Monday, September 16, 2013


from Wikipedia -
The distancing effect, more commonly known (earlier) by John Willett's 1964 translation the alienation effect or (more recently) as the estrangement effect (German: Verfremdungseffekt), is a performing arts concept coined by playwright Bertolt Brecht. Brecht first used the term in an essay on "Alienation Effects in Chinese Acting" published in 1936, in which he described it as "playing in such a way that the audience was hindered from simply identifying itself with the characters in the play. Acceptance or rejection of their actions and utterances was meant to take place on a conscious plane, instead of, as hitherto, in the audience's subconscious" Brecht's term describes the aesthetics of his epic theatre.
Is the essential function of "fiction" and "rationality" generally, to create a subjective "distance"?


  1. Maybe. It's so difficult to look at the other's reality, and maintain that vulnerability and intimacy.
    I guess it takes too much energy / emotion.

  2. I suppose that it oft depends upon which side of the couch one sits... ;)

    Word for the day: Agalma

    Agalma is an ancient Greek term for a pleasing gift presented to the gods as a votive offering. The agalma was intended to woo the gods, to dazzle them with its wondrous features and so gain favour for its bearer. The agalma, therefore, was endowed with magical powers beyond its apparent superficial value. Over time, the term ‘agalma’ has come to mean an iconic image, something beautiful – an object to be treasured. This is the context in which Jacques Lacan used the term ‘agalma’.

    Lacan introduced the term in his Seminar VIII (1960-1961), writing on Socrates' Symposium. The agalma is defined by love; it is the inestimable object of desire which ignites our desire. Relating this to the analytic setting, Lacan proposed that the ‘agalma’ is the treasure which we seek in analysis, the unconscious truth we wish to know.

    In psychoanalysis, the analyst seeks to establish a transference with the subject. Within this transference, a discourse develops, a discourse between the client as speaking subject and the analyst as the Other. The transference relationship is what defines the agalma. It is the agalma, the inestimable object of desire, that becomes the agent of the transference relationship. The promise of this beloved object supports the client through the analysis. Seeking to discover this treasure, the client avows his or her desire, as manifested in the discourse.

  3. Ahoy matey!

    Aside from psychoanalysis, I think this "being present" is difficult. It's actually physically taxing, which is why I am exhausted after working all day with very emotional patients.

    Detachment (distance) can be a good thing.

    But yes, I agree that it depends on which role you play.

  4. Against....I think Jung would refer to it as "gold". The therapist "holds the gold" until the subject can.

  5. Against = agalma

    ::stupid autocorrect::

  6. My son had a hard time when he was working as a Social Worker as well... he had a hard time trying to remain "detached"... especially when there were kids involved. He no longer does social work.... :(

  7. Sorry to hear that about your son, he must have a tender heart. :)

    A lot of medical professionals suffer from burn-out. Has he found a new calling?

    I particularly loved working with kids when I did my internships, but I have never been able to take a full-time position in pediatrics. Too, too sad. :(

    Adults with traumatic brain injuries break my heart, too.

  8. No calling... just a j.o.b. for now in a local Target store. He's happy for now... I suppose managing regular people in a business environment is a lot easiers than dealing with people who are only marginally able to take care of their own selves, let alone, their children.

  9. Yes! I don't have to deal with negligent parents....I get to see parents neglected by their kids!

    And I know I'm blessed to not have to work full-time.

    It's hard to see the dark side of people on a daily basis.

  10. Yes, I'm sure it is. I'm fortunate in working daily with over-achievers instead of the reverse. It does have its' challenges though... especially since I'm never the smartest guy in the room.... We all have to make sure that we stick to our respective professional areas of expertise if we're going to avoid stepping all over one anothers egos.

  11. Men with giant egos??

    Never heard of such! ;-)

  12. It comes with the territory. The DC beltway. ;)


  13. Yeah.

    I love DC but I'd probably be more at home in Washington STATE.