Although I don’t hang around with a lot of psychiatrists, I certainly have met a lot. Some of the most famous and powerful had “subspecialties.” That means, they had pet theories which they had developed and written books about. They had simple ideas that they thought described the entirety of human behavior. They did a lecture circuit.
After their academic book had sold the requisite less-than-ten copies, mostly to their immediate families, they were sometimes able, by tying their findings to the popular and moneymaking arts, to write a “popular” equivalent of their learned meanderings.
One of the more successful was an older guy I knew back in New England, who had me visit a campus outside of that august “6-state area” regarding an opening that never materialized. He had a whiff of “Harvard” about him, so I have no doubt that if such an opening ever materialized, it was filled with a person of that same origin.
My job-seeking life was filled with similar experiences, which explains a little bit of how I became a “renegade” doctor.
This great thinker believed that everybody’s behavior everywhere was primarily motivated by shame. He took painstaking care to explain this using as an example the plot of “Les Miz“ on Broadway then. I think he may have even played some recordings in his lectures. (He actually sang me some of the airs from that same show in my interviews with him, and very badly.)
“Shame” is not a bad concept. I am certain that riding the coattails of the then popular “Les Miz” was a good move. I did not know then and will not now whether it was his own idea or that of a publicist. I think “Les Miz” is one of the great stories of all time and I have certainly heard of careers built on worse. But one of the few words I said during that depressing interview had something to do with my perceived greatness of Victor Hugo.