Friday, August 2, 2013

narcissism and echoism

When Freud was being consistent in his middle period he used the term 'ego interest' and libido to refer to the energy of the ego drives and object drives (respectively). Both types of energy are derived from an earlier undifferentiated, displaceable narcissistic energy.

Narcissism as the early displaceable energy is contrasted with narcissism as the suppression of object libido by the ego to form narcissism as a specific form of defense.

This is the place for two remarks. First, how do we differentiate between the concepts of narcissism and egoism? Well, narcissism, I believe, is the libidinal complement to egoism. When we speak of egoism, we have in view only the individual's advantage; when we talk of narcissism we are also taking his libidinal satisfaction into account. As practical motives the two can be traced separately for quite a distance. It is possible to be absolutely egoistic and yet maintain powerful object-cathexes, in so far as libidinal satisfaction in relation to the object forms part of the ego's needs. In that case, egoism will see to it that striving for the object involves no damage to the ego. It is possible to be egoistic and at the same time to be excessively narcissistic—that is to say, to have very little need for an object, whether, once more, for the purpose of direct sexual satisfaction, or in connection with the higher aspirations, derived from sexual need, which we are occasionally in the habit of contrasting with ‘sensuality’ under the name of ‘love’. In all these connections egoism is what is self-evident and constant, while narcissism is the variable element (Introductory Lectures, p. 417-8)

In other posts I've pointed out to examples of the egoist's ego libido being suppressed and him living out his "sensuality" in Don Juan characters. The individual is still "narcissistic" but he isn't someone who is working all the time who shows little interest in women but instead is someone who isn't as ambitious in the ego sphere and much more active in the sexual sphere. If I follow Freud's formulation, it seems to be that one gives up on object cathexis in order to take over the position of the father imago in the sphere of ego interest. One is still egoistic and going after perfection but instead of going after objects one is 'arrogant' and 'full of himself' and identified with the father imago of perfection and has His self sufficiency.

Now, in the same passage Freud allows for an opposite to egoism, altruism, where he sees the ego being fully merged with the object in contrast to the object being fully merged with the ego in narcissism:

The opposite to egoism, altruism, does not, as a concept, coincide with libidinal object-cathexis, but is distinguished from it by the absence of longings for sexual satisfaction. When someone is completely in love, however, altruism converges with libidinal object-cathexis. As a rule the sexual object attracts a portion of the ego's narcissism to itself, and this becomes noticeable as what is known as the ‘sexual overvaluation’ of the object. If in addition there is an altruistic transposition of egoism on to the sexual object, the object becomes supremely powerful; it has, as it were, absorbed the ego. (Introductory Lectures, p.417-8)

So, while Freud examines the ego over the object drives in egoism he examines the object over the ego drives in altruism. I'd like to add that the father imago of the altruist is death and that the suppression of the ego drives for the object drives would mean appearing as death. As high sounding as this is, I'll leave it to comedians to show its very practical relevance in relationships.

In altruists I know there is a very real way in which they appear as death in their way of ending (or more precisely, not ending) relationships. In previous posts I have argued that echoism be used as the compliment of narcissism.

Here is an example of it in a couple crude satyr like altruists:

We've been on a bunch of dates
I weigh debates that this creates
And hate that state of forced introspection
We traded wit, we swapped some spit,
You fingered me a little bit
But we never really had a connection

You did nothing wrong, I have no excuse
Just my intuition telling me we shouldn't reproduce

I know I have to end it
But pretend to just suspend it
By contending that I'm busy all week
I let the foregone linger on
Text back with an emoticon
Withdraw from you by being oblique

Inside I know my tactics just delay it
But I'd do anything so I don't have to say it

I'll draw this out forever like it's Vietnam
Then one day I'll be gone like Bambi's mom Awww

Cause there's the right thing to do
Then there's what I'm gonna do
There's so much I should say
But instead... I do the fade away

Now I'm fading like chalk on a sidewalk
Or the polio virus after Jonas Salk
Like a Jewish guy at Arby's on Yom Kippur
The Whig party post Millard Fillmore

The erection of a man on antidepressants
The cast of Diff'rent Strokes after adolescence
Reproductive rights below the Mason Dixon
Native Americans after the barter systems
Your thyroid gland after Hashimoto
The family in the Back to the Future photo
Yeah I fade away

We say that men are asshole who don't communicate
We revel in our victimhood and amplify our hate
We find ways to be indignant like it's a sport
Then dissect their malignance with the views we distort

The way men break up may be sloppy and terse
What they do is bad, but what we do is worse

We pretend to ourselves it's the nice thing to do
To let you down gently by just not fucking telling you
And deep down we know it's the worst way to play it
But we are what we have... huge pussies

And women are hypocrites
Especially ones in comedy bands
We see your faults but not our own
Then we wonder why we're all alone

We fill you up with maybe's, excuses and stalls
But like a baby in China... it's better to have balls

Not the Good Wife type like Christine Baranski
So I'll pull out and leave like I'm Roman Polanski

Cause there's the right thing to do
Then there's what I'm gonna do
There's so much I should say
But instead... I do the fade away

Like Verbal Kint fading into Kaiser Soze
The rights in Arizona for a guy named Jose
Opportunities for a college grad
The love between your mom and dad
Gonna Peter out like a gay Cetera
Iranian relations since the Regan era
Black Nike sales after Heaven's Gate
Summer Camp attendance at Penn State
The name Adolph after World War Two
Like Debbie Gibson's pop career, Out of the Blue
Yeah I fade away

Cause I don't wanna get to know you
I just want to blow you... off

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