Feb 032013
 

Otto Gross – pedagogy as Nebenzimmererotik: a rival cure for mimetic ailments.  

The reconstruction of the American soul: an interview with Professor Lance Duerfahrd (part 1)

(For the “Prologue” to this post please see Teacher of Bad Film 1.)

I’ll state this: pedagogy does not make room for the unconscious.

Steckbrief: The authorities are looking for Otto Gross on 13 August 1913.

Otto Gross refers in a 1913 text to the asexuality of pedagogy, by which he means the exclusion of the bourgeois child from experience, from “Erleben”: from experiencing but also from undergoing, from living.  Gross traces the anti-experiential bias to the original bourgeois divisions, to the insistence on separate (homo-)sexual identities.  As the sexual roles between husband and wife (exclusive and coerced) are strictly regimented, the child’s role is that of a third party, the being on the side, split off from Erleben.  Thus banned from the parental bedroom, in all the senses you wish that to mean, it condemns the child to a substitute, a represented life, a Nebenzimmererotik: the eros of the adjoining room.  The child is to remain the eternal spectator, never participating, meaning never creating.  Education is to continue the isolation of the child by taking over the principle of fragmentation of the family: “Beziehungslosigkeit zum Kind, insofern das Kind am Erleben nicht teilnehmen darf (Nebenzimmererotik), sofern er erzogen werden soll (die geltenden pädagogischen Grundsätze streben zur Asexualität).”   Prevailing pedagogical principles stipulate asexuality: there is to be no experience in education.  Representation and education, insofar as both exclude the lived happening in favor of an image, are no longer separate and are meant to cement the child’s identity.(1)

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Feb 032013
 

The experiences of cinema and psychoanalysis. Wartime. The mechanical ear of the analyst. Bion dreaming, buffalo running.

JFK

JFK watching.
(Photo: Paul Schutzer)

For a film goer to talk about a film they just saw – to truly talk about it: to account for their own experience of a film could be as difficult, or more, as talking in a psychoanalytic session.

Insofar as having an experience means communicating it to others – to oneself, included – can the film goer who, for a reason to be determined, wants to talk about it use an analyst to work him through a film or does he need to be taught how to recount an experience?

“Is there an analyst the filmgoer can see, a class they can take?” means: are analysis – itself, like film-going, a mimetic activity – and pedagogy – too overwhelmed or taken by the conscious and the normative – in a position not to see art as a rival human expression that can or must be spoken away? At their most dogmatic, both propose to cure the mimetic rival. At their most receptive, are they able to not bypass the question of art?
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Jan 232013
 

In his paper on Alfred Lorenzer [1], Tobias Vollstedt uses the expression “scenical comprehension” to translate the German “szenisches Verstehen“. I feel that this translation might lead to misunderstandings, for two reasons:

1) The word “scenical” in English is closely connected with associations of pittoresque landscapes etc. The German association of “putting on stage” is only vaguely addressed by the word “scenical”, the meaning “drawing attention to sth.” not at all. (The same applies to “scenic understanding”, a term which has also been used to translate “szenisches Verstehen“.)

2) The word “comprehension” appears awkward, in that it is hardly ever used in connection with psychoanalytic practise – we do not “comprehend” our patients but we understand them.

As Vollstedt states, Lorenzer’s term “szenisches Verstehen” has a lot in common with Betty Joseph’s “total situation”, although her theoretical interest is strictly restrained to technique while Lorenzer is developing a meta-psychoanalytical framework. Nevertheless a term hinting at this connection could be useful.

Hopefully native speakers will eventually find an appropriate solution to this problem of translation.

Notes    ( ↑ returns to text)

  1. Tobias Vollstedt: The Work of Alfred LorenzerThe Other Scene, N°1, 2013.
Jan 172013
 

The Other Scene

We are very happy to announce the first issue of the internet journal The Other Scene.

The aim of The Other Scene is to publish papers on psychoanalysis and on the different applications of psychoanalysis in a variety of intellectual and artistic pursuits such as literature, film and other arts, sociology and political theory, philosophy and pedagogy: anywhere it can be seen as relevant.

Obviously, psychoanalysis started as a therapeutic practice and it still has its foundation in this practice. However, as Freud pointed out already in 1926: “The use of analysis for the treatment of the neuroses is only one of its applications; the future will perhaps show that it is not the most important one .” (“The question of lay analysis.” SE, 20: 179-250.)

Furthermore, psychoanalysis is itself shaped by its proximity to the various arts and sciences. Ultimately The Other Scene also hopes to bring analysis to unfamiliar grounds.

Aug 082012
 

(Le texte qui suit a originellement paru dans le mensuel luxembourgeois Forum, n° 320, juillet 2012.)

Sans RisquesUn nouveau spectre hante le Luxembourg. Après les médecins fripons et les enseignants fainéants, voici donc le fléau des psychothérapeutes dangereux.

Ce danger est-il récent ? S’est-il renforcé progressivement au cours des dernières décennies ? Y a-t-il eu des blessés ? Des morts ? Des personnes se sont-elles plaintes auprès de la police ? Des jugements ont-ils été émis contre des malversations ou des fautes professionnelles ? Et quelqu’un a-t-il relevé ces faits, dressé des listes, établi des statistiques ?

Assurément, il n’est pas difficile de se sentir pris de vertige, à feuilleter les rubriques ‘psychologues’ ou ‘psychothérapeutes’ des pages jaunes nationales. Un minimum d’ordre et d’information n’y apporteraient certainement pas de préjudice. Pourtant, en regardant par-delà les frontières nationales, un éventail psychothérapeutique autrement plus impressionnant s’ouvre devant les yeux des curieux.

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Feb 092012
 

I was in one of your dreams?
Yeah.
Can you deal with that?
Yeah.

  A brilliant recent exploration of the nature of dreams, and their paradoxical (non-) place in our living environment is Jeff Nichols’s film Take Shelter (2012). In it a married construction supervisor named Curtis has nightmarish dreams of storms, or of a fantastic catastrophe, and of people attacking him.  These dreams tell of lurking dangers in the present and of a coming ecological reckoning.  The dreamer reacts by two contradictory sets of actions: one, he prepares for the imminent danger, and tears himself away from those who threaten him in his dreams, digs a hole in the ground, builds up his storm shelter.  And, two, in the same responsive manner, consults a number of health professionals to confirm his possible paranoid schizophrenia and his greatest fear: to be put away, to be removed from his family, like his own mother was.  The brilliance of the film comes from that uncomfortable co-existence of mutually exclusive elements. 

 Curtis to his family doctor: A couple of days ago I had a dream that my dog attacked me and it took the whole day for the pain in my arm to go away.

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Feb 092012
 

Psychoanalysis is likened to voodoo, and seen as deriving from dreaming. The fright of the reader of psychoanalytical texts.  Also: Masud Khan and the why of art.

Masud Khan (photo by Neil Libbert)

I am not a psychoanalyst, nor am I seeing one.  But I read psychoanalytical texts, and must ask myself why. 

I mean I try to read mostly narratives of the analytical encounter and the analyst’s subsequent attempt to extract or abstract a number of still theoretical formulations that could be useful to him, and then to others.  But I prefer it if the texts have an emotional significance, meaning that they are, at the end, tragically useless beyond what they describe.  Freud’s “Dora” is a great narrative but is contested because the patient, at the end, does not return.  A writer of such texts is, I believe, later bound to put their name to an unhappy, uncertain ending – to a text written over by the absent patient. That adds, in a way, to the drama of the texts.

 But it’s even more unclear to me what a reader of psychoanalytical texts does, or is.

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Jan 272012
 

© Warner Brothers 2012

During an evening out at the club, J. Edgar Hoover suddenly urges his friend and lover Clyde Tolson to leave in a hurry. They just came from a movie that was of important symbolic value:  Hollywood had eventually shifted from the sympathetic gangster hero to the heroic police officer. Hoover feels so gratified by what he considers to be a public recognition of his work that during the ride home, he holds his lover’s hand. The gesture has a slight scent of provocation since his mother, Anne, sitting in front of the car, could not but notice. And she would pay him back for this daring move soon enough.


That evening though, nothing seemed to stop J. Edgar. At first, at least. After dropping his mother off, he and Clyde continue to their club, where they get to sit at a table with three beautiful, admiring actresses. Here we see the new hero of the Bureau of Investigation, inspiring comic strips and now movies,  bragging about some incredibly important secrets he cannot reveal. Young, radiating, gorgeous Hoover seems overspilling with power, wits and overall success. Until one of the actresses, trying to get beyond sitting and listening, first invites and then urges him to dance. At this point J. Edgar loses it.

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