Ideas about the centrality of culture and collective in the structuring of the unconscious have been largely walled off, extruded from our canon. Nevertheless, they reappear. A central idea that keeps blooming in the cracks of concrete walls regards the social unconscious in all its permutations or the ways groups and their cultures are reproduced in individuals and the ways individuals reproduce their groups and their cultures in their perception, thinking, and comportment.
I didn’t know the square I passed every morning was called El-Galaa Square until I was older…. Through the imagined possibilities produced by the symbol of the square, I began to question and search for meaning behind other meanings. Behind images, regressions, power dynamics, landmarks, ruminations, ruptures, separations, and associations.
The early days of the pandemic created a miasma of vast uncertainty in the world that seeped into our collective minds. Mental fault lines throughout the population manifested in paranoia and a preoccupation with scarcity, along with polarization of the world into “good” and “bad” people, places, and countries.
As I think back on my life, I have most felt a sense of community in the least likely places. I was raised abroad, and all through my growing-up years, I often found myself feeling foreign and out of place when I set foot in my passport country, while overseas, at odd moments, in places I had the least right to do so, I would feel accepted and taken in. This experience has repeated itself throughout my life.
After a few seconds’ struggle, it comes to me by degrees—that time at our last visit when I sat sketching her mother’s house. I can summon the feeling of sitting down on something—I don’t recall what—the sensation of my drawing hand in motion, the intensity of my gaze, the freedom. And that moment of knowing when the sketch was finished, when to stop. I can call up those sensations now.
One of the biggest challenges to my enactment of queerness during COVID is my decision to shift my psychotherapy practice entirely to telehealth, removing my body from proximity to my clients’ bodies. […] And yet the fantasy that we can keep each other safe is as faulty as the fantasy that in psychotherapy we can keep from being touched by each other. Isn’t it?
I have been thinking for some time now that I’m glad my parents are no longer alive. It would break their hearts to witness what has happened to what my father used to describe as “America, the best country!”
Wars, atrocities, and political upheavals shape our destiny. Ideologies and propaganda mold our views of what is real and what is true. My history also taught me that just as we cannot escape death, we may not be able to get away from fascism. Fascism, unfortunately, as Hannah Arendt has taught us, is here to stay.[…]
I attended a symposium featuring analysts and therapists who are living and working in Ukraine or Russia, as well as those who have fled from their homes in those countries. They have come together in virtual town halls to support themselves and one another during this war. Those working inside Russia work with patients who live in Ukraine, and vice versa. Some are continuing to work with their patients, and some have stopped. All, for their own reasons or reasons outside their control.
The van climbs ever higher. I marvel at the spare, rocky landscape and the vast distances on every side as we make our way, curving upward, sometimes perilously close to the edge. Above it all, the Big Sky takes my breath away. Despite the many references I’ve read and the photos I’ve seen, I never imagined this experience: its vast enormity as an experience. I am in Wyoming for the first time.
How profound it feels to be thrust into a new world, stunned by its unique beauty, the feel of the air, new fragrances, new animals. I saw a magpie for the first time in Wyoming. Bald eagles flew overhead. What dazzled me most were the light and the wind, and especially the sky that never stopped changing. I could have stood still and watched all day, transfixed. In fact, I had intended to do just that, but the pandemic intruded, and we couldn’t stay.