Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Thought catching


"Automatic thoughts, as the name implies, are those interpretations/ideas/thoughts that seem to come automatically to mind; they are our pop-up thoughts. They are the immediate, consciously available thoughts, require little or no effort and seem plausible. They are not arrived at through reflective reasoning.

In depression they are often self-evaluative and future directed. Automatic thoughts are not necessarily in clear/syntactic language and can be poorly formulated, using fragments of grammar. Also, it is common for them to occur in images or inner scenes, daydreams or fantasies (Gilbert, 1992; Hackman, 1997).


For example, what goes through a person's mind when their lover promises to phone at a specific time but does not phone as promised? For a moment just close your eyes and image such an event; you have a lover who you are expecting to phone you tonight. You are looking forward to the phone call. As the time goes by and the phone does not ring what goes through your mind?

In real life this type of event may lead us to fantasize about the possibility that the lover has lost interest, or does not care enough to remember, or is out with someone else....Sometimes we may not be fully aware of our automatic thoughts but experience only emotions. For example, when the telephone does not ring we may find ourselves becoming anxious, sad or irritated, but our awareness of our thinking may be hazy or poorly recognized.

Hence, the depressed person may need to train themselves to attend to their automatic thoughts so as to sharpen their focus and make them subject to more detailed analysis, communication and challenge. The client can be taught to say to themselves: 'Okay I am feeling sad or angry about this so how am I actually seeing it; what am I saying to myself?'

This is called thought catching."

(Paul Gilbert, Counselling for Depression, p51)

Saturday, 19 July 2008



"So, then, make you whole body a mass of doubt, and with your three hundred sixty bones and joints and eighty-four thousand hair follicles, concentrate on this one word, Mu. Day and night, keep digging into it. Don't consider it to be nothingness. Don't think in terms of "has" or "has not." It is like swallowing a red hot iron ball. You try to vomit it out, but you can't."

[From Wu-Men's comment on the Chao-Chou's Dog Koan.]

Or if you'd prefer that in musical form, click here.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

The more you ignore me, the closer I get


I always used to think this song was about an embittered ex, stalking his former lover. But I now realise that it has a wider remit: death, disappointment, the ego stalked by a hungry, braying demented id(iot).

The squalor of the mind.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

D stands for...


"The essence of repression lies simply in turning something away, and keeping it at a distance, from the conscious." (Freud, Vol 11, p147)

I know what the iconography suggests, but I have come to realise recently that the little fellow with the vacant eyes is not a death pill. Or not just a death pill. Rather it stands not just for the ultimate cessation of Self, but all the preceding eradications of hope and potential for joy along the way, the cancellation of every appointment we make with/for our own happiness. Disappointment in other words.

Which makes me think of this song.

And a slightly more upbeat take on the theme if you're just about to jump from a balcony.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Smug God

dog gums

Sometimes, the only way to say what needs to be said is through a heteropalindrome.

Monday, 7 July 2008

We just seem to have so much in common!


Listening to Masha Gessen on Start The Week being interviewed about her book Blood Matters: A Journey Along the Genetic Frontier.



Nadler's Specjewcles are based, I believe, on assertions made by Jung in his 1918 essay "The Role of the Unconscious" in which he states:

"As a rule, the Jew lives in amicable relationship with the earth, but without feeling the power of the chthonic. His receptivity to this seems to have weakened with time. This may explain the specific need of the Jew to reduce everything to its material beginnings; he needs these beginnings in order to counterbalance the dangerous ascendency of his two cultures. A little bit of primitivity does not hurt him; on the contrary, I can understand very well that Freud's and Adler's reduction of everything psychic to primitive sexual wishes and power drives has something about it that is beneficial and satisfying to the Jew, because it is a form of simplification."

I've never really been able to warm to Jung; I wonder why.

What's particularly galling of course is that some of what he says is quite true. I have very little feeling for 'the power of the chthonic'.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Friday, 4 July 2008

Fugitives from guilt


Glove paralysis, a psychosomatic immobility of the hand, was 'about as common in Freud's time as bulimia in ours' (McWilliams 1999:69).

Hysterical in origin, due to the fact that is almost impossible to have a paralysis of the hand without the arm being implicated, it was believed by Freud to be linked to the suppression of female sexual desire and self-gratification.

The patient stops herself from masturbating due to social/religious strictures, but instead of allowing this notion to surface into consciousness where it would be seen as shameful, she develops a hysterical paralysis of the sinful hand, thus resolving the conflict as well as giving her "a certain amount of TLC that might partially meet the emotional needs that sexual gratification would more satisfactorily address" (ibid p70).

Thursday, 3 July 2008

"Il Papa non mette Prada, ma Cristo"

[Click on image to enlarge]

The direct, and in some way more evocative translation of Guido (aka 'The Geek) Romani's pronouncement to L'Osservatore Romano is: "The Pope doesn't wear Prada, but Christ'.

Most English newspapers fiddled around with the mordancy of this soundbite and came up with: "The Pope isn't dressed by Prada but by Christ".

Being the Italionophile that I am, I originally read the article in lingua originale (I subscribe to the above paper if you must know), and hence the inspiration for JR's Necrotic Jewellery. Though undoubtedly Bill Hicks must've been floating around in the back of my mind too.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Ja well no fine


I found a definition of this expression here, but I don't think it fully captures the flavour of this South-Africanism.

In substance, it's a very Beckettian phrase. Think Waiting For Godot, set in South Africa- that moment at the end of the play when Vladimir says to Estragon 'Shall we go?', and he replies 'Yes, let's go.' And neither of them move.

That's a very ja-well-no-fine moment.