Finally, after months of protracted suppression, I watched the latest Cronenberg movie, “A Dangerous Method”. It is based on “A Most Dangerous Method” by John Kerr. Now revisiting my life, with Freud, Jung and others, nameless gravediggers of psychic innocence, looking over my shoulder. It’s so easy for me, and always has been, to lose myself among the sages of Vienna. Their scientific ferocity always attracted me. They led a double life in their day, and their duplicity, especially in moral matters, enabled some of those fireworks that we can still smell now, more than 100 years later.
Twenty years ago, Hillman and Ventura wrote “100 years of psychotherapy–and the world’s getting worse”. But, how could it be otherwise. Since we are only beginning to understand the meaning of “bad”. You see, I wrote this last sentence without meaning to. And now I’m looking at it and cannot make sense of it, though its truth seems undeniable to me. But I’ve always had a severed relationship with badness and evil. Somehow, I could never believe them. Like an alchemist, I optimistically hold on to the transformation of mud into gold, and of bad into good. In the struggle between Jung and Freud, I’m on Sigmund’s side (if only because he was by far the better writer). In his essay «Creative Writing and Day-Dreaming» (1908), he says:
“Might we not say that every child at play behaves like a creative writer, in that he creates a world of his own, or, rather, re-arranges the things of his world in a new way which pleases him?”
In the movie, Fassbender (forever Magneto, good mix of German and Irish gazing at infinity across Zürich lake in the end) and Mortensen (Always On The Road to looking more tortured and more distinguished at the same time, his suffering-gentleman face graced by a cigar) were convincing while Knightley (yes, King Arthur’s spouse turned Russian hysteric) was just as annoyingly pouty as she always is, and yet I can’t help finding her watchable.
Photo: the real Jung, 1910 (above); the child Freud (middle), and Knightley as Sabina Spielrein (below).