Friday, December 13, 2013

Freud and Lorne

Freud and what?  Freud and whom?

Apologies to my analytic colleagues mitteleuropäischer Prägung,  for this reference, which  for the generation of Freud, Kraus, and the Wiener Kreis, can only be obscure.  (Hopefully you all have Internet connections up there in the Beyond, and can look it up).  Fact is, back in high school I read a little book called Freud or Jung, and actually re-read it recently; it’s a zippy title and no mistake.   So here’s ours:  Freud and Lorne.  But with “and” not “or” (which, in the stern conception of Edward Glover, was exclusive-“or” -- “or” sensu “aut”), since they are not incompatible.  (By contrast, Glover compares Jung to the fabled Duke of York, who marched his men to the top of the hill, then marched them down again -- back into the swamps of shallow psychologizing.)

Anyhow.  The “Lorne” here, a.k.a.  “The Host”, is a denizen of the Buffyverse -- specifically the Angel Archipelago thereof.   He is an Empathy Demon by trade, and he is green.  Very, very green.  (As someone well observed, it’s not easy being green.)  He ran a karaoke bar on the series “Angel”.   He was definitely an empathic (possibly also a pathic, but set that aside).   And yet, his was not the empathy of the treacly touchy-feely sort, but rather what deserves to be accorded the title of Analytic Empathy. 

"Sing me the first thing that pops into your mind ..."

To reach the penetralia of the psyche’s secrets, Freud first tried hypnosis (under Breuer’s tutelage), then developed instead his own methods, involving free-association by the patient, and dream-interpretation.   Lorne, too, has his own patented method of seeing through the mists of mind and fate:  that of tragoidoscopy (we shall dub it), whereby the subject sings a song of his own choosing, at the microphone, before the audience;  and Lorne, concentrating and frowning, intuits the soul.
One pleasing feature of this, in the context of our present culture (don’t worry, Sigmund, Karl, et al.: you’re better off where you are) is that it serves as an underhanded rebuff to the American Idol cult of invidious gradings.   For Lorne’s judgments, like Freud’s, are -- though rigorous and unsparing -- non-judgmental in a sense;  certainly neither one would stoop to “Sucky song.” or “What a sick dream.”   A subject might be in good voice or bad, that was nothing to the purpose of visualizing the state of his soul;  the free-associating patient might come out with “murder” or “vagina” or “cannibalism”, yet these were not to be judged in isolation, but with reference to whence they came, and whither they might lead.

(I initiated a partly-parodic, partly pataphysical series of riffs on the analytic situation, here: Übertragung)

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