Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Eternal Silence of You Spoke Instead

I've wrote before that the Oedipus complex produces the notion of God. Freud believed it was the subsequent father complex in which the idea of God was erected from the death of the oedipal father but in his discussion of the ego ideal of the oedipus complex he also mentions Fate and Destiny as a father-substitute. These are functions of God as He's been represented. However, the point of the post is to talk about gratitude. I've focussed on the limitations of the altruist in negative exhibitionism and how Chasseguet-Smirgel holds that the altruist fears to castrate the father with being too independent, but this doesn't speak to the gratitude that the altruist feels. The subject egoist has great respect for the phallic father substitute, and love too, but the altruist needs to feel strong gratitude to the father-substitute. When the mother becomes involved in defusion, and especially in foreclosure, this can mean that the altruist owes her everything and not just gratitude for his or her achievements and love. The loss of the mother means that she can no longer be saved from death and then what can happen but the desire to join her there... if you are loyal to the beloved don't you have to jump on their funeral pyre to stay with them?

Reuben Pantier 

WELL, Emily Sparks, your prayers were not wasted,
Your love was not all in vain.
I owe whatever I was in life
To your hope that would not give me up,
To your love that saw me still as good.         5
Dear Emily Sparks, let me tell you the story.
I pass the effect of my father and mother;
The milliner’s daughter made me trouble
And out I went in the world,
Where I passed through every peril known  10
Of wine and women and joy of life.
One night, in a room in the Rue de Rivoli,
I was drinking wine with a black-eyed cocotte,
And the tears swam into my eyes.
She thought they were amorous tears and smiled  15
For thought of her conquest over me.
But my soul was three thousand miles away,
In the days when you taught me in Spoon River.
And just because you no more could love me,
Nor pray for me, nor write me letters,  20
The eternal silence of you spoke instead.
And the black-eyed cocotte took the tears for hers,
As well as the deceiving kisses I gave her.
Somehow, from that hour, I had a new vision—
Dear Emily Sparks!

There's no doubt that 'the wine and women and joy of life' Reuben Pantier (below) recounts is a death drive.

The way I've conceived of it comes from Klein, as projective identification. He identifies with death, which at the phallic stage is the death of his image ego and good reputation . He projects his restorative impulses into other altruists who would like to fix, save, or rescue him. At the same time all of his goodness is projected into the other too, which mirrors the egoist who identifies with perfection and projects all of his ego drive into the other.

... other than the objective counter-transference involved in recognizing one's impulse to want to help the other person vs. the feeling that one is a father-substitute and the patient's profanities and irreverence, for example, is making you want to censure him due to the patient's "getting off" of wanting to bring about castration anxiety from you... it's difficult to know what truly deserves the death drive label here...

With jouissance (getting off) there is a move towards tension and anxiety but Freud described the death drive as movement towards tensionlessness in its non-sadistic aspect...

In projective-identification to become perfection or death and no longer strive for glory or harmony the death drive seems to be most fully realized.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Thoughts on Star Trek pt. 2

I felt like I've left the key difference in the ethical stance between Spock and McCoy (Bones) unformulated.

Spock has made the phallic trito renunciation so that he feels like he is equal to others in the community. Thus, when he is calculating risks and outcomes and it is too dangerous for others to rescue or help him he will refuse/warn against help even though it means that he will lose his life. He wants the rest of the work-group to survive and carry on the work. He also will let himself die so that the prime directives of the work-group are obeyed.

With McCoy its a question of loyalty. When one of the main members of the work-group is in trouble then, despite the risks, McCoy advocates for loyalty and the potential sacrifice of the self for the other. Spock's "inhumanity" comes from his lack of loyalty and his failure to feel part of the "family".


Saturday, June 14, 2014

the bad anal father, the racial other, and the object egoist

I've written several times about the anal phallus and the drive to possess the single phallus that exists for all people.

The anal father is the superlative: the strongest; the smartest; and/or at the top of power pyramids (i.e. president of the USA, pope, the genius whose paradigm of thought defines the field.

Regarding object egoists with an anal fixation (I'd like to say anal deutero but I'm not certain) I've noticed a tendency that after disappointments in love there might be a reaction to the anal father to choose those outside of one's race. There have been a couple white women who have chosen black or latino men but also a Persian who has chosen Jewish men as her racial other. Involved in the phantasy is that the men are beneath you but they desire you more.

The anal father resembles Freud's father of the primal horde and one's own cultural group as the good group. Race appears later in history as a social construction and it's the structural relation that it important here and not actual race. The child obviously isn't aware of race or cultural differences during the anal stage but retroactively a subaltern group can come to represent the bad anal father and the bad group.

The forces of good and bad/dominant and subaltern can be constructed along this line and are psychologically derived (i.e. imago based).


again, the volar fathers are those whose abilities appear supernatural or magical or who occupy a place of power that is greater than the current top of pyramids of powers (i..e those who are "immortal" for their art, thought, conquests, etc.)

the phallic fathers are those who have positions of prestige in the community/ are more skilled or knowledgeable than one

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

the volar father as house\home in two patients

From work with two borderline patients.

One patient has a mother who has been moving to a new home for 5 years. I don't have much to say about her except that she is a clear case of Lacanian desire in which she only wants the fantasy of the new home and doesn't want to ruin it by moving there to find out she'll still be unhappy because she's alienated most of her family and friends and will still be alone there. My patient openly hates that house they live in now. She won't shower there in a rusty shower and she can't stand the cracks in the walls and, in short, the house is all bad. In contrast, she can't wait to go live with her mother in her "beautiful" home. She'll shower there everyday and help out with all the chores because she'll have pride in such a magnificent house.

Listening to her I couldn't help but think about the deutero stage split of the denigrated father and the idealized father. The house provides a triangulation in which she'll be able to voyeuristically enjoy the union of the parents.

Another patient had a long term friend that "had never once fought with". She never saw her home but new it was beautiful and was very close to moving in but then her daughter got involved. Her daughter didn't want to move in the house for her own interest but wanted to move in purely "to take the satisfaction away from" my patient.    

Of course this envy also describes an important character trait of my patient and it seems like the volar stage, as the first stage of a whole object, may in fact be the birthplace of this relation.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Kierkegaard's knight of faith and altruistic narcissism

First off, narcissism is a broad term to do with ego libido and therefore self-esteem in the motivational system.

It's also used to denote adaptations that interfere with superego development. I've used the deutero stage (and possibly a fixation at the trito stage) as examples of splitting the father imago and having a low ego ideal and not forming an instinctual renunciation to traverse the father complex or form a proper guilt conscience.

I've ultimately done this because "phallic-narcissism" is often used to describe the castration complex and defusion from the father-substitute and another term isn't needed here. Additionally,  narcissism is also a defensive operation in which object drives are retracted and energy is given to the ego drives. Lately I've begun to question this and think that suppression of psychic bisexuality and functioning as solely an egoist or altruist better captures this.

In this regard narcissism (egoism) is paired with echoism (altruism).

For a long time I've made reference in my posts to pity/self-pity as the important dualism in altruism.

I want to be sure to say that I use pity in the sense of compassion and accept that it can also exist as a reaction formation and in a sense of feeling superior to and above. Again, at the phallic Oedipal the egoistic and altruistic poles have become close to resembling each other and each libidinal position will have their version of pity. The key is what kind of behavior it will (or won't) motivate in the person.

Anyway, with egoism the inferiority/superiority paradigm works nicely to illustrate the high vs. low ego ideal.

The person with a high ego ideal can hate themselves for not having more achievements. They are drive to be industrious and are jealous. They are motivated by their inferiority. Their goal is superiority.

The person with a low ego ideal feels entitled to prestige without having accomplished the deeds. He also inspires others to feel that he is a leader because he has part of the father-imago in him.

With altruism there is a similar reduction of the ego ideal so that instead of being driven to help others in an active way (a high ego ideal) the person feels that they could sacrifice themselves if they are called upon to do so.

Kierkegaard's knight of faith who has waited for God to call is a great example of this low ego ideal. Additionally, the fact that Kierkegaard wrote about this for others illustrates how the low ego ideal is also part of someone who would attempt to foster choice and individuality in others and thus illustrate the piece of the father imago in him (i.e. the ideal father of the subject altruist being someone who foster's individuality and being equal to others).

Deferred Life; a simple remark on dreams

When one feels the compulsion to become a beautiful machine who is using every minute of the day optimally a rebellion must occur.

One then throws off the yoke of work and will begin doing the bare minimum.

Life becomes a purgatory and since one is avoiding being in time fully one is avoiding existing in time.

One is in purgatory and there is no sense of how long the wait to enter heaven will be.

One stays in passionless relationships and simply endures. Something "special" must be done before one gets to join with those living in time. However, even this will ultimately be a lie because it is the nature of the drive to always find a new idealized object out of one's reach.


A patient had a dream of an old van his mother used to have. He's rushing his family into the van as they are being attacked by zombies. His association to the van is that twice a week the back tire would go flat and he'd have to change it ("it couldn't support the weight of the van"). It became a very simple step to ask him to turn this into an I-statement: How does it feel if you say  "I can't hold up my family". He looks surprised and nervous and exclaims that he knows he can't and brings up the worries about his imminent failures.

Without psychoanalysis you can't get to the important information fast enough and the impulsive substance abuse population takes too long to get a solid transference going...

However, you can't move too fast either and you have to move back and forth between passive supportive listening and active search for opportunities to allow them to formulate bad conscience, potentials for massive failures in their life, and the twin factors of hate and aloneness when they talk about their relationships.

Monday, June 2, 2014

two uses of the child in female patients

There are two strong trends in the relation of pre-genital women to their children.

The first is altruistic and the woman can openly acknowledge that she lives for her children and would like to be taken care of by a man. She has strong anxiety, she only leaves the house for her children, and openly acknowledges that suicide would be an option if she didn't have her children and was only living for herself. 

The second is egoistic and the woman is judgmental and is competitive with men if not outright dismissive of them. The woman has austerity (and the shadowy sexual desires that go along with it) and its only with her children that she can engage in her playful, spontaneous altruistic side. 

For the former, the child represents the phallus in regards to agency and assertiveness in the world.

In the latter, the child represents the phallus in regards to innocence, good intentions, affability, and purity.

This is clearly a repression of bisexuality and its return in a symptom.

There is also the question of whether the repressed altruistic side in the egoist, for example, becomes projected into the altruistic man which then has to be actively mistreated, put down, etc. or whether it is a masculine (subject egoistic) trend in the woman that finds an echoistic man to mistreat.

Currently, there are several patients I have who have both aspects. They compete with men for admiration for knowledge and are very much in relationships with echoistic men and the rest of the world would generally see them as rigid and austere.

There is also the further issue that bisexuality probably underpins narcissism and echoism and not the object drives being repressed by the ego drives. 

The rigidity and austerity in the object egoist for example, by definition, means that the altruistic drives aren't felt in the person or motivating her behavior. Her sense of the superiority of her judgment and beauty comes from the energy withdrawn from the altruistic drives.