Sunday, March 15, 2009


March, in like a lion and out like a lamb (which could be said sometimes of the human journey), brings me to my favorite phrase of the month: the Ides of March, taught since 44BC to be the date when best friend Brutus (along with 60 other senators) stabs to death Julius Caesar.

A more modern idea has revisited this historical icon of betrayal. Modern historians wonder if an aging Caesar, approaching infirmity and incontinence, but still able to recognize on the horizon his increasingly waning cognition and vigor, enlisted his best friend to help him go out like a lion and thereby ensure he be remembered as a vigorous leader cut down in his prime.

I like the idea of revisiting history. Certainly, we do that as psychoanalysts and psychotherapists when we reconfigure and co-create biographies of those with whom we work (and as we are so doing for ourselves.) But as scholars we must also revisit the history of our theories. For example, analysis, the once one-person psychology which privileged intrapsychic workings alone, has come to be recognized as a two-person endeavor where relationship and subjectivity play an important part in understanding what is happening in the consultation room. Likewise, libidinal and aggressive drives have been supplemented, perhaps adumbrated, by the drives: to be attached, recognized, known as an agent amongst others.

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