Monday, May 09, 2011

Letter to Treating Psychiatrist: Suzanne M. Pitts, M.D. -- February 8, 1993

February 8, 1993
3801 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Apartment 136
Washington, DC 20008

Suzanne M. Pitts, M.D.
Dept. of Psychiatry
GW University Medical Center
2150 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20037

Dear Dr. Pitts:

In a letter dated February 1, 1993 I described an incident that occurred at my former place of employment, the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld. I stated that on a morning some time during the summer of 1991 I formed the impression, based on comments by co-workers, that there had been some communication between someone at the firm and a former co-worker, Jesse Raben, who at that time no longer worked at the firm. I then changed my computer password to “FaustLine4399,” a reference to “Rabenstein,” the name of Jesse Raben’s forbears. I further stated that upon my return to the office from lunch, my supervisor offered me a piece of chocolate with the peculiar comment, “Here, you look like you need some chocolate.” I inferred that the offer of chocolate was in some way related to the possible communication with Jesse Raben.

I have explored the pre-existence of a subjective association of Jesse Raben, chocolate, Faust, anti-Semitism, and Robert Strauss. The attached materials indicate the pre-existence of a subjective association of the stated ideas--in the context of a dream about Dr. Palombo--seemingly independent of the events that occurred during the summer of 1991, described above.

An open and important question is whether we are dealing with (1) mere coincidence, (2) whether my interpretation of the 1991 incident involving my supervisor was a projection of a pre-existing primary process association, (3) or whether the incident with my supervisor resulted from an interplay of my synthetic ego processes (and my capacity for symbolization of primary process material) with the environment. With respect to my “delusions” the question is whether we are dealing with projection of primary process or symbolization of primary process.

(The attached dream analysis is a fragment of an analysis on which I have been working intermittently for about the last thee years. I will submit the complete analysis to you as part of the Four Dreams.)


Gary Freedman

[Handwritten note by Dr. Pitts: next appt 2/9 last appt discussed starting Li 2/9]


Gary Freedman said...

Dr. Pitts' reference to Li refers to lithium for bipolar disorder.

Gary Freedman said...

Goethe's Faust, Line 4399:

4399, gallows-mound: In German Rabenstein, literally 'raven's rock'. When criminals were hanged or broken on the wheel, the rough stone-built mound on which (for better public viewing) they were executed was generally outside any town, because their bodies would be left there unburied and would attract ravens and crows. Such places were of course uncanny. Faust and Mephistopheles ride past one on their way to the town in which Gretchen is awaiting her relatively merciful execution by beheading in the market-square (4588-94), after which she evidently expects to be buried (4521-6). The witches at the gallows-mound are reminiscent of thise in Macbeth; the scene is also thought to have beeninfluenced by Gottfried August Burger's famous Storm and Stress ballad Lenore (1774),in which a lover returning from a grave to fetch his mistress carries her off through the night, and on their way they ride past a place of excecution with spirits hovering round it.

Gary Freedman said...

The following was attached as an appendix to the letter to Dr. Pitts reprinted in this post:


The following lists prior events at Akin Gump that I associate with my supervisor's offer of a piece of chocolate on a day during the summer of 1991.

1. In December 1988 I attended the firm Christmas party at the Four Seasons Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, near Georgetown. I talked with Jesse Raben at the party. At that time I was assigned to a private office on the fifth floor near the office of David Hardee, a partner. The day after the Christmas party, Lisa Hassell, David Hardee's secretary, who occupied a work cubicle just outside my office, engaged in a lot of loud carrying on that featured a lot of sexual double entendres. Late that afternoon, Lisa Hasell offered me a piece of candy, which I vaguely recall was a piece of chocolate. It was exceedingly rare for Lisa Hassell to initiate any social interaction with me.

2. During the summer of 1989 Jesse Raben was scheduled for day-long computer training in the sixth floor training room adjacent to my work station on the sixth floor. I talked with him that day; I think it was that day that he warned me about the health hazards of chewing on cigars. He was wearing jeans that day--Jesse looked good in jeans. Later that afternoon, an unidentified lone male stated as he passed by my desk, "He caught a big one." Jesse Raben is about 6'5" in height.

3. On November 14, 1989 Jesse Raben was supposed to join Craig [W. Dye] and me for lunch. Jesse Raben had to decline at the last minute. Late that afternoon, the legal assistant administrator, Maggie Sinnott stopped by my desk on the ninth floor. She told me that the firm had just received a telephone request from the president of Eastern Airlines, Phil Bakes--that Phil Bakes was interested in any documents in the firm's possession regarding some union activity. At the time I found the incident unusual. This was the only occasion I had been posed such a request by Maggie Sinnott or anyone. (Also, in view of Maggie Sinnott's professed fear of me, one wonders why she did this.) (I formed the paranoid feeling that she was engaged in ego bolstering, as if she were symbolically saying "You're an important person here. When the president of Eastern Airlines has a document request, I seek you out. If you want to leave early without permission, it's OK--nothing will happen to you. I want you to know that we think you're indispensable." I had the paranoid feeling she felt that she was building on my request that Jesse Raben join Craig and me for lunch, which she may have interpreted as already having bolstered what she perceived as my feeble masculinity. Note the symmetry between Maggie Sinnott's professed fear of me and her apparent attribution of intense fear to me, consistent with her possible use of confidence building, or ego bolstering, actions as a manipulative ploy.)