Die estetiese ingesteldheid as psigoterapeutiese kwaliteit in ʼn hoofsaaklik apatiese, gedigitaliseerde omgewing

Conradie, Karlien (2018)

CITATION: Conradie, K. 2018. Die estetiese ingesteldheid as psigoterapeutiese kwaliteit in ʼn hoofsaaklik apatiese, gedigitaliseerde omgewing. Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe, 58(4-2):976-991, doi:10.17159/2224-7912/2018/v58n4-2a7.

The original publication is available at http://www.scielo.org.za

Article

Die psigoterapeutiese ruimte word gekenmerk deur onder andere invoelende deelname, oftewel ʼn empatiese gevoeligheid vir die problematiek van die bestaan en betekenis van alles. Die estetiese ingesteldheid word as ʼn eis aan die terapeut gestel ten einde op eksistensiële wyse ontvanklik te wees vir la condition humaine. In hierdie artikel voer ek aan dat bogenoemde psigoterapeutiese kwaliteit, soos ook te vinde in die opvoedkundige sielkunde, moontlik in die lig van ʼn ongebreidelde digitalemediakultuur bedreig word. Ek ondersoek die aard van hierdie kwelling aan die hand van verweefde teoretiese en filosofiese benaderings, sowel as van voorbeelde uit die poësie en letterkundige prosa. Daar word aan die hand gedoen dat die opleiding van sielkundestudente in die algemeen, en studente in opvoedkundige sielkunde in die besonder, wat met digitale media grootgeword het, opnuut in oënskou geneem behoort te word. Wanneer aanlyn digitale media die oorwegende gereedskap word waarmee betekenis ontsluit en vertolk word, sê dit moontlik iets van die wyse waarop mense hul wêreld epistemologies en ontologies benader. In hierdie opsig dien die steeds uitdyende digitale verbruiksgeoriënteerde bestaan, gekenmerk deur nut/utiliteit en onmiddellikheid, toenemend as hubris waardeur die mensdom tot ondergang gedoem skyn te wees. Hierdie ondergang het nie noodwendig te make met die uitsterwing van Homo sapiens nie, maar het eerder betrekking op ʼn verarming van die funksie van woord- en taalgebruik en denke in die mens se strewe na betekenisskepping. Onlangse navorsing wil te kenne gee dat die snelle hibridisering (die mens-masjienversmelting) waaraan die mensdom blootgestel is, ten koste van sekere kennisverwerwings- en betekenisskeppingsfunksies geskied. Een van dié funksies is die soeke na samehang deur middel van diepgaande interpretasieraamwerke ten einde weg te beweeg van chaos en versplintering op sosiale en persoonlik-psigiese vlak. Hiervolgens gaan dit veral om die verarmde rol van denke en taal as noodsaaklike lewensmiddele om die fyn netwerk van skakerings van gebeure en belewenisse te artikuleer. ʼn Oorwegend gedigitaliseerde kultuur wat nouliks staanplek aan die ryk register van persoonlike ervarings gee, kan daartoe lei dat synsbetekenis gereduseer word tot gefilterde kitsklaar belewenis- en kennisbrokke wat van noodsaaklike nuansering ontdaan is. In hierdie artikel poog ek om aan die hand van verskeie teorieë in die filosofie en sielkunde, analitiese letterkundebesprekings, en onlangse inligtingswetenskaplike navorsingsbevindinge helderheid te verkry oor die wyse waarop die digitalemediakultuur verband hou met die behoefte aan ʼn estetiese ingesteldheid, spesifiek as ʼn psigoterapeutiese kwaliteit. Ter verrekening hiervan verduidelik ek die wyse waarop sekere kunsvorme as rigtingwyser vir die estetiese ingesteldheid die denkhandelinge van die psigoterapeut en opvoedkundige sielkundige kan bevorder en verryk. Ons wêreld is betrokke op die middels waardeur ons dit benader. Derhalwe is die geskiedenis gedeeltelik die geskiedenis van gereedskap. Daardie ou houtkapper se byl was die bril waardeur hy die wêreld gesien het, en deur die voel van sy steel het hy alles gevoel.

The psychotherapeutic space is characterised by, inter alia, empathetic participation, that is, sensitivity for the problematic nature of the existence and meaning of everything. The aesthetic disposition is a demand made on the therapist to be receptive to la condition humaine in an existential manner. In this article, I contend that in the face of an unbridled digital culture, the above-mentioned psychotherapeutic quality may be threatened. Furthermore, I scrutinise the nature of this concern in the light of interwoven theoretical and philosophical approaches, and of examples from poetry and literary prose. It is suggested that the training of postgraduate psychology students in general and educational psychology students in particular who have grown up with digital media ought to be reviewed. When online digital media become the predominant tool with which meaning is unlocked and interpreted it probably says something about the way people approach their world epistemologically and ontologically. In this regard, the ever-expanding digital consumerism, characterised by utility and immediacy, increasingly serves as hubris through which humanity appears to be doomed to collapse. This collapse would not necessarily mean the disappearance of Homo sapiens, but rather refers to an impoverishment of the function of language and thought in humankind's pursuit of meaning creation. Recent research contends that the rapid hybridisation (that is, the fusion of human being and android/machine) to which humankind is exposed occurs at the expense of certain knowledge-gaining and meaning-creating functions. One of these functions is the search for coherence by means of in-depth interpretation frameworks in order to steer away from chaos and fragmentation at the social and personal-psychological levels. Specifically, it concerns the impoverished role of language and thought as vital conditions for the articulation of the fine network of nuances of events and experiences. A predominantly digitalised culture in which the rich register of personal experiences is hardly given a place can lead to the ontology of existence being reduced to filtered, instant experiences and knowledge fragments stripped of their essential nuances. Another factor contributing to indifference in the context of the psychotherapist's thinking actions is the inherent fragmentation of the profession of psychology. This often makes it difficult for therapists who pursue the humanistic principles of solicitude and endeavour to fathom the greatest depths of humanity, to position themselves simultaneously within various social systems. Gardner believes "an effective counsellor must radically change his or her perspective on a client throughout the day, viewing the client first through the client's own eyes; then through the eyes of a legal authority or insurance entity; and possibly even through the eyes of a particular agency or school, whose own policies may differ widely from the counsellor, client, or payer" (Gardner 2016:88). According to Gardner, the orientation of metamodernism, characterised by continuous movement and reform, can serve as a conciliatory paradigm to deal with fragmentation and conflicting contexts peculiar to psychotherapeutic practice. She illustrates this fragmentation with reference, in particular, to the one-dimensional reliance on "neo-medical strategies" (Gardner 2016:89), namely rigid treatment plans, diagnostic criteria and DSM1 codes and categories, as opposed to a humanistic approach characterised by human autonomy and integrity. It is suggested that metamodernism as an attitude becomes a way for the educational psychologist of positioning herself in ambivalent environments by means of a to-and-fro movement between conflicting contexts and metaphysical issues related to psychology, such as good/evil, male/female, conscious/unconscious, psychological distress/prosperity, rather than a total rejection of boundaries as in postmodernism. In this article, with reference to several theories in philosophy and psychology, analytical literary discussions and recent information science research findings, I endeavour to gain clarity about how the culture of digital media relates to the need for an aesthetic disposition, specifically as a psychotherapeutic quality. In considering this, I explain how art as a direction indicator of the aesthetic disposition can be applied to advance and enrich the thinking of the psychotherapist and educational psychologist.

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