Welcome, Dear Reader
Welcome to my blog, dear reader. My goal in this and future communications is to look at events of the day from a psychoanalytic point of view. Psychoanalysis? That Sigmund Freud thing? Didn't that go out with stegosaurus and all his dinosaur friends? Not at all. Since it's inception, psychoanalytic thinking and practice has progressed in the hands of Freud's successors, down to the present day. And Chicago has played a major role in this evolution, serving as home to the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis, a center for psychoanalytic study that was founded in 1932, second oldest training site in America after New York.
Freud's basic idea was a simple one: people aren't consciously aware of everything that is going on inside of them, and this state of affairs has a substantial impact on how they understand and deal with the world outside of them. He maintained that much of our behavior is motivated by thoughts and feelings that reside in a region which he called "the unconscious," where they exert extraordinary power because they are untempered by the demands of rational thinking. Now many, if not most, of us recognize the validity of this proposition- when it applies to others. But when it comes to ourselves, the very idea that we are not completely in charge of ourselves brings out our our internal Travis Bickle: "You talkin' to me?!!!"
In his quest to discover these deeper elements in psychic life, Freud found it useful to encourage his patients to talk about anything they wanted, even if they didn't know what it was they were planning to say. He called it free association. Not unlike the experience many writers have when they are not hemmed in by concerns about the criticisms of potential readers. Writing in such an unrestrained manner can help the writer discover what he/she thinks, before she/he is thinking. And I suppose you could say that blogging is the ultimate venue for a trip to the writer's unconscious. So I hope you will accept this invitation to take a trip with mine, as I try to demonstrate that psychoanalysis is alive and well, and that it can be a useful tool for making sense out of a confusing world.