Thoughts – June 2015: Psychoanalysis, Psychology, Mindfulness, Sexuation…

Contrary to popular belief, psychoanalysis is least accessible to the very rich man, to the man who goes through life throwing money at his problems. It is precisely he who has no way to pay. Continue reading

Biopower and subjection: The strange and disturbing case of Martin Seligman

biopower

By now, it should be clear that the role of psychologists in organising torture for the CIA does not merely implicate a few individuals, or even a corrupt institution (the APA), but large swathes of the discipline of psychology. That is, the tortures which occurred at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere derived directly from officially-accepted, paradigmatic implementations of cognitive-behaviourism, and were therefore in keeping (and not in conflict) with the dominant ethical and intellectual underpinnings of Anglophone psychology. Continue reading

Reductio ad traumatum

In 1933, two servant girls in Le Mans, France, Christine and Léa Papin, murdered two of their employers.(1) Madame Lancelin and her adult daughter were bludgeoned and knived repeatedly, to the point of unrecognisability. Each had their eyes gouged out. The Papin sisters had spent much of their young lives in institutional care. Their family had a history of incestuous abuse, and at least one of their relatives had died by suicide. Continue reading

A Short Refutation of Behaviourism

Behaviourism began with the aim – we might say Heideggerean ideal – of practicing a science which does not think. Instead of the subjective methods of interview and introspection, behaviourists constructed an ‘objective’ observational model, in which, allegedly, antecedents and consequences would be causally strung together without the need for conjecture or inference. All of this was pinned to a transformation of the human subject into an object, and moreover, an object which functioned primarily as a learning machine, and whose workings could be understood without any reference to an inner world. (Not to mention without reference to others’ inner worlds – it was not for nothing that Wittgenstein considered behaviourism a kind of solipsism). Continue reading