A challenge to Daseinsanalysis
There are two pictures, I think, in the IFDA, two different pictures of the human being and the human suffering. We can sharply distinguish them, though the differences may not be always as sharp as I present them. But this will encourage, I hope, further conversation.
Regarding this, I quote an excerpt from a paper of mine to be published soon by the new Greek Society Journal.
"Both pictures begin with conflict; the conflicted human being undergoing psychotherapy. One tries to cure this conflict by eliminating it; that's the first picture. According to this picture, the human being can live without any internal conflicts. Conflict is understood to be an illusion - there's no conflict at all, not really. There's just Life and the Flow of things. Therapy aims to bring out how internal conflict is an illusion. An illusion produced by too much thinking, too much self-involvement, too much mind, so to speak, and too little body, too little life, too little immanence. Taking out the excessive mindedness eliminates the conflict. This picture is quite ancient and has a deep theological pedigree. But we can find it at work even today. From the state of mind termed 'no-mind' in Zen practice and Eastern mysticism to Spinoza, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Bergson, Deleuze and Merleau-Ponty, the 'internal conflict is an illusion' picture has been popular and quite alluring with its promises of silence, quiet and self-surrender to a mindless state of calmness and detachment, namely, a state of being supposedly of releasement, composure and letting-be towards things.
The second picture takes conflict for real. It does not try to cure it by eliminating it. It does not try to cure it at all. It introduces no mind-body contrasts or any other internal dualisms. Rather, it tries to learn from conflict; though what the lesson is going to be is unknown. It tries to look into the conflict and dwell on it till it fills itself up with mindedness, with self-consciousness, with minded -yet conflicted, cracked- body and soul. It tries to assimilate conflict in the natural way of things.
Here, it is human life without internal conflict, life without any gaps, that is an illusion. On the contrary, according to this picture, a gappy mind is still a mind, and should be treated as one. In this case, a human being is not determined by mere 'receptivity; he or she is characterized by 'spontaneity', the capacity to get involved in things, to self-consciously create, make up one's mind, take a position, accept responsibility and all the costs that come unavoidably with it, namely the costs of internal conflict. This picture, may not be as ancient as the first one -it draws from Kant, Hegel, the German Idealist tradition and goes up to certain strands in Martin Heidegger's and Ludwig Wittgenstein's thought, up to Hannah Arendt, Gadamer, Lacan and even Zizek. It encapsulates what we call Modernity: Modernity, autonomy, the capacity to know yourself on your own powers, with your own reason, the possibility to stand on your own two feet over the abyss without filling up the gap, without eliminating the 'lack', without giving up on Reason. This is a tall order no doubt. Admittedly, the burden of Modernity is quite heavy. No wonder the first picture, with its promise of no internal conflict, has become so relevant today.
These two pictures do not have to be conceived specifically as alternative pictures of therapy, though therapy cannot be understood entirely independently of one or the other. Nevertheless, they touch upon the way that human beings stand in the world, the way that we exist as speaking and thinking animals or embodied minds."