I will often pick up information on a website I am reading, a fact I did not know or had never heard of. Today I was reading about Gestalt, now this is a word you hear or heard in the 1970’s but I never knew what it meant and did not pay much attention to it. So I was reading about the history after 1919 of the Berlin City Palace I came upon how the University asked for research, teaching space in the abandon palace across from the Humboldt University and they were granted a series of rooms in the West facade area. Gestalt therapy is a client-centered approach to psychotherapy that helps clients focus on the present and understand what is really happening in their lives right now, rather than what they may perceive to be happening based on past experience.
The conditions for researchers conducting these experiments in perceptual psychology in the palace rooms during the 1920s was perfect. The institute’s location in the palace spurred on the research and ensured international fame for the Berlin School of Experimental Psychology under Dr. Köhler. It attracted guest researchers from all over the world and put Berlin researchers on the map of international science. But the palace’s unique rooms not only brought research success; they also created practical problems when the laboratory was drawn into disputes with palace administration, which viewed the building as a heritage monument.
The university’s psychological institute remained in the palace until 1945, even though Berlin’s reputation as an international centre of Gestalt psychology came to an end in 1933. The entire institute staff fled into exile, apparently the Nazis where not fans of Gestalt.
The first victim of the new research agenda was the cinema laboratory which was used for experimental work in the field of visual perception. The rest of the institute’s remaining equipment was destroyed by fire in bombing raids carried out towards the end of the war. Other than a few photographs and construction plans, nothing remains of the golden age of Gestalt psychology in the 1920s. Furthermore, hardly anyone today is aware that the successes of Gestalt psychology are due – at least in part – to the unusual working conditions enjoyed by the laboratory in the Berlin Palace.
Portal III, Western facade, Berlin City Palace, c.1900
Given that we are mostly confined to home at the moment and so we are left with amusing ourselves with chores, cooking, reading and walking the dogs. It is clear now for those of us who listen carefully to what our Premier Dennis King is saying and what the Chief Health Officer Dr Morrison mentions daily that our period of isolation will go on for months, September or October have been mentioned as possible time period for an end to this crisis, but it is clear that no cure or vaccine will be found for at least 24 months. I cannot imagine what this means for life in general.
So we have been looking at various cooking shows on YouTube and recipes, some are easy and fun and other makes you wonder if it would work if you tried it. There is apparently a blog where the writer points out what recipe would not work simply by pointing out mistakes in measurements or cooking temperature.
On the reading front, well I finished the biography of Italian writer Primo Levi and now I have started The Republic and the Laws by Marcus T. Cicero, a very ancient text.
Cicero’s The Republic is an impassioned plea for responsible governement written just before the civil war that ended the Roman Republic in a dialogue following Plato. Drawing on Greek political theory, the work embodies the mature reflections of a Roman ex-consul on the nature of political organization, on justice in society, and on the qualities needed in a statesman. Its sequel, The Laws, expounds the influential doctrine of Natural Law, which applies to all mankind, and
sets out an ideal code for a reformed Roman Republic.
The other book I started is by William Graves the son of Robert Graves and is entitled Wild Olives. The action is based on childhood memories. As a five-year-old child, William Graves is taken in 1946 from England to a mountain village in Majorca, where his father, the poet Robert Graves, had returned with his new family to the place where he had lived before the war with Laura Riding. Young William grows up in the writer’s shadow, while experiencing the way of life of the Majorcans which have hardly changed for hundreds of years, and participating in the day-to-day activities of the village.
This is an enjoyable beautiful book and an easy read.
We have also started to FaceTime with friends over drinks since we cannot meet in person. We will have to invent a new social life, despite the fact that most wish to think that all this will be over in two weeks.