Customer Service | Help | FAQ | PEP-Easy | Report a Data Error | About
Tip: To access the PEP-Web Facebook pageā€¦

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

PEP-Web has a Facebook page! You can access it by clicking here.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Arieti, J.A. (1999). Memories of the Son of a Psychiatrist. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 27(4):541-550.

(1999). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 27(4):541-550

Memories of the Son of a Psychiatrist

James A. Arieti, Ph.D.

When I return to Pisa, I carry with me a suitcase full of memories. I remember when I used to come here as a child to visit my grandparents. I remember seeing the damage done to the buildings during the Second World War. I remember touring the apartment where my father was born. I remember visiting my grandfather in the hospital near the Leaning Tower a week before he died. I remember putting stones on the graves of my grandparents in the Jewish Cemetery just outside the wall of the city. But most of all I remember the Pisa my father spoke about, and how he breathed its music and sighed its history. Thus it is for me a tender joy to be here to speak with you, not as a professor of philosophy or of classical philology, but as the son of the man we are here to remember.

I think my father's contribution to the world lay in exploring the spiritual dimension to human suffering. Some, like the ancient poet Aeschylus, realized that in suffering there might come wisdom; some, like the Epicureans and also the Stoics, saw that an experience of physical pain might lead to a dissociation from that pain, a dissociation that enabled philosophical and intellectual growth. My father's contribution was the insight that mental illness might itself be an attempt to preserve one's humanity in a savage world and that mental illness itself might be ennobling and spiritually uplifting.

My father was a unity of his qualities: His strengths were inseparable from his weaknesses, his genius inseparable from his eccentricities.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

Copyright © 2021, Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, ISSN 2472-6982 Customer Service | Help | FAQ | Download PEP Bibliography | Report a Data Error | About

WARNING! This text is printed for personal use. It is copyright to the journal in which it originally appeared. It is illegal to redistribute it in any form.