Saturday, February 13, 2010

Flow of Consciousness - It All Comes Back to Hungary

Flow or stream of consciousness is the continuous flow of ideas, thoughts, and feelings forming the content of an individual's consciousness. The term was originated by William James. Today it is used both as a psychological term and as a literary term and technique. Here is my stream of consciousness. Follow me on my journey of a few hours time.

Years before I went back for my doctorate, I bought a book called Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikzsentmihalyi (Try saying that three times fast). It sat on my office bookshelf for a number of years and when I was between clients, I would browse these books, but this one never came off of the shelf.

During my doctoral studies, I took a course called Creativity, taught by Dr. Matthew Mitchell. Matt was one of the most inspiring instructors I have ever had and I took five of his offerings, giving me a specialization in Teacher Training and Curriculum. Setting this flow of consciousness aside a moment, one of many books required for Creativity was the book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. It was such a great book, I wondered why I had not pulled it off of the shelf earlier, but perhaps, I would not have appreciated it as much as with Matt Mitchell being the guide on the journey. As I wrote this today, I am finding that Csikszentmihalyi was born in Fiume, Italy, which is now Rijeka, Croatia, but his parents were Hungarian.

What started this whole stream was an e-mail from Anna, our wonderful angel who has been repeatedly coming to our rescue. She sent some pictures of her children making snow people in their courtyard. Here are some of the cute photos that sent me on my stream of thoughts. 

At 6am, I woke this morning wondering about the history of snowmen, now called snowpeople to be politically correct. My groggy early morning theory was that children of earlier times did not have the luxury of making snowmen. They were forced into labor at an early age; therefore, not having time for the playfulness of today's youth. After my first cup of coffee, I did a Google search for the history of snowmen. Seek and ye shall find this snowman site. If you missed it, click on snowman in the last sentence to be redirected. Here I found the book The History of the Snowman by Bob Eckstein. I had to put it on my Amazon Wishlist. 

If you are really into snowmen, here is the link for the world's only online magazine dedicated to snowpeople called Today's Snowman.

Recapping, the photos Anna sent made me think of snowmen. Snowmen made me wonder about their history. Thinking about their history set me off on a search, leading me to the book and magazine of snowmen. All of this made me realize that it was all stream of consciousness, which reminded me of the book Flow, bringing my thoughts to the Hungarian/Italian or Croatian author who wrote it. Last, but not least, this led to thoughts of Matt Mitchell, who I truly admire.
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