Sunday, November 6, 2016

Dr. Strange, the pugneus, the part-ego, and the auto-erotic stages.

I saw Dr. Strange this weekend and I was very intrigued by the link of his hands, as a superhuman surgeon, and Time. Watches (time pieces) figure prominently in the movie. In an early scene, Dr. Strange is attempting to remove a bullet from a patient's brain, and another, denigrated doctor is watching, and Strange tells him to cover his ticking watch.

The ontic level or level of Being involved in the story shifts from the pugneus to the part-ego, from Strange being legendary for his skills in talents in relation to others in society, to the deeper level of magic. This shift occurs after he gets into an accident and his hands are damaged. There are initially scenes in which he tries to muster his will-power and ingenuity to restore his hands. As mentioned in previous posts, the omnipotence of wishes (like The Secret) in the pugneus stage are showcased here in his hope that his will can manifest a change in his hands. The will is taken to be able to have powerful effects, and "beat the odds" but it doesn't work for him. He goes into the part-ego stage and needs magic to help.

In the part-ego stage, he encounters both good magicians and bad ones that live outside of society. The former group protects society (and probably more generally nature) from more powerful supernatural beings which indicates the auto-erotic level, which I'll turn to later. The parental-substitute of the part-ego stage is The Ancient One who is "Sorcerer Supreme" and has lived many lifetimes and therefore holds the secrets to immortality. Despite learning magic, Dr. Strange is aware that he lacks immortality and this causes friction between him and The Ancient One. So, although Time is related to the pugenus stage, there is still a sense that the timelessness of the part-ego stage can't be taken for granted. I understand this to be related to the castration anxiety at every stage. Despite being at a lower level than Time, there is still a sense that one can be threatened. Take vampires or the immortals from Highlander, for example, they are immortal but are still threatened by non-existence by stakes, sunlight, having their heads chopped off, (etc.).

The bad magicians who enter into a deal with a demon-like being Dormammu, show this passage to the dark side in having blackness appear around their eyes. This likely points to the importance of the eyes as part object, erotogenic zone, at this stage (i.e. the ocular stage), but I'd still like to wait for more evidence before renaming the part-ego. (In regards to the pugneus stage, being swallowed or devoured whole is the zone of the proto phase, the hands are part of the deutero phase, and being bitten at the level of the skin is the trito phase zone. I used the Odyssey, Greek myth, and art examples to establish this, but before the encounter with Polyphemus in the Odyssey, the phases aren't as clear). It's likely that the eyes are part of the deutero phase in the part-ego stage, but I can't be sure.

With the auto-erotic stage, it seems relevant to talk about the trito phase. If God and the Devil are the good and bad parental-substitutes for the auto-erotic then having a demon illustrates the difference between the generations that is established in the Oedipus complex. Just as triangulation with a peer is possible, or incest desires for a sibling exist in some clinical work, the trito phase of the auto-erotic takes us from the stronger transference to the devil, to the offspring of the devil (a demon). Also important here are the (non-sexual) fetish objects. More precisely, 'fetish' has its much older meaning in relation to inanimate things related to god(s), and the sexual pervert's fetish came into parlance much later. What's important is that Dr. Strange got a fetish object that allows the user to turn back Time. Dormammu is subject to its power which shows that the fetish is part of the auto-erotic Oedipus complex and more powerful than the trito antagonist here. Similarly, the main foe for Dr. Strange is a former student of The Ancient One which seems to locate their antagonism at the part-ego trito phase. This may speak to why we don't see more of the non-human, humanoid, or mixture of human and animal that is part of the part-ego stages. Regression from the trito, to delusion at the deutero and proto phases hasn't occurred.

Another relevant issue at the auto-erotic stage is that Dormammu wants to take over the earth and bring it into his dark domain. This is different from annihilating the earth, and thus paranoia about the earth being annihilated must be earlier than the auto-erotic. I've mentioned that before Uranus, there is a stage in Greek myth in which Day and Night exist. I'm not sure if earth annihilation exists here either, or whether the previous stage in which Gaia exists along with Tartarus is the proper stage. Anyway, the paranoid object in the part-ego stage is a sense of war in which both other people (and non-human, supernatural, humanoids, animals too) along with environmental features are a threat. There are scenes in which collapsing buildings threaten one as well as people. (Several patients describe similar paranoid fantasies that they often compare to war). The paranoid object in the auto-erotic stage is better referenced to the idea of nature, instead of the entire planet. There are portals to other lands (deserts, ocean, forests, etc.) that exist in the magical buildings that house the fetish objects. Many patients have paranoid fantasies of storms that devastate the land (but again, don't destroy the earth) and this sense of the different places of nature and threats to them and their inhabitants is prominent. (In my analysis of Mad Max I mentioned such storms).      

These are my first offhand responses to the levels of Being and I'll write more if something else is still pulling at my ear.

ps. Buddha and his earlobes and the ear in relation to balance, proprioception, blind-sight, and other phenomena make me anticipate an aural stage/phase. I have a feeling that it might be in the auto-erotic and belong to the altruistic pole...

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