Sunday, December 13, 2015

Klein's sketch of the mind and social ontology

Klein continues to be one of those writers, who with Freud, Nietzsche, Hegel, Reich, etc., that one can always return to and find more than what one has remembered.  

This is Klein in the Psychoanalysis of Children:

The small child's super-ego and object are not identical; but it is continually endeavouring to make them interchangeable, partly so as to lessen its fear of its super-ego, partly so as to be better able to comply with the requirements of its real objects, which do not coincide with the unrealistic commands of its introjected objects. Thus we see that on top of the conflict between the super-ego and the id and the opposition between the various requirements made by the super-ego itself, composed as it is of quite different imagos that have been formed in the course of development, the ego of the small child is burdened with this difference between the standards of its super-ego and the standards of its real objects, with the result that it is constantly wavering between its introjected objects and its real ones—between its world of phantasy and its world of reality. 249-50

The tendency the individual has to secure from the external world a tranquillization of his fears of imaginary dangers from within and from without is, I think, an important factor in the repetition-compulsion (cf. Chapter VII.). The more neurotic he is, the more this tendency will be coloured by his need for punishment. The conditions to which the securing of such a tranquillization from external sources is attached will be increasingly unfavourable in proportion as the anxiety connected with his early danger-situations is powerful and his optimistic trend of feeling weak. In extreme cases only very severe punishments, or rather unhappy experiences which he feels as punishments, are able to fill the place of the imaginary punishments which he dreads. P. 277

Similarly, her relation to her home, which is equivalent to her own body, has a special importance for the feminine mode of mastering anxiety, and has, besides, another and more direct connection with her early anxiety-situation. As we have seen, the little girl's rivalry with her mother finds utterance, among other things, in phantasies of driving her out and taking her place as mistress of the house. An important part of this anxiety-situation for children of both sexes, but more especially for girls, consists in the fear of being turned out of the house and being left homeless. [fn: The fear of becoming a beggar child or a homeless orphan appears in every child analysis. It plays a large part in fixating the child to its mother, and is one of the forms taken by its fear of loss of love.] p. 263

What my work has added to this is that the parental imagos that comprise the superego are based upon instinctual renunciations, the negation of the finite mother into perfection and death, and possible adaptations (deutero phases) the produce the combined parent imagos. The deutero phases are based upon maternal seductions or rejections that make a new renunciation of sexuality or aggression and split the paternal imago. The impression that the child is seeing complex dynamics between the parents is not needed.

Additionally, the characterological and ego based aspects are better explained in my account. Klein mentions the epistemophillic drive, but the distinctions between internal and external Space, having affective connections vs. seeing others as "ideas" and wishing towards objects vs. seeing the efficacy of one's actions or the responses of others over time, etc. provide a better understanding of functions and how they can breakdown. 

The depersonalization involved in social ontology means that it's not just the child's relation to the house, but that the volar level also means a relation to society at large. Klein talks about the child being a beggar child, but it obviously can't conceive of this relation based upon observing power dynamics in some atomistic way. However, to say that the child has the sense of authority in relation to others in a social group at this stage, and that he or she can either be a part of it, rival the authority, have the loss of this authority, etc., then we can talk about the individual being abject, monstrous, etc.    
As I've shown, the idea of authority and its relation to society increases at the anal stage to a sense of one's relation to civilization. It's not about being part of society in the most basic way, as at the volar, but a question of whether one is a citizen that follows basic laws or is attracted to an under group (subaltern), criminal elements, or is just trying to basically survive and make it as a citizen.    

There's the level of discourse in these relations, in which certain laws or behaviors become known to affect one's acceptance by society or civilization. However, there are some impulses that are related to this based upon development (for example, cannibalistic impulses at the volar, death and robbing at the anal). 

It's possible that the volar stage house is a natural cathexis for the child and part of development, but it is a deutero phase development and thus not part of the natural, universal, development shared with animals. 

Clinically, especially working with substance abuse, one will be able to find many patients who are living out these various relations to society. Whether it's a person who is couch-surfing and has no security, a woman who is not allowed to leave the house and is kept like a prisoner by her boyfriend, a person who is doing monstrous things (like neglecting their children), spending each day just surviving in terms of scrounging for drugs, food, etc., or someone who can't tolerate being under any boss/employer and can put in a few days before seeing how the boss/manager isn't smart and therefore they have to quit, or someone who others ask for help at work and who can't say no, so they do the work of others but don't get paid more and feel taken advantage of, and then will quit from not being appreciated, etc....... there are these situations and many more that can intimate a volar level engagement.


No comments:

Post a Comment