I want to keep my TV/DVD viewing down to “one movie a day” from now on, and do more reading.

I took a look at my Collected Quotations to see if I had added Maslow’s Motivation and Personality, found that I had, and read these paragraphs:

“One last point. The key concepts in the newer dynamic psychology are spontaneity, release, naturalness, self-acceptance, impulse-awareness, gratification. They used to be control, inhibition, discipline, training, shaping, on the principle that the depths of human nature were dangerous, evil, predatory , and ravenous. Education, family training, bringing up children, acculturation in general were all seen as a process of bringing the darker forces within us under control.

“See how different are the conceptions of society, law, education, and family that are generated by these two different conceptions of human nature. In the one case they are restraining and controlling forces; in the other they are gratifying and fulfilling.

“If this conception that identifies normality with ideal health holds up, we shall have to change not only our conceptions of individual psychology but also our theories of society.”  p. 352.

The change in view from the idea that humans are inherently or naturally evil, to the opposite, is profoundly important and occurred during my lifetime.  It’s the change in education from suppression or standardization of personality to “development of personality,” which the native Americans (apparently) practiced and toward which US education is trending (or gives lip service to, perhaps).  It’s also the foundation of the humanistic psychology that so interests me.  Until it doesn’t.  (Joke)

Good quote from a blog, “TheEnlightenedMind622”:  “Some of the best advice I’ve been given: “Don’t take criticism from people you would never go to for advice.”  Attributed to Morgan Freeman.  (Quote marks sic.)  But what if it’s good criticism?  The site is rather like a twitter feed in content—short quotes, and newsy links to other sites.

When I come up with these ideas for a new novel, rather than just describing the idea here, wouldn’t it be more appropriate or smarter or something to just begin writing the novel?  Surely it’s worth a try…maybe not today.  (Ha!)

Listening to Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder, but I’m also impatient to get on with dictation and I think the voices would interfere.

The raves on the back of my copy of Lolita are surpassingly ridiculous:  “The only convincing love story of our century,” per Vanity Fair, and “Nabokov writes prose the only way it should be written, that is, ecstatically,” from John Updike.  I read up to page 136, studiously, of the 317 in the book.  It would be difficult to persuade me to read it, or even so much of it, again.  During the reading I noted some words and expressions:  moral apotheosis, plage, fretillement, tant pis, humble hunchback, incondite, incarnadine zebras, hiccuppy music, backfisch, lentor, and an old favorite of mine, callypygean [sic].  I also noted a number of passages, either for usefulness with TLC or for some other purpose, most likely as examples or just to add to my CQ.

I cannot offer a real review.  I was reading it as a writer and for background or “raw materials” for TLC, not “as a reader.”  Writers need to know the book, I suppose; I would never recommend it to anyone as a “good read” or whatever.  I think it is a bad book, written for (presumed) purposes of which I cannot approve and written in a way that annoys and disgusts me.  I don’t deny that much of it, the prose style especially, is surpassingly excellent, but it’s also showoffy, pretentious, and aimed at persons who are not me.  But it’s the characters, what he chooses to dramatize and what to summarize, the myriad other choices that a writer makes—that’s where he loses me.  I could be more specific, but it’s not that important to me to make converts to my opinion.  I don’t need to try to prove anything here.

The little I know of Nabokov aside from the culture and general reputation and his (unreadable? boring!) fiction is from his literary criticism, which I found excessively and stupidly critical.  I’m referring specifically to his objections to Constance Garnett as a translator, and specifically one passage from Anna Karenina.  Given that Russian and English are languages he of course knows thoroughly, he’s entitled to have an opinion deserving of respect, and I should, in theory, bow to his authority when he claims that she “mistranslated” the passage.  As it happens, the opinion I formed of the translation, regarding Vronsky’s horse race, was that “it was the most exciting thing I’d ever read.”  It was hard to then come across someone of note saying that, in essence, she sucked.  So, I’m being unfair, and it’s quite possible that this irritation with the man taints my opinion of Lolita.  I can live with that.  I did, however, get thoroughly bored by Lolita before I ever read his literary criticism (about thirty years ago).

{4/12/21}  Weight 214.4 at 6:00 am.  I expected better.

It is pitiful to be on twitter first thing in the morning, only to moan later that I’ve pissed away the whole day.  I can always find work to do if I think for two nanosecs.  Even useful, entertaining work.  If I think again, I see that, looked at in a certain way, twitter is useful, entertaining work, because I provide entertainment and wisdom to others.

The problem is not so much twitter as the moaning.

Three-page diary entry yesterday.  In looking back at it, I find that I used twice a word I rarely ever use, in discussing Lolita:  “surpassingly.”  Today I dictated eight pages of Prison Diary (not yet cleaned up) and bought a few groceries at Target, responded to many tweets and sent a few originals, talked to Pablo on the phone for about twenty minutes, took a nap, ate breakfast (my standard), cookies for lunch (really breakfast’s dessert), and dinner (toast and ice cream), and now it’s 7:30 pm.  Received two books in the mail, Dehaene’s How We Learn and Weinman’s The Real Lolita, plus DVDs.  If I do the dictation cleanup I’ll feel free to goof off until bed.

{4/13/21}  Weight 212.8 at 6:40 am.  It’s now clear to me that some of my recent gains are due not to calories, but to sodium (and thus, water retention).  I literally pissed away 1½ pounds yesterday.

One of the things I got from Hamilton Booksellers yesterday was Michael Moore’s TV show, The Awful Truth, on DVD.  The first 22-minute episode revealed how little has changed in the decades since:  the Clinton impeachment, Moore says, cost fifty million dollars and produced nothing; Clinton promised “Medicare for all,” but our medical system still puts profit above life, at least in the case of the HMO, Humana, confronted in the show.  Eerie echoes of the present.

Text only copyright 2021 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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