Saturday, December 20, 2014

paranoia and dissociation (depression)

Before I turn to Klein I would first like to say that social ontology illustrates that every level of development seems to have a corresponding type of paranoia. The phallic level of having one’s reputation ruined can be contrasted to the auto-erotic level and the father imago of Space in which the ‘end of the world’ (and indirectly the paranoiac along with it) is also a very easily recognized form which Freud (914b) mentions in ‘On Narcissism’ (p. 76). At the anal stage there is the reference to secret groups that have more power than the officialized institutions of civilization (i.e. CIA, the Illuminati, etc.). I expect variations of these to exist and that they might follow the proto and deutero distinctions, but I believe that this will suffice to show the levels of Perfection that are in play. The last level, the narcissistic, is the one that Klein and others make the most of. Instead of a reference to social hierarchy the narcissistic stage involves figures that aren’t referenced by their social power. So while there are those that can influence one’s reputation at the phallic, or those that belong to powerful, secret groups that will end one’s life at the anal, at the narcissistic stage one’s “killer” or slanderer can be anyone. Although, this “anyone” will be given the coloring of being magical, monstrous, or other-than- human since the narcissistic stage references humanity in general (Economics, p. ?). Additionally, as always, there might be some confluence at work with other levels of Being. This means that someone at the top of social hierarchy as a celebrity or powerful figure may be selected with both his or her magical/monstrous aspects and position of power or influence is referenced too.  

Although the specific content of the phantasy involved in paranoia can reference the different levels of social ontology, Klein’s analysis directs us to a stage specific etiology. However, this stage changes. In one of her last accounts it is the auto-erotic stage which seems primary. She writes:

I have formerly also expounded my contention that paranoia is based on the distrust and hate of the internalized penis of the father (see in this connection my comments about the ‘Wolf man’, Psycho-Analysis of Children, Chapter IX). Further work has led me to link that distrust and hate of the internalized penis of the father with the relation to the mother's breast, for hate and distrust of the breast are transferred to the penis of the father. All these factors seem to me of importance in the understanding of paranoia (Klein, 1961, p. 279).

Here she references the importance of the part-objects of the auto-erotic stage and the transcription of power from the (part) mother imago to the (part) father imago. As mentioned in Economics, Klein holds that anxiety situations appear not just in triangular situations with father-substitutes but also in the defence of projective identification in which one assumes the place of the parental imago in order to project one’s triangular (including primal scene) anxiety into another person. In this way paranoia enshrines the triangular relation so that even when one assumes the position of the father-substitute and identifies with someone of a lower generation/class/or person of less prestige, in whom he causes anxiety, there is still the fear that this person wants to usurp one and may actually be successful. Thus, in the myth of the Greek gods, the basic state of paranoia is in the oracle foreseeing that a god’s son will overthrow him and this is seen in Cronos, for example, swallowing up all his children to avoid this[1]. In part-object language Klein writes that paranoia:   

is an instance of projective identification which is quickly followed by, and possibly simultaneous with, internalization. The fear of the object attacked by hostile projective identification (such as bad faeces put into it) in turn increases the feeling that the object will intrude into the subject. It is important to distinguish in analysis between this fear of being intruded into by the object with whom projective identification has occurred and the process of introjecting the hostile object. In the former case the ego is the victim of the intruding object, while in introjection it is the ego which sets the process in motion, even though it is bound to lead to persecutory anxiety (279-280)

As investigated in the last chapter, Klein appears to be differentiating projective identification from what was compared to a vertical repression in which the need for punishment makes one get off on bringing about castration anxiety from a father-substitute. So, Klein is saying that non-verbal arrogant and vain behavior that induces a subject egoist’s father-substitutes to attack his image and bring about his “castration” (anxiety) is one thing, but that paranoia from the assumption of the place of the father-imago is another thing[2]. Fairbairn (1952) also seems to agree that paranoia consists of something more than just  “the projection of repressed impulses, as is commonly supposed, but in the projection of repressed objects in the form of persecutors” (p. 75). He uses “techniques” to describe the paranoid defense, along with the others, and this implies that some operation involving the ego and the repressed drive-object relation is in order, as opposed to just a regression to a specific stage.

In Psychoanalysis of Children Klein (1932) locates the etiology of paranoia in the “earlier anal stage” but in an earlier work she clarifies that this is synonymous with Freud’s narcissistic stage (p. 207 fn). “My conclusions are in agreement with Freud's hypotheses,” she writes, “according to which the fixation-points of dementia præcox [schizophrenia] and paranoia are to be sought in the narcissistic stage, that of dementia præcox preceding that of paranoia (Klein, Importance of Symbol, p. 38). In this view, Klein seems to regard auto-erotic absolute narcissism with narcissistic stage primary narcissism as closely related but recognizes a difference between them in regard to etiology. This gives us an important distinction between paranoid schizophrenia and paranoia in other forms that don’t have the delusional certainty but have the same feelings that are also mixed with borderline or neurotic doubt.      

In ‘A Contribution to the Psychogenesis of Manic-Depressive States’, as in many other places, the reference to feces and part-object castration anxiety in many stages is referenced. Thus, despite her desire to reference a certain stage as the stage of paranoia she continues to recognize the confluence of many stages. Additionally, she notes that the “whole object” of the anal stage exists in the paranoiac but that defenses from more primitive or earlier stages will have a more profound influence on the incapacity for later ego and object drives.  She writes

The paranoiac, I should say, has also introjected a whole and real object, but has not been able to achieve a full identification with it, or, if he has got as far as this, he has not been able to maintain it. To mention a few of the reasons which are responsible for this failure: the persecution-anxiety is too great; suspicions and anxieties of a phantastic nature stand in the way of a full and stable introjection of a good object and a real one. In so far as it has been introjected, there is little capacity to maintain it as a good object, since doubts and suspicions of all kinds will soon turn the loved object again into a persecutor. Thus his relationship to whole objects and to the real world is still influenced by his early relation to internalized part-objects and fæces as persecutors and may again give way to the latter. It seems to me characteristic of the paranoiac that, though, on account of his persecution-anxiety and his suspicions, he develops a very strong and acute power of observation of the external world and of real objects, this observation and his sense of reality are nevertheless distorted, since his persecution-anxiety makes him look at people mainly from the point of view of whether they are persecutors or not. Where the persecution-anxiety for the ego is in the ascendant, a full and stable identification with another object, in the sense of looking at it and understanding it as it really is, and a full capacity for love, are not possible (p. 155, emphasis mine).

Three things are important in this passage. The first is that Klein references that a ‘full identification’ or what I’ve pointed to as the father complex or trito stage hasn’t been achieved at the narcissistic stage. The second is that there are also part-object relations from the auto-erotic stage that may occur simultaneously with the paranoia. Generally, we can say that the earlier the defusion the more global and powerful the problems with relating to others is[3]. The third is that at the narcissistic level of Being expressed here both the fear of engaging with humans in general and in the specific ego functions of the “acute power of observation” go together. In the narcissistic stage there is a reference to an external object but, as I expressed in Economics, it is “incomplete” and the drives to relate to it are expressed in omnipotent wishes when defusion exists such as psychic powers, magic, “the secret”, or “evil eye”. Despite this, however, the ego capacity of this stage still deals with perceptions of the external world as opposed to the preoccupation with one’s inner world of phantasy in the auto-erotic.

In Shapiro’s famous ‘Neurotic Styles’ the rigidity of the paranoiac’s perception to investigate his environment, is the objective basis for how the subject phantasy elements adhere to reality[4]. He also recognizes  the assumption of the father imago in the subject egoist as a form but also recognizes paranoia in “furtive, constricted, apprehensively suspicious individuals” along with the “rigidly arrogant, and more aggressively suspicious, megalomanic ones” (p.54). However, the examples of rigid suspicious perception that he gives also seem to range across social ontology. He mentions a patient who quickly scanned his library and noticed a certain book (p. 58). A psychotic paranoid person I worked with would read the paper and find references to himself by tangential associations to the material. Thus, in contrast to social ontology, specific ego functions may be more important in some forms of paranoia and the illusions/delusions of social ontology may not be front and center.

In Economics I referenced Freud’s notion of jealousy at the proto phallic or mother-complex stage in which the individual notices that the love object’s attention or attraction to another man is a cause for jealousy even though it may be unconscious for her. In classic characterology, Reich holds that the phallic stage is the main cause of paranoia. Reich writes that “almost all forms of active and female homosexuality, most cases of so-called moral insanity, paranoia, and the related forms of schizophrenia… belong to the phallic-narcissistic character type”  (p.219). However, Reich’s phenomenological descriptions don’t separate the grandiose or megalomanic type involve in projective identification and the “suspicious” individuals.

Following the centrality of the phallic nuclear complexes we can surmise that the phallic stage is the starting point for the paranoid defense. Then, secondarily, the anal, narcissistic, or auto-erotic stages can provide coordinates for the social ontology of paranoia (reputation, secret groups, end of the world) or the importance of the ego cognition involved in the suspicion.  

If we follow Klein then there should be a schizophrenic stage (auto-erotic), a paranoid stage (narcissistic), and then a depressive stage (anal) and she often regards the first two as similar (i.e. paranoid-schizoid) but not identical. However, we also find in her work the idea of persecutory and depressive anxiety that may not represent the vertical axis but rather the horizontal axis of psychic bisexuality. This isn’t necessarily a contradiction because she also recognizes that intermingling of the active and passive poles and therefore, the anal stage may represent the capacity for the egoistic pole to have depressive features due to this intermingling. I must reserve judgment here until more clinical experience allows me confidence in this matter. 

Because of this intermingling, it should also be salient that a parallel form of persecutory anxiety can arise in the altruistic pole at the anal stage. I’ve had little clinical experience with the grandiose type of subject egoistic paranoia, but enough to have a phenomenological sense for it. However, I’ve had a lot of experience with the altruistic form of paranoia. In this form individuals often don’t have elaborated delusions but simply maintain that they are being hunted by the CIA, police, FBI, etc. and often fear, or are on the look out for, helicopters, suspicious buildings or vehicles, or the appearance of law enforcement leads to intense fear and anxiety. The centrality of law enforcement is a solid link to the anal stage social anxiety of the institution of law enforcement that relates to the individual’s interaction with civilization. In contrast to the grandiose SE paranoia which has anxiety related to projective identification this form references parental substitutes that are seen as above one[5].

I think we should save paranoia as the designation for the subject egoistic defense that is coupled with megalomanic or grandiose features and for the altruistic variety in which reference to law enforcement and the police is highly prevalent. The latter types seem to be an instance of the projection of self-criticism onto the object. In social ontology the object at the anal stage is civilization and the fear of the police means that they don’t have to live with their conscience continually attacking them. In this way both Klein’s formulation and Freud’s formulation have valid insights and can be differentiated clearly in phenomenology and reference to the relations to imagos. It is still important to acknowledge that a person may actually function in another libidinal position but have suffered defusion and enacted the paranoid projective identification defense in the subject egoistic part of their personality. One patient who functioned altruistically was a member of the masons and was interested in secret knowledge and was paranoid of the CIA who seemed to be after him because he grandiosely thought he had important secrets. However, his demeanor wasn’t competitive and concerned with power but was deferential and supportive of others and idealized others. Grandiosity could be inferred from having the CIA watching him but it wasn’t manifested in how he acted with others. In individuals with the subject egoistic position being dominant they are often criminals and there is strong manifest aggression and superiority.       

Conceptual clarity is important in these matters and being able to judge that individuals are “suspicious” of others at the narcissistic stage because of “magical thinking” shouldn’t be described as paranoid. For example, in Tausk’s example of the influencing machine there are phantasies of someone having their mind taken over, having their thoughts “drained off,” feelings the loss of potency or power, being watched, and having certain sensations or thoughts being caused[6]. I can understand how someone might call these suspicions “paranoid” but all these examples cite a lack of separation from the social or sexual object that illustrates a magical/supernatural connection that is a cause of anxiety. Grandiose projective identification or people who often can’t say no to others and are caring or warm to others but fear law enforcement for something wrong they’ve done (anal) or loss of reputation (phallic) is salient. The latter corresponds to those that fear being discovered as homosexuals in my experience but I haven’t had a large enough experience to say this is exclusive to altruism.    

[1] Instead of seeing the paranoiac indirectly fearing his own death in the end of the world phantasy this reading implies that he himself is the world.
[2] This becomes a strong reading of the oedipus myth in which Oedipus’ hubris regarding the search for his father’s killer(s) becomes an incentive for Tiresias to appear as someone who will tell him the truth. However, instead of being castrated there is a self-castration.
There is also an interesting difference in the Kleinian and Reichian/Fairbairnian position on the need for punishment being an ego defence vs. Klein’s claim that it is a hostile introject.  
[3] The paranoia of one patient got so bad he moved onto government land so he could be alone in the wilderness and not have to deal with people. This flight from otherness in general, as opposed to the fear of engaging with others is illustrated in this.
[4] This should be contrasted to the earlier auto-erotic level of perception in which perceptions don’t concern human objects but details in the environment. Shapiro similarly mentions the obsessive-compulsive character as having a rigidity concerning noticing objects in the external world. As mentioned in Economics, the trito or father complex stage in which the nuclear complexes are mastered through instinctual renunciation exists also in pre-phallic stages. Therefore, between auto-erotic phantasy and narcissistic stage wishes that still cognize a human object we should find an auto-erotic trito stage in which external reality (as opposed to phantasy) is established and a fixation on that external reality is possible. Thus, without the auto-erotic trito being reached, Klein notes that defences against the auto-erotic oedipal leads to a lack of interest in external reality (“outside world”) and repression of the most basic relations to others in the lack of affect and anxiety found in some people. Klein writes:

The ego's exaggerated and premature defence against sadism checks the establishing of a right relation to reality and the development of phantasy. The further sadistic appropriation and exploration of the mother's body and of the outside world (the mother's body in an extended sense) are brought to a standstill, and this causes the more or less complete suspension of the symbolic relation to the things and objects representing the contents of the mother's body and, hence, of the relation to the subject's environment and to reality. This withdrawal becomes the basis of the lack of affect and anxiety, which is one of the symptoms of dementia præcox. In this disease, therefore, the regression would go right back to the early phase of development in which the sadistic appropriation and destruction of the interior of the mother's body, as conceived of by the subject in phantasy, together with the establishing of the relation to reality, was prevented or checked owing to anxiety (p. 39). Klein, M. (1930). The Importance of Symbol-Formation in the Development of the Ego1. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 11:24-39

Hypothetically, the “living machine” form of obsessionals with no emotions and no inner life would have defended against the auto-erotic nuclear complex while having made it to the auto-erotic trito. In Greek myth we find two opposed stories of the moon (Selene) and the dawn (Eos). The former loved Endymion and the latter loved Tithonus. Endymion’s body stayed youthful forever while remaining asleep while Tithonus chattered on endlessly while his body aged. Placing these gods as prior to the rule of Cronos (Time/the narcissistic stage) it seems probable that they relate to these early functions of affect block and the other autistic trait of chattering endlessly at people without noticing their disinterest or annoyance.  
[5] In parallel, the primitive depression in altruism also resembles projective identification in which the parental imago is usurped and the individual feels outside of his body, in a black hole, wants to disappear in sleep, or just “not present” or “out of synch” with others. These are early forms of Death in which the parental imago is not there or available and the child experiences abandonment or aloneness. There is some obvious overlap with dissociative disorders in this formulation that, again, makes the need for conceptual clarity very important. 
[6] There is still some confusion for me about the narcissistic stage as the encounter with otherness and the encounter with the transitional object. From the work of Tausk and others it is apparent that things (transitional objects) have a significance at the narcissistic stage and can be the cause of powerful psychotic delusions and culturally often magic is attributed to things (amulets, hats, wands, etc.). I’m not sure if the transitional object appears in either the masculine or feminine lines of development, or if it is split between the egoistic or altruistic poles, whether it is an object for both, or whether it may appear in the narcissistic trito stage when the two poles become more intermingled. In Economics I mentioned that the narcissistic stage referenced anxiety situations in terms of the big bad wolf “huffing and puffing” on the houses of the 3 little pigs and that I’ve worked with patients who had a triangular situation with houses. I would like to say that just as there is a move from the opposite sex parent in the phallic nuclear complex to a sibling in order to respect the difference between the generations, that it seems like there can be a move from the house to certain things/items in the house on the way to the narcissistic trito. So far, in my clinical experience the relation to the house and then items seems to appear in feminine patients (OE and SA).     

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Young Melanie Klein

I had never seen this picture of her before yesterday. I just remember the bulbous faced and big chinned pictures of her when she was old. How dreamy she looks here. (Although, it feels like I'm holding this word by the tail so that it doesn't mean someone on a teenage poster. Maybe bedroom eyes is better...) How sensuous around the mouth. She looks like she is looking out at the world through a never lifting veil so of course she choose to look inward into her phantasies.  

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The ego is first a body ego vs. the first object is the body

I've shared in several posts that working with specific id impulses of aggression or loneliness (affection) has been central to much of my clinical work.

A patient follows dreams or associations to a post childhood event that caused narcissistic or echoistic injuries and they re-live the feeling and I get them to discharge through physical expression.

It's easy enough to figure out what to do when they say they feel anger in their legs, jaw, arms, eyes, etc. They either hit out, bite, or make their face monstrous and eyes into daggers or lasers that can sear a whole in someone. However, many of these patients have referenced feeling anger in their chest and I haven't known what to do with it.

I figured out a solution now though. Because some patients have had an antagonistic relationship with their bodies and put inferiority feelings into it, or have had phantasies of leaving it in astral travel, I asked a patient who referenced this aggression to hold her breath and imagine she was hurting her body as a separate thing from her (she herself had referenced her own mind-body split in many previous sessions and abhorred the somatic therapy because it made her too connected to her body). She did this and after she let herself breath she immediately referenced how her anger switched to a sibling and she detailed the recent anger for the sibling.

I've mentioned before that Freud's claim isn't that the auto-erotic and early stages have no relation between child and external objects. Instead the claim is that the drives that are formed from those relations first take the body as an object and the drives for power or belonging don't exist in a constantly related way until the anal stage in which social hierarchy is a reference that remains constant. In the volar stage the ego ideal references others but they are outside of social hierarchy and the tensions disappear when engagement with them ends.

I have begun thinking about Freud's claim that the death drive is first primary masochism because of my patients aggression towards her body... but I need to confirm this works with other patients in a similar way and I don't necessarily think that the mechanistic desire to not breath and quiet the body would be the same as death or a pull to inorganicity. As I've argued in a much earlier post, Freud conflates the repetition of an event that has been experienced with the return to a previous state that hadn't been experienced by consciousness.  

Still, Freud may have been on to something...

Sunday, November 23, 2014

John Wick

I saw the movie John Wick yesterday. I'm working on what I hope is the last round of edits for the book and I wanted to see an action movie that would give me visceral aggressive feelings and fear and help take my mind off of how poorly written I still find my work.

It's a great example of the proto-phallic subject egoist. Phallic symbols in hot cars, guns, etc. abound and in his job as a hitman it is clear that he has a high ego ideal to be the best at his work.

There have been many movies like this in the last 7 years or so. A former CIA agent, hitman, or super tough and intelligent individual who worked secretly in the anal level of Being to impact world events gives it up to have a normal life. However, something happens to his wife, daughter, or something to disturb that life and he's drawn back into having to kill again.

In John Wick the titular's character's wife dies and she ends up sending him a dog to help him learn to love again. The beginning is comprised of mundane scenes of him living with his dog and getting attached. However, one day some Russian mobsters admire his car and decide to break into his house beat him, kill the dog, and steal the car. This is enough to send John Wick back into assassin mode and seek to kill the mobsters (one of which happens to be the son of the top mob boss who he used to work for).

This seems to be an example of a loss of love at the phallic level for the subject egoist being defended against and leading to a regression to the anal level.

There is an interesting symptom reading involving a female assassin. When Wick goes to the big city to hunt down the mob boss' son he stays a hotel for assassins in which their is a rule that no killing can take place (it's a "safe zone"). The female assassin chooses not to follow the rule and attacks him. He fends her off and lets her go for some information. She escapes but returns later and appears as if she is going to kill him again. She is mysteriously called away before any engagement and is then killed herself for breaking the rules of the hotel by a group of assassins (seemingly under the direction of the owner of the hotel).

This reading seems to indicate that Wick killing the bosses' son transgresses his anal conscience. I would have to study the script more to be confident in the reading but I think what is suggested is that Wick lost something he loved and so now he wants the mob boss to lose something he loves and that this is more prominent in his motivation than some sense of justice. To take the loved or precious thing from the father would imply expected retribution that would turn into a need for punishment in the individual (a substitutive milder punishment rather than constant anxiety regarding the father coming for you). Thus, even though Wick survives in the end and gets another dog there is a moment in which he appears to die from wounds in the fight with the mob boss. In this reading, this is what his need for punishment demands. He could have killed the mob boss with a gun but throws it away to fight "like men" with him. This mirrors how the female assassin seemed posed to get the drop on Wick before she is called away to her death.

There is definitely a more involved reading possible but I have enough work for now.    

Thursday, November 20, 2014

auto-erotic object relation

I've previously mentioned volar stage relations in which their is complete possession of the altruist. He or she can't have any friends or not even any pets. The egoist in the sexual relationship with them demands that they alone exist and that they have unfettered access to them.

I've lately encountered an auto-erotic object relation in which the egoist in the sexual relation gets to have even more control. An altruistic female has to endure a husband who she cooks for, cleans for, who can ask her to find the remote, find something for him, and can generally interrupt her at any time of the day. They even had a discussion about what she should be doing at night after he goes to sleep. For every activity she does, from washing the dishes to driving, he can criticize her or find something wrong. She asks permission to leave the house and any time she will not be at his beck and call. Even routine visits she makes to friends is up for discussion every Tuesday .

What is this kind of intimacy except him being a part of her very mind?

I've mentioned a psychotic patient who attributed thoughts she had about her unattractiveness, thoughts about traumatic moments in the past, etc.  to "the enemy". She would say that you have to be careful because people "can put a statement on you". She also externalized her superego in a function that remained self-critical but didn't find an actual external person. Instead it resembles Freud's example of delusions of being watched in which the watcher isn't a concrete person.

A baby at the auto-erotic stage doesn't have any language, but I guess that we have to imagine that it already has a sense for good and bad and a feeling of away and towards satisfaction is present and in the process of primary identification with the parents the ur self-judgment is formed that is comprised of these simple good and bad feelings... Being hungry or cold, eating bad food, etc. and having consciousness of this sense of badness above the id instincts that drive these basic properties is the hallmark of the auto-erotic.

The strange thing to me is to imagine the egoist who chooses this almost complete control of the object even though it renders him so patently infantile. He is functionally a baby who is constantly angry and whining that the world isn't perfectly ordered so that his whims are satisfied before he experiences them...

I of course use choose in the sense that it is surprising that he doesn't experience any shame at the idea of himself as acting like this. His regression must be very strong.

There is, of course, more going on in the relationship and the altruist finds ways to trick the egoist and go around him on some things, but the sub-volar level of interaction is still very apparent.  

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Volar Ontology

"I want to be with those who know secret things
or else alone."
— Rainer Maria Rilke

Symbols in physiognomy: bat eyebrows

I've had a few patients whose eyebrows remind me of a bat

The thinness of the upper lip has usually accompanied it and Lowen claimed that the schizoid mouth is never full and sensuous.

Symbols in physiognomy: the owl of Minerva

I'm not sure if I can link this up with the reference to birds in the Heracles myth. However, I've had several patients that have struck me as having an owl-like face.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Symbols in physiognomy: Stealing the Mares of Diomedes.

I've shared some examples of the representation of parental imagos that show up in physiognomy.

The lion at the phallic triangular, the boar or pig at the anal, the bull at the volar stage, and earlier in the volar stage I should add the horse. It feels a little coarse to say it but it has definitely been apparent in some patients who are altruists:

Additionally, in some, but I can't say all there is also the condition of having a gummy smile which, other than the long face, might be the other reference point.

I'm going to have to do another post on eyebrows that remind one of bats. Although, for the moment that means I lose the reference to ontology and the regression showcased through the Heracles myth.

I also need to add here that physiognomy doesn't fully cover the parent imago. I've mentioned before that after the proto-phallic encounter of Perseus with the Medusa that Pegasus and Chrysaor spring from her severed head. The horse, especially with its mane, also appears as a phallic symbol and shows up with the centaur and Heracles' death as well as with Ixion.

Lowen and the auto-erotic and volar

In Lowen's bioenergetics the schizoid and then the oral character roughly approximate the triangular complexes of the auto-erotic and volar stages. He characterizes their central problem as "the right to exist" and then "the right to need" (respectively).

With social ontology this becomes established not as a complex intellectual idea but in relation to the encounter with Space and Time. The right to exist in physical space, which is in dialectical unity within the mind (i.e. interacting with mnemic traces, memories, in reveries, etc.), seems like the problem of the altruist. Conversely, the right for others to exist and matter at all to one seems to be the issue of the egoist.

In the volar stage the right to need is a good example of Fairbairn's characterization of the schizoid whose love is hungry, also the idea of others who reference fear of merger with the other and losing one's identity as a problem, but I need more clinical material here first before I'll come up with a verdict... It's also important to know the proto, deutero, and trito differences, of course.

However, the altruist's fear of needing and depending on others I have seen contrasted to the most possessive co-dependent relationships in which the egoist doesn't allow the sexual object to have anyone but him (not friends, and not even pets). The right to need becomes the right of others to need others (if you'll forgive the awkward phrasing).

auto-erotic and the Daimon, computer, or shadow

Socrates famously had a Daimon that warned him against mistakes (It didn't tell him what to do, which is important for me to note because I've worked with several patients who hear a voice that tells them what to do). Nietzsche often waxed poetic about the wanderer and his shadow and being in dialogues with himself.

Just as the auto-erotic came from masturbation and the idea that one can take something that seems made for two people and procreation and do it alone so too does sociality which seems made for a minimum of two seem bypassed here. (It's important to say that I've found ties to the importance of masturbation in the phallic stage and that the auto-erotic isn't its only determinant. It's likely that masturbation isn't the auto-erotic stage's best exemplar but it still makes sense to think of someone regressing back from object love to a place where they satisfy themselves and don't even try to be with someone real as a natural path to pathology).

There have been a couple movies: Jonze's Her and Interstellar where both an object drive and ego drive relationship with a robot or AI is involved. Normally I would have guessed that the interaction with a robot would be indicative of the egoistic pole but for me the importance of Plato and Nietzsche give to studying different types of people makes them clearly altruists and the relationship in Her is idealizing and altruistic (the symptom reading makes it a relationship he has with himself and his own creativity) and in Interstellar too it's a humorous and affable relationship.

At heart, the relationship in general seems to be one of play, which seems the complete parallel of masturbation in which one takes back all ego drives and object drives to act out those things whether with toys or through a story or capturing an event of the story in a drawing or song....

While play would have to be universally experienced the above philosophers and artists are no doubt illustrating an auto-erotic deutero stage in the altruist in which a perpetual attitude of play that is deepened to feeling like one is in dialogue with oneself... or in which one is constantly brought to think against oneself, or, as in Her, where the main character is playing games in public seemingly at the behest of his AI girlfriend but is really egging himself on.


Friday, November 7, 2014

personal unconscious and collective unconscious and the mind and body approach

The collective unconscious is another way of talking about character and the proto, deutero, and trito stages up to phallic stage. Social ontology and the encounter with Space, Time, the Superlative, and Prestige is achieved and this provides myth with a level of Being. Symbols are also generated here an often come from the influence of adaptation or fixation on the body as well as imago representations that are visible from projective identification (i.e. assumption of the parental imago and people looking like lions, bulls, deer, etc. in their face). The id impulses of aggression and affection are also very important and provide myth and stories with their idiosyncratic forms of aggression or affection (i.e. desire to behead, dismember, devour, etc. in aggression).

The personal unconscious, which is often accessed through dreams and getting association to certain idiosyncratic word choices in regular conversation will often lead people back to narcissistic/echoistic injuries and betrayals/disappointments in love. It will also lead to various defenses that show up in, for example, melancholic introjections in which the person has a poor self-image or in externalization of immoral motives to others. When defenses are in place then they must be worked through. I've shared before that taking melancholic self-statements and asking the patient to say them as 'you-statements' in relaxed conditions (and after they have been present for a little bit/descriptions of parents or other people who the statements fit begin to appear) will allow him or her to feel the anger they have.

When they note the anger or you can hear it in their voice then it's time to ask them where they feel it in their bodies. For some it appears in the mouth, or hands, or arms, or legs, etc. It's at this point when you can ask them to express the aggression by biting, strangling, hitting, kicking, etc. with some simple props like towels, pillows, etc.

You will see them express their aggression and be into it. If you ask them for aggression when it doesn't come from them internally nothing will happen and it will be a rote exercise bereft of benefits. It will be surprising to see them get into it and it's always important to ask them to "give it words". They will often swear and slander the person in an impressive way.

The personal unconscious will lead to the idiosyncratic id reactions of the collective unconscious and once it is expressed (sometimes it will take more than one time) the bodily "armor" that holds the impulses back will let go and they will often appear healthier physically along with psychological benefits of ending certain repetitions that involve the need for punishment, for example.

This is a much faster route than interpreting id impulses and waiting for transference upon oneself.

It's also much faster than working with the bodily armor and trying to get the suppressing muscles to let go so the impulses can be expressed that way.

This isn't all the work of therapy and trito instinctual renunciations (i.e. full internalization of the object) and work with bad conscience and other aspects are still very important to work with. However, it is the quickest route I have figured out for getting short-term therapy results.

These short-term results are important for me because of the nature of my job and the 3 month time limit I have with many patients. However, I do have doubts about whether this approach is conducive for the longer term work of trito maturation and other aspects.

Often patients who were badly off will enjoy the benefits of this approach but then a denial of how badly off they were before comes up. In enjoying more health they are pulled back out to live more and therapy can lose its lustre because, to these often impulsive characters, it is seen as work.

Going for a more traditional psychoanalytic route will allow for transference to fully be established instead of working extra-transferrentially.

Still, I enjoy the precision of working this way and want to enjoy my successes a little before my ego ideal once again makes me feel inadequacy for not being able to work in many different ways and know what way would be best for each patient.    

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

volar deutero

I had a patient that registered all the familiar features of the volar stage egoist. She has many friends but no friend. She has instant familiarity with the group facilitator and is one of those people who seem to treat everyone the same way (whether they are above or below them). She would question others about what they say to get information about their legal situation or see if they knew someone she did. She would sometimes offer advice or supply pertinent information to their situation but there was an impatience in her questioning, as if she just wanted you to get to the point or she would sometimes finish off what you were going to say to show that the point was received and that you could finish now. She didn't believe in emotions and would like to say that she didn't have any "feelings". She very baldly would express that she believed she could be perfect and asked who wouldn't want to work towards that.  

We were able to get to a state in individual therapy where she could feel the choice between allowing herself to sink into the sensations of her body and feelings vs. being hyper-conscious. She came up with the metaphor that there was a monkey in her brain who was surrounded by filing cabinets but each drawer in the cabinet was endless and could open forever. The monkey did nothing but record information in files and that he would endlessly search through the files with his hands and she made the gesture to show it. She said that he did nothing else but that it didn't matter because he was like a robot. I tried to ask about who created him or put him there but she couldn't allow herself to explore more in this way.

The monkey was synthesized with her, of course, and she was able to articulate that she felt like she had to "outwit" others, she couldn't share her feelings with others because it would be used against her, and she would be seen as weak.

Her hands and feet were noticeably different than her arms and legs and looked dehydrated, veiny, and boney compared to the trunks they were a part of.

She didn't share any omnipotence of wishes in a straightforward way but instead, rather manically, expressed worry that if she surrendered in the work with me that she might lose the ability she had to walk into a room and have everyone like her in 10 minutes.

She had a quick intelligence and a near photographic memory.

The deutero adaptation allowed her to have intellectual gifts and live as a giant among humans who didn't need them most of the time.    

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The electra complex symptom reading of Campion's The Piano is updated

As usual, I was shocked about how bad the grammar and typos were.

It's probably best to start off with the first chapter if you aren't familiar with the symptom reading. Also, I've made some edits there.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

loving the schizoid mind

In a previous post I quoted Reich on the openness of people with schizophrenia. Schizoid may be misleading but that's the word Reich used. In a group I led in the past I was surprised about how casual conversations about astral traveling could occur in the group when no one seemed to be in an open psychotic state of mind. One member even talked about how he used to detach from his body to guard it during sleep for years, while another talked about going to China.

Here the auto-erotic stage and dialectical unity of mind and body seem to be very important. The body-ego can be left when it is threatened while at the subsequent volar stage there is the threat of someone getting under your skin and having one's mind taken over.

Since establishing psychic bisexuality and the poles of egoism/power and altruism/belonging I've been most impressed with my conversations with people who have schizophrenia. With an altruist, they can openly say things like they don't feel like they belong to a family, that they don't feel like they belong anywhere and not even in their own bodies. Fear of getting too close to others and then losing them or being rejected by them are all out in the open.

With the altruistic schizophrenic the lack of aggression and self-assertion is staggering, or, conversely, an altruist who has been pushed around and hurt too much will be bristling with aggressive energy and will inspire fear in other altruists.

However, it is humorous to see that the non-psychotic schizophrenic will still tell you that his or her childhood was good when you begin to take a history with them. Although they much more quickly reveal the stories of parents fighting, neglecting, threatening, losing it, and trying to keep their sanity together, they still don't want to be ungrateful (as altruists).

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The auto-erotic and multiple personality disorder

At the auto-erotic stage I noted that the social manifestation is a rivalry of the individual with Space (the world). The individual's own phantasy in his story, picture, or just reverie rivals the perception of external reality and refinding one's mnemic traces there.

I indicated that this rivalry was out in the open in Sci-fi and Fantasy in which an imagined world is actually put forward. Aliens and new worlds in outer space are the setting or magical realms next to ours in Fantasy. For example, there is the "realm of men" but then also the realm of elves, dwarves, ghosts, etc. in many fantasy/horror films.

Having recently begun to work with someone diagnosed with multiple personality disorder and reading over some Fairbairn it seems that existence of different realms in art likely parallels the existence of multiple personalities. However, I'm not sure if it's located in the altruistic pole or in the feminine (object egoism and subject altruism).

It makes sense that a function like narcissistic object choice in which a libidinal position or perhaps a libidinal pole is externalized onto another (i.e. someone doesn't function as an egoist at all but is an anxiety-ridden altruist with no self-assertion and is in a relationship with an egoist), is the inverse of multiple personality disorder in which one can act as an egoistic or altruistic way but without consciousness in the dominant ego structure. (Perhaps its better to follow Elkin and call it the transcendental ego structure so that no atomistic or "conflict free" or rational-choosing zone is implied).


Narcissistic object choice differs from projective identification. In the latter one is interacting with the object by assuming the place of the parental imago and treating the object like their self imago was treated.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

working with the unconscious need for punishment

the unconscious need for punishment is aptly named, because the person can be punishing themselves but they can also be punishing someone who loves them by hurting themselves.

There invariably becomes a point in the conversation in which the person reveals that he intentionally put himself in danger, at risk, or stayed in a bad situation.

For some people you have to ask how does it feel if you say "I don't deserve a good life/security/to be alive/etc.?"

Make sure that you tell them about ambivalence and how it pertains to the self as much as to objects and that although there are some healthy parts/drives in every person what concerns you is the dark side, the ugliness, the detached parts, the weak parts, etc.   This always take some time with some people. As Reich said, the neurotic makes you dig and dig while the [borderline] is very honest (or at least has a very hard time hiding things).

If the person doesn't seem like an altruist then asking about how parents or important people in their lives would think about the bad consequences of their action is the route to go.

The altruist has issues with feeling like she doesn't belong to the family and asking about this will allow you to work with these feelings which are tied to bad conscience, but the egoist's masochism has to do with knowing that the parents want(ed) him to be something.

I've also seen in the altruist passive-aggressive punishment of the parental imago: "you abandoned me and see how I am suffering or dying!" . I've also seen an egoist who is punishing himself for cowardice and weakness where the reference to he parental imagoes wasn't front and center.

These things can come up as early as the first session with some patients.

They will admit that it feels right to say they don't deserve good things, for example, but they won't tell you about what their "sins" are.

However, to keep them you have to express that you know you haven't earned their trust yet and that you will check with them about these things and they will tell you when they are ready.    

power vs. belonging in psychic bisexuality

my         power      -subject egoist                      your      belonging    -subject altruist

your       power     - object egoist                       my         belonging    -object altruist

Saturday, September 20, 2014

projective identification in the egoist, sexual difference in the volar stage.

Having to do intakes and go through the long, boring questions I've been struck by my experience of projective identification. A few egoistic patients with long criminal records have had the ability to make me feel impotent and anxious to ask them the variations of the same questions which I imagine the creators of the intake paperwork thought were clever ways to find inconsistencies. By expressing to the patients that I agreed with them that it was ridiculous and irritating they were able to elaborate on their common feelings of thinking there are "a lot of idiots in the world". The avowed that they were judgmental and had little patience with others who lacked "common sense". They were careful to say that this doesn't make them angry but and instead irritation and frustration were the key words.

Both patients caused an impressive feeling of their inaccessibility and completeness. They didn't seem to have any questions or ambivalences about life. Prison was bad and they needed to get out and when they got out they knew that they had to work and that's the end of the story.

One of them was very explicit that he has never had male friends and that he wanted to work with a woman.

I've posted about sexual difference at the phallic level that concerns, like social anxiety, the ideal of having an image-ego regarded as good by others (even if one has a double life or secretly breaks the mores). I've also mentioned that Reich, Stoller, and others have a sense of embodied sexual difference at the anal stage that references one's comportment. However, I've begun to wonder if it isn't possible that sexual difference isn't retroactively placed at the volar stage in the encounter with any other that isn't mediated through social hierarchy.  

I've posted about a female patient who was able to express the "disgust for anyone who isn't her" which seems to indicate that there is no sexual difference at the volar stage, but it's possible that there is a difference between the proto and deutero stages there.

It's also possible that this attitude is part of the anal stage.

Doing an intake isn't enough information, but I thought I'd share some of my thoughts anyway- even though no conclusions have been reached.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

a nascent notion: the drive to become both sexes and its inverse

There's been an unnerving trend I've noted in some of my patients lately.

As far as I can tell it's related to two existing concepts: the problems related to a passive father and something close to Kubie's 'the drive to become both sexes'.

I've been dealing with several patients in which a parent did, or does, everything and the other wasn't, or isn't, there.

The first salient aspects are that the parent who is everything undermines the other parent's attempts to contribute and do things around the house (ie. chores or child-rearing) and sometimes outside of the house too (i.e. work and contribute financially). The "nothing" parent has a bad conscience about not being able to do things and echoistically submitting in the volar stage, becomes nothing . In passive-aggressive fashion he or she can have depression or somato-psychic problems that give him or her indirect revenge against the double-sexed parent.

In some cases I've seen the double-sexed parent switch. The double-sexed parent becomes depressed or physically ill and the other parent does everything. However, it is unclear whether the 'nothing' parent leaps up to enjoy the double-sexed role as the other parent did.

I still have to think more about the drive to be both sexes...

What seems important to me is the volar ontology in which the most primitive form of the ego is involved. One can not want to exist individually, one can want to be both sexes, one can only love someone who is exactly like oneself, etc.

This is in the object drives of course, and this same relation is possible on the ego drive level so that we have something like the founders of movements who need to name old concepts in new jargon so that all the ideas somehow issues from themselves, people who have no ideas and are only saying what someone who was everything has said, and the requirement that others one associates identify with the same ideas as one does, etc.

It seems like a borderline condition. This means that the father is foreclosed but that the early auto-erotic (potentially earlier?) fixations aren't there for psychosis. The mother is definitely the figure of perfection for the person driven to be both sexes and not the father. The goal to be perfect is very much out in the open and spoken about. Like the Madonna the woman with this goal may be a single mother who gives the impression of a virgin birth. The man has both his job of prestige and collects art and wants to be admired for his judgement of beauty is another example.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

instinctual phantasy, extra-transferrential analyss, psychosexual psychosocial parallelism

I haven't started out with a belief in penis envy or the oedipus complex. Instead, I've studied Freud as a psychologist who is interested in motivations (wishes)  and have attempted to sketch out the economics of libido from psychic bisexuality to pscychosocial development. Along the way in my clinical practice I have encountered penis envy, fear of castration, dreams in which associations lead to the parents and which manifestly have sexual activity taking place, etc.

I still don't know the merit in analyzing these things when they occur... by analyze I mean to fully develop the phantasy. If penis envy is there and the woman protests that she never chose to be a girl then the question arises of who chose for her...

It is something that I plan to pay much closer attention to. It's possible that analyzing this fantasy might allow for the person to re-fuse with the father imago, for example, or deepen the defused transference to the analyst. However, it could also be that these phantasies are a parallel process going on and aren't important. The psychological wound (in defusion) is what is important to deal with and the doctor for example is not going to try to do any work on the blood that is escaping but close the wound.

I've discussed the "parallelism" between the ego and object drives many times. Most of the time I use object drive material to analyze ego drive problems:

With one patient a session began with her interest in being part of a threesome. This was analyzed and it led to a recent situation in which she remembered her interest to join a friend's intimacy with her boyfriend and strong anxiety of how her friend would be angry and disapprove if she made a move. As just a phantasy alone, the woman of the couple was much more central and the patient felt like she was having boring sex with the man and that by introducing herself into the situation she would "spice up" things.

Her fantasy also entailed that she would be given commands in the encounter and told what to perform on the couple. This led to a discussion about not having a will of her own or her feeling like she didn't want to exist. I believed that I could have went from fantasy here to instinctual phantasy by exploring this feeling and its relation to her association of feeling like she didn't want to exist when she was on occasion depressed in her bed at night. However, I left it to followed a preferred route...

As the session went on my patient continued to complain about a work situation that was tedious and in which people weren't receptive to he ideas. She felt like work was the drudgery of carrying out uninspired ideas and that there wasn't any excitement.

I interpreted that, just as entering the menage a trois would "spice up" the sex-life of her "beautiful" friend that she could spice up work with her ideas and save the authorities there from being boring. She responded with "they are killing me" and expressed the frustration of wanting to give and wanting approval but finding no authorities willing to do so.

This I see and feel to be liberating. It's progressive communication instead of the same complaining. It's an insight into her character and what she needs. It's also a chance for the defusion and transference that is directed to her "bosses" to be transferred onto me.

Should I have waited for many, many more sessions until these things were brought into the transference to me on their own? What would this have done? I would have wasted much more time and her money for her to be able to tell me "You are killing me" instead of her saying "they are killing me".  


Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Odyssey- Polyphemus and Circe + loose ends

I've noticed a problem with the analysis of the Odyssey. The proto and deutero phases have been recorded differently from the nuclear complex phase. For example, in the volar stage with Polyphemus there are two stages with the threat of being swallowed/eaten looming in both along with more specific forms of anxiety relating to being trapped (proto) and the hand (deutero). However, this is different from the wind that becomes important in the following story.

This raises some questions about the wind as representing some form of aggression/affection. 

I've mentioned the story of the Three Little Pigs where the wolf first "huffs and puffs and blows the house down" to be followed by the anxiety of being eaten.

Another parallel comes from the sphinx who as both woman and lion (father imago) could also be a symbol of the two parents together. However, what does it mean that Oedipus first kills his father before defeating the sphinx? Also, from some of my patients its clear that the house also represents the father imago alone in the possession of the volar oedipal mother and not the two parents together in the fused ego ideal... 

So, although power is transcribed from the mother to the father, so that the father becomes the devourer or the castrator, the establishment of the ego ideal also means that the father as possessor of the mother (the representation of the two imagos together) might still be retained in defusion but as just the representation of the father imago alone... 



Back in the initial analysis of the proto-anal I observed both the voice and claws as salient objects. I went against clinical experience in which it has been solely females who have brought up dreams of clawing others and who have had self-clawing in the form of cutting themselves. I guess I was thinking of wolverine and his claws, banshees and their terrible voice, and in short, I made a leap that hasn't held up. The voice is definitely important with males and in many superhero movies I've noticed that when the big monster shows up that they often use a very low bass sound. Also Zeus is aligned with thunder and in demonstrations of male power in the Mehinaku the men make 'bull-roarers' that they swing in the air and which make a sound comparable to an airplane landing. 

So, I think the voice is a masculine object and the claws are a feminine object with the standard active and passive dimensions that relate to subject egoist- object altruist and subject altruist- object egoist. Clawing the self is subject altruist and follows the parallel of the destruction of Antigone's marriage while clawing the other is object egoist and follows the parallel of Electra (Orestes) killing the married couple. 

At the volar deutero I've established the hand as the psychosexual object for the masculine but I can't remember if I've mentioned before that I've determined that the deutero object for the feminine is the eye:

"'My good ram, what is it that makes you the last to leave my cave
this morning? You are not wont to let the ewes go before you, but
lead the mob with a run whether to flowery mead or bubbling fountain,
and are the first to come home again at night; but now you lag last
of all. Is it because you know your master has lost his eye, and are
sorry because that wicked Noman and his horrid crew have got him down
in his drink and blinded him? But I will have his life yet. If you
could understand and talk, you would tell me where the wretch is hiding,
and I would dash his brains upon the ground till they flew all over
the cave. I should thus have some satisfaction for the harm a this
no-good Noman has done me.

It's clear that with psychic powers that the eye or third eye is is a symbol. Besides reading minds there is also the 'evil eye' as well as the hypnotist taking over one's mind through his piercing eyes (with a shiny object sometimes being used instead). In The Piano Ada claims the power to read minds or put thoughts in them and in Tausk's Influencing machine sometimes it is a person who is controlling one's mind instead of a thing or transitional object. There is also the phantasy of one being created by a mad scientist who represents both the phallic oedipal father in this creation (transcribed from the phallic mother) and to the extent that he also controls one's mind it would also denote the volar deutero. So, again active (object egoist) controlling minds of others (or implanting thoughts) and passive (subject altruist) and having one's mind controlled. 

The anal deutero also has a feminine object in the heart.

"When Circe saw me sitting there without eating, and in great grief,
she came to me and said, 'Ulysses, why do you sit like that as though
you were dumb, gnawing at your own heart, and refusing both meat and
drink? Is it that you are still suspicious? You ought not to be, for 
I have already sworn solemnly that I will not hurt you.

The heart being eaten is also a symbol in the story of Persephone. The red pomegranate she eats results in her having to stay in the realm of Hades and nicely ties in with the previous post on scopophilia being tied to the incorporation of death into the altruist so that she can't act for herself but must vicariously enjoy through others (as opposed to the high ego ideal of being driven to assist them). The object egoist would therefore act to make the other "eat her heart out" while the altruist loses her own heart. In some altruistic patients who have I think have had anal deutero fixations, problems in their love relationships seem to be tied to anxiety, 'broken heartedness' as feeling the anxiety in their chests, and a strong relation to their former beloved. 

The last thing I want to say in this post is that in the anal Electra complex beheading is important. Electra's mother is beheaded, the representation of the anal father having a collection of heads in several stories (Blue Beard, The Walking Dead, etc.) points to a parallel with the father as the possessor of penises who can give them out. Both were salient in The Piano and I'll have to think through how they relate to the anal deutero vs. the anal nuclear complexes now that both are seeming to overlap more.    

Friday, August 15, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy pt 1.

I saw Guardians last night. I have to say that I enjoyed myself and, more than that, there were a few scenes I thought were very beautiful. It's rare that this happens with computerized special effects for me.

The epic quality of the film also lends itself very well to a psychoanalytic study of ontology and psychic bisexuality.

The main character Peter Quill or Star Lord is easily identifiable as an object altruist. He's not the straightforward tough or intelligent subject egoist who competes with the villain. He's definitely talented but his character emphasizes causing delight and he is charmingly roguish. He isn't seeking to be admired or get into positions of power and neither is his life based upon exercising his will. He impulsively makes decisions and part of the films humor is that he is a a philanderer, not going after real conquests but, instead, has slept with some strange space aliens.

He's also definitely phallic-deutero or phallic echoisitic. This is seen in his relationship to Yondu who is his father-substitute. Yondu is a criminal and in Peter's bellerophon complex he tries to be a better criminal than Yondu and betrays him by cutting him out of the heist. However, Yondu is shown to be fond of Peter and isn't a distant fully idealized parental imago. Just as Peter's mother made him mix tapes and had a close relationship to him, this is transcribed over to the father-substitute who similarly sees him as special. This bellerophon complex is also seen in the movie Candyman where the main character is seeking to find a urban legend that will make her more famous than her husband who is a professor who also studies them.

As with Star Wars, all the different levels of Being have some shared elements. So, Yondu has a magical knife that can fly on its own, just as Darth Vader has use of 'the force'. The key element at the phallic stage is the father, as procreator, who one's name is attached to and who one owes one's life to. This was actually experienced with the phallic mother, but, as mentioned, is transcribed over to the father.

There doesn't seem to be an anal nuclear complex. At least in terms of seeking to rule or be the most powerful in relation to social hierarchy. Instead the Galaxy is ruled by a collective. No one is in competition to rule the galaxy but instead it is threatened by annihilation. This means that the anal trito or urethral stage has been reached. John C Reily's character appears as the anal trito imago. He's seen as a peer, again, instead of a ruler above one, and he's able to help bring the military to help stop Ronan from destroying the planet.

Rocket is a good example of a fixation at the urethral father complex. He is very testy and after being referred to as small, a pet, a rodent, etc. by his peers he gets so angry he wants to kill them. Because it is from peers I think it refers to the father complex, and like the myth of prometheus, Rocket is also a skilled inventor.

Drax the destroyer is defined by having a vendetta against Ronan, the central villain, for killing his family. This is definitely phallic level stuff and Drax is definitely a subject egoist who is defined mainly by his potency, skill, and will. However, in his fight with Ronan, the latter seems so much more powerful and impervious to his strength that it appears like an anal castration complex of the proto form. Drax is thrown to the ground many times and it reminded me of Circe turning Odysseus' men to pigs or animals forced to be on the ground, and Hephaestus being thrown from Olympus. As I mentioned in that post, it's a normal trope to have the strong villain toss the heros around like rag dolls initially, or have supernatural powers that blast them or send a shockwave that knocks them down.  

Ronan, the central villain, wants to destroy a planet which, as an act, points to the auto-erotic castration complex, just as the death star does in Star Wars. Both are set in space and the castration complex here also relates to a rivalry with the world as it is or was. Space and rivaling our world for  whole new worlds that the artist creates are the important content here. However, Ronan outside of this act, which is really the work of the 'infinity stone'  that he got his hands on, is established in a volar ontology. He has minions but, again, his interest isn't to rule. He is a power outside of social hierarchy that is a bad aspect of the father. Additionally, he is immortal and outside of time along with other supernatural powers.

In the symptom reading both Ronan and Thanos are doubles of the relationship between Peter and Yondu. Ronan double crosses Thanos just as Peter does so to Yondu. This helps establish an important volar aspect to Peter's character. One of the touching parts of the movie is that everyone is a loner and doesn't have friends (save for Rocket and Groot) and this loner aspect is established in the Volar deutero when the first connection with the object as a whole object is diminished (a low ego ideal) and need for connection with others (whether competitive or restorative) is diminished or all the following stages. Also the 'primary narcissism' of the volar castration complex means a grandiosity that isn't attached to social hierarchy. While the anal and phallic castration complexes mean that the person strives to become or be regarded as superior to father-substitutes in positions of prestige, at the volar stage the person doesn't strive in relation to social hierarchy. Although, there is a sense of wanting to make an impression on every other that one encounters.

There also seems to be a volar trito anxiety situation  referenced by Yondu when he says that he stopped his crew from eating Peter. Again, because its being eaten by peers and not someone of more power it references the trito stage and I mentioned it in a post on the Odyssey. I'd have to go back and look at the plot to establish what that would correspond to with certainty, but for the moment I think that the characters of Groot and Rocket corresponds to the volar trito level very well (at the castration complex level, Peter's complete lack of fear and rashness that also references the rivalrly with time, and the many magical powers that appear in the movie). The general appearance of animals, trees, and alien creatures who interact like humans seems to be part of the volar trito. In the post on the Odyssey I mentioned that "shape-shifting" is referenced and I believe it points to a strong mimetic sense with both things and other people. Great actors can sometimes change their whole sensibility in a movie and often animals, trees, and things in general can convey a sensibility which no doubt is based upon us projecting our human sensibilities on to them. At the same time, the volar trito for the egoist relates to transitional objects. The ring in The Lord of the Rings, the piano in The Piano, and the mix-tape and the infinity stone in this movie.

I don't have time to finish this off but, I'll return to this and mention more of the psychic bisexuality of the other main characters.  


Sunday, August 10, 2014

scopophilia notes

"a child who is looking for libidinous purposes...wants to look at an object in order to 'feel along with him'" Fenichel- Psychoanalytic Theory of Neuroses 

Exhibitionism and scopophilia are supposed to be opposites that also fall along the active/passive binary. 

I've written on negative scopophilia in egoistic patients who seem to be fixated on rivals who they imagine to be experiencing much satisfaction when they win some success or the egoist makes a mistake. However, I don't think I've written too much on scopophilia in the altruist. 

There has been a vein that's been worked by several prominent analysts. Winnicott has talked about doing vs. being, Michael Eigen has distinction vs. unity, and Wilhelm Reich has the mystical schizoid who can perceive deep psychodynamic processes "although only as through a mirror".

In my work I have tried to keep the passive-altruistic as something separate and not just a reaction formation to the active-egoistic. This isn't from some a priori postulate but because the reaction formations I have seen in egoists have always been noticeable as such. 

I've postulated that the deep object of altruism in the not-finite encounter with the death of the other (as opposed to the not-finite object of perfection for the egoist). I've also discussed how these imagos intermingle so that the loss of perfection of the object becomes important for the altruist and the death of the self becomes important for the egoist. 

Lately I've been thinking that scopophilia seems to reference the incorporation of death into the altruist. 

Many altruists have a pet, a person, or a world-view that they offer up in social interactions as something to talk about instead of themselves. Sessions are filled with one patient talking about her son's problems instead of her own, another person takes their dog for a walk and talks about her dog's life (likes, dislikes, and adventures) and never gets personal, another person brings up Christ's importance and uses it to connect to others. Sometimes it has the flavor of devotion to these objects and sometimes its more along the lines of enthusiasm and the delight that the objects bring. 

In a basic way these people seem to be outside of life and social interactions themselves and therefore functionally dead. In the loss of these objects the vicarious enjoyment and connection to the world or social body becomes lifeless, dark, or empty (if not outright anxiety inducing).   

If the deutero egoist has a low ego ideal because the mother denigrated the father and made the egoist feel like he or she has some of the father's perfection then it makes sense to see the mother has made herself an object of scopophilic identification with the altruist. 

As far as depersonalization of the imagos goes there can be a deutero or 'echoistic' stage at all the levels of development so that at the altruist can feel like a 'fly on the wall' in social gatherings and 'people watch' in a very general way. Every other seems to have more life than him or her and their individuality or sensibility is something that they try to glean. At the higher levels the successes or romantic life of the object is something that excites or is important to know about. 

This engagement of looking, or seeking to hear about, seems like a good contrast to the high ego ideal of altruism in which actively assisting or helping drives the person. This would still link to the altruist drawing some power from the reduced father imago by wanting to foster or guide others. 

However, as I write this I must admit confusion. Some of the people I have in mind don't have the deutero quality of fostering others but still have their scopophilic objects... maybe the ego function of empathy is a better way to differentiate them. Maybe the deutero stage represents a closer relation to the object so that greater understanding of its feelings or 'mind-reading' is stronger than in the proto stage in which the idealization of the object and the drive are stronger without having a great understanding of what is going on internally...

Also, the proto, deutero, nuclear complex, trito phase model I'm using may eventually have to be discarded if my clinical experience points to something more complicated. But, for the moment, it's offering the most sophisticated model for plotting the characterological differences and correlating them to the parental imagos and relevant id drives.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

summer song

I somehow missed this song from a couple years back.

It has a beautiful volar ontology. Tensions between being alone vs. sameness (whatever is done for me will be done for you), wishes to be watched or be important to some magical, stronger person who the artist doesn't know, and, my last thought, is to reaffirm that bones must be an important psychosexual object.

I've had many patients reference their bones. I've had the intuition that some dissociation relates to energy moving to the bones which makes the skeleton such a salient representation of death. During somatic work these patients often get cold and feel like they've pulled away from their bodies and the transitional place of entry/departure seems to be the bones...I feel it in my bones... chilled to the bone


I'm lost in the light
I pray for the night
To take me, to take you too
After so many words
Still nothing's heard
Don't know what we should do
So if someone can see me now, let them see you

It was my greatest thrill
But we just stood still
You let me hold your hand 'til I had my fill
Even countin' sheep
Don't help me sleep
I just toss and turn right there beside you
So if someone could help me now, they'd help you too.

They'd help you too
See you through
All the hard things we've all gotta do
Cause this life is long
And so you wouldn't be wrong
Bein' free leavin' me on my own!

And I held my own
Still I rattled your bones
I said some awful things and I take them back
If we would try again
Just remember when
Before we were lovers, I swear we were friends
So if someone could see me now let them see you
Let them see you
See you through
All the hard things we've all gotta do
Cause this life is long
So you wouldn't be wrong
Bein' free here with me on my own!