Ode to Bill

I will frequently refer to the work of my friend, William Bernstein, PhD.  Bill is a psychologist and a published author.  “A Basic Theory of Neuropsychoanalysis” is making waves.  Neuropsychoanalysis is a nascent discipline that seeks to reconcile psychology with neurology.  It’s one of those “no bright lines” things.

I’ve posted a link to his website, but he might not be updating it very often because he is “going off the grid.”  You’ll have to read his stuff the old-fashioned way, by downloading it to your Kindle.

By “going off the grid,” he means that he has quit his job, is moving to an undisclosed location in the Great American West, and will spend his time writing and living off of social security.  I submitted to him that this is something we call “retirement,” and he’s not off the grid if he is living in an apartment with electricity and internet.  He is ditching his cell phone.  That’s something, I guess.

He’s found a place to settle, for now.  The precise location is a closely held secret, even to him.  “Where is that place?”  “It’s in (un-named secret state).”  “Where?  That’s a big place.  Is it near an airport?  Near a major highway?”  “I don’t know, exactly.”  (This is why he is no longer allowed to navigate on our road trips.  I’ll leave it to him to explain why I am no longer allowed to drive.)

Bill is one of those guys who is so smart, he can make really complicated things understandable.

For example, his formulation of the Oedipal complex, something I’ll deal with at some length, is just brilliantly common-sensical, but deep and valid.  And it speaks eloquently to the theoretical basis for the feminist critique of Freud.  Freud poked fun at himself for not understanding women.  Hilariously; because Freud was quite the wry comedian.  But it’s a joke.  To be clear, it would have been nice if Freud had come up with the feminist critique his own self.  It’s critical to understanding the links between psychoanalysis, culture, and religion.  (More on that later.)   But the seeds were planted in his own work, in the same way that we can find in the Declaration of Independence  the concepts necessary to end slavery.   If you really want to understand Freud in a modern context, especially if you are a feminist, you should check out Bill’s work.

You’ll see parallels in our writings.  A lot of what we are writing about arose out of a series of discussions we’ve had on our annual road trips, which consist of barreling through basin-and-range at high velocity, with great amounts of arm-waving and gesticulation at all hours of the day and night.  My post on “How the brain works” arose out some stuff I wrote for him when he was researching “A Basic Theory.”  As for the psychological stuff, Bill says “You are the Jung to my Freud.”  As with everything Bill says, it’s a joke.  A joke that’s true on several levels.  (Except we like each other; and unlike Jung, I take that as a compliment.)

Bill.  The Zen Master.  The Rabbi of Ely, keepin it real.  (Doh!  Almost let the cat out of the bag.  Except at the last minute he decided Ely, NV was not for him.  I don’t know why.  My motto is, “Good enough for Pat Nixon, good enough for me.”  Not everyone feels that way, I suppose.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s