Externalisation as defence mechanism

I thought this was a fascinating aside on loc 999 of Joshua Cohen’s Not Working about Andy Warhol’s reliance on a tape recorder to distance himself from his feelings. This is something many people do, thinking around the troubles rather than feeling them, but rarely so explicitly and with an apparatus:

According to his account in The Philosophy, by the late 1950s, television had begun to take the place of close relationships. But it was only in 1964, with the purchase of his tape recorder (which he called ‘My wife’), that he renounced emotional life altogether. ‘The acquisition of my tape recorder really finished whatever emotional life I might have had, but I was glad to see it go. Nothing was ever a problem again, because a problem just meant a good tape, and when a problem transforms itself into a good tape it’s not a problem any more.’ ‘Problems’ are personal; when they are externalized and reproduced, they are rendered impersonal, things to be dispassionately examined, rather than experiences to be felt.

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