The Reconciliation of Feeling and Purpose - a discussion compilation


How applicable today are Chuck’s words from the 1970’s? Find them on the last pages (40-43) of Education in Feeling and Purpose, downloadable here.

What do you now see as the outcome of your work with the armor? How does it relate to Reich’s “genital character” or the beginning of a life-long refinement of ‘purpose’ work in your life, a comfortable balance between feeling and purpose/being and doing? How close do you feel/think you are to having fully reconciled this core antithetical/polar pair?”


Ron Hook wrote:

This is a major subject. The reconciliation of feeling and purpose is identical to the meaning of living consciously, truly consciously (including being conscious of the play of one’s own muscular armor). Achieving this is tedious, and comes from steadily, but sensitively, imposing reality on the infantile, or animal, human.

In the 70’s Chuck saw emphasis on the feelings as a rebellion against purpose. I see that era (and the time since) as a period of self-indulgence permitted by unprecedented affluence and the illusions about reality that it allows. Even the Bill of Rights and the Constitution have been misinterpreted repeatedly as license to ‘do what you like.’ As a result the culture has degraded. Perhaps the first step at repair should be changing the wording in the Constitution’s Preamble from “the pursuit of happiness” to “the pursuit of excellence.” But that’s the political front.

On the personal level I have my doubts as to whether purposiveness can arise out of feelingfulness without impositions from the outside. Where orderliness is not present because of the imposition of survival needs, I think it has to be imposed by thoughtful and realistic sanction. This works against Chuck’s ideal of libertarian autonomy, but one is not ready to be autonomous until one is ready to be autonomous. How does one get ready?

The developmental model helps us understand it. A good father will help a son limit and shape himself without squelching his capacity to be emotionally alive. The father limits him first, repeatedly, then the son learns to limit himself. This does not, in my opinion, arise automatically out of the human, but instead needs to be imposed until its merits are learned and then autonomously self-imposed. In my view this is true for adults who have not been properly“fathered” by a person or by survival needs. And these people are plentiful in these United States.


Jay Rubin offered a plausible commentary on socially-impressed versus personal values, from eastern Canadian philosophy:

A boat was docked in a tiny Newfoundland fishing village. A tourist from Toronto complimented the Newfie fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them. “Not very long,” answered the Newfie.

“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the Torontonian.

The Newfie explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family. The Torontonian asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take an afternoon nap with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs… I have a full life.”

The Torontonian interrupted, “I have an MBA from Queen’s University and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.” “And after that?” asked the Newfie.

“With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to St John’s, Halifax, or even Toronto! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise.”

“How long would that take?” asked the Newfie. “Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the Torontonian. “And after that?”

“Afterwards? Well my Friend, That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the Torontonian, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?” asked the Newfie. “After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take an afternoon nap with your wife and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends.”

And the moral is: Know where you’re going in life. You may already be there!