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Dimen, M. (2004). Something's Gone Missing. Psychoanal. Perspect., 2(1):57-64.

(2004). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 2(1):57-64

Something's Gone Missing

Muriel Dimen, Ph.D.

I am grateful for the opportunity to discuss this roundtable. At first, I thought I would have nothing to say. The intellectual space provided by my colleagues, however, allowed me to articulate a thought different from theirs but not, I am sure, unknown to them.

I take off from Paul Wachtel's inclination to replace the metaphor of the “inner world” with constructs like “subjectivity” or a “personal and private kind of experience.” He wants to reduce the contrast, which he finds too great, between inner and outer, for, in fact, “they're part and parcel of each other both in terms of the immediate interpersonal experience of patient and analyst and of the individual with other relationships outside and the larger social sphere.” Now, as for me, I am content with that contrast, and wish in fact to intensify it, even as I agree that inner and outer are intimately, if complicatedly, inter-implicated. As I see it, we need to articulate that dynamic web of meaning between them.

No, the opposition between inner and outer is not where I see the problem—or problematic—in this conversation. The difficulty lies in what drops out when psychoanalysis and politics, or, rather, the psychical and the political, are binarized. This thought came to me as I was reading Jessica Benjamin's account of having supervised a case in a German city and her engagement with the traumata of denial, dissociation, and repression related to the Holocaust.

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