Saturday, October 2, 2010

growing children as venue: packing for a conceptual adventure

Over the next few months’ postings and pages, I will use experience and research on good parenting and child development to work with conceptual aspects of that. I’m venturing to better understand growth (individuation) that becomes easily-empathic (non-egoistic) yet highly individual (ideally, very creative)—a healthy self centrism. Advice for a practice of good parenting doesn’t directly follow from such a venture, but I’ll cite good resources.

I’m also interested in how these two keynotes of exemplary individuation (empathy and creativity) may build on each other for the sake of authentic happiness (or a sense of authentic happiness that I take from recent inquiries in “positive psychology”).

So, considering a comprehensive approach to parenting and child development is beyond the scope of my present project, though I’ve expressed my long-term interest in good parenting conceptually—which I want to complement practical work on “raising happiness”—and that interest will return, eventually, in a big way, I expect, some future year.

For now: What aspects of child development especially lead to a durably purposeful life—to happiness in terms of regular fulfillment through sustained and meaningful engagement? That’s my prevailing question, though near-term pages will seem to be going in lots of directions. That’s OK; I know my path: It is an interest in empathic and creative individuation for the sake of developing authentic happiness. It may sound precious to put it so succinctly, but there will be enough challenge ahead.

Anyway, an interest in happiness is vastly popular, yet integral to philosophy; but I won’t here pursue the big topic beyond some particulars that serve my more near-term interest in empathic-and-creative individuation—“creative individuation,” for short. Again, I’m not going to get into a comprehensive sense of child development, which I’ve been interested to gain in past years. But I have to emphasize this because the near-term will seem otherwise: I have a rather concentrated sense of child development to express in coming days. I want to get into child development relative to—or with special interest in—the above question. Expressing such a whole-and-part attitude (horizonal gestalt and specific wayfaring) is important to my way of thinking.

A wide landscape of interest in human development stays in the background.... (I presume that the following paragraph gets incomprehensible. No matter; it’s just one paragraph, provided as example of something...).

A wide landscape of interest in human development stays in the background, like a future horizon for clarification (the “Perpetual Project,” I used to say)—as psychological horizons may nebulously mirror one’s constitutive background, like a shadowplay in light of oneSelf filtered through aspects of proximal selfhood: presumptions of purpose and relevance. (I’m reminded of Plato’s myth of the cave, which anticipates, I think, C.G. Jung’s notion of archetype—Adamic love, for example—as showing Itself only in derived senses [e.g., father-daughter dynamics], never represented in lives as archetype, as is also the case with Platonic Ideas, which are realized in actualities, shown as what stands. [But I’m no Platonist]).

[So much for inconsideration of the reader....]

Creative individuation is a general notion, to which my explorations might usefully contribute (I’m fond of informality: “...which my explorations might usefully contribute to”—which is a Germanism of English syntax). But my more-specific kind of interest is beyond my present project/topic (wrap it all in a label or emblem of “literary-psychological philosophy” as my standing in a great landscape of human endeavoring). My own Project might be an example of creative individuation, once the Project is plotted out into an entire garden (maybe not exemplarily so, but something). Exploring the notion of creative individuation is a way of understanding what general mode of human interest I might consider myself to be participating in, up the road, quite apart from my going uphill.

But my interest in generally thinking about creative individuation is part of the Project, thereby containing (by future explication, anticipated now) a sense of creative individuation that I hope the Project instances (once plotted out). My literary-psychological sense of philosophy that I’m pursuing (and have pursued, rather extensively—not yet online) involves a sense of creative individuation (to be elaborated relative to others’ work). It’s not just that creative individuation might be instanced well (I hope) by what I’d later express. I’m wanting to exemplify what I focus on over the long run.

Any creativity is backgrounded by an individuation; so, better understanding of creative individuation can be generally useful (to me, at least), e.g., for understanding potentials in human development, for thinking about educational excellence, or for prospecting aspects of what may lead to innovation in a profession—touching now on a scale of generality that is way more than I have in mind to address soon.

Generality tends to go for common denominators of understanding, rather than a highly individualized sense of the general notion (which has resulted for me from the research-based work of others, but to a degree that is by now quite individuated). What’s common to interest in human development widely and educational excellence widely and professional innovation widely would have to be, relatively speaking (relative to any of those areas) vaguely general (“thinly” general, the fate of abstraction) in order to encompass such a spread of relevance. I would claim that I can derive a wide generality (common to professional “theory”) from what I’m setting out to do (“thickly”general or highly general Theory in its perspectivity). But wide generality is not what I’m going to begin to do here. I’m going uphill in a specific sense (individuated): deriving a sense of creative individuation that, though research-based, suits my own purposes (philosophical) up the road—at best exemplifying what is explicated, but not directly going for some kind of immanent exemplarity via near-term explorations.

Yet, such denial highlights a theme: the value of proof in the pudding, as they say. But that proof (or possible exemplarity) would belong to a far distance, not my near-term project.

But I note the enchanting theme because a practical sense (exemplarity) of self reflectivity is integral to philosophy.

So, again: What aspects of child development especially lead to a durably purposeful life—to happiness in terms of regular fulfillment through sustained and meaningful engagement? Again, more summarily, I want to orient my venture relative to valuing creative individuation. But that orienting interest will show near term as only supplementary to my leading question about growing especially well. (Creative individuation should lead to authentic happiness, my near-term interest, but the longer-term interest is creative individuation itself, but going my own way with that later, beyond general notions of authentic happiness.) My near-term venture can be put more exactly, though perhaps more obscurely: What enables belonging to natural desire for empathic and creative self determination through constructive self expansion toward a durably purposive life?

Where we shall go, I do not exactly know, in the trivial sense that I’m now anticipating what’s to be soon done. But such feeling a sense now of being in the Flow is pertinent to what I intend to present (or thematize) soon. I know exactly what themes I want to address, and exactly what research themes of others I want to employ (and cite). But the wayfaring itself can be a theme (has now been here). It feels like a child’s anticipation of an adventure, albeit, in my case, conceptual—but, as a friend once said of her preference for fennel-flavored toothpaste, “that’s just me.”

This is part of the project on “flourishing of the smart child into early adulthood.”