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Burying Freud

[ Burying Freud Homepage | Freud's Seduction Theory Homepage ]

Reacting to Bob Hinshelwood, who wrote:

"I don't think the "testability" of psychoanalysis is as much the core of the conflict as is the paradigm of validation. In my view Goldberg quite rightly disassociates psychoanalysis from the paradigm of empiricism, and then (with a "significant" degree of emphasis, from a psychoanalytic view) attacks it as
a "religion". I quite agree with his view of psychoanalysis as an emanation of Gnosticism -- the difference being that I myself embrace it as such." --Jonathan Ames

My sense is to agree (partly) with Jonathan Ames that the testability of psycho-analysis is crucial to all the Freud-bashing. I might disagree with him in polarizing testable objectivity with gnosticism - and then deciding which side of that see-saw to sit upon. It is just possible to conceive that psycho-analysis is not either, but instead some interesting blend/integration of the two. I think he has it about right in describing psycho-analysis as 'a deep relationship contextualised in an industrial, modern culture which itself is changing'. Psycho-analysis exists both within the human heart, and also within the positivist triumph of industrial modern culture.


I didn't intend to suggest or support a polarization between testable objectivity and subjective resonance (Gnostic, constructivist, or whatever). My only point was that psychoanalysis seems to be claimed by adherents to both camps, used to extend or advance phenomenological orientations which often clash -- and which certainly predate Freud.

For example: there is the DSM, a collection of perceptually (and no doubt "statistically") bundled personal attributes -- the culmination of a psychiatry more attributed to Kraepelin than to Freud. For a period of time psychoanalysis was valued primarily for its potential to ease, modify or eradicate such symptoms -- to "cure" pathology implicitly located within the individual, as measured by DSM. Per Foucault, an extension and tool of the "Doctor" who appeared on the scene as the medieval insane asylums were liberated -- and who sought a means of controlling aberrant behavior short of chaining it to the wall.

No one who now deals extensively with such behavior really doubts that medication works for the most part better than talk. Indeed, as do chains and shackles. As a system for invoking control (controlled experiment; controlled behavior), psychoanalysis seems to have failed the folks most invested in its success.

However, the direction appearing in later analytic aspirations clearly shifts from control to mutual construction -- just as the analyst's own person becomes engaged in the treatment. Racker's "law of talion" governing transference/countertransference connects the analytic dyad within a two-person system, engaged in CREATING meaning, understanding, behavior -- which later becomes for Bollas the production of "genera". The "doctor", in actuality having absorbed a loss in status, no longer represents an unconflicted, sanctified realm of sanity ( leading one to wonder where such sanctification has disappeared to -- like, where does the fist go when the hand is open?).

From this standpoint, the "correctness" of the interpretation is a matter of mutual internal resonance, not external conditions met -- psychoanalytic work need no more account for such experience externally than must music or performance (though historic contextualisation is certainly valuable). Ultimately, I would suggest that the impulse toward external "testing" of analytic truth pertains not to validation by an outside participant with the a priori authority to legitimize results, but to the actual extension of the dyadic moment into a larger cosmogeny, as per the potentiality of its very occurrence. That is to say, the resonating interpretation has a life of its own.

Of course, this returns us to Gnosticism and Eastern spirituality -- and to a vision vastly different than that pertaining to the control and management of "insanity". So I guess the short answer is that it all depends upon a red wheelbarrow -- or upon whom you are working for.

Finally, I wonder how the erotics of the wish for conscious interpretation of the unconscious response compare to that of the wish to control and eradicate insanity as a threat to humanity. Perhaps the difference between the shamanic and the scientific is essentially erotic -- and therefore, practically speaking, unarguable.

Jonathan Ames


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Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young - Last updated: 28 May, 2005 02:29 PM

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Burying Freud

[ Burying Freud Homepage | Freud's Seduction Theory Homepage ]

Reacting to Bob Hinshelwood, who wrote:

"I don't think the "testability" of psychoanalysis is as much the core of the conflict as is the paradigm of validation. In my view Goldberg quite rightly disassociates psychoanalysis from the paradigm of empiricism, and then (with a "significant" degree of emphasis, from a psychoanalytic view) attacks it as
a "religion". I quite agree with his view of psychoanalysis as an emanation of Gnosticism -- the difference being that I myself embrace it as such." --Jonathan Ames

My sense is to agree (partly) with Jonathan Ames that the testability of psycho-analysis is crucial to all the Freud-bashing. I might disagree with him in polarizing testable objectivity with gnosticism - and then deciding which side of that see-saw to sit upon. It is just possible to conceive that psycho-analysis is not either, but instead some interesting blend/integration of the two. I think he has it about right in describing psycho-analysis as 'a deep relationship contextualised in an industrial, modern culture which itself is changing'. Psycho-analysis exists both within the human heart, and also within the positivist triumph of industrial modern culture.


I didn't intend to suggest or support a polarization between testable objectivity and subjective resonance (Gnostic, constructivist, or whatever). My only point was that psychoanalysis seems to be claimed by adherents to both camps, used to extend or advance phenomenological orientations which often clash -- and which certainly predate Freud.

For example: there is the DSM, a collection of perceptually (and no doubt "statistically") bundled personal attributes -- the culmination of a psychiatry more attributed to Kraepelin than to Freud. For a period of time psychoanalysis was valued primarily for its potential to ease, modify or eradicate such symptoms -- to "cure" pathology implicitly located within the individual, as measured by DSM. Per Foucault, an extension and tool of the "Doctor" who appeared on the scene as the medieval insane asylums were liberated -- and who sought a means of controlling aberrant behavior short of chaining it to the wall.

No one who now deals extensively with such behavior really doubts that medication works for the most part better than talk. Indeed, as do chains and shackles. As a system for invoking control (controlled experiment; controlled behavior), psychoanalysis seems to have failed the folks most invested in its success.

However, the direction appearing in later analytic aspirations clearly shifts from control to mutual construction -- just as the analyst's own person becomes engaged in the treatment. Racker's "law of talion" governing transference/countertransference connects the analytic dyad within a two-person system, engaged in CREATING meaning, understanding, behavior -- which later becomes for Bollas the production of "genera". The "doctor", in actuality having absorbed a loss in status, no longer represents an unconflicted, sanctified realm of sanity ( leading one to wonder where such sanctification has disappeared to -- like, where does the fist go when the hand is open?).

From this standpoint, the "correctness" of the interpretation is a matter of mutual internal resonance, not external conditions met -- psychoanalytic work need no more account for such experience externally than must music or performance (though historic contextualisation is certainly valuable). Ultimately, I would suggest that the impulse toward external "testing" of analytic truth pertains not to validation by an outside participant with the a priori authority to legitimize results, but to the actual extension of the dyadic moment into a larger cosmogeny, as per the potentiality of its very occurrence. That is to say, the resonating interpretation has a life of its own.

Of course, this returns us to Gnosticism and Eastern spirituality -- and to a vision vastly different than that pertaining to the control and management of "insanity". So I guess the short answer is that it all depends upon a red wheelbarrow -- or upon whom you are working for.

Finally, I wonder how the erotics of the wish for conscious interpretation of the unconscious response compare to that of the wish to control and eradicate insanity as a threat to humanity. Perhaps the difference between the shamanic and the scientific is essentially erotic -- and therefore, practically speaking, unarguable.

Jonathan Ames


human-nature.com
Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young - Last updated: 28 May, 2005 02:29 PM

US -
 Search:
Keywords:  

Amazon.com logo

UK -
 Search:
Keywords:  

Amazon.co.uk logo

 | Human Nature | The Human Nature Daily Review | Psychiatry Research Online |