A fragment of autopsychoanalysis

A hip hop line “we met at Border’s” triggers this self-political-psychoanalysis:

1. “Wow, black guys in Border’s?”

2. “WTF you thinkin’, of course. And ain’t it a good thing? I mean, the more reader dudes the better, right.”

3. “Yes, I suppose so. It’s just that I flashed on the person I was who was scared by the fact of African and Carib influences in American life, James Baldwin’s ‘night, death and the Devil'”.

“I am a natural type of a certain type of colonialist captured only in HG Wells’ completely forgotten novel ‘The Bulpington of Blup’, a person who thinks he’s third rate and so seeks the invisible service of silent ‘inferiors’ in the private railway car so as to obscure the real conditions of his life and his relations with his fellow man.”

4. “Yes, that is what you think. I would only remark that that type was led by first raters such as Wingate and Cornwallis. Underneath the conclusion that you were third rate lies the dream, a stout hearted story. I refer you of course to Joseph Conrad and Chaim Potok.”

The above conversation reminds me of sessions with a long-deceased Freudian psychoanalyst, with Jungian and political subthemes, at 250 N Michigan Avenue in Chicago between 1965 and 1981. I thought he was very special. Actually, he was merely another hardworking MD at Augustana hospital and as such convenient for my Dad to contact when St Viator said I had to see a shrink in view of my “underachievement”. But, he was a highly cultured man, Jewish of course.

“The search for the white zone led you to leave your wife?”

“In a sense. There were two narratives. One is her search for the white…the denial, the need to narrate her own life in second hand TV terms. The other is the other person she was, the tough girl from Evergreen Park. We who were two were each divided. There were four people in that relationship, and our divisions were racial in origin.”

“Sounds like Grand Central Station.”

“Yes, it was. It was like that beautiful place I crashed in last week, which over the night turned out to contain a friend, a cat, a housekeeper and a chinaman. I could smell the mountain before the mists cleared.”

“We have to stop for today. Hold that thought. Remember how you told me that Kung Fu Zi Wa would always start with something very basic and sensory, like hot soup.”

“Marlow ceased, and sat apart, indistinct and silent, in the pose of a meditating Buddha. Nobody moved for a time. “We have lost the first of the ebb,” said the Director, suddenly. I raised my head. The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed somber under an overcast sky—seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness.”

Joseph Conrad


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