Bitcoin Gold Rush – Evangelists or Selfish Revolutionaries? – Coline Covington examines the rise of the virtual currency

Supporters of the virtual currency boast of no controls and no victims – but do they just want to get rich quick?

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As financial regulations increase by the day, so do the ways around them. The most radical yet is the virtual currency known as the Bitcoin. Instead of real money, virtual cash is stored in an online wallet lodged in the hard drive of a computer.

Created four years ago by an anonymous computer scientist – or possibly a group – using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, the Bitcoin was conceived as a way of transferring money outside traditional banking systems, thus circumventing regulatory controls.

The Bitcoin has become so popular – its share price spiked at $1,240 this year – that even JP Morgan is getting in on the act and setting up a rival, patented computerised payment system which, like the Bitcoin, ensures account holders’ names and account information cannot be disclosed.

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Marco Bacciagaluppi on meeting John Bowlby, evolutionary attachment mechanisms, and predatory patriarchal culture

Paradigms in Psychoanalysis

At nearly 80, I thought it could be useful to share with readers my experience of nearly fifty years in the field of psychoanalytic psychotherapy.  In addition to my clinical work, four basic experiences converge in this book.

First, after receiving my medical degree in Milan, I trained in genetics and evolutionary theory in Pavia with Cavalli-Sforza, a specialist in human genetics who later moved to the USA. After this, I turned to the field of psychiatry and trained in New York in 1963-64 with Silvano Arieti, who belonged to the interpersonal-cultural school founded in 1943 by Sullivan and Fromm, and whose books I later translated into Italian. In New York, I also attended a course in sociology at the New School for Social Research, where Fromm, and before him, Ferenczi, had lectured.

In 1982 I started to correspond with John Bowlby; in 1985 I met him in London to discuss a paper on “Attachment Theory as an Alternative Basis for Psychoanalysis”, which I presented in Zürich later that year; I then kept up my correspondence with Bowlby until his death in 1990.  My reading of Fromm confirmed my interest in the social sciences, and my acquaintance with Bowlby renewed my interest in evolutionary theory.

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Eran J. Rolnik discusses Psychoanalysis and the Making of Modern Jewish Identity

Freud in Zion: Psychoanalysis and the Making of Modern Jewish Identity

Freud-in-Zion2Few episodes in the history of psychoanalysis are as densely packed with trans-cultural, ideological, institutional and ethical issues as the arrival of psychoanalysis in pre-state Israel in the early 20th century.

Freud in Zion is the first work to explore this encounter between psychoanalytic expertise, Judaism, Modern Hebrew culture and the Zionist revolution. The book is based on hitherto unpublished documents from twenty different archives, and includes many unpublished letters by Freud. It links the history of psychoanalysis in remote Palestine to the history of the evolution of psychoanalysis in many other countries. The book follows the establishment and early years of the psychoanalytic society in Jerusalem, and the acceptance, dissemination and influence of psychoanalysis in contemporary Jewish society in a very unique political context of war, immigration, ethnic tensions, colonial rule and nation building. This local story is placed in the wider historical social and cultural context of Europe, Zionism, and Jewish migration from Eastern and Central Europe, as well as the development and spread of psychoanalysis in the era of mass violence. Freud in Zion offers a look at the relationship between psychoanalysis and a wider community, and follows the life and work of Jewish psychoanalysts during World War II. As such, it makes an important contribution to a central concern of psychoanalytic studies today, the interplay of psychoanalysis, culture, ideology and politics.

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Donald Robertson explores the links between Psychotherapy and Philosophy

Psychotherapy and Philosophy

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What can philosophy tell us about therapy?  There are many opportunities for dialogue between philosophers and psychotherapists.  In the past, there’s been interest in the potential relevance of phenomenology, existentialism, and other continental philosophies, particularly for psychodynamic and insight-oriented therapies.  However, there’s been a growing interest in the practical side of ancient philosophy over recent decades, particularly in the philosophy of Stoicism.  Why ancient philosophy?  Isn’t it a bit, well, dated?  The curious fact is that originally philosophy was very much a practical concern.  Most of the ancient schools of Western philosophy were about as concerned with one’s lifestyle and the use of contemplative exercises as Oriental traditions such as Hinduism and Buddhism were.  However, in the West, this practical tradition of philosophy as “care of the soul”, was virtually extinguished when the ancient philosophical schools were closed and their books destroyed, something partly due to the growing dominance of Christianity and its opposition to pagan philosophy.

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Coline Covington asks: Why would there be so many paedophiles in Westminster?

Craving the love and devotion of their victims, it is not surprising that some culprits are politicians

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Home Secretary Theresa May, still trying to find someone suitable to chair her inquiry into historical claims of sex abuse against children, told the BBC’s Andrew Marr yesterday that the allegations that have emerged so far are only “the tip of the iceberg”.

Institutions which were meant to protect children “were not doing so”, she told Marr, and society must “get the truth” about the extent of child abuse and what might have been covered up. Her comments came as the Sunday People revealed that two retired Scotland Yard detectives have come forward to corroborate the evidence of a paedophile victim known as ‘Nick’ who told the paper he saw a Conservative MP murder a young boy during a “sex party” more than 30 years ago.

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Jackie Gerrard explores the wisdom of not knowing: ‘the answer is there are no answers’

The Impossibility of Knowing: Dilemmas of a Psychotherapist

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Brett Kahr came to hear my paper on Absence (Chapter 8) given at the London Centre for Psychotherapy in June 2009 and, following this, encouraged me to think about producing a book, based on the many papers I have written and published over the years. He made the first contact with Oliver Rathbone on my behalf, and so smoothed the path through to Karnac Books, who generously offered to publish.

I then had to choose from my published papers as to which would most easily integrate into a book and find a title that would encompass the papers and my thinking and work as a Psychotherapist. The first title that I reached was The Human Touch and then I found that Michael Frayn had written a book with just such a title. Later, I recalled a letter from a grateful patient which read “thank you for teaching me that the answer is that there are no answers”. This quickly developed into the current title – The Impossibility of Knowing: Dilemmas of a Psychotherapist.

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Frozen Children: Rod Tweedy explores the pathology of contemporary Disney

Devitalisation, Ice-olation, and Zero Degrees Princesses: Disney’s FROZEN

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Frozen is the highest-grossing animated film of all time, and the fifth highest-grossing film in any medium ($1.3 billion in worldwide box office sales). 604 million youngsters have viewed and sung along to the YouTube clip of it’s hit song Let It Go, and as Dorian Lynskey notes, “it’s shaped the imagination of a generation”. Beyond the sparkle and CGI patina something about the movie is clearly resonating powerfully with children and young people, and I think it’s secret – and what lies at the heart of its appeal – is its potent exploration of themes of childhood anger, ‘ice-olation’, inner devitalisation and self-absorption, which the film both addresses and amplifies.

For anyone blessed by not having seen it, the story revolves around the conflicted and volatile dynamic between two sisters (who, as this is Disney, also happen to be princesses). The elder one, Elsa, seems to be possessed of a Midas-like power of turning everything that her hands touch or are directed towards to ice –  a ‘magic’ that is triggered when she feels threatened or angry, and which resembles in this the similar ‘magic’ power of adrenalised telekinesis in Stephen King’s Carrie. As Lynskey observes, Elsa’s ‘powers’ reflect those of the X-Men or Spiderman, ‘where super-powers are used as a metaphor for adolescence – because they’re empowering but they’re also really tormenting.’  Similar concerns with adolescence and the unfamiliar and potent capabilities that emerge during puberty have been given an extensive airing in today’s cinematic obsession with children painfully learning to manage apparently similar ‘magic’ potencies.

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