Vladimir Levi, physician, psychotherapist, psychiatrist, psychologist, writer, and, as he says, «part-time musician and a little artist», immigrated to Israel.
Mostly thanks to you in the Soviet Union learned about the science as psychology. Given the «problematic» attitude of the authorities, for example, to the method of Freud, as it was to study psychology in the USSR?
Psychology as such in the Soviet Union to exist it should not – especially practical psychology. It was a vision higher. And it as a science and practice that helps people, started to choke quite early – already in the mid 20-ies, when everything had become first a Marxist, then Marxist-Leninist and finally, Lenin-Stalin. When Stalin came to power, the psychology of stalled almost completely.
Two things can indicate the beginning of squarewave Soviet psychology as a science and practical discipline. Death Bekhterev who, most likely, have poisoned the Cheka after he put Stalin’s famous diagnosis of «paranoia». As it turned out, it was diagnosis, not only Stalin, but all that happened with the Soviet Union for many years. And continues even now – we see the recurrence of mass paranoia, a relapse of «scoop».
But living thought is impossible to exterminate. The first years of Soviet authorities gave several world figures. This Bekhterev, the great Explorer of the brain, the neurologist, the mighty therapist, gipnolog, psychologist. One of his book «Suggestion and its role in public life» and now should be studied as elements of social psychology. There were such powerful figures like Luria and Vygotsky, who died at the beginning of Stalinist repression. I have the feeling that it was psychosomatic suicide: he knew that he had tuberculosis, and was not treated. Alexander Romanovich Luria lived until 1977. He was neuropsychologia. This major was on the verge of clinical, and therefore not touched. Was Boris Gerasimovich Anan’ev, who in spite of his Russian surname, was a man of Armenian descent. This figure is very significant but very complicated. He created the St. Petersburg school psychologists, still has his disciples. He held an ambivalent position – and tried to fit in with the Soviet government, and to disassociate themselves from it. There were other significant figures – Lev Rubinshtein, Alexei Leontiev, Vladimir Zinchenko. But they went more in the direction of the theory, life practice closely without touching. Tried to coexist with the ideological monster.
Whether practiced psychoanalysis?
Psychoanalysis strangled pretty early. But before Soviet power was produced a lot of popular works on psychoanalysis – at first, a rehashing of Freud, then the original. But then on the psychoanalysis especially zealously attacked, and Pedology. The word it sounds not very nice, but actually it is about children, about their psychology. Psychoanalysis very soon was simply forbidden.
But illegal it was practiced?
I don’t even know… you Know, when you work with someone, it is simply impossible not to engage and psychoanalysis too. After all, psychoanalysis is different ways to deepen into the unconscious and the subconscious. This can be called differently. Was the eminent Georgian psychologist Uznadze, he had the whole school «the psychology of attitudes.» And in fact, it was the study of various unconscious mechanisms. Not, of course, that in Freud – on sexuality in General. Now psychoanalysis is very diverse. He’s already kind of religion: there is an Orthodox Freudianism, there are plenty of heresies and a lot of critics and nisprovergateley. The most sensible minds try not to throw the baby out with the dirty water. For example, here’s what he wrote about psychoanalysis, the great Russian thinker Nikolai Berdyaev, who left Russia after the revolution: «In Freud there is no psychiatric staff, he has the freedom and boldness of thought. Freud scientifically substantiates the truth that sexuality can be seen throughout human being is inherent and even babies. He ranges the normal boundaries normal natural sexuality. He scientifically proves some positively brilliant intuition of Weininger, although the spirit of them is different»…
Weninger is a very interesting and tragic figure. An Austrian Jew who wrote the book «Sex and character», which we secretly read in high school. And one of the Jews-anti-Semites. He despised and hated himself a Jew, was ashamed of his Jewish origins and eventually committed suicide.
Will continue the quote from Berdyaev: «But the tendency of the school of Freud to explain everything down to the religious life, unconscious sexuality takes the form of obsessive ideas which are typical for the psychiatrists».
A word about psychiatrists my heart warmed, I started as a psychiatrist…
Berdyaev, on: «After all, and this pansexualism can be explained by unconscious sexuality of its creators, if you apply that method of investigation and intervention in intimate life, which allows the school of Freud».
Correct: Freud himself struggled with his or her remaining from the Orthodox Judaism of powerful sexual taboos…
Berdyaev: «the Tension in Freud’s explanation of the type of Leonardo or understanding the basics of reach comic. And yet Freud helps the understanding of sexuality».
I 100% share this point of view.
Now in Russia psychoanalysis jumped out of the woodwork as hell. A lot of quackery, anyone can call themselves a psychoanalyst, to hang on the wall of diplomas. But to be serious psychoanalyst, need long and hard to learn, and it is very important to have a medical degree – because you’re deep inside of a person, a secret secret of his being… And, of course, you want to be a conscientious person, not psycho-businessman. These psychoanalysts that meet these criteria, the world is not enough.
You are one of the first Soviet sexologists. Was this a problem, given the puritanical policies of the party and government?
First of all, must correct you: no I’m not the first sexologist – then I was to call… Sexology in the USSR was not, and the problem was, and still what. Policy was by no means puritanical, sanctimonious and-cannibal. «We have no sex» – that’s the whole story! But in post-Soviet Russia, he blossomed with light, even the saints fans, they have already made, and far.
Will tell you, however, a strange thing: sexology as a separate science, there is now and cannot be. As an area of psychological practice it is, of course, can be identified – as is, for example, otolaryngology. But sexology – fundamentally butt area. She focuses on all that «it» that refers to «this» from any side. Sexology engaged and gynecologists, and andrology, psychotherapists, and psychoanalysts, and urologists, and clinical psychologists.
As for me, I never sexologist was announced, just helped and help including those who come to «it». It is part of human, some quite substantial. And the first Soviet sexologist, along with the great Abram Moiseevich Swiadomym, the author of the famous book «Women’s sexual pathology» can be called well and living in Israel Igor Dashevsky, great psychiatrist and hypnotherapist. One time we worked in the clinic of the Union of writers. It was not advertised, but patients were pleased with it.
Theoretical science and practical activity, psychiatry and psychology. Can there be one without the other without the third and fourth?
Of course, it can’t. But from all of the above in the suburbs and more of the musty remains, of course, psychiatry. She has sat on psychopharmacology, chemistry, anything more doesn’t want to know, all other calls psychologicaly and, psychologistfor. I’m against it. I like birds, stray from the pack, continuing psychiatric practice, I believe that regardless of whether you need medication or not, each patient needed individual psychotherapy and psychological approach. Even if the patient be insane, fringe, psychotherapy is necessary to his relatives. Requires good psychology. The current psychiatrists rarely understand this. Prescribed medication and went. The vast majority of psychiatric patients are completely sane, they just can’t own some parts of his own psyche – for example, depressed people or neurotic.
You more interested, to write or to help the person sitting across from you?
In the same way. There was a period when it was in conflict. I said to myself, «I’m a writer, don’t play all these mental guts». But every time I go back to practice. Live medical-psychological communication gives the writer of precious, irreplaceable creative power. If I write a letter of correspondence to the patient, it can turn into a part of the book. Of course, modify it slightly, but it’s good. Sometimes I think: «wow, how I wrote!» If you write, you write.
Get that feeling like your hand-hmm?
Sometimes it arises then when you read and see, what’s really good lyrics. The music is another matter. When immersed in musical improvisation, there is a feeling that you no…
Music for you is a form of therapy?
Form of capoterapia. Those patients who are closest to it, sometimes play.
I had to deal with the opinion that the modern lifestyle is not suitable for humans as a biological species. The result is depression. A significant percentage of people in the West are taking antidepressants. Do you think that depression is the plague of the Twenty-first century?
About plague is a gross exaggeration. Depressions were always, at all times. Talks about them and the Bible. David playing kinnara treated king Saul from depression – one of the first known musictheraputics. Music – all medicine, is still not sufficiently appreciated. Depression previously appeared under other names: the Blues, the melancholy, the treatment of which has involved the Hippocrates. The grief, the anguish – how many songs dedicated to them, and they’re songs, though not cured, but relieved.
Depression is not a plague, and the great diagnostic a pimple that arose on the background of certain medical diagnostic satiety? Trend is convenient for the doctor – no need to dig into the disease, to establish the cause of the disease, which can be very different – for example, associated with an unhealthy diet. Each depression requires their treatment. The medicine should be resorted to only in cases where it is obvious that the only way to get out is impossible.
The percentage of depressive States, I think, about the same at all times, for always, for them is a lot of reasons. But we think that the depression became too much, because low mood, depression and anxiety, pessimism and sadness were now seen as medical facts on the disease and not just on the vital state, as looked before. With life’s circumstances, and not with «depression», the authors of former times was also linked to suicide – I write about this in the book «Memento». Not complaining until the depression in the «third» world, although they certainly are there – just in a different social context are perceived differently. There is research, what people most cheerful. It turned out that one of the first, if not in the first place are the North Koreans.
In the modern lifestyle, the human body, of course, is not intended. It is designed for life the natural and harsh on the diversity of natural conditions, through which had our human race to go through in the course of evolution. Life, close to nature, rural life with physical work in the fresh air, life is strict, no-nonsense, with a healthy concerns and stresses, sometimes good treats depressive disorders, but is also not guaranteed – it is too deeply inscribed in the nature of a considerable percentage of people still understudied science, the tendency to mood falls below a critical level, when a person needs skilled, intelligent and kind assistance of another person. «Nothing is more useful than man» – such words has finished his great book «Ethics» by Baruch Spinoza. Healthier person can be, probably, only God is, but I suppose it has to get it.
Psychologists have wrestled with the inner demons of a person. One of them is the absence of love. You also write about it. But what is love?
The word love means many things many people, so many concepts of love. But the Foundation is something in it, and love is one of the Central topics of psychology and psychotherapy. Starting from the relationship between child and mother. If the kitten nursed the cat-mother, he is alone, if she throws it early – very different… the love theme is the most important age, the most interesting psychoanalysts – with the earliest. The problems arising in it, bookmarks deficiencies and disharmonies and then snowballing. The first deep emotional trauma and deprivation then subconsciously transferred to all subsequent relationships, particularly intimate. It is, in fact, is the main subject of psychoanalysis – the internal vicissitudes of love in man love not just as sex but as Eros, which combines physical and spiritual, – of man’s relationship with man, being a creature, of soul with soul. And I, the therapist, have to do it all the time – look, there is love in the man or not, is it something owed, or the person she «overfed» rather incorrectly fed. On the subject of my book: «Trauma of love», «family wars» and «Lonely each lonely» where there is poetry.
In your life came poetry?
Yeah just came here. Poems compose themselves, from the age of four. But the first book of poems was released only in 2000, «Crossed-out profile». Now it will not find, think to re-release.
Poetry for you – a continuation of a profession, or something else?
The theme of the profession in the verses, of course, present, but there is just lyrics, and poems that can be called philosophical, and poems for kids and humorous. This morning the poem was written semi comic «Nonsense». Epigraph there is periphrasis of one favorite song.
Will do what can not,
Let’s zaum, friends,
Time flies at the speed of light –
have you ever heard of it?
– No I haven’t. I’m very tired:
everywhere was in a hurry and everywhere late.
Time flies at the speed of light:
and began to sing, and the song sung –
can it be that?
– No, it can’t. I sang,
and even a song to ruin done.
Time flies at the speed of light? –
that is the question. Waiting for a response.
– Nonsense! As large opened minds
time is with the speed of darkness.
– Darkness does not happen. But only timelessness,
if destiny was able to get pregnant.
Time is not a name, but an alias:
the light flies away, and we with him.
This sense of timelessness somehow influenced your decision to move to Israel?
This decision maturely I have very long, with the first trip here back in the late 90’s. In 2006 I spent a series of performances with workshops in several cities. Came here several times, and for all that Russia has remained for me is not foreign, but native, increasingly felt their country Israel. This is the same that the father and mother live far apart and may not get along… the Main motive of repatriation – the little ones that you’ve just seen my younger kids, Jewish boys are three and a half years, I brought them here, they are warm and good.
I’m still in Israel has not «moved» in the literal and full sense, bridges are not burned – but I feel not a stranger here, although the Hebrew for communication yet, and patriotism are much difficult and unclear. Endlessly interesting to me here, infinitely precious communion with the ancestral tree, and want not only to receive but to give – to make the country something important. Most concerned with the topic of parenting and education. Because after all, Israel to be or not to be, will the people not just to survive but to thrive, and without development – not only economic! – it is impossible and survival.
Can you compare two systems of education of children, Soviet and Israeli?
This is just the most pressing issue for me, again a young dad. The subject of the closest study, as physicians put it , «in situ» – in place. Have no right to judge what’s going on here – not enough information. Numerically small Israel is very diverse mental, accordingly, it is possible to think, and model of education, family first of all, it contains different, with many opposites. In kindergartens and schools, as I complained, remains, as in Russia, many scoops, sometimes quite vulgar. But, at least in secular Israel, which I managed to get some idea, children feel freer and more warmed with love and care, than in the Northern maloprimetny power – this can be seen on any Playground. As a family therapist, you know, however, that in any country to each individual child a world of relations that affect him and entering his soul, which is specific for this family and different for each child. Everyone has their own life situation.
What are you a father?
I? Good. Can add: hot.
Then tell me, on the basis of personal and professional experience: what you need to pay attention in the first place when raising a child?
You should be able to see the child, what he is now and here. To be able to see the world through his eyes, to be in it. The art of being different, in this case – the art of being a child, his child. On the other hand, do not be too emotionally dependent on the child. This is a game of opposites: to see, to understand, to be compassionate, but not always succumb to this. Difficult. Mental work each second.
This is the subject of the work of family child psychologist. His help is necessary for almost every family, because parents can’t be objective with your child. Often look and don’t see, are mainly guided by their stereotypes. For example, the child is temporarily decreased appetite, and start to feed him forcibly. It is impossible, harmful, and dangerous! I have written in detail about this in the book «Non-standard child».
Is the «standard baby»?
Of course, no. If you dig deep enough, every child is unique. Even retarded – it has the sparkle of the unknown, not used features, it can flare up and flare up. Best, the brilliant author who wrote ever about children – Janusz Korczak. Should start with it. Read Korczak «How to love a child». From here all. This is the Bible of relationships between parents and children. I periodically come back to this book and find something new. And then sit down to write myself – and understand that I am only his successor. Korczak – the immortal genius of Pediatrics and pedagogy, a genius and a great hero of our people and all humanity.
Is it possible to put psychological and psychiatric diagnosis not only for the individual but also society? Comparable whether Israel and Russia?
To make diagnoses society is now fashionable, I myself, I confess, was a hand. Any society can put a lot of diagnoses, and psychological and psychiatric, if only to understand that such diagnoses are no more than analogy or metaphor of individual diagnoses, clinical, rod mind games, but sometimes quite appropriate. At such statement of a question it is better to apply the term «society» and «mass», «crowd». There are , for example, massive panic attacks, there are some mass paranoia – as in the USSR and, unfortunately, increasingly and today’s Russia – the recurrence of the paranoid matrix. It drives out those who are afraid for their children and wants to live like a human and not reptilian. There are also a mass state that is comparable to the delusions of grandeur – as in Nazi Germany and again in the Soviet Union, and the state are comparable to clinical dementia. But it is important to remember that even in the most totalitarian countries, it would seem that his mental offset rollers propaganda and axes of terror, the minds of people is never completely homogeneous – everywhere and always there is an alternative minority, preserving the adequacy and common sense, mind and conscience. It was the consciousness of this minority only and can be in the public consciousness as such, and everything else relates to the field of delirium.
Compare that to Israel and the Soviet Union someone’s evil joke that the collapsed of the USSR remained one Republic, the sixteenth, and it is called Israel. I also sometimes recognize native scoop, and it’s not always happy.
Is there such a thing as a Jewish brain? Are Jews and Jews here?
If you look at the list of Nobel prize winners and world Champions in chess, and for many advances in science, art, literature, medicine and many other fields of human activity and creativity, not to mention religion, then we have to recognize that Jewish brains are still the place to be. One of my humorous poems a La Igor Guberman, this cycle so I called gubernski – galuten tells the story of our success in the field of political and administrative:
In all ages for doing things
the Jew under the Governor sat.
But if the Governor were not good,
a Jew for Governor sat down.
Many thousands of years of brutal selection made, and the anti-Semites that helped significantly. About the differences of us «there» and «here» have so far only superficial impressions, to generalize early. The people I knew there, after living here for two or three or more decades, nothing substantial, as I can see, does not change the character and mentality are still the same, but more prominent are identified, emerge from deep twilight to daylight – the good become even better, even kinder good, evil more evil bastard scum still, the smart become smarter, the dumb get stupid, active mediocrity raspolagayutsya and pluck passive live quietly, psychopaths rock of their own and others psyche even stronger geniuses do rapidly and more willing to go crazy…
The main thing: «there» and «here» we, the Jews, above all very different, in the highest degree all kinds. Gathered here from all over the world, we brought in our «melting pot» of all human diversity, diversity of all cultures and mentalities. But even in biblical times, before scattering characteristic was an enormous polarization for all measurements and settings, a huge range of extremes. We are no better and no worse than any other – we are either better or worse. Not smarter than others, dumber than others, but also smarter and dumber than. Our geniuses terribly brilliant, our idiots terribly idiotic. Very often even in the same Jewish family, in mine, in particular, are born and grow up people completely at each other not similar by any standards. In the physical, emotional and intellectual diversity and balance of extremes – one of the secrets to our survivability and prosperity. Owing to its diversity everywhere we remain ourselves, even if do not want this – very different, but ourselves, with all mimicry easily recognizable.
Now this variation, in evolutionary genetics called «balanced polymorphism», reached a historical maximum, and in Israel particularly noticeable. The Norwegians are more or less similar to each other, the Jews are very different, but, nevertheless, a Jew is always and everywhere recall.
First of all, the eyes. It happens that across the street, or even on something elusive, indefinable. The mystery… Many centuries of dispersion and involuntary mimicry did the trick, but there is something that is not subject to.
So what’s the peculiarity of Israeli Jews?
Here in Israel, we can finally be themselves and only themselves, no one bothers. Completeness of the right to be ourselves makes us internally more free, more relaxed, more relaxed, and even raschlenenie. But when we to this force, to be themselves, paradoxically, not very good. This is a great theme, to crumple you to close the interview I would not want.
You don’t give the impression of a man who decided to retire. What will you do in Israel?
Going to write many books, prose and poetry, medical books and art. To help many more people. To draw and write music, doing this. About my next book project and svezhevyshedshey books can be found on the website www.levi.ru
Who are you feeling now?
Here, as in Russia, since the awakening of consciousness – a Jew, therefore a person. Man, therefore a Jew. It was the Russian Jew and the Russian. This is not going anywhere, as I noticed here, even after several decades of being an Israelite. Mental homeland of those who lived in Russia for more than twelve or thirteen years, and Hebrew is absolutely free – all the same Russian language, even forgotten. I dream that my books were translated into Hebrew an Israelite, a native speaker. And then a little sad: the books have been translated into 26 languages, including Arabic in Syria published «the Hunt for the thought», my first book forty years after its release, and in Hebrew, no one.
Interviewed By Paul Vyhdorchyk