Saturday, June 28, 2014

100 years ago today -a little historical perspective

What is and what is true depends on one’s perspective. One hundred years ago today, the assassinations in Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his pregnant wife Sophie by the young Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip propelled humanity into the bloodiest century ever, almost 17 million deaths in WWI, and, after German humiliation contributing to the later rise of fascism, over 80 million in WWII. 

Differing perspectives? In Sarajevo today, Princip is seen by Serbians, not as an assassin but as a liberation hero for his stand against the occupation and aggression of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, while non-Serb Bosnians see Princip as the forerunner of the Serbians who bombed Sarajevo in the 1990’s and, in ethnic cleansing, killed so many of its citizens. After WWI, Christian Yogoslavians  claimed this atheist revolutionary  as a martyr, and, after WWII, Communist Yugoslavia praised him as pan-Yugoslav patriot. 

So we hold our theories and truths very lightly as we re-write, rather, re-configure with patients' their histories. New neuronal connections allow for an increasingly expanded repertoire from which to construct 'truth' about what has been, but the negotiation of relationship on an ever shifting foundation can give motion sickness to its participants. Today the contemporary analyst has given up her perch as the arbitrator of truth and struggles to welcome in a kaleidoscope of emerging and ever changing points of view found within both her patient and herself. This poses its difficulties for patients who need a definitive answer on what is and what was. Likewise, it poses difficulty for the analyst who finds uncertainty anxiety provoking.  



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