Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Phenomenology

Originally posted on November 28, 2017

David Arthur Walters from the Miami Mirror emailed me and said “I forgot to tell you I think you are cool.”  This then reminded me of my on-again-off-again correspondence with him: He wrote, some years back:

DAW: Freud stole his soup from Brentano & Dilthey. Jaspers’ Psychopathologie is right up your eclectic alley, a systematic arrangement of analogical to natural science theories for sake of convenience i.e., to describe what would otherwise be beyond cognition. The mystery or confusion is due to the complexity of the human being. (Italics mine).

AB: Indeed, this is my recent discovery! (Or confabulation.)  Our complexity may be described as dimensions! I now suggest that we are highly complex beings who experience and think at several higher dimensions—the word referring to the way three dimensions are related to two dimensions! This may be wrong, premature, a poor analogy, but it’s at present the best I’ve got. Back to Mr. Walter’s email:

DAW: The psycho trail was blazed by philosophy the queen of sciences via Brentano, Husserl, and Jaspers, phenomenologists in the 19th century. Brentano in turn was Freud’s philosophy professor.  I only knew his philosophy, read him a dozen years ago. His head of depth psychiatry was Franz Nissl who was staining brain slices & analyzing blood to find relation to mental derangement. Good friend of Alzheimer.

AB had replied: The history of psychotherapy is a vast topic! I googled the subject of Jaspers and found he was mainly philosophical after 1910. Wikipedia says his "biographical method" has affected psychiatry. Alas, that time is past. But there’s a germ of wisdom in just getting a take on how a client constructs his life and attributes meaning to this and that.

DAW continues: Young Jaspers was just assistant at hospital so got assigned odd cases eg insurance cases sick & injured students. He learned psychiatry from his patients as there was no cogent theories just hodgepodge of notions. He wrote a few papers  and was surprised to be considered an authority. A publisher asked him  to write a general psychopathology text. He resorted to Husserl’s introspection concept, classified patient’s experential reports. Hence credited with founding psychiatric phenomenal nosology.

AB: Indeed, a voice out of the blue! I appreciate your scholarship! We have not been in touch for perhaps two years! In the meantime, I have begun to grow old,  moved out to California, have quit psychiatry— and gone into philosophical cartooning to address the mountain of complexity (you rightly put your finger on it) and my blog reflects this change.

I never found Freud compelling, and embarked on an amateur and casual study of comparative psychologies and psychotherapy in the late1960s. Now I see that the mind is very varied because it is what I call multi-dimensional, and all the therapies are right

Freud was dealing with a hodge-podge of neurological, degenerative (pre-senile dementias) infectious (syphilis)  and other conditions, in addition to grand hysterics (we don’t see that much anymore) etc    Thanks for your tracing some influences.

On the other hand, thanks for reminding me of the vicissitudes of history. Jaspers was a young man roped into teaching—-and influenced Freud?

My background I now see would need to include Comic Books!–especially MAD and before that, other EC comics. I now realize how important they were. Science fiction, too, mainly pocket books, cheap ones, during my teen years. In addition to the many other reading and influences I had.

So I’ll post this also to describe the meanderings of mind and the influence of angles (figuratively speaking) operating at the higher dimensions.


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