This dream analysis provides a revised version of an earlier analysis I had submitted to my treating psychiatrist at the George Washington University Medical Center, Suzanne M. Pitts, M.D. That earlier analysis to Dr. Pitts, dated February 8, 1993, presented a written interpretation of a dream I had had in March 1990, while I was in therapy with Stanley R. Palombo, M.D., a psychiatrist in private practice in Washington.
I may have had the dream on Friday March 16, 1990; my sessions with Dr. Palombo were on Friday afternoons. My older niece was born on March 16, 1975, so I may have had the dream on my niece's 15th birthday. On Sunday March 16, 1975 my mother telephoned me from the hospital to tell me that my sister had given birth to a baby girl. I was a student at Penn State at the time, living in State College, Pennsylvania. I can recall that I was reading the recently-published book "Freud and His Followers" by Paul Roazen when I received that telephone call. On Friday evening March 16, 1990 I would have watched the TV show "Baywatch." "Baywatch" was an American television series about the Los Angeles County Lifeguards who patrol the beaches of Los Angeles County.
The present text format is largely identical to the format of the previous analysis to Dr. Pitts, dated February 8, 1993; revisions are clearly indicated, and are found at the following places: paragraphs 7, 8, 16, and footnotes 1 through 5.
THE DREAM OF THE FOUR MILTONS
I have just completed a session with Dr. Palombo. I go outside the apartment building in which Dr. Palombo's office is located. Dr. Palombo is lounging in a swimming pool on an inflatable raft with a friend, also a physician. Dr. Palombo's friend says to me: "Dr. Palombo is such a humble person, he probably never told you about his background, did he? Dr. Palombo is an outstanding physician. He was founder of the department of psychiatry at the School of Medicine at Penn State." Dr. Palombo's friend mentions that Dr. Palombo is Jewish. At that point I think, "I knew it. I knew that he was Jewish. He's too fine a doctor not to be a Jewish doctor." But then I think, "But 'Palombo' isn't a Jewish name." First I reason that perhaps Dr. Palombo is an Italian Jew. (Compare the chemist and writer Primo Levi, an Italian-Jewish holocaust survivor. Also, for part of the year during the seventh grade, in the spring of 1966, I had an English teacher of Italian-Jewish heritage, Joanne Altus; I vaguely recall that her father was a pharmacist.) I then reject the idea that Dr. Palombo is Italian at all, and settle on the idea that he must be a Jew who has changed his name. I think, "His name must have been something like 'Palombofsky' and he changed it to 'Palombo.'"
I find myself in a bedroom. I imagine that it is a hotel room. The room resembles my parents' bedroom. I feel that I am an observer in the bedroom--that I have no active connection with the locale or the persons in the room. A woman in the room receives a telephone call. It is room service. The woman is advised that the hotel is sending a birthday cake up to the room, since it is the woman's birthday. Dr. Palombo arrives. The woman tells Dr. Palombo that room service is sending up a birthday cake in honor of the woman's birthday. Dr. Palombo becomes enraged. He says to the woman, "I am the great Stanley Palombo, a professor of medicine, and one of the greatest psychiatrists in the world. And room service is sending you a birthday cake? Who are you? You're nobody!"
1. In about May 1967, while I was a student in the eighth grade, our class went on a trip to the capital of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, the seat of government. We visited the Capitol building and other sites. On the return trip we stopped off at Hershey, Pennsylvania, and visited the Hershey chocolate factory.
2. In the eighth grade I was elected by fellow students president of my home room class.
3. As part of public relations, the Hershey company used to distribute to visitors a complimentary packet of its chocolate products, together with a pamphlet describing the history of chocolate, the manufacturing process, the Hershey company, and the town of Hershey. The pamphlet also mentioned that the town of Hershey was the future site of the School of Medicine of the Pennsylvania State University, The Hershey Medical Center, then under construction. On the bus ride back to Philadelphia I can recall reading the pamphlet, which included an artist's rendering of the Hershey Medical Center. Until the opening of the Hershey Medical Center, Penn State did not have a medical school; the first time I learned of Penn State's plans to establish a medical school was during this bus ride back from Hershey. The facts concerning the Hershey Medical Center made an impression on me, but, at that time, I could not identify why.
4. In about November 1965, while I was in the seventh grade, I had elected to read, as part of an assignment for English class, a biography of the manufacturer and philanthropist, Milton S. Hershey. I can recall that I enjoyed the book a great deal. Mrs. Snyder was my English teacher at that time; she was later replaced by Ms. Joanne Altus. I can also vaguely recall that at the time I was reading the Hershey biography, I was ill (possibly bedridden) with a bad cold.
5. Collier's Encyclopedia contains the following biography of Milton S. Hershey. Note the resemblance between the manufacturer-philanthropist Milton Hershey and Victor Hugo's fictional creation, Jean Valjean. The Hugo character, in the guise of Pere Madeleine, accumulates great wealth from the manufacture of glass beads, based on a process of his own creation; the wealth created by his factory transforms the previously economically-stagnant town in which it is located, and he becomes the town's benefactor.
Hershey, Milton Snavely (1857-1945), American candy manufacturer and philanthropist, was born in Derry Township, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, on September 13, 1857. After attending rural schools, he was apprenticed to a confectioner in Lancaster, Pa. By 1876 he was making candy and operating his own store in Philadelphia, and later he manufactured candy in New York City. Both these ventures ended in failure. Returning to Lancaster, he began to make caramels, an undertaking so successful that in 1900 the business was sold to the American Caramel Company for $1,000,000. Near his birthplace in Derry Township, he experimented with chocolate, perfecting the "Hershey Bar." In 1903 he began construction of a factory, which ultimately became the world's largest chocolate manufacturing plant. The town of Hershey was developed simultaneously, according to careful plans. In 1909, he and his wife, Catherine Sweeney Hershey, founded the Milton Hershey school to provide a home and an education for orphan boys. The school was endowed with the major portion of his wealth. College preparatory, business, and vocational courses are available to students, who live on a 12,000-acre (4,850-hectare) campus surrounding the town of Hershey. The M. S. Hershey Foundation was created in 1936 for the support of the public schools in Derry Township, and for the establishment and maintenance of Hershey Junior College, which provides two years of education, tuition-free, for residents of the township, children of Hershey employees, and graduates of the Milton Hershey School. Hershey died on October 13, 1945, in Hershey.
6. In August 1980, upon beginning my second year of law school, I moved to the Sylvania House, an apartment building in downtown Philadelphia. The building was a converted hotel. For the following three years, until August 1983, I lived in what was really a hotel room. In the spring of 1981 construction began--on a lot adjacent to the Sylvania House--on a hotel, the Hershey Hotel, owned by the chocolate manufacturing company (and subsequently sold to the Hilton Company). (Compare the conjunction of Sylvania House and Hershey Hotel with Pennsylvania State House and Hershey Manufacturing Company. See paragraph 1). The window of my apartment overlooked the construction site, just across an alley from my apartment building. I have very negative memories of the Hershey Hotel. First, the noise emanating from the construction site was incredibly loud. (I can recall on one occasion that in order to make a telephone call I had to take the telephone into the bathroom and shut the bathroom door in order to hear the party to whom I was talking.) As the building rose in height, it blocked the view from my window. Later, in the spring of 1983, when the hotel opened, the exhaust from the hotel's kitchen, just across an alley from my apartment window, filled the apartment with a less than agreeable odor. The associations to the Hershey Hotel are obviously anal: the noise, vibrations, and the unpleasant odor. The negative, anal associations to the Hershey Hotel contrast with my earlier-formed idealized associations to Milton Hershey, and may be related to the split dream image of Dr. Palombo as both an idealized physician and a frightful egoist.
7. [newly-added material: March 1997] It is useful at this point to observe that a hospital and a hotel have several prominent similar characteristics and several prominent polar-opposite characteristics, so that at an unconscious level the idea of a hospital (or medical center) can negate the idea of a hotel, and vice versa.
(Symbolism similar to that contained in the present dream informs the completed work of creative writers. In Death in Venice Thomas Mann depicts a cholera outbreak in the Italian resort city of Venice; the story's hero succumbs to the illness while vacationing at the Hotel des Bains on the Lido. Death in Venice elaborates the themes of forbidden sexual idealization (narcissistic mirroring), illness and death, and the vain pursuit by the hero of a restorative cure while a guest at a resort hotel.)
sexual intercourse disapproved or forbidden,
though enticements abound
place of suffering
place for cure
place to die
rented rooms with service personnel
Hershey Medical Center
socially-approved place for sexual intercourse
place for recreation
place for restorative "cure" (vacation)
place for sex*
rented rooms with service personnel
*Sexual potency is the biological and, according to Freud and others, the psychological antithesis of
death. Rothenberg, A. "Janusian Thinking and Creativity." In: The Psychoanalytic Study of Society. Gertrude R. Ticho, M.D., contributing editor. Vol. 7: 1-30 at 6. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1976).
With specific reference to the symbolism of the present dream, we see that the idea of a "birthday cake" is consistent with both a hotel and, ironically, a hospital: a hotel guest might plausibly be sent a birthday cake by room service, and, as a symbolic--or negated--image of a surgical patient about to be cut apart, a dream image of a birthday cake is also consistent with dream thoughts of a hospital.
surgical patient on gurney being wheeled to
cutting of patient (castration)
patient is center of attention (situation-
death of patient
birthday cake on cart being wheeled to guest's
cutting of cake (prelude to oral incorporation:
body-ego equivalent of idealization)
birthday celebrant is center of attention
celebration of longevity
The present dream comprises two symmetrical parts; the symbolism of one part negates the symbolism of the other. In Part I the affects of pride, narcissistic mirroring (idealization), and ego mastery are associated, in the manifest content, with the Medical Center (which carries the latent imagery of suffering and death); Part II features the affects of rage and identity threat in relation to a manifest joyful symbol (the birthday cake) in a hotel setting (a negation of suffering, death, and castration).
symbolic of suffering, death, castration
operative affects in Part I of dream are
pride, narcissistic mirroring (idealization),
and ego mastery
manifest reference in Part I of dream to
hospital as a source of pride negates the
identity of a hospital as a place of suffering,
death, and castration
symbolic of recreation ("sex and fun")
operative affects in Part II of dream are
rage/identity threat (castration)
manifest image of birthday cake, which
celebrates longevity, negates the image
of a dying surgical patient
8. [newly-added material: March 1997] Erikson has asserted that an important but neglected form of ego adaptation is the capacity to change the environment. Rothenberg, A. "Janusian Thinking and Creativity." In: The Psychoanalytic Study of Society. Vol. 7: 1-30 at 3. Gertrude R. Ticho, M.D., contributing editor. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1976). In Erikson's view, the resolution of one individual's intrapsychic conflict may require or entail conflicts with the environment that ultimately destroy the existing order, yet provide an essential avenue for societal rejuvenation: "In the case of great young men (and in the cases of many vital young ones of whom we should not demand that they reveal at all costs the stigmata of greatness in order to justify confusion and conflict), rods which measure consistency, inner balance, or proficiency simply do not fit the relevant dimensions. On the contrary, a case could be made for the necessity for extraordinary conflicts, at times both felt and judged to be desperate. For if some youths did not feel estranged from the compromise patterns into which their societies have settled down, if some did not force themselves almost against their own wills to insist, at the price of isolation, on finding an original way of meeting our existential problems, societies would lose an essential avenue of rejuvenation and to that rebellious expansion of human consciousness which alone can keep pace with the technological and social change. To retrace, as we are doing here, such a step of expansion involves taking account of the near downfall of the man who took it, partially in order to understand better the origin of greatness, and partially in order to acknowledge the fact that the trauma of near defeat follows a great man through life. I have already quoted Kierkegaard's statement that [Martin] Luther lived and acted always as if lightening were about to strike behind him. Furthermore, a great man carries the trauma of his near downfall and his mortal grudge against the near assassins of his identity into the years of his creativity and beyond, into his decline; he builds his hates and his grudges into his system as bulwarks--bulwarks which eventually make the system first rigid and finally, brittle." Erikson, E.H. Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History at 149-150 (New York: W.W. Norton, 1958).
Recognizing that allusions to greatness and references to world-historical figures may provoke accusations of grandiosity, it is, therefore, well to point out that my life history--my lived experience--parallels in at least one important way Erikson's own life-history, a lived (and not a fantasy) experience that provided both the motive, or energy, and reality-based referent for Erikson's later psychohistorical explorations of ego adaptation.
"Erik Homburger Erikson was born of Danish parents in Frankfurt, Germany on June 15, 1902. His religious background was mixed. On his mother's side, one of his ancestors was chief rabbi of Stockholm; on his father's, there was a Protestant church historian and pastor. Erikson's parents separated before his birth, and when he was three years old his mother married Dr. Theodor Homburger, a Jewish pediatrician, in Karlsruhe. When he was growing up he was known as Erik Homburger, and for many years mother and stepfather led him to believe that he was Homburger's son. 'This loving deceit,' as he later called it, was undoubtedly a prime influence in the development of his interest in problems of identity. Erikson's experiences at school and synagogue compounded his personal identity confusion. Although born a Dane, he thought of himself as a German, but anti-Semitic German classmates rejected him, and at synagogue he was called 'the goy' because of his Nordic features." 1/ Current Biography 1971 at 118, Charles Moritz, editor. (New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1971).
According to Brenman-Gibson "the creative process [is capable of transposing] any human experience into a symbolic equivalent." Brenman-Gibson, M. Clifford Odets, American Playwright at 624 n. 2.4 (New York: Atheneum, 1981). It is a plausible corollary that similar life circumstances, experienced by different individuals of similar sensibilities, may give rise to similar creative transpositions.
Erikson's culturally-confused life-history (not unlike my own)--linked as it is to Erikson's psychoanalytic explorations of alloplastic adaptation (and historical greatness)--points to the connection in the present dream text between, on the one hand, the reference to Dr. Palombo's alloplastic adaptation (his act of founding the Department of Psychiatry, an act of "greatness") and, on the other, the reference to his identity confusion ("But Palombo isn't a Jewish name!"). Perhaps the following unconscious thought gave rise to these connected dream ideas: "A great man (like Moses, an identity-confused Hebrew raised as an Egyptian) must always have had a confused youth. It cannot be, simply, that he did these great things as an adult without some earlier identity struggle; there has to be more to this story than we know." The dream idea of a self-founded "Department of Psychiatry" may reflect the wish fulfillment of a socially-marginal and lonely youth whose identity-mediated alienation obviates any meaningful or satisfying social source of identity recognition: it is a lonely youth's dream of a self-created niche, or environment, where that youth's particularized needs for identity recognition will be met, and where his ego capacities may be actualized. Cf. Post, J.M. "Current Concepts of the Narcissistic Personality: Implications for Political Psychology." Political Psychology 14(1): 99-121, March 1993 (discussing the "mirror-hungry" personality of charismatic political leaders who require sycophantic followers as well as an ego-expedient environment to actualize dreams of glory. Freud and his followers seem to fit into this category).
9. As an expression of a need for narcissistic mirroring the construction of Milton Hershey's model company town, Hershey, Pennsylvania, is dynamically related to a celebrated literary idea: Faust's image of an idealized new land, a paradise to be created on a reclaimed swamp (See Goethe's Faust: Part II, Act V, "Great Forecourt of the Palace," lines 11559-11586). (Note that Faust's occupation was alchemy; compare the occupations of Primo Levi (a chemist) and John Altus (a pharmacist 2/), in the dream narration. Also, note the similarity between Faust's imagined paradise and the Zionists' vision of the land of Israel; Jesse Raben, a fellow legal assistant at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld--where I was employed at the time of the dream in March 1990--had lived in Israel.)
Faust: A swamp there by the mountain lies,
Infecting everything attained;
If that foul pool could once be drained,
The feat would outstrip every prize.
For many millions I shall open spaces
Where they, not safe but active-free, having dwelling places.
Verdant the field and fruitful; man and beast
Alike upon that newest earth well pleased,
Shall settle soon the mighty strength of hill
Raised by a bold and busy people's will,
And here inside, a land like Paradise.
Then let the outer flood to dike's rim rise
And as it eats and seeks to crush by force,
The common will will rush to stem its course.
To this opinion I am given wholly
And this is wisdom's final say:
Freedom and life belong to that man solely
Who must reconquer them each day.
Thus child and man and old man will live here
Beset by peril year on busy year.
Such in their multitudes I hope to see
On free soil standing with a people free.
Then to that moment I could say:
Linger on you are so fair!
Nor can the traces of my earthly day
In many aeons pass away.--
Foresensing all the rapture of that dream,
This present moment gives me joy supreme.
10. During the fall term of my senior year at Penn State, in 1974, I took a history course, "The History of the American Worker," taught by Dr. Gerald Eggert. (In November 1974, Milton Shapp was elected to a second term as Governor of Pennsylvania. See paragraph 13.) As part of the course, students were assigned a book concerning the Pullman strike. (Of possible psychoanalytical interest is the fact that the name "Pullman" is phonetically related to the word "pulmonary," that is, relating to the lungs, the point of origin and destination of, respectively, arterial and venous blood. See paragraph 16.) Dr. Eggert was himself an expert on the Pullman strike. His Ph.D. thesis, to which he referred occasionally, concerned Richard Olney, the U.S. Attorney General, appointed by President Grover Cleveland in 1893, the year before the strike. Pullman, like Milton Hershey, had constructed a "model" company town (compare Faust's image of a man-made paradise), Pullman, Illinois, for workers employed in the Pullman Palace Car Company, a manufacturer of railroad sleeping, dining, and vestibule cars. Pullman sought to duplicate in his railroad cars the amenities and comforts available in the finer hotels. (Dr. Eggert later prepared a letter of recommendation for me for law school.) (The high school I attended, Central High School--an all-boys school--was located at the intersection of Ogontz and Olney Avenues in Philadelphia.) (I vaguely recall that Dr. Eggert had a daughter named Christine. My supervisor at the time of the dream (in March 1990) was Christine Robertson.) 3/
The Encyclopedia Americana contains the following discussion of the Pullman strike: "a nationwide railway strike in 1894 that culminated in the use of federal troops. It began with a strike of 2,500 employees against the Pullman Palace Car Company, based in a company town that owner George M. Pullman had built just south of Chicago. The employees were protesting wage cuts and high rents imposed on them by the Pullman Company. On June 26, Eugene V. Debs and the American Railway Union launched a sympathetic boycott of all Pullman cars. When the railroads retaliated by firing union members, the union struck the railroads, and by the end of the month the work stoppage had spread across the country. On June 30, U.S. Attorney General Richard Olney deputized 3,600 men to keep the trains running, and on July 2 he obtained a federal court injunction barring the union from interfering with the trains. When a rioting mob wrecked a mail train the next day, President Grover Cleveland ordered troops into Chicago. By July 20 the troops had been withdrawn and the trains were running under military guard. Government intervention had spelled defeat for the union. In 1895, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the government's use of an injunction in a labor dispute providing the enemies of labor with a potent weapon."
11. At the time of my therapy with Dr. Palombo I was employed by the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld. From the commencement of my employment in March 1988 until mid-year 1990, I was assigned temporarily to work on a project for the client Eastern Airlines. The project involved document production tasks in connection with ongoing labor litigation concerning Eastern Airlines and its unions. The litigation concerned, specifically, the tortured relations between the Company's manager's--most notoriously, Frank Lorenzo--and the airline pilots' and machinists' unions. Eastern's pilots and machinists had gone on strike against the airline on March 4, 1989. The applicable federal statute controlling collective bargaining in the airline industry is the "Railway Labor Act."
Early in my therapy, Dr. Palombo characterized my long silences following some of his interpretations or comments as "strikes." He would say, "You're on strike." (Dr. Palombo was the only mental health professional to use the word "strike" to describe my resistance). At the time of the dream (in March 1990) I was still engaged at Akin Gump on my assignment for Eastern Airlines.
During my therapy with Dr. Palombo, I complained of harassment by co-workers. Speaking metaphorically, one might characterize my co-workers' seemingly concerted acts of harassment as a kind of union job action against me. The dimensions of this "job action" seemed to spread, not unlike the Pullman strike, to encompass ever-widening areas of interest.
12. At the time of the dream (in March 1990) I was aware that a co-worker and friend at Akin Gump, Jesse Raben, planned to leave the firm in the very near future. He had plans to take a trip around the world, then enter law school in the fall of 1990. (Jesse Raben's father, Dr. Milton Raben, is a professor of radiology. Jesse Raben had once told me that his father's family name had been Rabenstein [See Faust line 4399: "What are they plotting 'round the Rabenstein?"], but that his grandfather, "an assimilationist," had changed the name to Raben.)
13. The Governor of Pennsylvania during the period 1971-1979 was Milton Jerrold Shapp. Milton Shapp had run unsuccessfully as the Democratic candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania in November 1966 (I was in the eighth grade at the time). My father had been an enthusiastic supporter of Shapp's. My father, a factory worker, was impressed with Shapp's exemplary labor-management relations as the owner-manager of the Jerrold Corporation, an electronics firm, and used to cite the fact that Shapp's employees had--without coercion--refused union representation. My father believed that Shapp's record of fair dealing with his employees revealed a great deal about Shapp's character and fitness for public office. (During most of my father's life after my birth, my father worked for a neckwear manufacturing company, Art Neckwear, owned and managed by Milton Schuman.)
14. Milton J. Shapp's name had originally been Shapiro. He changed his name to Shapp early in his career as a reaction to anti-Semitism.
15. In 1976 Milton Shapp, then Governor of Pennsylvania, announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. "He was a solid liberal with an excellent record as a self-made businessman, a pioneer in the cable-television industry, and as the administrator of the state. His handling of a massive truckers' strike in 1974* that had threatened to cripple the state had marked him as a patient, tough, and shrewd negotiator." Witcover, J. Marathon: The Pursuit of the Presidency 1972-1976 at 149-150 (New York: Viking, 1977). "Governor Milton J. Shapp of Pennsylvania, sixty-two, a low key former cable-television executive with the look of a persecuted nebbish, who had compiled a good liberal record in two terms but as a Jew was bucking one of the great remaining political bugaboos for the presidency." Id. at 128. Governor Shapp withdrew from the race after his poor showing in some early primaries. (*It was in the fall of 1974 that I took the history course with Dr. Eggert described in paragraph 10; part of the course concerned the Pullman strike.)
16. The Democratic National Convention in 1976, which nominated Jimmy Carter as the Democratic nominee for President, was held in New York City. The Convention began on July 12, 1976, less than two weeks after my father's death on July 1, 1976. (The immediate cause of my father's death was heart failure, specifically cardiac fibrillation. It was as if my father's heart, that vital terminus of arriving and departing venous and arterial blood, had gone on strike. 4/)
[newly-added material: March 1997] My father's death occurred one day following a coronary-artery bypass procedure, on June 30, 1976. On the morning of the operation 5/ I spoke with my father for the last time, by telephone, from home--from a telephone located in my parents' bedroom. My father said: "They're getting me ready for surgery."
Robert Strauss, founder of the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, was the manager of Jimmy Carter's election campaign. Milton Shapp, as Democratic Governor of Pennsylvania, served as chairman of the Pennsylvania delegation to the presidential nominating convention.
I must have witnessed the following scene, televised on the evening of Thursday July 15, 1976, after Jimmy Carter's acceptance speech. "[Robert] Strauss, master of accommodation with all the subtlety of a nuclear explosive, orchestrated a grand finale that would have been comical had it not been for the good spirit of the moment. Suddenly he had everyone up on the rostrum with the triumphant, grinning Carter: Mo Udall and Scoop Jackson and George Wallace and Abe Beame and Hubert Humphrey and Sarge Shriver and Brendan Byrne and Raul Castro and Moon Landriue and even Strauss's wife, Helen. Like a drinker who has to have one more, and another, and one more after that, Strauss summoned literally dozens of the party's second- and third-string luminaries to the platform." Marathon at 369-370.
1/ The ambiguities of a great man's identity provide fertile ground for both the hero worshiper and the identity assassin. Bruno Bettelheim offers the following alternative interpretation of Erikson's identity struggle: "'Erikson tries to pretend to be the magnanimous goy, the god damn Jew. I know I am a selfish Jew, so help me god, so I can afford to look at things [as] they are. All this god damn pretense.' A year later, Erikson was 'a miserable so and so, who was a Jew in Vienna, when it paid, and is now a Viking in the States, when that pays.'" Pollak, R. The Creation of Dr. B at 230-231 (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997). "Bettelheim [developed] an angry hostility to this man who had used his stepfather's name, Homburger, when studying, teaching, and being analyzed by Anna Freud in Vienna, but who became 'Erikson' once he took up his profession in the United States in the 1930s." Id. at 230.
2/ It is significant that although I had the present dream in March of 1990, I did not prepare the present dream interpretation until February 1993: the specific references to a "chemist" and a "pharmacist" in the interpretation text may have as much, or more, to do with the circumstances current as of February 1993, when I prepared the dream interpretation text, than those current as of March 1990, when I had the dream. It was in February 1993 that my then treating psychiatrist (Suzanne M. Pitts, M.D.) prescribed lithium for a supposed bi-polar disorder; I began taking lithium for about a two-week period in February 1993, beginning February 9, 1993, and then refused to continue the medication. My act of returning to this dream to prepare a written interpretation, in February 1993, may reflect a struggle over the issues of adaptation that were raised by the prescription of lithium--a struggle encapsulated in the question "Is it I who needs to change (autoplasty) or is it my environment that needs to be changed (alloplasty)?" The dream interpretation text that I submitted to Dr. Pitts, dated February 8, 1993, was later returned to me; it contains--with striking unintended irony--the following handwritten marginal notation written by her: "next appt 2/9 -- last appt discussed starting Li 2/9." Both Dr. Pitts and I failed to see that my act of presenting her an interpretation of a (then three-year-old) dream about Dr. Palombo was really my unacknowledged commentary on my relationship with her and my reaction to her pharmacologic recommendation. These ideas support the viewpoint that a dream interpretation is itself an analyzable text that communicates or disguises its own truths; inquiry into whether any particular dream interpretation is a "correct" interpretation misses the point. See Frieden, K. Freud's Dream of Interpretation. (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990).
3/ It is useful to recognize that many nonanalytically-trained psychiatrists would dismiss the association to Dr. Eggert's daughter as evidence of circumstantiality, and the association of Christine Eggert with Christine Robertson as evidence of clanging. Cf. Frieden, K. Freud's Dream of Interpretation at 25 (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990) (Freud argued forcefully, however, that the dreamer's associations are not random, but instead strictly determined). Cf. "A Conversation with Stanley Greenspan." The American Psychoanalyst, 28(3): 25-27 at 27 (1994) (it is vitally important that a psychiatrist "meet patients at the developmental level of their ego structure" [to meet the patient's particularized needs for identity recognition and provide an outlet for actualization of his ego capacities]; implicitly, the act of labeling a patient's associations as evidence of psychiatric symptoms is ego destructive). The reference to Robertson--in the context of the dream interpretation text prepared in February 1993--may, in fact, be a veiled allusion to Dr. Pitts, to whom the interpretation text was addressed. The reference to Dr. Eggert may be a veiled allusion to Jerry M. Wiener, M.D., chairman of the GW Univ. Medical Center Dept. of Psychiatry. (In the 1980's Dr. Eggert assumed the position of chairman of the History Department at Penn State.) In terms of the transference: GOOD FATHER = Dr. Wiener, Dr. Eggert; BAD SISTER/ DAUGHTER = Dr. Pitts, Christine Robertson, Christine Eggert. Also, the reference to "strikes" may disguise my struggle with Dr. Pitts concerning (and later refusal to take) medication. Six months later, in August 1993, I filed a complaint against Dr. Pitts (and other, previous, treating psychiatrists) with the D.C. Board of Medicine. Both my meeting with Dr. Wiener in August 1993, prior to filing the complaint, and my act of filing the complaint, elevated the narrow dispute with Dr. Pitts to a higher, political, level. Dr. Pitts' act of prescribing medication (and my job termination by Robertson), which I perceived as an "injustice," apparently satisfied my pre-existing, or unconscious, need to experience an injustice that I might later protest. It is well to add: Despite her psychiatric experience, as an analyst Dr. Pitts was a nobody.
4/ The question of whether the heart as a psychoanalytic symbol carries specialized meaning for me, distinct from universal dream symbolism, merits examination. The penis, for example, like the heart, "expands" and "contracts" in response to perfusion by blood, thereby suggesting the heart as a metaphor for phallic concerns; surgery on the heart would therefore be suggestive of castration. Other, more idiosyncratic, symbolism is conceivable. Cf. Shengold, L. "A Note on Symbolism: A Brief Communication." International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 74(5): 961-964 (Oct. 1993) (discussing the shoulder as metaphor).
5/ In the period immediately prior to my preparing the written dream interpretation Dr. Pitts had arranged, in late January 1993, that I take an EEG at the Hospital. The test is performed in the morning in a darkened room, with the patient positioned prostrate. It is hoped that the patient will doze off during the test to allow measurement of sleep brain-waves. The test, then, requires preparation: the patient is directed to avoid caffeine and not sleep the evening prior to the test.
Comment by Gary Freedman on October 14, 2009 at 11:31am:
"Despite her psychiatric experience, as an analyst Dr. Pitts was a nobody."
Oddly enough, this quote is a paraphrase from Paul Roazen's book. "Freud and His Followers." Discussing Victor Tausk's psychoanalysis by the analyst-in-training Helene Deutsch, Roazen writes: "Despite her psychiatric experience, as an analyst she was a nobody." . Comment by Gary Freedman on October 14, 2009 at 11:26am Delete Comment See Michael Sperber, MD, "Freud, Tausk, and the Nobel Prize Complex."
In 1966 Helen Tartakoff introduced a nosological entity, the “Nobel Prize complex,” to apply to people who have in common many of the following characteristics: They are preoccupied with the achievement of diverse ambitious goals, which may include, for example, the wish to become President, to attain great wealth, to be a social leader, or to win an Oscar. Many are intellectually or artistically gifted and possess charismatic qualities that others admire. They are often firstborn and frequently only children. They adopt an all-or-nothing attitude toward their aspirations. They are hypersensitive to disappointments in life, particularly to lack of recognition, and may become depressed and develop psychosomatic symptoms at the time of real or fantasized disappointment. They unconsciously look upon psycho-therapeutic treatment as a magical cure and expect to be rewarded during their treatment with the same applause they received from their mothers. .
Comment by Gary Freedman on October 14, 2009 at 11:18am:
Season 1, Episode 19: "The Big Race"
Original Air Date—16 March 1990
Cort promises to come up with a load of cash for a nursing home, but he needs Mitch and Craig's help to compete with each other in a water skiing race with a big cash prize. Meanwhile, Shauni is still grief-stricken and afraid to go back in the water in the wake of Jill's death.
Comment by Gary Freedman on October 14, 2009 at 10:23am:
Coincidentally, Dr. Rothenberg used to teach at Penn State, a fact I would have known in March 1990. Dr. Rothenberg referred me to Dr. Palombo.
Additional thoughts about "The Dream of the Four Miltons:"