Sunday, May 31, 2015

Mad Max and social ontology.

I saw the new Mad Max last night. I can't say I was as impressed as the many people who had told me to see it. It was an interesting stylistic experiment, but I prefer less allegory and more formal insight. Regardless, it seems like something that literary critics will love to apply eco-lenses, feminist-lenses, Marxist-lenses, etc. to.

Of course there is much psychoanalytic content. Here is my first round of thoughts about it:

The film, at its base, is about the auto-erotic ontology. The titular character is confronted with both a hostile world (desert, no water, nuclear fallout, etc.) and everyone in it seems hostile. He also has to deal with hallucinations, which shows the competition between external world and the inner world in him, in a way that's self-attacking. (The act of the writer making his own world that doesn't exist, shows the rivalry with the father Space, as well).

There is also a lot of blending into the world that takes place. Sometime it's for camouflage, sometimes its because they are run down and beaten by the environment, and sometimes it feels like a lack of separation between the world and all the people in it, as Freud's idea of oceanic oneness suggests. I've pointed out before that directors such as Tim Burton have a fully global aesthetic in which both the environment and people are creepy, gloomy, monstrous, etc.

Joe, the villain who is hoarding all the water to himself. He actually seems to just drink human milk and not even drink the water, but I think it's best to keep these two things on different levels. For example, later in the movie, Max uses the milk to wash the blood off of his face like its water and doesn't accord it special value.

The real contrast is water vs. blood. Joe has the water and everyone else is forced to wait until he sprinkles some of it down or to use a "blood bag". This means kidnapping a human from outside the group and pumping his blood into your body (which is what happens to Max).

So water, the thing that allows you to survive in the desert world, is the possession of the father and people have to survive off of "bad" water, which is blood. This reminds me of Michael being unable to drink milk or eat food in The Lost Boys. These basic items of survival are cut off and he hungers for blood.

At this level too, beyond the world, there is a preoccupation of the Joe's warriors with Valhalla (heaven). They believe that if they sacrifice themselves heroically in battles that they will go there. Compare this with The Matrix in which no such representation of heaven exists. There is a back and forth between the "real world' and the "matrix" and this feels like it implies a trito stage form of mastery, in contrast between the bad "real world" and heaven which is completely idealized. There's a point in The Matrix in which a character says that it was built as a paradise, but humans rejected it, so they had to make it flawed.

While Joe controls the water at the auto-erotic level, and symbolically is an auto-erotic father, he isn't represented as a God ruling from heaven. However, he is depicted as volar father substitute in the full social sense of being attributed as immortal, and semi-divine enough to take his warriors to the gates of Valhalla. I think that this might be the level of the mother's milk vs. regular food. There is Joe and his "royal" family that live above all the others because they are more than human, Mother's milk is like their ambrosia.

This also reminds me of the importance of food in the volar stage of Polyphemus. The men find quite a big feast in the cave.

At the next anal level, Joe is also at the top place of power in the hierarchies of power. There are classes of people represented, not just semi-divine vs. human, but also the weak rabble, basic soldier or "war boys," other generals who have their own soldiers, and Joe above them all. At this level, there is also the representation of the father of the primal horde who has access to all the women.

There is also the sense, when Joe's group encounters other rival groups, not under his control, that he is the "superpower" and they can't oppose him.

Lastly, at the phallic level, there is the dynamic of family and loyalty. The main female lead is Furiosa. She takes away Joe's harem to rescue them and bring them back to her home, from which she was kidnapped when she was a child. She rose in ranks in Joe's army and she was treated as special and not like other outsiders who become "blood bags". So, there is a sense of rebelling against a personal relationship with Joe as a mentor/father that is referenced by others.

However, instead of an egoistic rebellion, it's an altruistic one. Furiosa isn't stealing the women for herself, she is rebelling against Joe as someone who can make them happy. When the father can't make the mother happy, than the altruist defuses and has to do it herself. She's no longer allowed to live for her own happiness and has to rescue mother or protect mother.      

Lastly, there is a great storm that Furiosa enters to 'lose' Joe and the others who are in pursuit. In this storm there is a tornado and it feels like it's a whole new level, of not just survival against environment and people, but that a void can open up... and that there is something more primal than the earth....

I can't put my finger on it, but maybe this is an earlier level... maybe the potential for annihilation is there, at the earlier level and not at the level of Space.... It appears like Max is normally alone in the world without anyone at all. This suggest its own level, as opposed to the later representation of the material world which includes an environment and other bodies...

I have to think about this more...

Sunday, May 24, 2015

earlier levels of Being

On a listserv someone brought up birth trauma and placental trauma. I posted that in Greek myth that before the drama of Gaia and Uranus, that there was a contras of light (Aether and Hemera) and dark (Erebus and Nyx).

I've posted that the relation to the body and the body's relation to other bodies is part of the auto-erotic.

so, briefly:

phallic fathers: bosses, teachers, or superior rivals who are in everyday life

anal fathers: those removed by higher classes, Prestige, and who often have relations to the tops of power hierarchies

volar fathers: semi-divine and/or magical figures who are absolute rulers if in power, but can also be outside of all social hierarchies.

auto-erotic fathers: representations of hostile people in hostile lands. The part-object seems to be captured in this blending of both the individuals and the land they are in. Also, compared to mythological monsters in the volar stage that are humanoid (i.e. giants, orcs, vampire, etc.) a dragon or some non-humanoid monster is often indicated by the auto-erotic.

So, this does leave an earlier level in which there is just interaction with Gaia alone and is pre-human.

I've definitely had patients who have dreams of the ocean, mountains, or the earth being destroyed by tornadoes and who don't have representations of humans in them.

Lastly there is something of a pre-earth or Gaia level in which the person talks about a void, emptiness, and there is no person and no thing there with them. Maybe this is what is represented with night and light, before the interaction of Gaia and Uranus?

Anyway, the other point I made on the list, is that Freud thought seizures and problems with the central nervous system were points of defusion of primitive anger (maybe its better to say elemental anger?). So, although the body and mind can be dialectically opposed at the auto-erotic, it's possible that parts of the body and parts of the autonomic nervous system are opposed in earlier stages and that these develop through the same principle of conflict and negation that mind develops in....

foreclosure and projective identification in subject egoism

I've mentioned in previous posts about how altruistic projective identification can mean that one assumes the maternal imago of Death and, when the paternal imago modifies it, the anxiety induced in the object (who represents the self) is closer to the 'loss of love', or inadequacy anxiety.

In my work with substance abuse there are very many borderline patients who disappear, get close to overdose and Death, or who throw away their reputations that enact PI interactions with a parent of boyfriend/girlfriend.

I don't think I've previously formalized how the difference feels with subject egoism. The 2 levels here relate relatively easily with the SE grandiosity of the paranoiac who has the unmodified maternal imago, and the modification of the paternal imago is a more subdued irritation with others. In my groups I often have to hear things about how "common sense isn't so common" and other working class cliches that amount to the person rationalizing their state of superiority to others and a relatively constant annoyance with them. This is sometimes observed in the phenomenon of the "dry drunk" in substance abuse.

I've identified Heracles with the proto stage in which Hera is clearly the origins of the paranoid threat. It's interesting to note the physical difference between the borderline type and those who possess the father imago. The former is definitely much more intense, and as Shapiro and Reich noted, their bodies are in a state of tension in which they can quickly react to any observed threat. However, it almost feels like those with the father imago are angrier... This of course could be my own subjective reaction and say more about my libidinal economy... As always, I'll write if future experience modifies this observation.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

object altruism and conceit tensions

I've identified object altruism and the Bellerophon complex with fear of success for some years now.

In proto versions, the performance anxiety of the object altruist is pretty straight forward. Once defused from the father imago, the fear of humiliation becomes strong. Premature ejaculation and the sense of taking sex that belongs to the father is also another strong expression of this.

While the Oedipus myth is better for the deutero version of the subject egoist, the myth of Heracles is better for the proto version who is more "workaholic" and pefectionistic because of a high ego ideal. I've thought for a while that the myth of Orpheus would probably be the proto version of the object altruistic nuclear complex. His high ego ideal at the stage means that he actually becomes a talented artist and causes others delight through his skill, as opposed to those with a low ego ideal who make a better impression. Dionysus and Apollo are the gods Orpheus worships and illustrate object altruism themselves. Also his central myth involved going to Hades and thus the deep object of Death that I've aligned with altruism.

Anyway, in some object altruistic patients I've become aware of basic conceit feelings. In the object altruist being driven to originality in some ways, this can be at odds with his or her work interests possibly meaning that the work of colleagues or others, is worse less. This can cause conceit tensions and the OA to downplay his work or interests.

Also, about a decade ago I remember people criticizing 'hipsters'. They'd make fun of their skinny jeans or facial hair or single speed bikes. But, yet, there is a respect in how much attention the got, and, in some ways, something that seemed like sour grapes. While the hipsters often possess a low ego ideal and give the impression of being more than their work merits, it seems like conceit to the proto OA to join subculture and leave the dominant culture behind, but he or she often isn't happy in it. However, the people I have in mind are definitely intellectuals and have auto-erotic/schizoid deutero adaptations. Therefore, they seem like they'd be out of place anywhere.

In a proto bellerophon complex, one can encounter something of a Peter Pan type that can't stick to a job or field of work. It runs parallel to the premature ejaculation in the sexual relation. Performance anxiety, after work has been put into a pursuit, often pushes them onto another. I'm sure that 'the imposter syndrome' can develop if there are deeper echoistic issues.  At the deutero volar stage, for example, this could mean that the OA feels differently than other humans and might travel more and not need as many connections.    

In the deutero OA there is always a father-substitute who is close and idealized, but the OA has no problem ultimately betraying them, criticizing them, or stealing their work and making a few simple changes and pretending like it is their own. The problem, of course, is that they might self-sabotage after being successful in it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

narcissistic object choice vs. projective identification.

I've posted before about projective identification. Two people share a fixation, trauma, or are similarly defused at the same point of superego development. One takes on the role of the parental substitute and gives the other the anxiety, or the traumatic betrayal or humiliation, etc. that they had also received.

I've posted before about narcissistic object choice as dependent on psychic bisexuality. An altruist closes down their egoistic side and seeks it in a relationship with an egoist, for example. They way they describe him or her are descriptors they also used for themselves in the past and now don't act like they used to.

So, I'm still not sure what to call it when someone externalizes their superego injunctions (i.e. not the anxiety, and not the trauma) onto another person.

So there are relationships between parents and children or couples in which one side needs to command the other side to do things. The one person doesn't want to have to make decisions for themselves or notice that there are chores that are needed to be done. They will only respond to a command or list. They've effectively put their ego ideal (and will in general) onto the other person. This saves them from having to deal with inadequacy feelings when they might no know how to do something or from the feeling that if they became their own agent that they would have to spend all their time taking care of things.

Is this simply the ego ideal equivalent to the operation in which one's conscience is put onto the group leader? In this case, it's not a social group, but because of ego and object drive parallelism, it could be the way it manifests in the object drive. Maybe a cult leader could similarly have this relation with people? In the cases with parents and children who are in their 20s, 30s, and generally grown up it could be a case of a repersonalized parental imago....

In a previous post I brought up transactional analysis and the parent child interaction. This obviously seems like an example of it...

I'm just still not sure if it should be conceptually distinct from narcissistic object choice, but, at times it also seems that the "parent" can cause the other anxiety, which makes it seem like it could be projective identification...


Saturday, May 9, 2015

idealization of the parent vs. the truth

I've had several patients bring up stories of their parents not admitting/denying that something had happened. One remembers a night his dad came home, put his foot though his video game console, and choked him ("like Homer chokes Bart in The Simpsons"). On his own, the patient linked his histrionic relation to feelings to his father's denial of the truth of that nights events.

Another patient brought up how she fell off a swing set and sat down at dinner knowing something was wrong. She pleaded with her mother to take her to the hospital but her mother told her that it wasn't that serious and that she would be fine. She eventually got her to listen and found out she had a broken collar bone. The patient was able to quickly avow that in other major relationships she was treated like what she felt or wanted wasn't true/right and others tried to control how she felt.

I'm sure that I'm not the first one to hear the importance of these stories in patients. If anyone has a article or book to direct me to, please do.

Trying to place it in my frames of reference, I think of Freud talking about how the Ratman doubts himself and that comes from doubting his ability to love.

At the phallic-oedipal, love can be lost in regression for an egoist, where for an altruist it is often assertion. Phallic-oedipal love can downgrade to anal sado-masochistic love, down to the extreme possessiveness of the volar stage, and disappear at the auto-erotic. Phallic love isn't without it's ambivalence. The beloved's relation to reputation and Prestige is obviously important. Assertion in an altruist can similarly regress.

What promise did the egoist break, how did he lose some sense of integrity, what betrayal in love did he suffer?

For the altruist, what parental substitute undermined their reality, how did he sin against love, loyalty, and devotion?

There are more injuries than this, but I think.