This Is Not … Food: On Food for Thought

  • Paul Stenner
Chapter
Part of the Studies in the Psychosocial book series (STIP)

Abstract

This chapter builds directly upon the concept of fabulation crafted in Chap. 2. Its strange title is a reference to one of Aesop’s fables known as The Dog and His Reflection. The dog in the fable loses its food, but this loss gives it food for thought. A fable, as the word implies, is quite literally the product of fabulation. The chapter uses Aesop’s fable as the basis from which to unfold a theoretical account of transformative experience as the crucible for the emergence of novelty. The shocked uh oh! that accompanies the loss of the dog’s food is the basis for a creative ah ha! as the dog enjoys a novel flash of insight by way of this experience of micro-liminality. The chapter grasps this process through a notion of deep symbolism whereby insight is granted into previously unthought depths of felt experience. Resources for this account are found in the work of Susanne Langer (especially her definition of the art object as a perceptible form expressive of feeling, and her distinction between discursive and presentational symbolism), combined with A. N. Whitehead’s theory of symbolic reference. From the perspective developed, the fable-qua-art-object can itself be construed as a presentational symbol expressing the feeling of this insight. The fable (which can thereby be construed as a liminal affective technology) affords its readers a devised liminal experience. But that fabulated experience is ‘doubled’ by the spontaneous liminal experience which haunts it: a counterfactual this is not experience.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Stenner
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyThe Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK

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