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Speaking for psychoanalysis?

On November 2nd

A friend asked me if I am trying to “speak for psychoanalysis” in the blog. This made me think. I would no more speak for psychoanalysis than I would speak for America, or the East Coast, or for mammals. My point being that psychoanalysis is a big tent. There is plenty of variation and controversy within psychoanalysis, and I would be hard pressed on a good day to even tell you what these are. There is no Pope of psychoanalysis, no Czar, no party line, and no Kool-Aid to drink. Which I consider a good thing.

So, I’m just speaking for myself here. If I present my tribe in a good light, all the better.

Alteration of consciousness

On November 2nd 1 Comment covering

Note to self: write more short, amusing posts.

I don’t know how amusing this is, but I’ve noticed in the few days I’ve been working on this, that the (so-far mostly imaginary) readership of the blog has become a presence in my mind. I’m aware of thinking about what will amuse, interest, edify, and entertain this ghostly crowd. It’s rather pleasant. It’s subtly changed my reality.

It is a reminder that most relationships exist in the mind, most of the time. It is what allows human connections to have staying power. Your connections and relationships have the power to soothe and sustain you, even when these people are not physically present. These mental representations of relationships can also be a source of distress and disturbance. Read more »

Anonymity, blogging, and getting out of the office

On November 1st

I’m blogging anonymously for now. [UPDATE: Not any more.] I intend to change that when it’s clearer how this thing is shaping up. There’s something I don’t like about the anonymous voice. I think if you want to participate in public discourse, it’s more honest to say who you are. Otherwise you’re just a cultural sniper, taking shots from the safety of your cozy hiding place. I realize that there are people who have legitimate needs to protect their anonymity. Read more »

Ambivalence and Creativity

On October 31st

You may have seen this one — a news item that was making the rounds a few weeks ago:

SEATTLE, Oct. 8 (UPI) — Those with ambivalence, feeling positive and negative emotions at once, are more creative than those who are happy, sad or lack emotion, says a U.S. study.Christina Ting Fong, an assistant professor at the University of Washington Business School, says this increased sensitivity for recognizing unusual associations, which happy or sad workers probably couldn’t detect, is what leads to creativity in the workplace.

This makes enough sense. It’s often noted by those who study creativity that tolerance for contradiction, ambiguity, and complexity is a key factor. Psychoanalysts like to cite Keats, who defined a quality he called “Negative capability”: Read more »


On October 31st

If you’ve been to Central Park, you’ve seen the massive stone formations. One way to see them is as simply big rocks distributed in the landscape. But they are outcroppings. If the tour guide on my sixth-grade class trip is to be trusted, they are places where the bedrock that underlies Manhattan is poking through the surface. The very bones of the city are visible. I was told that the rock is wonderfully dense schist, which is important to the city being what it is. If the underlying geology was river mud, there would be no way to support the buildings in NYC, not to mention the honeycomb of subway and utility tunnels. There’s a nicely detailed article about the geology here. Read more »