Cognitive Pearl #024 Tevet 9 5775 December 31, 14

We’ve been discussing ways to reach clients who lack a language with which to share their internal world with us as well as those who seem to be cut off from their inner world.

In order to move forward, a brief few words on proxies and doubles will help.

All of us are familiar with serious sports fans. These are crazy people. Perhaps, some of us are such people. For a real fan, the connection to their team or favorite player whisks them away to a magical place; they become so consumed by their target that they forget themselves. True fandom goes beyond simple identification; it’s to let that player or team do and be all the things that the fan cannot do or be.

Of course, the use of proxies is not limited to sports; we find artistic proxies, style proxies, political proxies, moral proxies, spiritual proxies, scholarship proxies, power proxies and many many other kinds. These are all people or objects, some real, some not, who via identification (and then some!) do things for us that we cannot do.

For many people proxies however become tools for expression and offer a kind of inner life. This is one of the roles of celebrities in modern life: celebrities (and each culture has such people) have far more appealing lives and ways to express themselves than many of our clients think of their own lives and ideas. They are caught up in the deep shame pervading our culture, a shame born of not feeling that they have a worthy voice or life, to be shared with others. So they let others do the talking for them. 

In practice, then I will gather information on who the proxies are: characters in television shows, newsmakers, rabonim and tzadikim, singers, and celebrities. What do these proxies say and do on behalf of the client? What we do with this data is for coming installments.