Friday, June 18, 2021

Deconstructing Harriet

Psychoanalysis is to the brain what Marxism is to the economy. Both are brilliant, epochal analyses of the human condition which have become anachronisms. Marxism, a product of the industrial revolution, is no longer practiced anywhere. Classic Freudian analysis where the patient reports to the couch of an analyst who rarely talks and never intervenes is an expensive and time-consuming occupation that has to all extensive purposes become a hobby for wealthy Upper East Hausfrauen who are as loathe to talk about their sexuality as their equally removed analysts are to hear about it. The fact that Woody Allen might have been one of the great chroniclers of this particular class of self-involved New Yorker does not bode well for half-life of its subject matter. Paraphilias were supposedly the province of analysis, but The Impossible Profession, as the late Janet Malcolm once termed it, may have become a prisoner of its own context. By the same token Marxism is a wonderful subject of study for students at the London School of Economics, who are preparing to teach at Oxford, Harvard or Yale, but probably irrelevant to even those who dabble in non-free market Keynesian interventionist economics. Parenthetically, in an almost deconstructionist way, it’s interesting to note how almost all preoccupations, analyses, disciplines derive intimately from the milieu in which they were conceived. Freud epitomized  the europaische haute culture which was also the province of authors like Stephan Zweig, Joseph Roth, Hermann Broch and Alfred Doblin of Berlin Alexanderplatz fame. Marx was a product of the alienation in the workplace caused by manufacturing innovations like division of labor and economy of scale. Both the symptoms and the diagnoses of these two grand paradigms are culturally and environmentally bound. Freud’s famed "Rat Man" could easily have been a character out of Robert Musil's Der Mann ohne Eigenshaften. Das Capital is the rambunctious stepchild of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations. Sensibility evolves exponentially like the microprocessors described by Moore's Law. Yesterday's cherished assumptions, values and even epistemology are another country.

Read  "Pornosophy: The Pleasure Principle" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

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