As the fish does not live outside of the dark abyss, So man should never strive for knowledge regarding his own essence.
Lao-Tzu, fifth century BC
Psychoanalysis, as we know, has striven for knowledge of our human essence: Freud, employing archeological and literary metaphors, suggests that in understanding mankind's instinctual drives, defenses and, most of all, the pervasive presence of what he calls the unconscious, psychoanalysis has plumbed the depths of man-although Freud was well aware, in his better moments, that the depths are ultimately bottomless. So do I, begin this article with such a quote? Perhaps the American poet A. R. Amnions1 can provide an answer. In a work entitled $43, the poet comments on the everydayness of our human experience of time and then, caught by an awareness that he struggles to put into words, speaks of a “wane” cutting through our awareness and observes that,
time collapses, so that nothing happened,
and I didn't exist, and existence
itself seems like a wayward temporizing,
an illusion nonexistence sometimes
stumb les into … (p.
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