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Zaphiropoulos, M.L. (1969). Discussion. Contemp. Psychoanal., 5(2):119-123.

(1969). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 5(2):119-123

Discussion Related Papers

Miltiades L. Zaphiropoulos, M.D.

MY AFFINITY for matters philosophical and my propensity toward critical review account for an immediate reaction of being both intrigued by and impatient with Dr. Kuhns's multi-level, cross-current, now-and-then and here-and-there approach to his subject. In this he establishes a parallelism between the literary work he explores and the instrumentation with which he does it. My Minoan heritage fails to provide me with an Ariadne's thread suitable for a complete weaving through the presentation. So let me pick at will for review some of the basic and pervasive, passing and recurrent, causal or resultant themes.

To begin with, is there such a thing as "modernity" and, if so, how are we to understand it? Is it a change in the way we view the past—namely, instead of believing that there was happiness in the ineffable "good old days" of historical humanity, we believe rather that we might have been happy once, in our personal childhood? Doubtlessly, we are concerned with the past, both personal and historical.

But what is the nature of that concern and how did the change, if any, come about? I am troubled by the assumption that when, as grownups, we look back into the past and deem it a better and happier time, we are making a correct historical judgment, rather than that we are perpetuating an illusion which, in a grownup guise, we take as historical reality. Professor Kuhns correctly suggests that the "tricks our wishes play with memory" render dubious any recall of our personal childhood; but he leaves untapped the probability of our collective wishful recollecting of a golden past for which we long with its promise of a verdant future as well.

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