Wittgenstein: wisdom and insight over knowledge and information

In the Times Literary Supplement, Ian Ground appraises the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein, arguably the most important thinker of the 20th Century and since.

My take: The drive to replace insight with quantitative outcome in psychotherapy was a wrong turn.

“Wittgenstein was hostile to modern philosophy as he found it. He thought it the product of a culture that had come to model everything that matters about our lives on scientific explanation. In its ever-extending observance of the idea that knowledge, not wisdom, is our goal, that what matters is information rather than insight, and that we best address the problems that beset us, not with changes in our heart and spirit but with more data and better theories, our culture is pretty much exactly as Wittgenstein feared it would become.”


On maintaining boundaries

Jacques Lacan Seminar VIII

As a follow up to the previous post on Peterson, a reader pointed out that Jonathan Foiles (the author of the critique) seems a much better therapist than Peterson. Based on this post at Psychology Today, in which Foiles comments on Lacan’s Seminar VIII, I have to agree. It points up the seriousness of maintaining therapeutic boundaries.

‘ “I would even say that, up to a certain point, [the analyst’s] lack of comprehension can be preferable to an overly great confidence in his understanding.” (p. 193). In Lacan’s conception, the therapist occupies a similar position to the beloved in that the patient thinks that the therapist has that which they most need. This places the therapist in a position of great power and illuminates why boundary violations can be so damaging to the patient. The patient desires something from the therapist, and their transferential repetition compulsion can cause them to see the therapist as the object of their desire. A successful therapy thus requires the therapist to be aware of this dynamic, not exploit it for their own gain, and to use it to help cure the patient. Lacan sees this fragile dynamic as a key reason for why everyone who seeks to do therapy should first go through an exhaustive therapy themselves.’

Buy on Amazon

Disclosure: Some links are affiliate links in which I, at no cost to you, receive compensation for purchases you may make off this site.

Jordan Peterson—not really a therapist at all

Salon published an opinion piece looking at Jordan Peterson apparently working as a therapist. The result wasn’t pretty.

He doesn’t strike me as a “therapist “ at all. He isn’t addressing the other person’s existential situation, except to reinforce maladaptive thoughts (and likely related behaviors) about the world. Not clear how the interchange will be helpful.

Peterson is functioning from a narcissistic stance. He is sharing his own narcissistic injury and animosity toward women with the patient with no “growth” or “change” narrative or suggestions. Bah!