• Puppet was upgraded to puppetserver which is Clojure-based. This actually worked fairly easily; fair play to Puppetlabs for seemingly being pretty serious about their compatibility story. There were only two things to care about really. The puppetlabs-apache module had a bug which I needed to backport, and the path where agent reports were stored had changed from /var/cache/puppet/reports to /var/lib/puppetserver/reports.

When upgrading, there was an issue with PHP. I was required to remove existing PHP extensions that had been installed for 7.4, and replace them with the 8.2 versions.

Encountered bug 1000263. I solved most of these issues by installing the explicitly versioned PHP extension package from the archive. e.g., in my Puppet manifests, I previously had the following:

package { "php-gettext": status => installed }

I changed this to:

package { "php${version}-gettext": status => installed }

where $version is the version parameter. I am not totally sure why this succeeds.

Posted 2023-08-13

Silver is a fun game that's slightly hamstrung by its awkward control system. It's marketed as an RPG but is actually a strange cross-genre mix. Its kindred spirits is hack-n-slash games like Diablo, plus a bit of real-time strategy (yes, really). The mouse control is cool, but awkward. It's very cool to be able to use the mouse gestures to adjust to situational combat, but in reality this is hardly necessary: you can easily get by just button-mashing, and the game doesn't reward using the mouse mechanics enough. Moreover, it's impossible to focus on fancy mouse techniques because your party is constantly being bombarded by group attacks. It's way too easy to select the wrong character and accidentally cancel your strategy. I frequently ended up with the wrong stuff equipped; switching between magic and melee strategies is similarly difficult.

Overall the game is solid, there's nothing wrong with it (except for a few bugs in the port), but it lacks any really spectacular moments. The voice acting is excellent. The story and worldbuilding are OK. The difficulty level is easy to medium; it would benefit from some more challenge in places, but you can't make it significantly harder without fixing the control system. e.g. I didn't block the entire game, until the very final fight which requires blocking.

The game is also hamstrung by the fact that the charcter models are actually rather nice, if blocky and FF7-ish, but you can barely see them most of the time because the view is so zoomed out. Your character is always extremely tiny.


  • Switch all your magic to L2/L1 because L3 drains MP reserves too fast.
  • All characters have reserves of all special moves, when they have melee weapons equipped.
  • Once you have heal magic, you can heal using this instead of using food. Food becomes nearly useless about half way through the game.
  • There are some bugs in the Steam version with using potions. Your character ends up with the potion equipped and you can't change weapons or attack.
Posted 2023-07-27

It's no secret to anyone that knows me: I bloody hate OAuth2. (I specifically say 2 because OAuth was a radically different beast.) I recently had occasion to use the Pocket API. I have very mixed feelings about this service, but I have paid for it before (for quite some time). Now I am trying to use the Kobo integration which syncs articles from Pocket. This seems a much better solution than Send to Kindle which I was previously using. However, to use it in practicality I had to somehow archive 5000+ links which I had imported into it, my ~10 year browser bookmark history.

I tried to use ChatGPT to generate this code, and it got something that looked very close but was in practicality useless. It was faster for me to write the code from scratch than to debug the famous LLM's attempt. So maybe don't retire your keyboard hands just yet, console jockeys.

import requests
from flask import Flask, redirect, session
import pdb

app = Flask(__name__)
app.secret_key = 'nonesuch'

REDIRECT_URI = 'http://localhost:5000/callback'
BATCH_SIZE = 1000    # max 5000

def test():

    resp = requests.post('https://getpocket.com/v3/oauth/request', json={
        'consumer_key': CONSUMER_KEY,
        'redirect_uri': REDIRECT_URI,
        'state': 'nonesuch',
    }, headers={'X-Accept': 'application/json'})
    data = resp.json()
    request_token = data['code']
    session['request_token'] = request_token

    uri = f'https://getpocket.com/auth/authorize?request_token={request_token}&redirect_uri={REDIRECT_URI}'

    return redirect(uri)

def callback():
    print("using request token", session['request_token'])
    resp = requests.post(
            'consumer_key': CONSUMER_KEY,
            'code': session['request_token']
        headers={'X-Accept': 'application/json'}

    print("Status code for authorize was", resp.status_code)

    result = resp.json()
    access_token = result['access_token']
    print("Access token is", access_token)

    resp = requests.post(
            'consumer_key': CONSUMER_KEY,
            'access_token': access_token,
            'state': 'unread',
            'sort': 'oldest',
            'detailType': 'simple',
            'count': BATCH_SIZE,
    x = resp.json()
    actions = []
    for y in x['list'].keys():
        actions.append({'action': 'archive', 'item_id': y})

    print("Sending", len(actions), "actions")

    resp = requests.post(
            'actions': actions,
            'access_token': access_token,
            'consumer_key': CONSUMER_KEY

    return f"<p>Access token is {access_token}</p>"

I believe it's mandatory to make this an actual web app, hence the use of Flask. I hate OAuth2. The Pocket implementation of OAuth2 is subtly quirky (what a freakin' surprise). Also, this API is pretty strange, it doesn't even make any attempt at being RESTful, though the operation batching is rather nifty. It's rather pleasant that you can work in batches of 1000 items at a time, though. I expected a lower limit. If I cranked the batch size up to 5000 I effectively KO'd the API and started getting 500s.

This script doesn't actually archive everything because it doesn't loop. That's left as an exercise for the reader for now.

Posted 2023-05-27

Having just read Mourning and Melancholia and the very first page of A&T's book proper, I'll make a crude prediction as to how I perceive their thesis will run:

Pankejeff was "two people in one" in the sense that Mourning and Melancholia describes. The melancholia process results in the loved object being reconsituted in the ego. "Attacks" and self-reproaches that characterize depression are really attacks on a lost object which has been absorbed into the narcissistic ego. Hence Pankejeff's sister Anna, who was literally lost due to her suicide, formed a sexually licentious internal counterpart which Pankejeff simultaneously perceived as being himself. He also reproached this internal dual-self for that licentiousness. There's probably something to be said about Freud's economic perspective on melancholia and mania, and the sudden return of these "investments".
If Pankejeff was repressed outside the consulting room, and then loudly proclaimed his libido inside the consulting room, perhaps this ghost-Anna is activated within him, while normally being repressed. Taking as an axiom the truth of the original seduction, this would fit with some of Freud's observations of his homosexual ambivalence.

Update: This is actually a bit of an understatement of what the theory is. The theory is one of 'incorporation' in a schizophrenic way. Note the particular pick-up of the description by RMB (Ruth Mack Brunswick) of the "small brother" and "preschizophrenic sister".

They make the claim that SP's seduction by the sister is the echo of a previous seduction (abuse, in fact) by the father.

First, the sister claimed to repeat with her younger brother a sexual scene that probably took place earlier between her and the father

The father, who later (unable to live with his grief) killed himself. The "incorporated" version of the sister, Tierka, comes to be filled by his wife, and then comes to be filled by his mother. There is a neat symmetry in this account. Perhaps Therese was always aware that she was Tierka, and her suicide finally confirmed this.

When his wife ended her life in 1938, the Wolf Man .... suffered an attack of depressive agitation worse than any he had ever experienced. ... He roamed the streets frenzied and repeated forlornly the stereotypical question: "Why, tell me why, did she do this to me?" This would be the same outcry of despair as that of Father, shattered by the suicide of his preferred object.

It's fascinating how A&T don't trust the literal truth of the analysis but like detectives use clues to draw out a secret truth. They say that Freud focused on the seduction not due to his theories needing support therein, but because his intuition led to his placing importance there.

He was barred from others and -- incapable of assuimilating them -- he could ohnly put them inside himself, as he had some with his sister. His life was made up of maneuverings to avoid hapless meetings and indiscretions. They were all there in him in order to maintain repression of a contradiction: a death-dealing pleasure. This repression appeared only in two images, each incomplete in its manifest state: first the erogenous image of a woman in the position of a scrubwoman, then the second one, a complement to the first, of a phobia-producing erect wolf.

On Cryptonymy

Among the applications of our discovery concerning the use of cryptonyms, we found most striking our realization that certain word suffered an extraordinary exclusion and that this same exclusion seemed ot confer on them a genuinely magic power. The verbs tieret (тере́ть) and natieret (натере́ть) had to be entierely banished from the active vocabulary and not only in the sense of rubbing, but also in the sense of waxing or scraping. What if these parallel meanings, these allosemes [allo prefix denoting "other meanings"], had to be stated? Each time they were, by means of synonyms, they obviously implied a constant reference, even if a negative one, to the taboo word.

In this example, the taboo refers to a particular signified ('seme') denoted by the signifier тере́ть. This is sense 1 ("to rub"), given by the above Wiktionary entry. However, "to scrape" is an alloseme of the taboo word. Per the above, direct references to scraping (by use of the signified тере́ть) must also be prohibited. However, indirect references to the notion of scraping would be encountered. e.g. 'scratch' is a loose synonym of 'scrape', that would constitute an indirect reference to 'tieret'. In the same sense, the Russian word for the verb "scratch" is "carápatʹ" (цара́пать). Every time this verb is referenced extant, it constitutes a reference to the excluded signifier tieret. And don't forget that this applies cross language, so German verbs like "reiben" (rub) or "schaben" (scrape) also touch the excluded tieret through their semic network.

It was, we thought, because a given word was unutterable that the obligation arose to introduce synonyms even for its lateral meanings, and that the synonyms acquired the status of substitutes. Thus they became cryptonyms, apparenly not having any phonetic or semantic relationship to the prohibited word. tzarapat (scratch, scrape) bears no apparent relation to tieret (to rub).

The synonyms for the unutterable tieret are designated "cryptonyms" and are infused with a power. In the example "carápatʹ" or "schaben" could become cryptonyms ("words that hide"). "carápatʹ" clearly has no phonetic relationship to tieret and has no direct semantic relationship to the actual prohibited signified (the rubbing) -- only an indirect semantic relationship.

In sum, no simple metonymic displacement is at work here, referring to one element of a concrete situation instead of another element actually intended (as when we say pen to mean style or writer), but a displacement on a second level: The word itself as a lexical entity constitutes the global situation from which one particular meaning is sectioned out of the sum total of meanings. This characteristic could be expressed by saying that what is at stake here is not a metonymy of things but a metonymy of words.

A metonym is where a one-for-one substitution happens: "Westminster" could be used as a metonym for the UK government. "The word itself..." -- This sentence is rather difficult. I think that "word itself" refers to a specific cryptonym, not "the word" in an abstract sense. The meaning that's "sectioned out" is presumably the excluded meaning "to rub" of tieret. A metonymy of things would be using one thing (an element of a concrete situation) to refer to another thing. A metonymy of words therefore here simply means that S.P.'s use of "scrape" does not simply allude or metonymize to a specific signified (i.e. the rubbing) rather it metonymizes to the entire orthographic unit of tieret including all its meanings -- which is clearly logically necessary given that the cryptonymic relation occurs through these allosemes.

The contiguity that presides over this procedure is by nature not a representation of things, not even a representation of words, but arises from the lexical contiguity of the various meanings of the same words, that is from the allosemes, as they are catalogued in a dictionary.

The contiguity = the links between the words. This is just reiterating that the metonymy works by traversing the graph of meanings rather than anything related to physical space (as in the Westminster metonym) or to a kind of orthographic space (concrete aspects of the signifier). "Lexical" is used here in a general sense meaning "relating to words" and includes both signifier and signified.

For tzarapina (scar), to evoke tieret (to rub), a form of lexical contiguity has to be inserted. Having understood the real originality of this procedure, we felt the need of applying to it a distinctive name, cryptonymy.

Cryptonymy refers to this process of metonymy orchestrated through traversal of the semantic network.

Chapter 4: In Some of Little Sergei's Dreams and Symptoms

This chapter proceeds to do a type of textual analysis of the meat of the dreams recorded by the case.

1: The dream of the lion. A&T use the homonym "lion" = "lying" and the homonym "Bett" = "bed". It's not clear whether these English homonyms are valid here because did SP know English? Bild -> Schreckbild -> kriekh is more plausible. kriekh is a cryptonym (perhaps?) for oriekh -- "walnut trees" is given by SP as "Nussbaume" but the cryptonym refers to the Cyrillic орех (orekh) just meaning "nut". But then the Russian грех (initial letter different) translates directly to... "sin". So this is what they are getting at with 'kriekh'. "nut" is punning on "sin". "kriekh" -> "picture of the sin" -> "wolf.. in a wide-open book" -> "wide-open goulfik". "Goulfik" is Гу́льфик, sometimes translated as codpiece instead.

An omission of the iv in filivs means "the witness is the son, not you". "iv" will later be used to refer to the visual appearance of a wide-open goulfik. The "IV" of the clock striking five repeats the scene of the emergence of the penis from the wide-open fly (the V). The 'primal scene' is thus precisely this emergence. But the phobia comes from the intervention of the mother to forbid the outbreak of a scandal if SP would tell what he saw. The IV is later linked to the sister: V + I = six = siestra.

An analysis of the holding of the breath symptom follows. Basically this is all due to concealment and holding things back: The constipation, the holding of the breath, the sympathizing with the deaf-mute, the orgasmic release of the pimple being popped, and the fantasy of the truth being "torn out" of him (as in the Wespe/Espe remark).

I personally relate to SP's hallucination of cutting through the finger, as I have experienced intrusive thoughts of a similar nature myself. A&T refathom the little finger as the "little guesser" that suspects: this has been cut because the truth is unspeakable. The truth of the "kriekh", of course. The fate of the father hovers in the background through the verbs 'sitzen' and 'sinken' -> 'herunterkommen', all transmogrified into something that SP himself does through dream displacement. A&T go on to claim that the sensitivity of the little toes is another displacement of this -- the little finger/toe is claimed to have some type of internal knowledge of the kriekh that is suppressed. The cutting off of the toe is explicitly alluded to in the Wolf Man's letter. So this castration is directly linked to the telling/revealing of the kriekh.


"ein paar weisse Wolfe sitzen" = wolf + (sitt)ing = wolfing = goulfik (by homophone to the Russian). Weisse = wide, so a wide fly.

"I dreamed" = "vidiet son" = "vidietz" (Russian) = "witness".

On The Later Analysis

A&T hypothesize that Miss Oven, the English governess, was "paid off" by the Pankejeff family. The mother is complicit and the mother's injunction is not to tell.

What set off the attack ... in 1926? His testimony in Freud's favour challenged his incorporated status as "broken witness" and also defied the mother's anxiety that required him in the first place to be a broken witness: The manuscript he sent to Freud contained indeed the reviled act of tieret.

Specifically this refers to:

In 1926 Freud had written to the Wolf Man asking him certain questions about the wolf dream. The Wolf Man replied to him on June 6, 1926.

This letter is construed to be the source of all the unconscious speech of the dreams analyzed by RMB. Isomorphically to the original topography, Freud now forms the father, Sergei now responsible for not "revealing some truth". Otto Rank had previously expressed doubts about the reality of the primal scene, saying the wolf dream was created as an effect of transference during analysis (Infantile Neurosis contains a large digression to this effect, contradicting Rank's view). SP had responded saying he was certain the wolf dream had occurred in his childhood and not during analysis. Therefore Freud forms the father in the triad, RMB forms the mother who he conceives as trying to coerce him to lie to prevent the father from "sinking".

Our analysis of the nightmare established its early childhood occcurrence beyond any doubt. The problem was simply that the Wolf Man faced the paradox that by testifying to the truth (i.e. the early occurrence of the dream), he thought he was being confirmed in his status of "false witness", a title conferred on him by Father, Mother and Freud. In other words, any testimony whatsoever would have functioned as a lie for him.

The increasing desire to speak out mobilizes the forces of countercathexis. They hark back to the period where the mother tried to use religious training to calm the temper tantrums of the "broken" witness.

She is not a true mother, however, but the mother's speech reversed a second time. Two negations do not quite make an affirmation, as we will see.

This "negation of the negation" is what will eventually calm SP and result in temporary remission of his symptoms.

A drama was nevertheless played out. And a truth admitted. Still, the world did not fly off its hinges. To a certain extent it was a symbolic play within a play taken to the second power. "No, Sergei did not lie"; "No, Father is not guilty". This was a wholly unexpected conclusion since, for Sergei, these statements should be mutually exclusive. He had to "have lied" in order to "clear" Father. This was and still is the basis of any sexual enjoyment.

Without knowing it himself and without letting anyone else know it, the Wolf Man was Anna. Why? We now know. There was a scandal stigmatizing the incestuous relationship he had witnessed with his own eyes. He innocently opened himself up to the shady governess who, in her English, turned his ideal of pleasure into sin, his father into a criminal, and himself, the little Sergei, into a court of law raised above his father. From then on this pleasure, jealously kept in his innermost safe, could only be the object of total repudiation. At the same time, the fact of not having been part of the scene aroused in him feelings of aggression. Those feelings found a happy companion in his new status as witness for the prosecution. The mother, with her Russian words, and the nurse, with her English words, closed two doors at once: the possibility of a sexual ideal, and also any form of aggression directed at the scene. All this did not keep the ideal from remaining alive within the Unconsious or even appearing later on Freud's couch. [Anna? DB]

This paragraph above seems important but I'm not totally sure why.

The analysis would have had to extend to the paternal grandparents and even to the great-grandparente, so that the Wolf Man could be situated within the libidinal lineage from which he was descended. Under such circumstances it is conceivable that the extreme emotional charge of the traumatic scandal would gradually have been diluted by the introjection of the stormy instinctual existence of his forebears. ... But this would have been an analysis in quite a different style.

Here A&T refer to their own theory of transgenerational haunting and contrast it to Freudian orthodoxy.

A&T reform the entirety of the analysis of the RMB dreams -- the symptom of the nose -- as being about the Freud letter.

From the Translator's Introduction:

In order to arrive at their discovery of cryptonymic procedures, Abraham & Torok have had to establish that the Wolf Man could not acquire an identity, be it sexual or psychological, unless he found some device for the suspension of the positional properties of language, that is, of its capacity to distinguish true from false and determine value. What prompts the authors to hypothesize a verbal mechanism that obstructs comprehension is their initial realization that the Wolf Man's material is unreadable. They do not in fact undertake to interpret isolated symptoms or dreams at first, but to transform the Wolf Man's unreadability itself into his foremost symptom. Once it is demonstrated that the Wolf Man is himself only when he creates himself as enigma, the question arises as to what situation necessitates the systematic evasion of the significant or telling aspects of lagnauge. The fundamental query is in short: What leads a person to make himself unintelligible?

(emphasis mine)

To paraphrase and perhaps simplify: A&T do not attempt a reading per se but rather rotate the viewing of the problem of S.P., and posit this "suspension" as the chief symptom. The reason for the suspension of the "telling"/"position" properties is that S.P. is caught in this double bind of being both a true and a false witness, caught between his mother and Miss Oven.

Fors: The Anglish Words of Nicolas Abraham & Maria Torok

"le for interieur" = the heart of hearts, conscience, or internal forum for interieur = heart of hearts, or internal forum for exterieur = external forum

Internal and external forum are concepts under Catholicism which means basically jurisidiction of the church as it relates to individual Christians and their conscience, external forum is the church on a "policy" level insofar as it relates to society.

Per the translator Derrida's project establishes a menagerie of antiphilosophical concepts, a history of disintegration that sits at cross purposes to the history of western philosophy. As such the "topique des fors" is a contradictory appratus, an "outside-inside", that sits alongside Derrida's other concepts (supplement, pharmakon, and so on). It is congruent with Derrida's project.

"English Words" aka "Les mots anglais" by Mallarme is a strange textbook by the French poet which "Anglish" in Derrida's introduction is an oblique reference to.

"fors" = "save, except"

On anasemia:

To invert the order of questions, no longer to consider the name "crypt" as a metaphor in any ordinary sense, would perhaps be to go on -- starting with psychoanalysis and, within it, starting from a new cryptology -- to an anasemic retranscription of all concepts, to that "radical semantic change that psychoanalysis has introduced into language".

The "radical semantic change" is a reference to The Shell & the Kernel. Anasemic is noted in the footnotes:

Ana indicates 1) upward, 2) according to, 3) back, 4) backward, reversed, 5) again. -semic indicates "pertaining to the sign as a unit of meaning". "Anasemia" is thus a process of problematizing the meaning of signs in an undetermined way.

My paraphrase:

"anasemia" means "undetermined semic manipulation" due to the ambiguous nature of the 'ana' prefix.

About this anasemic "conversion" that proceeds by "designifying", along the lines of an "antisematnics", more remains to be said. But it must nevertheless be designated immediately as the very condition of the whole enterprise, its element and its method. Instead of claiming to have access to this crypt through the ordinary meaning or common figure of a crypt, we must bend with a movement that it would be too simple, linear and unilateral to think of as the opposite of that type of access, as I hastily described it above, as if, by anasemia, the movement consisted of going back toward the rightful place and the proper meaning from out of this crypt.

This seems to speak about directionality: It's wrong to say we "get meaning" directly through "entering" the crypt. Likewise it's wrong to say that the meaning simply flows backward from out of the crypt. "Anasemia" is specifically chosen here because it mentally figures a type of nonlinear movement -- in the literal sense, movement not on a 1D line -- perhaps a knight's-move in 2D space or a similar diagonal in 3D space.

Neither a metaphor nor a literal meaning, the displacement I am going to follow here obeys a different tropographyy. That displacement takes the form of everything a crypt implies: topoi, death, cipher. These things are the crypt's same. They can be neither dissociated nor hierarchically ordered. They do not form a multiplicity of separable predicates, the contingent or essential attributes of a crypt. Their being together did not just happen; their unity is irreducible only with respect to the crypt they constitute through and through: That unity is only thinkable from out of this crypt, here.

displacement brings back the spatial metaphors. Derrida will talk about these items in turn: topoi, death, cipher. Topoi/death/cipher is the sum and being of a crypt. A crypt "implies" these logically, they are not a "multiplicity of separable predicates" e.g. although the words are clearly separate, some proper subset of them cannot exist together. They are logically bound up and analytically inseparable.

Introjection / incorporation: Torok wants to draw a sharp distinction. In introjection as defined by Ferenczi and Freud, a copy is made of the dead, it gradually forms part of the self and receives love (it's a libidinal process). In incorporation, a crypt is violently constructed, it doesn't interact with the self and remains as foreign object inside the self, it's antilibidinal and unacknowledged. The crypt marks the exclusion of desire towards the pleasure object but nonetheless the preservation of the pleasure object: "The crypt is the vault of a desire". Incorporation "intervenes at the limits of introjection", that is, incorporation constitutes a refusal to introject in the M&M sense. Derrida also wants to undermine that distinction but acknowledges its analytical usefulness / status as a theoretical fiction.

There's also a part earlier about the 3D structure and the "permeability" of the membranes of the crypt, we don't see it as a cube.

The crypt is always an internalization, an inclusion intended as a compromise, but since it is a parasitic inclusion, an inside heterogeneous to the inside of the self, an outcase in the domain of general introjection within which it violently takes it place, the cryptic safe can only maintain in a state of repetition the mortal conflict is is impotent to resolve.

Paraphrasing: The crypt, while incorporated, remains a foreign body. As the body continually attempts to reject a body piercing, the crypt never really becomes one with the self in the way that an introjection would. Rather the crypt stages a type of cinema inside the self that continually repeats the traumatic scene.

Derrida talks about Ferenczi's original elaboration of the concept of introjection which occurred in 1909 in the paper Introjection and transference. It's worth noting at this point that of course the Ferenczi/Freud correspondence remained unpublished for years but has now been published in French. A&T allude to this in having gained access to some previously concealed files (how cryptic!).

Sealing the loss of the object, but also marking the refusal to ourn, such a maneuver is foreign to and actually opposed to the process of introjection. I pretned to keep the dead alive, intact, safe (save) inside me, but it is only in order to refuse, in a necessarily equivocal way, to loave the adead as a living part of me, dead save in me, through the process of introjection, as happens in so-called normal mourning.

The implication here is that "normal" mourning is that as conceived in Mourning & Melancholia, referenced at the start of the text. Freud was (presumably) borrowing Ferenczi's concept of introjection.

For Torok, "incorporation, properly speaking", in its "rightful semantic specificity", intervenes at the limits of introjection itself, whe introjection, for some reason fails. Faced with the impotence of the process of introjection (gradual, slow, laborious, mediated, effective) incorporation is the only choice: fantasmatic, unmediated, instantaneous, magical, sometimes hallucinatory.

Truly SP as a patient seems to embody these characteristics and the utter frustration of the Wolf Man sometimes does seem "magical" and "hallucinatory": what use to reason with a patient who deals in these contradictions? The question occurs to the reader: what is the prevalence of the crypt? Does the crypt destabilize neurosis and the transference as concepts or does it constitute a special case, a type of psychosis perhaps, as Ruth Mack Brunswick was forced to conclude?

" A commemorative monument, the incorporated object marks the place, the date, the circumstances in which such-and-such a desire was barred from introjection: like so many tombs in the life of the Self"

The crypt functions as a marker and marks an exclusion.

Derrida wants to gently undermine the binary opposition traced by Torok between Ferenczi's introjection and the original A&T concept of incorporation. We get to this here:

Of course, if one starts with the possibility of compromise and passageways, and with the structural semi-permeability of the partition (which "the existence of such a vault is designed to block"), rather than with the partitions themselves and the spaces they divide, one could be tempted to see a simple polarity, a polarized system (introjection/incorporation) rather than the intractable, untreatable rigor of their distinction.

As in the rabbit duck illusion one may concentrate on the violently excluding crypt or the permeability and slips that emerge from it. I believe this is a signature Derrida move.

"panfantasism" is a concept elaborated by A&T elsewhere:

If one agrees to use the term "reality" (in its metapsychological sense) for everything that acts on the psychic system so as to bring about a topographical alteration -- whether through "endogenous" or "exogenous" constraint -- one can reserve the term "fantasy" for any representation, belief, or body state working to the opposite effort, that is, towards maintenance of the topographical status quo.

This passage quoted in Psychoanalysis in France illuminates what Derrida has to say about reality/fantasy.

An interesting angle on the book as a whole is the idea that the "theory of the symbol" was already extant before the test was made. This alludes to a tantalizing positivism.

The "fractured symbol" marked with "indetermination" by the absence of its other part, of its unconscious "cosymbol", can undergo a "supplementary" break: no longer the break that affects the original unity of the presymbolic order and gives rise to the unconscious, but the break that would "fragment the symbolic raw material" until it constituted a subject particularly resistant to analysis, a subject carrying within him a "puzzle of shards about which we would know nothing; neither how to put it together nor how to recognize most of the pieces".

The "gives rise to the unconscious" is presumably an allusion to Lacan and symbolic castration; I believe that this is necessarily post-Freudian. This "subject particularly resistant" calls back to the earlier discussion of the Wolf Man as unreadable, and Freud as deploying intuition while remaining eluded. Likewise, it's up for grabs the relation of SP's mute word-thing, tieret -- to the Lacanian Thing.

Thing would be that formation that is "complementary in the Unconscious" to a cosymbol fractured along the same line as the symbol... "This must be admitted, otherwise the word tieret, the Thing, would not need to come back as an indecipherable symbol"

Derrida says the symbolic theory of A&T implies a "divided id". The idea is of a "no-place" (non-lieu). This seems to correspond to an undefined point in a rational function: the moment of absolute pleasure.

[The no-place] indicates that the space of acquittal or engagement should never even have been drawn up. The trauma and the "contradictory" incorporation should (not) have taken place.

The "acquittal" and "engagement" relates to the false-witnessing concept elaborated by A&T in the Wolf Man case. But one does wonder, how specific and how general is this concept -- under A&T the child SP does indeed act as an indeterminate witness -- but how historically specific is this phenomenon?

I don't know what Derrida's concept of the "supplementary" is.

The word "hormis" is used by Derrida as a synonym for "fors", "save/except".

atopos is literally unusual or out of place. But death itself is far from unusual: indeed the purpose of the death drive is to draw the organism toward it per BTPP.

Cryptic Trope 2: Atopos / Death

The incorporation is never finished... It never finishes anything off... It is worked through by introjection. An inaccessible introjection but for which the process of incorporation alwas carries within it, inscribed in its very possibility, the "nostalgic vocation".

The incorporation by its existence nods to a refused introjection and hence is "nostaligc" for it.

[incorporation] installs a contradiction, or ... if contradiction always carries with it the telos of an Aufhebung, let us call it an undecidable irresolution. [...] The identification between the two penises [S.P.'s and the father's] both internalizes the contradiction and makes it insoluble.

The undecidable irresolution: Father/Sister, preserved in the crypt, must be both killed and kept safe. There's no Aufhebung in the Hegelian sense as the very function of the crypt is to prevent this.

In fact, beyond all the catastrophes (which could euphemistically be called "secondary") that recurred periodically in the Wolf Man's life, it must first be recognized that the crypt is itself the catastrophe, or rather its monument.

This is an affecting sentence. Once the crypt was created the life of S.P. is set and cursed. As with a Chinese finger trap the more S.P. struggles the tighter and more consolidated the crypt becomes.

he wanted to save two of his analysts (a Father and a Sister, separately or combined) [...] [in reference to The Magic Word] The analysts' desire (there are two analysts and the question of desire becomes less simple than ever) is fully engaged in the tale: it is never left obscure. That desire invests the entire space, is part of the operation, and even gives it its first push. [...] To save, then, not the Wolf Man, but his analysis. Plus two analysts... the co-signers of the Magic Word: "An irresistible force pulls us: to save the analysis of the Wolf Man, to save ourselves"

This begins to talk about what is the most obvious first reaction to The Magic Word: what's the truth value of the claims within and where does the desire of the authors stand. Could, in fact, the Father/Sister be not simply Anna and Konstantin, or even Sigmund and Ruth, but Nicolas and Maria themselves? After all, A&T are attributing the incorporation to S.P. A reversal of the causal arrows here would in fact be entirely in keeping with the key interrogations of the work itself with respect to Freudian theory (section 3, Translator's Introduction). "co-signers" is a neat pun on A&T's notion of the cosymbol.

A short discussion, near the end, asks: _"Can the Wolf Man be analyzed, and how?"

This refers back to p76 which brings in the "transgenerational haunting" perspective which I previously referred to, a striking point at first, but in fact not on the face of it ridiculous. The well-known Larkin poem, This Be The Verse attests to the intuition that drives this theory.

In unfolding the "drama" of the Wolf Man... the two analysts constructed: the analysis of a crypt, of course... but also, inseparably, the crypt of an analysis.

In Magic Word, A&T construct two things:

  • An understanding of the crypt that was actually created in the Wolf Man.
  • They themselves construct or speak of a crypt of the Freudian analysis: the Magic Word itself comes to encapsulate Infantile Neurosis which forms a mute "false unconscious" within the Magic Word.

What it was for them is held in reserve by their very designation of it, but they do not attempt, as is so often the case, to withold it in principle from the reader, to count it out of the scene. They even offer it, at one point, to a "third ear". In saving itself, the force of their double desire is no less part of the scene. It is part of what is shown there and part of what, as is always the case with force, escapes representation.

force is perhaps a deliberate translator's choice here to pun on fors. I don't know what a "third ear" refers to but the main point of this paragraph is to insist that the author's desire is not distinct from the work and is bound up in it, but is not entirely reflected or derivable from within the text: forming a neat matryoshka with Freud's desire in Infantile Neurosis.

Derrida goes on to discuss the formal diversity of the work and the point that the work stands apart from the body of theoretical work available in French. Formally, it stands as a foreign body as the crypt does, and the form derives this directly from its content. The demand of representing the crypt required new forms of expression, as novel/poem/myth/drama:

[the previous paragraph] does not explain the necessity of this recourse to all these "forms". that necessity, it seems to me, springs in the final analysis from the cryptic structure of the ultimate "referent". The referent is constructed in such a way as never able to present itself in "person", not even as the object of a theoretical discourse within the traditional norms. The Thing is encrypted. Not within the crypt (the Self's safe), but by the crypt and in the Unconsious.

The Thing of the crypt can only be glimpsed and observed from the side. Hence the notion of the "angle" that comes in later. The Thing can never be truly satisfyingly grokked or absorbed or intellectually consumed as an object of discourse. The crypt absorbs or frustrates attempts to shed light on it. The crypt itself can be talked about. The sublime pleasure of the Thing is literally unexperiencable in the "third person".

Derrids goes on to say that while the Magic Word is fiction, in a sense we can again reverse the causal arrows and say that the original text is an "asymptotic place of convergences among all the possible translations and betrayals... marked with fiction". Actually, A&T insist on the fictive nature of their analysis, Derrida refers to p26:

It should be clear that the preceding considerations relate to the Wolf Man only as a mythical person. Their wholly fictitious, though not gratuitious, nature illustrates an approach that can be of clinical use.

While stating this A&T go on to explicitly justify their work through evidence brought up post-facto (Theresa/Tierka coinciding from the memoirs which were published later.)

Derrida remarks:

We should not take this type of remark as [modesty], but neither should we hasten to oppose "science", "truth", or the "real" to this fiction. [...] A certain type of verification is constantly at work, whose procedures can depend only on new anasemic and metapsychological stipulations, notably the new topographical definitions of the Thing, Reality, Fantasy, etc. These stipulations are both produced and tested by this type of work. By their very nature they exclude gratuitousness, they leave no freedom for reordering the story or for tampering with the internal necessity of the translations.

These 'topographical definitions' are relating back to the definition of fantasy etc seen on pxviii. I believe these notions are defined in a prior text.

Now we get to some difficult stuff.

Lithograph = stone that writes, etymologically. Lithographica is the species name used in identifying the dinosaur Archaeopteryx. The 'arch-' prefix can often denote either beginning or ruling, or in the case of "archaeology", it denotes "ancient" or "primitive". This piece was published in "The shell and the kernel". This is something that will have to be investigated.

Psychoanalyis lithographica frequently comes back to the necessity of the "the poetic", of a "poetric truth" that loses nothing in breaking with "veracity", the scientistic, naively objectivist, or realist form of epistemological consensus.

We go on to discuss Ferenczi's Thalassa (which seems like a fascinating book) that Abraham wrote an introduction to. Clearly A&T take inspiration from Ferenczi, heavily leaning on the concept of introjection in the Magic Word, which was later purloined by Freud in Mourning and Melancholia. It sounds like he is attempting to get at the transphenomenality as a type of break with the "single-life" model of psychoanalysis. This is how I read Derrida:

The affect is recognizable, the joy of saving or delivering something by blowing up an internal partition, of putting an end to a kind of artificial hermeticism "within the self", or rather, of putting an end to an artifact, the quasi-natural, though accidental, production of an artifice or of an artificial mechanism.

The "partition" and "artifacts" are those produced by an ossified mainstream psychoanalysis that sees illness as partitioned within the lifecycle of a single organism and the "artifacts" are the analyses thereby produced.

The body already signs even before any "proper" name: "The language of bodily organs and functions would thus in turn be a set of symbols referring back to an even more archaic language, and so forth. This being deposited, it would seem logically flawless to consider the organism as a hieroglyphic text, deposited in the course of the history of the species ... We might add that the psychoanalytic method too proceeds by going back and forth incessantly between the outside and the inside".

It is unclear whether Derrida is quoting Ferenczi or Abraham here but this seems to tally with my previous statement. The logical piece of work being accomplished here is to break the boundaries of the single life and the single organism. This "chain" is genetic and emphasizing the vertical breaking of boundaries. Or in the case of the hieroglyphic: a palimpsest or 2-dimensional flattening of a properly 3-dimensional transparent structure extending depthwise. This is my reading, but this passage is rather difficult.

The 1961 program refers to "Le Symbole" "de la psychoanalyse a la transphenomenologie": https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Le_symbole_de_la_psychanalyse_a_la_trans.html?id=geKKzwEACAAJ&redir_esc=y This essay doesn't appear to have an individual English translation. to understand a symbol is to place it back into the dynamism of an intersubjective functioning. This seems congruent with the broad-brush critique of Freudian notions that they tend to abstract and downplay the distinctiveness of subject's mental lives. Clearly we do see that A&T restore the intersubjectivity: that's the drama that's played out within the Magic Word.

Nicolas Abraham rejected, without letting himself be turned off by, what was then taking over as a dogma, a facila answer, an oversimplification: the incompatibility of Husserlain phenomenology with the discoveries of psychoanalysis. How could transcendental idealism, phenomoneological reduction, or the return to the original givens of conscious perception, it was asked, possibly have anything inc ommon, or anything reconcilable, with psychoanalysis? The question was not illegitimate, but it hardened into a slogan and into a misapprehension.

Basic take on phenomenology of Husserl. Phenomenology is defined by Heidegger, Husserl and Merleau-Ponty. Perhaps a real layman's take is that Abraham's approach aims to combine the subjective specificity of phenomenology with the method of psychoanalysis. The "phenomenological reduction" is the epoche/bracketing operation: suspension of the question of the reality of an object or its "real" properties. hulê = matter, while form = morphê. These two were introduced by Aristotle. "intentional analysis" is how to move from the immanent (conscious givens) and the transcendent (what extends beyond consciousness). Husserl criticized "psychologism" and Abraham, per Derrida, occasioned a "critical break" with psychologism. Psychologism is broadly the grounding of transcendental forms in psychology, e.g logical psychologism is the view that logical laws are derived from psychological laws. This is normally construed as a perjorative something like 'opportunism', 'scientism' etc.

arch-psychoanalysis can be figured as a type of "genetic" psychoanalysis in the vein of genetic phenomenology: a psychoanalysis with the emphasis on "intersubjectivity, time, iteration, teleology, the original hulê".

Derrida discusses the various menagerie of A&T's concepts:

  • the hieroglyph
  • the secret
  • the symbol (and cosymbol?)
  • the crypt
  • the ghost effect

There is an interesting note included on the ghost effect:

Although the words "ghost" or "haunting" are sometimes unavoidable in designating the inhabitants of the crypt within the Self (the living dead as "foreign bodies in the subject"), one must rigorously distinguish between the foreigner incorporated in the crypt of the Self and the ghost that comes haunting out of the Unconscious of the other. The ghost does have a place in the Unconscious; but he is not an effect of repression "belonging" to the subject he comes to haunt with all kinds of ventriloquism; he is rather "proper" to a parental unconsious. Coming back to haunt [la revenance] is not a return of the repressed. Whence the strangeness of its analysis, the uselessness or impotence, sometimes, of transference. No ghost effect is pointed out in The Magic Word. It nevertheless remains that in spite of their strict difference, ghost effects and crypt effects (of incorporation) were discovered nearly simultaneously, in the same problematic space and the same conceptual articulations: What is in question in both is a secret, a tomb, and a burial, but the crypt from which the ghost comes back belongs to someone else. One could call this a heterocryptography. This heterocryptography calls for a completely different way of listening from that appropriate to the cryptic incorporation in the Self, even if it is also opposed to introjection and even if the "fantomogenic" words, in their verbal or nonverbal form, also follow the path of allosemes. The heterocryptic "ventriloquist" speaks from a topography foreign to the subject. The metapsychology of the "ghost" effect was dealt with in the following texts: Nicolas Abraham, Notules sur le fantome, Torok, Histoire de peur, L'objet perdu - moi.

This difficult footnote seems to point to a separate element of A&T's theoretical menagerie, the ghost effect; perhaps the ghost effect is that which properly continues down the family tree, a genetic haunting. By definition the ghost is resistance to transference. The references are unclear and I'm not certain if they've been published in English.

Derrida names the 1961 approach (in Le Symbole) as transphenomenological, while The Shell and the Kernel aims to cut ties. Derrida names the law of another generation while talking about the ghost (glossed above, but this phrasing is unclear). Abraham claimed Husserl had a misconception concerning the unconscious. paleonymy = the use of a pre existing word in a new context, the art of bolting meanings onto existing words. Abraham contends that psychoanalysis "introduces a radical semantic change into language" and this transformation he terms "conversion".

It produces and keeps up the "innumerable misconceptions and absurdities on which psychoanalytic literature feeds". What can be understood, for example, under the word "pleasure", of a "pleasure" that would not be felt as such, but (cf. Beyond the Pleasure Principle) as pain? (Let me note in passing that Maria Torok supplies an answer to this exemplary question in her essay on the "exquisite corpse".)

The referenced essay is The Illness of Mourning and the Fantasy of the Exquisite Corpse, from The Shell and the Kernel. Regarding the reference to Freud directly I am not sure what this broadly denotes aside from the death drive.

Overall in this passage I think that Derrida is discussing A&T's theory as operating an anasemic 'conversion' on psychoanalytic theory itself, but qualifying it, as not a complete overthrow but a sort of semantic displacement.

Posted 2023-05-15

I've recently finished watching series 2 of "Tunna blå linjen", The Thin Blue Line (not the classic British sitcom). It's fair to say I loved this show. It's a show that bristles with modernity. The pulsating electropop score brings to mind the "sad-boi" scene that we associate with contemporary Swedish music. It's fundamentally a cop show, but not in the same way as something like The Wire is. It's not a searing social critique, but rather it's a focused look into the characters themselves and how they're affected by social issues. Indeed, the first scene has new cop Sara attempting to help a young addict by allowing her to stay at her house, only to have her idealism burst; after that, she's significantly more guarded in her behaviour. The show is full of emotional gut-punches. It steers just clear of being manipulative due to the tasteful filming involved.

From a social perspective, as a "elder millenial", the traditional life-markers of our generation sometimes seem infinitely deferred. It's absolutely fascinating to see the absolutely unresolved nature of the characters. Sara is confused, frantic, wildly drifting and utterly unmoored from any centre of meaning. Magnus is deeply repressed, bitter and moody. Leah is a "broken person" due to utter neglect from her psychotherapist mother, and directly experiences burnout and actual psychosis. Jesse is the most authoritative figure but still we see his struggle with the demands of fatherhood and his own lack of self-control when confronted with temptation during his affair with young recruit Fanny. Khalid is shown in series 2 as a neglectful partner, preoccupied with his social media persona and lacking any real ethical centre. Faye and Danijela's blossoming relationship is tastefully sketched out (lesbian representation is not quite foregrounded but is certainly prominent in the show).

I have to give a special call out to the relationship between Magnus and Sara here. It's rare to see what seems like a realistic portrayal of a workplace relationship here. Though perhaps I misspeak, because it's not so much a workplace relationship as a crush -- and frankly it harms both of them, but at the same time the counterfactual situation is not possible -- it's an unavoidable unfolding. One could imagine a kind of harsh critique of this type of relationship, but that's not what's employed here, nor is it romanticised. Rather, Magnus's love for Sara is unrequited, or more specifically half-requited. Sara cannot make up her mind about Magnus, while Magnus' mind is firmly made up. As a result they relentlessly damage each other. In the workplace, they cannot simply avoid each other, although each one tries, and they're drawn back together over and over again.

Posted 2023-05-04

We visited Malta 25th March - 4th April. These are a few notes.

We tried to find a good place to go clubbing. From the research I did, a good club if you like the more noncommercial techno is 'Tigullio Club', along with 'Liquid'. But the problem is that the club scene only functions on Fridays and Saturdays, meaning we couldn't experience it directly.

Gozo is insanely gorgeous. Regarding getting to Gozo, the fast ferry from Valetta is now a much better choice than bus to Cirkewwa and means travelling there becomes frankly ridiculously easy. We stayed one night on the island and if I was going back I might choose to stay there for longer.

We visited in the shoulder season. There are a few quirks to this. Off-season means that opening times are often flat wrong. Also, temperature was all over the place. When it rains, the entire country closes down because none of the infrastructure expects it (exaggeration, but from a tourist perspective it seems to be the case.) If you bring a t-shirt and a jumper everywhere you'll likely be fine, you don't need a coat. You don't need gloves anywhere but you might need a hat on overcast days. On the other hand, some days are flat-out sunny and getting down to t-shirt weather for a UK resident.

For the rest of the post I'll restrict myself to giving a few reviews on restaurants and food.

Tipping's expected in restaurants but not in cafes.

Cafe Du Brazil in Birgu. I ate here twice, both times the food was fantastic. The price is good for what you get. An astonishing chicken & parma ham wrap, and a Maltese ftira (Tomato paste, tuna, olives, Maltese broad beans, Maltese peppered cheese, lettuce, tomato. Served with crisps & salad) -- great lunch snack. This is the best place in Birgu in my view, which is why it's crowded nearly all the time.

D'Orsini restaurant in Birgu is good for very cheap food with table service, don't expect anything amazing though.

D-Centre is a restaurant that also rents out rooms, we rented from them and tried the restaurant. Sadly I wasn't too impressed with the food here.

Avoid any of the restaurants on Birgu's waterfront, they are price-gouging tourist traps.

Taste of Vietnam -- As the name suggests, this is a Vietnamese restaurant in Birgu. It's rather mid-tier food-wise but is decent given that it's the only Asian restaurant in the area. Great service but avoid the beer (Bia Saigon) which is overpriced. I had a beef pho-style dish (Bún bò Huế) and it was expensive but justified the price.

Cisk is beer with such a thin body, it tastes like a shandy already. I found the Cisk Chill to be quite acceptable on a hot day; you treat it like a soft drink and not like a beer. Hopleaf is a much better beer which is less widely available.

Sesame Dim Sum, Valetta -- Very overpriced but the vegan noodles were OK. The dim sum is good and I'd recommend it, although they don't have har gow. The portion sizes are quite good.

DATE art cafe, Cospicua -- Great location, a bit pricy. One of the few places with an explicit vegan option. Vegan platter seemed delicious (but not that substantial). I had tuna foccaccia, which was amazing. Great flavours all round and the location makes you feel cool and cosmopolitan.

"Black Eagle" anisette liqueur is available in the airport duty-free lounge on the way back, this is a full-strength liqueur that is not amazing tasting but is remarkably cheap -- it was about €9 for a 70cl bottle. You can drink it like French pastis or ouzo by diluting it.

One great thing about the food in Malta is that everything gets seasoned properly, unlike in the UK where flavourless & bland is the rule.

Posted 2023-04-11

Recently I have been reading Muriel Gardiner's The Wolf Man and Sigmund Freud. This book tells the story of Sergei Pankejeff in his own words. The "Wolf Man" is one of Freud's most famous case studies. Any student of psychoanalysis knows that there are remarkably few documented case studies in Freud's history. The Wolf Man is one of the most famous and perhaps the most important case study, in that it is among the richest, revealing a lot of the theoretical apparatus that psychoanalysis would depend on. I could not pass up the chance to read the Wolf Man in his own words. Knowing Freud's talent as a weaver and storyteller, would the story reveal fabrications and distortions in Freud's treatment (On the History of an Infantile Neurosis)?

Pankejeff's memoir largely corroborate the raw material of Freud's analysis. The real fascination, however, lies in the story of his tumultuous life, punctuated and buffetted by the geopolitical shocks of the early 20th century which still largely define today's worldview. This is a man born into immense privilege, who searched around the great cities of Europe in a desperate attempt to cure his neurosis. What was his illness? A tendency to melancholia? The actual content of his neurosis is strikingly absent in this memoir. It forms a type of absent centre that the whole document orbits around. In its name he would try every cure known to the fledgling science of psychology, and find them wanting, before encountering psychoanalysis.

The Wolf Man's adult life was immediately defined by tragedy. His sister and confidante, Anna, committed suicide at the age of 22, by consuming poison. The memoir positions her as being unable to come to terms with her feminine role. In her young womanhood, she eschewed all suitors and immersed herself in intellectualism. (This intellectualism calls to mind the type of sublimated pleasure that Freud remarks upon in the later chapters of Beyond the Pleasure Principle.) Later she became uncomfortable with her physical appearance and concerned that she would be unable to marry. A kind of role reversal plays out here: as a child, Sergei envies Anna her dolls, while Anna attempts to try on a masculine role, but is rebuffed by her peers. Her suicide comes out of a kind of suppressed despair, perhaps, and she repents her act on her deathbed, but cannot be saved.

Likewise Pankejeff's father is diagnosed adoitly as a manic depressive. He lives his public life his 'manic' phase, and simply withdraws to German sanatoria for months at a time when the 'depressive' phase comes. Pankejeff however does not find the same relief from his torments in these sanatoria. The relationship between father and son is uncomfortable, calling to mind Adler's notion of 'masculine protest'. His father dies at 49, at the peak of health. His death is not named as a suicide in this volume, but it's drily remarked that he probably took an overdose of his sleeping medicine. An Infantile Neurosis contains material on Pankejeff's "homosexual posture" and how it relates to his father. His father is never grieved for explicitly, rather, Pankejeff transfers his grief onto others and channels it into landscape painting.

Pankejeff eventually embarks on a love affair with Therese, a nurse in a German sanatorium: a "servant", falling into his familiar pattern of attraction which Freud remarks upon. Therese has a "Southern European aspect" which later turns out to be a complete phantasm. Their relationship is stormy, Therese being an archetype of the maddening woman who "drives some men to throw themselves at her feet, and others off the parapets of bridges" (de Maupassant -- who is himself referenced in this volume, along with Lermontov, whose figure looms over it.) Pankejeff eventually makes the "breakthrough to the woman", his greatest victory, in Freud's eyes; their courtship tale defies all modern logics.

After his analysis, seemingly cured, Pankejeff enjoys a life of petty-bourgeois domesticity with Therese for 20 years in the interwar period, working as a functionary at an insurance firm. Until one day he returns home and finds that Therese has gassed herself to death. Pankejeff is 52. Therese has been a troubled woman since their earliest encounter. Her suicide looks premeditated, "a decision made with forethought and reflection", the consequence of unbearable pain: "I am so sick in body and soul". The 20th century marches woefully on: Therese's act coincides with the Nazi occupation of Vienna and a wave of suicides among the Jewish population, though Therese was not herself Jewish. The memoir ends here.

As she was the only stable structure in my changeable life, how could I, now suddenly deprived of her, live on?

Freud's analysis works as a feat of psychic reverse engineering. It proceeds from a hypothesis about the dream's cause (the primal scene), and attempts to illustrate the process by which the manifest content is formed. In the case of the wolf dream, the process goes: Primal scene -> grandfather's story of the wolves -> the Seven Goats fairy tale.

What follows is a discussion of the reality of the primal scene. Freud invokes a set of imaginary critics who counterpose that the memories associated with the primal scene are in fact fabrications or phantasies. Freud claims that these critics retain the name of psychoanalysis while rejecting its profoundest and most disruptive insights. To Freud these critics (Jung and Adler) keep psychoanalysis "in name only", while Freud's theory itself already encompasses the aspects these critics choose to focus on. Specifically Freud visualizes strictly Freudian psychoanalysis as a bidirectional theory of psychic causation. That is, influence flows forward from childhood, rather than flowing exclusively backward as Jung and Adler would have it. Though Freud does not discount a backward causation. It's unclear on the exact meaning of the term primal scene and whether it always indicates an observation of coitus as in the case of the Wolf Man, or whether it simply indicates a childhood experience with the aforementioned power to cause neurosis.

Note that the primal scene is the Urszene, using the German 'ur-' prefix.

Later we encounter some of the Wolf Man's letters. This text gives some insights into Pankeyeff's own attitude to his memoirs, among other things. He has some poignant remarks on aging.

You see my work int he office gives me absolutely no inner satisfaction, not even when I have a great deal to do and when my ability there is appreciated. I inherited this restless spirit from my father, in contrast to my mother, who is more inclined to a contemplative life.

Later he expands further on this

I thinkt that the problem of aging depends very much on the individual. My mother, for instance, that she was happier in old age than in her youth, although she had lost her entire fortune and lived, as an older woman, in poor surroundings and among strangers. Her relatives, to whom she was deeply attached, either remained in Russia or had died. All very unfortunate circumstances. But in her youth she had suffered rather a lot with my father, and with many upleasant events in her family, whereas in age she could live a quiet and contemplative life to which she had always been inclined. So she worked out for herself a philosophy that suited her nature, and she was much more satisfied than in her youth or middle age. After all, in youth one asks more of life than in old age, and must therefore experience many disappointments.

Aside from this he makes several cogent points about his own senescence:

  • His libido begins to tail off, but at a very late age -- in his mid-seventies.
  • His "aggressive drives" such as they are seem amplified.
  • His conflicts remain unattenuated.
  • He becomes paranoid about his age-related weaknesses.
  • He finds his delights and recreations diminished.
  • He finds that psychic symptoms visit themself upon him accompanied by simultaneous physical symptoms (hysterical?)

For many years I have thought that I, through the many hard blows of fate which I have suffered, would at least in age become somewhat more mellow and would acquire some sort of philosophic outlook upon life. I thought that in old age I could at least spend my last years at a distance from the emotional struggles of which I had had so many in my life. But it seems that these are illusions also. I am still far way from the capacity for a contemplative life. Various inner problems pile up before me, which are completely disconcerting.

Gardiner's post script, Diagnostic Impressions, reveals several facts. The contested nature of the account is emphasized even within this volume. Some aspects of Pankejeff's personality come in for criticism.

Just as when a child at camp or boarding school writes home about the bad food or the rain, about this mean boy or that stupid teacher, rather than about all the fun and interesting things to do or to learn, so the Wolf Man ... naturally tresses the negative far more than the positive.

Gardiner disputes some of Brunswick's analysis. Brunswick was later a pioneer of the psychoanalytic treatment of psychotic disorders. Brunswick diagnosed Pankeyeff with paranoia, delusions of grandeur, etc, based on his delusion about his nose. However Brunswick even admitted that the Wolf Man's case was atypically susceptible to analysis. Gardiner seems to moot that Brunswick may have been attempting to fit a square peg into a round hole, because none of Pankeyeff's later behaviour admitted of a psychotic diagnosis. [It should be remembered in mitigation that Brunswick also stressed the extent to which Pankeyeff's behaviour was discontinuous with that described in Freud's paper so she was not unaware of this.]

Posted 2023-02-24

1998 exoticness...

Posted 2023-02-23

Back in 2003, Amazon.com had a feature which was called “The Page You Made”. This page would automatically collect every item that you clicked on during a session on the site, and automatically add it to list which it would present to you. It's rather similar to the current feature, Your browsing history, except the latter doesn't seem to expire items. It would also show recommendations.

We want to make it easy for you to find what you're looking for at Amazon.com. The Page You Made and Your Recent History are meant to help you keep track of some of the items you've recently viewed and help you find related items that might be of interest. As you browse through the store, we will bring to your attention items similar to those you are looking at. Since your browsing habits change frequently, Your Recent History changes as well. Your sessions expire after a few days and are not stored on the Amazon.com site. This way we can offer you the most relevant purchase suggestions for your recent shopping sessions on the Page You Made. We also give you the ability to alter Your Recent History, by removing recently viewed products or clearing all items. To add pages to Your Recent History, just visit new items that interest you.

There is no punchline or upshot to this; just recording the existence of such a thing. 20 years later, traces of it on the internet are nearly entirely gone.

Posted 2022-12-27

In the sales I purchased a large Western Digital external HDD. I don't really trust hard disks anymore, but all other options are uneconomical or equally untrustworthy, so it's all I have for now. At least it's guaranteed. Anyway I face some troubles when backing up. I had to use gdisk to create the GPT partition instead of parted, for reasons I can't really fathom, but I'll probably stick with gdisk until further notice now.

After repartitioning the new drive the next task was to consolidate 2 generations worth of backup data onto it. I usually stick with rsync -aPv to mirror file trees. I copied all the data from both generations into subdirectories on the same disk. However, it also contains several complete Linux filesystems with archived copies of /sys, /proc, /run, and other data that I don't really care about.

rsync -aPv expands to rsync -rlptgoDPv. -D is not really wanted, though; it's an abbreviation for --devices and --specials, which we don't want. However, all other options we want. We want to be able to do all operations as a regular user. Although some files are sensitive, the backups live in a privileged space, so perhaps we don't care too much about security within the space itself. In this case we can do chmod -R o+rX /tree. This uses X for "special execute" which will make directories world-executable while not affecting the status of the execute bit for files. It will also make everything world-readable which obviously comes with heavy caveats.

We can add the -u or --update option to the rsync command, this will overwrite identically named files in the tree with newer versions from the source. Obviously this does have the potential to lose data, but it may be a reasonable trade-off to make the filesystem more manageable; YMMV. As we're not using --delete the target tree will essentially be an accretion of files; files that get moved will potentially create duplicates. We consider this an OK trade off relative to the dangers of using --delete.

You can use the --log-file=foo.log option to store all progress to a log file which you can examine afterward. You'll want to vet the transfer reasonably carefully to make sure everything completed and you're not deleting potentially valuable things.

Posted 2022-12-26
Borgen: Power and Glory
Posted 2022-11-04
Posted 2022-09-18
WSGI deployment
Posted 2022-09-03
Slack Dynamics
Posted 2022-07-20
Download Management
Posted 2022-07-08
Network Setup
Posted 2022-05-11
Hot Sauces
Posted 2022-05-10
Chesterton's Fence Posts
Posted 2022-04-21
On the Copernican Principle
Posted 2022-04-10
Schubert's Winterreise
Posted 2022-02-14
Buster to Bullseye
Posted 2021-09-01
React Pain Points
Posted 2021-04-08
Neo4j rearrangeable list
Posted 2020-10-14
OOB redirect_uri values
Posted 2020-10-07
Quick HTTP server
Posted 2020-10-07
The Lowest UUIDv4
Posted 2020-09-24
Ad-hoc Patreon audio scraping
Posted 2020-05-17
SSH key setup
Posted 2019-09-11
Stretch to Buster
Posted 2019-08-05
Subprocess Pipe Comparison
Posted 2019-07-02
The X3 Wiki Archive
Posted 2019-06-16
Fabric 2 cheat sheet
Posted 2019-03-05
Using comboboxes in Qt5
Posted 2019-02-27
System Puppet, CentOS 7 Client
Posted 2019-02-25
X3 savegames
Posted 2019-02-02
Shadow Tween technique in Vue
Posted 2019-01-06
Width list transition in Vue
Posted 2018-12-18
Emoji Representations
Posted 2018-09-14
Thoughts on Cheesesteak & More
Posted 2018-08-29
Vue + GraphQL + PostgreSQL
Posted 2018-07-20
Neo4j Cypher query to NetworkX
Posted 2018-05-09
FP & the 'Context Problem'
Posted 2018-02-27
Cloake Vegetable Biryani
Posted 2018-02-25
FFXII Builds
Posted 2018-02-02
Custom deployments solution
Posted 2017-12-09
SCons and Google Mock
Posted 2017-11-30
Sunday Lamb Aloo
Posted 2017-11-19
centos 6 debian lxc host
Posted 2017-11-03
Srichacha Noodle Soup
Posted 2017-10-17
Kaeng Kari
Posted 2017-10-13
Ayam Bakar (Sri Owen)
Posted 2017-10-12
Pangek Ikan (Sri Owen)
Posted 2017-10-12
Chicken Tikka Balti Masala
Posted 2017-10-06
Clojure Log Configuration
Posted 2017-09-28
Clojure Idioms: strict-get
Posted 2017-09-28
Posted 2017-09-18
Philly Cheesesteak
Posted 2017-09-14
Posted 2017-09-13
Srichacha Kaeng Pa
Posted 2017-08-31
Malaidar Aloo
Posted 2017-08-10
BBQ Balti Chicken
Posted 2017-07-19
Sabzi Korma
Posted 2017-07-18
Vegetable Tikka Masala
Posted 2017-07-02
Soto Ayam
Posted 2017-06-08
Bombay Aloo w/Bunjarra
Posted 2017-06-03
Chicken Dopiaza
Posted 2017-06-01
LJ Bunjarra
Posted 2017-05-31
Glasgow Lamb Shoulder Tikka
Posted 2017-05-24
Tofu Char Kway Teow
Posted 2017-05-12
King Prawn Balti
Posted 2017-04-24
Ad-hoc Quorn Rogan Josh
Posted 2017-04-15
Glasgow Vindaloo
Posted 2017-03-28
Posted 2017-03-26
Toombs Saag Balti
Posted 2017-02-25
Glasgow Bombay Rogan Josh
Posted 2017-02-21
Glasgow Chicken Balti
Posted 2017-02-16
Quorn Balti & Cloake Naan
Posted 2017-02-03
Two Spice Marinades
Posted 2017-01-18

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