Find Your Porcupine And Something Will Follow…

The Porcupine Illusion

It began as an urbane fable about how to brush down bristling nerves. Sometime in the summer of 1909, not long before Sigmund Freud was due to embark on his only visit to the United States, he was enjoying a cigar in the company of his inner circle in the busy Biedermeier interior of Berggasse 19, when he suddenly announced, “I am going to America to catch sight of a wild porcupine and to give some lectures.”

The declaration no doubt provoked coughs and clinks of china—perhaps punctuated here and there by crinkling mouth-corners in anticipation of Freud’s masterstroke, which would illuminate the conceit. No one credited him with being so avid a porcupine aficionado that he would travel three thousand miles by steamship to make the acquaintance of one specimen of Erethizon dorsatum in its native woodland habitat.

Freud continued, “Whenever you have some large objective in mind, it’s always good to identify a secondary, less demanding goal on which to focus your attentions in order to detract from the anxiety associated with the search for the true grail.” Thereafter, his disciple Ernst Jones reported, “The phrase, ‘to find one’s porcupine,’ became a recognized saying in our circle.”

Joseph Campbell famously bleated, When you follow your bliss … doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors, and where there wouldn’t be a door for anyone else.

Now we have To Find One’s Porcupine …

Explore posts in the same categories: Other, Writers - Dead

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