Argentinian and psychoanalyst.

Sounds like a joke, huh?

A cliché… founded?

Every Argentine wants to psychoanalyze: we are like that.

Why do they want it?

Because we are made of absences.

By immigrants?

Lonely people… who listened to each other.

Like psychoanalysts: I understand.

The art of words and listening comforts.

Are there more psychoanalysts in Argentina than in other places?

Yeah! We Argentines worship friendship… and mental health. “Are you okay?” an Argentinian will ask you. “Yes,” you say. “Are you sure?” he will ask.

Do they save on pills like this?

I refer patients to a psychiatrist, who gives them drugs, and I ask him: “Don’t give him back to me happy, just calm.”

Drugged…just right.

This way I will be able to work with him, together we can go beyond the symptom, travel to the root of the illness.

Which is in the unconscious, right?

The psychoanalyst is the Virgil who accompanies the patient to the circles of his hell.

And how does it guide you on that journey?

Raising two questions: who am I and what do I want.

I’ll put it to you. One: who are you?

I have built myself on my ruins.

What ruins?

I was born on a dirt street, in a tin house, my father was a bricklayer… but well read.


Abandoned as a child in an orphanage, no one visited him and he took refuge in books. The bricklayer had read Tolstoy.

What did your father bequeath you?

I had several half-finished studies… and I felt that I wanted to be a psychologist: “But it’s too late,” I said, “because I would end up at 30 years old.” And there my father… enlightened me.

What did he tell you?

“You will have thirty years, you better have them being what you want to be.” And he added: “I will never be ashamed of a son who fails, but of a son who is afraid of failing.”

Roger that!

And my mother never gave in despite her many losses: her strength shaped me.


When I was a kid I wanted to be a musician. We didn’t have a piano: he bought me a cheap guitar. One stormy day I decided to stay home, skip guitar class… Oh!


“Ah, I see you don’t want to be a musician. Tomorrow I’ll sell the guitar,” my mother said. I ran to class in the rain!

It has been built on ruins, he said.

And I aspire to die living.

That answers the second question: what do you want?

And overcome fears. And accept uncertainties. And love better.

But above all, what do you want?

Maintain the ability to get emotional with others.

Do you cry with your patients?

Sometimes yes.

Are you happy?

Happiness is an illusion.

Doesn’t happiness exist?

The complete happiness that they make us dream of is impossible, an illusion: it does not exist.

“Happiness is a decision,” a lama taught me.

Would you say this to parents who have just lost a child?

They can try to fill that death.

It is no longer happiness, it is lack.

What is lack?

Lack is happiness pierced by unfulfilled dreams, wounds, failures… Unidealized happiness: incomplete, lacking in everything you do not control.

I exchange happiness for lack, I will tell the lama.

It’s about becoming a good person.

What does it mean to be a good person?

Being capable of gratitude, supreme virtue. Let the ungrateful burn in the ninth circle of hell!

Burn forever! And what about love?

We move between two enigmas: death and sexuality. Once your needs are covered, you breathe, you eat, you are moved by desire: eroticism is a fusion of biology and poetry.

I am an erotic animal, I understand.

Every human being is a desiring creature. Desire stands between you and death. One day you stop wishing: depression or death.

How to teach a child to be happy?

They being happy. Respectful, peaceful, loving. And using the word.

The word! The psychoanalyst comes out…

Without always wanting to be right: better to have peace than to be right. I just try not to deviate from what I want to be. That after I die, if someone talks about me, he can tell a nice story.