Trauma Come Home to Us on 9/11–#4 of 4


The following entry from my philosophical journal, first written on the date indicated below, is the last of a series of four pertaining to some of the essays in Trauma at Home.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Irene Kacandes (assoc. prof. of German studies and comp. lit. at Dartmouth), “9/11/01 = 1/27/01 [the day two of her colleagues and close friends were murdered in their home]:  The Changed Postraumatic Self.”  I think even her own story suggests it’s not so much a changed self as a change in how one is one’s self, as Heidegger teaches.

What she says on page 173 of Trauma at Home suggests comparison to  Bergson, on the outbreak of WW I:  “Before the night of January 27, 2001, it seemed completely impossible–not just improbable but actually impossible–that two individuals could be killed in their home in our beautiful, peaceful, safe, rural area.”  How the event “changes” her so that she can, she believes, in Berlin at the time, more quickly than her German colleagues on Sept. 11, 2001, “‘recognize’ the planes flying into buildings as humans killing other humans” (p.179–and risking in that formulation a dangerous sort of reduction of those who hijacked the planes to the level of the two adolescent “criminals” who murdered her two friends), also could be compared with Bergson and Žižek (especially) on how the “impossible” gets retroactively “possible-ized,” in effect.


Donna Bassin (“a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst with a private practice in Manhattan”), “A Not So Temporary Occupation inside Ground Zero,” p. 197:  “Mourning is really not about getting rid of the dead or the past, as an overly concrete reading of Freud might suggest.  Rather, and in part, it seems to be an attempt to manage intense grief and to activate the constantly recycling process of deconstructing the lost other(s) in their idealized singularity and reconstructing them internally in all their complexity, individuality, and separateness.  Ritual activities and ceremonies can support the loving task of memorializing, a lifelong process of reinscribing memory.”

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