Sunday, April 30, 2006

Freud & Tyrants, Genes & Resilience, Too Much Red Pepper

All from today's New York Times Magazine:

Chuck Klosterman, in One Slice With Extra Meaning, talks about how he accidently dumped an entire canister of red pepper onto his pizza slice. "...I suppose I just could have ordered another slice.... Instead, I acted as if I had done this on purpose." In front of the other pizzaria patrons, he painfully injests the peppered pizza and goes on to say, "Very often, I don't know why I do the things that I do: it is my assumption that many people feel this way pretty much all the time. But whenever you do something especially idiotic, and if your reaction to such an event is especially unreasonable, you're forced to question (a) the motivations that drive your behavior and (b) whether such motives even make sense."

Klosterman could be a patient: How many times have we asked patients why they've done something seeming nonsensical to have them reply "I don't know?" And how many times have we asked the same question of ourselves, only the come up with the exact same answer? ---Hmmmm, and I've started a blog because.....

Mark Edumundson, in Freud and the Fundamentalist Urge talks about Freud and Hitler and Freud's theories on how tyrants come to power:
"Take a drink (or two), take a lover, and suddenly the internal conflict in the psyche calms down. A divided being becomes a whole, united and (temporarily) happier one.
"Freud had no compunction in calling the relationship that crowds forge with an absolute leader an erotic one."

And, finally, in A Question of Resilience, Emily Bazelon asks if genetics, and specifically the long allele of the 5-HTTT gene, play a role in contributing to the question of why some people-- and some Rhesus Monkeys-- are more resilient than others in the aftermath of abuse.