Theodor Reik Part 5: Ashamed of Ourselves

In Chapter VII of Listening With The Third Ear, Theodor Reik’s self-analysis, three sensitive and significant thoughts are sketched out: The significance of embarrassment, the necessity of looking inward, and the privileged position of emotion over intellect. It is common, in everyday experience, to look outward for the cause of our emotional state. What in our circumstancesContinue reading “Theodor Reik Part 5: Ashamed of Ourselves”

American Sniper and Fifty Shades of Grey: Sadomasochism and the American Unconscious

In the psychodynamic tradition, we hold that culture–that is, the artifacts that are created by those whom we call artists–is the manifestation of the unconscious struggles of the individual with society. We hold that there is not only a personal unconscious which moves individuals, but also a social unconscious that moves society. By examining theContinue reading “American Sniper and Fifty Shades of Grey: Sadomasochism and the American Unconscious”

America’s First Movie Star

Until 1991 America’s first movie star rested under an unmarked grave in Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Santa Monica Boulevard. Over 50 years after her death an anonymous British actor memorialized her grave marker with the words, “The Biograph Girl/The First Movie Star”. Florence Lawrence’s story is the template for Hollywood celebrity. Her grandparents escaped Ireland’s PotatoContinue reading “America’s First Movie Star”

Mere Activity of the Brain or "Nothing but" Psychology

Neuroscientific explanations of human experience are the rage. Science writers, who all too often know just enough science to be dangerous -and not enough to be discerning, enthusiastically swarm around celebrity experts, repeating and indulging their narrative with oftentimes myopic and unexamined assumptions. Quite possibly the most dangerous of our time are those who writeContinue reading “Mere Activity of the Brain or "Nothing but" Psychology”

On Semiology, Psychoanalysis, and Phenomenology: Remembering What We Once Knew

Photo 1978 by Sophie Bassouls. Since childhood, since the earliest memories of youth, we have been aware of an implicit, nonverbal, unarticulated aspect of experience. This experience, contrary to what education insisted, was not primarily contemplative, but rather, emotive. Beneath the rational cognition, quite plunging and undulating, pushing and pulling, was the fundamental essence ofContinue reading “On Semiology, Psychoanalysis, and Phenomenology: Remembering What We Once Knew”

Fromm’s Taxonomy of Bad Faith

“In the nineteenth century the problem was that God is dead. In the twentieth century the problem is that man is dead.” -Erich Fromm I was recently asked to address a group of students on this question: what is the single most important issue facing America today? As expected my fellow guests, a philosopher, a sociologist,Continue reading “Fromm’s Taxonomy of Bad Faith”

An Object Lesson in Psychoanalysis: Haggard & Dawkins

What can psychoanalysis tell us about religious and scientific fundamentalism and those who profess the truth? Through psychoanalysis we find something that we might not expect on the surface level, something that once realized reveals aspects that typically remain hidden and unnoticed. Take, for instance, American evangelical preacher, Pastor Ted Haggard, and the famed British evolutionary biologist, Dr. Richard Dawkins. InContinue reading “An Object Lesson in Psychoanalysis: Haggard & Dawkins”

Ways of Thinking: From Art to Social Science

Chromatic Gradation Effect I entered into psychology as many of us do; through the life-theorists. I call them life-theorist because they are not merely clinicians who treat the psychologically disturbed, but also, they think about our common experiences of living, and how to go about those experiences most effectively. They can also be called lifeContinue reading “Ways of Thinking: From Art to Social Science”

Alfred Adler: The Individual and Media

Let’s dwell in the work of Alfred Adler; his cultural, group, and individual processes of a mediated world and a mediated self. Adler began with 12 propositions which serve as the ground or referent for his working system. Like the Ptolemaic, geocentric, worldview; it can function pragmatically. What interests us here is not objective Truth, butContinue reading “Alfred Adler: The Individual and Media”