Healing by James P. Carse

hug"The character of touching can be seen quite clearly in the way infinite players understand both healing and sexuality.

"If to be touched is to respond from one’s center, it is also to respond as a whole person. To be whole is to be hale, or healthy. In sum, whoever is touched is healed.

"The finite players interest is not in being healed, or made whole, but in being cured, or made functional. Healing restores me to play, curing restores me to competition in one or another game.

"Physicians who cure must abstract persons into functions. They treat the illness, not the person. And persons willfully present themselves as functions. Indeed, what sustains the enormous size and cost of the curing professions is the widespread desire to see oneself as a function, or a collection of functions. To be ill is to be dysfunctional; to be dysfunctional is to be unable to compete in one’s preferred contests. It is a kind of death, and inability to acquire titles. The ill become invisible. Illness always has the smell of death about it: Either it may lead to death, where it leads to the death of a person as a competitor. The dread of illness is the dread of losing.

"One is never ill in general. One is always ill with relation to some bounded activity. It is not cancer that makes me ill. It is because I cannot work, or run, or swallow that I am ill with cancer. The loss of function, the obstruction of an activity, cannot in itself destroy my health. I am too heavy to fly by flapping my arms, but I do not for that reason complained of being sick with weight. However, if I desired to be a fashion model, a dancer, or jockey, I would consider excessive weight to be a kind of disease and would be likely to consult a doctor, a nutritionist, or another specialist to be cured of it.

"When I am healed I am restored to my center in a way that my freedom as a person is not compromised by my loss of functions. This means that the illness need not be eliminated before I can be healed. I am not free to the degree that I can overcome my infirmities, but only to the degree that I can put my infirmities into play. I am cured of my illness; I am healed with my illness.

"Healing, of course, has all the reciprocity of touching. Just as I cannot touch myself, I cannot heal myself but healing requires no specialist, only those who can come to us out of their own center; and who are prepared to be healed themselves."

text courtesy Finite and Infinite Games, 1986, pp. 91-92, James P. Carse
image courtesy Oh My Goodness IDK Maybe

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