vineri, 17 decembrie 2010

You shall know your velocity

The story of how two friends plan to see the world in a week, well, not the entire world, only the "relevant" (to them) parts. Their adventures are full of the plans and dreams they made when they were kids, and now they want to run from their ordinary lives and make them happen.

It was a tragic year for them. Their friend, Jack, died in a car accident and they seem lost without the only good piece in their trio. Will got beaten by some guys, because they had mistaken them for Hand(who in a way was guilty of something). Will got an astounding amount of money for some picture with him changing a light bolt, and now he felt like giving them all away in an impulse of catharsis. He convinces Hand to take a leave from work and to travel with him for a week.

They go to Senegal, and then Morocco, London and Estonia and New York and then Will finishes his journey to a wedding in Mexico City. They start in Senegal where they have different plans on how and to whom they should give money, the same in Morocco and other places where they venture. They seem to be drawn in adventures where they are at the edge of death and living, and come triumphant. This gives them the feeling that they could accomplish anything. But Will cannot forgive his friend Hand for leaving them to get the beating and in the end of the journey he realizes that the only friend that wouldn't have let him alone has Jack, but that Jack is dead and he couldn't do anything to save him, or to avenge his death. He only tries to live with a disfigured face and to come on top of his depressing thoughts. In the end he does seem to realize the things important to him and how he would like to be, but like a complete circle of events, this epiphany is the mark of an approaching death. He dies, two months after attending his friend wedding in Mexico.

The journey, the monologues that Will has, the way that Hand seems to take life as a big joke, are only aspects of different approaches to what seems important in this life. Money do make a difference, the characters know and feel that, but the friendship they had also made a difference. Unfortunately their friendship cannot be the same as a part of what made it special is gone(Jack their friend was the rational part, the one that seem to take confort in the little things). Sometimes, friendships can be ruined by the lack of understanding of the perspectives that the people in it have. Every person has different approaches to life, to important things and sometimes is easy to mistake them for being irrelevant, and then hurt each other.

Maybe all friends should have a journey during which they could make a clear stance on what the important things are to them, but it might seem hard and sometimes unattainable.

The Mummy at the dinning room table

This book is excellent for those thinking about a career as a psychologist, counselor or for those which want to know that sometimes people behave in different and unexpected ways because they weren't taught otherwise or the conditions were extreme.

Jeffrey Kottler and Jon Carlson, two of the most prolific therapist started to gather the most unusual cases that great therapists had during their practice. The most memorable, the most challenging for themselves are included in this book. It's a though reading sometimes, because you are put directly in contact with someone else's pain and you must read it with your mind open and judgement free attitude.

I enjoyed reading it and it gave me a deeper understanding of the techniques and methods taught during my masters years, and now I am eager to start my own private practice. The reason for that is that I have come to realize that people are much more engaged in the therapeutic process when they start by giving money/paying for the help they want rather than receiving that help in a public setting, where it is free, and only those who are really committed or know the value of the service can make the change last. I see it in my school office, where I am responsible of speech therapy, and sadly the parents rarely come to make sure that their chid is making progress or how to make the therapy more productive by doing a "homework" at home with their child.

The book is filled with examples of the human power to make changes in their life/environment and by doing this to achieve the goal of happiness or at least the goal of being able to live your life in a peaceful manner. All the therapist had different approaches to their patients problems, but the line that connected all their efforts was that of respect for the power of their patient /client to make a change and their attitude of acceptance towards the person in front of them. That is an attitude we can rarely enjoy from strangers, only the close ones can really accept for what we are and to keep in mind that we have the power to change and to make our dreams/plans come true(though it is a great burden sometimes for our closest not to judge us or to give solutions that they think are helpful for us).

miercuri, 8 decembrie 2010

Procesul/ The Trial

I’ve heard about this novel, and finally I got the time and was intrigued enough to read it. I must confess, it is a bit confusing at parts, but the overall confusion sticks to it like fruit flies to apples.

When I read the name of the main character Josef K. I immediately thought it is going to be a novel in which I could feel an autobiographical account, but it might be just my imagination that has led me to think that. Anyway, as I read it I started to see the character as having a weird shizoidal attitude to all of people around him. He is being accused or even going through a trial without knowing the crime of which he is being accused of. Here is where I sense the metaphors kick in. To justify myself: first-the jury and all the judicial system is working in areas and locations viewed by the people in that time as expressing lack of financial resources (the offices are situated in attics); second – he never sees any judge and all the hearings are done without mentioning of the crime, and without possibility to defend or justify anything; and third- K. himself goes through different stages regarding the trial itself(ignoring it, and then trying desperately to find out how the system works and then to create a defense against the crime accused of).

All this point me to the idea that maybe the trial was something that the character has imposed itself upon, like something subjective that he accused himself of and then trying to convince himself that is being accused and trialed, but he is the judge and he is the one accused. The fact that he renounces to seek help from outsiders (lawyers, family members, friends) and he renounces slowly to all thoughts of an advancing career leads to the end of the trial and the serving of the punishment. He is the one that gives him that punishment, and although he is being executed by two men, in reality it seems more like a suicidal action, one that he has planned as a consequence of his imaginary trial.

This view is the one that makes sense the most, and for me it is the key to understanding this tangled novel.