“There is no Us and Them”


Further to a Twitter discussion from today – there is a gulf between patient and clinician, between administrator and administered that cannot be wished away with the language of facile humanism. I have tried to touch on this point before, but as always, others say it better.

Adorno, ‘Commitment’, on existential literature and its artworks:

There is one nearly invariable characteristic of such literature. It is that it implies, purposely or not, that even in so-called extreme situations, indeed in them most of all, humanity flourishes. Sometimes this develops into a dismal metaphysic which does its best to work up atrocities into ‘limiting situations’ which it then accepts to the extent that they reveal authenticity in men. In such a homely existential atmosphere the distinction between executioners and victims becomes blurred; both, after all, are equally suspended above the possibility of nothingness, which of course is generally not quite so uncomfortable for the executioners.


Lacan, Seminar X, on narcissistic (mis)recognition:

[M]aking-things-understood is and always has been the real stumbling block in psychology…For example, let’s not imagine that we understand the real or authentic experience of the ill.


Camus, The Outsider, on the condemned man:

(I thought of him as the patient)





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