I know it is the fashion to say that most of recorded history is lies anyway. I am willing to believe that history is for the most part inaccurate and biased, but what is peculiar to our own age is the abandonment of the idea that history could be truthfully written. In the past, people deliberately lied, or they unconsciously colored what they wrote, or they struggled after the truth, well knowing that they must make many mistakes; but in each case, they believed that “the facts” existed and were more or less discoverable. And in practice there was always a considerable body of fact which would have been agreed to by almost anyone. [Read more…]
A few years ago, Riggs’ Erikson Institute organized a conference called “The Legacy of Perpetrator Trauma in Groups and Families.” In two previous Fall Conferences, we had explored the transmission of trauma, primarily through various studies of those victimized by large-scale social catastrophe. This new conference was different in its focus on the transgenerational phenomena of children of perpetrators – a generation not guilty by deed but ashamed, guilty, responsible, and horrified by association. [Read more…]
I am a psychoanalyst, and my patients have taught me something about the recent presidential election that the pundits are not talking about: the political parties are gendered. The Republican party is masculine, and the Democratic party is feminine.
Some Coincidences can be explained without God or Probability
God-Universe and probability rank as the two most popular explanations for coincidences. These explanations do not include the possible contributions of the people experiencing the coincidences: the coinciders. Either God-Universe did it for you as in “Coincidences are God’s way of remaining anonymous”. Or probability explains the coincidence because “In large populations any strange thing can happen”.
“It can’t happen . . . Here. It can’t happen . . . Here.” I was 15 when I heard Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention intoning this phrase repeatedly against a background of cacophonous (and vaguely distressing) noise on one of their early albums. Their real message? To my innocent imagination, this bit of surrealist theater, wedged into an equally puzzling and digressive “song”, seemed to be saying: “Hey stupid, it can happen here!” Or worse yet, perhaps: “And yes brother, it will happen here if we lull ourselves to sleep with phony reassurances like these.”
I did not know this at the time, but It Can’t Happen Here is the name of a semi-satirical novel written by Sinclair Lewis published in 1935, and adapted for the stage by John and Lewis Moffit in 1936. It tells the story of a fictional politician, “Buzz” Windrip, whose campaign slogans eerily presage those of Donald Trump today. Windrip wins a Presidential election and, once in office, relies on paramilitary organizations to circumvent the law and impose his will on the American people, trashing the constitution and freedom of the press. Windrip’s character was modeled on Hitler, but also on Louisiana Governor Huey Long, who was pondering a run for the Presidency at the time. [Read more…]
Associate Medical Director and Director of Biopsychosocial Advocacy at the Austen Riggs Center, Eric Plakun, MD, responds to the recent Times Union report that outlines BlueShield’s illegal denial of claims for mental and nutritional counseling:
The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (or mental health parity law) requires that mental health treatment be provided on a par with medical and surgical care—without quantitative limits (e.g., restriction on numbers of sessions) or non-quantitative limits (e.g., higher prior authorization burdens) for mental health care that are not comparable to those imposed for medical care.