Saturday, November 2, 2013

displaced aggression and affection

I saw 12 Years A Slave last night and I was reminded of something I've observed before concerning the use of religion, and specifically those with an afterlife, to provide a displacement for aggression.

The sadistic punishments and tortures of hell aren't dreamt up by egoists but by the altruists who, as Nietzsche points out, are impotent and unable to be direct in their aggression in the world.

I've written before that I conceive of object relations and the ego and object drives/ego ideal to be the same thing (except in the sense in which Kleinians use it to refer to the interpretation of parental imagos). I've also acknowledged that the primacy of the relationship means that aggressive and affectionate drives may be, but aren't necessarily, displaced onto idiosyncratic objects or zones in childhood development. In an older post I wrote:

Externalization of aggression onto objects makes them into weapons, as Klein shows (feces as missiles, urine as poison), and following the same logic, externalization of libido onto things makes them greedily desired. Does the masculine always externalize on things, while the feminine projects onto objects [people]? 

I think the altruist displacing or externalizing aggression into the 'other world' is an extreme event brought up by severe abuse. However, understanding this has also made me sensitive to the more common aspect of producing monsters in the 'other world' not to punish others in hell but in order to take away blame for the cruelty and malice in this world by people who the altruist is close to but also from just her general attitude that "deep down" all people are good.

(Then, as a compromise formation with egoism, aren't monsters also objects of power and perfection that can be contemplated and overcome by human heroes because of carefully accorded weaknesses?)

Additionally, doesn't idealization, awe, and "the magic" accorded to the object in altruism also become displaced onto other parts of the "other world" where mystical places can heal, angels exist, and the "veil between the two worlds is thin". This externalized impulse, as I remarked on with commodity fetishism, can occur with other cultures and/or a preoccupation with the past or future. For example, an American altruist can "romanticize"Argentina and believe the all the women there are beautiful or that their style of features makes them more attractive than at home and he can read stories about Argentina, buy certain commodities, etc. to indulge in this fantasy. Another example, is for him to daydream about being around in the 60s and buying things or listening to music from that time and imagining that he would have found acceptance there and people were better and more authentic then.  

In the same post I pointed to the trope of the Dwarves and Elves. The former are obsessed with finding precious things and manufacturing them to perfection. The latter live in harmony with nature and are often depicted as able to heal or help humans while choosing to hide from them.

Does this mean that the egoistic with its desire to control/possess will settle for things (possessions) when relationships aren't forthcoming, and that the altruistic with its desire to merge/resonate with will create another world, or allow another culture to provide the basis for, a place where magic exists if it can't be found in his or her relationships or a place that destruction can exist so that his or her relationships can be maintained?

Is the transitional object the commodity or thing that is chosen over the relationship to a person a compensation for the lack of relationship for the egoist? Is it a fetish object that allows for contact with the 'other world' where the relation can be pleasurably be contemplated/produce pleasurably phantasies for the altruist?

E: people to things

A: people to the 'other world'

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