Monday, May 27, 2013

cleaning up

In many posts I have referred to the intermixing of egoism and altruism as psychosexual development progresses.

At the height of the proto-phallic  or polyphallic stage I've given the formula: the egoist is altruistic towards his image and the altruist is egoistic for the object's image.

I want to cite Klein on this:

“I have pointed out elsewhere that in the quite small child there exists, side by side with its relations to real objects- but on a different plane, as it were- relations to its unreal imagos, both as excessively good [passive-altruism] and excessively bad figures [active-egoism], and that these two kinds of object-relations intermingle and colour each other to an ever-increasing degree in the course of development. The first important steps in this direction occur, in my view, when the child comes to know its mother as a whole person and becomes identified with her as a whole, real and loved person [i.e. oral and not part object stage] (Klein, A Contribution to the Psychogenesis of Manic-Depressive States, p. 171).  

Also, I've been directed to the work of Andre Green on the dead mother but found that he only used it as a metaphor in relation to a depressed or unavailable mother and not as a structural concept. Neither does he link it to imagos or specific feelings of deadness or dissociation. He makes a differentiation between white and black depression and although it is suggestive, he doesn't anchor it with phenomenology or imagos. The work of analysts like Klein, Jacobson, and others who have recorded phantasies along with the cultural material of the zombie, vampire, and other undead is where I've drawn from. Jacobson writes:

object images which tended to be recomposed and distinguished only according to bisexual organ attributes representing either life, strength, omnipotence, or death, destruction, impotence. Thus omnipotent, male-female, breast-phallus figures and castrated, breastless, injured, dead figures would be created, combining traits of various male and female persons and of herself which lent themselves to her imagery (Jacobson, Contribution to the Metapsychology of Psychotic Identifications, p. 254)

Jacobson's work clearly suggests the binary of Perfection and Death here, relates it to bisexuality, and Klein gives the altruistic impulses associated to death in her work:

The reparation tendency too, first employed in an omnipotent way, becomes an important defence. The infant’s feelings (phantasy) might be described as follows: ‘My mother is disappearing, she may never return, she is suffering, she is dead. No, this can’t be, for I can revive her.’ (Klein, Envy and Graditude, p.75).

Although aggression begins to work its way into the altruist's libidinal position and brings about defenses like melancholia, I don't agree with Klein that the not-finite, dead mother is due to the child's aggression towards the mother and would prefer restoration to reparation. But, more on this another time... 

No comments:

Post a Comment