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Renik, O. (2003). Commentary on "Psychoanalytic Discourse at the Turn of Our Century: A Plea for a Measure of Humility". J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 51S(Supplement):119-121.

(2003). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 51S(Supplement):119-121

Commentary on "Psychoanalytic Discourse at the Turn of Our Century: A Plea for a Measure of Humility" Related Papers

Owen Renik

Can't we all just get along?

Certainly we can all agree with Arnold Richards that arrogance and sectarianism have drastically limited the possibilities for constructive discourse throughout the history of psychoanalysis. Certainly we can all agree, as well, that this is a most unfortunate situation, which could be remedied if each of us would only be more open-minded and respectful toward colleagues who propose ideas different from our own. Finally, I think that we can all agree that his plea for a much-needed humility, together with our endorsements of his plea, is unlikely to have any impact on the problem.

For as long as there has been parochialism in our field—i.e., since the beginning—analysts have been deploring parochialism. The difficulty is, of course, that one invariably feels oneself to be reasonable and receptive; it's always the other guy who is attacking a straw man. For example, Arnold Richards criticizes Stuart Pizer for caricaturing the traditional psychoanalyst. While I can see how the objection arises, I could just as easily criticize Richards for caricaturing Pizer's position: I believe that Pizer understands very well how many traditional analysts, in practice, ameliorate the stance prescribed by their theory. But their practice contradicts their theory, which has not yet been correspondingly revised; and this is the difficulty he is attempting to address.

The plea for a measure of humility is laudable, but I don't think it will do any good, because it doesn't address the fundamental problem.

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