Democracy, psychoanalysis, and Room share a powerful connection. They were created to contain and facilitate the many voices that comprise (and conflict with) our polities, ourselves, and, in the case of Room, the space between ourselves and our societies. This is not coincidental. As Jill Gentile explains in her book Feminine Law, Free Speech, and the Voice of Desire, there is a resonance between the method of free association underlying the work of psychoanalysis and the right of free speech which is the bedrock of democracy.
From my very first contact with psychoanalysis, a fascination in the theory and practice took hold of me. But becoming a psychoanalyst was a bit unimaginable. How would a lower-middle-class Palestinian immigrant navigate such a life goal? How could I possibly pay for years of analysis and navigate an environment I perceived as potentially hostile to me? I really did not know, but the calling did not subside.
In addition to the political controversies that they ignite, the contents of presidential tweets are subject to diverse statistical analyses as evidenced by postings on the internet.
Two years ago, an article in the New York Times1 about Donald Trump’s “friends” made me want to collect the little we know about such friendships, some or all of which may apply to Trump himself.
In mythology, in fairy tales, and in psychoanalysis, losing one’s sight often indicates that a disaster has occurred, an event so unbearable that it is no longer possible to look at it. Yet in the ongoing scourge that is the Trump administration, Trump cannot bear that we look away from the disaster.
Room 2.19 is about the powerful intrapsychic and geopolitical forces that threaten to hijack our minds, souls, and agency —and along with that, our communities and countries.
Being involved in global violence prevention and dealing with genocides, gender-based violence, civil wars, and suicides, the last thing on my mind was domestic partisan politics.
I work at an agency in a central city in Israel that focuses on treating children who are survivors and perpetrators of sexual violence. The office has one bathroom with two private toilet rooms: a toilet without a toilet seat for men and a women’s bathroom.
Crossing borders in the recent past was probably less confusing and demanding than it is now. Institutions, social norms, and rituals made borders more rigid, and prior to the digital revolution and hyperglobalization, borders were more stable.
I am sitting in my office, thinking about rooms. Writing for Room has prompted this state of reverie, during which one of my favorite works, A Room of One’s Own, passes through my mind. In her essay, Virginia Woolf writes of the necessity for women to have money and a room of their own in order to write fiction.