The Intergenerational Trauma of Slavery and its Aftereffects: The Question of Reparations, Gilda Graff
ABSTRACT: This article briefly reviews African American history including the “Middle Passage” from Africa, the arrival of slaves in the United States, the psychological meaning of slavery, the expansion of slavery from a narrow strip of worn out tobacco plantations in Maryland and Virginia to the south and west from the 1790’s to the 1860’s, the labor control practices used to double the slaves‘ output of cotton, Reconstruction and its aborted promises, the migration of 6 million black southerners to the North over six decades (1915 to 1970), and the Civil Rights Movement, in order to see if HR 40, which calls for a Congressional study of slavery, it’s lingering effects, and appropriate remedies, should be considered.
“DEMOCRACY OF THE MIND”: RABBI JOSHUA LIEBMAN’S INTERPRETATIONS OF JUDAISM, PSYCHOANALYSIS, AND AMERICAN POLITICS, Mary Miles
ABSTRACT: This article is about the ways that discussions of Judaism, psychoanalysis, and American identity intersected and shaped each other in the work of Rabbi Joshua Liebman, best-selling author. Anyone who believed in either a salvation-based religion or a rational psychology found his or her beliefs challenged by the momentous developments of the mid-twentieth century – World War II, genocide, atomic destruction, and the cold war. Liebman found psychological causes for these catastrophes and blamed repression, fear, and neuroses. In his view, just as Nazism and Stalinism had been fueled by psychological drives, democracy and liberty, to be maintained, had to be projected deeply within the souls and psyches of Americans. Liebman contributed to the project of developing psychologies that reflected external commitments to freedom and democracy at a time when this effort moved to the forefront of both popular and professional psychotherapy. Discussions of psychoanalysis also offered Liebman an opportunity to introduce the values that he associated with Judaism into the scientific worlds of psychology and psychiatry. Liebman’s “democracy of the mind” emerges from interpretations of Judaism, psychology, and politics that he hoped would bolster democratic values.
Psychohistorical Perspective on Current Events and Issues
THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN THAT ASTOUNDED THE WORLD: A PSYCHOHISTORY OF DONALD TRUMP AND THE 2016 AMERICAN ELECTION (Written 12/4/2016), Ken Fuchsman
ABSTRACT: Democracy can be diminished by demagogues. Historian Henry Adams (1838-1918), who wrote The Degradation of the Democratic Dogma and other works, worried that American political culture was in decline. “The progress of evolution from President Washington to President Grant, was alone evidence to upset Darwin” (Adams, 1918, 410). And now we have President Trump, a man who has tapped into things unsettled, unsettling and dangerous in himself and his supporters. How would Henry Adams compare Trump to Grant, let alone Washington? Candidate Donald J. Trump appealed to prejudices and stereotypes, was uninformed on the details of policy, had a wild disregard for facts, and made dreadful tweets and statements about most anyone who criticized him, including that his Democratic opponent should be jailed, called her the devil, and alluded that others might assassinate her.
Given the uniqueness of the 2016 Presidential election, it is important to place the campaign in historical and psychological context. As Trump displayed the excesses of his personality for all to see, how these were overlooked by so many voters, raises the question of what in our politics, history, and culture allows such a candidate to be elected President. This paper examines Trump’s fitness for the nation’s highest office and what enabled him to become politically prominent and win in the Electoral College.
The Post-Factual World of the 2016 American Presidential Election – The Good, the Bad, and the Deplorable, Seth Allcorn and Howard Stein
Introduction: Polarization and Radical Subjectivity This essay describes and attempts to explain a world you could not make up. Who could have imagined? The polls all favored presidential candidate Hillary Clinton who, it seems, won every battle and lost the war. There are many complexities that can be explored now and in the future. And most certainly two realities will emerge, one on the left and one on the right. This reality of realities has, for the authors, raised for consideration the question of where can one go to obtain what might be considered to be objective news? Now the two realities have their own facts, supported by a burgeoning for-profit industry of fake news on social media to support their very different opinions. There is then, in a sense, from the perspective of psychoanalytic object relations theory, dual polarized good and bad realities. The C word is banished. Compromise is not often possible any more. There is only “Hell No,” my way or the highway, and those seeking ideological purity. America will now come first in international affairs. I win/ you lose. In politics it is winner take all.
The world, and the United States in particular, has arrived at a dysfunctional dark period where the threat of many things – terrorists, Sharia law, global warming (or not), loss of jobs to lower cost labor markets across international boundaries, danger in the streets, the smoking towers burned into our collective consciousness — to name but a few – has created fear and its corresponding willingness to accept a police state-like government that invades privacy and has made a strongman and autocrat a reality or, once again, maybe not, depending on who you talk to. Our focus in this article is to explore the contributions that denial, splitting, and projection make toward understanding the polarization and the divergent realities that now exist (Hetherington & Weiler, 2009). Where did this context and conflict of realities come from? How is it so readily maintained? Where is it headed?
Going Along and Being Trapped; Mitläufer: Germany Then, the U.S. Today, Peter Petschaeur
ABSTRACT: This essay is about men (and women) who were not National Socialist perpetrators, but rather about those who, in popular phraseology, went along with Germany’s N.S. regime. If one follows well-regarded historians, perpetrators and bystanders are readily identified. (E.g., Raul Hilberg, Perpetrators, Victims, Bystanders: The Jewish Catastrophe, 1933-1945 (New York: Aaron Asher Books, 1985, 1992.) As Michael R. Marrus, “Acts that Speak for Themselves.” New York Times, Books, Sept 20, 1992, said in his review of the book:
With the bystanders, those who neither participated in the machinery of genocide nor were its victims, the principal reaction was indifference. For most, there was “a dull awareness” of the catastrophe, and little more. A few rescuers appeared, but here too Mr. Hilberg makes distinctions, some of which diminish the rescuers’ achievements. A substantial proportion of non-Jewish Germans who helped Jews were aiding Jewish relatives, or were themselves only partly German or longtime converts to Christianity.
I would like to propose here that, by comparing contemporary nasty institutional situations of a group of American friends and acquaintances to those living in National Socialist times, one may achieve a better understanding of the differences between the varieties of so-called bystanders 80 or so years ago.
Book Review Essay
A Review Essay on Psychobiographical Methodology and Charles B. Strozier’s Study of the Lincoln-Speed Relationship, James William Anderson, Ph.D.
Your Friend Forever, A. Lincoln: The Enduring Friendship of Abraham Lincoln and Joshua Speed. By Charles B. Strozier, with Wayne Soini. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016. 307 pages, $35.
ABSTRACT: This review essay of Your Friend Forever, A. Lincoln: The Enduring Friendship of Abraham Lincoln and Joshua Speed examines how the author, Charles B. Strozier, demonstrates the importance of the Lincoln-Speed relationship, arguably the closest friendship Lincoln ever had. Strozier’s work illustrates the value of psychobiography. For example, using a psychological perspective, Strozier argues that the impending loss of Speed, who was about to move from Springfield, IL, to Kentucky, played a part in one of Lincoln’s severest depressive episodes. In this review essay there is also consideration of how the book illustrates several of the qualities of sound psychobiographical writing, such as thorough research, avoidance of foisting theory onto the subject, and appreciation that the subject lived in a different culture from that of the biographer.
RECLAIMING CONVERSATION: THE POWER OF TALK IN A DIGITAL AGE, Sherry Turkle, New York: Penguin Press, 2015, Reviewed by Claire Beth Steinberger
“Even Silicon Valley parents who work for social media companies tell me that they send their children to technology-free schools in the hope that this will give their children greater emotional and intellectual range” (p.55).
Sherry Turkle’s “Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age” is her latest, and possibly most powerful analysis of the postmodern tumble into disembodied cyberspace attachment. As a consummate crusader, Turkle builds her case in an extensive (436-page) study. She does an excellent job of illustrating how easy it is for human beings to adapt to and become dependent on technology-based information transmission. Her argument points to the steep costs of a cyber-cultural metamorphosis that challenges all aspects of human development, including the interface of biological, emotional and cognitive lines.
The Enigma of Desire: Sex, Longing, and Belonging in Psychoanalysis, Galit Atlas, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, London, 2015, Reviewed by Jyoti Swaminathan
Dr. Galit Atlas’ “Enigma of Desire” will resonate with readers as she draws them into a labyrinthine journey that engages a psychoanalyst and her patients on a course in self discovery. In her book, the anguish of unfulfilled desire finds itself on center stage, looking for resolution. Selecting specific tales, the analyst retells stories that contain her former patients’ attempts at intimacy, initially through the expression of sexuality and eventually through relationships. We are reminded of the power of early attachments between mother and child: their life long course and far reaching consequences.