Our Selves, Alone. Extract 3. From Nthposition, 2010

Full story here. and Extract 1 here and Our Selves, Alone. Extract 2. Nthposition, 2010


“Dr Gallagher now my now self would be grateful to your now self if my now self could perform a research activity.”

“I thought you had been performing a research activity since we met.”

“This is the formal research activity. As your then self alluded to earlier, in the field of anthropology there is great concern about the observer inserting their values into the system being observed.”

“As the system being observed, I appreciate that.”

“Professor Murtlock’s past self consistently developed a technique, based in fact in part on some of the writings published as the pseudoscience of psychotherapy…”

“..that’s a little harsh, but probably fair”

“… which is aimed at avoiding this. It means that you will speak, uninterrupted for some time, I will record this, and later I will…”

“.. see – it is hard to keep up isn’t it? You are talking about “you” and “I” now, not “your self” and “my self.””

“It will be analysed by my ongoing self. A consent form is required to be signed by your now self. Also, a form which reassures your ongoing self of the uses to which this research activity will be put. Your ongoing self will be described anonymously in all reports of this research, whether interactive or archival writing.”

“Grand, grand. I’ll sign. I’ve done research myself. Research activity, rather. Although the activity ground to a halt after a while.”

“Thanks to your self, Dr Gallagher. The recording device is prepared for activation. I would like you to talk uninterrupted on this topic.”

“I can do the talking, but only you can not do the interrupting.”

“Talk continually, without pause as much as possible, on this topic, which is a conceptual part of folk psychology: what is a desire?”


Manus had set it up, with a slight departure from the original plan. Kelly herself would drive, in the internally-combusting vehicle with the identifier 15 DL 325, to Letterkenny to pick up the letters. She received them from Manus in the Democrat office, a single room in a temporary cabin structure from the late twentieth century. With its ancient computers and collection of physically-printed photographic depictions (the last time she had been there, somone called the the picture editor had sternly told her that these were not physically-printed, but “developed”, whatever that meant) – the office was, for Kelly, a time capsule.

She did not glance at the letters. Before she had gone, Joe had warned her about the temptations of folk psychology.

“My or your self could perceive these documents by reading, and the plausibility of the illusions of free will and desire could be impressive. Do not let your self forget that the FPEP had to do much work to achieve its institutional objectives. Even here, in this university, there are academic selves who are prone to the category error of folk psychology. It is why the study of the antiquared written passive forms – called novels, poems and similar terms – is under such strict control. This study has seduced many selves at one time, both academic and non-academic. Try and influence your self to ignore the manifest content of these documents, and indeed what this man may speak. Our selves will focus on the themes and semiotics of the content, not the content.”

The next morning, just after 11.00 she drove the car up the hills beyond Letterkenny, along the winding roads that lead to the Derryveagh mountains. While hilly, the landscape was gentle, green – and far from the rocky, harsh one of a few miles beyond Termon. Kilmacrenan, however, would come first on the road. Kelly had been told to pull in by a now derelict cafe, the Hilltop, and Dr Bert Gallagher would arrive about noon.


Aphorism # 14: You want to meet the correspondents? Be my guest!


Aphorism # 1: The verb ‘to be’ is problematic in an age that denies that there is a subject that can be.


Aphorism # 4 The spirit of the age is that everything has a simple fix.


“This isn’t working. I can’t get into it.”

A silence.

“OK, I know how this works. Please, it isn’t working. Give me something to respond to.”

A silence.

“You are good at this. Better than I thought you’d be”

A silence

“Well, I can’t go on. I know, you won’t say anything. I can’t go on, though.”
A silence.

“I can’t go on, I won’t go on. I’ll go on.”

A silence

“That was an allusion, as we used to call it.”

A silence.

“You are like a brick wall. That’s what people used to imagine psychiatrists were like. If only we had been.”

A silence.

“I am only joking and clowning like this because I am nervous. Isn’t that obvious?”

“Your self is performing more than adequately. Your self can relax.”

“You are so silent. You are good at this. You’ve more commonsense than meets the eye.”

“Isn’t belief in commonsense one of the most frequent sources of errors of thinking?”

“Maybe. I notice you aren’t stating that. You’re asking the question. Maybe you were drawn to me for reasons deeper than the simple desire to forge an academic reputation by finding the primitive rituals of the primitive Donegal people so fascinating?”

“Please continue.”



From the unedited transcript of the Research Activity Number 1, Kelly Papiraz Smith and Bert Gallagher:

Those schools no longer dispute, to put it mildly. I am not a Freudian, or a Jungian, or an anythingian. I just a boy who worked hard and surprised everyone and ended up in psychiatry a little by accident and was always an honest, biologically-minded psychiatrist who left all the philosophizing and theorizing and research to other people and all these people so eager to promote their dramatic breakthrough pharmacological psychotherapeutic social whatever they evoked protectiveness in me not anything else there was something rather too polished about them always like estate agents you wouldn’t remember them. Anyway I would like to think the agony aunt column helped people even a little at the end of the day this life is confusing and helping people is all you can do sounding sentimental or corny I know but there you go life is sentimental and corny very often no point denying it no point always reinventing the wheel no point at all always returning to the same few knotty problems define them out of existence they are still there

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