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Hi

Could you please help me with the definitions #2 and #3? In the #2 I can't understand how the emotions such as pity can be cleansed. I don't even understand the meaning of "cleansed" in this context. In the #3 what that overwhelming experience could be. Thank you.

catharsis

1. Medicine Purgation, especially for the digestive system.

2. A purifying or figurative cleansing of the emotions, especially pity and fear, described by Aristotle as an effect of tragic drama on its audience.

3. A release of emotional tension, as after an overwhelming experience, that restores or refreshes the spirit.

4. Psychology

a. A technique used to relieve tension and anxiety by bringing repressed feelings and fears to consciousness.

b. The therapeutic result of this process; abreaction.

[American Heritage Dictionary]

Regards

Jackson
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Hi,

The basic idea is that after you express strong emotions, you feel better.

eg Mary's husband dies. Mary goes into a frenzy of grief at the funeral. Afterwards, she feels better.

eg You go to a play, like the great tragedy King Lear. You slowly begin to feel great pity for Lear. Maybe you even cry. After you come out of the theatre, you feel rejuvenated.

Clive
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Jackson6612 In the #2 I can't understand how the emotions such as pity can be cleansed. I don't even understand the meaning of "cleansed" in this context.
Cleansed = healing, being removed or released

A catharsis is an experience that results in an emotional release. Here are some examples:

The Sufi dance results in a catharsis - reaching an ecstasy and joy of pure light. All troubles are forgotten.

Yoga and deep meditation can be a catharsis.

I pitied myself because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet. (I had a catharsis.)
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Thanks a lot, Clive, AlpheccaStars.

I pitied myself because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet. (I had a catharsis.)


That's a very good way to put it. So, once you met a man who had no feet you had cleansing of your emotion of pity; in other words your emotion of pity had been removed, at least temporarily.

I think I still need some more help to understand the definition #2 fully.

2: A purifying or figurative cleansing of the emotions, especially pity and fear, described by Aristotle as an effect of tragic drama on its audience.


Q1: What would be the "figurative cleansing"? If you ask me in this context "cleansing" is always figurative because you never get your emotions taken off your body physically. Perhaps, I have more trouble with the setting "purifying or figurative cleansing" which gives the impression that 'purification' could also be real.

Q2: How can the emotion of fear be cleansed? For example, if I'm always of afraid of ghosts, then I don't think watching a horror flick will do me any good unless I watch something like Casper cartoon.

Please help me with the queries above. Thank you.

Regards
Jackson

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A medical purgative is a literal cleansing. You drink some magnesium citrate or other liquid, and all your digestive system is cleaned.

Your emotions can be cleansed if you are stressed, melancholy or unhappy. It is a spiritual removal of the cause of discomfort.

If you have a phobia, there are many methods of treatment. Here's a good link: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/phobia_symptoms_types_treatment.htm
Thank you, AlpheccaStars.

Best wishes
Jackson