NCSPP

Northern California Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology

From the Editor

by Shlomit Gorin, MA
 
Two weeks ago marked the fifth anniversary of the outbreak of a brutal civil war in Syria. So far, an estimated nine million women, men, and children have been forced to flee their homes to seek refuge in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. If "home is where we start from," as a T. S. Eliot line slightly adapted for the title of a collection of Winnicott's essays asserts, one shudders imagining the overwhelming challenges in the psychic trajectory of the millions of Syrian babies and children without a home--and those who are unable to leave home.
 
Meanwhile, in the relative safety of the United States, which many of us call home, we've been witness to the most circus-like electoral campaign to date. More worrisome, it is widely regarded as the most violent campaign since 1968, and some believe the worst is yet to come. Something is terribly wrong with a country when an emotionally stunted, inarguably unqualified, violence-encouraging bigot has a good chance of becoming a presidential nominee. It's easy to denigrate a demagogue's supporters, but let's not forget the ineluctable anxiety, anger, and powerlessness that typically undergird--though by no means justify--intolerance and violence in a society that is far from being "good enough." It's hard to imagine we'd be in the same electoral predicament, despite opposition to cultural and demographic change, if our socioeconomic environment were truly facilitating, and equitably so.
 
History has shown, and the present consistently confirms, that anxiety about survival breeds violence. Home is indeed where we start from, and in this home, we--all of us--need not only holding and containment but also stable housing, clean drinking water, food, and medical care. That would be a good-enough place to start from.