Monday, February 2, 2009

Family in the City

For psychoanalysis, the city is maternal. It contains its citizens in a manner somewhat corresponding to a mother "holding" her child in the womb or early years. But the city is a mass unit and within its embrace, perhaps only the family is the remaining form of original groups like tribes and clans. This family passed me on the way up Baggot Street and there wasn't so much light for a photograph. The shutter speed wasn't quite up to the job, but the image was likeable, so I blurred it slightly. Now this family looks a little romantic, strolling through the city in the rosy glow of buildings and lights. But the city is in charge. It's impossible to stop the forward thrust of the city and any attempts to so do are doomed to failure. The development of the city is rooted in the development of the ego and consciousness. But in this society, man is atomised and isolated in a mass that offers him little psychic support and where personality values no longer count. In groups, though, the mutual knowledge that people have of one another helps reduce atomisation. So I like to think of this family here as representing a kind of benevolent mutuality.