Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A further factor in the economics of the libido

I came across the work of Wilhelm Reich when I trying to synthesize the political work of Marx and Nietzsche. I realized that he had already combined the two in spirit. Reich is the greatest clinician I've ever read,  although a poor philosopher. However, I want to be clear that any analyst who ignores the body in therapy is even a worse philosopher than Reich and goes back earlier from his Rousseauiansim to a Cartesian position.  

Every time I return to Character Analysis or Function of the Orgasm I always find something new.

In this excerpt Reich draws our attention to the exhibitionistic id object choice of the phallic ego ideal. The masochist endures a trauma there and seems to eject or foreclose the active masculine trend in the personality and doesn't form a phallic ego ideal:

As a child he had reached the genital phase only in the form of exhibiting his penis, an act which had been immediately and strictly forbidden by his mother... His intentions has been immediately repressed, and this later resulted in the severe inhibition of his general bearing... Following the analysis of this element of his neurosis, he began earnestly to cast about for a profession and he became a photographer... Here again we see how essential the elimination of genital repression is for sublimation... The introduction of the genital phase in childhood through exhibitionism, followed immediately by the severe frustration and repression of this pleasure and complete inhibition of further genital development, belongs, according to my experience, specifically to the masochistic character... A number of typical character traits which form the basis of the masochist's typical character traits which form the basis of the masochist's insecure, ataxic, and awkward bearing can be traced back to these exhibitionistic impulses and their immediate frustration.... The structure of the ego stands in opposition to and prevents the realization of an active phallic ego ideal (Character Analysis, p. 251-3)

This potential to fully stop the masculine or feminine trend in the personality from developing is probably what we see going on in autism/aspergers.

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