I am writing this email to tell you about our meeting yesterday with IPA subcommittee at the U.N. We talked about women’s situation in Afghanistan and they talked about my writing which is published in ROOM 6.23. They mentioned that my writing in ROOM 6.23 helped them. They also said that they will have programs for women in Afghanistan and we will work together on that….
Early on February 10, 2002, I sat in a large, crowded room in Kabul, Afghanistan. With coats pulled tight against the icy blasts from broken windows, representatives of the Afghan Interim Authority’s Ministry of Education prepared a plan to open Afghanistan’s schools at the traditional start time, Nowruz, the New Year….
At the time of publication of ROOM 10.23, we witnessed the state of Israel announce the collective punishment of the besieged Gaza Strip, cutting off water, food, electricity, and fuel to a population of 2.3 million, half of whom are children….
This communication is a response to the two articles published in ROOM 6.23 about the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians in Israel and on the West Bank: Naftally Israeli’s essay “From Erasure to Exclusion” and Richard Grose’s book review of Lara and Stephen Sheehi’s book, Psychoanalysis Under Occupation: Practicing Resistance in Palestine….
I love this name, the space it brings with it. It feels ready for me to fill it with whatever I need to. Sometimes, that’s all we need—a space, and time to fill that space and maybe just the silence that comes within and is held there. It feels nourishing and it also enlivens those moments when a creeping dissatisfaction occurs as to how one is doing in this heavy, wide, and unruly war-torn world that we belong in. Memories also slide out when we are in this place of reverie.
“An urgent sense of the possible contributed to my pursuit of psychoanalytic training over a decade ago, back when CO2 levels were still below 400 ppm. At the time, my analyst and my own analysis were introducing me to an unanticipated world of depth, beauty, and tolerable terror from which I rarely wanted to surface.” So begins Susan Kassouf’s essay, “A New Thing Under the Sun.” Kassouf quickly recognized that her new profession did not lend itself to thinking about the “more than human” environment, let alone climate catastrophe. “There was no useful language to describe what I was sensing,” she writes, so she creates the word she needs. Elaine Zickler understands Kassouf’s drive to find the right words.
“Radical openness does not mean that we empty our minds but that we open our minds to the prospect of losing the understandings to which we are attached.” So begins An Interview with Anton Hart. To be fair, though, perhaps “loosening attachments” when face to face with the trifecta of fascist racism, COVID, and environmental extinction may be near impossible. It’s a big ask if, in the midst of existential terror, we are holding on for dear life.
For Freud, nearing the end of his life, the fateful question for the human species came down to whether and to what extent our cultural development would succeed in mastering the disturbance our aggressive and self-destructive instincts inflict upon our communal life.
Steven Reisner, a New York psychoanalyst known for leading the successful effort to get the American Psychological Association to stop having any connection with torture sessions, has come out with a podcast series called Madness: The Podcast. In episode six, “The Masque of the Black Death (Racism in the Time of Trump),” Reisner speaks to us in a voice that conveys the urgency of this moment when the nation seems to be hurtling toward what could be an explosive decision point regarding Trump.
Psychoanalysis, art, and poetry make visible and expand the boundaries of our psychic reality and so the world. But what happens when those boundaries fracture? When we are on top of each other and oceans apart? When days merge and space contracts? When inner and outer reality converge on a pixilated screen? Just this. We must create a new path forward.