Saturday, April 04, 2009

Insight and Terror

Why so often is the patient’s realization in psychotherapy simple, a cliché? Because our psychic economy, our defenses, keep us from seeing it. It’s not the complexity of the thought that keeps us from understanding it, it is the terror of feeling what it means about our life for it to be true.


SubjectionOf said...

agreed. i think about that sometimes. cliched cuz most emotional truths are like that. i would put some blame on emotion/reason dualism. cliches are seen as shameful, just as core emotions are. culture lacks avenues for acceptance of emotions. acceptance, not judgment is key.

Jeff Meyerhoff said...

Yes, I agree. Cliches are judged negatively because of over use. There's some bias in favor of originality. Can serve as a defense against feeling things. And right, the emotion might be simple, yet reason often is elaborate; look at the complicatedness of some psychoanalytic explanations.

SubjectionOf said...

I've been doing a lot of thinking about collective trauma and the interconnections to individual trauma. Check my blog for details. Trying to connect the collective trauma of the Bush admin (9/11, terrorism, torture) to a collective cultural repression that is processed symbolically in culture regardless. Examples: half the television shows at torture narrative (24, reality tv in general..). Catharsis. I can take this even further and go on about the denial of myth making as a loss of collective memory due to succession of cultural traumas then link it to Dialectic of Enlightenment.

Jeff Meyerhoff said...

Hi Subj,

The day after 9/11 and for two or three weeks after, I distinctly remember - in the mainstream press - an expression of hurt and a desire not to do to others what had been done to us. (Am I making this up!) And then that healthy vulnerability was taken over by Bush's fear-mongering and war-making.

Yes, 24 seems a great post 9/11 example.

I'm not sure which myth-making you're referring to, but there is the creation of myths such as the clash of civilizations, dehumanizing the enemy, good vs. evil.

Y'know, I studied the Frankfurt School yet never read The Dialectic of Enlightenment. I'd like to at least get the gist of its argument.