continuing to mull over family systems

I’m thinking about my hero, Ed Friedman, this morning and his multiple insights into human relationships via family system psychology.

I can’t lay my hands on my notes about this subject. I’m sure they’re tucked in somewhere. But what I can find are copies of the three books I have read by Friedman.

In order:

Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue (1985)

Friedman’s Fables (1990)


A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix, an edited manuscript (1999)

Friedman died in 1996 and left an unfinished manuscript which was the basis of the lectures I heard him deliver at a workshop (in the 80s?).

His estate completed this edition and I managed to get a copy by calling on the phone (I just scanned in the cover pictured above). To this day, I’m convinced that I spoke to his widow when I ordered it.

Later Seabury Books published a more polished edition in 2007.

Generation to Generation & Failure of Nerve (2007 edition) are both available in Kindle editions.

This morning I was doing some thinking and flipped through my back notes in these books. Friedman emphasizes working on, understanding and regulating self. So these salient notes are things I am thinking about in regards to myself.

diagnosis: an identifying process that fixes perceptions….  often the result of anxiety in a system… rule of thumb, when you catch yourself diagnosing, probably something you are trying to hide

from Generation to Generation

differentiation cannot be implanted from the outside…. can’t make a bean grow by pulling on it

self is not merely analogous to immunity; it is immunity (Friedman’s emphasis)

from Age of the Quick Fix

This is a paen for ambiguity. I have long believed that questions are more important than answers…. in the effort to stimulate growth, the continual challenge of trying to reframe questions in a way that promotes fresh vision has … natural superiority  over  the struggle to find answers to the way others have posed them… questions are perceptions, and they way they are framed already determines the spectrum of answers one can possibly imagine

This is from the discussion booklet that comes with Friedman’s Fables

The essential question of human existence is not how your family did you in; it’s maintaining your integrity

from Friedman’s Fables

Self, ambiguity, paradox…. these are all insights I continue to mull over from thinking about Friedman’s ideas. Good stuff.


Man Uses His Schizophrenia to Gather Clues for Daily Living –

Sometimes the inmates have the insights.


British Inquiry Into Press Tactics Turns the Tables on Tabloids –

The author, John Burns, is someone I always read.


Talks on Cluster Bomb Restrictions Collapse –

Collapsed because most of the world thought it was a bad deal…. the ones that aren’t making and selling them, that is.


Olga Bloom, Founder of Bargemusic, Dies at 92 –

Early on, Ms. Bloom’s motivation was more practical: finding a place for struggling musicians in New York to escape the rat race of making a career, what she called the “combat zone.”

“For me, chamber music is the epitome of civilization,” Ms. Bloom once said. “I wanted to create a place for them to perform in an environment that would nurture, rather than destroy, their creativity.”

This reminds me. My piano trio is playing chamber music (Mozart) for the prelude today. Yay!


The shocking truth about the crackdown on Occupy | Naomi Wolf | Comment is free |

Good article from a better perspective… speaking of,

My dear quasi-son-in-law posted these simultaneous covers on Facebook.

Apparently this is the regular practice…. looks to me like its pablum for the fat and rich and harsh truth for others…. other examples: link, link (thanks to Facebooker Beth Davison for these last two links)


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