I’m beginning to believe the hardest part of any book is the last ten pages.
One of the most important issues that the book raised (for me), was the question – if you’re treating somebody with multiple personality disorder, who exactly are you treating? Who/which personalities are called alters? Which, now that I’ve typed it out, I realize is probably the point that Hacking’s trying to make (in part).
More Freud, because why not:
“[Freud's] patients had to face up the truth- as he saw it. We can have no doubt, in retrospect, that Freud very often deluded himself, thanks to his resolute dedication to theory. Half a century of Freud scholarship has taught that Freud got patients to believe things about themselves that were false, things that were often so bizarre that only the most devout theorizer could propose them in the first place. But there is no evidence that Freud systematically, as a method of therapy, got his patients to believe what he himself knew to be lies.” (196)
I’m in agreement with this passage.
At the beginning Hacking calls Alzheimer’s disease “a disease of memory” (3). I tagged that with “how else can Alzheimer’s symptoms be defined?”, but now I realize (once again) – that’s probably his point. Here are some other symptoms (and therefore, other possible ways of defining) of Alzheimer’s:
“As the disease advances, symptoms can include confusion, irritability, aggression, mood swings, trouble with language, and long-term memory loss. As the sufferer declines they often withdraw from family and society. Gradually, bodily functions are lost, ultimately leading to death.” (Wikipedia)
In chapter 18 Hacking also describes what he calls “wrong-forgetting” – “the suppression of central items from one’s past that are integral to one’s character or nature” (259). I had to ask how something you don’t remember consciously can affect you (ruling out events that happened farther back than you can remember things). Hacking does provide an explanation, but it’s psychoanalytic, and he discredits it in the same breath anyway. I’m probably missing something obvious here, but what exactly does Hacking mean?
Thanks for reading, everyone.