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Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson


American residing in New Zealand, is an iconoclastic former psychoanalyst as well as the author of a number of books on a wide range of subjects.
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Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
Somewhat to my surprise, I was accepted for membership in the society [the San Francisco Psychoanalytic Society]. I was looking forward to giving my inaugural paper, "The Navel of Neurosis: Trauma, Memory and Denial," the one I had written with my wife, Terri, and which Schiffer [Masson's analyst] had claimed as his (page 136).
Masson quotes
I was thrilled. I loved the idea of opening everything up, of making old and secret documents available to anybody who wished to see them (page 183).
Masson
Because I was so eager to believe I was being helped by a talented, ethical, benevolent, and intelligent man, I sought evidence for this wherever I could. Anything less than this was too dreadful to contemplate (page 40).




Almost all analysts in America are physicians and psychiatrists, and the medical profession is layered into a strict hierarchy. Every psychiatrist in a hospital is chief of some service, or head of some department (page 145).
Masson Jeffrey Moussaieff
I called Anna Freud in London to tell her what was about to happen. It was a strange, honest conversation.
"Every day I get many calls, from all over the world about how awful you are. How awful this article is. How bad it all is for psychoanalysis (quoting Eissler, page 193).
Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
Ferenczi was considered paranoid for believing his women patients; the men's confessions were not even discussed. Ernest Jones, the powerful English analyst who had been Ferenczi's analysand, now took up the cudgel against him in deadly seriousness. Jones let it be known after Ferenczi's death in 1933 (he died a few months after the quarrel with Freud) that he was really a homicidal maniac. While I was in London working in the Jones archives I discovered what this really meant: Jones believed that to disagree with Freud (the father) was tantamount to patricide (father murder). And so, because Ferenczi believed that children were sexually abused and Freud did not, Ferenczi was branded by Jones as a homicidal maniac, and this piece of scurrilous interpretation stuck (page 152).
Eissler's rage knew no bounds. He did not like being harrassed by other analysts. "Just today Masud Khan called me from London and asked me to dismiss you from the Archives. The board members, all of them, or at least most of them, are asking for the same." (page 194)
Masson
To me, looking at other people in terms of what is wrong with them —these gradations of disturbance— was and is distasteful. Always implicit in the doctor's view is, of course, how much more "healthy" you are than they. And this is almost never the case (page 94).
Masson Jeffrey Moussaieff
After returning to Berkeley, I was called by the New York Times. They had heard about the paper and the response to it and wanted to send a reporter to Berkeley to talk to me about the issues surrounding it. Ralph Blumenthal came to Berkeley, spent a few days talking with me, left and wrote a sober and intelligent account, sketchy and somewhat popular, but basically correct. I was completely unprepared for the storm it was to provoke within psychoanalytic circles. To this day I am not entirely certain what it was in the article that so infuriated the analytic community. But there can be no doubt about the severity of the anger, even rage, directed at me. The two-part article was published in the "Science" section of the Times on two successive Tuesdays, August 14, and August 21,1981. I happened to be in England when the first part came out. Anna Freud had seen it and called me. "I am surprised at all the phone calls I have been receiving. I can't see anything so terrible in this article." I was relieved. (page 193)
Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
I suspected from the way he said this that he believed it. It was a combination of the worst of analytic theory (penis envy) and the worst of his own personal prejudices against women. He said it with such passionate self-righteousness, that I knew I was helpless against him. It could never become the subject of a rational discussion.




I liked the idea of representing nobody but myself. No affiliation, no ties, no loyalties.
Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
In my experience, psychoanalysis demanded loyalty that could not be questioned, the blind acceptance of unexamined "wisdom". It is characteristic of religious orders to seek obedience without scepticism, but it spells the death of intellectual enquiry. All variants of "because I say so," or because the Koran says so, or the Bible says so, or the Upanishads say so, or Freud says so, or Marx says so, are simply different means of stifling intellectual dissent. In the end they cannot satisfy the inquisitive mind or still the doubts that naturally arise when such a mind is confronted with authoritative statements about human behavior. (pages 209, 210)
Masson quotes
Khan told me: "Nobody wants to say anything publicly because I know too much about all of them. If we were all to be honest with each other, that would be the end of British psychoanalysis." (pages 194, 195)
Masson Jeffrey Moussaieff
I still yearned then, and probably even more so earlier, for a strong, masculine person on whom I could pattern myself. Somebody I could admire, and imitate, and become close to and learn from. I had sought this, always, in my teachers, and my search had always ended in disappointment. I was attracted emotionally to a position that I could only despise intellectually.
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