We meet psychoanalyst Peter Schneider (63) in his practice in Zurich. He doesn’t lie down on the couch. Sitting in his armchair, he gives information about his sleeping habits and the farewell in the radio studio. After more than three decades, he put an end to his daily “Die Another Presseschau” on SRF. However, he is most concerned with the transgender community. He keeps coming back to it. And while he talks like that, at some point he’ll lie more in his chair than sit. Certainly a good sign for a psychoanalyst.
Blick: «Wave, wave, done», that’s how you said goodbye to your audience after 30 years. did it hurt?
Peter Schneider: No. I am not a circus horse that is sad when it can no longer perform its feat.
Why did you stop right now?
I can’t think of anything profound. I’ll be 65 next year, and I’ve only given myself the luxury of quitting a year before that.
The SRF has lost many well-known names in a short period of time. Didn’t you feel sorry?
When I planned this, I didn’t know. Just staying for a year so people don’t think wrong would be stupid.
What feedback on your early retirement was particularly nice?
Actually all of them. And the farewell in the radio studio was touching. Although I don’t like to be the center of attention.
No, it’s true. But I’ve said that so often now that it actually seems almost embarrassing.
Can you leave the past behind?
Time goes by, history shapes you, you can’t undo anything, but at least come back to it in retrospect. There is no such thing as a pure past, just as there is no pure present.
Living in the here and now should make you happy.
Allegedly. It is said that children could watch a snail for three hours. Anyone who has ever seen real children knows that a child does not look at the sweetest snail for more than 30 seconds. Those sunken children who only live in the here and now is an adult myth. Children look forward to their birthday, to kindergarten, to legally buying cigarettes for the first time. You are constantly orienting yourself towards the future.
What makes you happy?
I’m not a fan of birthdays or any rituals. I just like continuous life. I have reduced the work in my practice to three days. On these days, however, I’m usually there from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. There comes one after the other; it is neither exciting nor tiring if I have enough to eat for the ten-minute break so that my hunger doesn’t spoil my mood. In the evening I am tired but not slain.
What do you do now with the time that has become free?
A little more precisely.
Someone once told me that liposuction is more dangerous for men than for women because the fat is more fused with the tissue. So it was with the «press review». For example, when I gave up the professorship at the university, there were days and weekends off. The «press review» always ran through my days. There is more air now.
Also for Twitter.
How many times a day do you use it?
Again and again when I have nothing smart to do. Then I think I should do something smart and still hang on Twitter.
What is the biggest waste of time?
Perhaps constantly worrying about how to use the time wisely.
As a psychoanalyst you have looked into many lives. What advice do you give a young person?
Nothing at all?
Well what can I say that it doesn’t sound like I’m a hundred years old? I think I can learn from the younger people. And in a certain way: You stay in discourses and have contact with experiences that are no longer your own. I was recently in Bern for a discussion on a queer exhibition. It was about identity politics. A 24-year-old non-binary person told me that the lesbian community of around 20-year-old women is much more relaxed about everything than they do themselves. Talking to and listening to young people gives me a sense of how things are changing.
Identity politics is a big deal for you.
This is a new topic that interests me. When it comes to transgender people, it is often reported that there are those who can be detransitioned again (Undo gender reassignment, editor’s note). That usually only works on a polemical level. I think it would be nice if you took a look at this community. You should just listen with interest instead of just collecting bizarre examples.
You criticize the polarization.
I prefer a journalist who reports knowledgeably about something herself and who does not always invite the counterpart to do something in order to make it more interesting or supposedly objective. This is called the wrong balance. The interesting discussions are anyway in small differences.
How long do you actually sleep? Eight hours?
At least! Today there were only seven, I can feel it.
Sleep is important to you.
I give you the last word.
I don’t like closing words.
Well then: wave, wave, done.
Peter Schneider (63) is the narrator in the radio play series “Philip Maloney”. His voice is even better known for his satirical view of the German-speaking press landscape. For 30 years he did this every day in “Die Another Presseschau” on SRF. Schneider is a psychoanalyst with his own practice, was a private lecturer at the German University of Bremen, published books on marriage, upbringing, aging and science and writes as a columnist for various newspapers. The man from Zurich is married and has a 31-year-old son.