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Friday, December 22, 2006


I've been thinking about writing about this issue for a while now, but my thoughts are still a bit scattered. Many of us have experienced this frustrating phenomenon since 2001. We have found ourselves embroiled in discussions where facts were on our side, yet strangely we have not been able to persuade the other person. I think Shrinkwrapped misidentifies the problem when he blames postmodernism, as I do not believe that my interlocutors are willfully refusing to recognize arguments.

Increasingly I've come to believe that what is at issue here is transference as described by Lacan. Lacan has an unusual concept of transference which he relates to the "subject supposed to know". When the analysand enters analysis, he supposes that the analyst has a certain knowledge of his symptom and suffering, when in fact that analyst does not have this knowledge. This projection functions as a motor for analysis as the analysand interprets each pronouncement of the analyst as coming from a place of knowledge and therefore interprets what the analyst says producing knowledge for the analyst. That is, it's the analysand doing most of the work.

What does this have to do with Iraq? I've increasingly come to notice that intercommunicative settings seem to be organized around this phenomenon of the "subject supposed to know". It seems that today a person begins from the premise that there are some who speak from the standpoint of knowledge and others that do not. For instance, when I watch FOX news I do not attribute knowledge to the newscasters, and am therefore largely deaf to the claims and arguments they make *even if they are true*. I begin from the standpoint that they are trying to dupe me ideologically. It seems to me that this phenomenon is even more potent among many rightwing supporters of Bush and the war, such that they simply filter out any negative news or information about Iraq as a "liberal conspiracy". As the opening paragraphs of Plato's Republic indicate, you cannot persuade someone who refuses to listen. The issue here is not one of postmodernism, but rather one of who we trust as a credible speaker. The moment shrinkwrapped opens his/her mouth, shutters have already fallen over the ears of his/her interlocutor. As we know from our practices, it's impossible to do work with patients that attribute us no credibility or authority. For instance, it's always more difficult to work with patients that have been forced into analysis by family or courts. The question then is one of how to overcome this credibility gap or crisis of legitimacy.

I wish that we were just hard of hearing. From, before the start of the war all we have heard is bad this and bad that. I doubt the war now, but when all you hear is negative it eats on you.


Thanks for your comment. During the buildup to the war, my gut reaction to many in the anti-war movement was to recoil from a childish anti-Americanism that was as childish as the most mindlessly fervent nationalism. I don't know which was more disturbing, Freedom Fries or pampered little Johnny Depp’s French farmhouse-living-self declaring that the United States is an adolescent.

I can not say freedom fries and Jonny Depp(Michael Jackson want to be?) did not happen becuase they did happen but I had to bite my tongue to not tell them how silly they were acting.

What was the post about again? (let me look sec plz)......

OK. I understand what you are trying to say. But (you knew there was a butt in there) I believe that change is a result of what I see with my own eyes. What does throwing more money do for k-12? nothing. What does welfare do to get people to support themselves? nothing. etc..etc..

In the war in Iraq, it is going real bad. I can see that and hear that on the news but they also told me the Iraqies wouldn't vote.They did.Before that they told me the Iraqies couldn't form a government. They did. Etc..etc..

I don't believe what I hear now days so I will not change my thinking on faulty data.

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