nedjelja, 13. siječnja 2013.

Stories VS Dialogues

One of the most important skills needed for philosophical counselling is active listening. Out of this comes understanding the interlocutor's problem, and the competence to help them solve it.
When thinking of storytelling, first thing that comes to my mind would be Lyotard and his narratives theory. Well, maybe not so much a theory as a description of metanarratives, grand narratives and local narratives.  To put it in an example, global economic crisis would be a grand narrative, media coverage of GEC would be a metanarrative (stories about the story), and local narratives would be individual stories of local folks. Lyotard argued that these three were the cases from which people tend to get knowledge. In opposition to that, he suggested that people should turn to scientific knowledge, because it provides more certainty, it deals with arguments and evidence. Whichever may be the case here, one thing is certain - people love to tell stories!
I can agree with Lyotard, stories shouldn't be the only source of our knowledge, but storytelling, in any form, is a big part of our lives - you can see it in movies, literature, music, politics, economy and in everyday encounters with your family, friends, colleagues...not to mention school teachers. It seems to me that everyone loves to tell stories. Even now, since i became a teacher, i noticed that my students like to exemplify everything with a story. Also, in my short experience in philosophical counselling it seems to me that people are more comfortable with telling a story about any problems they have. Last week i went to literature teachers county meeting, and endured what was supposed to be a school project presentation and what turned into very bad story which, if it was written, would be a terrible record of uncoherent events. I listened to that lady very carefully, as she was giving this supposed presentation, and i couldn't believe the sentences comming out of her mouth. Some might prescribe it to stage fright, but i think we should question ourselves about the way we tell stories in general. I am not talking here about the rhetorical performance, because rhetorics has an aim to persuade us to someone's goals, i am talking about our lack of coherence when it comes to thinking process behind stories we tell.
This is most obivous when engaging in philosophical counselling with clients. People tend to get caught in their own story, they jump from one point to another, they link without any sense so when they finish their story you don't know what they said, they don't really know what they said - and you are both stuck. So this is where platonic battle between mythos and logos comes into play. Mythos is the story, the unreliable source of supposed knowledge of which we can never be sure. Logos, on the other hand, represents the reason, and in this case, the dialectic search for truth, which is found in dialogue. Both for story and for dialogue, at least two people are needed. The difference is that when telling a story, only one person is active, the teller, while the listener is passive. When engaging in dialogue, both parties are active in two processes, speaking and listening, and this requires a great amount of thinking. As counsellor, you have to actively listen to your counselee, process his/her answer and ask a question accordingly. As counselee, you have to listen to the question and then reply to your best knowledge. In this manner there is no wandering around the problem, there are no impediments in your way toward truth. Question/answer logic is very simple and it helps you follow the straigh line toward a solution. This is also reason why philosophical counselling can be very intense. If you, as counselee, are let to tell your story, your mind can easily avoid the key points in your problem. This is something we do unconsciously whenever we tell our problems or some other personal things. We avoid the most important issues. But when engaged in a dialogue, you are 'forced' to answer the question without beating around the bush. In short and instant question/answer process every time you try to avoid the straight answer, will be easily noticed. This is the best way to get to truth about yourself and your problem. This is also where your thinking process works most intensely, because you are torn between the avoidance and the truth. And the thing about truth is, well, as history has shown us many times, it's always scary.  It is easier to avoid the problem or even the solution, but question remains, how long can one endure with it?

Zoran Kojcic

Nema komentara:

Objavi komentar