Self as being: gestalt and existentialism. Essay, 1984

Written in 1984 and submitted to Andy Smith [Tutor], as part of the coursework for The School of Independent Studies, North East London Polytechnic, 1985.

James Low
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From the Introduction
Both approaches arose from a sense of exasperation with abstract theories and structures, which were seen to encourage the feeling that the goal lies somewhere ahead and that one must change, adapt, in order to become ‘appropriate’. The individual is the square peg, whilst the system has the round hole.
For both the gestalt and the existential approach, honouring the significance of one’s own experience is of primary importance, not because this can give insights into hidden aspects of the psyche, but because these experiences are important in themselves. The manifestation is its own meaning; it is not a symbol of anything else. By being what one ‘is’, by being fully in the moment, one knows the totality, for it is complete and fully present here and now. With this integrity it becomes natural to develop sincere relationships with others by the authentic sharing of that being.