The Oversoul of My New Psychopathology Class: The Universe Is So Interesting
This quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “The Oversoul”( from 1841) just kind of takes your breath away, and you could reflect on it for the rest of your life and maybe not get yourself around the idea completely…
“We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related, the eternal ONE. And this deep power in which we exist and whose beatitude is all accessible to us, is not only self-sufficing and perfect in every hour, but the act of seeing and the thing seen, the seer and the spectacle, the subject and the object, are one. We see the world piece by piece, as the sun, the moon, the animal, the tree; but the whole, of which these are shining parts, is the soul.”
How does a culture LOSE these teachings and go back to the primitive fragmentation of the human experience that is the soul-less structure of the traditional American University today? Imagine if we had started with Emerson’s ideas and built UP for the past 170 years? Any idea what the university system would look like now?
I am teaching “Psychopathology” again. OK, not “teaching” but I am the one who builds the course and directs traffic within it. Not teaching, not instructing, exactly, not facilitating—but we have been through this one before in earlier blogs on Psychopathology.
Having taught it last quarter, I felt like I knew what I was walking into THIS quarter.
I forgot that each individual class has its own Oversoul, and each one is just so different. It is as if these students and I had a contract since the beginning of time to show up in this place, in this classroom, with a destiny, a deep and unknown learning, that was to take place for each of us, in some unfathomable way that none of us could possibly understand. We act like it is all kind of random, or serendipitous. Prob’ly not.
At the mundane level, this class is smaller (10), younger, more Art Therapy students (7 of 10, I think), the space is different (the Art Therapy classroom versus the Ralph Waldo Emerson Room—interesting– in the main building). It feels completely different. It is great. Lots of energy.
I talked too much. Maybe I do that when my excitement and passion run headlong into my nervousness that I will not be able to share that passion effectively, or draw the same out of the students. I should trust more, and shut up, I think. That will happen. There is too much wisdom in that classroom for me to keep yammering. I have to hear them, and THEY need to hear each other, and in deep reflection, they most certainly need to hear themselves.
We are on a journey. The Oversoul of this class will drive the bus. It always does. Just a matter if you acknowledge it or not…