about The Talking Cure

By traumaturgist

“The Talking Cure?  WTF?”

The Talking Cure is a crusade against Internet e-diocy and for sustained rational argument and critique – especially with the questions and issues dominated by hand-wringing political correctness.  Put differently: it’s a rant blog that’s more than merely a rant blog…rants are not always illogical, but can also simply be the passion behind rational, thoughtful argument and ideas worth thinking about.

Such a process requires patience and open-mindedness…and there’s a lot less of that in the 21st century than most people are willing to believe.  Those are the kind of people this blog is meant for…a shot in the dark, a cry in the wilderness, a scream at a brick wall, perhaps – but when what’s at stake is trying to get people to think, well, one must have patience on this end as well.  So what does all that mean?  It means what I do here is perhaps the only thing someone like me can do when confronted by an intellectually claustrophic culture that insists on obsessively looking down its own pants (while looking askance to see what kinda junk the other person has)…I talk.  I rant, I eulogize, I poeticize, and yes..sometimes I have to apologize; I pontificate, I elucidate, I talk down paths that may lead nowhere…but I talk.

“‘Talking Cure?’  Isn’t that Freud?”

Yes and no.  Yes: the name of this blog was taken from Anna O’s term “talking cure” to describe Freud’s psychoanalysis.  No: the idea of the talking cure applies to depth psychology in general (Freud, Jung, Adler, etc etc).  But “talking cure” needs to be defined a bit more.  There is no “cure” in terms of something “going away and never coming back” – rather, the process of talking is present as, hopefully, a kind of “cure.”  A cure always unfolding but interminable.  You can never finally banish some demons; but to keep them at bay through the process of talking, of analysis…maybe that’s the best we can hope for.  One of Freud’s great insights was into the ambivalent nature of human existence – put differently, the fact that we can both want and not want something at the same time.  It’s an existential paradox that this ambivalence perpetuates desire, and that the very idea of “cure” is constituted by this ambivalence, this lack.

Shifting gears….some people shit all over psychoanalysis, but let’s face it – in popular culture this is almost always because no one really wants to move beyond the potted clichés about Freud that movies and TV like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Duckman, [insert title here] and [insert yet another title here] have been selling us for decades.  Good or bad programs, whatever…but the image of Freud is pretty unidimensional throughout.  Some of these cultural molestations of Freud range from the laughable to the downright sinister to a strange and fuckwitted combination of both (see the blog for one or two examples…they are hilarious).

“You use words like ‘existential paradox’ and ‘interminable’…you’re an Ivory Tower Academic! Eww!”

Nah….I’m a graduate student, but this blog aims to be liminal (oh shit…an Academic Word!) – that is, both within and without both the academy and popular culture.  My point is not to belong and, in so doing, bring closer that which exiles me (the academy thinks I’m a space-case because I don’t accept the proto-capitalist organization of knowledge; pop-culture, well, thinks I’m a space-case because anything with more than 5 syllables makes the list).  If you must think of me in those terms, perhaps this website would suit you better.

“What’s your blog really about, then?”

Good question.  Social satire?  Pseudorant site?  The occasional sorties of hunt-and-fist directed at global-village idiots?  Stream-of-consciousness ranting which aims to show people that the ideas and concepts philosophers wrestle with are just as much a part of this world as [gag] Seinfeld?  As with so many other things in life, the proper answer is “all of the above, and then some.”  But I shall sum it up thusly: a journey through the minefield of cow patties strewn about the idiot-farm of contemporary culture.

“Pseudorant”?

Yes…a direct attack on the unfounded assumption that everyone…everyone who uses italics and boldface in their posts to punctuate passion is a crackpot who can’t possibly have a coherent point.  That said, I know this is a strategy without guarantees; like using comedy for political purposes (Bill Hicks, George Carlin, Jon Stewart), it can backfire on you.  Nevertheless, I still believe in its power to provoke – and the people who can’t see past the textual emphasis aren’t people I’m going to productively dialogue with anyway…oh, and btw…CAPS IS NOT ALWAYS “SHOUTING” 😉

“Wow, you’re a cynical bastard.  Lighten up.”

I prefer “sociopolitical crank” or, even more to the point – “cynical humanist” (thank you Bill Hicks).  But sorry…did I distract you?  Go back to the lights and pretty colours and cretin-spawn drama of MTV Spring Break….or the Facebook groups appreciating Pippa’s butt or trying to bring back the KFC rotating bucket or [insert stupid idea here].  And yes, if I come off as a crusty cynic in my critiques it’s due to my exasperation over the fact that so few people actually care about argumentation.  Satire is the most difficult argumentative weapon to use…but hey, I try.

hmmm….angst?  Check.  Laying down of ideological/cultural/spiritual allegiances?  Check…alienating those who simply won’t get this website and mostly talking to myself in the process?  Uncertain…but in progress. 🙂

And in case you missed it above…this website is firmly grounded on the belief that one can rant and rave and hunt and fist with passion and still have a worthwhile point.  Too many people in this world always assume that if you’re genuinely pissed off or polemical about something you can’ t possibly be thinking clearly or have a reason for your emotions.  Well…I’m here to tell you how wrong that belief really is (see “Pseudorant?” above – apparently I also repeat myself).  If you’re the type of person who actually believes rants are only rants because you’re lazy and wanna get out of trying to actually understand the Other), then, well, this website would suit you better.

“Dude, are you really on this quest to rid the Internet of everything you think is stupid and wrong?”

Hmm…sometimes.  Just like most other people, I know the Internet has turned into the asshole of humanity – it secretes filth and compost.  Except that this isn’t always a bad thing – from compost comes new growth, new ideas, new organic entities that live and change other entities (even if most of the compost on the web is just, well, crap).  I still have faith that there can be authentic exchanges on the Web – even if some of those involve confrontation (and confrontation is always a tricky tool to use in communicating with people).  And by the way…it’s “intardnets” 😉  So yeah, being a trained thinker, when I’ve had a bad day I rant and rage against all the e-dumb…but then, unlike many many others, I go outside and (almost?) forget about it.

How do you expect people to listen to you with a name like “Traumaturgist” and a website like SurroundedByIdiots.org?  You just alienate and insult people.

I alienate those who cannot understand; I provoke those who might; I inspire those who do.  As to how many of each kind of person exist on this planet…I leave you to judge.

 

  1. Newell Post says:

    Suffice it to say every one of us is surrounded by idiots. Many of us compete in endless ways (seeking power, wealth, fame; abusing others or just being ass-holes, etc.) to prove we are less idiotic than those around us. Fortunately there are those who recognize this and are accepting of their own idiocy – it gives them the power to care.

    • traumaturgist says:

      Newell: I think you’re absolutely right (although I hope you aren’t ironically including me in your list of people who “compete in endless ways”!). I tend to think of these things in terms of differences in intensity – that is, at any given time one can be either surrounded by idiots or part of a “pocket of idiocy,” many of which circulate, like meteorological weather patterns, around the planet at any given time. To be sure, were all idiots at one point or another – I know I’ve had my moments.

      But I can’t help but wonder what you mean when you say that accepting one’s own idiocy gives one “the power to care.” What, exactly, does it mean to care? Does caring mean one simply tolerates the idiocy of others and goes on their merry way? Or is it possible to think of another way of caring? Put differently, can “caring” also mean that there’s a point when one just has to say: “no more…this must be called out!”?

      Don’t get me wrong – I’m not naïve as to the signal-to-noise ratio of the Internet. However, I retain a certain belief in the idea that one can still have a meaningful communication with another person over the Internet – even if the media of that communication is suffused with pornography, lolcats and bogus websites selling cheap Viagra.

      Hence the pseudo-rant nature of this website – it’s angst, passion, anger, and reason all rolled into one in the attempt to keep alive this idea of meaningful communication in a world where such communication seems to be an increasingly rare commodity.