Variations on a theme: individualism and cultural context

An informative post from Alex Myles on Elephant Journal inadvertently raises the old quest of ontology back into the light of day. Unsurprisingly or not, gender is the vehicle. You can read the appropriate article in full here.

The gist of her article is simply news reporting and she skims samples of past pop culture references to illustrate various contexts in which the theme of the body is welcome and celebrated.

There were a few items however that to my eyes were conspicuous about her bio and when it comes to criticism, the point is ideas and not people!

That said, it may be best for me to switch approaches from an aesthetic angle to a psychological one.

Pop culture’s view of modernism credits Freud, rightly or wrongly, with being the first psychologist to articulate a perceived need for a body based psychotherapy, predicated on the premise that none existed. At the time of Freud’s early musings on this idea, modernism was in full bloom and approaching what many advocates of a religiously (monotheistic) based ontology for psychotherapy would come to call “decadence” at full speed. This is one reason among many that Freud and Jung continue to receive criticism from both liberal and conservative scientists, researchers and practicing members of the various psychological professions…(not to mention but also implied, are those practicing members of fields such as massage and physical therapy. )

By definition, physical therapists and massage therapists are members of the health professions that would be the counterpart or missing piece of such empirical “solipsism” on one hand or more kindly “the quest” to create a science based view of universal history with all that implies.

Many members of the CAM professions utilize some view of religion, philosophy and spirituality in various ways as a stop gap measure when confronting questions such as the one mentioned above. This is not the only avenue in which gender, (in scientific parlance a mere variable) substitutes symbolically for a subjective view of wholeness; raising additional aesthetic questions about the relationship between individual and universal values.

In education, particularly in vocations as opposed to professions, there are numerous reasons philosophy is utilized and deployed to promote learning. Ms. Myles makes note in her bio that she has “no intention of teaching” and totally degrades CAM education by stating that it’s her intent to continue to add certifications to her credentials in total disregard for the subject matter she uses her Yoga and Reiki credentials as a platform as a writer for elephant journal.

I am currently working on a piece for massage therapists about professionalism. Given that there is one FEMALE minister in my extended family, I am aware of what kinds of challenges women in spiritual fields face.

Any accusations about a lack of ethics, spiritual, secular or civic, are on full display in Ms. Myles article. I don’t cut prostitutes any slack when they or their language cross the line. I also wont give Ms. Myles a pass for abusing CAM and CAM education in the name self expression or making a living as writer when her articles clearly are marketing her credentials.

Feminism and the body aren’t the issue. Ethics and education are.


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