Sunday, February 16, 2014

primal scenes in altruism pt 2

The secrets in the primal scene of subject altruism has still been occupying me.

As compared with the humiliation to be found in the SE and OA I thought that the description in Jane Eyre of Rochester and his secret, insane wife Bertha who lives in the attic captures the different tone here.

 Despite Rochester never being alone with Bertha, and supposedly having had scarcely any interaction or conversation with her, he married her for her wealth and beauty, and with fierce encouragement from his own father and the Mason family. Rochester and Bertha began their lives as husband and wife in Jamaica. In recounting the history of their relationship, Rochester claims, "I thought I loved her. . . . Her relatives encouraged me; competitors piqued me; she allured me: a marriage was achieved almost before I knew where I was. Oh, I have no respect for myself when I think of that act! . . . I never loved, I never esteemed, I did not even know her."

Instead of the mother's harsh denigration of the father (i.e. like the illiterate, uncultured Baines in the Piano) the set up here, with transcription of the child-mother situation to the father, is that Rochester never really loved Bertha. So just as Flora, the object egoist, finds Ada with the uncultured and oafish Baines, the subject altruist finds the mother secretly visiting the father that "she never really loved" and sinning against love.     

It's been so long since I've read the story that I hesitate to say more but, in parallel to the reaction of humiliation it seems likely that the subject egoist who discovers the secret may experience her injury as a feeling of not being able to tell what is true or not. The injury is not to her, but to the idealization of the phallic mother, and to see her sinning against love in this way would leave the SA with the sense that "this can't be" "some external factor must have caused this" "I don't believe my eyes".

However, maybe by the time of the primal scene there is chance for a trauma regarding either oneself or the object...

I know that the narcissist has the idealization and debasement pattern and that it could be read as the idealization of the phallic mother (transcribed to the father in the ego drives) and then the discovery that she is castrated and beneath the father. However, the humiliation of the primal scene and feeling of betrayal issues from the idealization of self....

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