Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Odyssey-oral trito- the skin ego-

I lit a thin green candle, to make you jealous of me.
But the room just filled up with mosquitos, 
they heard that my body was free. 

Leonard Cohen

Flee, my friend, into your solitude! I see you deafened with the noise of the great men, and stung all over with the stings of the little ones. Forest and rock know how to be silent with you. Be like the tree which you love, the broad-branched one -- silently and attentively it overhangs the sea. 


In regards to imagos the trito stage is usually distinguished by the sole father imago with the triangular stage has both the mother and the father and the deutero has the combined parent and the proto stage has the mother imago alone. 

In regards to ego and object drives the trito phase has a rudimentary form of the drive that appears in the following stage.

The phallic trito phase has the drive to be regarded as an adult and be married that becomes elaborated as the social ideal in the latency stage to strive for the success of a certain class, religion, or nation.

The anal trito phase has the drive to be regarded as good at everything and this becomes elaborated in the phallic stage as focussing on being good at a particular skill or in a field of knowledge. 

The oral trito phase has the first instance of the will that opposes others. This is in contrast to the anal trito stage in which one competes in regards to having the best way to do things which becomes elaborated in being admired for doing 'something' (some skill or understanding in a field of knowledge) that puts one among the 'good class' or those with a good reputation in one's community. 

Additionally, after the triangular complex establishes the difference between the generations the trito stage is the establishment of this difference among one's lower generation.

In the phallic trito stage, for example, the phallic father and his incest taboo possession of the mother becomes internalized as a drive to marriage/monogamy in the phallic trito and the moral quality of the phallic father that exists as social anxiety becomes internalized as the guilt conscience. However if the differences between the generations is undermined by the parents then the child can become fixated at the trito stage. Freud writes:

We must also take into consideration cases of simultaneous object-cathexis and identification—cases, that is, in which the alteration in character  occurs before the object has been given up. In such cases the alteration in character has been able to survive the object-relation and in a certain sense to conserve it. (The Ego and The Id, p. 29-30).

I understand this to be that the trito drives are in place but at the same time there is a narcissistic pull to feel that one is part of the older generation, since a parent broke the taboo, and rebel against them. 

In the above quotations we have the phallic symbol of a candle and a tree to denote the trito father imago as well as a group of swarming insects that get at ones blood (the Nietzsche quotation goes on to reference this blood sucking). The inside has blood the outside has a swarm attacking the inside and the barrier is obviously the skin. As the Nietzsche quotation continues the sense of one being a giant who is attacked by little men grows:

Flee, my friend, into your solitude: I see you stung all over by the poisonous flies. Flee to where a rough, strong breeze blows! 

Flee into your solitude! you have lived too closely to the small and the pitiful. Flee from their invisible vengeance! For you they have nothing but vengeance. 

No longer raise your arm against them! They are innumerable, and it is not your lot to shoo flies. 

Innumerable are the small and pitiful ones; and rain-drops and weeds have been the ruin of many a proud structure. 

You are not stone; but already have you become hollow from many drops. You will yet break and burst from the many drops. 

I see you exhausted by poisonous flies; I see you bleeding and torn at a hundred spots; and your pride refuses even to be angry. 

They would have blood from you in all innocence; blood is what bloodless souls crave -- and therefore they sting in all innocence. 

But you, profound one, you suffer too profoundly even from small wounds; and before you have healed, the same poison-worm crawls over your hand. 

You are too proud to kill these gluttons. But take care lest it be your fate to suffer all their poisonous injustice! 

They buzz around you also with their praise: obtrusiveness is their praise. They want to be close to your skin and your blood. 

They flatter you, as one flatters a God or devil; they whimper before you, as before a God or devil; What does it come to! They are flatterers and whimperers, and nothing more. 

Often, also, do they show themselves to you as friendly ones. But that has always been the prudence of cowards. Yes! cowards are wise! 

They think much about you with their petty souls -- you are always suspect to them! Whatever is much thought about is at last thought suspicious. 

They punish you for all your virtues. They pardon you entirely -- for your errors. 

Because you are gentle and of honest character, you say: "Guiltless are they for their small existence." But their petty souls think: "Guilty is every great existence." 

Even when you are gentle towards them, they still feel themselves despised by you; and they repay your beneficence with secret maleficence. 

Your silent pride is always counter to their taste; they rejoice if once you are humble enough to be vain. 

What we recognize in a man, we also irritate in him. Therefore be on your guard against the small ones! 

In your presence they feel themselves small, and their baseness gleams and glows against you in invisible vengeance. 

You did not see how often they became silent when you approached them, and how their energy left them like the smoke of a waning fire? 

Yes, my friend, you are the bad conscience of your neighbors, for they are unworthy of you. Therefore they hate you, and would rather suck your blood. 

Your neighbors will always be poisonous flies; what is great in you -- that itself must make them more poisonous, and always more fly-like. 

Flee, my friend, into your solitude -- and there, where a rough strong breeze blows. It is not your lot to shoo flies.


The sense of being a giant among men yet being hurt by interactions with them- being 'thin skinned'- is very palpable in these lines. In regards to social ontology it is as if one should be special to every other and to not be regarded as such is felt as suffering.  

In the Odyssey, the run in with the cyclops leads to an encounter with Aeolus. Since it leads to Odysseus being sent back off course when he had almost made it home I have compared it structurally to his return from Hades to Circe's island and the return from Helios' island to Chardybdis as a site of defusion. However, technically, it doesn't force him to return to the island of Polyphemus. The next stop I have taken to represent the oral trito and it is the encounter with the Laestrygonians which is translated as skin reapers or skin harvesters. They are a race of giants who are cannibals. Homer writes: 

Just short of the town, they came on a girl drawing water; she was tall and powerful, the daughter of King Antiphates. She had come down to the clear stream of the spring Artakia (Artacia), from which the townsmen fetched up their water. They approached her and spoke to her, asking who was king of this land and who his subjects were; and she pointed at once to her father's lofty house. They entered the palace and found his wife there, but she stood mountain-high and they were aghast at the sight of her. She sent out forthwith to fetch King Antiphates her husband from the assembly-place, and his only thought was to kill them miserably.

 He clutched one of my men at once and made a meal of him, but the other two rushed away and ran till they reached the ships. The king raised a hue and cry through the town, and the other great Laistrygones heard him; they came throning up in multitudes, looking not like men but like the lawless Gigantes (Giants), and from the cliffs began to hurl down great rocks that were each of them one man's burden. A hideous din rose amid my fleet as men were killed and vessels shattered. The Laistrygones speared men like fish and then carried home their monstrous meal. But while they thus made havoc among my crews inside the deep harbour, I snatched the keen sword from my thigh, severed the hawsers of my ship and urgently called to my own crew to lean to their oars and escape destruction; and so, with the fear of death before them, they pulled together, one and all. What joy it was when our ship escaped from under the beetling cliffs into the open sea! But the other ships all perished there together.

The impression here of multitudes "throning up" is important here but also, hurling down great rocks gives a parallel to Rhea swaddling a stone and feeding it to Cronos instead of Zeus. Additionally, the loss of Odysseus' fleet save for a single ship seems like an important metaphor for a sense of the ego (or more correctly, the ego ideal having a demand of perfection that is measured in a social ontology by the experience of lack). 

It must be remembered that dreams and all other psychic acts are over-determined and sometimes you won't get the ideal image of the sky filled with mosquitos, flies, boulders, or swarms of something that are attacking. I had a patient who had a dream of Machu Picchu and who described it as beautiful, wonderous, etc. and being destroyed piece by piece by people. It didn't seem like the tourists were making bold attacks on it, but like Nietzsche's flies it was just little punctures of the skin adding up.
I asked him to turn it into an I statement and it resonated strongly with him. I had another patient who had a dream of being attacked by zombies and the zombies only bit at her skin.

Following the subject egoist and object altruist division of the masculine I've also done some work on the novel Angels and Insects in which the image of floating swarms of objects appear. At one moment the love interest appears surrounded by butterflies. Additionally, in celebrations confetti or rice is thrown to make an event 'magical'. 

I've been sticking to the subject egoistic trends in my analysis so far but I will widen them soon enough.

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