.. said Oswald complacently. “Did he do something illegal?” “You mean in stealing Trojan from me?” The doctor nodded. “Not really, but it’s not the sort of thing one does to one’s friends. I mean he knew that I wanted the takeover, and that this company was the target I had chosen over five years ago.
I had just been biding my time until an opportunity presented itself; and when it did, he was right there to take advantage of things I had told him as a friend . . . confidential things.” “Mr. Reussi, I have heard nearly enough,” the doctor said, putting down his notebook, “but there is one more thing that I need to know.
If Mr. Atreides had not done what he did in the Trojan takeover, would you help him to defeat Hector?” “I would jump at the chance of making that dog Hector squirm. He’s one of the most despicable men I know. He never fails to point out that my father married into money, while his family is one of those that trace their ancestry to the Mayflower.” “Then, if I may, I suggest that you go to Mr. Atreides’ aid.” the doctor knew that this would not be received warmly and was prepared to defend it. “Why should I help Alexander? He’s as much of a bastard as Hector!” The doctor cleared his throat. “Firstly, it would be to both of your advantages to see Mr.
Prince out. You’ve already stated that you would like to see him squirm, well here’s your chance. And to top it all, you would have a chance to be part of the largest takeover in history. You stated yourself that this was your main motive in the matter.” “It’s true that I would like to see Hector squirm, but I hate to have to save Alexander in the process.” said Oswald doubtfully. “Secondly, we have already established that you have an unresolved Oedipus complex and-” “I’m not absolutely certain that I understand what it is to have an `unresolved Oedipus complex’,” Oswald interrupted.
“I apologize for not clarifying my psychological terms for you. An Oedipus complex, as you are probably aware, is a normal childhood phenomena. Because of the child’s natural love for his mother, he views his father as being in competition with him for that love, and, as a result, develops a hatred of him. The complex is usually resolved by the child’s development of a `castration complex.’ Two primary reasons contribute to this: first the child is frequently scolded for touching his genital area, and, secondly he may see a naked girl and believe that she has been punished for the same crime, by having the offending organ amputated. In his irrational fear of castration, the boy tries to compensate by ridding himself of all thoughts of hatred by repression, and attempts to love his father. Naturally, this is a drastically simplified explanation of a complicated process. Do you understand now?” asked Dr.
Zeis. “Yes. You believe that I did not suffer from this . . .
uhh . . . ” “Castration complex?” offered the doctor. “That’s it,” said Oswald, “and therefore I never overcame the sense of competition with my father.” “Yes,” confirmed the psychologist, “that’s it in a nutshell. You see, you were never really around your parents when you were a child, and because they spent so little time with you, they were loathe to scold you.
Also you said yourself that you frequently suffered comparison with your father when you were a child, and this served to enhance the sense of competition. So now I am attempting to suggest a therapy that will aid you in overcoming your dysfunction.” “But how will helping Alexander accomplish anything?” asked Oswald dubiously. “The only way to triumph over the problem is to consciously avoid behaviour that it causes. And the scenario you have just presented to me involving your friend, Mr. Atreides, is just such behaviour.” explained the doctor. “You mean to say that I am merely acting under a compulsion when I refuse to aid Alexander?” asked Oswald dubiously.
The doctor nodded. “But wouldn’t you do the same thing if a friend of yours stabbed you in the back like he has done to me? and stolen my dream?” asked Oswald. “I anticipated this objection.” said the doctor complacently. “That is why I have a third reason. Ask yourself, if you were in his position would you have acted similarly?” “Well .
. . ” hesitated Oswald. “You see that such behaviour is common in the business world, and you would probably have done the same had the roles been reversed.” said the doctor triumphantly. “What you must realize is that all these years of competition have made you unable to accept defeat. The only way you can accept losing to Mr.
Atreides without causing yourself considerable mental anguish, is by being a factor in his destruction, taking your revenge.” “I still don’t know,” said Oswald doubtfully, “I can’t-” The sound of a telephone ringing broke into the conversation. A look of anger passed across the doctor’s face as he stood up to answer it. “I apologize Mr. Reussi,” he said. “I thought I told my receptionist to hold all my calls.” “No need to apologize,” said Oswald, pulling a handsized, rectangular object from his pocket. “I believe it’s my phone.” He unfolded the phone and extended a concealed antenna.
“Yes?” he said tersely, and listened for a few seconds, his face growing taut. “Are you sure?” he asked. After listening for a few more seconds, he folded the phone back up and folded the antenna. “That was a friend of mine,” he explained, “Robert Patrolo, telling me that his company was just taken over by Trojan. Hector’s first move upon gaining control was to have him removed from the chairmanship. Hector knew that would get me.” He remained seated for a few seconds and then stood up, pulling on his jacket. “I believe you are right doctor.” he said.
“I am going to help Mr. Atreides; and when we succeed I’m going to throw Hector out like a dog.” and so saying, he left the room. The doctor sat down again. He wondered over the man’s motives, and came to the conclusion that he had not accomplished very much. All Reussi was doing was transferring his wrath from Mr.
Atreides to Hector. “Ah well,” he thought, “I shall have to try a different approach next week.” He pressed the stop button on his tape recorder. The Director returned to the stage and signaled for the tape to be stopped. “I believe, gentlemen, that you are all aware of the profane theories of Sigmund Freud?” he glance around the auditorium observing their nods. “Well, for the first time, we are able to see those fanciful theories in actual application, rather than in text.
The members of the Censor Society have graciously permitted us to listen to this recording in order to allow us to see the depths to which rationality can plunge. We must remember, as we attempt to rebuild our society, that the only way is God’s way, as specifically set out in our sacred Books. I hope that you have gleaned the dire lesson that this recording has to offer. We must, at all costs, avoid the unplumbable depths of depravity to which the Nuclear Age descended, and construct our Society in accordance with the decrees of God. Praise God!” The audience rose and emphatically returned his farewell, well aware that they were being closely observed, and that any failure could result in the severest consequences. Epilogue The first order of business seems to be to acknowledge my debt, both in order to avoid accusations of plagiarism and subsequent litigation.
The difficulty is that my debt extends to every book I have read since the age of five. I can, however, endeavor to mention the more obvious ones. The idea of couching the main story in a larger context of a later civilization is borrowed from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and the main story is an attempt (an enormously presumptuous one at that) to compress and modernize Homer’s Iliad. I also owe a great deal to Sigmund Freud’s writings, although I am certain that he would not admit to being the source of this perversion of his theories, were he alive to object. All that now remains is to offer a brief explanation of the story itself, perhaps something along the lines of Dante’s letter to Can Grande Della Scala.
The story is basically a modernization of the themes of the Iliad. In order to retain the father-son theme, I used an unresolved Oedipus complex. Achilles’ wrath is again shifted from Agamemmnon to Hector, although, as they say, the names have been changed to protect the innocent. I was at a loss to include an invocation to the Muse, but I eventually came up with the idea that a tape recorder might be a solution to the problem. What else is a tape recorder if not an aid to memory? “In fulfillment of the will of Zeus” is another theme of the Iliad.
In order to include it, I interpreted the gods as psychological phenomena, and, therefore, the compulsions of the unresolved complex which affects Achilles behaviour is the re-internalization of Homer’s externalization of internal psychic activities. (I think drawing a diagram may help you decipher that last sentence.) The last theme, of corpses being left as carrion for the dogs, was relegated to a minor position: a few gratuitous remarks of Achilles to the way he was going to treat Hector. The task is now complete. I hope you enjoyed the story as much as I hated writing it. Before you mark it, allow me to interject a quick quote from Shakespeare: “The quality of mercy is not strain’d”.
Thanks for an illuminating, enchanting course. See you in January. Yours in Homer,.