It’s not a pretty sight, this nearly moribund site. A blank slate, a deck swept by copious rains … it doesn’t help with focus, that is for sure. Nebulous possibility and passive reflection, neither which makes for a compelling read.
It may be old hat to others, but I am beginning to realize that focus comes not from forcing the mind into a harness, but from the free reign of faith.
I spent the last few days on a lean Internet diet. Tried to stay away from gadgets as much as I could, without going into hellish withdrawal. One gadget that became an appendage for a while this weekend was my iPad. I discovered the advantages of watching TV on it. With the rain and fog obliterating much of the call of the outside world, I found myself wanting to lounge on couches in cozy corners. Unfortunately, most of my cozy corners are not set up for TV viewing, so I finally gave in to the push of all those Xfinty ads and downloaded the application.
And so I came to watch HBO’s In Treatment series on the small screen of the iPad. I’ve seen a couple of the episodes before on TV, but watching it on the small screen of the iPad balanced on my knees as I reclined on my couch and sipped coffee, was a very intimate experience, oddly enough, as if I had been in the room with Paul Weston and his patients. At times, I felt as if I too were in therapy, albeit vicariously. Which just made me think how much I cling to distances and their seductive buffering barriers.
Coincidentally to my vicarious indulgence in therapy, I read in the Sunday edition of The New York Times that “talk doesn’t pay,” so that psychiatrists are now turning into prescription dispensing agents, just to make the same amount of mony they used to when they could make a difference in the world of their patients with only the power of words.
Not that talk therapy is vanishing altogether. It is now becoming the yet-unmapped domain of psychologists and social workers, and I suppose TV series writers, and maybe that of bloggers. But I wonder then, why even have psychiatrists, when a specialized pharmacist would do for handling those prescriptions? I would have thought that the calling of psychiatry would have been a passion for making connections that can change lives, and not for an assembly-line type of processing medications.
Then again, if you think about it, psychiatry, as the article shows, started with Freud in a century when a burgeoning bourgeoisie was caught in a process of stratifying the discontents of a civilization that, at its core, was hardly civilized. Here we are now, in an economic climate in which every day more and more people from the middle class slip into poverty and homelessness, states in which ambiguity and introspection are a luxury, and pain and suffering are well defined by lack.
Maybe in the odd sense of synchronicity, I also watched a segment of 60 Minutes in which the growing number of homeless children was highlighted.1 One glaring thing that stood out from that segment was the fact that homeless shelters separate families into men and women, as if poverty weren’t enough and you would be punished by losing whatever familiar support you had. But that’s just it; it may well be that the notions of familiar and family are also relics of a middle class world.
So yes, without a middle class, that repository of civilized behavior (a buffer or “green zone” between the rich and the poor), talk doesn’t pay. But more than that, it has no purpose, much like having a landline phone, or a home library with shelves brimming with books printed on paper, or, and the list for things that once housed us in a universe in which people had a circumscribed, but reassuring place, like in Dante’s Inferno and Paradise, goes on.
And with our attention fragmented further by 140-character messages, some with links that take our attention even farther into the hinterland of the old tamed common cultural references, the easiest way to quell anxiety is to take a pill.
Indeed, if you managed to read this far into my post, you might be commenting to yourself: I whish she would take a pill and chill….
1. Coincidentally, when I went on the 60 Minutes website for linking to this segment, the biggest and most glaring ad was for Pristiq, an antidepressant....