Sunday, February 15, 2015

some notes on Auto-erotism

                                            "Stranger Song" (Leonard Cohen)

It's true that all the men you knew were dealers
who said they were through with dealing
Every time you gave them shelter
I know that kind of man
It's hard to hold the hand of anyone
who is reaching for the sky just to surrender,
who is reaching for the sky just to surrender.
And then sweeping up the jokers that he left behind
you find he did not leave you very much
not even laughter
Like any dealer he was watching for the card
that is so high and wild
he'll never need to deal another
He was just some Joseph looking for a manger
He was just some Joseph looking for a manger 

Autoerotism is essentially a technique whereby the individual seeks not only to provide for himself what he cannot obtain from the object, but to provide for himself an object which he cannot obtain, p. 33 Fairbairn

I've written about phallic Prestige in one's community, the anal Superlative at the top of social hierarchies, and the volar immortals of Time. I've stayed mostly silent on how the will manifests in the auto-erotic stage, except for the indication that one can rival Space oneself in order to try to replace external space with inner space. The author may write a book, the artist may paint a picture, and the scientist may impose his mathematical schema onto the planets in order to explain their movements. All of these offer inner space as something to see over outer space.

Exhibitionistic trends always play a prominent part in the schizoid mentality; and, of course, they are closely related to the tendency to adopt roles. They may be largely unconscious; and they are often masked by anxiety. Even so, however, they emerge quite clearly in the course of analytical treatment; and the attraction of literary and artistic activities for individuals with a schizoid propensity is partly due to the fact that these activities provide an exhibitionistic means of expression without involving direct social contact. The significance of the exploitation of exhibitionism as a defence lies in the fact that it represents a technique for giving without giving, by means of a substitution of ‘showing’ for ‘giving’. This means of attempting to solve the problem of giving without losing is not without its attendant difficulties, however; for the anxiety originally attached to the act of giving is liable to become transferred to the act of showing,with the result that ‘showing off’ assumes the quality of ‘showing up’. When this happens, exhibitionistic situations may become extremely painful; and ‘being seen’ at all may then give rise to acute self-consciousness. (p. 16)     
While this may explain the will and egoism, it doesn't explain the relation to scopophilia and love. The participation mystique or oceanic oneness another may have with the world, or the intense desire to be outside of oneself as opposed to feelings of emptiness and exhaustion of the will. 

In the quote from Leonard Cohen above I think that a case can be made to see some types of addiction as auto-erotic pathology. There is a sense of finding some state of the full negation of oneself. In contrast, in Synechdoche, NY the protagonist ends up trying to recreate the world in art and in finding that perfection he burns out his will because such a task is an object he cannot obtain. In some types of addiction the complete merger of oneself is what cannot be obtained. Just as glimpses of the re-created perfection are there for the egoist, there are ecstatic moments of the loss of oneself for the altruist. 

Lastly, if we follow the feminine (OE and SA) libidinal positions then we have the SA with the multiple personality disorders, discussed in a previous post and Fairbairn's idea of the 'role playing' or 'as if' quality in the schizoid. The SA splits into alter egos she is not aware of in her unity of apperception, while the OE plays the alter ego: 

By playing a role or acting an adopted part, the schizoid individual is often able to express quite a lot of feeling and to make what appear to be quite impressive social contacts; but, in doing so, he is really giving nothing and losing nothing, because, since he is only playing a part, his own personality is not involved. Secretly he disowns the part which he is playing; and he thus seeks to preserve his own personality intact and immune from compromise. It should be added, however, that, whilst in some cases parts are played quite consciously, in other cases the individual is quite unconscious of the fact that he is playing a part and only comes to realize this in the course of analytical treatment. Conscious playing of a part may be illustrated in the case of a markedly schizoid young man who entered my consulting-room for the first consultation with a quotation from Freud upon his lips. He thus sought from the start to establish himself in my eyes as a devotee of psychoanalysis; but my immediate suspicion that he was only playing a part was fully confirmed as soon as analytical treatment commenced. His adopted role was really a defence against genuine emotional contact with me, and against genuine emotional giving. (p. 16)   

The alter ego represents the death of the SA since there is no consciousness of them in the main unity of apperception, and the alter ego represents perfection for the OE.

No comments:

Post a Comment