acquisition of knowledge | INFJ Forum

acquisition of knowledge


Regular Poster
Feb 12, 2009
I have been reading this book called ‘When Boundaries Betray Us – Beyond Illusions of What Is Ethical In Therapy and In Life’ by Carter Heyward, she is an Episcopal priest, ethicist and professor of theology. It’s a really frank and powerful account of her own experiences in therapy.

If I’m honest I picked up this book to read as a kind of case study, I was subconsciously ready to read it from a therapist-like perspective, if I’m even more honest I slip in and out of it and can see both sides. It has raised a lot of questions in me as I can relate to the character/personality of the author, but am constantly putting myself in the therapist’s shoes… This is probably superlative information but I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I’m really trying to understand as well as realizing just how much I need to try to understand, so I was hoping that maybe some of you guys could help me…..

Specifically I was wondering about Sophie, whom she describes as an imaginary friend that she had as a child that she comes to be reconnected with through the therapeutic process. Throughout her therapy she writes to Sophie and speaks of the insights she gains from her. These are some extracts from the book pertaining to Sophie or Sophia in her adult form;
“ I began to remember Sophie, my earliest experience of sacred power, my first image of God. Sophie had been my wise little imaginary playmate when I was a child and having grown with me (though I seldom had recognized her, I was moving so fast), she would meet me again now in her adulthood and my own, as Sophia, ancient figure in Jewish and Christian literature, mage of God and wisdom.”

“ Sophie is our wisdom, wellspring of all that is true and worth knowing. She comes as Womanpower though she is not a woman nor a gender nor a person at all. She is a transpersonal yearning, a relational motion, a way of being in touch with whatever is most fully creaturely, most radically and passionately ours”

“ For those of us educated in patriarchal, androcentric religious cultures, Sophia’s coming catches us off guard. She meets us when we least expect to be touched, much less shaken, by the divine. Most of us spend much of our lives running from Sophia, for we have learned to fear the chaos that will be sparked in our lives when she meets us. We are frightened, for as we see ourselves and one another through her eyes, we see the possibility of living more simply and honestly as sisters, brothers and friends. Gaining our freedom we pass through our fears”

“ Sophie was my first image of God, a feisty African American (in those days in the South, we said coloured) girl who became my best friend. She first came to me in the context of my lonliness. By lonliness, I mean a sense of being emotionally disconnected from others – white from black, child from parent, and, as I would experience later, in adulthood, drunk from drunk (that is myself from other addicts). Nobody listening well. Nobody being heard”

“ in the midst of this world of my childhood came an imaginary friend Sophie to tell me we are not disconnected and that we need not be afraid of ourselves and one another. She said we are put here to create a world that is very different from the one we know best, the one that has been built on fear.”

I suppose I’m interpreting her interpretation/perception of Sophie/a as a manifestationof her personal religious beliefs or what she would come to believe – this is kind of a chicken or the egg thing for me. I think as a result of the fact that I don’t share her beliefs, to make sense of it for myself, I’m kind of looking at it as an experience of knowledge (that’s the only way I can think of to describe it). So I was wondering if anyone has ever had an experience like is described….. a way of coming to know things that is as noticably unorthodox (I say noticeably, knowing that it is spelled incorrectly, because infjs are not supposed to understand where their knowledge comes from at times) as it is in this situation – with a somewhat concrete, almost tangible, perhaps independent source…. And if so how do you view it or what’s your take on it??

I did struggle with the idea of Sophie from the beginning, probably because as I said, I began reading from a certain perspective. I came to realize that I don’t really think it would be my place to question the validity/sanity of Sophie (unless it became a real problem in the life of the client) as I don’t think I could ever really provide an answer and I suppose it is in some way in line with my own personal spiritual beliefs, or probably more accurately my belief in/tolerance of ambiguity in this area. Also I’m obviously not discounting the possibility of it being a coping mechanism or a representation of other psychological factors… just trying to get my head round it really so any thoughts or musings at all would be greatly appreciated!!!
[FONT=&quot]I know that was really long a too, so cheers for reading :)[/FONT]
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Yeah, break up your paragraphs.

Sophie/Sophia sounds like a self-created pagan god. Loads of people have those. Well, loads of Pagans have those. The rest have them but don't believe they are self-created; it depends on the individual.
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cool thanks for that, when you say self-created is it usually a consciously created image or like an involuntary 'meeting' in those instances?