Posts tagged "Psychoanalysis"
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…

Read More »

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,…

Read More »

Depressive Double Lives and the Usefulness of Pain

Depressive Double Lives and the Usefulness of Pain

“For a long time in my life, I felt like I’d been living two different lives,” Kevin Breel says as he begins his TED talk titled “Kevin Breel: Confessions of a Depressed Comic.” “There’s the life that everyone sees, and then, there’s the life that only I see.” In a well-delivered and candid talk, Breel opens up about his personal struggle with depression, the stigma attached to mental illness, and the reasons that people need to pay more attention to stories like his. Kevin says that, for the past few years, he has felt like he needed to hide his…

Read More »

The 3 Responses to Conflict: Fight, Flight, and Appeasement

The 3 Responses to Conflict: Fight, Flight, and Appeasement

Is David Brooks reading Mockingbird? Or is Mockingbird covertly getting its wisdom from one of the 1950s’ lesser known psychoanalysts, Karen Horney? Either way, in a deeply clairvoyant op-ed about the pluses and minuses of cognitive behavior therapy, Mr. Brooks looks at what’s missing from today’s preferred form of self-knowing, which seems to be more focused on “behavior modification” and “identifying distorted thinking habits.” Not that these things are bad–Brooks actually prefers the cognitive behavioral school to Freudian or Jungian analysis–it just means that people are less versed in talking about personality traits and general neuroses. Brooks uses that platform to…

Read More »

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…

Read More »

Populist, Piggishly Nostalgic Do-It-Yourselfers: Our Pictures of Ourselves in 2011

Populist, Piggishly Nostalgic Do-It-Yourselfers: Our Pictures of Ourselves in 2011

The Atlantic has always done a splendid job with immediate meta-cognition, at taking a few steps back from the cogs of the e’er-turning world “spinning madly on,” and communicating not only what’s going on, but what’s going on behind what’s, uh, going on. It’s hard not to celebrate journalism that is doing this kind of work–and we’re completely unbiased here–the kind that looks deeply into what we’re looking at everyday anyways, and asks what frameworks are at play. The news behind the news, in other words. It’s not always good news, but there’s something good about analyzing what greater narratives…

Read More »

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…

Read More »