Saturday, May 4, 2013
Eros and Phobos/ Fusion and Defusion/ Subject Egoist
Ego drive represses object drive
Object drive represses ego drive
In the upper left diagram there is Eros or fusion of the ego and object drives which means that a 'double tie' exists between both drives and the father-substitute or father imago. At the phallic-oedipal this means that the subject egoist recognizes that there are father-substitutes who are more knowledgeable or skilled than himself and he will engage with them in order to take on their education in relation to the ego drive. The 'double tie' means that his ego ideal is formed on the basis of the father-substitute or phallic ego ideal work group leader. In relation to the object drives the recognition of the incest taboo means that he has an aim-inhibited sexual impulses towards the mother that become an anaclitic idealization of his object in the object ideal.
In the upper right diagram there are three steps. The first is that Phobos or defusion of the ego and object drives which means that the 'double tie' to the phallic work ego ideal work group leader or to the aim-inhibited object ideal has been abandoned due to a narcissistic injury (ego) or disappointment in love (object). The second is that in defusion the aggressive or affectionate drives that emerge (Reich's secondary drives) can lead to signal anxiety which causes their repression. Freud pointed out that signal anxiety is what emerges after a symptom is resolved in Inhibitions, Symptoms, and Anxiety. The third step is that under the direction of the defused ego ideal (pride in the case of the egoist) along with the experience of signal anxiety related to a partial drive (aggression in the case of the egoist) the ego drive has repressed the object drive or the object drive has repressed the ego drive and formed a symptom. This is seen in the drive on the right hand side extending around the top and blocking the drive on the left hand side which produces symptom expression. I'll return to this in a moment.
Defusion in phobos from the phallic-oedipal ego ideal will mean that self-esteem regulation is lost. The father-substitute, and the ability to get self-esteem by measuring oneself against the level of knowledge or skill he is imparting, allows for frustrations to be smoothed over. Without the father-substitute striving for recognition or respect may still be followed with momentary 'triumphs' but self-esteem is not regulated. In defusion to the proto-phallic (polyphallic) stage this means:
Since a more or less conscious feeling of impotence is always present, many social accomplishments are primarily compensatory proofs of potency. These accomplishments, however, do not diminish the feelings of inferiority. On the contrary… the neurotic character never rids himself of the feeling of inner emptiness and incapacity, no matter how arduously he tries to compensate for it. Thus, the positive demands of the ego-ideal are raised higher and higher, while the ego, powerless and doubly paralyzed by feelings of inferiority (impotency and high ego-ideal), becomes less efficient (Reich, Character Analysis, p.180).
Without the father-substitute and the eros or connection he represents the ego ideal or the "illness of ideality" takes over. I've written in previous posts how following common language we can understand that jealousy has both an ego and object drive expression. One can be jealous that a peer makes more money, has a better job, or gets some kind of recognition one desires. One can also be jealous that a peer has a more attractive sexual object or be jealous that one's sexual object admires someone else more. In both forms of jealousy a sadistic impulse can be felt towards the person who gets the attention that one wants. It is the link to jealousy in this ego and object drive form and the work I've done on researching phallic-oedipal defusion in films that makes me confident in asserting this to be the proto-phallic (polyphallic) stage. In other posts I have differentiated it from the following non-universal stage phallic deutero (phallic mother) stage.
In a previous post I speculated on whether or not the object drives could repress the ego drives. This is still a speculation, but in some of the 'Don Juan' types I know (though haven't analyzed) 'having' or 'fucking' a woman seems to take the place of his high ego ideal. These men have modest jobs and seem to have overcome their ego drive for recognition by a sexual (object) ideal to bed many women. The phallic-sadism is expressed in this symptom. Conversely, I've been acquainted with a type that has a high ego ideal and little interest in women and may only sleep with one in order to keep up his manly or potent image. There is also phallic sadism to be found in the ego sphere- in their conservative politics for example.
In writing this I am sensitive to Freud having used defusion to capture both an overactive guilt conscience in the phallic trito and to explain melancholia. In this sense we can maybe speak of a partial and a full defusion. I have posted before on the genetic similarity that Klein, Katan, and others have found in melancholia and paranoia. In the former the badness of the father imago is taken upon oneself (introjected) while in the latter the father imago is perceived of as aggressive and malevolent through projection. In both of these cases the tie to the more intimate tie to the father imago found in the fused state is conserved but it is with destructive feelings while the independent behavior from the partially defused state is still the basic attitude. In other words, it looks like a dialectical synthesis.