Co-feeling: two epistemologies are better than one

Journal title GRUPPI
Author/s Gattinara Enrico Castelli
Publishing Year 2014 Issue 2014/2 Language Italian
Pages 18 P. 23-40 File size 96 KB
DOI 10.3280/GRU2014-002003
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This piece of writing recalls a report presented in Padua in November 2011 on the occasion of a day devoted to the thought of Franco Fasolo, who had recently passed away. The author had never met Franco Fasolo, but all the same he wanted to create a connection with him, not only by studying his work, but by listening to his "being away", by trying to feel again - together with what was left of him as a person - and to "feel him together" with the audience, therefore trying to co-feel. Co-feeling comes from the group, as Fasolo often said: the group allows us to feel together, and therefore to feel one another: feeling together, and therefore feeling with is a wonderful, therapeutically effective way of feeling one another. Franco Fasolo’s thought is consulted as an epistemology of duality and an epistemology of groupality. Within the group there can be different kinds of relationships, including dual relationships. At the same time, in a dual relationship, group dimensions always and inevitably come into play, but we find it much more difficult/historically and culturally) to free ourselves from dualism than from multiplicity. Indeed, when we speak of multiplicity, we often speak of it in dualistic terms. We do the same when we contrast a systematic thought with an unsystematic thought, or determinism with undeterminism, preciseness with confusion, order with chaos contrast is one of the socio-cultural and epistemological problems of any western dualism: contrast and therefore conflict, war. The problem, however, does not lie in duality, but lies in the logic of opposition, that is, in the theory of the excluded third party, which creates a very close logical, epistemological and political connection between opposition and exclusion. The aut-aut (either-or) of exclusive opposition as opposed to the et-et (and-and) of inclusive combination is tragic. The author thinks that in his texts, work and activism, Fasolo especially insisted on one point from an epistemological point of view: that there are many epistemologies, and that each one aims at a structure of awareness and knowledge that is functional for its own point of view. And this means that a certain type of epistemology is adequate for certain objectives, while other objectives require other epistemologies. However, although on one side we can explicitly claim the need for pluralism - even though, fundamentally, there are two referential epistemologies for this, one being traditionally objectivistic and the other, instead, open and flexible - at any rate, behind the efforts of the new epistemology, the trap of bipolar opposition stays open, that of the binary alternative and the aut-aut between two different sides. Through his laughter and smiles, what Fasolo proposed was to beware of this trap, and his sense of humor helped him to sidestep the trap to escape from the terrible, tragic seriousness of the aut-aut: there is no binding separation between black and white; that is, there is a separation and it is clearly visible, but the line is not straight and the dominion of one over the other is not absolute. In white there is some black, and vice versa. In fact, what counts is neither white nor black, but their embrace, their mutual co-feeling. Fasolo puts two epistemologies (or more) into action simultaneously: metaphorically speaking, to make the picture simple, we might say that he puts into action an epistemology of rigor and rules (presence, which is needed for the group to work) and an organic, open epistemology of the undifferentiated and indefinite (absence, which renders the group dynamic and alive). What is interesting, however, is that the former epistemology is needed by the latter to confirm its effectiveness, and the latter is needed by the former to convince everyone about its reliability. Indeed, the former is more common and shared, while the latter is the most "practiced". Yet, when the latter is theorized, the former is resorted to, with its analytic and positive tools. Nevertheless, theorization is based on the practice and effectiveness of the latter, which actually introduces terms and concepts which are only comprehensible, but inexplicable. Again, this is why two epistemologies are better than one.

Keywords: Psychotherapy, duality, groupality, co-feeling, aut-aut (either-or), two epistemologies.

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Gattinara Enrico Castelli, Con-sentire: due epistemologie sono meglio di una in "GRUPPI" 2/2014, pp 23-40, DOI: 10.3280/GRU2014-002003