Skip to main content


Showing posts from September 25, 2016

living in the pre-Freudian age

I just finished the slyly debunking article about the “girl in the dark” in last week’s New Yorker. The girl in the dark is a woman named Lyndsey (or not – that is her pseudonym) who began to experience such violent bodily reactions to light  that she quit her job and made the house she shared with her husband into a blacked out den in order to survive.   Ed Caesar, the author of the article, never comes out and says that he believes the condition is psychosomatic, but the article obviously tips that way. Lyndsey strongly objects to this interpretation. To her, this is a way of dismissing the condition, or blaming her for it, instead of finding out what it “really is.” I was struck by how we have regressed to a pre-Freudian era in the terms that are set for illnesses and conditions. There’s an obvious antinomy in the argument that psychosomatic conditions aren’t real.  The ground of that objection is based in a sort of common folk psychological positivism, a naïve materialism. T