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Category: Theme

Existentialism, or How to Know You’re Going to Die and be Happy About It

Existentialism has a reputation for being a bit of a downer. It seems a gloomy and depressing philosophy, obsessed with meaninglessness, isolation, and death. Its stark view of life and its fixation on suffering and dread may make excellent fodder for the melodramatic fantasies of romantic teenagers, but to the adult whose life is already full to the brim with drudgery, illness, and stress, existentialism can seem masochistic and perverse. It doesn’t have to be…

An Argument Against Emerging Adulthood

In progressive, liberal, Western societies, the concept of adulthood has become rather nebulous. The trend of increasing acceptance of individual difference has made many of adulthood’s traditional ideas more difficult to interpret. Unlike traditional societies, for example, Western European and North American traditions in the main no longer practice any rites or rituals which formally induct and welcome adolescents into the rights and responsibilities of adulthood. Instead, teens become adult through a gradual process of…

The Selfobject and the Development of the Self

The selfobject is perhaps the most important concept in Self-psychology. A selfobject is not an object in the normal, physical sense, rather it is a person in our lives we relate to, like a parent or a friend, and whose interactions with us have an effect on how we feel about ourselves. The selfobject is an abstract concept which is used more or less exclusively by the theorists of Self-Psychology, but it is an idea…

The Structure of Self

According to Self-Psychology, the Self is made up of three self-structures: the nuclear structure, the compensatory structure, and the defensive structure. The different layers of self-structure vary in flexibility and in the roles they play in determining who we are and how we behave.  These structures can be visualized as the layers of an apple, with the nuclear structure as the innermost “core,” the seeds of the self. The apple’s flesh would be the compensatory…

The Oberst Affair

Carl Oberst and Marie Carmichael were having an affair. They thought nobody knew, and the feeling of having an illicit secret made their meetings even more exciting as they slid and slithered over each other in the back of a car in a secluded corner of the baseball diamond parking lot. They also sometimes fucked in the disabled bathroom which was on the other side of the power shed and so just hidden enough for…

The Star Wormwood

1_ He could remember the news report from the day before. The anchor man looking deeply, earnestly, gravely, into the camera. Saffron yellow dots on his cornflower-blue neck-tie. It really brought out his eyes, that tie. “Experts recommend,” he said, “that everyone make their way to an underground shelter.” As if they hadn’t stopped building bomb-shelters in the sixties. Some places never even started. “Even the basement of your house,” he said, “will provide some…