Saturday, January 30, 2016

Love and work and... ?

W. Reich famously writes:

Love, work, and knowledge are the wellsprings of our lives, they should also govern it.

I've never been a fan of this as a political slogan. His heart was in the right place but it hardly strikes one as incisive enough. A young Marxist would do better to look elsewhere. 

Anyway, as an addition to Freud's examination of health it also falls short. Isn't knowledge the work of some people? Aren't those people who work in the domain of knowledge often not cut out for other types of work (i.e. lack the spatial intelligence to be a mechanic)? I can maybe see wisdom, or what humanists would call self actualization or individuation as an end. However, wisdom is often compatible with mysticism or, at any rate, is intuitive and not a conscious system of ideas. Neither is wisdom something in which one can get an ego injury. I can be humiliated regarding my work life or in my love life, but wisdom is what informs the level at which work and love interactions take place; it isn't a sphere of life itself.

I'm surprised that friendship hasn't been formally added to work and love. 

First off, it has a nice dialectical form love > work > friendship

Second off, to any clinician worth his salt, friendship is definitely an area in which a person can receive an ego injury. When I use self statements in my work, they often lead a person who is using projective identification in sexual relationships (or has become the active person who gives others the same kind of injury that he himself received) back to injuries that occurred in friendships.

Ego drive and object drive parallelism should more formally address this important area for injuries, but I'm not sure if that means the explicit creation of some amity drive.

It's interesting to speculate on the schizoid status of many analysts and how friendship may have been downplayed in its significance because they didn't want to reflect on a sign of their lack of health. 

Also in philosophy there is a strong contrast between the importance of friendship for Aristotle compared to Plato.

I'll try to write more about this again....

Thursday, January 21, 2016

being vs. having, being vs. doing, etc.

I've never been enticed by dichotomies like being vs. having or being vs. doing.

There are people with chronic car troubles, ratty clothing, and dirty homes who could be more materialistic, and people who can stand to work harder and be less satisfied with themselves.

In object altruism I've encountered a few patients lately who do bring a similar phrase to mind: giving vs. being

They either seem to need to do something impulsive and dangerous to impress others, have "party tricks" like chugging a pitcher of beer, have "interesting" facts about history or some subject that they want to offer up, or some other "gift" to give others.

To just "be" or talk about their tastes, feelings, or even be quiet doesn't seem to be an option.

As I've stressed for a long time now, their contributions aren't about their power or making them look superior, and register as an echoistic idealization of the other who they want approval from or to belong with. In some cases the idealization, and therefore the power in, the other doesn't have much, if any, significance and it's just an ontology of being outside and not in.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Part-ego stage

This isn't my favorite song from Gregory Alan Isakov's album 'The Weatherman,' but one that relates to some clinical and theoretical thoughts as of late.

I've discussed conceit tensions in the altruist. Feeling presumptuous in being the leader, being the center of attention/getting praise or compliments, and saying no to others are common examples in the clinic. In this song is the further development of being good by giving silence. Along with it is the part-ego sense of both people and the landscape comprising the ontological relation. There are other levels of Being in confluence, as usual, and the wounded feet and reference to beauty also expresses an object egoistic sensibility, but giving warmth and silence still strikes me as altruistic and is likely at the part-ego stage. I've also had thought about the earlier auto-erotic relation and ties to breath/inhalation. Although it might strike people as strange that taking full breaths are a matter of conceit, anyone who has taken a somatic approach (a la Reich, Lowen, Kurtz, etc.) can attest to the poor breathing found in many schizoid/borderline cases. To work with the breath of these patients often leads them to express that full breathing feels unseemly or wrong in some way. Sloppy is another word I've heard, and these words clearly reference the offense to others and are inhibited by being 'nice.'

the Universe, she’s wounded
she’s got bruises on her feet
I sat down like I always did,
and tried to calm her down
I sent her my warmth and my silence
and all she sends me back is rain . . . rain
the Universe, she’s wounded
but she’s still got infinity ahead of her
she’s still got you and me
and everybody says that she’s beautiful
the Universe, she’s dancing now
they got her lit up, lit up on the moon
they got stars doing cartwheels, all the nebulas on the tune
and the Universe, she’s whispering so softly I can hear all
the croaking insects, all the taxicabs, all the bum’s spent change
all the boys playing ball in the alleyways
they’re just folds in her dress
the Universe, she’s wounded
but she’s still got infinity ahead of her
she’s still got you and me
and everybody says that she’s beautiful
and everybody says . . .