I do not know where Eliot said that, but it must have been a strange experience since he was, himself, very neurotic. He defined his problem as aboulia; he was diagnosed as a neurasthenic (i.e., having what we would call a neurosis); he saw a psychiatrist for it; he reported depression again only a few months later; and he constantly wrote of his emotional distress in his letters. Yet he was reading Dante and Shakespeare and every other poet of the Western world and of the East.
So he must have responded to it badly?
>>> Ken Armstrong <[log in to unmask]> 11/13/2007 4:55 PM >>>
At 11:08 AM 11/13/2007, Diana Manister wrote:
>"our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves"
>Dear CR: That's my point exactly. Even when people want to change, to have
>more fulfilled lives, they resist even the skillful efforts of trained
>therapists to allow repressed desires to enter awareness.
Eliot pointed out somewhere that a neurotic person will not respond well
to poetry, while presumably a healthy person at least meets that
requirement. The people who "want to change" and are in the company of a
therapist are probably among the former group.
The case of people who want to change and have no call to visit a therapist
may be quite different. Seems to me it's no sillier to think that a healthy
person can profit in a human way from poetry than not to think that the
afflicted would be resistant especially (not "even") to "trained therapists."
It also seems to me that brutes need not apply. To be human is to be
capable of greater humanity. A skilled, not necessarily trained, creative
>The process of integrating discociated desires into consciousness takes
>years and years, because the repressed desires are regarded as
>threatening, and psychic defenses are erected to keep them
>unrecognized. The notion that reading a work of literature would effect
>penetration of these sturdy defenses is laughable. Diana