chapter  1
55 Pages

Historiography

How, at first blush, can there be any kinship between the psychodynamic healer, sitting empathically with a suffering fellow being, and the academic historian, probing diligently, if dispassionately, through moldering archives? After all, the first is dealing with a living individual, in the present, to whom he relates in a collaborative mode, to the end of alleviating his discomfort and perhaps restructuring his mode of being-in-the-world. The second, in contrast, works, by and large, with the documents and monuments of those long dead; is more concerned, unless he be a biographer, with cultures and periods than personalities; and, as opposed to the therapist's pragmatic and "presentistic" passion for history, has a purely academic interest in the past for its own sake.