Monday, July 17, 2017

Should You See a Psychoanalyst or an Exterminator?

There are conditions where people feel there are bugs crawling all over them. Sometimes those who’re suffering from the DT’s experience those kinds of hallucinations. But isn’t it interesting that simple anxiety is often projected onto rodents. Often people complain about bugs crawling all over them when they’re nervous. Remember the scene in Annie Hall where Alvy (Woody Allen) swats the spider to the consternation of Annie (Diane Keaton). Here a sensitivity to insects is not only a cultural but racial divide and it’s surprising that exterminators rather than psychoanalysts have not played a larger role in Woody Allen’s oeuvre. Kafka’s The Metamorphosis in which the story’s central character Gregor Samsa wakes up to find himself turned into an insect is, of course, one of the great metaphors for anxiety. What could be worse than finding oneself helplessly trapped in the body of such an easily eradicable and dispensable creature? The yawning indifference of the cosmos is bad enough, but moving down the food chain only makes matters worse. Insects may be threats to the anxious soul, but being reduced to their condition is even worse. What more hyperbolic expression of helplessness can be found than the ant, which not being small enough to be invisible, always runs the risk of being crushed by larger creatures—albeit there are the biting red ants and bedbugs for which a sleeping human body makes a perfect host?

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