Tuesday, 11 November 2008

'We all have an angel within us' – András Pető

Some angel!

Yesterday in the Mária Hári Memorial Library, Librarian Márgit Balogh mentioned, almost as an aside, that 'We all have an angel within us' was an important part of András Pető‘s personal philosophy. During the long, dark watches of the night I could not get this out of my head and, as my mind span, associations began to rise to the surface. The only thing to do was to get up and jot them down.

This was my chain of reasoning.

1. Yesterday Márgit Balogh told me that András Pető used to say: 'We all have an angel within us’.

2. Years ago Károly Ákos told me that he did not approve of András Pető’s philosophy: it was 'all angels'

3. One of Judit Forrai's collected memoirs of András Pető included an anecdote about how, when writer Ándor Németh had been acutely depressed, András Pető had sorted him out, saying 'I am your Angel'.

4. The memorial plaque outside András Pető's flat, on a wall on Balossi Balint u. at the corner with Stollar Béla u., includes the figure of an angel. I could never understand why. This plaque was installed sometime in the late nineties, I recall, though I did not know at the time. Nor did most people so, if its significance was explained at the ceremony, this went largely unheard. (Márgit Balogh also told me yesterday that there is a plaque at Sombathély, on the wall of the house in which András Pető was born, but she does not know what this one looks like.)

5 So, it occurred to me to ask, why is Lillemor Jernqvist's biographical collection on Ester Cotton called I'm no Angel? Coincidence? Probably, but being alone in foreign parts is great for paranoia and a sense of conspiracy theory!

6. More significantly, there must almost certainly be something that I had not previously noticed in one of his two German books on 'healing'.

Does any of this matter? Who knows, and no one will until the line of enquiry is followed through – probably to a point beyond my own limited resources. Like everything about András Pető it is cloaked in mystery and – here comes that feeling of paranoia again – one wonders whether this is deliberate, and if so why.

Certainly, András Pető himself was no angel, by any conventional understanding of the word, but what did he mean by this? Presumably not the same as in contemporary ‘angel therapy’!

And certainly, all this is a universe removed from the ‘therapy’-based understandings of Conductive Education (Ester Cotton’s included).

Nor does a hint of it appear in any of the ‘technical’ publications of Mária Hári and the Pető Institute.

But around ten years ago awareness of the importance of this was sufficient for someone to have briefed the monumental mason who made the plaque in Balossi Balint u. to include an angel in the design.

Are we missing something here?

Back home in the light of day I shall see how far I can take the questions raised here, and report back.

1 comment:

  1. Although I think you ment something else by saying "are we missing something here?" I still would like to relate to Judit's response:
    ‘ I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.’

    Why do I like it?
    Orthofunction is a product of interactional relationships between a person and its environment
    This phrase emphasises our responsibility of changing not only the child, but the environment as well. 'Curving the marbel'is constructing the context in which the child lives in, in fact constructing the upbringing environment.
    Only if we did our educational mission in both sphares, the child and its environment, a real change may occur.

    Rony Schenker
    Tsad Kadima, Israel


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