On the Wire


Essay
Indoctrination and Resistance in Psychotherapeutic Dialogue
By Steve Hoenisch
Last updated on June 27, 2003
Copyright 1996-2006 www.Criticism.Com

INTRODUCTION: THE CONFLICT UNFOLDS

Since Rene Descartes conquered madness with reason to inaugurate the modern era, psychology has brought forth a variety of treatments for men, women and children gone mad, for those who lost their ability to reason and let emotion run free, or for those with a mere ailing soul. And since reason was established as sovereign, another history parallels the rise of asylums, Freudian psychoanalysis, lobotomies, electroshock therapy, cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy, and psychopharmacology: The history of resistance to psychology and to the oppression of madness in the name of reason.

The assault on psychology begins with Nietzsche in 1888, not long before Freud's founding of psychoanalysis near the turn of the century. In the Forward to Twilight of the Idols, Nietzsche writes that this book is "an escapade into the idle hours of a psychologist. ... This little book is a grand declaration of war."1 And Twilight begins thus: "Idleness is the beginning of all psychology. What? could psychology be -- a vice?"2

Norman O. Brown, with his call for Dionysian body consciousness in Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytic Meaning of History, continues Nietzsche's offensive with a limited attack. Susan Sontag fires a cannon for him: The trouble with current psychoanalytic theory and practice is that it constitutes a form of conformity to the real world. "Psychoanalytic treatment," she writes, "does not challenge society; it returns us to the world, only a little better able to bear it, and without hope."3 Sontag, pointing out that Brown rejects Freud's assumption that "the repressive agency of culture is necessary to harness the self-repressive mechanism installed in human nature itself,"4 heralds Brown's inversion of Freud's thought as "a project for the transformation of human culture" in which Freud's psychological categories are correctly seen a political categories.5

Deleuze and Guattari become the next generals in the offensive, rejecting Brown's limited engagement for an outright war titled Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, which dialectically opposes psychoanalysis on every front. "Depression and Oedipus are agencies of the State, agencies of paranoia, agencies of power," Mark Seem writes in the Introduction to Anti-Oedipus.6 What Deleuze and Guattari seek "to cure us of is the cure itself."7 Meantime, Michel Foucault, in Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason, questions reason's silencing of madness, documents the oppression of the mad, and, the book's Introduction says, dispels the myth of mental illness, returning madness and folly "to their rightful place as complex, human -- too human -- phenomena."

In contrast to Foucault and Deleuze and Guattari, others see the reverse effect: Psychotherapeutic or psychopharmacological cures for, say, depression or anxiety, are mandated by a socio-economic and cultural system that, in fact, precipitates depression and other mental illnesses by rewarding certain personality traits over others, as Peter D. Kramer suggests in his popular but philosophical book, Listening to Prozac. Similarly, Kramer points out, the novelist Walker Percy sees anxiety as an allergic reaction to a world gone awry. Either way, Kramer asks poignantly: "Does Prozac's ability to transform temperament foster a certain sort of social conformity, one dominated in this case by `masculine' capitalist values?"8

Nietzsche, Brown, Sontag, Foucault. Deleuze and Guattari. Theirs is the idea that psychoanalysis has been a vessel of cultural oppression, a vessel for a complex but subtle form of reindoctrination into the dominant social and economic system. And, as Foucault and Deleuze and Guattari acknowledge, on the top shelf of the tools used in this system of reindoctrination and oppression was the signifier -- and the death of dialogue. The telescope zooms in on language, on discourse, on its broken syntax, and on silence:

"The man of madness communicates with society only by the intermediary of an equally abstract reason which is order, physical and moral constraint, the anonymous pressure of the group, the requirements of conformity. As for a common language, there is no such thing; or rather, there is no such thing any longer; the constitution of madness as a mental illness, at the end of the eighteenth century, affords the evidence of a broken dialogue, posits the separation as already effected, and thrusts into oblivion all those stammered, imperfect words without fixed syntax in which the exchange between madness and reason was made. The language of psychiatry, which is a monologue of reason about madness, has been established only on the basis of such a silence."9

Sometimes the words of the madman are indeed not heard at all, or so it seems from a few portrayals of unreason in literature. In "Diary of Madman," Nikolai Gogol's madman proclaims that "they do not heed me, nor see me, nor listen to me." The "they" to which Gogol's madman refers is, of course, the other -- all others, both the reason within himself, including his internal interlocutor who challenges his madness, and everyone external to him. In this way, Gogol's madman becomes much like the Underground Man who lives on the brink of social exile and, indeed, insanity in Dostoyevsky's Notes from Underground: "`I'm alone, and they are everyone else,' thought the Underground Man," Mikhail Bakhtin writes. The same division between the self and the other -- indeed, between madness and reason -- later manifests itself in another of Dostoyevsky's works, The Double, in which the hero, Titular Councillor Yakov Petrovich Golyadkin, becomes so divided between one of his internal selves and another that the latter breaks off and becomes an external other known as Golyadkin Jr. After the split, Golyadkin Sr. increasingly becomes a social exile seemingly on the brink of insanity, a pariah without the confidence of the Underground Man, while his split-off double becomes a self-assured social success who operates, it seems, well within the confines of reason.

A passage in The Double that takes place before Golyadkin's split interests me in particular: It is the early conversation between an anxious Golyadkin and his physician, Doctor Christian Ivanovich Rutenspitz, who acts as Golyadkin's psychiatrist during the exchange. As an early example of psychiatrist-patient discourse, the passage -- because it so brashly portrays the doctor as demanding that the patient change his character and socialize more -- raises several questions that relate to the view that psychiatry and, by extension, psychoanalysis can induce conformity or serve to indoctrinate its patients into the dominant social fold. Why does Golyadkin feel compelled to visit the doctor? What takes place, specifically, during their conversation and what does it mean, both in the context of the rest of the novel and in relation to life in general? Why did Dostoyevsky include it in the novel? Did he mean it to be characteristic of psychological counseling? Or did he mean it only as a foreshadow of Golyadkin's split? These questions, though I do not attempt to answer all of them in this essay, are the inspiration for my analysis of part of the Golyadkin-Ivanovich dialogue.

 

RESISTANCE AND INDOCTRINATION

Following in the tradition of Brown, Deleuze, Foucault and others and in relation to the passage from The Double, I am concerned with how representatives of socially powerful institutions, whether they be from the church of psychoanalysis or the halls of elementary schools, exhort others to conform to the norms of the dominant culture. Conversations between an interlocutor representing the institutionalized, dominant culture and another interlocutor often contain at least two opposing kinds of speech: exhortations to conform to the norm and resistance to those suggestions -- both between interlocutors and within the individual who stands before the dominant institution. That individual, as Dostoyevsky's writing reveals, is often split between feeling that he should somehow be a part of the dominant culture and feeling that he should, perhaps to preserve his own individuality, resist it. In The Idiot, for instance, Prince Myshkin's

"uneasiness increased every minute. ... His feeling of dejection persisted; he longed to go away somewhere. ... He knew not where. A bird was singing in a tree above him and he began looking for it among the leaves; suddenly the bird took wing and flew away, and at the same moment he, for some reason, recalled the `gnat' in `the hot sunshine', about which Ippolit had written that `it knew its place and took part in the general chorus', but he alone was `an outcast'."10

Such feelings perhaps exist at one time or another in all of us. And some psychoanalysts may, perhaps unwittingly, aim to bring the other back into the societal fold when he is feeling outcast. The speech that takes place between patient and psychoanalyst in such cases may be marked by admonitions to conform and resistance to such indoctrination. The same can be said with greater certainly of much teacher-pupil dialogue: The teacher aims not so much to instruct the pupil as to lead him or her to adopt culturally accepted patterns of behavior and spurn those that are unacceptable.

Central Claims

With such possibilities in mind and from the ideological perspective outlined above, I will analyze the conversation that takes place in what can be seen as an early example of psychiatrist-patient dialogue. My central claim is that the conversation between Golyadkin and Ivanovich can be interpreted as demonstrating the dichotomy between socialization and resistance to it. I will also argue that in the dialogue Ivanovich represents not only the external voice of socialization but also the other voice within Golyadkin that urges him toward socialization, a voice which finally surfaces in Golyadkin's remark that "I want to go out, too." Furthermore, Ivanovich represents not only the external societal pressures to normalize but also the other in Golyadkin, who eventually splits off from him to become the suave, highly social Golyadkin junior.

To gain insight into the dialogic nature of their speech, I will examine the conversation from the perspective of Bakhtin, using several of his observations about the writing of Dostoyevsky in general and the character and voice of Golyadkin in particular as starting points.

In my analysis I will also attempt to document the shifting voices in the conversation by using linguistic markers. I will also employ speech act theory and content features to analyze the speech of Golyadkin and Ivanovich.

The application of these approaches to discourse demonstrate the dichotomy that exists in their conversation between the socializing forces of the doctor (and the other within Golyadkin, Golyadkin junior) and resistance to socialization. In this way, the dialogue can be seen as an example of psychology's early tendency to treat madness through socialization -- to indoctrinate the other into the dominant social fold.

METHODOLOGY

Bakhtin's views on the discourse in Dostoyevsky's writing provides the starting point for examining the interaction between Golyadkin and Ivanovich. But despite the power of the Bakhtinian approach, his views necessarily complicate the analysis. Once Bakhtin's philosophy of double-voiced discourse and dialogic interaction is assumed, a single utterance can take on a multiplicity of voices, of meanings, and of orientations to the other. An inquiry that does justice to all the possible dialogic angles within the Golyadkin-Ivanovich passage is beyond the scope of this essay. I will therefore keep to those readings of the dialogue that appear to be directly associated with the concerns I outlined above.

The analysis is further complicated by what may be Dostoyevsky's intentional mixing of voices within an utterance, for Dostoyevsky was no doubt acutely aware, long before Bakhtin made it explicit, of the double-edged nature of the word: "He was saying one thing, but seemed to imply something quite different by the same words,"11 the narrator in The Idiot says while commenting on an utterance by one of the book's characters, Ippolit. Such dialogic speech may have as its source double thoughts, as Dostoyevsky himself seems to suggest: "`Two ideas occurred to you at one and the same time,'" Prince Myshkin says to Keller in The Idiot, and "`it is terribly difficult to fight against these double thoughts."12 Such "double thoughts" color the speech of Golyadkin; to point out all such possible thoughts on the part of Golyadkin is likewise beyond the scope of this paper.

Adopting a Bakhtinian perspective also complicates my use of speech act theory. If speech act theory is applied to utterances assumed to have a dialogic character, then a single utterance can carry out more than one speech act. An utterance could, for instance, be both a request and a denial at the same time. In my analysis, I will focus on what appears to be the central speech act being carried out by either Golyadkin or Ivanovich, leaving secondary speech acts aside.

The Indeterminacy of Meaning

Another disclaimer: Whether the utterances of any conversation are analyzed using speech acts, linguistic markers that lend themselves to experimental verification by being reproducible, or any other means or combination thereof, meaning may in fact be at times unrecoverable, both to the conversational analyst and to the interlocutor. It is my belief that meaning is indeed ultimately indeterminate, a position that bodes well with what very well be a fact of language. With respect to indeterminacy, some linguists, postmodern theorists, and analytic philosophers seem to be in agreement. Brown and Yule, both of whom are linguists, write that "the perception and interpretation of each text is essentially subjective."13 The postmodern theorists, meantime, hold that every decoding is another encoding. Jacques Derrida, for example, maintains that the possibility of interpretation and reinterpretation is endless, with meaning getting any provisional significance only from speaker, hearer, or observer: Meaning is necessarily projection. Bakhtin, too, says "the interpretation of symbolic structures is forced into an infinity of symbolic contextual meanings and therefore it cannot be scientific in the way precise sciences are scientific."14 Both Bakhtin's and Derrida's views are surprisingly not unlike those of W. V. O. Quine's in "The Indeterminacy of Translation," where Quine argued that "the totality of subjects' behavior leaves it indeterminate whether one translation of their sayings or another is correct."15 Wittgenstein pays homage to the indeterminacy of meaning as well: "Any interpretation still hangs in the air along with what it interprets, and cannot give it any support. Interpretations by themselves do not determine meaning."16 My own interpretation of the passage, despite having some empirical basis, also merely hangs in the air along with what it interprets: It is a decoding that is merely another encoding.

Linguistic Markers

My analysis appeals to the use of several linguistic markers, some of which are inspired by Bakhtin. The others have either been adapted from the work of others or devised by me.

Pauses and hesitations, indicated in written dialogue by ellipses, mark a change in the orientation of the speaker to the other. Pauses and hesitations, then, will be analyzed as a toggle between outward and inward speech: I represent them in the analysis as [± outward]. This marker is inspired by Bakhtin, who writes: "Where ellipses appear, the anticipated responses of the others wedge themselves in."17 Although Bakhtin was addressing a passage from Poor Folk, it pertains equally to the Golyadkin-Ivanovich dialogue, in which each of them iterates between two voices: "one confident, even too confident, and the other too timid."18

Likewise, the word well, which often appears after Ivanovich's pauses and hesitations, usually indicates a mitigation of the directly preceding remarks.

A third marker, which supports the orientation indicated by the ellipses, is a switch in the speaker from using the overt pronoun you to using the nonovert pronoun known as PRO. (PRO occurs, for instance, as the subject of an infinitival clause: "It's not good PRO to stay home all the time.") The switch from the overt pronoun you to PRO is often accompanied by a dropping of modal-verb combinations and the use of gerundized verbs, with which PRO can also occur. Speech that is spoken to the other as "You must abandon the investigation" is more direct and confrontational than "PRO abandoning the investigation would be wise." The shift from you to PRO can also be seen in the change of verbal inflections.

Bakhtinian Style Markers

Several stylistic markers, all of which are based on Bakhtin's writings, also come into play in the analysis. Repetition or long-windedness signals a strong stance against the other as well as self-assurance -- a self-assurance necessitated by a lack of self-confidence. A marker of a strong stance against both the internal other and the external other, repetition or long-windedness may signal for Golyadkin the simulation of independence; that is, resistance to socialization. For Ivanovich, repetition or long-windedness marks domination, often manifested as admonishments for the other to change.

Throughout The Double, as Bakhtin points out, Golyadkin's repetitions often take the form of self-comforting speech in which he repeatedly tells himself that "he's his own man" and, seemingly in contradiction, that "he's like everybody else." Bakhtin writes that "Golyadkin's speech seeks, above all, to simulate total independence from the other's words," leading to endless repetitions that are "directed not outward, not toward another, but toward Golyadkin's own self: he persuades himself, reassures and comforts himself, plays the role of another person vis-a-vis himself."19 Meantime, however, Bakhtin notes another orientation toward the other's voice: "the desire to hide from it, to avoid attracting attention to himself, to bury himself in the crowd, to go unnoticed."20 The simulation of independence and the avoidance of attention, as indicated by the repetition of Golyadkin's discourse and content of his utterances, describes two of Golyadkin's orientations, Bakhtin says. Accordingly, the simulation of independence can be seen as an act of resistance to society, while the avoidance of attention can be seen as hopes of assimilating to it. Both of these tendencies manifest themselves poignantly in the dialogue between Golyadkin and Ivanovich.

In contrast to repetition and long-windedness, a loss of words marks a mitigating, retreating, or receiving position in relation to the other. Reception can in turn give way to concession or submission, which forms, Bakhtin says, the third noteworthy orientation of Golyadkin. In the dialogue between Golyadkin and Ivanovich, submission forms a bridge between the simulation of independence and the desire for social assimilation: It is through capitulating to the socially dependent other within himself that Golyadkin's desire to socialize rises to the surface of conversation. However, concession or submission is, at least in the passage in question, marked simply by the content of the speech.

Speech Actions

Taking the notion of speech action as axiomatic, my analysis relies heavily but in a rather peculiar way on speech act theory. I take my cue from Labov and Fanshel, who have found that

"the crucial actions in establishing coherence of sequencing in conversation are not such speech acts as requests and assertions, but rather challenges, defense, and retreats, which have to do with the status of the participants, their rights and obligations, and their changing relationships in terms of social organization. We define interaction as action which affects (alters or maintains) the relations of the self and others in face-to-face communication. These relations move along several dimensions, which have been identified most usefully as power and solidarity."21

This view of speech acts lends itself well to analyzing the Golyadkin-Ivanovich passage. In examining the coherence of their dialogue, the position that the crucial speech actions are challenges, defenses, and retreats bodes well with my abstracted version of what Bakhtin considers to be the three dialogic orientations of Golyadkin as well as my position that psychoanalytic dialogue can include challenges to conform. Thus, in line with Labov and Fanshel, I will look at the speech actions in the passage primarily in terms of challenges, defenses and retreats. But I may also appeal to the following speech actions, most of which are taken from the list presented by Labov and Fanshel on Page 61 of their book: denial, agreement, retreat or mitigation, intensification, assertion, question, request, and command.

Speech actions, as Labov and Fanshel point out, may also perform metalinguistic operations, such as initiating, interrupting, redirecting, responding, reinforcing, continuing, and repeating.22

Intra-Action

Returning for a moment to the remark by Labov and Fanshel excerpted above, recall that they defined interaction as "action which affects (alters or maintains) the relations of the self and others in face-to-face communication." In accord with the work of Bakhtin, there is a related construct that also plays a role in face-to-face communication: intra-action, which is the relation of the speaking self to the other or others within the self. Such intra-action, as Dostoyevsky has demonstrated, can have a profound affect on the voice of a speaker, endowing an utterance with a multiplicity of voices, some of which may be discordant. As Bakhtin puts it, such utterances can have "a word with a sideward glance."23 In other words, an individual's utterance can simultaneously embody two or more positions. Thus, utterances may be influenced not only by the interlocutor but also by the internal other. In The Double, of course, the conflict between an internal other within Golyadkin and his self becomes so intense that the internal other eventually breaks off from the self to become an external other.

Features of Utterance Content

For the sake of convenience and contrast, the content of many of the utterances in the passage can be reduced to the following features, which complement the speech act analysis:

[± social] [± independence]
[± dominance] [± submission]
[± admonition] [± resistance].
[± confrontation] [± avoidance]
[± permission]

These content markers will be used as an aid in delineating the dichotomy that I am positing between Golyadkin and Ivanovich.

ANALYSIS

The Golyadkin Dichotomy

Among my claims is that the voice of Golyadkin's selves can be heard in the speech of both him and Ivanovich. Their conversation foreshadows Golyadkin's split into the anxious, socially dysfunctional Golyadkin and the well-poised, socially successful Golyadkin Jr. In the passage, Golyadkin primarily represents the voice of Golyadkin Sr. (henceforth simply Golyadkin), while Ivanovich's speech represents the partially objectified voice of Golyadkin Jr. -- objectified because it is, at least in comparison to the discourse of Golyadkin, authoritative and monologic. Ivanovich, in contrast to Golyadkin, projects a relatively nonhybridized, fixed voice. Ivanovich, then, represents an early objectified version of Golyadkin's well-socialized double. As will become apparent during the micro-analysis below, his speech contains a "predominance of socio-typical determining factors."24 Golyadkin's speech, on the other hand, is polyphonic, containing the traits of what Bakhtin calls active discourse: It has, for instance, "hidden internal polemics" and "polemically colored autobiography and confession."25 It is "discourse with a sideways glance at someone else's word.26" In the Ivanovich-Golyadkin passage, Golyadkin's sideways glance is directed toward the reflection of his own alter-ego, which takes the form of Ivanovich. In speaking with Ivanovich, Golyadkin begins a dialogue with his other self.

Divergence and Convergence

These general characteristics of Golyadkin's and Ivanovich's speech -- one polyphonic, internally polemical, double-edged, the other relatively monologic, authoritative, fixed -- illustrate their dispositions. Golyadkin prides himself at once on his independence and on his being like everyone else. He resists socialization but craves it. Meantime, Ivanovich, with his "ribbon of an important Order,"27 seems to be a model of assimilation, of success within the dominant social order.

Indeed, Golyadkin and Ivanovich are opposites. But since Ivanovich is a reflection of the other within Golyadkin, there is a bit of the one in each of the others, a relationship that gives rise to levels of divergence in their speech -- along with the possibility of convergence. Their degree of divergence stands in direct relation to their degree of conflict: The greater the divergence, the more intense the conflict.

The degree of divergence between the two in the passage can be placed into three categories: extreme, moderate, and slight. For Golyadkin, extreme divergence from Ivanovich comes in the form of firm resistance to his dominance as represented by admonitions to socialize. Moderate divergence takes the form of avoidance of confrontation or attention. Slight divergence, indifference. Convergence with the other would come in the form of submission. These forms of Golyadkin's divergence, as well as those for Ivanovich, coincide with some of the central features I have used to mark the content of the utterances.

The degree of Ivanovich's divergence from Golyadkin takes roughly opposite forms: slight divergence, a questioning, allowing, or receptive posture; moderate divergence, confrontation; and extreme divergence, a posture of domination marked by Ivanovich's strongest words toward Golyadkin. Those words, as I will now turn to demonstrating, are primarily admonitions to socialize.

Micro-Analysis

This section presents a step-by-step analysis of the part of the Golyadkin-Ivanovich passage that begins on Page 133 and continues through Page 135 of The Double.28 Although I set the stage with a brief analysis of each participant's posture as the interaction gets under way, I quickly turn toward their verbal interaction.

(1)
GOLYADKIN,
just before entering the doctor's office:
§Act: Approach and initiation.
§Posture: `tried to give his countenance a suitably detached air ... and entered'29
§Content Features of Posture: [+resistance].
§Degree of Divergence: At once extreme and slight.
§Notes: Golyadkin seems to at once begin resisting the doctor by trying to appear detached, an action that signifies withdrawal from interaction, yet nonetheless enters the office and proceeds to interact with the doctor.
IVANOVICH, upon being interrupted by Golyadkin's entrance:
§Act: Response.
§Posture: `involuntarily revealed an almost displeased expression'
§Content Features of Posture: possibly [+confrontation].
§Degree of Divergence: moderate.
§Notes: Contrast the way in which Golyadkin Jr. often sneers at the appearance of Golyadkin later in the book. Examples of this posture abound: "`Well, sir?' asked Mr Golyadkin junior, facing Mr Golyadkin senior with some insolence"30; "Mr Golyadkin junior glanced ironically at Mr Golyadkin senior, thus openly and impudently flouting him"31. Golyadkin junior's displeased glances upon seeing Golyadkin senior mix with the former's mischievous, fraudulent smiles toward the latter.
 
(2) GOLYADKIN:
§Act:
Initiation.
§Posture: `challenging stare'
§Content Features of posture: [+independence].
§Degree of Divergence: Fairly extreme.
§Notes: Golyadkin's "challenging stare" simulates independence, implying that he is his own master.
IVANOVICH:
§Act:
Response.
§Posture: `questioning, inspectorial look'
§Content Features of posture: [+permission].
§Degree of Divergence: Slight.
 
(3) GOLYADKIN:
(A)
§Metalinguistic Act:
Initiate.
§Speech: "I've come to trouble you and crave your indulgence"
§Speech Action: Request (for a listener).
§Features of Utterance Content: [+submission].
§Degree of Divergence: Slight.
§Notes:
By using the utterances "come to trouble you" and "crave your indulgence," Golyadkin seems to be acknowledging his subordinate position in relation to the doctor; or, to put it another way, he seems to be saying that he is not his own master. The use of these two utterances, however, may be closely linked to the social status of each participant, with it perhaps being customary to address doctors with some deference.
(B)
§Metalinguistic Act:
Withdrawal.
§Speech: `loss for words'
§Speech Action: Retreat (from request for a listener).
§Features of Utterance Content: [+avoidance].
§Degree of Divergence: Moderate.
§Bakhtinian Style Markers: A loss of words marks a mitigating or retreating position in relation to the other.
§Notes: The existence of the Bakhtinian style marker lends support to the speech act interpretation.
IVANOVICH:
§Metalinguistic Act:
Response.
§Speech: "but you must follow my instructions"
§Speech Action: Command.
§Features of Utterance Content: [+dominance].
§Degree of Divergence: Extreme.
§Linguistic Markers: Use of overt pronoun "you" and auxiliary "must" indicates the utterance's confrontational slant.
§Notes: Contrast the commands of a father to a child, or of a teacher to a pupil.
 
(4) IVANOVICH:
(A)
§Metalinguistic Act:
Continuation.
§Speech: "the treatment must consist in changing your habits"
§Speech Action: Assertion.
§Features of Utterance Content: [+admonition].
§Degree of Divergence: Extreme.
§Linguistic Markers: Use of auxiliary "must" indicates the utterance's admonitional content.
(B)
§Metalinguistic Act:
Continuation.
§Speech: Hesitation/pause (represented in passage by ellipsis).
§Speech Action: Mitigation.
§Features of Utterance Content: N/A.
§Degree of Divergence: Moving toward moderate.
§Bakhtinian Style Markers: [+outward].
§Notes: Ivanovich's speech is being reoriented toward the other.
(C)
§Metalinguistic
Act: Continuation.
§Speech: "Well, relaxation, something to take you out of yourself; well, for instance, PRO visiting friends and acquaintances, and at the same time PRO not being afraid PRO to take a drink; and, likewise, PRO keeping to cheerful company."
§Speech Action: Request for action.
§Features of Utterance Content: [+social].
§Degree of Divergence: Moderate.
§Linguistic Markers: Nonovert PRO instead of overt pronoun "you;" gerundized verb forms.
GOLYADKIN:
§Metalinguistic Act:
Response.
§Speech: `he was like everybody else' (In the passage, this segment is paraphrased by the narrator.)
§Speech Action: Refusal with account.
§Features of Utterance Content: [+ avoidance].
§Degree of Divergence: Moderate.
§Bakhtinian Style Markers:
Repetition, long-windedness.
§Notes: Repetition or long-windedness signals a strong stance against the other as well as self-assurance -- a self-assurance necessitated by a lack of self-confidence.
 
(5) IVANOVICH:
(A)
§Metalinguistic
Act: Redirection.
§Speech: "H'm, no, that kind of arrangement is not what I meant, and not at all what I should like to ask you about. I am interested to learn whether in general you are fond of convivial company and like having a good time."
§Speech Actions: 1. Denial. 2. Question.
§Features of Utterance Content: [+social].
§Degree of Divergence:
Moderate.
§Linguistic Markers: Use of first-person "I" before addressing the other with "you" indicates the [-outward] orientation of the speech.
(B)
§Metalinguistic Act:
Continuation.
§Speech: Hesitation/pause (represented in passage by ellipsis).
§Speech Action: Mitigation.
§Features of Utterance Content: N/A.
§Degree of Divergence: Moving toward high end of moderate.
§Bakhtinian Style Markers: [+outward].
§Notes: Ivanovich's speech is being reoriented toward the other.
(C)
§Metalinguistic
Act: Repetition.
§Speech: "Well, are you now leading a melancholy or a cheerful kind of life?"
§Speech Action: Question.
§Features of Utterance Content: [+social].
§Degree
of Divergence: High end of moderate.
§Linguistic Markers: Addressing the other with "you" supplants presence of first-person "I."
GOLYADKIN:
§Metalinguistic
Act: Response.
§Speech: "Well, Christian Ivanovich, I..."
 
(7) IVANOVICH:
(A)
§Metalinguistic Act:
Interruption followed by repetition.
§Speech: "H'm....I was saying," the doctor interrupted, "that you require a radical transformation of your whole life and, in a certain sense, a change in your character."
§Speech Action: Assertion.
§Features of Utterance Content: [+admonition].
§Degree of Divergence: Extreme.
§Linguistic Markers: Presence of overt pronoun "you."
§Bakhtinian Style Markers: For Ivanovich, repetition or long-windedness marks domination, often manifested as admonishments for the other to change.
(B)
§Metalinguistic
Act: Continuation.
§Speech: Pause (represented in passage by narrator's observation).
§Speech Action: Mitigation.
§Features of Utterance Content: N/A.
§Degree of Divergence: Moving toward moderate.
§Bakhtinian Style Markers: [+outward].
§Notes: Ivanovich's speech is being reoriented toward the other.
(C)
§Metalinguistic
Act: Continuation with repetition.
§Speech: "Don't PRO shun the pleasures of life; PRO go to the theatre and the club, and whatever you do, don't be afraid of taking a drink. It's not good PRO to stay at home all the time"
§Speech Action: Request for action.
§Features of Utterance Content: [+social].
§Degree of Divergence: High end of moderate.
§Linguistic Markers: Frequent use of nonovert PRO instead of overt "you."
§Bakhtinian Style Markers: For Ivanovich, repetition or long-windedness marks domination, often manifested as admonishments for the other to change.
(D)
§Metalinguistic
Act: Continuation.
§Speech: Hesitation/pause (represented in the passage by ellipsis).
§Speech Action: Intensification.
§Features of Utterance Content: N/A.
§Degree of Divergence: Moving toward extreme.
§Bakhtinian Style Markers: [-outward].
§Notes: Ivanovich's speech is being reoriented away the other.
(E)
§Metalinguistic Act:
Reinforcement.
§Speech: "you simply must not sit at home."
§Speech Action: Command.
§Features of Utterance Content: [+admonition] and [+social].
§Degree of Divergence: Extreme.
§Linguistic Markers: Use of "you" instead of PRO, accompanied by auxiliary "must."
§Bakhtinian Style Markers: For Ivanovich, repetition marks domination, manifested here as an admonishment for the other to change.
 
GOLYADKIN:
(A)
§Metalinguistic Act:
Response.
§Speech: "I like quiet [...]"
§Speech Action: Refusal with account.
§Features of Utterance Content: [-social].
§Degree of Divergence: Moderate.
(B)
§Metalinguistic
Act: Continuation.
§Speech: `searching for the words that would most successfully express his meaning' (paraphrased by narrator)
§Speech Action: Intensification.
§Features of Utterance Content: N/A.
§Degree of Divergence: Moving toward extreme.
§Bakhtinian Style Markers: [-outward].
§Notes: Golyadkin's speech is being reoriented toward the other with a greater intensity that signals his resistance to come.
(C)
§Metalinguistic
Act: Continuation with repetition.
§Speech: "[...] I mean, I go my own way, Christian Ivanovich, my own particular way, Christian Ivanovich. I am a man apart, and as far as I can see, I don't depend on anybody."
§Speech Action: Refusal with account (continuation from (A) above).
§Features of Utterance Content: [+independence].
§Degree of Divergence: Extreme.
§Bakhtinian Style Marker: A marker of a strong stance against both the internal other and the external other, repetition or long-windedness signals here the simulation of independence; that is, resistance to socialization.
 
(8) GOLYADKIN:
§Metalinguistic Act:
Redirection.
§Speech: "I want to go out, too, Christian Ivanovich."
§Speech Action: Agreement.
§Features of Utterance Content: [+social].
§Degree of Divergence: None -- Convergence.
IVANOVICH:
§Metalinguistic
Act: Response.
§Speech: "What? ... Oh, yes! Well, there's no pleasure in going out nowadays; the weather's very bad."
§Speech Action: Agreement.
§Features of Utterance Content: [-social].
§Degree of Divergence: None -- Convergence.

CONCLUSION

Psychoanalysis claims for itself the terrain of the inner man, the depths of consciousness, making itself into a modern religion that, like most religions, aims to redeem the human soul. Nearly half a century before Freud, Dostoyevsky considered the main task of his realism to be the representation of these depths of the human soul, Bakhtin says. Dostoyevsky believed these depths were "revealed only in an intense act of address." On an interpretation of Dostoyevsky profoundly related to psychoanalysis, Bakhtin writes:

"It is impossible to master the inner man, to see and understand him by making him into an object of indifferent neutral analysis; it is also impossible to master him by merging with him, by empathizing with him. No, one can approach him and reveal him -- or more precisely, force him to reveal himself -- only by addressing him dialogically. And to portray the inner man, as Dostoevsky understood it, was possible only by portraying his communion with another. Only in communion, in the interaction of one person with another, can the `man in man' be revealed, for others as well as for oneself."32

Was communion what Golyadkin was seeking by coming to Ivanovich for another visit? Certainly, Golyadkin sought to commune with, first, Clara Olsufyevna, and later, with his own double, Golyadkin Jr., after initially encountering him in the street. Probably, he was seeking an interaction that would reveal self within himself. If so, he found two selves there: His own, and the reflection of his inner other in the words of the doctor. In the least, though, Golyadkin was merely seeking conversation with a doctor to help him cope with the problems he was experiencing in trying to assimilate comfortably with the rest of society.

But even by entering into the conversation of psychoanalysis, the mechanisms of conformity, Sontag would say, may have already begun. The analysis of psychological discourse must be taken well beyond the confines of psychoanalytic theory to actual exchanges between the modern therapist and patient, to the words of the patient when spoken not in the language of psychology, but in the language of madness. Golyadkin senior embodies the language of madness while beginning to spurn discourses of reason, just as the Underground Man did in his hidden polemics against Descartes:

"And, to sum the whole thing up, why are you so certain that not flying in the face of his real, normal interests, certified by the deductions of reason and arithmetic, is really always for his good and must be a law for all mankind? After all, for the time being it is only your supposition. Even if we assume it as a rule of logic, it may not be a law for all mankind at all. Perhaps you think I'm mad, gentlemen?"33

Against the Underground Man's language of madness, and against the comparatively primitive language of Golyadkin, must be measured the responses of the psychiatrist, Foucault tells us. As I have shown in the passage from The Double, the responses of Ivanovich, who I have shown mirrors the socially charged other within Golyadkin, largely ignore Golyadkin's concerns, admonishing him instead to engage in social activity. The psychiatrist seems not to hear Golyadkin at all. Next Ivanovich mitigates his admonitions until he finally comes into agreement with Golyadkin: a temporary convergence, a merger. A compromise between reason and insanity.

But by the end of the story, after Golyadkin Jr. has split off from himself and left Golyadkin Sr. teetering on the edge of social exile, appearing to the rest of society as nothing short of mad, it is Ivanovich, the psychiatrist, who Dostoyevsky chooses to remove Golyadkin Sr. from a final social gathering and to lead him away to the asylum. In the end, the psychiatrist -- and perhaps the whole institution of psychology -- becomes Golyadkin's jailer.


Notes

1. Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols, trans. R. J. Hollingdale (Middlesex, England: Penguin, 1968), p. 22. Italics in original.

2. Ibid. p. 23.

3. Susan Sontag, Against Interpretation and Other Essays, "Psychoanalysis and Norman O. Brown's Life Against Death" (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1966), p. 258.

4. Ibid. p. 260.

5. Ibid. p. 258.

6. Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983), p. xx.

7. Ibid. p. xvii.

8. Peter D. Kramer, Listening to Prozac (New York: Penguin, 1993), p. 271.

9. Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason, trans. Richard Howard (New York: Random House, 1965), pp. x-xi. Italics in original.

10. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Idiot, trans. David Magarshack (London: Penguin Books, 1955), pp. 405-406.

11. Ibid. p. 280.

12. Ibid. pp. 288-299. Italics in original.

13. Gillian Brown and George Yule, Discourse Analysis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), p. 11.

14. Mikhail M. Bakhtin, Speech Genres & Other Late Essays, trans. Vern M. McGee, eds. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986), p. 160.

15. Simon Blackburn, The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), p. 190.

16. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, trans. G.E.M. Anscombe, 3d ed. (New York: Macmillan, 1958), No. 198.

17. Mikhail Bakhtin, Problems in Dostoevsky's Poetics, ed. and trans. by Caryl Emerson (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984), p. 214.

18. Ibid. p. 214.

19. Ibid. pp. 211-212.

20. Ibid. p. 212.

21. William Labov and David Fanshel, Therapeutic Discourse: Psychotherapy as Conversation (New York: Academic Press, 1977), p. 61.

22. For a chart of some of the speech actions I have used in the analysis, see the attached photocopy of Page 61 from Labov and Fanshel's Therapeutic Discourses at the end of this essay.

23. Mikhail Bakhtin, Problems in Dostoevsky's Poetics, p. 208.

24. Ibid. p. 199.

25. Ibid. p. 199.

26. Ibid.

27. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Double, trans. Jessie Coulson (Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1972), p. 133.

28. For the full text of the passage, the reader is referred to Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Double, trans. Jessie Coulson (Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1972), pp. 133-144.

29. Narration and the narrator's paraphrases of dialogue are enclosed in single quotation marks; dialogue is enclosed in double quotation marks.

30. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Double, p. 203.

31. Ibid. p. 207.

32. Mikhail Bakhtin, Problems in Dostoevsky's Poetics, pp. 251-252.

33. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From Underground, trans. Jessie Coulson (Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1972), p. 39. Italics in original.


Related essays on discourse analysis and psychoanalysis:

The Construction of The Double As Social Object.
The Myth of Psychoanalysis: Wittgenstein Contra Freud.
Interpretation and Indeterminancy in Discourse Analysis.
A Wittgensteinian Approach to Discourse Analysis.



Abstract

Walker Percy on
Psychotherapy

From Walker Percy's novel The Thanatos Syndrome (New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1987).

"I contrived that it crossed her mind that her terror might not be altogether bad. What if it might be trying to tell her something, like the mysterious visitor in her dream? I seldom give anxious patients drugs. If you do, they may feel better for a while, but they'll never find out what the terror is trying to tell them." (p. 6.)

"Dr. Jung was right in encouraging his patients to believe that their anxeity and depression might be trying to tell them something of value. They are not just symptoms. It helps enormously when a patient can make friends with her terror, plumb the depths of her depression." (p. 67.)

"Sometimes I think that is the best thing we shrinks do, render the unspeakable speakable." (p. 17.)

"... the posterior speech center, Wernicke's area, Brodmann 39 and 40, in the left brain of right-handed people. It is not only the major speech center but, according to neurologists, the locus of self-consciousness, the `I,' the utterer, the `self'." (p. 22.)

"Cure? No. What's a cure in this day and age? Maybe a cure is knowing there is no cure." (p. 76.)

"It looks as if real failure is unspeakable. TV has screwed up millions of people with their little rounded-off stories. Because that is not the way life is. Life is fits and starts, mostly fits. Life doesn't have to stop with failure. Not only do you not have to jump in the creek, you can even take pleasure in the general fecklessness of life ... " (p. 75.)

"I discovered that it is not the sex that terrifies people. It is that they are stuck with themselves. It is not knowing who they are or what to do with themselves. They are frightened out of their wits that they are not doing what, according to experts, books, films, TV, they are supposed to be doing. They, the experts, know, don't they?" (p. 88, ital in original.)

 


The Myth of the
Scientific Solution

By Steve Hoenisch

In my essay The Myth of Psychoanalysis, the central thesis is that if, as Wittgenstein says, Freudian psychoanalysis is based in myth, its application to actual psychological problems does not, indeed cannot, resolve them. Instead, all it can do is clarify them or present them in a different light. Implicit in my argument is that this is how Wittgenstein thought of the results of psychoanalysis, much like he thought of the application of his philosophical technique to philosophical problems, especially those of metaphysics, ethics, and aesthetics. As such, Wittgenstein is also subverting a larger myth: that the insights gained in psychoanalysis lead to the scientific resolution of psychological problems. One of Wittgenstein's remarks about psychoanalysis, made in 1938, explicitly confirms that he saw the results of psychoanalysis not as a resolution of psychological problems, but as merely a way of changing the way they are seen, thereby dissolving them through clarification: "In a way, having oneself psychoanalyzed is like eating from the tree of knowledge. Knowledge acquired sets us (new) ethical problems; but contributes nothing to their solution."12

Read on by jumping to The Myth of Psychoanalysis.


Related essays on discourse analysis and psychoanalysis:

The Construction of The Double As Social Object.

The Myth of Psychoanalysis: Wittgenstein Contra Freud.

Interpretation and Indeterminancy in Discourse Analysis.

A Wittgensteinian Approach to Discourse Analysis.

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