Wednesday, August 28, 2013

oral trito- the feminine (subject altruist and object egoist)

In relation to the masculine the skin barrier was sensitive to multiple airborne things. Klein has written of being attacked by “swarms” in one of her idiosyncratic descriptions of unconscious phantasy. Additionally, this image is one that recurs in cartoons, horror films, and other religious myths:

‘I will fling you on land, dashing you down on the bare ground. I will let all the birds of the air settle upon you and all the wild beasts gorge themselves on your flesh. Your flesh I will lay on the mountains, and fill the valleys with the worms that feed on it. I will drench the land with your discharge, drench it with your blood to the very mountain-tops and the watercourses shall be full of you. When I put out your light I will veil the sky and blacken its stars.’
(Ezekiel 32: 4-7)

Dealing with the trito stage at its summit in the trito phallic I’ve made the formulation that the subject egoist internalizes the moral father as the guilt conscience and social feeling to make the closest approximation to altruism (in the SE).  In contrast, the subject altruist internalizes the fostering father as a superego that demands individual assertion which is punishable by guilt and is the closest approximation to egoism (in the SA). 

Along with the active-egoism and passive altruism binary in the ego drives there are specific forms of aggression (destructive or hate drives) that take an active-passive form (i.e. to castrate or be castrated). In the phallic trito the aggressive drive seems to take not the body but, an extension of it in, the form of a knife. The SE experiences a twinge or stab of conscience as an expression in the passive form, and I’ve encountered a few hysterics who have felt the active form in the desire to stab someone. Along with the trito anal stage in which aggressive feelings regarding the penis and men’s urination ability crop up in women it appears that this might be a structural form of the trito stage. Thus while multitudes, swarms, or many people or things threaten the skin ego in the masculine passively, it appears that feminine emerges in aggression towards many people or things. It's possible that a principle of father sky and mother earth that is represented in myth might account for the lack of perfect symmetry (i.e. it's not necessarily aggression towards flying swarms).

In the Odyssey I traced the oral trito to the man eating giants that Odysseus encounters after Aeolus. Along with the many rocks that were hurled at Odysseus' men and ships there was another form of aggression mentioned: “the Laistrygones speared men like fish and then carried home their monstrous meal”. The act of taking home the men to make them into a meal can be differentiated qua aggressive impulse from the Cyclops in that the Polyphemus just picked up and ate the men.

Since psychosexual development is the slow interweaving of egoism and altruism through multiples stages I imagine that the early stages of aggression in the feminine or affection in the masculine aren’t major overt forms of it. Instead, I think that the form of aggression here is routed through hunger. Towards this I want to offer up the myth of Erysikhthon

Callimachus, Hymn 6 to Demeter 65 ff(trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"Let us not speak of that which brought the tear to Deo! . . . Better to tell - a warning to men that they avoid transgression - how she made the son of Triopas [Erikhthonios] hateful and pitiful to see.
Not yet in the land of Knidos, but sill in holy Dotion dwelt the Pelasgians and unto thyself they made a fair grove abounding in trees; hardly would an arrow have passed through them. Therein was pine, and therein were mighty elms, and therein were pear-trees, and therein were fair sweet-apples; and from the ditches gushes up water as it were of amber. And the goddess loved the place to madness, even as Eleusis, as Triopion [in Karia], as Enna [in Sicily].
But when their favouring fortune became wroth with the Triopidai (sons of Triopas), then the worse counsel took hold of Erysikhthon. He hastened with twenty attendants, all in their prime, all men-giants able to lift a whole city, arming them both with double axes and with hatchets, and they rushed shameless into the grove of Demeter.

I think that this appearance of the double axes is interesting and may be a parallel with Hecate having double torches in the anal trito.

 Now there was a poplar, a great tree reaching to the sky, and thereby the Nymphai were wont to sport at noontide. This poplar was smitten first and cried a woeful cry to the others. Demeter marked that her holy tree was in pain, and she as angered and said: ‘Who cuts down my fir tree?’
Straightway she likened her to Nikippe, whom the city had appointed to be her public priestess, and in her hand she grasped her fillets and her poppy, and from her shoulder hung her key [as priestess]. And she spake to soothe the wicked and shameless man and said: ‘My child, who cutest down the trees which are dedicated to the gods, stay, my child, child of thy parents’ many prayers, cease and turn back thine attendants, lest the lady Demeter be angered, whose holy place thou makest desolate.’
But with a look more fierce than that wherewith a lioness looks on the hunter on the hills of Tmaros- a lioness with new-born cubs, whose eye they say is of all most terrible - he said: ‘Vie back, lest I fix my great axe in thy flesh! These trees shall make my tight dwelling wherein evermore I shall hold pleasing banquets enough for my companions.’

It's interesting that this man is challenging the gods so he can continue to have "pleasing banquets.. for his companions" and the altruistic character of this is quite obvious.

So spake the youth and Nemesis recorded his evil speech. And Demeter was angered beyond telling and put on her goddess shape. Her steps touched the earth, but her head reached unto Olympos. And they, half-dead when they beheld the lady goddess, rushed suddenly away, leaving the bronze axes in the trees. And she left the others alone - for they followed by constraint beneath their master’s hand - but she answered their angry king: ‘Yea, yea, build thy house, dog, dog, that thou art, wherein thou shalt hold festival; for frequent banquets shall be thine hereafter.’
So much she said and devised evil things for Erysikhthon. Straightway she sent on him a cruel and evil hunger - a burning hunger and a strong - and he was tormented by a grievous disease. Wretched man, as much as he ate, so much did he desire again. Twenty prepared the banquet for him, and twelve drew wine. 
For whatsoever things vex Demeter, vex also Dionysos; for Dionysos shares the anger of Demeter

This reference to Dionysus is important because it betrays a potential fixation point that comes out in his character. Similarly, Cronos coughing up the boulder or stone that was switched for Zeus and it becoming the location of Delphi leads to Apollo presiding over the temple. As a general rule, the early gods are too great and powerful to associate them with certain gifts or powers, this is given through the second generation gods. However, often these gods can't be reduced by showing them  as prey to the punishments of the superego and therefore mortals are selected.  

His parents for shame sent him not to common feast or banquet, and all manner of excuse was devised. The sons of Ormenos came to bid him to the games of Athene Itonia. Then his mother refused the bidding: ‘He is not at home: for yesterday he is gone unto Krannon to demand a dept of a hundred oxen.’ Polyxo came, mother of Aktorion - for she was preparing a marriage for her child - inviting both Triopas and his son. But the lady, heavy-hearted, answered with tears: ‘Triopas will come, but Erysikhthon a boar wounded on Pindos of fair glens and he hath lain abed for nine days.’ Poor child-loving mother, what falsehood didst thou not tell? One was giving a feast: ‘Erysikhthon is abroad.’ One was brining home a bride: ‘A quoit hath struck Erysikhthon,’ or ‘he hath had a fall from his car,’ or ‘he is counting his flocks on Othrys.’ Then he within the house, an all-day banqueter, ate all things beyond reckoning. But his evil belly leaped all the more as he ate, and all the eatables poured, in vain and thanklessly, as it were into the depths of the sea. And even as the snow upon Mimas, as a wax doll in the sun, yea, even more that these he wasted to the very sinews: only sinews and bones had the poor man left. His mother wept, and greatly groaned his two sisters, and the breast that suckled him and the ten handmaidens over and over. And Triopas himself laid hands on his grey hairs, calling on Poseidon, who heeded not, with such words as these: ‘False father, behold this the third generation of thy sons - if I am son of thee and of Kanake, daughter of Aiolos, and this hapless child is mine. Would that he had been smitten by Apollon and that my hands had buried him! But now he sits an accursed glutton before mine eyes. Either do thou remove from him his cruel disease or take and feed him thyself; for my tables area already exhausted. Desolate are my folds and empty my byres of four-footed beasts; for already the cooks have said me ‘no.’ But even the mules they loosed from the great wains and he ate the heifer that his mother was feeding for Hestia and the racing horse and the war charger, and the cat at which the little vermin trembled.

So long as there were stores in the house of Triopas, only the chambers of the house were aware of the evil thing; but when his teeth dried up the rich house, then the king’s son sat at the crossways, begging for crusts and the cast out refuse of the feast. O Demeter, never may that man be my friend who is hateful to thee, nor ever may he share party-wall with me; ill neighbours I abhor."

In Christian mythology gluttony in its earlier depictions was usually shown to be a skinny man (sometimes with a big stomach and sometimes with his neck craned over). I've been hunting for images but all I could find were one picture with the craned neck and a contemporary picture that artist says was inspired by looking at the pictures of skinny gluttons in a version of Dante's Inferno. 

The top picture has a "swarm" of birds in the background which seems like another potential link between what I've said is the masculine and feminine version of the myth.  The contemporary picture is more notable for the choice to not show the eyes and for the woman to possess a dagger but I thought I'd include it anyway.

As an aggressive impulse that is routed through hunger the repression of such an impulse (which may be through the interaction of the primitive superego imagos) would lead to the regular hunger/digestion system having restrictions. Thus, a process that would appear as self-cannibalization would occur. However, someone with a fixation at this stage is always thin, after repression then one becomes "skin and bone". As I mentioned the craned forward neck is usually present in this too and even when the person is no longer gluttonously eating his stomach still sticks out and he's sway backed.

In the masculine oral trito I suggested that the flying swarms were seen as negative for the SE but that confetti and other images of the multitudinous flying or floating objects might be positive for the OA. (This idea was taken from the parallel between the Oedipus and Bellerophon myths). I'd also like to venture the idea here that the OE might manifest this "skin and bones" image in a different way. In working with a couple women with eating disorders I have found the fantasy of withering away to the bones. In one woman the aspect of it being a passive-aggressive attack on the father was the main element ("See what you've done to me") but in the other I got the real sense that being 'skin and bone' was the ideal image of beauty for her. Along with various writings in the analytic literature of the 'body phallus' in which thin sinewy bodies are relatable to a penis, it was interesting that my patient was jealous of my thinness and in her phantasy she would be so thin that I, along with men and women alike, would be jealous of her. Neither girl had a sinewy slender body, but what distinguished them was their deep paleness.

In both cases its as if the transgression of the difference between the generations that creates the trito fixation stops some kind of physiological development. It's as if the body, as is, is chosen and future musculature won't develop on its own naturally. There are a few short women I've worked with too who have a narcissistic sense of their own beauty and I think something analogous happens in the anal (deutero?) stage as well, that might curtail their height.

Included with the myth of Erysikhthon are some variations.

"Some, too, have said that he [the constellation Ophiochus] is Triopas, king of the Thessalians, who, in trying to roof his own house, tore down the temple of Ceres [Demeter], built by the men of old. When hunger was brought on him by Ceres for this deed, he could never afterward be satisfied by any amount of food. Last of all, toward the end of his life, when a snake was sent to plague him, he suffered many ills, and at last winning death, was put among the stars by the will of Ceres. And so the snake, coiling round him, still seems to inflict deserved and everlasting punishment."
Ovid, Metamorphoses 8. 739 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :

Having the serpent coiled around the tree (or staff) shows up in many different mythologies and in this way would bring together the positive masculine version of the trito father with the negative feminine version of the father (i.e. the tree that Erysikhthon attacked is a good phallus and becomes a  bad phallus in the serpent). 

   The link of the tree and serpent to knowledge I would interpret through my claim that the oral trito stage is the first stage of the will that is measured in relation to others (i.e. the birth of self-consciousness although in the partial form discussed in a previous post).

To return to the subject altruist, there is also mention of Erysichthon's daughter and her ability to shape-shift:

"Some have the gift to change and change again in many forms . . . That gift of shape-changing Erysichthon's daughter [Mestra] also possessed"

This brings us back to Dionysus who appeared in the main myth above. His ability to shape-shift into a woman and animals features heavily in his character. Nietzsche defined the Dionysian not as shapeshifting but: 

In the Dionysian state, on the other hand, the whole affective system is excited and enhanced: so that it discharges all its means of expression at once and drives forth simultaneously the power of representation, imitation, transfiguration, transformation, and every kind of mimicking and acting. The essential feature here remains the ease of metamorphosis, the inability not to react (similar to certain hysterical types who also, upon any suggestion, enter into any role)… It is impossible for the Dionysian type not to understand any suggestion; he does not overlook any sign of an affect; he possesses the instinct of understanding and guessing in the highest degree, just as he commands the art of communication in the highest degree. He enters into any skin, into any affect: he constantly transforms himself. (Nietzsche 1982, p. 519-20)

As with all the libidinal types I think there is a type that is of the body and of the mind. What Nietzsche is drawing attention to here is that skin ego, as the first form of the ego that is measured and thus implies an awareness of self as distinct, is related to the most primal and fullest sense of mimicry or empathy with another. Along with the body sense that allows good actors to literally transform their faces and bodies in imitation of others, Melanie Klein writes of a "particularly intense interest in people" in some schizoid stage individuals  (Notes on Some Schizoid Mechanisms). We might say that there is a hunger to live in the bodies of others either in mimicry with our own body or with an intuitive grasp of the "sensibility" the other possesses. This trait is no doubt important for the somatic psychologist to notice 'armouring' in people despite the physiological differences in people. The armour can't be a simple measurement but is a ratio or mosaic within a moving form.     

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Marxian Basics- Alienation and dialectical materialism pt 1.

I shared an older post with someone recently and realized that it was both poorly written and vague. I've begun re-writing it and want to re-post it.

Marxian Basics- alienation-commodity fetishism

In Marx’s 1844 Manuscripts we are given important coordinates for identifying him with a romanticism that isn’t merely a view of art communicating feelings but also a view that certain individuals possess different emotional make-ups as well. In regards to aesthetics he writes, ““…man’s feelings, passions, etc., are not mere anthropological phenomena in the [narrower] sense, but truly ontological affirmations of essential being (of nature), and… they are only really affirmed because their object exists for them as an object of sense” (1844, p. 48). Outside of aesthetics Marx draws our attention to the response a person is able to generate in others as a proof of his charisma or the general authenticity of emotion that is able to inspire reciprocated feeling:  

if you want to exercise influence over other people, you must be a person with a stimulating and encouraging effect on other people… If you love without evoking love in return- that is, if your loving as loving does not produce reciprocal love; if through a living expression of yourself as a loving person you do not make yourself a loved person, then your love is impotent- a misfortune (ibid., p. 51)

These comments point to what is just beginning to be recognized in Nietzsche scholarship as a ‘doctrine of types’[i]. This doctrine of types recognizes that different individuals have different emotional make-ups as well as different desires. For some people love is the most important thing, for some people having the respect of others and being admired for skills or intelligence is the most important thing, some people are much more social than others, and some strive to be as self-sufficient as possible, (etc.) Additionally, we may recognize others as possessing charm, humour, a commanding presence, grace, as well as being shy, arrogant, enthusiastic, vindictive, (etc.). What is important about this doctrine of types is that it isn’t based upon values. The schizoid personality who avoids personal contact with people may give value-based rationalizations about why he acts as he does. For example, he may claim that people are bad and untrustworthy, or he can argue that a stoic way of life and avoiding human drama is best, but these values aren’t responsible for his actions (but are ‘epiphenomenal’). A psychoanalytic or psychodynamic approach would reference this individual having a problem with a very early imago or object relation that affects an individual’s attachment in any relationship[ii]. The doctrine of types is also implicit in Marx’s criticism of Feuerbach for whom religious essence is seen as something abstract in each person[iii]. The question is where do different religious sensibilities come from? I understand Marx’s answer to be that at different historical points the means of production allow different characterlogical types to come into prominence in the culture. Religion is  the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality” (Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of the Right). Otherwise, how is his criticism of Feuerbach any less abstract? Feuerbach says religion is the essence of man and Marx would merely be saying that it’s the essence of social relations. Of course, Marx holds that upper classes use religion to legitimize their power and justify their execution of it but my interest here is religions or values as a particular way of living and as their relation to different symbols, phantasies, and concrete texts. I’ll return to the issue of human essence being alienated in religion in a moment but the point here is that once this character is in place it creates a ‘first nature’ that determines our general type of striving for happiness in the world and has dispositions to breaking down in certain ways. This ‘human essence’ is the ground for religious or value projections. A person with a stoic first nature is the model of stoic values the become culturally elaborated and, through child rearing practices and societal pressure the child can have a ‘second nature’ formed, based upon identifications, to either overcome certain inhibitions in his character or to curb certain drives. The difference here is between someone who has an autistic fixation who naturally on their own would sit silently lost in sensations and impressions vs. a child given to a monastery by a poor family who doesn’t have this fixation but through being forced to sit still, punished for disobedience, and having to overcome all his impulses to hurt his aggressive teachers or sexual interests. The child given to the monastery can get in touch with the universal autistic stage of the mind but without the fixation (a traumatic drive experience or adaptation that is non-universal) he will only learn to approximate. I also very much mean to suggest here that there are periods of history, and specific classes in them, in which second nature is not instilled or inscribed in people. Again, I’ll address this soon.         

In general, character traits might become exacerbated and become the personality disorders in the DSM, but so long as the individual is healthy they can also be the source of certain gifts and therefore play an important part in cultural achievements. A culture may place emphasis on mathematics in its schools and “drill it” into their children but that doesn’t change that there are some individuals who have an interest in mathematics that goes to the being of who they are. Fixations that encourage certain cognitive functions and act as adaptations that reduce the desire for social relations and increase the child’s narcissistic sense that it is entitled to introduce new paradigms of thought to a culture are very important. Humans aren’t simply tabula rasa. Thus, included in the doctrine of types, is Marx’s recognition that an individual has different affinities for certain types of labour.  These gifts or affinity for certain types of labour is more easily recognized where IQ is concerned. A test will show that someone might have a good head for mathematics or the spatial sense for architecture. In contrast, the sense of authenticity in someone’s feelings or drawing attention to their charisma, humour, or wisdom is much harder to objectively define. However, both are important factors in alienation.  

In relation to IQ, and EQ so much as recognizing certain motivational differences in people can even be said to be important in the post-modern humanities, Marx gives us a very simple example of alienation in a person who has a talent or a ‘calling’ to study in university but who doesn’t have the money and therefore, has no effective calling. When individuals of lower classes might have gifts or callings in science or business but don’t have access to the necessary education because of their lack of money, they are alienated. I call this the vertical axis of alienation. Another example can be found in someone taking over a company because he or she receives it through inheritance. The person who inherits the company might not have the same ability to manage, inspire, or offer the workers a sense of fulfilment. Morale may lower and the business may decline when someone with more EQ could have kept the company successful. In this case, along with the access to university above, the merit of the individual isn’t recognized by society. It is defeated by inheritance and/or nepotism when the brightest minds don’t get access to education and those with EQ don’t get to sew harmony among the different types of people that work together.

Anyone who actually reads Marx will be surprised to see that his writing isn’t filled with altruistic sentiments about helping others and self-sacrifice but, rather, is a theory of egoism and meritocracy that happens to coincide with overcoming class/monetary inequality. For example, he holds that the spinning jenny is what abolished slavery and not altruistic sentiments. What he means by this is that it was the technology that allowed white workers to have a higher output of textiles per person than black workers (who were slaves without this technology), that made the abolishment of slavery possible. It would not have been abolished if an equal number of white people had to do the work. Of course, the abolishment of slavery is touted as springing from altruism and care for others, but this would be the same as believing that the US government went to war against Iraq in order to help free the Iraqi people from a dictator. If the US government really did it for this reason then why does it do business with and support dictators in other countries? If the slaves were freed because of recognizing their equality, then why were they still discriminated against in so many other ways? From the beginning of recorded history it’s been a patriarchal world in which men have the power and therefore history is the history of egoism. Marx calls religion the heart of a heartless world and the suggestion is that egoism rules the world and altruism is forced into religion and the belief in another world because altruism is impotent in this world. However, in true dialectical materialism we must still recognize that although the spinning jenny is a pre-condition of the abolishment of slavery there is still the need for a charismatic altruist to give good speeches and win over the hearts of some people. The mistake of idealism is to believe that if someone like Lincoln was only born earlier that slavery in the US would have been abolished earlier. In Dialectical materialism a lower class that is forced into labour by a higher class and under this oppression eventually produces technology/communications that change the means of production and silently change the social organization. Eventually these changes lead to a refined egoism and the displacement of the higher class or reduction of its power by the new desires the both higher and lower class now compete to satisfy[iv].   

Marx’s examples of what I call the vertical axis of alienation are based upon a failure of meritocracy. Of course today people would argue that there are scholarships for the poor and business models have changed so that the capitalist-inventor isn’t in charge of his own company. Instead, a manager or CEO who is good at organizing people is hired or the style of production is such that employee differences and conflicts are minimized. The recognition of the importance of technology in labour and specialization creates a third term in my analysis of alienation that I have to pause for a moment to explain. Marx isn’t a ‘luddite’ or ‘hippy’ who wants to scrap technology and live “naturally” or go back to a simpler mode of production. There is an “appendage of the machine” quality to many types of labour or specialization in medicine, for example, that sees a physician show a narrow, mechanistic interest in an appendage or organ in isolation from the rest of the body, or specialization in the humanities that sees sociologists ignore psychology or psychologists ignore sociology, for example. The future “humanization” of these approaches will be a step forward and not a step backwards, the information or productivity that has been accumulated in specialization will be retained but people will work in more than one type of labour and employ different parts of their bodies and different disciplines under the umbrella of a deeper understanding of human nature (the doctrine of types).

Although, the vertical axis of alienation has been softened and both scholarships and business practices have changed so that more class mobility is possible it is still far from being overcome. There is still racism, sexism, and obstacles facing the poor that the majority of people will acknowledge but they would hardly say that this is an argument for communism. They will argue that the imperfections of capitalism are better than the horrors we’ve seen in communism. This is the place to say two things. Firstly, ‘the self made man’ that arises from a poor class can take advantage of scholarships and various programs to get a business running but just because there is such a person with exceptional will power that doesn’t mean that everyone else who doesn’t make it didn’t have the potential to rise to excellence. We are not simply rational beings who choose to work hard or be ambitious or choose not to be. Being driven to find success is a social relation in which one encounters various authority figures in one’s teachers, professors, bosses, the police, etc. and there is only so much mistreatment one can endure from them before one is conditioned to believe that one’s individual achievement is not possible. Moreover, if one grows up in a poor neighbourhood in which gangs and violence is a problem then a lot of energy will have to be spent navigating these problems. Someone who may have had intellectual gifts may encounter such problems and give up on the pursuit because protecting himself and his loved ones was a much more immediate problem. Secondly, I want to be clear that no so-called communist countries have ever met the central requirement of Marxism: the abolishment of money. Just as we now think it is ridiculous that we used to have kings and that the king’s son would rule by inheritance, Marx believes we will look at the inheritance of wealth in the current system in the same way. The children of the rich receive money they’ve done nothing to deserve and get access to education or jobs that isn’t based upon their merit. In some ways the category of the self-made man and the failure of meritocracy blend together when we consider that the wealthy who inherit money will give that money over to stock-brokers or those in the entertainment (music, movies, etc.) industry in order to make money without doing any, or very much, labour themselves. Many of these ‘self-made men’ have a lot of will power but very little originality or taste and so you have too many people getting into the same stocks or you have too many of the same type of movie or music being made and this results in the collapse of a sector of the market and the spoiling of a genre.        

[i] Nietzsche quickly moves from the claim that being causa sui involves a contradiction, however, to an argument that depends on his picture of human agency. Nietzsche accepts what we may call a “Doctrine of Types” (Leiter 1998), according to which,

Each person has a fixed psycho-physical constitution, which defines him as a particular type of person.
Call the relevant psycho-physical facts here “type-facts.”

Type-facts, for Nietzsche, are either physiological facts about the person, or facts about the person's unconscious drives or affects. The claim, then, is that each person has certain largely immutable physiological and psychic traits that constitute the “type” of person he or she is.

Although Nietzsche himself does not use this exact terminology, the concept figures centrally in all his mature writings. A typical Nietzschean form of argument, for example, runs as follows: a person's theoretical beliefs are best explained in terms of his moral beliefs; and his moral beliefs are best explained in terms of natural facts about the type of person he is (i.e., in terms of type-facts). So Nietzsche says, “every great philosophy so far has been…the personal confession of its author and a kind of involuntary and unconscious memoir”; thus, to really grasp this philosophy, one must ask “at what morality does all this (does he) aim” (BGE 6)? But the “morality” that a philosopher embraces simply bears “decisive witness to who he is” — i.e., who he essentially is — that is, to the “innermost drives of his nature” (BGE 6).

This explanation of a person's moral beliefs in terms of psycho-physical facts about the person is a recurring theme in Nietzsche. “[M]oralities are…merely a sign language of the affects” (BGE 187), he says. “Answers to the questions about the value of existence…may always be considered first of all as the symptoms of certain bodies” (GS P:2). “Moral judgments,” he says are, “symptoms and sign languages which betray the process of physiological prosperity or failure” (WP 258). “[O]ur moral judgments and evaluations…are only images and fantasies based on a physiological process unknown to us” (D 119), so that “it is always necessary to draw forth… the physiological phenomenon behind the moral predispositions and prejudices” (D 542). A “morality of sympathy,” he claims is “just another expression of … physiological overexcitability” (TI IX:37). Ressentiment — and the morality that grows out of it — he attributes to an “actual physiological cause [Ursache]” (GM I:15).

Nietzsche sums up the idea well in the preface to On the Genealogy of Morality (hereafter simply “Genealogy” or “GM”): “our thoughts, values, every ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ ‘if’ and ‘but’ grow from us with the same inevitability as fruits borne on the tree — all related and each with an affinity to each, and evidence of one will, one health, one earth, one sun” (GM P:2). Nietzsche seeks to understand in naturalistic terms the type of “person” who would necessarily bear such ideas and values, just as one might come to understand things about a type of tree by knowing its fruits. And just as natural facts about the tree explain the fruit it bears, so too type-facts about a person will explain his values and actions. This means that the conscious mental states that precede the action and whose propositional contents would make them appear to be causally connected to the action are, in fact, epiphenomenal, either as tokens or as types: that is, they are either causally inert with respect to the action or causally effective only in virtue of other type-facts about the person (Leiter 2002: 91-93 argues for the latter reading; Leiter 2007 argues for the former).
[ii] This is as opposed to having a problem with an imago or object relation later in development where relationships in general aren’t avoided but instead one remains in relationships but in repetitions that are sadistically or masochistically tinged. Also this approach resolves the old nature vs. nurture distinction. A child’s character or type is formed either by genetic inheritance for certain drives that produce fixation upon object relations or actual parenting causes a drive based response from the child that create a fixation. The point here is that it is neither nature or nurture but the ‘other scene’ of what becomes traumatic or not.
[iii] Feuerbach resolves the religious essence into the human essence. But the human essence is no abstraction inherent in each single individual.
In its reality it is the ensemble of the social relations Feuerbach, who does not enter upon a criticism of this real essence, is consequently compelled:
To abstract from the historical process and to fix the religious sentiment as something by itself and to presuppose an abstract – isolated – human individual.
Essence, therefore, can be comprehended only as “genus”, as an internal, dumb generality which naturally unites the many individuals. (Theses on Feuerbach- 6)
[iv] Consider how television and film was introduced as a low cultural form for the masses while the upper classes were interested in the arts. After a generation or two now the upper classes are just as desirous of the fame that comes from them.  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Odyssey- Circe: proto-anal and anal deutero pt.1

Continuing to follow the principles of looking for anxiety/fear in relation to forms or instruments of aggression and identification with the father that separates the proto and deutero stages I'm continuing my analysis of the Odyssey.

I divided my crew into two companies, and gave each its own leader; I myself captained one, Eurylokhos the other. Then we shook the lots in a bronze helmet, and the lot that leapt out was that of bold Eurylokhos. So he went on his way, and twenty-two comrades with him; themselves in tears, they left the rest of us weeping too. In the glades they found the palace of Kirke, built of smooth stones on open ground.

I want to point out again that Odysseus begins with many fleets of ships and many men and that throughout the odyssey he continues to lose men. I see this as the natural self-absorption of the child that by drive and drive renunciation forms more complex cognition and demands for glory and harmony. I'll have to put a closer lens to it and see if it's a literal process of splitting throughout.


Outside, there were lions and mountain wolves that she had herself bewitched by giving them magic drugs. The beasts did not set upon my men; they reared up, instead, and fawned on them with their long tails. As dogs will fawn around their master when he comes home from some banquet, because he never fails to bring back for them a morsel or two to appease their craving, so did these lions, these wolves with their powerful claws, circle fawningly round my comrades. The sight of the strange huge creatures dismayed my men, but they went on and paused at the outer doors of the goddess of braided hair. And now they could hear Kirke within, singing with her beautiful voice as she moved to and fro at the wide web that was more than earthly--delicate, gleaming, delectable, as a goddess’ handiwork needs must be--a goddess or a woman, moving to and fro at her wide web and singing a lovely song that the whole floor re-echoes with….

The goddess ushered them in, gave them all seats, high or low, and blended for them a dish of cheese and of barley-meal, of yellow honey and Pramnian wine, all together; but with these good things she mingled pernicious drugs as well, to make them forget their own country utterly. Having given them this and waited for them to have their fill, she struck them suddenly with her wand, then drove them into the sties where she kept her swine. And now the men had the form of swine--the snout and grunt and bristles; only their minds were left unchanged.

I've highlighted the sections with the voice but I don't think they belong in this masculine (SE and OA) reading but rather to the feminine (SA and OE). The voice isn't an object of aggression here. Rather, as with the Oral proto and deutero, there will be a phase specific threat (trapped inside the cave, the hand) with the general castration anxiety coming from the Oedipal or triangular conflict (being eaten).

*a quick note here. I've mentioned it before but the mouth is a form of aggression in many, many phases. The child has coordinated musculature there long before it has the ability to kick or punch.

In the proto-anal the sight that gives the men fear is the strange huge creatures but particularly their claws are noticed. Klein many times has referenced the child's nails and claws as having aggressive significance and I have had a few patients share dreams in which they have scratched others aggressively or been scratched. The second aspect here is that the men are changed into animals and imprisoned or, as Hermes mentions in the next section, "penned". I take this to be a general threat of being controlled. The "mind is unchanged" but the body is restrained. From considering the body to considering the mind, there are many political views, especially anarchism, that protest the government's control. Big Brother, the nanny state, and many other names are given to the central ruling body and more than any particular bill the loss of freedom or slippery slope to its loss is the central talking point. Going back to the body, the show of "force" that occurs in action movies. The way that a person who is shot goes flying back. Conversely, I also think that all the explosions that happen in movies that people simply get up and walk away from without any shrapnel or debris having pierced their flesh is bizarre. Klein notes that missiles are often representatives of feces. The overwhelming strength of the opponent or opponents weapons make one seem a powerless, small, or domesticated animal that's easily beaten by its owner. The language of anality is that one has the shit beat out of them. There's a myth of Hephaestus that I posted long ago that is about his being thrown from Olympus by Hera (Zeus in some versions) that is a good example of this, as well as anal "force".

2. Arrival of the Father imago or Father identification:

And with that I left the ship and shore and took the path upward; but as I traversed those haunted glades, as I came close to Kirke’s house and neared the palace of the enchantress, I was met by golden-wanded Hermes; he seemed a youth in the lovely spring of life, with the first down upon his lip. He seized my hand and spoke thus to me : `Luckless man, why are you walking thus alone over these hills, in country you do not know? Your comrades are yonder in Kirke’s grounds; they are turned to swine, lodged and safely penned in the sites. Is your errand her to rescue them? I warn you, you will never return yourself, you will only be left with the others there. Yet no--I am ready to save you from all hazards, ready to keep you unscathed. Look. Here is a herb of magic virtue; take it and enter Kirke’s house with it; then the day of evil never will touch your head. I will tell you of all her witch’s arts. She will brew a potion for you, but with good things she will mingle drugs as well. Yet even so, she will not be able to enchant you; my gift of the magic herb will thwart her. I will tell you the rest, point by point. When Kirke strikes you with the long wand she has, draw the keen sword from beside your thigh, rush upon her and make as if to kill her. She will shrink, back, and then ask you to lie with her. At this you must let her have her way; she is a goddess; accept her bed, so that she may release your comrades and make you her cherished guest. But first, make her swear the great oath of the Blessed Ones [by the river Styx] to plot no mischief to you thenceforward--if not, while you lie naked there, she may rob you of courage and of manhood.’ So spoke the Radiant One; then gave the magic herb, pulling it from the ground and showing me in what form it grew; its root was black, its flower milk-white.

Hermes arrives as the father imago and offers a way out just as the olive tree offered a way out of the mess with the cyclops. The Golden wand of Hermes is more powerful than the wand of Kirke. It appears that sexual difference isn't registered here in regards to the penis but that it is in regard to more general bodily comportment. As I understand from Kestenberg and Horney, sexual difference in regards to the penis is formalized in the urethral or anal trito stage. The strange thing this deutero stage points to, is that the castration fear of being robbed of one's penis occurs non-universally at the anal deutero stage. In the oral structure of the Polyphemus myth Odysseus is still threatened with being eaten but, by forming a special relation with the cyclops, he is told he will be eaten last. Here he is threatened with being turned into an animal (anal castration anxiety) but because he is favored by the power of Hermes he doesn't succumb, and the next physical threat to fear is that of losing his manhood.

The last sentence of the quotation above references a herb with a black root but which has a white flower. Along with reference to white lilies growing from the blackest mud is a reference feces. Also, beore Kirke gives the potion to Odysseus:
She ushered me in and gave me a tall silver-studded chair to sit in--handsome and cunningly made it was--with a stool beneath it for the feet.
Maybe I'm stretching, but I think this chair to sit in, purely in the image of sitting, is a reference to the toilet. Also, in the Greek Myths the anal deutero would correspond to Typhon or Typhoeus who also has anal references ("blasts of heavenly wind").

Anyway, just as Odysseus blinds Polyphemus before the next act of aggression comes in the reader imagining that Odysseus will be grabbed by him. The parallel here is after avoiding being turned into an animal he follows Hermes advice:

So she spoke, but I drew the keen sword from beside my thigh, rushed at her and made as if to kill her. She shrieked, she slipped underneath my weapon, she clasped my knees and spoke in rapid appealing words: `Who are you, and from where? Where are your city and your parents? It bewilders me that you drank this drug and were not bewitched. 

3. Although the castration is not seen as the hand is, it is referenced again, when Kirke sees Odysseus as unhappy and without appetite: "You should have no doubts; I have sworn the great oath already.’"

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Clinical Techniques: the gaze of the object

There are two rules I follow for testing the efficacy of a specific intervention.
A. It leads to an emotional response.
B. It leads to progressive communication.

I shared the technique of 'I statements' in a previous post but lately I've stumbled upon a refinement of it.

It began when a patient was complaining about being low energy and being in a "haze". The word came up enough times that it caught my attention as significant and it's idiosyncratic in the patient's normally articulate speech. I asked for her association to "haze" and she said fog. I asked for her first association to fog and she said the mountains in X. She shared about driving through the mountains and how the fog reduced visibility to 0 at 15 feet or so. She went on to talk about the way the light couldn't pierce into the fog and it made me aware that inside of the fog was something significant. I asked her to imagine that she was inside of the fog and that she saw the light outside, unable to penetrate, and to describe what else was going on inside. She said that she felt cold, vulnerable, and in danger. I said 'danger?' and she said that something could come into the fog. I asked for the first dangerous thing that could come in and she winced with embarrassment and after some coaxing said a bear. I asked how she imagined the bear would attack or hurt and she said with its mouth...

Ultimately, 'being inside the fog and expecting an attack' led to the patient expressing how she sometimes would rush home to be alone. She said that she finds it very taxing to be around people and having to 'chit chat'. She is in danger around people.

The same patient a few sessions later casually referred to others at her work as mosquitos. She described mosquitos as annoying, insignificant, and blood-sucking. It didn't feel right to ask her to say these adjectives as I-statements and see how they feel nor did I feel like they referred to a particular person she had been talking about. So, I again asked her to reverse the point of perception from subject to object. I asked her how she would look to mosquitos and she, with surprise, and again required some coaxing, said 'giant' and then turned it to 'grand' and said 'moral'.

These little surprises are where the unconscious is for me.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Ego Ideal: Forms of Perfection (cont.)

After recent research I've been had to re-tool my model a little.

The omnipotence of wishes at the oral stage is separate from what I mentioned as the artist creating possible worlds. The world is the back-drop for the oral stage in which the will first appears as wish. It is in the previous part-object stage that world appears with the mnemic trace and the possible hallucination of the breast. What is added at the oral stage is time.

Again, the infant doesn't have the cognition to grasp these complicated ideas. Rather the libidinal ties it forms are retroactively signified from the phallic stage in relation to the magnitude of the more primitive anxiety.  

The phallic father-substitutes are those who have social status that follows success as measured in wealth, membership to prestigious organizations, degrees, etc.  

The phallic-narcissist opposes being under a father-substitute and presents himself as being more successful or having more prestige than father substitutes. 

The genital or phallic-trito stage is the internalization of the phallic father and recreation of his power among being the lower generations through being ethical.

The genital or phallic-trito narcissist is between being ethical and being above ethics. He can react to ethics or present himself as being the master of ethics.

The anal father-substitutes are those who have the status of being pillars of society as measured as being in the highest positions of power within a culture (president, dictator, celebrated scientists or artists, etc.) 

The anal-narcissist opposes being under a father-substitute and presents himself as being a leader of his own group, proponent of a rival paradigm of thought or art movement, that is more foundational (cult leader, creator of a new scientific model, etc.)

The urethral or anal-trito stage is the internalization of the anal father and recreation of his power among the lower generations through doing acts. 

The urethral or anal-trito narcissist is between being efficient in organizing and being above efficiency. He can react to efficiency or present himself as the master of efficiency. 

The oral father-substitute is time and the laws under which time is expressed (linear flow of time, gravity, etc.)

The oral-narcissist opposes being under the father-substitute and presents himself as having power that opposes time and its laws. This manifests in the omnipotence of wishes that are expressed in 'the secret', the 'force' in Star Wars, time travel, energies used in animistic or 'healing' therapies, being able to fly, etc.

The skin or oral trito stage is the internalization of the oral father and recreation of his power among the lower generation by the possession of things.

The skin or oral-trito narcissist is between competition with others to possess valuable things and being above the possession of things. He can react to competing for possessions or present himself as having the most valuable possessions.

The part-object father-substiute is space and the mnemic-trace of objects/things under which the world appears as the world.

The part-object narcissist opposes being under the father-substitute and tries to present 'possible worlds' that rival the world we are in.    

The part-object-trito stage is the internalization of the part-object father and recreation of his power among the lower generation through phantasy or picturing objects in the mind's eye. 

The part-object-trito narcissist is between forming phantasy of desired things and being above phantasy. He can react to phantasy or present himself as the master of phantasy. 

anxiety in the part-object stage is attached to annihilation of the world/something that would harm or impact the world and one along with it.
anxiety in the oral stage is attached to major disasters
anxiety in the anal stage is attached to physical death
anxiety in the phallic stage is attached to loss of reputation

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