Written on October 28, 2006

When we make sense of something here and now and when we say it's important to us here and now we're actually channelling some past material and reconfiguring it in terms of our current experience - Dr. Lawrence Johnson from the ABC Radio National program The Philosopher's Zone Who was the Wolf Man? (The program is about Freud)

The Wolf Man's Burden
It sounds profound and important, but I wonder if it is. Johnson says some German word that sounds like nakfreglikheit [nachträglichkeit] which means the deferred effect.

I initially thought this is some effect that we can affect or direct our universe by meditating on it or visualizing it. The meditation or visualization actually channels energy into materializing the objects of our visualizations. However the more I look at the sentence and listen to the program, I don't think he's talking about this at all.

I think he's more likely talking about the effect of seeing our past experiences from the viewpoint of the present, and drawing upon the material of our experiences to explain and make sense of it.

Here's a good example from Scottish Literature 2: The Unconscious

A child can witness an event – such as a sexual scene – and, in later life, be affected by what now comes to appear as sexual. This is what Freud referred to as deferred effect or Nachtraglichkeit. That is, the first experience is not experienced at the time as traumatic but becomes so only later when it is given a sexual meaning. The experience in its sexual sense cannot be admitted into consciousness and is only experienced as displaced onto a symptom – a sore throat [for example]

Extreme Engineering

  • Submerged trans-Atlantic train that travels at 4000 mph getting from NY to Europe in an hour. It's not being constructed yet. See Popular Science's Trans-Atlantic MagLev
  • The Burj Dubai, the soon to be world's tallest skyscraper is already 77 storeys of an estimated 154 to 189 storeys. It's nearly 300 metres tall, and is expected to exceed 700 metres. (The data is a secret). You can get daily photos of its construction here: Burj Dubai Skyscraper
  • A few years ago I read about a ship that is a floating city. I recently read that it still hasn't ironed out a lot of the details, including what type of hull it would have. IMHO, it's not going to be done any time soon. Their web site: Freedom Ship - the City at Sea or read a criticism of it as a Floating Police State
  • And then there's the space elevator which is Dad's joking sky-hook notion coming to life with a 62,000 mile carbon nanotube cable stretching from a satellite in geosynchronous orbit to Earth. [Space Elevator - Popular Science]. There's a contest now for a $50,000 prize for building something related to the elevator: Wanted: Inventors to Build Space Elevator - Popular Science