Monday, January 19, 2015


SIGMUND FREUD used to be the guy until he fell out of forbidden academic flavor (I mean favor) with the OEDIPAL and ELECTRA COMPLEX.  It turned out that boys didn’t really want to murder their fathers to have sex with their mothers, no more than girls wanted to grow a penis.  (I must mention that some of Freud is still prominent in the medical model for psychotherapy.)

Sigmund Freud still is my guy when it comes to his notions of LOVE and WORK. 

“Love and work … work and love … What else is there really?” (Sigmund Freud)

“Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness.” (Freud, again)

LOVE is the experience of interpersonal affection (I love my mother … yikes!  See the Oedipal Complex), the experience of personal pleasures (I love pepperoni pizza with a dash of orgasm … I mean oregano; I love hooking up … I mean hockey!).

The concept of love may simply be understood as a function to keep human beings psychologically and physically together in efforts to battle common enemies, while at the same time facilitating the continuation of the species.  I say simply understood but … LOVE IS COMPLICATED.  LOVE IS AN ENIGMA.

Where there is family there is favor. When there are friendships catching fire there are sparks. Where there is eye candy there can be crush and crave.  And where there is lust there is amour.

WORK, on the other hand, is not so enigmatic.  Work, rather, is the employment of a mental or physical activity as a means to earning an income.  No matter the nature of the work, no one has an easy job.  Whether it is a dishwasher or a dermatologist, an artist or aeronautical engineer, a busker or a bartender, a job is a job is a job, and a job is never easy. (I do concede, however, that some jobs are simpler than others, but keep in mind that the words easy and simple are not synonyms.)

The nature of work is quid pro quo.  Everyone wants stuff and in order to get stuff you need to buy it and in order to buy it you need money and in order to get money you need to work.  Granted, in this part of the planet, if for whatever reason you can’t or won’t work, the system will take care of you with a base minimum dollar and cents proviso.  But if you desire more, the more epicurean you want to become, you need to work.

I think lots about work because I am getting to that age.  Oftentimes people ask me, “How long you planning to stick with it, Neil?”

It just so happens that I do not ever dream of having my own popcorn or hotdog stands.  I do not ever dream of managing my own company … for if I were managing my own company I wouldn’t dream at all … because if I did … I wouldn’t sleep at night!

I am lucky.  I love my jobs.  I love being a high school counselor.  I love being a part-time university professor.  I love being a private practitioner of hypnotherapy.  I love being a busker.

Having quality work keeps me engaged.  I am still motivated by my work.  I still have control of my work.  At ninety years of age Picasso still painted.  And all things being relative, until the day that he died, Einstein pursued his theories.

“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it.” (Gautama Buddha)

“We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.” (Thomas Edison)

Perhaps I am delusional, but I believe that sixty-five will be the beginning of my middle age. 

Perhaps I am delusional, but I believe that my work is as fulfilling as my leisure.

Perhaps I am delusional, but I kind of agree with Freud’s belief that the goal of all life is death. 

To close with a couple more quotations:

“Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.”  (Erich Fromm)

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”  (Confucius)

Whatever you think of love and work ...
allowing the cement to dry in either can lead only to despair.

And by the way, my Freudian slips presented at the beginning of this blog entry are really just verbal revelations, adumbrating my repressed shadow archetypes, my sexual anxieties. 
Here is a classic example of such mentioned:

How many psychoanalysts does it take to screw in a light bulb? 

It takes two … one to screw and the other to hold my penis … I mean my mother … I mean the ladder!

My CHAUCERIAN PARADE for this week:






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