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Posts tagged "Adam Phillips"

On Acting Like A Child: The Valuable Lesson of Regression

On Acting Like A Child: The Valuable Lesson of Regression

In his Introductory Lectures to psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud used a very simple analogy to explain the relationship between the id (our animal instinct) and the ego (our common sense). He described it to be like the relationship between a rider and a horse, which sounds simple enough. The animal is the id, the rider atop the animal is the ego. What was, and still is, unpopular about this analogy is that, for Freud, the horse—not the human—is the one in charge. Much as the rider may have the pretense of guiding the horse forward, to the destination he or she…

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Another Week Ends: Capitalist Christians, Parents Teaching Achievement (Not Empathy), Post-Penitent Pantene, Sedaris's Journey to the Ends of the Law (and Back), Antinomian Aucklanders,  and Crooked-Timber Anthropology

Another Week Ends: Capitalist Christians, Parents Teaching Achievement (Not Empathy), Post-Penitent Pantene, Sedaris’s Journey to the Ends of the Law (and Back), Antinomian Aucklanders, and Crooked-Timber Anthropology

1. The New York Times hosted a debate asking the question of whether capitalism has become incompatible with Christianity. It’s a pretty interesting forum, and some highlights with commentary are below:

[Gary Dorrien, Union:] The field I teach, social ethics, was founded in the late 19th century as a protest against capitalist ideology. American social gospel theologian Walter Rauschenbusch put it poignantly: “Capitalism has overdeveloped the selfish instincts in all of us and left the capacity of devotion to larger ends shrunken and atrophied.” Pope Leo XIII described capitalism as a system defined by the callousness of employers and the greed of unrestrained competition, including its…

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Another Week Ends: Silent Treatment, 1st-World Problems, Rectify & Rev, Robinson's Lila, Phillips' Freud, Heresy Help, Tragic Soccer, and Soviet Propaganda

Another Week Ends: Silent Treatment, 1st-World Problems, Rectify & Rev, Robinson’s Lila, Phillips’ Freud, Heresy Help, Tragic Soccer, and Soviet Propaganda

1. Under the auspices of “How and Why to Ban the Silent Treatment from Your Relationship”, The Wall Street Journal issued a perceptive and even quite touching treatise on how the dynamic of demand and withdrawal comes to poison so many loving relationships. The article starts out with the same old line about judgment and expectation snuffing out affection (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), and ‘law’ making bad things worse, with some token men-are-from-Mars-women-are-from-Venus thrown in–but it doesn’t end there. That is, while some of the diagnosis (and rather patronizing advice) falls under the heading of the perilously…

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Can You See the Real Me? – David Zahl

The second video to be posted from our recent conference in NYC but the first to be recorded, this is from Thursday evening 4/3:

Can You See the Real Me? ~ David Zahl from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

A Cure for Our Self-Knowledge: Why We'll Always Want Our Milk in the Same Sippy Cup

A Cure for Our Self-Knowledge: Why We’ll Always Want Our Milk in the Same Sippy Cup

The Paris Review’s (stunning) most recent issue features interviews with quite the coupling: Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner and our favorite psychoanalyst, Adam Phillips. Both men talk about the art of writing, Phillips using a lot of the dialectic idioms you seem him using on paper all the time. Things like, “Symptoms are forms of self-knowledge.” Or, “Analysis should be the need not to know yourself.”

That being said, Phillips covers a lot of ground, including his own childhood, the books that formed him, the initial interests that brought him to the analysands’ chair. But mainly the conversation covers the breadth…

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Sharing Our Lives with the People We Have Failed to Be

Sharing Our Lives with the People We Have Failed to Be

So I’ve just cracked the spine on Adam Phillips’ Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life, and I’m baffled it’s taken me so long to get started. (Let’s just say, it’s no wonder we open the first issue of our magazine with a quote from him.) The psychologist-philosopher has an adept handle on the interior human life–on the hidden, subterranean you and me–but he can also describe it for non-philosophers like you and me.

Missing Out is about classic, fork-in-the-road questions of identity. When Robert Frost took “the road less traveled” and Jesus called us through the “narrow gate,” Phillips…

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Criminal Memory and the Myth of "Getting Away With It"

Criminal Memory and the Myth of “Getting Away With It”

In the suburb where I grew up, I can still picture the house of a younger friend in the cul-de-sac, the split-floor entry, the metal banisters, the dirty carpet. I even especially remember the parent’s bedroom, and the mirror on the door, and I remember it because this is where their kid and I would take turns saying cuss words. We’d stand in the empty house, fourth grade or so, and try out the ones we knew—which, to no surprise, was most of them—watching our faces in the mirror as we said them. It’s funny to think about that now,…

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Another Week Ends: Jackrabbit Madness, FOMO, Faith Like a Mumford, Radical Rhetoric, Alan Partridge and the Sitcom Smackdown

Another Week Ends: Jackrabbit Madness, FOMO, Faith Like a Mumford, Radical Rhetoric, Alan Partridge and the Sitcom Smackdown

1)   If you are a sports fan, today is (arguably, I know) day two of the best four days in college sports every year. March Madness has begun, and Grantland is the place to be for the most hare-brained predictions and analyses—including a Charles Barkley shark jump and a Marshall Henderson moment only Marshall Henderson could think up. It’s not all fun and games, though—this story on the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits is one of the best team profiles I’ve read in a while. I defy you not to root for this team in the tournament, even it means…

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Adam Phillips on Carpet Peeing and the Happiness Addict

Adam Phillips on Carpet Peeing and the Happiness Addict

Very much in tune with The Atlantic‘s explosive chain of articles the last couple weeks on “having it all,” Phillips goes into the mind of the misbehaving child, the unrealistic expectations we have about being happy, how often good is associated brethren with happy, and the gift that acceptance can bring to human suffering and sadness. It comes from his book On Balance.

There is one fundamental experience that every parent has with their child, and that every school teacher has with the children they teach, which is: you can’t tell a child that they are not enjoying themselves, you can…

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Adam Phillips on Why You Are a Fundamentalist

Adam Phillips on Why You Are a Fundamentalist

From the psychoanalyst’s essay, “On What Is Fundamental” from his book On Balance:

And yet, of course–and this is the kind of move that psychoanalysis has made all too available to us–we are all fundamentalists about something. There must be, psychoanalysis might tell us, to put it in as silly a way as possible, a fundamentalist in all of us; we may think of ourselves consciously so to speak as liberals and modernists, but what these relatively new forms of self-description are up against is a more old-fashioned, even archaic inner fundamentalist.

…We are free to speak (as the democrat defends) so…

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Adam Phillips Tells You Why You Are "Too Much For Yourself"

Adam Phillips Tells You Why You Are “Too Much For Yourself”

Do you ever exaggerate? Do you tend to overshare? Do you catch yourself overreacting? Surely you don’t, but surely your girlfriend carries on excessively about her uneventful (to you) five-minute conversation with her ‘distant’ friend; surely your teenager explodes in self-defense at the gentlest encouragement to call on his way home next time; or your father exaggerates the amount of time he’s put into planning a weekend trip. To us, the blameless few, this kind of excessive behavior is too much for anyone to handle.

There is, of course, the standard of objective truth, and those who swing beyond its parameters…

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Fancies of Satisfaction: A Psychoanalysis of Pain, Pleasure, and the Good Life

Fancies of Satisfaction: A Psychoanalysis of Pain, Pleasure, and the Good Life

The New York Times blog snagged a brilliant interview with British philosopher and psychoanalyst Adam Phillips on Western culture’s fixation with happiness. According to Phillips, this notion that a good life is a happy life is a detrimental misnomer that consequently drives the individual into deeper dissatisfaction. Insofar as pain happens regardless, the pursuit of happiness is an unachievable end, an ideal unrealized. This cultural philosophy is fundamentally hedonistic, “evacuating pain” and caulking the holes with something more palatable. It sees pain as a privation–an appetite–and in fear seeks to substitute the appetite with an overfeeding of the wrong kind…

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