Friday, October 9, 2009


The stunning announcement this morning that the new President of the United States Barack Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "marks," per French President Sarkozy, "America's return to the hearts of the people of the world." Obama's abilitry to recognize the inevitability of rupture and of repair gives Obama a place in the hearts of modern psychoanalysts.

Obama brings hope and respect for dialogue. While columnist David Brooks of the New York Times, among others, may complainingly ask: [but] "Can he make a decision?" I think this query overlooks the rabbinical tradition of aspiring to see both sides. As Lewis Aron writes in The Tree of Knowledge: Good and Evil: "an argument that threatens to resolve a controversy is considered a difficulty [kushia], while one that restores the controversy is called a solution [teruz]!" To have circumspection, to see both sides and to hold both in tension, is one of many things which makes Obama a postmodern president. To fall on one side of the discussion can prematurely foreclose further dialogue. Obama, like an effective psychoanalyst, seeks to keep the dialogic process ongoing. Even had he not dedicated himself to an era of international cooperation on nuclear arms, respect for, and endeavoring to, keep open the dialogue, for that alone, I think he deserves the Nobel Prize. Obama does us proud.

1 comment: said...

An unposted (due to not addressing issue at hand in a way that explicates psychoanalytic ideas) was received anonymously: "Talk is cheap. Stimulate that." I urge its sender to wage dialogue face to face, for I appreciated both the challenge and the humor. While it is true that 'talk is cheap,' it is not without value.

And while it is true that psychoanalysis privileged left brain, explicit narrative (talk) to the detriment of relationship in the analytic dyad, I advocate, perhaps as did the anonymous commenter, that talk is not to be overvalued without taking into account other forms of actions and communications.

The comment itself, were it directed to the Nobel committee or to Obama, I found too oblique for me to comprehend. I welcome further explication from the commenter.