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Re: Gossip

Posted by sigismund on July 1, 2012, at 19:47:43

In reply to Re: Gossip, posted by twinleaf on July 1, 2012, at 15:56:57

All of the replies are worth reading. This one was quite bracing.

In her response to Wynne Godleys story (Letters, 22 March), Kirsty Hall appears to confuse true with real. There can be no doubt that Godleys states of mind at the time of his analysis with Masud Khan were real, but it is clear that they did not constitute the truth of Wynne Godley (other than in the merely tautologous sense that it is true that at the time these were real states of mind). Hall seems to think that considerations of truth, in the sense of being able to distinguish between what is true and what is false, are simply irrelevant. But however deeply and perhaps irresolvably vexed it may be, without some discriminating notion of truth the whole enterprise of psychoanalysis collapses into being a remunerated hand-holding exercise by what Ernest Gellner memorably described as merchants of hope. In this scenario the truth of what you are or what you think you are doesnt matter as long as you come out of the analytic encounter feeling good about yourself. The logic of this blurring of true/false is potentially fatal; among other things it enables the step whereby the merchant of hope becomes, as in the case of Khan, a merchant of abuse.

Christopher Prendergast




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