Monday, September 3, 2012

anal horde leader vs. phallic group leader

As Chasseguet-Smirgel and McDougall point out, the Oedipus complex is the internalization of a father imago who represents both sexual difference and the difference between the generations (children and parents).

Full internalization means that the child wants to be a grown-up and that means the individual ego ideal becomes a social ideal of wanting to belong to the groups of adults and wanting to be married like adults. This is the "genital" stage and it is different than the child reaching puberty

Even after the full internalization occurs when the child identifies with its mother or father, the 'father complex' of the genital stage means that the difference between the generations might be problematic. The child, recognizing the difference between the generations should find a love object amongst other children (i.e. siblings or other children). If the parent gives the child the idea that it is preferred to the spouse or treats the child like it is a grown-up and belittles his or her spouse then a problem can occur.

In other posts I have shown that as development progresses egoism and altruism become ever more intermingled. At the proto-phallic stage the egoist becomes altruistic towards his image and the altruist loves the object's egoism. At the genital stage the intermingling is complete and the egoist emerges as being able to love his children as part of himself and the society/country he was born in. His love doesn't extend to other members of his society and outsiders may be considered non-persons and thus guilt doesn't follow from mistreating them. The altruist emerges as someone now capable of self-assertion but there is a guilt that is attached to having an unfair advantage and the disadvantaged in society and the non-persons have to be helped. In helping them one can believe in one's own ability to make it.

The problem in the father complex have their social or public expression around the idea of "society" (think of the meaning that most adolescents give to the word). Full internalization of the father means that child doesn't have to become famous or powerful in the minds of others in order to "exist" nor have the protection or desire of such a person. As a son or daughter of a father (procreator), one recognizes the difference between the generations and 'looks up to' the older generation (the parents) and one's existence in 'society' is secured. In the father complex the egoist is acting out his own issues with the internalization of the superego at the level of society. For example, the conservative who is fighting for the recognition of the family and morality (against homosexuality and decay of values) is obviously fighting against his own desire for his father or against the father's irresponsibility in regards to the family and what is moral. For the altruist there is a rebellion against society as there is against the father. The altruist can become a rebel who hasn't fully acquired self-assertion and must fight to reform society ('the father') or spend most of her time fighting for the rights of others ('the mother') who are ignored. The altruist doesn't feel comfortable with her father's (society's) attention (i.e. white guilt).  

At the anal Oedipal stage there is a difference between the generations as well but it's closer to the difference between a human and God than child and adult. There is also sexual difference that isn't distinguished by genitals but by comportment. Stoller and others trace core gender identity to this phase and classical analysts like Reich often mention anal identification with the mother in boys. Following the anal oedipal phase all indications point to full internalization of the father imago being the urethral stage. It seems likely that the same interference with the difference between the generations can happen here and I think that classical psychoanalysis often confused the anal oedipal/urethral and the phallic oedipal/genital when theorizing the social or public behaviour of an individual.

As opposed to the phallic level concern about sexuality and intentions regarding conscience the anal level would be concerned about the body and damage to the body. For example, as opposed to the conservative concerned about perverse sex and decay of values the police officer who is identified with the criminal and his violation of another's body or his property is an example of the urethral conscience being caught in a complex after full internalization. Early analysts like Ferenczi (sphincter morality) had found a sense of morality before the phallic-oedipal guilt conscience but no one in psychoanalysis has seemed to do much with it since then. Again,  at the genital level the guilt conscience is at the level that the mere fantasies of crimes is enough to feel guilt, at the urethral level we can say guilt is experienced after the deed. Freud has attempted to call this conscience after the deed remorse in Civilization and Its Discontents.

Also, Van Ophuijsen has pointed out that the anal sadism held in check by the anal conscience can be overcome by joining with phallic sadism and hate. He clearly separates the anal sadism that wants to hurt a body, to the later sadism connected to the idea of the other experiencing pain:

Experience has taught us that the sadist often continues his violence after death has supervened and rendered the object incapable of sensation, or that he actually chooses for his victim a lifeless person. v. Krafft-Ebing even suggests in one instance that it was just the lifeless condition which constituted the stimulus to sadistic action… My experience of the neuroses supplies me with the following example, —a communication by a patient in a state of vehement anxiety. She said: 'Oh, how I should like to ill-treat someone, to do just whatever I liked to him, but—it would have to be someone who would not feel it, a dead person, I suppose'. She added that then she would regain her peace of mind. A number of such experiences have convinced me that the sexual aim of sadism as manifested in violence is not to inflict suffering on the object, but to perform certain activities (which I will presently discuss in greater detail) in relation to an object which either may be regarded as, or actually is, insensible… it is significant that various authors many years ago drew attention to the simultaneous occurrence of anal and sadistic traits in certain clinical pictures where there was markedly strong narcissistic fixation. It cannot be denied that in those neurotic and psychopathic phantasies which may be termed 'sadistic' the pain inflicted on the objects is of great importance and the perception of it enhances the subject's feeling of pleasure. What I would assert is that this phenomenon does not come under the heading of pure sadism but is a consequence of the fact which has been established by various writers: namely, that the sadistic tendency readily unites with other tendencies. Naturally the tendencies in question are such as manifest themselves in the same or similar ways as sadism. (The above statement is true of masochism also.) First and foremost come hate and revenge, which are certainly compatible with cruelty (The Sexual Aim of Sadism as Manifested in Acts of Violence, p.140-1).

With the altruist it seems that rebelliousness against society would show up in a more primitive way in the 'masochistic' tendency to complain to and provoke an authority.

Reich clearly roots these things in the anal stage and always mentions the involvement of the urethral:

"the masochist has an anal and urethral inhibition and anxiety stemming from the earlier childhood... his oedipal complex became predominately anchored in the anal zone... the child looked upon his bowel movements as punishable, and so he began to beat himself out of fear of being punished by the father. It is evident that this simple process was of far greater importance for the pathology of the case than the identifications with the punishing father and the masochistic attitudes towards toward the nascent anal superego.  (character analysis, p. 259)

Reich also relates the anal oedipus complex in the social ontology of the horde: 

Masochistic characters cannot endure praise and tend toward self-depreciation and self-abasement. In spite of his great ambition, our patient could not endure it when he was considered a good student in school. "If I had continued to be a good student, I would have fancied myself as standing naked in front of a large crowd with an excited penis" (ibid. 253)

 Reich wants to make the masochistic complaining into an indirect desire for love:

"you see how miserable I am-- love me!" "You don't love me enough-- you are mean to me!" "You have to love me; I will force you to love me! If you don't love me, I'll make you angry!" (ibid. 245).

I have little clinical experience with the masochistic character but keeping with the structural approach I wonder if the problem with the masochist isn't not getting enough love and demanding it or if it was really (like at the genital stage) getting the love of the father that was the problem...

The most important thing about the altruistic pole of the personality is that vicarious pleasure from the other is selected over one's own pleasure. Freud's idea of the phallic stage arose from  the large amount of sexual disinterest in women that shows that their regression from the phallic oedipal to the phallic brings them to a vagina that is banned from pleasure. We also know that some people exist in a state of anhedonia that seems to relate to a general ban of pleasure in the body. 

So, is the masochist's bad conscience towards the urethral mother or, after some activity becomes possible after full-internalization, is the masochist angry that the father doesn't love him or her?

I keep thinking about the exemplary masochistic scenario of being whipped by a woman. Is this not the mother's revenge for enjoying her pleasure?  

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