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The Persecution of Prince M. Masud R. Khan

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I had approached Linda Hopkin's book "False Self: The Life of Masud Khan" with trepidation, fearing that I would read that the contentious psychoanalyst Prince(sic) M. Masud R Khan was just a clever sociopathic con artist who had got himself from Pakistan to London in steerage and then tricked rich people in England into letting him live off their credit cards by doing a very good job of pretending to be a [false] aristocrat. But no, Khan apparently did own a feudal estate with 25,000 peasants., or something like that before 1947.

His last book (right) before he died got the psychoanalytic world all huffy because he made some "anti-semitic" remarks, like I got reprimanded by a WokieAll trash to recycling! for saying that lay persons here in USA could understandably call Covid-19 a "China virus" because it originated in – guess where? China. The Wokie admonished me that I was being insensitive to a world class virologist with an MD and PhD, of yellow origin, i.e.: "hurting his feelings". You, my reader, may gather that I (BMcC[18-11-46-503]) was not "impressed" by either one.

Masud Khan all thru his career offended intellectual/emotional dwarfsAll trash to recycling![1] in the psychoanalytic establishment and they retaliated. My take after reading the book is that Khan was imperious because he was a victim of "normal" childrearing. Childrear a normal child normally and so what if you turn him (her, other) into a two-legged sheep – it's like having a lunatic shooting a BB gun – they can't do too much damage unless they hit you in the eye. But do that to a highly gifted but also sensitive child (I identify with MMRK!), and what do you get? In one case the world got The Unabomber who was traumatized by an infantile hospitalization and then by being subjected as a Harvard undergraduate to a Psychology Professor's experiment is seeing how people respond to being humiliated.

Consequently Khan's head was all messed up and, even though he became one of the great minds of the psychoanalytic world (D.W. Winnicott's "heir"), he didn't recognize what had been done to him and so he acted out.

It would not have been too bad if the dwarfs had just "ate" his imperiousness and accepted that they were his inferiors. But no, they got indignant and piecewise destroyed his career to get even. He did not have the emotional reserves to cope with the ticks and fleas. He descended into alcoholic hell and got lung cancer from smoking cancer sticks (I think any psychoanalyst would avoid cigarettes after Uncle Siggy died from throat cancer due to smoking stogies). And here's the punch line: Khan did not even like alcoholic beverages.

There were two last straws, one more like a steel I-beam, the other people being "insensitive". The insensitivity was that he made anti-semitic comments even though, apparently, the British psychoanalytic establishment was in denial about itself being a bit prejudiced against jews (Isn't being "anti-semitic" an existential self-contradiction for orthodox Sigmund Freudians?).

The steel I-beam is that Khan violated the Eleventh Commandment [no, not the one: Thou shalt wear underarm deorodant]: He had sex with patients. Even some other analysts acknowledged this was a "mixed bag". It genuinely helped some if not all of the women. These were not "one night stands" – they were, as far as Khan was capable of love, the loves of his and their lives. (Something that puzzles me is how such an astute student of human self-deception could believe in a religion, in his case: Islam)

I have been reprocessing my having to do with all the dwarfs at "Westchester Institute for Training in Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy"All trash to recycling! (1989-92?), which included one, one of whose pedagogical techniques was lying (l-y-i-n-g): He told me one thing and another student something conflictual to get us to do God knows what but we spilled the beans to each other; as a supervisor this man speculated to me whether I was psychotic and a danger to patients. The psychoanalytic world as far as I – a blind man investigating a big elephant – am concerned, is full of mind f*ckers who, given a chance, will reduce any gifted person who lacks the character armor of Gregor Samsa to a zombie and hop around being be pleased with themself and basking in the applause of their fellow drawfs. But there are some good analysts: I would have trusted Harold Searles. I would certainly have loved to give it a shot at helping Masud Khan, although I would not have wanted to go to bed with him (he was homosexual only in the way macho males who accept locker room gender apartheid public nudity as not disgusting are).

As for therapists having sexual relations with their patients I strongly feel that is partly for the hoi polloi dreck, and partly a real concern (some good material tangentially related to this in sad Professor Walter Andrews book: "The Age of Beloveds"): For a therapist to have a relation with an ex-patient seems to me fine ("No! No!"). But it cannot be fine while the patient is in treatment because the therapist-patient relationship, like the master-slave relationship, employer-employee, etc. is asymmetrical, whereas sexual relations should be psychically symmetrical. If patient and therapist want to have a sexual relationship, I think the therapeutic relationship needs to stop, immediately. Then they can get on with living. That seems not to be a popular idea among the dwarfs, who, like all hypocrites, if they do something taboo, pretend they don't.

The book ends – indeed, almost half of it and Khan's life is consumed – with Khan destroying himself with the alcohol he does not like to drink. One person comments their bafflement that a man and his wife, both of whom have everything, would destroy themselves. Victims of childrearing, "IMO". The next to last section of the book has a fascinating title: "The nine lives of a cat" (I (BMcC[18-11-46-503]) like cats). Khan apparently never had a pet cat. The "nine lives" refers to the 13 years of life he had after lung cancer surgery that had a prognosis of 3 to 6 months and he still kept smoking cigarettes, had more love affairs, etc. He apparently died from the alcohol not cancer. The ending chapter has the author visiting his second wife who is also alcoholic. She is 65 years old and in a wheel chair, who still loves him even though he's been dead at that point for 10 years, — and she has a one-eyed cat. She dies soon after and a new home is found for the little animal. One of Khan's last companions in his life was his dog; animals are often good (unlike many people).

One of the most important takeaways from the book is that, when he was sober, Khan would tend to imaginatively modify facts in his discourse; he uttered 100% empirically verifiable statements when he was drunk (dysfunctional). For instance (and this will be my own imaginative thought:) Khan would be hosting a dinner party in his expensive, expensively decorated flat in an upscale London neighborhood where he had several Braque paintings, etc., and he might say he recently had dinner with the Queen. Some persons understood this, and either liked it or at least accepted it (Cats will be cats).

DwarfsAll trash to recycling! did not like this, especially when his imaginative playfulness implied in any way that they might be dwarfed. One of them, for instance, was a priori convinced that Khan must be lying when he said he was wealthy. The dwarfs assiduously expended their time and energy trying (successfully) to get Khan cancelled. The dwarfs, obviously, did not appreciate either that sticks and stones can break your bones but the effect upon you of words depends on your security anent your self, nor that the only use for reality is as a foundation for fantasy. (Ticks and fleas.[2])

Let's have some fun! Let's make up some stuff! bradmcc@bmccedd.org

Advice is cheap

Advice is cheap. It costs the person "giving" it nothing. It may or may not help the person to whome the advice is given. If yes, then the advice does have value. Had I been seeing a therapist as a child nd told him about Mr. Tullai and athletics, and he had asked me why did I think I had not talked with him about it, tht migh thave given me the gumption to do it. If about Mr. Rentko and the handwriting it migh have given me the courage to sttand up to him. The famous psychologist Heinz Kohut oce told a patient who was engaging in some kind of self-destructive behavior: "I a going to give you the deelest interpretatio in your life: Stop ia" It migh have worked. But advice is never skin of fh ass of the person "giving" it → giving what? Words.

Let us allow that therapists having sex with patienst is only rarely constructive and that anti-semitism is always bad. As for the first, I certainly could have benefitted from some "Tea and sympathy". As for the second, being anti-Israel is sometimes conflated with anti-semitism.

But there was a third thing Masud Khan did which was another taboo: Therapists generally give patients advice, or they don't. But it is almost unheard for therapists to materially help patients. I had a psychiatrist who, straightforwardly, told me that anti-depressant medications do not generally help if the patient is in a materially depressing situation. Fine so far, but what to do about the materially depressing situation? In other words, the patien's life situation not what's in the patients head needs to fixed. No help there.

Khan was enormously wealthy and on occasion would address such aproblem with his check book and buy the patient out of their pathologizing situation. Horrors! I do not buy that. I once had a therapist who told me that there were attracive women my age looking fo a man like me, and the implication seemed to be she knew at least one. But no referral was made.

I argue that therapists should fix the patient's envoironment when the environment is the problem. Obviously, few therapists have the financial resoures Khan had. (In my case, however, what was needed was not money but an introduction, which the therapist surely could have financially afforded.) Le them apologize for their limitations, but just because a goal is at present out of reach does not logically imply that it should not be the goal. Do your best and recognize your linmitations, not pretend that what you are limited to is the goal to feel self-satisfied.

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Footnotes

  1. One particular thing that upset him was that The Engish often could not or did not care to distinguish "Khan" from "Kahn" and to try to pronouce the guttural sound. I never had a problem differentiating Louis Kahn from Masud Khan, although I do not know if all the linguistic slobs knew about Louis Kahn, and perhaps I overdo the gutturals for perons I respect because I think it is "classy" to not be tonguetied by noe's mother's language.
  2. I (BMcC[18-11-46-503]) had an interesting interaction with a dwarf at TC. Dwarf was teaching a class where we had a group project. I explained to him that I had immeiately selected to work with only other highly competent person in the class and then filed out our group with one or two students who couldn't contribute, to help them. He was offended, maybe because he was disturbed to think that he himslf might be judged as having no value and/or that I did not treat dwarfs with proper respect?

BMcC signature seal stamp. Modelled on 18th century messenger's letter box in collection of Suntory Museum, Tokyo. Japanese write poems and prayers on slips of paper which they tie into knots like this shape although with longer legs. Prayers are often tied to branches of trees which can look like they are covered with snow. "Symbol of a symbol, image of an image, emerging from the destiny that is sinking into darkness...." (H. Broch, "The Sleepwalkers", p.648) Always remember. Add value. (This image created not later than 21 May 2003)
Invenit et fecit
 
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