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).

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