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New Books in Psychoanalysis

Author: Marshall Poe

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Interviews with Scholars of Psychoanalysis about their New Books

170 Episodes
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What do psychoanalysts do with bodies, and what do they do with them now? Jamieson Webster has been thinking and writing on these questions as they impact her in her practice and her life. In this interview, we explore her latest book, Conversion Disorder: Listening to the Body in Psychoanalysis, alongside her recent article in the New York Review of Books on her volunteer work in a hospital with the families of loved ones sick or dying from COVID-19. Webster speaks about issues of time and waiting, her skepticism of the call to 'carry on', and the life-threatening and curative conversions that, she suggests, are the beating heart of psychoanalytic practice. This interview is part of a series on Psychoanalysis and Time, produced in collaboration with Waiting Times, a multi-stranded research project on the temporalities of healthcare. Waiting Times is supported by The Wellcome Trust [205400/A/16/Z], and takes places across Birkbeck (University of London) and the University of Exeter. Learn more about the project by visiting whatareyouwaitingfor.org.uk, or follow us on twitter @WhatisWaiting. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The concept of the unconscious has a complicated place in the history of psychology. Many areas of study ignored or outright denied it for a long time, while psychoanalysis claimed it as one of its central tenets. More recently, many non-psychoanalytic researchers have addressed the unconscious, but under different names—automaticity, implicit memory and learning, and heuristics, among others. The result is a lack of consensus in psychology on what the unconscious is and how it bears on psychotherapy processes. In their new book, The Unconscious: Theory, Research, and Clinical Implications (Guilford Press, 2019) authors Joel Weinberger and Valentina Stoycheva undertake to bring together the various lines of study concerning the unconscious in order to arrive at an integrated model of unconscious processes. In our interview, they discuss the urgency for writing this book, what we might learn from various models of unconscious processes, and how psychotherapy might be enhanced by their state-of-the-art findings. This interview will be illuminating and useful for mental health therapists, researchers, and anyone interested in how the mind works. Joel Weinberger, Ph.D., is Professor in the Derner School of Psychology at Adelphi University and a founder of Implicit Strategies, which consults for political campaigns, nonprofits, and businesses. Valentina Stoycheva, Ph.D., is a staff psychologist at Northwell Health in Bay Shore, New York, where she works with military service members, veterans, and their families. She is also a cofounder and director of Stress and Trauma Evaluation and Psychological Services (STEPS), a group practice that focuses on the integrative treatment of trauma. Eugenio Duarte, Ph.D. is a psychologist and psychoanalyst practicing in Miami. He treats individuals and couples, with specialties in gender and sexuality, eating and body image problems, and relationship issues. He is a graduate and faculty of William Alanson White Institute in Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, and Psychology in New York City and former chair of their LGBTQ Study Group; and faculty at Florida Psychoanalytic Institute in Miami. He is also a contributing author to the book Introduction to Contemporary Psychoanalysis: Defining Terms and Building Bridges (2018, Routledge).   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The eight stories in The Making of A Psychoanalyst: Studies in Emotional Education (Routledge, 2018) are composites of clinical material highlighting familiar emotional conflicts found in treatment. Dr. Claudia Luiz invites the reader into session switch her as she demonstrates “how two human beings interact with each other to effect profound change.” Chapters do not start with reviews of theory and literature. They begin with patients. We are confronted with who they are, what they want, and their emotional impact on Dr. Luiz. We feel the immediacy of the patient’s needs and the pressures to fix something. We encounter Dr. Luiz, not as theorist looking for strategies, but as a clinician looking for “what might be required of her as a practitioner.” The dialogue between Dr Luiz and her patients is punctuated by endnotes where she shares the theories integrated into the chapter. Placing theories at the end of the chapter is an effective way of teaching because we’ve had the experience of being with the case as it unfolds. Working from a modern psychoanalytic approach Dr. Luiz Believes “the function of interpretation with its corollary penchant for insight is completely antiquated.” The job of the modern psychoanalyst is“to prepare our patients’ minds for self-discovery.” Dr. Luiz is the first-place winner of the 2006 Phyllis W. Meadow Award for Excellence in Psychoanalytic Writing (published in the journal Modern Psychoanalysis) and first place winner of the 2008 Reader’s Digest Best Writer’s Website Award. And her essay “Catrina learns to breathe” is nominated this year for a NAAPGradiva Award. Dr Luiz is on the faculty of the Academy for Clinical and Applied Psychoanalysis in Livingston, New Jersey, and has a private practice in New York City and Tarrytown, NY. She was last on the program in 2014 with her book Where’s My Sanity? Stories That Help. Christopher Russell is a psychoanalyst in private practice in Chelsea, Manhattan. He can be reached at (212)260-8115 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Brian Greene is a Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Columbia University in the City of New York, where he is the Director of the Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics, and co-founder and chair of the World Science Festival. He is well known for his TV mini-series about string theory and the nature of reality, including the Elegant Universe, which tied in with his best-selling 2000 book of the same name. In this episode, we talk about his latest popular book Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe (Random House, 2020) Until the End of Time gives the reader a theory of everything, both in the sense of a “state of the academic union”, covering cosmology and evolution, consciousness and computation, and art and religion, and in the sense of showing us a way to apprehend the often existentially challenging subject matter. Greene uses evocative autobiographical vignettes in the book to personalize his famously lucid and accessible explanations, and we discuss these episodes further in the interview. Greene also reiterates his arguments for embedding a form of spiritual reverie within the multiple naturalistic descriptions of reality that different areas of human knowledge have so far produced. John Weston is a University Teacher of English in the Language Centre at Aalto University, Finland. His research focuses on academic communication. He can be reached at john.weston@aalto.fi and @johnwphd. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
From the Central Coast of California to Baden-Baden, Toronto, Siracusa, and Budapest, Christina Griffin's The Regulars’ Table: Conversations with Ferenczi (International Psychoanalytic Books, 2018) is about deep enduring friendships; then and now. Inspired by Ignotus’ eulogy for Ferenczi, Christina Griffin decided to emulate his experiments in thought transference. This experience of sitting wordlessly with a friend and “silent writing” is the catalyst for a great adventure from her home in California to the cafes of Budapest where Ferenczi once gathered with friends and colleagues at their regular table. In 1929 one of the regulars, Frigyes Karinthy wrote a short story, Chains where he introduced the concept of six degrees of separation. Through her receptivity as a psychoanalyst, Dr. Griffin allows for the “interruption of the uncanny”, explores the “consequences and fears of vanishing” and discovers that she is separated from Ferenczi and his regulars by fewer than six degrees. Mining the Ferenczi correspondence as well as the writings of novelists, poets, painters, psychoanalysts, playwrights, and musicians, Griffin reconstructs a world where she joins Ferenczi to satisfy their mutual interest in “all that was human” and the “mysterious process of living among others.” Christopher Russell, LP is a psychoanalyst in Chelsea Manhattan. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The areas of the Law and psychoanalysis overlap in interesting and compelling fashion in the new book, Psychoanalysis, Law, and Society (Routledge, 2019) edited by Adrienne Harris and Plinio Montagna. The book is far reaching and covers where the law and psychoanalysis intersect in diverse areas such as family dynamics, feminism, philosophy and the environment. The authors included here are international experts with experience with the law and the consulting room. In this interview I was able to speak with several of them, Harris, Montagna, Laura Orsi and Elizabeth Allured, and we engaged in a lively discussion that also addresses the current Covid-19 crisis. This is a relevant book that will help therapists to incorporate legal ideas and philosophy into their everyday clinical practice. You can reach Christopher Bandini at @cebandini. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In his classic essay on the fear of breakdown, Donald Winnicott famously conveys to a patient that the disaster powerfully feared has, in fact, already happened. Taking her cue from Winnicott, Noëlle McAfee’s Fear of Breakdown: Psychoanalysis and Politics (Columbia University Press, 2019), explores the implications of breakdown fears for the practice of democracy. Democracy, as you may dimly recall, demands the capacity to bear difference, tolerate loss, and to speak into the unknown. Meanwhile we have come to live in a world where, if my clinical practice and personal life are any indication, people often prefer writing to speaking. Patients who want to make a schedule change--never a neutral event in psychoanalysis—write me. I say, addressing the resistance, “This is a talking cure. Get your money’s worth. Speak!” Among intimates, bad news is something I too often read about. I surmise that in speaking desire or conveying pain, a fantasized recipient is sought, an ideal listener, who, like a blow up doll lover can be invoked, controlled and then deflated at will. Circling back to difference and loss, ideas that do not mirror our already existing thoughts find themselves batted out of the park to an elsewhere not worth enunciating. Cultivating a protective bubble—such a heartbreak right?  It seems there is something about democracy that frightens the shit out of us. Deploying the work of Winnicott, Klein, Green and Kristeva, Mcafee reminds us of our original loss—what she calls “plenum”. That loss, to the degree it is recognized, initiates our undoing. Mother’s other—be it her lover, her piano lessons, a visit to the dentist for a cavity—tears a hole in our emotional shield. In her wake, we cling to seemingly strong leaders, a father, or failing that potent ideologies reeking of misogyny, all the while hoping for compensation for an unfathomable loss. Embedded within democracy lies the demand that we see other than ourselves. This demand challenges the thin-skinned among us. And all of us are thin-skinned from time to time. How to manage? Mcafee adds her voice to the popular chorus of those practicing applied psychoanalysis and suggests we embrace mourning. It is an inarguable position yet also nice work if you can get it! Of course, with the original disaster elided, like sleepwalkers in our night fog, we will helplessly seek it out; worse, we will make it manifest, with a vengeance. What is not remembered gets repeated. Trapped in America, as I am, one wonders about democracy. What might lure us to revisit the sight of the disaster, “the thing itself’,” to quote Adrienne Rich, “and not the myth?” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In The Psychoanalytic Ear and the Sociological Eye: Toward an American Independent Tradition (Routledge 2020) Professor Nancy J. Chodorow gives name and shape to an American middle group between the ego psychological and interpersonal approaches: The American Independent Tradition or intersubjective ego psychology. Through her careful exegesis of theoreticians like Hans Loewald, Erik Erikson and her contemporaries Warren Poland and James McLaughlin she is able to distill an analytic attitude in which the patient’s individuality takes front and center. We get a measured account of how her thinking about the American Independent Tradition evolved over the last two decades, about its "Americanness" and about a powerful approach to technique in which the patient becomes a centred unit by being centred upon. Turning outward from the consulting room, the in-depth study of psychoanalytic theory is framed by a focus on a larger context, the connection between individuality and society. Chodorow advocates for a return to an interest in the social and social sciences in psychoanalytic thinking. At the same time, she rues the lack of attention within the social sciences to the serious study of individuals and individuality. Sebastian Thrul is a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in training in Germany and Switzerland. He can be reached at sebastian.thrul@gmx.de. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Psychoanalytic theory has developed very rapidly in recent years across many schools of thought. One of the most popular builds on the work of Wilfred Bion. Fulvio Mazzacane's new book Contemporary Bionian Theory and Technique in Psychoanalysis (Routledge, 2018) provides a concise and comprehensive introductory overview of the latest thinking in this area, with additional contemporary theoretical influence from Freud, Klein and Winnicottian thought. Covering central psychoanalytic concepts such as transference, dreams and child analysis, this book provides an excellent introduction to he most important contemporary features of Bionian theory and practice. Philip Lance, Ph.D. is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist in private practice in Los Angeles. He can be reached at PhilipJLance@gmail.com. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In the contemporary philosophical landscape, a variety of materialist ontologies have appeared, all wrestling with various political and philosophical questions in light of a post-God ontology. Entering into this discussion is Adrian Johnston, with his 3-volume ​Prolegomena to Any Future Materialism​, an attempt to develop a systematic and thoroughly atheistic material ontology of the subject. The first volume, subtitled ​The Outcome of Contemporary French Philosophy (Northwestern University Press, 2013) looks at three recent French theorists, Jacques Lacan, Alain Badiou and Quentin Meillasoux, arguing that all three ultimately fail to maintain a consistent atheism, regularly relying on various supramaterial elements to hold their systems together. In doing so, the book attempts to clear the ground for a consistently materialist ontology to be pursued in the latter two volumes. Adrian Johnston is chair and distinguished professor of philosophy at the University of New Mexico and a faculty member at the Emory Psychoanalytic Institute. He is the author of close to a dozen books, including among others ​Time Driven: Metapsychology and the Splitting of the Drive (Northwestern 2005) and ​Adventures in Transcendental Materialism: Dialogues with Contemporary Thinkers (Edinburgh 2014). He is also a co-editor of Northwestern University Press’ book series ​"Diaeresis​," of which this trilogy is a contribution. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
How are we to conceive of acts that suddenly expose the injustice of the current order? This is a question that has puzzled philosophers for centuries, and it’s the question that animates Dominik Finkelde’s book ​Excessive Subjectivity: Kant, Hegel, Lacan, and the Foundation of Ethics (Columbia University Press, 2017). The book looks at these three major thinkers, and the ways they saw subjects as being immersed in a particular set of ethical orientations, but also always with a subtle but profound potential to do something beyond what they might’ve thought possible. Dominik Finkelde is a professor of contemporary political philosophy and epistemology at the Munich School of Philosophy, and is also the author of ​Zizek Between Lacan and Hegel and Benjamin Reads Proust.​ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies (University of Georgia Press, 2019), edited by Leslie M. Harris, James T. Campbell, and Alfred L. Brophy, is the first edited collection of scholarly essays devoted solely to the histories and legacies of this subject on North American campuses and in their Atlantic contexts. Gathering together contributions from scholars, activists, and administrators, the volume combines two broad bodies of work: (1) historically based interdisciplinary research on the presence of slavery at higher education institutions in terms of the development of proslavery and antislavery thought and the use of slave labor; and (2) analysis on the ways in which the legacies of slavery in institutions of higher education continued in the post–Civil War era to the present day. The collection features broadly themed essays on issues of religion, economy, and the regional slave trade of the Caribbean. It also includes case studies of slavery’s influence on specific institutions, such as Princeton University, Harvard University, Oberlin College, Emory University, and the University of Alabama. Though the roots of Slavery and the University stem from a 2011 conference at Emory University, the collection extends outward to incorporate recent findings. As such, it offers a roadmap to one of the most exciting developments in the field of U.S. slavery studies and to ways of thinking about racial diversity in the history and current practices of higher education. Today I spoke with Leslie Harris about the book. Dr. Harris is a professor of history at Northwestern University. She is the coeditor, with Ira Berlin, of Slavery in New York and the coeditor, with Daina Ramey Berry, of Slavery and Freedom in Savannah (Georgia). Adam McNeil is a History PhD student at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In Enduring Time (Bloomsbury Academic, 2017), practicing psychoanalyst and Professor of Psychosocial Theory Lisa Baraitser (Birkbeck, University of London) explores what it means to ‘take care’ of time in our current temporal predicament, where time appears radically suspended -- without the hope of a progressive future -- yet intensely felt. Drawing on a wide range of artistic, political, cultural, and psychoanalytic objects, she addresses how we might meaningfully engage with ‘the time of our times’ through a series of chapters whose titles also capture our everyday temporal experience: staying, maintaining, repeating, delaying, enduring, recalling, remaining, and ending. In our wide-ranging interview, we discuss the concerns that brought Baraitser to write this book, explore some of her case studies, and ask how her thinking might be brought to bear on clinical practice today. This interview is the second in my series on Psychoanalysis and Time, produced in collaboration with Waiting Times, a multi-stranded research project on the temporalities of healthcare. Waiting Times is supported by The Wellcome Trust [205400/A/16/Z], and takes places across Birkbeck (University of London) and the University of Exeter. Learn more about the project by visiting whatareyouwaitingfor.org.uk, or follow us on twitter @WhatisWaiting. The interview was recorded in person, prior to the COVID-19 lockdown. Jordan Osserman grew up in South Florida and currently calls London home. He received his PhD in gender studies and psychoanalysis from University College London, his MA in psychosocial studies from Birkbeck College, and his BA in womens and gender studies from Dartmouth College. His published work can be found here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In his new book Creative Repetition and Intersubjectivity: Contemporary Freudian Explorations of Trauma, Memory, and Clinical Process (Routledge, 2019), Bruce E. Reis writes intimacy is “transformative prior to the delivery of observation or interpretation” and while this book explores “the monsters, dreams and madness which emerge in the consulting room” it is primarily interested the “micro-rather than macro-level at which change occurs.” Honoring his “intellectual commitments” Reis enlists theorists including Winnicott, de M’Uzan, Bollas, and Ogden, to help him render elegant clinical moments as opposed to grand narrative case studies. Through these personal encounters, the reader is invited to consider ways of “sitting with” an unconscious experience that “disrupts rather than brings closure, knowledge or continuity.” While each chapter addresses a specific dialectic, they are all deeply interrelated. Observations made in one reflect and echo in the others; the result, according to Christopher Bollas, is a work of “quiet genius.” Dr. Reis is a Fellow and Faculty Member at the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, New York, an Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor in the New York University Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis and a member of the Boston Change Process Study Group. He is North American book review editor for the International Journal of Psychoanalysis and serves on the editorial boards of The Psychoanalytic Quarterly and Psychoanalytic Dialogues. He is the co-editor (with Robert Grossmark) of Heterosexual Masculinities featured on this program in 2013. Christopher Russell is a psychoanalyst in private practice in Chelsea, Manhattan. He can be reached at (212) 260-8115 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Psychiatry has always aimed to peer deep into the human mind, daring to cast light on its darkest corners and untangle its thorniest knots, often invoking the latest medical science in doing so. But, as Owen Whooley’s sweeping new book tells us, peering deep into the human mind is, well, really hard. On the Heels of Ignorance: Psychiatry and the Politics of Not Knowing (University Chicago Press, 2019) begins with psychiatry’s formal inception in the United States in the 1840s and moves through two centuries of constant struggle simply to define and redefine mental illness, to say nothing of the best way to treat it. Whooley’s book is no anti-psychiatric screed, however; instead, he reveals a field that has muddled through periodic reinventions and conflicting agendas of curiosity, compassion, and professional striving. On the Heels of Ignorance draws from intellectual history and the sociology of professions to portray an ongoing human effort to make sense of complex mental phenomena using an imperfect set of tools, with sometimes tragic results. In this interview, Dr. Whooley and I discuss the sociology of knowledge and ignorance that guide this book. We then discuss the changing identity of the field of psychiatry, how the DSM affected the legitimacy and perception of the discipline, and ways of managing ignorance. I highly recommend this book for students, professors, and anyone else interested in sociology of knowledge, health and illness and medical sociology, historical sociology, and mental health. Dr. Owen Whooley is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of New Mexico and Senior Fellow, UNM Center for Health Policy. Krystina Millar is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University. Her research interests include gender, sociology of the body, and sexuality. You can find her on Twitter at @KrystinaMillar. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Paradox is a sophisticated kind of magic trick. A magician's purpose is to create the appearance of impossibility, to pull a rabbit from an empty hat. Yet paradox doesn't require tangibles, like rabbits or hats. Paradox works in the abstract, with words and concepts and symbols, to create the illusion of contradiction. There are no contradictions in reality, but there can appear to be. In Sleight of Mind: 75 Ingenious Paradoxes in Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy (MIT Press, 2020), Matt Cook and a few collaborators dive deeply into more than 75 paradoxes in mathematics, physics, philosophy, and the social sciences. As each paradox is discussed and resolved, Cook helps readers discover the meaning of knowledge and the proper formation of concepts―and how reason can dispel the illusion of contradiction. The journey begins with “a most ingenious paradox” from Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance. Readers will then travel from Ancient Greece to cutting-edge laboratories, encounter infinity and its different sizes, and discover mathematical impossibilities inherent in elections. They will tackle conundrums in probability, induction, geometry, and game theory; perform “supertasks”; build apparent perpetual motion machines; meet twins living in different millennia; explore the strange quantum world―and much more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Žižek’s prolific quips on various cultural and political issues around race and related issues, found either in short YouTube clips or lengthy books have gained a lot of attention, much of it admittedly confused and occasionally offended and frustrated. Part of this is likely due to Žižek’s style, which tends to jump around in a blur of philosophical and cultural references, sometimes obscuring what his actual point is. However, his eclectic style shouldn’t deter us from trying to use Žižek’s theories of fantasy and ideology to understand the racial dimensions of our current political situation. This is the project set out by Zahi Zalloua, with his new book ​Žižek on Race: Towards an Anti-Racist Future​ (Bloomsbury, 2020), which seeks to use Žižekian philosophy to arrive at more complicated, but also more productive and emancipatory visions of racial oppression and emancipation might look like. Zahi Zalloua is the Cushing Eells professor of Philosophy and Literature, and Professor of French and Interdisciplinary Studies at Whitman College. He is also the author of ​Continental Philosophy and the Palestinian Question: Beyond the Jew and the Greek​, as well as ​Theory’s Autoimmunity: Skepticism, Literature and Philosophy​. Stephen Dozeman is a freelance writer.Stephen Dozeman is a freelance writer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
An Interview with Todd McGowan about his recent Emancipation After Hegel: Achieving a Contradictory Revolution (Columbia University Press, 2019). The book advocates for the relevance of Hegel’s dialectical method to questions of contemporary theory and politics. It seeks to disabuse readers of common misapprehensions concerning Hegel’s philosophy, such as the familiar thesis-antithesis-synthesis schema to which the dialectic has so often been reduced, and to show that the concept of contradiction understood in Hegelian fashion is intrinsically subversive of authority. By championing contradiction over ‘difference’ it defies the rhetoric of much leftist theory as it has been formulated in the wake of so-called ‘post-structuralism’. Emancipation After Hegel also combines sophisticated discussion of matters like the limits of formal logic and the history of German Idealism with playful allusions to Star Trek characters and classic films like Casablanca and Bridge on the River Kwai. Bill Schaffer is a semi-retired academic and writer. He received his PhD from the University of Sydney and held positions teaching Film Studies, Philosophy, and Literature at campuses in Australia and the UK. He has published widely in Film and Animation Studies. He is currently a scholar of No Fixed Institution. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Relying on Carl Jung’s theory of the complex, as well as the archetypal narratives of the Greek character Pan, Sukey Fontelieu’s The Archetypal Pan in America: Hypermasculinity and Terror (Routledge, 2018) seeks to examine a collection of social and political traumas, both personal and collective. The book examines the development of our personal and social identities in psychoanalytic terms, as well as their historical development through large and defining political events, such as the treatment of indigenous populations, foreign military interventions, and the increasing levels of violence at home. The result is a book that sees our current situation as having been in development for quite some time, and that will require deep personal reflection if we are to move forward. Sukey Fontelieu, PhD attended the University of Essex and Pacifica Graduate Institute and is currently a professor in the Jungian and Archetypal Studies Program at Pacifica. Stephen Dozeman is a freelance writer.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
We want to be happy, we want to get what we want, we want to love and be loved. But life, even when our basic needs are met, often makes us unhappy. You can't always get what you want, Freud noted in his 1930 short book, Civilization and its Discontents. Our desires are foiled not by bad luck, our failures, or the environment -- but by the civilization meant to make life better. So why isn't civilization set up to maximize our happiness and pleasure? Why does more civilization also mean more psychological suffering? In his trenchant short book, Freud shows how culture is not the refinement of humanity but an effort to socialize everyone into a system that produces the types of "discontents" and "unease" which characterize modern existence. I spoke with Peter Brooks, an expert on Freud who has taught at Yale, Harvard, Oxford, Stanford, the University of Virginia and other universities. He's authored many books, including: Troubling Confessions: Speaking Guilt in Law and Literature (2000), Psychoanalysis and Storytelling (1994), Reading for the Plot (1984), and, with Alex Woloch, Whose Freud? (2000). Professor Brooks linked Freud's Civilization and its Discontents to the earlier Thoughts for the Times on War and Death where Freud noticed that the veneer of civilized behavior was thin indeed, and that within months of the beginning of World War I people who had co-existed peacefully were capable of inflicting the most gruesome violence on their neighbors. I asked him: if civilization and progress inevitably leads to more psychological suffering, what's our way out? Uli Baer is a professor at New York University. He is also the host of the excellent podcast "Think About It" Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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