Sunday, July 27, 2014

melancholia, depression, and the volar home

I came across this and thought that in its utter simplicity there was a base connection between home as father-substitute and melancholia.

In my experience with melancholia I've seen patients who self-revile about being incompetent and unable to work well (phallic), who are more generally hated by others and should be scorned (anal), and then are abase themselves for being wretched and wrong without reference to the social body or social activities.

I've also toyed with the idea that this is a subject altruist defense and that there is melancholia in body dysmorphic disorder and other instances of the object egoist hating her body or appearance.

Besides these melancholic reactions I think that there is just depression as emptiness, coldness, and loss of the sense of beauty in participating in, being an insider in, the group. It goes along with the sense of having sinned or done something wrong that one is being punished for. This might attach to actual wrongs or bad things one has done but I've also had the experience of having a couple patients confess a sin that they had been obsessing about and there was no change in the next few weeks of their depression. To my mind it's still valuable that they opened up in this way but I had the sense that the feeling of having done something wrong came first and the sins were brought about secondarily to rationalize the pre-existing feeling. But, this was just a feeling.

I think that the song is bad. In fact, I've never been much of a fan of Tom Waits. I don't Wanna Grow Up and Downtown Train and a few of his "hit songs" were pleasing to me but never quite enough to make me rifle through his albums searching for more.

Anyway, the song works with cliche as far as the altruistic aspect goes, but what I thought was more revealing was the house being old, "cracked and peeled" and generally expressing the author's feelings of object egoistic melancholia.

In previous posts I've shown that the house was a volar deutero castration complex. The phallic mother is the central figure and her possession of the beautiful home is her possession of the father. The ugly home in this song is the loss of the beautiful home. However, the father imago can't be totally denigrated without foreclosure or psychotic consequences. It must be defended against in paranoia or melancholia or something that keeps it there to protect against the return to the mother.

So, I think that ugly and run down home that is contrasted with a "palace" is a comment on how the author of the song feels about himself.

"House Where Nobody Lives"

There's a house on my block
That's abandoned and cold
Folks moved out of it a
Long time ago
And they took all their things
And they never came back
Looks like it's haunted
With the windows all cracked
And everyone call it
The house, the house where
Nobody lives

Once it held laughter
Once it held dreams
Did they throw it away
Did they know what it means
Did someone's heart break
Or did someone do somebody wrong?

Well the paint was all cracked
It was peeled off of the wood
Papers were stacked on the porch
Where I stood
And the weeds had grown up
Just as high as the door
There were birds in the chimney
And an old chest of drawers
Looks like no one will ever
Come back to the
House were nobody lives

Once it held laughter
Once it held dreams
Did they throw it away
Did they know what it means
Did someone's heart break
Or did someone do someone wrong?

So if you find someone
Someone to have, someone to hold
Don't trade it for silver
Don't trade it for gold
I have all of life's treasures
And they are fine and they are good
They remind me that houses
Are just made of wood
What makes a house grand
Ain't the roof or the doors
If there's love in a house
It's a palace for sure
Without love...
It ain't nothin but a house
A house where nobody lives
Without love it ain't nothin
But a house, a house where
Nobody lives.

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