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Guarton, G.B. (1999). Transgression and Reconciliation: A Psychoanalytic Reading of Masud Khan's Last Book. Contemp. Psychoanal., 35(2):301-310.

(1999). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 35(2):301-310

Transgression and Reconciliation: A Psychoanalytic Reading of Masud Khan's Last Book

Gladys Branly Guarton, Ph.D.

I can see clearly the various paradoxical elements of my inheritance. My sensibility I inherit from my mother: very shy, over sensitive and rather phobic and extremely emotional. From my father I inherit an imperious capacity for work and a terrible temper. From both I inherit a deep compassion of the individual human and an uncompromising haughtiness. My personal contribution is a sharp and inexhaustible mind. All these are still not cohered into a unit of character in me. To have been endowed with so much is an awesome responsibility. And a life long struggle.

—Khan, 1971

This fruition of self is always something much sought after but never fully achieved because we humans are, at root, fearful of that which extends us. Hence we live hidden and divided within, sharing a little with the other, now and then, but largely holding back, both waking and dreaming.

Khan, 1983

IN THE FOREWORD OF HIS LAST BOOK, The Long Wait (1988), Masud Khan remarks that the book's dominant theme is that of “awakening,” or “the acknowledgment and acceptance of those acts of transgression which invariably arise, in all areas of relating, from any attempt to satisfy needs, desires and demands” (p. vii). He points out that the major task the three great monotheist religions set for themselves is to help individuals to take responsibility for their transgressions. This, in turn, can only be realized when individuals awaken to their nature, to the needs transgressions satisfy in their character, and the role they play in their lives. Awakening, he states, is the primary task of psychotherapy. The seven patients who illustrate the clinical material in the book had all transgressed against their religious faiths and beliefs (Judaic, Christian, or Muslim) through “their sexual perversities of character and the berserk antics of living which their neediness led them into.”

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