On the Significance of “Bodymind” Visioning for the Profession and for the Planet

Having accepted her kind invitation to offer the Thursday Keynote at the 2016 USABP Conference, I pondered how to respond to President Beth Haessig’s request that I say something that will help bodymind psychotherapists and somatic healers to comprehend, more broadly and more deeply than some do, the crucial importance of their work, and the visions that it might represent.  That is, going beyond the healing offered to individuals and small groups who benefit from our professional practices, what is the more general, historical and cultural significance of the “bodymind” movement?  Although I have not yet planned my talk, I am considering a free‑wheeling exploration of the ways in which healing must address—directly or indirectly, somatically and spiritually—the distinctive human capacity for hatred.

In Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, Menenius Agrippa asks, Who(m) does the wolf love?  In the somewhat confusing dialogue with Sicinius Velutus and Junius Brutus that ensues, the beloved is clearly identified.

It is the hungry wolf that loves the lamb.  As Stanley Cavell (1983) and others have discussed, this implies an intriguing, if not disturbing, thesis on “love”, but surely it is also indirectly a riff on hatred.

I live in Africa, where terrified and envious hatred against the plundering of the rich, against the visible extravagances of North Atlantic peoples, against men who rape, and against adults who abuse the young and the weak, is on the surface of everyday life—unsanitized by Hollywood pablum and the unctuous platitudes of commercialized media.  In this regard, the writings of Franz Fanon have not lost their relevance.  Yet, if “love” in the human sense does not seem the apt term for that which drives the voracious wolf, neither surely does “hatred.”  Arguably, animals may eat each other, but do not hate each other.  Hatred would seem to be one of our species’ signatures.  Taking pleasure in hating is, as William Hazlitt suggested in his 1823 essay, a specifically, and perhaps exclusively, human characteristic.  So when, to give just one example, pompous politicians condemn terrorist acts as “inhuman,” one might aptly contradict, borrowing from Friedrich Nietzsche, “no, human, all too human.”

You can read Barnaby’s full article here.

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