health talk

“Starting from no fixed place I soon came, while preparing this paper for a foreign society, to my surprise, to the right not to communicate. This was a protest from the core of me to the frightening fantasy of being infinitely exploited. In another language this would be the fantasy of being eaten or swallowed up. In the language of this paper it would be the fantasy of being found…

I have tried to state the need that we have to recognize this aspect of health: the non-communicating central self, forever immune from the reality principle, and forever silent. Here communication is not nonverbal; it is, like the music of the spheres, absolutely personal. It belongs to being alive. And in health, it is out of this that communication naturally arises.

Explicit communication is pleasurable and it involves extremely interesting techniques, including that of language. The two extremes, explicit communication that is indirect, and silent or personal communication that feels real, each of these has its place and in the intermediate cultural area there exists for many, but not for all, a mode of communication which is a most valuable compromise.”

(From D.W. Winnicott’s Communicating and Not Communicating Leading To A Study of Opposites, which I found in this essay ,the latest from Rob Horning, and reminds me of Heinrich von Kleist’s On The Gradual Construction of Thoughts During Speech ).

How much are we really able to compromise anymore? The side that forces speech is winning, as absolutely personal communication — the kind that supposedly comes from health — dies out. This is the mandate of the digital social. To be or not to be is no longer a question; the condition of peaceful not-being is a luxury.

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