Saturday, October 29, 2011

ego ideal- excellence and gift-giving

In the myths of Perseus and Heracles we have a symmetry in the child being alone with the mother and then being indebted to a King.

Perseus was cast, alone with his mother, into a wooden chest and then taken in by the king Polydectes.

He had to defend his mother against the king's lust but then the king had a banquet in which he was required to give a gift and the King asked for Medusa's head

What if we read the lust of the king as Perseus' own lust for his mother and this instinctual renunciation turning into the ego ideal of gift-giving. I've taken the word from Nietzsche's Zarathustra and think it's applicable to both the subject and object forms of masochism (i.e. giving oneself in love or devotion and in wanting to be loved causing joy or getting approval from others is still making a gift of oneself).

There might be an issue of whether this is an oedipal arrangement and not a projection but I'm reading the giant serpent he saves Andromeda from as the paternal phallus.

Fearful for his future but unwilling to provoke the wrath of the gods by killing Zeus's offspring and his own daughter, Acrisius cast the two into the sea in a wooden chest. Danaë's fearful prayer made while afloat in the darkness has been expressed by the poet Simonides of Ceos. Mother and child washed ashore on the island of Seriphos, where they were taken in by the fisherman Dictys ("fishing net"), who raised the boy to manhood. The brother of Dictys was Polydectes ("he who receives/welcomes many"), the king of the island.

After some time, Polydectes fell in love with Danaë, so Perseus, who knew that Polydectes had grim intentions, constantly protected his mother from him. Polydectes desired to remove Perseus from the island so he could have Danaë, and therefore hatched a plot to send him away in disgrace. Polydectes held a large banquet where each guest was expected to bring a gift. Polydectes requested that the guests bring horses, under the pretense that he was collecting contributions for the hand of Hippodamia, "tamer of horses". The fisherman's protégé had no horse to give, so he asked Polydectes to name the gift, for he would not refuse it. Polydectes held Perseus to his rash promise, demanding the head of the only mortal Gorgon.

With the story of Heracles, he is in effect left alone with the mother of his children, Megara, after he kills them. Then after this as reparation he must serve king Eurystheus for 10 labours (2 more are added). In some versions Heracles kills his wife along with the children but this would contradict the later:

Megara to Iolaus 1

After the LABOURS, Heracles 1 came back to Thebes and gave his wife Megara to Iolaus 1 (which means that the death of Megara mentioned in (8) was perhaps an exaggerated rumour). Some say that Heracles 1 divorced her on the ground that he had lost the children he had by her (whom he had himself killed). Iolaus 1 and Megara had a daughter Leipephilene, who was as beautiful as the Olympian goddesses, or so they say.

After Heracles had completed his labours a centaur tried to rape his new wife and he kills him. This I take to be the father or entry of the paternal phallus which is denigrated and consequently split.

Heracles takes Deianira as his wife. Travelling to Tiryns, a centaur, Nessus, offers to help Deianira across a fast flowing river while Heracles swims it. However, Nessus is true to the archetype of the mischievous centaur and tries to steal Deianira away while Heracles is still in the water. Angry, Heracles shoots him with his arrows dipped in the poisonous blood of the Lernaean Hydra. Thinking of revenge, Nessus gives Deianira his blood-soaked tunic before he dies, telling her it will "excite the love of her husband".[38]

Several years later, rumor tells Deianira that she has a rival for the love of Heracles. Deianira, remembering Nessus' words, gives Heracles the bloodstained shirt. Lichas, the herald, delivers the shirt to Heracles. However, it is still covered in the Hydra's blood from Heracles' arrows, and this poisons him, tearing his skin and exposing his bones. Before he dies, Heracles throws Lichas into the sea, thinking he was the one who poisoned him (according to several versions, Lichas turns to stone, becoming a rock standing in the sea, named for him). Heracles then uproots several trees and builds a funeral pyre, which Poeas, father of Philoctetes, lights. As his body burns, only his immortal side is left. Through Zeus' apotheosis, Heracles rises to Olympus as he dies.

So, with Perseus we have the instinctual renunciation of the genital impulses towards the mother for loving-being the object of the subject who loves.

and with Heracles we have the instinctual renunciation of the genital impulses towards the mother for excellence- being the object of the subject with excellence.

This leads us to the phallic-narcissistic which is something clearly separate from the poly-phallic since the paternal phallus comes after the gift-giving and ideal of excellence.

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