I Married a Feminist

N. and I went out today for a belated celebration of the International Women’s Day. At dinner, he made the following toast:

Let’s drink to femininity both in you and in me.

He’s so perfect.

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Freud Versus Jung: Different Approaches to Psychoanalysis

As I said before, I’m not a scholar of psychoanalytical theory. I will not write complex theoretical posts because I have neither the knowledge nor the interest to do so. Given that most of the people in this country are grievously ignorant about psychoanalysis, I want to provide the most basic information my readers might find useful in their approach to the subject.

I vastly prefer the Jungian model of psychoanalysis to the Freudian for the two simple reasons I want to share with you.

1. Four and a half years ago, I was packing up my stuff at the apartment where I’d lived during my doctoral studies in preparation to moving back to Montreal. A grad student accumulates a lot of books and papers, as I’m sure you can imagine. All I did for weeks was pack books into boxes (I’m an old lady, so that was before the Kindle era.) I didn’t see the light of day for these book-filled boxes. And when I slept, I persistently dreamt of packing books into boxes, which is not surprising, given that it was all I was doing all day and every day. At that very time, I was reading Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams. Imagine how I felt when I discovered that dreaming of packing books into boxes meant I was feeling sexual desire for my brother.

To begin with, I don’t even have a brother. And at that moment, I was completely sexually satisfied because I had just met N., and we were living together. I analyzed and overanalyzed my every thought but, as hard as I tried, I could not convince myself that the dream I was having had anything to do with some imaginary unfulfilled sex drive and not with the very real situation I was living daily. If a box filled with books cannot sometimes simply be a box filled with books, I had no use for that theory.

Jung, bless him, changed all that. He believes that any dream analysis should start with the discussion of what has happened to the analyzand recently. To give an example, a Jungian analyst shared the following story at a Russian-speaking forum:

“One day,” he wrote, “an analyzand told me of a dream where he was persecuted by horrible monsters. I was an inexperienced analyst, so I immediately proceeded to analyze the dream. I created an entire theory of what the monsters in the client’s dream could mean. And then, I remembered to ask him what he had been doing on the day before he had that dream. “Oh, nothing special,” the analyzand responded. “Went to work, came home. Then my wife and I watched a horror movie before going to bed.” So it turned out that the monsters that persecuted this client had not come from the depths of his subconscious. They had come from the horror movie.”

The Jungian analysis of dreams never goes beyond what feels right to the analyzand. The interpretation is correct when the client feels that it makes sense to her or him.

2. Freud’s “penis envy” was his great blunder. It is also the big gun that people roll out whenever they want to ridicule psychoanalysis. I’m sure that when those people get to laying the foundations of an entire field of knowledge, they will not make a single mistake. Freud, however, was not only birlliant but also human and, hence, fallible. He really messed this one up.

Jung, however, departs from the “penis envy” model of gender entirely. His alternative theory of animus / anima has always made a lot of sense to me. When I look at my own life through the prism of this theory it makes every possible sense to me.

Who Wants an Administrator From Texas A&M?

My university is seriously considering hiring an administrator from Texas A&M as our new Chancellor. Texas A&M is a horrible, horrible place. Why would anybody in their right mind plan to hire anybody from there? The faculty there are exploited horribly. The place is a total diploma mill of the worst kind. Bleh, bleh, and once again bleh.

We’ve had a fantastic Chancellor who is now retiring. This is a person who wanted to raise the research profile of the institution and did a lot to make it possible for young scholars to do research. The last thing we want is a money-hungry business-model worshipper from a stupid place that is the laughing stock of the country.

I’m upset, people. The other candidates are also from some lousy places in Texas. We are so screwed.