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Mayer, E.L. (2003). Women, Creativity, and Power. Contemp. Psychoanal., 39(1):114-123.

(2003). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 39(1):114-123

Women, Creativity, and Power

Elizabeth Lloyd Mayer, Ph.D.

THE INTERSECTING import of these two cartoons may, I think, show us some interesting things about creativity and power at this particular moment in Western culture through the unique lens that women's experience gives us. Careful attention to understanding women as they interface with the dual phenomena of creativity and power may offer us something I believe we urgently need: something that extends beyond gender to help us grasp important aspects of our larger world and a cultural transition we're facing right now. It is a transition with all kinds of promise, but one that—and this brings us to the second cartoon—will require some careful consideration if we are to know what's hit us.

One way to sum up our current transition might be to suggest that two crucial insights psychoanalysis came up with at its inception are starting radically to penetrate the way our larger world is looking at all kinds of things. Those things range from the ways we are starting to understand the nature of material reality to the nature of consciousness and the nature of healing. They range from the worlds of physics to philosophy. Ultimately, I think they are going to amount to what is popularly referred to as “a paradigm shift.” And ultimately, I think they stand to alter our views of power and creativity in ways that may be illuminated by looking to women and the ways women experience living in our culture.

The two insights psychoanalysis gave us hinge on acknowledging the power of love and the power of the unconscious.

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