Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning (Studies in Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy) Paperback – 31 Oct 1997
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About the Author
Eugene T. Gendlin received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Chicago and taught there from 1963 to 1995. His philosophical work is concerned especially with the relationship between logic and experiential explication. Implicit intricacy cannot be represented, but functions in certain ways in relation to philosophical discourse. The applications of this "Philosophy of the Implicit" have been important in many fields.
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Top Customer Reviews
Gendlin is very exacting in his descriptions, careful with his definitions and wording and precise about what is and is not his subject matter, making this a very dry read at times, and somewhat repetitive, although Gendlin does pepper the work with a few examples and exercises.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Gene, however, thinks of himself, first & foremost, as a philosopher, and with good reason. Yes, "Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning" came, in part, from his many years of training and work with Carl Rogers. But even more, it came from his philosophy studies. Indeed, Focusing, itself, is an outgrowth of this philosophy. Anyone who knows Focusing can see, in this book, that his philosophy implies Focusing.
And therein lies the rub. What makes this book tough is that understanding it so often needs an ability to touch in with your own, everyday and personal experience of "the implicit" -- that rich source of bodily-felt meaning always within us. Rejecting a dichotomy of logical & illogical or chaos, Gene talks of an implicit dimension, which he calls "experiencing", and which is "more than logical" -- vague in the sense of not-yet-formed, yet capable of transcending all logics, while it also implies them, while it includes them implicitly. For all its being vague, felt meaning, "experiencing", is actually more precise than standard meanings. The interaction words/logic and "experiencing" or the felt sense creates all new & fresh meanings.
"Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning" isn't just a philosophy. It's about where philosophies come from.
To give you a brief taste of simple experiencing: Remember a time when you knew you'd forgotten something. Well, logically, how can you know what you've forgotten? But this feeling, this "experiencing of knowing" is very definite and very precise. While trying to remember, for example, you might recall something you've forgotten. But your bodily feel, your implicit experiencing, or as Gene calls it later, your felt sense (different from an emotion), can agree that, yes, you had forgotten that. But your felt sense lets you know that what you just remembered isn't the right "what I've forgoten".
"Experiencing" is not only "where" philosophers philosophize from. It's also where poets, composers and musicians create from. (I know, because I used to be a conductor & composer; I'm now a psychotherapist.) This is "where" all creativity and many other good things, such as the healing of psychotherapy, "come" or create from.
While "Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning" does have many practical examples, it's an enormous help to be able to Focus. So you may want to read and do Focusing, even if you're a philosopher. (I've worked with philosophers who couldn't "get" what Gene was saying until they had done some Focusing.) Other lead-in introductions, making understanding this book easier, are some of his short on-line articles, freely available in the Gendlin Online Library at [...] In particular, read, "The Primacy of the Body, Not the Primacy of Perception," "The Responsive Order" and "Crossing and Dipping". There, too, is Gene's new "Introduction" to the 1997 edition of Experiencing -- well worth the read, and a much better introduction to his book than my review.
I don't invite, I don't even urge you to read this book and learn to Focus: I beg you. It takes work, even hard work. But you'll always be glad that you did.