I made a list of my symptoms. I think the key symptoms are

depression, obsessiveness, hypervigilance, isolative defenses, social withdrawal, psychological distress

I googled this list and what do you think popped up? Trauma!! These are symptoms of trauma. What does that mean? I wasn’t looking for trauma. It just popped up when I googled this list. Whoa!


On Paranoia, Statistics and Identity

I have a belief that I have been under surveillance by my former employer. Years ago I had a psychiatrist who had an unusual response to my reports about being under surveillance. When he told me I was persecutory (paranoid) I would ask him why he thought that and he would say, “That’s improbable.” Improbable. That sequence happened several times. He’s the only psychiatrist who had that response to my reports about the surveillance.

I was confused by that response. The psychiatrist did not deny that it was happening; he didn’t ask, “Why would that happen?”; he didn’t say, “that belief is the product of a thought disturbance.” No. He would only say, “that’s improbable.”

I puzzled over that response. What could it possibly mean? I thought about the fact that the statistical probability of something occurring has nothing to do with the identity of that occurrence, the nature of that occurrence, or, in the psychological realm, the psychodynamics of the occurrence. I thought about chemistry. In the universe the element hydrogen is a common element. It is the constituent of stars, the fuel that powers the stars’ fusion reactions. Elements of a higher atomic number are more rare. The radioactive element astatine is so rare that its inclusion in the Periodic Table of the Elements was made at first in theoretical character. Currently there are a total of 31 grams of the material on earth.

In one’s daily life the statistical probability of encountering the element astatine is extremely low to nonexistent. It’s improbable! And yet, as to the identity of astatine, well — despite the statistical improbability of encountering astatine — the element is like every other element in terms of certain fundamental characteristics, that is, the element has an “identity.” Astatine has a unique atomic number. The element as a substance has physical qualities — just as the more common element copper has physical qualities like electrical conductivity and malleability.

When you say that something is improbable are you not perhaps denying the object’s or phenomena’s “identity?” That is, despite the statistical improbability of something occurring, it nonetheless has an identity or describable characteristics.

And what is that? What does it mean when a person denies the identity of something and instead speaks of the thing in quantitative terms like “statistical probability?” That’s anal defensiveness or anal sadism! The psychoanalyst Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel sees anal sadism as driving the need to see individuals (or any objects that have a specific identity) as indistinguishable from each other. In her essay “Perversion and Universal Law” Chasseguet-Smirgel refers to “an anal universe where all differences are abolished . . . All that is taboo, forbidden, or sacred is devoured by the digestive tract, an enormous grinding machine disintegrating the molecules of the mass thus obtained in order to reduce it to excrement.” In the anal universe Good and Evil are synonymous.

Surveillance has dynamics. When it occurs there are reasons why it occurs. We can describe those various reasons. We can talk about the psychodynamics of surveillance. Speaking of the statistical probability of the occurrence of surveillance bypasses an inquiry into the nature and psychodynamics of surveillance as well as the nature and psychodynamics of the individual’s belief in the surveillance, regardless of how deluded that belief is. (In fact, when I was seeing Dr. Palombo, he responded to my report of surveillance, “We can treat your belief as (an analyzable) fantasy.” Dr. Sack said to me, “We can analyze your paranoia.” These doctors did not say, “That’s improbable.”

When I reported to the psychiatrist that I was a victim of surveillance why did he deny my report in anal sadistic terms, namely, “that’s improbable” — substituting a concern for statistical probability in place of a concern for the describable aspects (speaking metaphorically, the “electrical conductivity” and “malleability”) of my beliefs.

What is the meaning of denying a person’s seemingly paranoid belief by use of an anal sadistic procedure?

This goes to one of my difficulties in life. I am constantly seeing deep meanings in seemingly casual observations of other people. My mind is overwhelmed with all the ironies, contradictions, and absurdities of the things that people say. I lay awake at night thinking of these things!

The Remarkable Subtleties of the Jewish Meistersinger

In the summer of 2017 the Wagner festival at Bayreuth staged Wagner’s comic masterpiece Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg in a staging by Barry Kosky. In this production the characters Hans Sachs, an older shoemaker and Mastersinger takes the form of Wagner himself, while the heroine Eva Pogner is presented as Wagner’s wife, Cosima, and the town clerk Sixtus Beckmesser becomes the Jewish conductor, Hermann Levi. The backdrop is no longer 16th century Nurnberg but mid-twentieth century Nurnberg where the post World War II international war crimes tribunal was held. The backdrop of acts 1 and 2 is the actual Nurnberg court room.

Remarkable ironies emerge in this production. For example in Act 2 Sachs says to Eva “I am too old for you.” But of course in this production it is Wagner himself saying to Cosima, “I am too old for you” and in fact Wagner was 24 years older than Cosima.

In Wagner’s version the middle-aged town clerk Beckmesser improbably woos the young Eva. But in this production it is the Jewish conductor Hermann Levi improbably wooing the married (and anti-Semitic) Cosima Wagner. In fact, in 1882 Levi was accused of carrying on an affair with Cosima.

In the second act the Nurnberg tribunal court room backdrop features prominently a clock on the wall. It is not a mere incidental feature in this production since the second act of Die Meistersinger takes place between the hours of 10 and 11 on the evening of June 23. Near the opening of the act the town crier sings, “The clock has struck 10.” At the conclusion of the act the crier sings, “The clock has struck 11.” And in this production we can see the clock on the wall of the court room. (see 2:19:00 on the video).

The staging is full of these ironies. The depth of Barry Kosky’s thinking is remarkable. He’s a genius! One rarely sees an opera production with such depth and subtlety of interpretation.

My Legal Work: It’s as Good as any Lawyer’s

Unlike some federal judges I didn’t graduate third in my class. But I’m not as dumb as I look. I clerked at Sagot & Jennings and wrote several pleadings filed in court (see below).  We got a favorable ruling in each case. I have never lost a case — until I came to DC.  Let’s just assume that I’m never wrong — at least in Pennsylvania!!

It seems like the only way opposing counsel can win in a case against me is to commit perjury!!  What does that say?  What does it say that lawyers know the only way they can win against me is to play dirty.  That must say something!

What does it say when two of the top lawyers in one of the largest law firms in the country felt that the only way they could win their case against me was to commit perjury? Whoa!  What does that say?  It must say something about me.  Keep in mind these were not second rate lawyers.  Again, they were two of the top lawyers in one of the largest law firms in the country!!  


I have asked several of my therapists: “Would you mind if I tape recorded our sessions?” They all said no. None of them would allow me to tape record my sessions. What does that say about my therapists and their work?

I, on the other hand, have no reservations about putting my legal work on the Internet for the world to see. What does that say about me and my work?

Melanie Klein and Vacuum Cleaners

In my letter to my therapist about my October 16, 2017 session, I wrote the following:

You know it reminds me of a vacuum cleaner salesman. He comes to your door. He makes this incredible sales pitch. At first you think, “I have no interest in buying a vacuum cleaner.” But he is so seductive that you lose your misgivings and you give in to the allure of his salesmanship. You buy a vacuum cleaner. Then, the next day, you use the vacuum cleaner and it doesn’t work the way the salesman promised. It was a seduction. You were seduced.

Lo and behold, the vacuum cleaner has Kleinian symbolism relating to schizoid disorder !!

Wild thought about Homophobia?


Homophobic men have a special fear of expressing closeness to another man and are revolted by homosexuality. I was thinking about that fear in relation to Oedipal concerns: as a variation of Oedipal concerns. In the Oedipal situation the boy fears that his attachment to mother will lead to castration by father.

This is my wild idea. Is it possible that in the homophobic man there is a fear that closeness to the father will lead to castration by the jealous phallic mother? The phallic mother is a castrating mother (just as the Oedipal father is a castrating father). This imagery refers to the earliest phase of a child’s development that has sadistic fantasies with regard to its mother, projects aggressive feelings onto her, and begins to fear her.

I wonder if this makes any sense. Has anybody thought of this before? Do homophobic men in fact have a special fear of the phallic mother? Do homophobic men in fact have sadistic fantasies toward their mothers?

email Message to Professor Nicholas Vazsony — Wagner Expert

Professor Vazsony:

May I interest you to take a look at an unusual book I wrote about Wagner and Freud — both geniuses at creating a brand? The book is called Significant Moments and can be found at the following link.


Gary Freedman
Washington, DC

Professor Vazsony is the author of Richard Wagner and the Making of a Brand.

Growing Up Jewish in South Hungary: email Message to Rafael Ornstein, M.D.

Rafael Ornstein, M.D. is the son of the well-known psychoanalyst and Holocaust survivor, Paul Ornstein, M.D.

Dr. Ornstein:

I am a layman with an interest in psychoanalysis. I was a big fan of your father’s book, “Looking Back: Memoir of a Psychoanalyst.” May I interest you to take a look at a psychoanalytically-informed book I wrote — a kind of novel in verse — about an immigrant Jewish-Iranian family living in New York City? The book (The Emerald Archive) is at the link below:


Gary Freedman
Washington, DC