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Cleaning Lady to the Stars

Edited by Michael Martone and Bryan Furu Break Away Book Club Edition ePub

Cleaning Lady to the Stars

Call me Isobelle—at least, that’s what my card says. I’d like it better if you call me the cleaning lady to the stars, a.k.a. the professors at St. Meinhof’s. They move in here trailing a van full of kitchen gear they don’t know how to use, wearing their attitudes like tiaras. One of them got the card made up for me ’cause she thought it was cute. I thought it was embarrassing, but she was right about one thing: you got to have a business card if you want to scrub professors’ toilets. They check references, too.

“How you like the Midwest?” I ask the new customers, first time I show up with a mop.

“You mean the Midwaste?” They ask me where you go to eat around here. You go to your well-stocked kitchen, is what I’m thinking, but I point them to Albert’s Seafood Lounge, and it’s not entirely my fault if they swallow a little botulism with their sushi. We didn’t have sushi till Albert thought to bring it in and (in case you hadn’t noticed how far we are from the ocean) we survived without it.

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11. Limitations and transition to the structural model

Karnac Books ePub

We remarked earlier that certain inconsistencies began to be apparent towards the end of the second phase in Freud’s view of the mental apparatus and its functioning. These inconsistencies, which rendered the use of the topographical model difficult and limited in its clinical application, are discussed below, under several different headings. They have been devised with the advantages of the hindsight afforded by the development of psychoanalysis since the structural model was introduced in 1923. While limitations of the topographical model are pointed out in this chapter, we would like to underline the fact that the model was not completely replaced by the structural model of the third phase of psychoanalysis. It has continued to be applied where appropriate or convenient.

Difficulties in the use and meaning of the term “Unconscious”

During the second phase the different meanings attached to the term “unconscious” had become an increasing source of confusion and imprecision. In a descriptive sense the term referred to a quality of a mental state or a mental content, indicating nothing more than that a particular mental “event” or process existed or occurred outside conscious awareness. Used in the sense of a system, the “Unconscious” indicated a specific topographical location within the hypothetical mental apparatus, with events, contents, and processes being assigned to it. The term was also used in a dynamic sense to refer to mental contents that were being forcefully prevented from reaching consciousness or motor expression, i.e. were actively held in check by counterforces. Initially, the contents of the Unconscious were taken to include everything that was dynamically unconscious. The active “censorship” was located only between the Preconscious and Unconscious. However, with the introduction of the concept of a “second censorship” (Freud, 1900a) between the Preconscious and Conscious, it became evident that many preconscious derivatives of the Unconscious could also be regarded as being dynamically unconscious, while not being located in the Unconscious. The dynamic quality of contents of the Preconscious is evident in the examples relating to transference and dreams in Chapters 8 and 9.

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Chapter Twelve: The Problem

Blanco, Ignacio Matte Karnac Books ePub

As already remarked, the principle of symmetry rules, so to speak, deeper unconscious manifestations or processes.1 According to this principle, if a is part of B, then B is part of a; and if c or d is part of B, then B is also part of c or d. From this it follows that the part is identical to the whole or to any other (proper) part of a given set, because according to the principles of logic, if a is part of B and B is part of a, then a and B are identical. And in the present case this applies, of course, to proper parts, that is, to wholes that are composed of more than one part. In cases where the whole is composed of only one part, it is obvious that, even according to Aristotelian logic, the part is identical to the whole. Viewed in this way, the principle of symmetry treats the proper part as though it were improper. But there is more to it than that.2

This corollary of the principle of symmetry is most puzzling, yet it can be found in daily analytical practice. We may start widi the case of schizophrenics in whom at times we find, especially in chronic asylum patients, an open expression of it. I will illustrate this by the case of a woman who developed a delusional construction after blood had been taken from her arm for some medical examination. At times she complained that blood had been taken away from her arm and at other times she said that her arm had been taken away from her. It was obvious that, in this context, for her, blood from the arm and the arm itself were identical. The identity between the part and the whole is fairly well known in the psychology of schizophrenics, though it is not always described as such. But in daily experience with neurotics it does not appear in an obvious manner. Yet there is a fundamental aspect of our. work, where, upon reflection, it seems that in some ways we take for granted this corollary of the principle of symmetry. I refer to the special meaning given to symbols in psycho-analysis. When we explain to a patient that he is seeing us as the father or the mother we are implicitly establishing that with regard to certain aspects or functions which we may fulfil for him, we, analysts, are identical to the actual father or mother. In terms of symbolic logic we may express this by saying that, ordinarily, the elements of a given class are equivalent between themselves with regard to the propositional function which defines the class: the three properties of reflexivity, symmetry and transitivity are fulfilled. But they are not identical. The unconscious, instead, treats diem as identical. Identity is a form of equivalence but the equivalence between the members of the class is not, in simply bivalent logic, an identity. The identity established between the elements of a class by the (symmetrical) unconscious — which we employ in our work — is still connected with the propositional function, not only in the aspect regarding the first variable, x, but also with the second type of variables, y, q, z, etc., in terms of which the class is defined in some cases. According to such definition, the various values of x, or elements of that class, do not necessarily have the same values of y, q, z, etc., even though all satisfy the propositional function. In other words, they are equivalent with regard to this latter in general, but not with regard to the values of y, q, z, etc., that may be assumed within the propositional function. The (symmetrical) unconscious treats them as identical even with regard to such values and, in this sense, it establishes an identity within the class. For example, if I fulfil a small motherly function, for the unconscious I fulfil this function in its maximum degree. In odier words I contain within this maximum degree all the smaller values of y, q, z, etc.3

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6 The Shaba Wars

Erik Kennes Indiana University Press ePub

THE MPLAS POLITICAL and military victory in Angola in November 1975 radically changed the political outlook throughout central Africa.1 The establishment of this overtly Marxist state, supportive (like Frelimo-ruled Mozambique) of revolutionary nationalist movements in southern Africa, placed the region’s racist settler regimes on the defensive and destroyed the assumptions on which Western policy toward the region had been built. It also led to decades of civil war with UNITA, backed by South Africa and (during the 1980s) the United States. No less significantly, it created new tensions with Zaire, which had suffered a military humiliation in Angola and which, facing economic crisis and reduced Western support, appeared particularly vulnerable.

This weakness represented an unprecedented opportunity to Mobutu’s many enemies inside and outside Zaire, not least the FLNC. Rearmed by the MPLA’s Cuban and Soviet allies, and strengthened by the Cossa Accords, they seized this opportunity, first to strengthen their numbers and then to invade the former territory of Katanga (renamed Shaba in 1971), but now with significantly altered aims and political direction. The first Shaba war of 1977 led President Mobutu to make significant political reforms, with effects that last until today. The second Shaba war of 1978, in which the Tigres seized the town of Kolwezi and severely destabilized the country’s strategic mining industry, posed the greatest threat the Mobutu regime faced until the 1990s. This was the first time that the FLNC had, as an independent political and military actor, pursued its aims on an international stage in ways that would attract the attention and response of a wide range of international actors, including both superpowers.

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9. Doctors, mid wives, and prison officers

Cohen, Margaret Karnac Books ePub

As it is, the quickest of us walk about well wadded with stupidity.

George Eliot, Middlemarch

Dr Gibbons, the child psychiatrist, and I were convinced of the importance of staff support in hospitals. We shared the view of the web of relationships described in chapter 8, and in this chapter I have written about various other pieces of work that sprang from our neonatal staff support work.

* * *

We became aware of the need of the consultant paediatricians for a support meeting of their own. We began meeting with three of the four consultants once a month; the fourth was invited but refused to attend. The content of these meetings varied considerably, from a recounting of painful cases, discussion of NHS politics, and plans and issues in the paediatric department. Over the years, this group has grown larger with the appointment of more consultant paediatricians. Perhaps the group has become less cosy; there has been more space for misunderstanding and disagreement. There are certainly generational tensions, with some tussle for floor-space between the older consultants and the younger ones. We are always struck by how hard-working and thoughtful this group is and how difficult it is for the members to let each other speak. There is definitely an atmosphere of there not being enough attention to go around.

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