The ability to discriminate between situations

“Knowledge at the beginner’s level consists precisely in the reduced formulas that characterize theories, while true expertise is based on intimate experience with thousands of individual cases and on the ability to discriminate between situations, with all their nuances of difference, without distilling them into formulas or standard cases.”

(p. 213)

Flyvbjerg, B. (2011). Case study. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The Sage handbook of qualitative research (pp. 301–316). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Analyst and patient are both active and passive

“Nothing I have said is intended to convey the impression that I see the analyst as a silent partner. Silence or speaking on the part of the analyst serves to foster free association. Neither holds any significance beyond this aim. Nor do I picture the analyst as either active or passive. Analyst and patient are both active and passive. Patients often begin the analysis with a view of the analyst as active and themselves as passive – at least, that is the surface impression. And sooner or later in most analyses the patient experiences the relationship as ‘unfair’, in the sense that the patient must reveal all but expect no return in kind and must love unrequited. Clarification and interpretation of such transference reactions will be most readily assimilated by the patient – with corresponding progress in the freedom of association – if the patient can recognise the reality of the analyst’s intentions and obligations. That is, the analyst responds only when he has something useful to say. He must not yield to the temptations of responding to love and hate in any way except to promote free association, and he must remember that he is paid for attending to the patient’s associations, with no right to talk about himself for his own purposes or satisfaction.”

(page 26)

Kris, A. (1982). Free association. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Some small, often barely noticeable expansion

The view that the analyst has some insight waiting to be ‘given’ to the patient appears to me to be illusion. It is easy enough to see far ahead in analysis. To know what is needed at a particular moment, however, to permit some small, often barely noticeable expansion of the freedom of association is the difficult fundamental task of the psychoanalyst.”

(page 25)

Kris, A. (1982). Free association. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

It perturbs the body in precise ways

“Consciousness satisfies emotion by the physical actions it selects in the midst of turbulent sensation. It is the specialized part of the mind that creates and sorts scenarios, the means by which the future is guessed and courses of action chosen. Consciousness is not a remote command centre but part of the system, intimately wired to all the neural and hormonal circuits regulating physiology. Consciousness acts and reacts to achieve a dynamic steady state. It perturbs the body in precise ways with each changing circumstance, as required for well-being and response to opportunity, and helps return it to the original condition when challenge and opportunity have been met.”

(page 113)

Edward O. Wilson. (1998)  Consilience: The unity of knowledge. New York: Knopf.

Feeling responses to stimuli

“The feeling of shame originates in the shame affect. Affects are empirical human universals, inborn in every healthy specimen of our species. They are expressive, in facial expressions, in intonations, in the modulation of the voice, in gestures. Expressions of affect are not acquired. They are communicative. They are feeling responses to fairly complex structures of stimuli and change over time. Affect intensity can be diminished by habit and by turning away from the objects of affect. Among affects are the following: fear (with the expression of fear), shame (with the expression of shame), and rage, disgust, curiosity, gaiety, sadness (with their respective expressions). Although bodily pain is not an affect proper, it belongs to the same family. Darwin, who made a comprehensive study of affects, defined them as the remnants of instincts derived from a lengthy process involving the erosion of instinct regulation and its replacement by culture regulation. It is culture which provides the objects for affects.” (p. 215)

Heller, A. (1982). The Power of Shame. Dialectical Anthropology, 6(3), 215-228.

To give speech to that which has no language

“Think what it would be to have a work conceived from outside the self, a work that would let us escape the limited perspective of the individual ego, not only to enter into selves like our own but to give speech to that which has no language, to the bird perching on the edge of the gutter, to the tree in spring and the tree in fall, to stone, to cement, to plastic…

Was this not perhaps what Ovid was aiming at, when he wrote about the continuity of forms? And what Lucretius was aiming at when he identified himself with that nature common to each and everything?”

(page 124)

Italo Calvino, Six Memos for the Next Millenium. Trans. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1988.

A good deal is at stake in the attempt to invent linguistic structures

“Physical pain – unlike any other state of consciousness – has no referential content. It is not of or for anything. It is precisely because it takes no object that it, more than any other phenomenon, resists objectification in language. Often, a state of consciousness other than pain will, if deprived of its object, begin to approach the neighbourhood of physical pain; conversely, when physical pain is transformed into an objectified state, it (or at least some of its aversiveness) is eliminated. A great deal, then, is at stake in the attempt to invent linguistic structures that will reach and accommodate this area of experience normally so inaccessible to language; the human attempt to reverse the de-objectifying work of pain by forcing pain itself into avenues of objectification is a project laden with practical and ethical consequence.”

(pages 5-6)

Scarry, E. (1985). The body in pain. Oxford: OUP.