Wednesday, Nov. 21 2012
American Icarus (Grope)
→ Success, all-rounder to Gr. 6; thereafter ‘fall’
→ ‘Small frog in a big puddle’ at Harvard. Minimum effort, no hope for glory
- Grope was an undergraduate at Harvard
- Wetting the bad as a child may indicate problems he had with his parents as a child
(p. 618 – 9)
- Didn’t really care about the toys his parents got for him.It was like the act of getting
the toy was important rather than actually playing with it
Would lose it, break it, not use it, let it deteriorate, etc...
- Has sexual fantasies about the maid, who also tried to teach him how to tell time.
When he would get the time wrong the main would beat him.
- Was an all around kid, and was successful at many different things (p. 620)
- In the 6 grade he gets an illness but he lost a lot of weight, became sluggish, and
had lots of sicknesses over an extended period. His subjective experience led him to
become unsuccessful at many things, like sports, as indicated by him (p. 621). He
was no longer the best.
- Unless he is the centre of attention, is most successful, most complimented, is not
good enough. He entirely gives it up if he is not the best.
- Suffered from halitocious that caused him to develop an inferiority complex and
caused him to talk quietly so he wouldn’t be drowning people with his bad breath.
- Had fantasies of “riding on the rump of the maid” (anal sex) and flying over
buildings (that were constructed as women’s bodies) and urinating on them.
- Describes his perfect female as full lipped, beautiful, intelligent, wide hipped and
capable of bearing him half a dozen boys.
- Claims he is indifferent but does not love, or care for his parents. Matter of fact he
despises them and abuses them in some ways.
- Has a reoccurring fantasy of landing on as island with his band and finding an
abundance of fresh water and fruit and becoming the king of the land.
→ “I am just biding my time and waiting for the day when my ‘soul’ will ignite and this inner
fire will send me hurtling (two rungs at a time) up the ladder of success.”
→ Icarus complex (p. 639) - Relates to the idea that you can fly up, as icarus did, but there is a risk of falling and
burning if your level of confidence is unreasonable and you were overzealous.
→ Situationally determined (p. 640)
- Looked at Grope, and his personality and how he relates to certain things, but the
Icarus complex is related to the situation he’s in.
- Following his time at Harvard, Grope goes on to be an actor of some sort (p. 640). He
found a place where he could be admired all the time.
Introducing Psychobiography – Schultz
→ To know another person and to know ourselves
→ Defends single case method
→ Psychobiography (single life) makes intuitive sense
- Has some type of intuitive appeal
- Psychobiography’s give you a real sense of the person and their life, and a deeper
understanding in why that person functions in the way that they do
→ People are poems; not explained but understood. Some meanings better than others (p. 6).
→ Being with a koan (p. 8) and illuminate episode (not whole life)
- A koan is from the Zen tradition. A paradoxical phrase that makes a leap to another
thing. Start with a question/problem/issue that you ask yourself in which you try to
find the answer. Pose this for your answer.
- Set up the problem, ask a question.
1. Why did Freud go so uncharacteristically astray when writing
2. How to make sense of Emily Dickenson’s exclusively dressing in
3. What caused Van Gogh to cut off his ear.
- Lay out the evidence, and then draw out the conclusions.