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The Art of Being Human

Doctors should have a thorough knowledge of two languages, that of science and technique and that of the heart and soul.

– Professor B. Glorion

Contemporary social evolution, with all the implications of the reign of the image and the tyrannical pressure of effectivity, economy and profit, has shown a profound modification in the development of the affective capacities of the human being and of his disposition to live well and confidently, and this right from early childhood.

This evolution has developed, under pseudorational appearances, that which in each of us tends towards the refusal of the other person, fear, aggression, and violence. In short, it generates and reinforces a dynamic of separation and an increase of the imaginary, in opposition to those forces which aim at cohesion and symbolisation, as much within the human mind as outside, in his relationships with others and with the world around him.

Thus we can note – and not without cause to worry – that for decades now we have been able to talk about an “effective conscious world” which dominates an “affective conscious world” in such a way that the affective life is strongly curbed if not repressed and this in an ever increasing way: in this “world of effectivity” pragmatism and intellectual rationalism reign. There is no room for feelings, emotions: for affectivity. The dimension of feeling – and all that concerns the affective life – is considered as lacking in interest and therefore has no place in this world, as it is of no economic or political value. This dimension would only disturb, in a awkward way, the economic processes of development and production.

Haptonomy demonstrates that faculties every human being should possess are nowadays more and more under-developed, they lie fallow, or are atrophied, if not totally absent. However, these faculties are of fundamental interest for contacts, interactions and human relationships. It is the absence of affective confirmation which hinders their development.

– Frans Veldman, Confirming Affectivity, the Dawn of Human Life, 2001

Haptonomy is neither a method nor a technique but the Art of Being Human.
– Frans Veldman