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I got a CD full of Tarantella music as a present :) The liner notes were fairly interesting.

Tarantella: A remarkable example of early music therapy that originated in the region of Taranto, a city in southeastern Italy, in the 15th to 17th centuries. There it was believed that the bite of the tarantula spider caused a dire affliction called tarantism that was characterized by profound melancholy, a sense of imminent death, stupor, madness, and convulsions. The stated belief of the time was that victims needed to engage in frenzied dancing to prevent death from tarantism. Only dancing to a special type of music could cure the victim. The dancing was typically energetic and went for 3 or 4 days. The music to which the victim (and others) danced was the tarantella, a fast piece in 6/8 time with a lively and turbulent rhythm. The tarantella was performed on appropriate instruments, often with a shrill timbre. The music was selected to be in tune with the particular temperament of the victim. Thus, the tarantella was a type of music therapy tailored to the individual patient.

Many of the victims of the affliction manifested a distinct tendency towards exhibitionism. Bedecked with garlands of rushes and coronets of vine-leaves, and more or less naked, they behaved with frenzied abandon, making obscene gestures and movements improvised by a subconcious completely liberated from all prejudices.

Dancing the tarantella alone was said to be unlucky, and thus it was always a couples dance, involving either a man and a woman, or two women. The music is generally led by a mandolin. Goethe describes the dance as, "Three girls, one with a tambourine (with bells on it) and castanets are used by the other two. The two girls with the castanets execute the steps. The girls steps are not distinctive or even graceful, basically they step in time and spin around in place using the castanets, when one tires, she trades places with the tambourine Girl. (They do this for fun for hours, 20-40 hours at times.)"

Many people have suggested that the whole business was a deceit to evade religious proscriptions against dancing. It is suggested that ancient Bacchanalian rites that had been suppressed went underground under the guise of emergency therapy for bite victims.
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Galen (130 - 200 A.D.) hailed from Pergamon, an ancient center of civilization, containing, among other cultural institutions, a library second in importance only to Alexandria itself. Galen's training was eclectic and although his chief work was in biology and medicine, he was also known as a philosopher and philologist. Training in philosophy is, in Galen's view, not merely a pleasant addition to, but an essential part of the training of a doctor. His treatise entitled That the best Doctor is also a Philosopher gives to us a rather surprising ethical reason for the doctor to study philosophy. The profit motive, says Galen, is incompatible with a serious devotion to the art. The doctor must learn to despise money. Galen frequently accuses his colleagues of avarice and it is to defend the profession against this charge that he plays down the motive of financial gain in becoming a doctor. Galen's first professional appointment was as surgeon to the gladiators in Pergamon. In his tenure as surgeon he undoubtedly gained much experience and practical knowledge in anatomy from the combat wounds he was compelled to treat. After four years he immigrated to Rome where he attained a brilliant reputation as a practitioner and a public demonstrator of anatomy. Among his patients were the emperors Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus, Commodus and Septimius Severus.

Galen divides his exercises into categories, which we may term "strong", "rapid", "violent" (which is a combination of the preceding two), and "other". Galen's listing of the exercises gives us a fascinating glimpse into the everyday activities of the Paleastrae, Gymnasia and other more leisurely-areas of the ancient world. The affinities they have with the various sporting events can be made out: kicking of the legs for Pankration, rope-climbing for wrestling, holding the arms up for boxing.
Read more... )
foliumnondefluet: (Default)
...or about trees because they are green.

We can't fully love ourselves unconditionally and accept all aspects of ourselves as long as we cannot do the same for others. We cannot accept the imperfections in ourselves and not accept the imperfections in others. Our Self is too smart for that. It will not let us have inner harmony if we try to accept imperfections in ourselves and not accept them in others.


If we are too influenced by external forces, we risk lack of inner satisfaction and depression.
If we are too influenced by our own self-directed desires, we risk social consequences and guilt.
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Something about Maslow's hierarchy of needs bugs me:

"Humans want to be accepted and to belong, whether it be to clubs, work groups, religious groups, family, gangs, etc. They need to feel loved (sexually and non-sexually) by others, and to be accepted by them. People also have a constant desire to feel needed. In the absence of these elements, people become increasingly susceptible to loneliness, social anxiety and depression."

And I am wondering, how can the "need to feel loved" ever be non-neurotic? If you do not feel loved "(sexually and non-sexually)" by others, how could you ever go about satisfying this need in a non-pathological way? Maslow makes a distinction between "deficiency love" where you make friends to try to get your need met, and friends you make because you actually appreciate them as a person. According to him, the second is only possible *after* the need to feel loved is satisfied. Making friends and being a good person are healthy when done for their own sake, but according to Maslow, this is only possible when you already have enough friendship and love to get your needs met. Otherwise you're being nice as an attempt to manipulate people into loving you more.

Also, it would seem to me that "being loved by others" is a subjective feeling entirely in the heads of other people, and impossible to share by the object. And it would appear that there can be only the remotest causal connection between "being loved by others" and "feeling loved by others". Feeling accepted is wonderful - yet it has happened to me that this feeling later turned out to be wishful thinking on my part. I imagine that it is likewise possible to feel rejected when one is not - it is almost impossible to make a depressed someone feel loved, for example.

We want to *feel* valued/loved/accepted - we try to satisfy this need by trying to make others value/love/accept us, but will that really work? Even assuming that is possible, will that make us *feel* it, too? It almost seems like it would be more effective if we could just delude ourselves into believing we are valued/loved/accepted. Since it is impossible to control the amount of love others feel for you, it would seem that the healthy way to satisfy this need is to be content with whatever amount of love, understanding, etc. you get from others. But in that case, are they "nonproductive needs that do not promote health or growth" or can they ever be satisfied? Perhaps the best way to fill the need to be loved is learning to love yourself more. Maslow doesn't mention self-love...

On further reflection, I think the same may be true for the level below - "safety needs". Knowing you are cared for and made safe. Knowing that there are people in your life that will help you pick up your pieces, should you fall apart; until you do fall apart, the need is met by "knowing" you will be cared for, regardless of whether this is actually true... and if you don't know anyone who would care for you (or are too paranoid to trust them), how could you go about getting that need met in a non-crazy-manipulative way?


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June 2015

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