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Thread: Lacanian or Freudian Thought

  1. #1
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    Lacanian or Freudian Thought

    Is Jacques Lacan a psychoanalyst or a deconstructionist philosopher? Maybe his true calling is as a mythologist but I do not know. I have not studied him before this moment. His input in an article delving into the monster of Mary Shelley is pertinent to all these potential identifiers of his expertise. I hope we will not see Mary's mother cast as a Monster too. As I began reading it I saw my fears were substantiated, Lacan is just like Freud whose psychobabble is 'monstrous'.

    Collings gets it right when he says that kind of psychoanalytical thought deserves to be viewed as a critical art and not a science. I say it is psycho - ANAL or "psychobanal" in honor of Freudian fears of women and his various affixations anal or Oedipal.


    "DAVID COLLINGS

    The Monster and the Imaginary Mother: A Lacanian Reading of Frankenstein

    It is all too easy for literary critics to apply their knowledge of psychoanalysis to literary texts by finding in those fictions the complexes that Freud described. Such an approach assumes that psychoanalysis possesses a truth that reveals the meaning of literary texts, a meaning that they themselves did not recognize. But the more closely one examines Freud and psychoanalytic practice, generally, the more one realizes that psychoanalysis itself tells stories, invents scenarios of development, and guesses at meanings and events: it too deals in fictions and cannot entirely rise above the bewildering complexity of the unconscious. Similarly, the more one examines works of literature written before Freud, the more they seem to have been, in some strange way, already aware of psychoanalysis or of the unconscious.

    It is best, then, to recognize that literature and psychoanalysis are on a continuum; it is as useful and interesting to interpret psychoanalysis as a form of literature as to interpret literature with the tools of psychoanalysis. Each thus profits from the other without becoming completely subject to the other's authority. Together they demonstrate that there is no discourse against which either must be measured, no final scientific or literary authority that reigns over all. Instead, they show that there is a history of the psyche that takes part in many histories, including those of the family, manners, sexuality, and the body. The works of Freud and Lacan thus arrive late in a long tradition of texts that trace the formation of what we call the unconscious, texts that might well challenge psychoanalysis to alter or expand its theories in many areas.

    Psychoanalysis is vulnerable in its treatment of women: both Freud and Lacan are notoriously phallocentric, interpreting the psyche with reference to male development, castration, and the phallus. Thus psychoanalysis and literature can interpret each other fruitfully with a literary text that explores the woman's place in the psyche - a text such as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Lacan's theory of the Imaginary and Symbolic orders makes apparent a pattern within the novel that preLacanian psychoanalytic readings missed: its persistent contrast between the world of the mirror-image, or double (the Imaginary), and that of kinship, language, and social life (the Symbolic). Yet the novel, in turn, demonstrates that the Symbolic order's insistence on denying the Imaginary comes at the enormous cost of excluding the maternal body. As Mary Shelley's novel suggests that the situation Lacan describes is neither inevitable nor necessary, it opens up new directions for psychoanalytic theory.

    Frankenstein, the Monster, and the Imaginary Mother

    Within Frankenstein the world is divided between the public realm and the private, almost delusional relation between Victor and the monster: in Lacanian terms, between the Symbolic and Imaginary orders. On the one hand, there are Alphonse Frankenstein, dutiful father and judge; the families of the Frankensteins and the De Laceys; the possibility of Victor's marriage width Elizabeth; the responsible science of M. Krempe; and the operation of law in the trial of Justine and the imprisonment of Victor. All these exemplify, in varying degrees, a social order rooted in patriarchal marriage, legality, and genital (phallic) sexuality. On the other hand, there is the curious solitude of Victor and the monster, neither of which can ever belong to a family; their endless fascination with each other; and their utter incapacity to communicate their situation with anyone else, except of course Robert Walton, the novel's narrator. Victor's solitude is so, profound that his obsession with the monster and paranoid fear of him would amount to madness were it not that another person, Walton, encounters the monster in the novel's final pages. Victor's obsession with this Imaginary double of the self, outside of society and language, compels him to resist or attack his father, friend, and potential wife whenever they threaten that self.

    The Imaginary quality of Victor's solitude is made clear in the early pages of his story. As a young scholar, Victor studies "neither the structure of languages, nor the code of governments, nor the politics of various states," all subjects associated with the Symbolic order, but rather the "physical secrets of the world" (43). Moreover, within the physical sciences, Victor pursues an outmoded, erroneous, semimagical science in defiance of his father's prohibition, as if replaying the oedipus complex in his intellectual pursuits. In an unofficial, magical nature Victor hopes to recover the mother that has been denied or forgotten in much the same way as the alchemy of Agrippa, Paracelsus, and Albertus Magnus has been dismissed by contemporary science. A similar oedipal drama is performed after Victor arrives at the university. The ugly, forbidding M. Krempe scoffs at the alchemists (49), but Waldman indirectly praises them and describes modern chemistry in terms resonant with maternal sexuality: the modern masters "penetrate into the recesses of nature, and show how she works in her hiding places" (51).

    Victor's search for a substitute mother does not take the normative oedipal path. Typically, the son relinquishes his mother and desires a person who resembles her. Margaret Homans argues that in effect the son gives up the physical mother anal desires a figurative representation of her, a substitute for her in the realm of language or social relations. Homans goes on to propose that Victor's development is quite typical, because he attempts to recreate his mother in his scientific, intellectual project and thus in the realm of language (Homans 9-10, 101-2, 107). But the authorized figure for the mother is Elizabeth, not the monster; her personality and biography almost duplicate Caroline Frankenstein's, as if she is in fact the perfect person to complete the Oedipal drama. Victor resists the seemingly inevitable marriage to Elizabeth, leaves home, and chooses another, forbidden erotic object: the mystery of how nature works in "her" hiding places - the mystery of the feminine body. That is, he chooses to take exactly the opposite of the typical path, spurning the social realm in favor of the Imaginary, bodily mother, whom he attempts to recover by creating the monster.

    This relation between the mother and monster is made clear in the episodes surrounding Victor's going to the university. The break from the family represents Victor's entrance into the public world and his separation from his mother. Thus her death immediately before his leaving is highly appropriate; it represents Victor's separation from her and the loss consequent on accepting his place in the Symbolic order... He identifies with his mother, recovering her body in his own body as he attempts to become pregnant himself, to labor in childbirth, and to watch the child awaken, gesture, and attempt to speak (see 55-59). He also attempts to recreate her by reassembling her dead body, as it were, from "bones from charnel-houses" (56), animating it, and looking up at it (as would a child at its mother) as he lies in bed (58). As Ellen Moers has pointed out, this story of monstrous creation is thus a "birth myth" built around Mary Shelley's own experiences with pregnancy and childbirth (Moers 90-99). It might also describe her attempts to recover a relation to a mother who had always been for her a dead mother; perhaps she, like Victor, is compelled to reassemble that impossibly distant body....

    Clearly, the turn from erotic ideal to grotesque body horrifies Victor; in this respect he is a responsible citizen of the Symbolic realm, longing for Elizabeth rather than the mother. Yet this horror is so strong, and this dream so necessary, because of his unspeakable desire for the dead mother, for the secret of her body, for that element of her that has no (Symbolic) substitute. Perhaps the real horror is that Victor has learned to dread what he longs for; the only way to articulate his desire for the maternal body is in the very terms that exclude her, much as the only way of recreating her body is with the very tools acquired in the university at the cost of her life. And in these terms, with these tools, Victor cannot even recreate her as a female body: as if in retreat from his mother even on the most primal level, he creates a male monster who resembles his own mirror-image more than the mother he desires. As Luce Irigaray argues, from within the phallocentric regime of the Symbolic order, a genuinely feminine body is inconceivable: woman is either an inferior version of man, or she does not exist (Irigaray 11-129). Yet Victor is compelled to imagine this alien, Imaginary mother who no longer quite exists for him. Accordingly, conceiving of woman as both like and unlike "man," he produces a monster - a creature who is grotesque precisely because it is, and is not, a "man.""


    http://www.usask.ca/english/frank/collings.htm
    Last edited by R_Baird; 03-18-2016 at 04:18 PM.

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    But Lacan criticized Freud's phobias enough to say he is not just Freudian perhaps. Still one cannot help but address Sartre's viewpoint on the whole mess anal-ized out of the darkness which was in the mindset, still wallowing in Victorian hypocrisy and prudish control ethics. It seems German thought and intellectualism was almost as prudish and stupid as the Victorian, and that illustrates a whole lot of me-too thinking to get good marks while being brainwashed in my opinion. If you have not experienced the magic of sexual union (Bhakti) you will not understand the sensuality of enlightened reason and existence, despite the fact that abstinence can heighten one's sense of potential for it.

    "HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY

    Gerald N. Izenberg. The Existential Critique of Freud: The Crisis of Autonomy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976. Pp. xii + 354. $16.50. It is high time this topic received a serious critical treatment. Izenberg's book clearly at- tempts that, beginning with a careful summary of Freud's doctrines, especially the early period, with an effort, mostly successful, to state the premises underlying Freud's positions. The development of Freud's ideas is clearly mapped. I wish the author had continued this valuable summary right through the later works where, it seems to me, the primary role of the sexual is qualified and balanced with other principles. Chapter 2 includes a careful and lucid presentation of Heidegger's Being and Time that every student of philosophy could profit from. At the beginning of Chapter 3, "The Existential Critique of Psychoanalytic Theory," it might have been helpful to attempt to distinguish existential from phenomenological thinkers. For instance, in his Phenomenoiogy In Psychology and Psychiatry (Evanston: Northwestern University Pres, 1972) Herbert Spiegelberg includes the same thinkers, Binswanger, Boss, and Sartre. Izenberg even hyphenates the two movements on page 218. In fact, I am puzzled that our author makes no reference to Spiegelberg's admirable survey. Since the book in hand purports to be an intellectual history this distinction is significant. For example, Medard Boss's effort in his Psychoanalysis and Daseins analysis (New York: Basic Books, 1963) to adhere to a phenomenologically descriptive method avoids the pitfalls of some of the ontological assumptions of Sartre (I cite the U.S. edition of Boss because it is really a different book from the original German of 1954, only a third as long). Boss seems to me an interesting blend of Husserl's finely descriptive phenomenology and Heidegger's Dasein. Nor does Izenberg give sufficient care, from the standpoint of intellectual history, to the differences between the existentialism of Heidegger and Sartre. Sartre's radical fracture of human being into pour soi (being-for-itself) and en soi (being-in-itself) issues in consequences that separate his critique of Freud from Heidegger's. In fact, Izenberg does not, it seems to me, sufficiently connect his analysis of Sartre's critique of Freud to these basic concepts, especially to the way in which le ndant (nothingness) involved in the pour soi provides for the radical freedom, autonomy, of human being -- a form of freedom, I think, quite outside the usual determinist-indeterminist dialectic of recent philosophy. Sartre's existential notion of freedom sidesteps the whole network of issues around causality, which for him belongs to the en soi (being-in-itself). I wonder whether the absence of this discussion in Izenberg, which I take to be crucial, does not indicate a subtle difference between intellectual history and the history of philosophy.

    This book is intellectual history, not history of philosophy. And what is this difference? That book has yet to be written, but it has something to do with the way in which connections within philosophical system and among systems are analyzed, between the emphasis on logical patterns of interconnections in contrast to psychological-sociological-historical relationships. The way these are blended yields a different result. For example, what I previously mentioned about Sartre's pour soi and his concept of freedom seems to me to illustrate this difference. Another example concerns Sartre's discussion in Being and Nothingness (Part 3, Chapter 3) of the concrete patterns of human relating between human beings: sadism, masochism, love, and the sexual. These patterns are all present in the becoming of human beings, no one more primary than another, each fundamentally unstable turning into others. The sexual is not pre- dominant as in the early Freud. Nor is Sartre's sadism and masochism, because of their involvement with the pour soi, the same as Freud's concepts of sadism and masochism. Izenberg fails, I think, to draw these logical differences with sutficient care. I have discussed the ontology of these concepts in my book, Rebelling, Loving, and Liberation (Albuquerque: Hummingbird Press, 1971)."


    http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/journal....1schmidt.html

    I am reminded of the words uttered by Churchill "This is arrant pedantry up with which I shall not put!" Or did I run two quotes together there. I care not much who is right about the functioning of the body senses in playful union as I do in the potential for said union to make what Sartre had in his life. How can we listen to those who never knew love as they prattle on about anal this and phobic that - much less the treatment for Hysteria in that era of crude or even colossal stupidity?

    How did Jung, Silberer, Reich and others escape that hell-hole of constipated thinking surrounding Freud? We may never see Reich become re-habilitated in the academic mind that Lacan and Freud represent. They keep coming back on our society like cucumbers on a sour stomach. It can be called post-structural or control structure and asinine - Should I say Ass - in - ein? One thing you will have to admit they get a lot of political power in the institutional realm. Do you see sexual repression in politics? OOOPS, sorry we should not learn about sex, religion and politics - just leave that to the liars who we see going to jail or should see in jail for it. If we did discuss these things early and often before we start DOing it or voting - would that make us more informed?

    "It would be fair to say that there are few twentieth century thinkers who have had such a far-reaching influence on subsequent intellectual life in the humanities as Jacques Lacan. Lacan's "return to the meaning of Freud" profoundly changed the institutional face of the psychoanalytic movement internationally. His seminars in the 1950s were one of the formative environments of the currency of philosophical ideas that dominated French letters in the 1960s and'70s, and which has come to be known in the Anglophone world as "post-structuralism."

    Both inside and outside of France, Lacan's work has also been profoundly important in the fields of aesthetics, literary criticism and film theory. Through the work of Louis Pierre Althusser (and more lately Ernesto Laclau, Jannis Stavrokakis and Slavoj Zizek), Lacanian theory has also left its mark on political theory, and particularly the analysis of ideology and institutional reproduction.

    This article seeks to outline something of the philosophical heritage and importance of Lacan's theoretical work. After introducing Lacan, it focuses primarily on Lacan's philosophical anthropology, philosophy of language, psychoanalysis and philosophy of ethics."


    http://www.iep.utm.edu/lacweb/

    You might get sleepy and wonder where you are after a few minutes of this video, memetics or NLP programming might be working - but to me it was narrative nonsense. http://oyc.yale.edu/english/engl-300/lecture-13
    Last edited by R_Baird; 03-21-2016 at 08:54 AM.

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    Once we get past intellectual history having nuances of ideology separate from some ivory tower philosophical fad do we have the basis for moral and ethical analysis of society? Can we dissect what causes our "institutional reproduction" as they call it?

    I agree Freudian sexual issues have diminished under Lacanian post-structuralism as they say. I also saw how the Cycle of Violence became a target for change after the 1980s but I have not seen the necessary fundamental ethical understandings change. I had high hopes for the 'love culture' or Hippie Movement I consider myself a part of, but it has not worked out. The bureaucracies still control moral structure in our institutions and enable immorality. Yes, the oral minority makes loud noises as if they have been attacked by devil worshippers and gays. But they deserve to be eradicated from our (American at least) decision-making. I am not really talking about Bush Jr., or Shrub and all the evangelicals in politics. Yes, they are a troublesome proof of a causal issue. I can hope the eugenics his family and other elites supported in the early fifties red scare and blacklisting ethos will return to make them a target and we will have population control for the likes of him. I am just kidding, I know that will never happen unless the robots take over. What really matters is the politically correct attitudes which continue to laud ignorance and inalienable rights over considered new approaches and plans to match responsibility with authority, and opportunity with resources. Our armies, educational and penal or other institutions have an ethic I deem deplorable, social justice is a farce.

    It is not just the extreme individuals in the Mideast who present a problem in a society headed for ruination or apocalypse. The largest group I hold responsible are those who have no excuse. The people who have had everything given to them after having ripped off earlier people or having killed those people in genocidal religious inspired rages. Yes, Americans and their corporate CIA backed greed which General Smedley Butler spoke eloquently about. But not just any Americans - no it is the supposed professional and helpful bureaucrats I hold responsible. Of course there are the pulpit pounding panderers to idiocy and alien intervention to consider as well. Rogues educated to risk manage and maintain illegal and immoral programs on Wall Street are not the target of this little tirade.

    Ivan Illich and John McKnight have told us these things for all the era we are discussing. Good people in every institution have known it since the 1940 address by Alfred North Whitehead to the Harvard graduates or Joseph Campbell's Permanent Human Values speech in the same year to Sarah Lawrence ladies. You can say things are improving and point to anecdotal evidences galore - I say things are worse and the forces behind the Georgia Guideposts are ready to act when needed, they do have a plan. Their plan has options and contingencies, what does your plan have?

    I started this thread in honour of Mary Shelley and her mother. I should finish it with her mother who fought the good fight for mankind when men still wallowed in the morass we still see grasping at our collective ankles as we stumble forward to meet the future imperfect. Will sense avoid sensibility in many regions of this world for another two centuries despite the good work of people like Virginia Woolf and Mary Wollstonecraft? Can humans have a whole society or will the individual wisdom of women not be allowed equal access and encouragement of and for their minds and every person's souls? This is the question raised and answered by an original women's rights author in France where the remains of the Cathar efforts and Troubadours still resonated more than anywhere else in the Old World. She was not French but she found this place still had the vestigial traces of freedoms once supported under Catharism. Hats off to the likes of Mary Wollstonecraft and Esclaramonde du Foix. Do we need another crusade "FOR" something rather than against anything that stands in the way of Status Quo? I believe we can finish the Dark Ages off - if we try! It will be hard to bring into fruition as we look at Feudal Islam or 'decentred' egoism deconstructing sense or sensibility and making a mockery of wholistic (Man and woman and all gender idiosyncrasies matter equally) reality. Let me allow Lacan to finish making my point. I do not have to put words in his mouth. From the link above:

    "Lacan's article "The Mirror Stage as Formative of the I" (1936, 1949) lays out the parameters of a doctrine that he never foreswore, and which has subsequently become something of a post-structuralist mantra: namely, that human identity is "decentred." The key observation of Lacan's essay concerns the behaviour of infants between the ages of 6 and 18 months. At this age, Lacan notes, children become capable of recognizing their mirror image. This is not a dispassionate experience, either. It is a recognition that brings the child great pleasure. For Lacan, we can only explain this "jubilation" as a testimony to how, in the recognition of its mirror-image, the child is having its first anticipation of itself as a unified and separate individual. Before this time, Lacan contends (drawing on contemporary psychoanalytic observation), the child is little more than a "body in bits and pieces," unable to clearly separate I and Other, and wholly dependant for its survival (for a length of time unique in the animal kingdom) upon its first nurturers.

    The implications of this observation on the mirror stage, in Lacan's reckoning, are far-reaching. They turn around the fact that, if it holds, then the genesis of individuals' sense of individuation can in no way be held to issue from the "organic" or "natural" development of any inner wealth supposed to be innate within them. The I is an Other from the ground up, for Lacan (echoing and developing a conception of the ego already mapped out in Freud's Ego and Id). The truth of this dictum, as Lacan comments in "Aggressivity and Psychoanalysis," is evident in infantile transitivity: that phenomenon wherein one infant hit by another yet proclaims: "I hit him!" and visa-versa. It is more simply registered in the fact that it remains a permanent possibility of adult human experience for us to speak and think of ourselves in the second or third person. What is decisive in these phenomena, according to Lacan, is that the ego is at base an object: an artificial projection of subjective unity modelled on the visual images of objects and others that the individual confronts in the world. Identification with the ego, Lacan accordingly maintains, is what underlies the unavoidable component of aggressivity in human behaviour especially evident amongst infants, and which Freud recognised in his Three Essays on Sexuality when he stressed the primordial ambivalence of children towards their love object(s) (in the oral phase, to love is to devour; in the anal phase, it is to master or destroy…)."
    Last edited by R_Baird; 03-18-2016 at 08:35 PM.

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    To listen to modern psychiatrists talk about the ECT or burning of brain cells and memory you might think it was useful and healthy with good intent. It was designed to make a soldier return to the horror show of the first world war trenches. Specifically as a torture to make them not want to avoid killing people or experiencing the constant threat of death including being shot by your own officers when and if you refused to run into machine gun fire. Actually sometimes they just picked random soldiers from the brigade or regiment which had not followed orders and shot these innocents. If a psychiatrist gets this so-called therapy his insurance will no longer be in force because it affects the mental acumen and probably also illustrates the sadistic or masochistic intent of the recipient.

    Here is part of a report given by Freud to a commission which asked for his expertise in the matter of wartime mental issues or what we called PTSD today.

    "What is known as the psycho-analytic school of psychiatry, which was brought into being by me, had taught for the last twenty-five years that the neuroses of peace could be traced back to disturbances of emotional life. This explanation was now applied quite generally to war neurotics. We had further asserted that neurotic patients suffered from mental conflicts and that the wishes and inclinations which were expressed in the symptoms were unknown to the patients themselves- were, that is to say, unconscious. It was therefore easy to infer that the immediate cause of all war neuroses was an unconscious inclination in the soldier to withdraw from the demands, dangerous or outrageous to his feelings, made upon him by active service. Fear of losing his own life, opposition to the command to kill other people, rebellion against the ruthless suppression of his own personality by his superiors-these were the most important affective sources on which the inclination to escape from war was nourished.

    A soldier in whom these affective motives were very powerful and clearly conscious would , if he was a healthy man, have been obliged to desert or pretend to be ill. Only the smallest proportion of war neurotics, however, were malingerers; the emotional impulses which rebelled in them against active service and drove them into illness were operative in them without becoming conscious to them. They remained unconscious because other motives, such as ambition, self-esteem, patriotism, the habit of obedience and the example of others, were to start with more powerful until, on some appropriate occasion, they were overwhelmed by the other, unconsciously-operating motives.

    This insight into the causation of the war neuroses led to a method of treatment which seemed to be well-grounded and also proved highly effective in the first instance. It seemed expedient to treat the neurotic as a malingerer and to disregard the psychological distinction between conscious and unconscious intentions, although he was known not to be a malingerer. Since his illness served the purpose of withdrawing him from an intolerable situation, the roots of the illness would clearly be undermined if it was made even more intolerable to him than active service. Just as he had fled from the war into illness, means were now adopted which compelled him to flee back from illness into health, that is to say, into fitness for active service. For this purpose painful electrical treatment was employed, and with success."


    https://www.freud.org.uk/education/t...-war-neuroses/
    Last edited by R_Baird; 03-31-2016 at 07:40 PM.

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    Literary Theory taken over by psychoanalytical symbols is no great advancement. It too, should only be a philosophical tool rather than a fad or construct through which all things must be interpreted. It is fine if two people with similar understandings and definitions of reality exchange these mental masturbations, but it really should extend a process or it will not build bridges of understanding. Here is a little more analysis of Lacan (doppleganger of Freud he may be seen as). I see no advantage in a canon of thought wherein any council of idiots can anathematize reality if they get so involved in repeating each other's fundamental premises.

    "Lacan restates Freud’s theories in the language of Saussure. Essentially, unconscious processes are identified with the unstable signifier. As we have seen, Saussure’s attempts to solder up the gap between the separate systems of signifiers and signifieds was in vain. For example, when a subject enters the symbolic order and accepts a position as ‘son’ or ‘daughter’, a certain linking of signifier and signified is made possible. However, ‘I’ am never where I think; ‘I’ stand at the axis of signifier and signified, a split being never able to give my position a full presence. In Lacan’s version of the sign, the signified ‘slides’ beneath a signifier which ‘floats’. Freud considered dreams the main outlet for repressed desires. His theory of dreams is reinterpreted as a textual theory. The unconscious hides meaning in symbolic images which need to be deciphered. Dream images undergo ‘condensation’ (several images combine) and ‘displacement’ (significance shifts from one image to a contiguous one). Lacan calls the first process ‘metaphor’ and the second ‘metonymy’ (see Jakobson, Chapter 4). In other words, he believes that the garbled and enigmatic dream-work follows the laws of the signifier. Freud’s ‘defence mechanisms’, too, are treated as figures of speech (irony, ellipsis, and so on). Any kind of psychic distortion is restated as a quirk of the signifier rather than some mysterious prelinguistic urge. For Lacan there never were any undistorted signifiers. His psychoanalysis is the scientific rhetoric of the unconscious.

    Lacan’s Freudianism has encouraged modern criticism to abandon faith in language’s power to refer to things and to express ideas or feelings. Modernist literature often resembles dreams in its avoidance of a governing narrative position and its free play of meaning. Lacan himself wrote a much discussed analysis of Poe’s ‘The Purloined Letter’, a short story containing two episodes. In the first, the Minister perceives that the Queen is anxious about a letter she has left lying exposed on a table unnoticed by the King who has entered her boudoir unexpectedly. The Minister replaces the letter with a similar one. The Queen cannot intervene for fear that the King will be alerted. In the second episode, following the Prefect of Police’s failure to find the letter in the Minister’s house, Dupin (a detective) immediately sees it openly thrust in a card-rack on the Minister’s mantlepiece. He returns, distracts the Minister, and replaces the letter with a similar one. Lacan points out that the contents of the letter are never revealed. The story’s development is shaped not by the character of individuals or the contents of the letter but by the position of the letter in relation to the trio of persons in each episode. These relations to the letter are defined by Lacan according to three kinds of ‘glance’: the first sees nothing (the King’s and the Prefect’s); the second sees that the first glance sees nothing but thinks its secret safe (the Queen’s and, in the second episode, the Minister’s); the third sees that the first two glances leave the ‘hidden’ letter exposed (the Minister’s and Dupin’s). The letter, then, acts like a signifier by producing subject positions for the characters in the narrative. Lacan considers that, in this, the story illustrates the psychoanalytic theory that the symbolic order is ‘constitutive for the subject’; the subject receives a ‘decisive orientation’ from the ‘itinerary of a signifier’. He treats the story as an allegory of psychoanalysis, but also considers psychoanalysis as a model of fiction. The repetition of the structure of scene one in scene two is governed by the effects of a pure signifier (the letter); the characters move into their places as the unconscious prompts. (For a fuller account not only of Lacan’s essay but also of Jacques Derrida’s critical reading of Lacan’s reading, see Barbara Johnson’s essay in Robert Young’s Untying the Text, 1981. In a brilliant demonstration of poststructuralist thought she introduces a further displacement of meaning into the potentially endless sequence: Poe > Lacan > Derrida > Johnson.) As part of the impetus of poststructuralist thinking, Lacan’s psychoanalytic ideas (also mediated in the work of Althusser (p. 148, above), Kristeva, and Deleuze and Guattari (see below)) have enjoyed a central status in recent British literary theory. However, while the ‘linguistic turn’ continues to permeate the study of cultural forms in general, British School psychoanalysis – whose genealogy stems directly from Freud’s London years, and includes such names as Melanie Klein, D. W. Winnicott, Wilfred Bion and R. D. Laing – has complicated the Freudian psychoanalytic scenario which Lacan had ‘poststructuralized’ much as it stood. The emphasis has been on extending practical psychoanalytic investigation – in particular, the study of the finally untheorizable phenomena encountered in transference/countertransference negotiations of all kinds (including group-work), which are seen as at the core of the Freudian method.

    In The Good Society and the Inner World (1991), for instance, Michael Rustin laments the ‘routing of all messages via Paris’ and comments on Lacan’s lack of interest in psychoanalysis’s ‘proper base in clinical work’ – a sentiment also summed up by R. W. Connell as: ‘theorists debate the Law of the Father or the significance of sublimation without two cases to rub together.’ The British School view appears to be that even theoretical ‘paradigm shifts’ require a background of careful ‘normal science’, and that post-Lacanian French psychoanalysis is more interested in cultural theorizing than in further analysing the dynamics of actual psychic phenomena. However, British School psychoanalysis lacks a sophisticated bridge between its clinical work and the discourse in which it is expressed; and it can appear nave and out-of-date in its interdisciplinary overtures towards literary theory (still haunted in its conception of this by F. R. Leavis and an unproblematized notion of the canon). Yet it could become highly productive for literary and cultural studies. Of particular interest are its post-Kleinian emphasis on the child–mother dyad (thought of as more fundamental than Oedipal and anti-Oedipal theories); the performative creativity of the developing mind (whatever its social structuration); and the extension beyond the psychoanalytic ‘subject’ to both small and larger group-work. The first issue is already implicit in the ideas of Kristeva (see below, and Chapter 6, pp. 131–3) and is taken up in much feminist theory; the second in Derrida’s meditations on Artaud and Hamlet, which reveal his acquaintance with Klein’s work – but there is scope for further cooperation here. The third emphasis constitutes a possible bridge between the personal and the political as potentially as fruitful as Althusser’s arranged marriage between the unconscious and ideology. Since Wilfred Bion’s pioneering work, the psychoanalytic study of group interactions – at an existentially more primal level than discourse as such – is highly suggestive for understanding how literature is produced in intertextual emulation and rivalry; why critical and theoretical movements (including poststructuralism, New Historicism and postmodernism) have strong emotive, as well as intellectual, authority; and the psychoanalytic terms in which even ‘hard science’ actually develops. There remains the possibility, then, of an entente cordiale in which literary theory could benefit at once from Parisian theoretical and British School analytical advances to produce a fuller account of cultural understanding in the period since Freud’s ‘Copernican Revolution’."


    http://www.dpcdsb.org/NR/rdonlyres/8...5thedition.pdf
    Last edited by R_Baird; 04-01-2016 at 08:46 PM.

  6. #6
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    Freud made many great contributions to psychology and our understanding despite what I say about his issues and other more correct approaches in older disciplines like Yoga.

    "Freud had the idea of a prevailing role played by infantile sexuality in the development of human goals.
    •Schools of psychoanalytic thought believe that the unconscious is never thought of as an isolated entity that can be studied independently of the total personality.
    •The goal-directed quality of the unconscious was a Freudian concept.
    •Freud believed that the ego (mainly rational) and the superego (mainly moral) were crystallized out of the id (primitive instinctual). Once crystallized out the provinces of the mind tend to function independently (to a large extent) and act in opposition to the id.
    •Freud offered two categories of instincts, ego and sexual. The sexual instincts operate under the pleasure principle, or the pleasure-pain principle. Sexual instincts strive for pleasure or avoidance of pain always and in a very primitive manner. These sexual instincts created often immature sexual wishes (instinctual aims) that were largely unconscious (part of the id, biological impulse) and portrayed an underlying motivation or self interest. People often do not act on these underlying needs, Frued believed they were suppressed by an inner force called the censor, which represented the ego instincts which operated under the reality principle. Ego instincts included cognitive functions, personal ideals, self-protection, and social and moral restrictions. The superego was the conscience.
    •Freud distinguished between a primary process, where instinctual drives manifest themselves psychologically, and a secondary process, where drives are ordered and controlled by rational thought and voluntary action. The id can be seen in the primary process, full of instinctual needs with desire for immediate gratification. It makes sense that it is called “primary” because basic desires come before rational thought and control, which could be considered secondary. The ego is a secondary process, which was the result of human development and was not inborn like the id. The ego maintains the whole person, it moderates demands from the id for instant pleasure gratification, and the desire for the superego to control to suppress the impulses of the id. The ego is mature and rational, the id is immature and impulsive. The ego also controls the relations among instinctual drives and between instinctual drives and the outside world.
    •Freud’s id, ego and superego were not considered the same as instincts, but were instead thought of as “institutions”, aspects of the mind that develop through experience and function relatively independently, but constantly interact. A personality is considered by Freudians not only as instincts (the dynamic approach) but as forms of “institutions” and their relationships. They are called institutions because they function as separate aspects in the mind.
    •The ego needs to take into consideration and balance and reach compromises between the needs of the id, the superego, and external reality.

    Importance:

    What is the significance in saying that people have large unconscious sexual needs? The sexual drive is more aggressive, compulsive and powerful than ordinary motivation. Therefore saying that someone is sexually motivated means that there is a strong drive behind that person. The sexual drive could therefore motivate someone to simply be more aggressive in general, not just in terms of their sexual interest. The sexual theories of Freud indicate how selfish and aggressive people can be. The pleasure/pain principle can explain how every action (from the ego and the id) is a striving for pleasure and an avoidance of pain, and that people reach compromises to achieve a balance (for instance, avoiding social scorn (pain) while achieving getting pleasure). However, from the Freudian standpoint, the pleasure principle was only a part of the sexual instincts, and the reality principle was a part of the ego instincts. So with everything people do, not just sexual things, they want pleasure.

    Freud wasn’t clear as to exactly what the ego was (what it is and what it does), and this is because the ego is just a way of thinking about how people function, it doesn’t represent accurately how people perform. Everyone is to some extent instinctual (id, so possibly overly sexual) and to some extent rational (ego), and these forces are balancing themselves all of the time. However, when people reach decisions, it isn’t like there is literally a battle going on in their mind between the id, the ego and the superego. People don’t think, “let me consider my instinctual drives, no wait let me stop that drive, no wait let me function by reality and see what is logical (the ego)”. The ego is logical because it included social and moral restrictions. So it is like people have a range of ways to respond to the world, instinctively (the id), rationally (the ego), and hyper-rationally/cautious (the superego). These aspects of the mind may be considered to each be so strong that they can be considered separate things, however – and that is how Freud’s classification helps.
    •Freud used the term “defense” referring to a persons effort to protect himself from the dangerous demands of the id and the conflicts it causes.
    •There are three possible sources of anxiety for the ego – threats from the outside world recognizable as a result of experience, demands of the id that the ego has to put down, and self-condemnation of the superego when the ego allows the id to get out of hand. Those three could also be turned around and looked at in an opposite light – for instance positive things can happen which wouldn't illicit a defensive response from the ego, such as viewing the external world as being pleasurable.
    •Any type of blocking or avoiding sexual feelings and thought is a function of someones higher, more rational mind (the ego). The ego "defends" you against your own powerful unconscious sexual mind.

    Importance of defense mechanisms of the ego:

    Defensive reactions (to protect your mind from "threats" such as self-condemnation from the superego and powerful drives from the id) are from the ego because the ego responses to reality and is rational and so are defensive reactions. If someone is acting defensively it is not like they are acting off their own instincts as much if they were to do something selfishly motivated, but instead from rationality, it is rational to be under control and reasonable. The ego represses the id by using defensive mechanisms. For instance - someone who is aggressive randomly probably is being more selfish in nature and more instinctual than someone who acts aggressively for rationally and is just being defensive (the ego). When someone acts for their own benefit it is more instinctual because people are driven by instinct to want various things that may cause them to become aggressive. Being defensive can be viewed as being instinctual, but it isn’t nearly as instinctual as someone doing something from a large selfish motivation – because that is much more natural and innate – and large emotions, especially powerful ones (as used in aggression) are more instinctual than thought and rational action because they are more like automatic reflexes, similar to how instinct is automatic. It is like being aggressive for selfish reasons is so selfish that it is instinctual and automatic, however when someone is defensive they are just being logical, not acting off their natural instinct of desire."


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    Last edited by R_Baird; 04-04-2016 at 12:06 PM.

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