health talk

“Starting from no fixed place I soon came, while preparing this paper for a foreign society, to my surprise, to the right not to communicate. This was a protest from the core of me to the frightening fantasy of being infinitely exploited. In another language this would be the fantasy of being eaten or swallowed up. In the language of this paper it would be the fantasy of being found…

I have tried to state the need that we have to recognize this aspect of health: the non-communicating central self, forever immune from the reality principle, and forever silent. Here communication is not nonverbal; it is, like the music of the spheres, absolutely personal. It belongs to being alive. And in health, it is out of this that communication naturally arises.

Explicit communication is pleasurable and it involves extremely interesting techniques, including that of language. The two extremes, explicit communication that is indirect, and silent or personal communication that feels real, each of these has its place and in the intermediate cultural area there exists for many, but not for all, a mode of communication which is a most valuable compromise.”

(From D.W. Winnicott’s Communicating and Not Communicating Leading To A Study of Opposites, which I found in this essay ,the latest from Rob Horning, and reminds me of Heinrich von Kleist’s On The Gradual Construction of Thoughts During Speech ).

How much are we really able to compromise anymore? The side that forces speech is winning, as absolutely personal communication — the kind that supposedly comes from health — dies out. This is the mandate of the digital social. To be or not to be is no longer a question; the condition of peaceful not-being is a luxury.

world music

“In a crowded room I looked for you
In a sea of people

I’m all out of hope
And I’ve looked so hard

I’m all out of hope
And I’ve looked so hard

In a crowded world I looked for you
Through a sea of people

How can you sleep
When you’ve worked so hard?

How can you sleep?
How can you sleep?”

freaked out / afraid

Life itself as base, profane, material, reified, Earthly, earthly, grotesque, transparent, brazen, manifest, grounded, concrete, real, obtuse, open.

Fear of the real, fear of the body, the material, the committed, the law, the inviolate, the principle, the fixed, the One.

Maybe illness and disability don’t freak us out because they remind us of death, but because they remind us of life. All this stuff that keeps us from transcending, life itself.


Hi, I’m Emma, welcome to my website.

I’m a PhD candidate in ASPECT and instructor in the Political Science department at Virginia Tech. My research is interdisciplinary, spanning political theory, continental philosophy and STS. My dissertation addresses the epistemic impact of digital technology by exploring the use of qualitative, non-digital methods in psychedelic drug research. A web-based version of my curriculum vitae is at this link.

I am also a freelance writer and musician. Sometimes I post original recordings and writings here. The earliest content is from 2014.


Here is where you can find some of my recent publications
My homepage has academic content, including teaching materials
Twitter: @turing_tests
I like it when people put things here
New for 2018, this site has a blogroll! Yes, like it’s 2003. Check it
And you can contact me via email:

Thanks for visiting!

— Emma Stamm