Back from the annual and wonderful PsyArt conference, this year taking place in Ghent, I ponder on what I have just learned. I get it confirmed that the way for me is still called detachment – especially from having to define myself through my job. As a general rule, I do at such gatherings what I always do: deliver a paper, have fun with friends, allow knowledge and wisdom to compete and acknowledge that wisdom wins every time, and read tarot cards. On catching up, friends who know me and ask me what I’m up to these days are not surprised by my answer: ‘I’m tired of rhetoric and want more magic in my life. Consequently I do more magic.’ ‘Good for you,’ they say, and some wish that they were as adventurous where matters of the expansion of the mind are concerned.
As scholars of psychoanalysis most of the people attending this conference deal with limited and troubled minds, so I understand their desire to plunge into simple thinking where simplicity is a way of persevering. Where new acquaintances are concerned, however, things are more delicate. As often is the case, some academics have a hard time with analogies. It never occurs to them to ask themselves why, for instance, they are more prone to accepting a scholar among them who identifies herself along the following lines: ‘I do comparative religion, my research is into church history, and my specialty is the holy guardian angel’ than accepting a scholar who says the following: ‘I do comparative religion, my research is into occultism, and my specialty is fortunetelling.’ This latter situation is frowned upon as if talking about the angels of the church is more reasonable than talking about the angels of tarot. Now to the million-dollar question: What is wrong with people’s vision? Why is the first thing – of which most people know nothing – more legit than the second thing – of which most people also know nothing?
In my younger days I used to spend a lot of time enlightening people about the benefits of uncovering blind spots, and telling them how ridiculous the situation of not being able to see differences and similarities is. But not anymore. Now I run. I run from all those who think that being an intellectual is about having academic credentials. I run from all those who make claims to knowledge and scientific objectivism while remaining ignorant. I run from all those who look at others with suspicion without having any reason for mistrust. I run from all those who are afraid of themselves. I run, run, run, all the way to the Lofoten islands for a whole blesséd month where I can commune with the sheep of the earth, and the uneducated but wise spirits of the land. Enjoy your summer, and may you all find peace.