Two Kooks and a Coward

Odd title, I know.

I’m using the blog partially as an on-line diary, if you will: a place to keep my thoughts, to which I can turn later to ruminate, adapt, clarify.  Also, I’d like it to be a place of “confession,” a place where I put ideas out in public, if only to force myself to remember that there might be one or two people out there in cyberspace who remember “didn’t you say once …?” and who would force me to keep (at least a few) of my resolutions, or perhaps re-think what I was once so sure that I thought.

Such as, for example, writing a book.

At one point, as a few of the faithful few might remember, I’d thought of pulling together a book out of the blog posts, but once I actually took that project seriously, I ended up realizing that, no, that was not the book for me to write.  I allude to that on the Welcome page.

No, instead I wish to challenge myself to write a book that, I have to admit, few people will likely read, but that I wish to write: a well-researched, carefully thought-out book (or two) on understanding better the experience of Listening to War, on understanding how theory (both with a small and a capital t/T ) can make Listening better—and, of course, worse.

A book in which the standard of better or worse will be the standard of making it more likely that those who have been to War will feel heard, truly heard, by those, such as myself, who are willing to listen.

So who are the kooks?  Well, although it is passé in so many circles, psychoanalytic thinking still draws me in, challenges me always to ask the central question in my life:  What’s missing?  What lies deeper? What lies beyond that?

Now, many, if not most, modern mental health folks assume from the get-go that “psychoanalysis = kook.”  I’ll probably do little in my musings to dissuade such folks of that conviction.  I could stop right there.  Kook = me.

But even the “kooks” have their own “kooks” whom they can slander, and believe you me, psychoanalysts can disparage with the best of them. And two of the greatest “kooks” in modern, American psychoanalytic thinking?  The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung, and the French psychiatrist Jacques Lacan.

Trust me: these men are anything but kooky. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

But the very fact I put those two men’s name in the same sentence makes me the kook par excellence.  Trust me on that as well.

So who’s the coward?  Well, that’s me, too.

The nice thing about writing a blog that few read is that you actually have folks take an sincere interest, while not having to constantly defend yourself.  I can say “kooky” things, throw out “kooky” ideas, and the world’s not worse for the wear—nor am I.  The nice folks who are willing every once in a while to read the blog can keep me on the straight and narrow, but I don’t have to be brave enough to make a fool of myself in a public setting in which people are actually looking directly at me while their eyes roll like bowling balls toward the pins.

For thinking of Jung and Lacan, two men who could probably not be more unalike, does somehow draw me, at least at this point, toward thinking about my challenges in Listening to War.  It’s the very fact that they are both so unlike, yet both so willing to look at what we might rather not look at.  I like that.

And who knows: maybe at the end of months and months of essays, I might find myself writing a book about that.

And since I’m a coward, maybe if I do so in the quiet public of a quiet blog, I just might finish it.

You never know.  Kooky, but possible.

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