Suicide And Our Many Personas

Over a decade ago, a friend of mine killed himself. As we, his many shocked and grieving friends, exchanged notes of commiseration and regret and nostalgic remembrance of a life we had all drawn pleasure from, one refrain made the rounds: “I guess I didn’t know him as well as I thought I did.” Indeed.Continue reading “Suicide And Our Many Personas”

Of Therapy And Personal And Academic Anxieties

Reading some of the discussion sparked by Peter Railton’s Dewey Lecture has prompted me to write this post. In the fall of 1996, I began studying for my Ph.D qualifier exams. I had worked full-time at a non-academic job for the previous year, saving up some money so that I could take a month orContinue reading “Of Therapy And Personal And Academic Anxieties”

Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia And The Insight Of The Depressed

There is a moment during the disastrous wedding reception that kicks off Lars Von Trier‘s Melancholia that you suspect the reason Justine the bride is being so mysteriously, bafflingly, awkwardly morose, is that she is aware of an impending apocalypse, the one made imminent by a beautiful blue planet approaching the earth on a collisionContinue reading “Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia And The Insight Of The Depressed”

The Pleasures of “Emotional Difficulties”

In his review of several exhibitions showcasing the work of Félix Vallotton, Julian Bell writes: Vallotton is not so much an autobiographical artist as an artist who coolly and procedurally recognizes that his own emotional difficulties might supply him with viable imaginative material. Vallotton wouldn’t be the first or last artist to recognize this, ofContinue reading “The Pleasures of “Emotional Difficulties””

Boethius’ Philosophy as Therapist

Here is a common way to think about the psychotherapeutic experience: the therapist helps the patient construct an alternative narrative of his or her life. Why is this therapeutic? The patient has offered the therapist a recounting–via a series of archaeological, genealogical forays into his past–of his life’s events, and describes how these have contributedContinue reading “Boethius’ Philosophy as Therapist”