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photos by Lara Shipley

Word of the Day

May 4th, 2005 · 3 Comments

It’s not terribly often that popular music lyrics hit me with a word I wasn’t familiar with, but that’s Mike Doughty for you. First track off his new album contains this verse:

Aimless days, uncool ways of decathecting
Painless phase, blacked out thoughts you be rejecting

Yep, I had to look up decathecting, which apparently means “to withdraw one’s feelings of attachment from (a person, idea, or object), as in anticipation of a future loss.” In my case, this is slightly like Woody Allen not knowing what “neurotic” means.

Tags: Language and Literature



3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 bjr@yahoo.com // May 4, 2005 at 7:23 pm

    A Frued word.

    CATHEXIS: NEOLOGISM invented by Freud’s English translators to translate the German ‘Besetzung’ (lit. ‘investment’) which Freud used to describe the QUANTITY of ENERGY attaching to any OBJECT-REPRESENTATION or mental structure. A cathexis is conceived to be analogous to an electric charge which can shift from one structure except in so far as it becomes bound – or to troops which can be deployed from one position to another. Hence the verbs to cathect, decathect, and hypercathect, the last referring to the defensive manoeuvre (see DEFENCE) of investing in one process in order to facilitate REPRESSION of another. Hence also withdrawal of cathexis, for the process of decathexis. Object cathexis refers to energy invested in external objects as opposed to the self. Ego and id cathexes are ambiguous; they refer either to cathexes by or of the EGO and ID. Hence also counter-cathexis, anti-cathexis: the energy invested in maintaining repression of a cathected process. Most statements using the word ‘cathexis’ can be reformulated in terms of ‘interest’, ‘MEANING, or REALITY .


  • 2 Rachel // May 4, 2005 at 8:09 pm

    Julian, I feel compelled to let you know that I read this post just as I was listening to that very song. I think it’s my current favorite on the album.

    Anyway, this moment of zen brought to you by finals period procrastination. See you in a few weeks.

  • 3 fling93 // May 4, 2005 at 9:31 pm

    Ugh, I think the last thing you should be doing is learning new words. You know too many of ’em already! 🙂