Tuesday, November 8, 2011

psychoanalytic basics- the mystics and the mechanists

Psychoanalysis is the only science of the mind that has begun to plot this development of mind, isolate the trauma that causes fixations at different levels of development, and show how these fixations produce dreams, myth, and other cultural products as well as symptoms and character. All other forms of psychology, psychopharmacology, evolutionary biology, and semiotic narrative studies which ignore psychoanalysis have an essentially pre 19th century philosophical view on human nature. They cannot explain the transition from animal to human or rely on appeal to a metaphysical element in contrast to the dialectical materialism of the 19th century, which gives real material causes for the mind’s development in the renunciation of instincts. These models fall into two main categories based upon the subjective and objective. In the former there are mystics who appeal to an absolute human freedom through the subjective experience of rational intentionality and conscience. In the former case the intentionalists can’t give satisfactory answers on the appearance of reason in a child nor its departure through mental illness or death. In the latter case, the spiritualists talk about an eternal moral order in the subjective experience of the conscience. However, they do so as if different religions, moral orders, and revelations didn’t exist from culture to culture.

The objective position is seen in the mechanists who are concerned with causes in relation to humans belonging to a certain genus or culture. Among them, the physicalists speak of humans as if they were animals and rely on evolutionary principles to the exclusion of culture. The narrativists acknowledge culture, its propagation of roles and stereotypes, and the uniqueness of cultural difference, but do so as if culture had always existed without basis in the body, or the preverbal animal.

These opponents of psychoanalysis have made valuable criticisms of its dogmatic use, but crucial omissions of their positions— their ahistorical nature or lack of subjective engagement with culture and its symbols- makes them unfit for analyzing culture. Psychoanalysis represents the only way to take the descriptive phenomena each group posits (will, conscience, self-narrative, instinct) and plot how they arise dynamically.

Wilhelm Reich coined and criticized the lack of dialectical thinking in the mechanists and mystics (See Ether, God and Devil). They ignore the multiplicity of transferences, drives, and instincts which comprise the individual or ignore the consciousness which we have of some of drives that have a teleological nature.

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