Here is my gift to you all, an amazing documentary:
In the opening chapter of his famous seminar on the ethics of psychoanalysis, Lacan draws a contrast between Aristotle’s “science of character” and psychoanalysis. He explains that while Aristotle’s method of self-fashioning is centered on the cultivation of habits, psychoanalysis deﬁnes itself “in terms of traumas and their persistence" (1959, 10). At ﬁrst glance, this distinction may appear misleading, for what could be more habitual than the persistence of trauma? What Lacan is getting at, however, is the distinction between habits that are intentionally cultivated and others that motivate the subject’s life choices without its conscious awareness. He stresses that psychoanalysis is interested in how the involuntary repetition of trauma shapes the subject's destiny independently of its willful efforts either to develop a character or to arrive at particular existential outcomes. If the habits that Aristotle talks about arise from the subject's deliberate attempt to manipulate the contours of its being, the “habits” of trauma determine its actions and overall life-direction in ways that are neither logically explainable nor rationally containable. They give rise to repetition compulsions that unfailingly guide the subject to speciﬁc goals, hopes, and modes of meeting the world at the expense of others, thereby ushering it onto the trajectory of its distinctive “fate,” “fortune,” or “destiny.” ---p. 13, The Singularity of Being
Even though the subject's affective trajectory (or destiny) may appear largely accidental, it is in fact driven by its characteristic way of experiencing and coping with trauma. In a way, nothing distinguishes one subject from another more decisively than the particularity of is approach to suffering. Trauma, as it were, resides at the loot of the subject’s and more or less inimitable character—what I have in this book chosen to call “the singularity of being.” ---p. 14, The Singularity of Being
When Lacanians refer to the Phallic order, they are referring to the profound effects of castration and lack on the subject. The Lacanian notion of castration and the desire of the Other is tied to the subject's assumption of lack; it is a matter of separation, … Once a person enters the symbolic world, a world of symbols, they incur a loss, a lack in being. This loss exists in tandem with a lack in the Other (which in turn is covered over by drugs, ideologies, the drama of everyday life, scientific knowledge, etc.)I am really interested in this book because of (1) My current obsession with Lacan! and (2) My long time obsession with the topic of addiction.
It is one of the themes in Kabbalah, and one of the themes in aspects of psychoanalysis, that we are broken. And, at the same time, there is an odd paradox---a kind of paradoxical monism rather than dualism---that we are whole and broken at the same time.You tell me, if this is not Persian style mysticism, then what is it?
What is real for Lacan can be defined as what resists the grasp of the symbol and cannot be circumscribed by language. The Real suggests the realm of the impossible or impossible to conceive, of which death is a paradigmatic example. Lacan's (1958) somewhat cryptic statement of what it means to be human---``Life has only one meaning, that in which desire is borne by death'' (p. 277)---suggests that to be truly human is to welcome the gain of desire and to accept the loss inherent in being a symbolic subject. It is because of such subjection that we are the only creatures with consciousness of our impending death. Each person is given calibrated degrees of freedom to pursue their desire and shape a singular life and death through the gift of language. The Winnicottian caveat to Lacan is that to creatively sustain desire in the face of impending death requires individuals first to establish a psychic place in which they feel real. Lacking this, there is only potential psychic catastrophe in every experiences gap in the self---something against which the subject must strenuously defend. This crucial issue returns us to Lacan's introductory quote---``The umbilicus of a treatment is the question of desire and how it is trapped in its birth or its movement'' (1954, p.167). ---p. 67, Between Winnicott and Lacan
Human beings are living creatures capable of speech and, as such, have been exiled from the animal kingdom regulated by the logic of the natural satisfaction of needs. ... Language has transformed us into beings subject to a logic that is other than biological or natural logic. Lacan described as ``real jouissance'' such unmediated satisfaction as is sought by the animal who pounces on its very prey out of hunger or follows the rhythms of its mating instinct. ---p. 35
Human beings speak and language has certain effects---perhaps most significantly, the body. Only humans have bodies. ... Animals, by contrast, have an organism, a biological machine regulated by needs that must be satisfied. ... The body is contrasted from the organism insofar as it is a body that is spoken of, ... carved up and made visible by language. ... Hence, the body is a series of pieces that no longer function according to the organic logic of the organism, that are marked by the Other, by language. ... ---p. 36
Thus, the human subject is a creature of language. For humans, the most natural events, such as birth and death, are wholly caught up in the symbolic web created by language. Human beings have reasons to live and to die. At birth, one is already linked to the realm of symbols and words that define one's future destiny. Long before conception, one is born as a subject, subjected to the discourse and the desire that resulted in one's conception and birth. One is born of a parental desire, which often predates one's birth by many years, and which may even date back to the desires of the parent's own childhood, now buried in the unconscious, of the little girl, for example, playing with her doll twenty or thirty years before becoming a mother. ... Bound to the unsatisfied desires of parents, to their fantasies and to the expectations built up through past generations, the child is born as a subject by this very capture into signifiers coming from Other. ... ---p. 37
A certain number of satisfactions are inaccessible to a being capable of speech. As Lacan would say, language makes impossible real jouissance, or jouissance of the need. In Civilizations and its Discontents, Freud had already remarked that civilization not only forces human beings to give up instinctual satisfaction in the name of a cultural ideal, but also substitutes for instinctual satisfactions various other satisfactions which are mediated, partial, and delayed. What Freud attributes to the renunciations inherent to civilization is understood by Lacan as an effect of language. The symbolic world of myths, beliefs, laws, moral and human values---which form the very tissues of civilization---is created through language.
A need aims at its satisfaction by searching for a specific and adequate object. Satisfaction implies a total appropriateness of the object; satisfaction is by definition complete. The originary capture of human being in language diverts the subject from that form of satisfaction. ... Culture imposes rules and behaviors; it dictates the framework, the places, the times, and the objects from which it is acceptable to gain satisfaction. ...
But the child is not directly confronted with the lack of satisfaction imposed by language. Rather, the child encounters parental demand which are in turn related to the prescriptions of culture. ... Only with adolescence will the subject face that which is beyond the arbitrary Oedipal and cultural prohibitions in all their forms by encountering that which is impossible to any human being. The subject's own desire as a subject will then become the way to claim a relationship to the lack of satisfaction, as it results from the human condition, and not just from some seemingly arbitrary parental or cultural prohibition.
... It is that lack, which is inherent to the ability to speak, that creates desire ... there is desire because there is something impossible. ... ---pp. 39--40
Freud insists on the fact that the child accepts the loss imposed by civilization only out of fear of losing the love on which the child depends for survival. At birth, one is in a state of total dependence, at the mercy of the other for the satisfaction of primary needs. ...The last quote is from the Stein's Book, ``Partners in Thought,'' and kind of expands on the theme of `psychic catastrophe' in the very first quote:
The law of father is what represents, for the child, the law of culture ...
... Thus, the father is purely a signifier. He is a metaphor; for the child, he represents the signifier of cultural law, the signifier of the effects of language on human beings.
... In addition, the parent introduces something other than the cultural requirement. With or without knowing it, what the parent demands from the child is fraught with the dissatisfactions that have marked the parent's own life. Such demands carry unconscious and unsatisfied desires from past generations ...
the parental demand addressed to the child in the name of culture always carries some surplus meaning. It represents a lack other than that which is imposed by culture, a parental lack, which manifests itself as such to child. ... This could be expressed as a question: ``What does the Other want out of me?'' or ``What jouissane would my mother have if I become this or that?''
... The question ... is: How far will this demand go? To what extent will the subject devote a lifetime to responding to the demand of the parent or to the demand of anyone who would occupy that place during the course of a lifetime? ...
Each culture has its ways to represent the impossibility of total jouissance. The signifier of the Law ... is represented by the father and serves to link up the child with the lack inherent to human nature. As for the signifier introduced by the Other's demand, it rather refers to the imaginary of a possible jouissance, that the Other requires. ... The imaginary of a possible jouisssance, as it is claimed by the Other, blocks any possibility for the subject to claim the lack in being as something that results from the linkage to language. From that, one can see how important it is that the parent---in this case the mother, since she is in a position where she can refuse to give a father to her child---has assumed the impossibility of jouissance and, accordingly, that she does not expect from a husband or from her child the satisfaction of her unfulfilled desires. ---pp. 40--43, After Lacan
The least fortunate people, whose personalities are most rigid, because they must protect themselves from the experience of the uncanny, from the eruption of not-me at bay, tolerate relationships that feel continuously dead and boring or hateful and destructive. The more urgent the need to isolate one's own not-me in the other, the more hateful and intensely sadistic the enactment necessary to accomplish the task. All enactments, especially those of not-me but even including bad-me, are adversarial; but it is much more likely, in enactments that protect one from having to bear the unbearable, for the relatedness to degenerate into violence, phsycial or emotional. There is no reason to hold back when the consequences of the enactment's failure (i.e., when a particularly virulent not-me threatens to come home to roost) are worse than any outcome of the interpersonalization of the dissociation. The dread of not-me can be compelling enough to lead to murder, sometimes of a virtual stranger, sometimes of a spouse or other family member, as Stein (2006) shows in a case culled from Federal Bureau of Investigation files of violent crime. Fonagy and his collaborators (2002) describe patients, incapable of mentalization, who are reduced to protecting themselves from an outer world that, because the patient operates in the mode of psychic equivalence, seem as literally dangerous as their inner world of fantasy. ---p. 156, Partners in Thought
Feud cautioned in 1905, ``No one who, like me, conjures up the most evil of those half-tamed demons that inhabit the human breast, and seeks to wrestle with them, can expect to come through the struggle unscathed.'' --- p. xiii, Between Emotion and CognitionAnd here is Newirth's answer:
... the goal of treatment is not simply an expansion of the patient's capacity for decision making and consciousness, but the symbolization and integration of previously externalized unconscious fantasies that then become a source of creativity and energy: the generative unconscious.The last part is an exact description of my life only a few years ago! But what is the objective, the goal, of therapy as a tool for transformation and growth?
... symbolizing unconscious fantasy is particularly important for patients who present the modern dilemma of being successful in their activities in the external world while simultaneously feeling deadened and disconnected, and that their choices are not meaningful, subjective validating, or emotionally enriching. --- p. xv, Between Emotion and Cognition
A patient's ability to symbolize unconscious experience is a critical aspect of the development of subjectivity, the experience of being emotionally alive, of a sense of control or agency, and the capacity to maintain intimate relationships with others. --- p.xvii, Between Emotion and CognitionAnd a final note, back to discovering our own demons and dark side:
In my own work I have often thought about reversing the common view of psychoanalytic cure as `making the unconscious conscious' to `making the conscious unconscious', through helping our patients to integrate and symbolize their terrifying and unacceptable fantasies, which would allow them to enjoy and benefit from their own experience of ``wrestling with the demons of the unconscious.'' --- p. xvii, Between Emotion and CognitionI have an amazing talent in psychoanalysis; and not just understanding its theories but practicing therapy in my day to day relationships!
This distinction between presentational symbols that function as iconic, poetic, evocative images or actions that generate experience and meaning, and discursive symbols that represent information is critical ... Most traditional and contemporary psychoanalytic approaches view symbols primarily as discursive symbols, which suggests that the unconscious is a container of disguised, immature, and hidden meanings. Those approaches influenced by Klein, Winnicott, and Matte Blanco tend to view symbols as presentational symbols in contrast to discursive symbols, and view the unconscious as a generative organization creating meaning and evoking new experiences. ... discursive symbols represent a report function of language in which information is exchanged, while presentational symbols represent a command function through which an individual organizes his/her relationships and specifies how a particular message should be experienced and received. --- pp. 8-9, Between Emotion and CognitionAnd finally, the first two minutes of this performance when Mitsuko Uchida talks about the piece and performance is so beautiful. When she says how "being present" is so amazing and scary at the same time:
|چه دانستم که این سودا مرا زین سان کند مجنون||دلم را دوزخی سازد دو چشمم را کند جیحون|
|چه دانستم که سیلابی مرا ناگاه برباید||چو کشتی ام دراندازد میان قُلزُم پرخون|
|زند موجی بر آن کشتی که تخته تخته بشکافد||که هر تخته فروریزد ز گردشهای گوناگون|
|نهنگی هم برآرد سر خورد آن آب دریا را||چنان دریای بیپایان شود بیآب چون هامون|
|شکافد نیز آن هامون نهنگ بحرفرسا را||کشد در قعر ناگاهان به دست قهر چون قارون|
|چو این تبدیلها آمد نه هامون ماند و نه دریا||چه دانم من دگر چون شد که چون غرق است در بیچون|
|چه دانمهای بسیار است لیکن من نمیدانم||که خوردم از دهان بندی در آن دریا کفی افیون|
"I sometimes discuss dilemmas or problems with them, or ask their opinion about decisions, although I would never let them dictate something to me that I didn’t want to do – it’s like negotiating between different parts of yourself to reach a conclusion ‘everyone’ is happy with. So, for example, maybe there’s a voice that represents a part of me that’s very insecure, which will have different needs, to a part of me that wants to go out into the world and be heard. Or the needs of very rational, intellectual voice may initially feel incompatible with those of a very emotional one. But then I can identify that conflict within myself and try to resolve it. It’s quite rare now that I have to tell them to be quiet, as they don’t intrude or impose on me in the way that they used to. If they do become invasive then it’s important for me to understand why, and there’ll always be a good reason. In general, it’ll be a sign of some sort of emotional conflict, which can then be addressed in a positive, constructive way.
I think there’s actually more continuity between voices and everyday psychological experience then a lot of people realize. For example, everyone knows what it’s like to have intrusive thoughts. And most of us recognize the sense of having more than one part of ourselves: a part that’s very critical, a part that wants to please everyone, a part that’s preoccupied with negative events, a part that is playful and irresponsible and gets us into trouble, and so on. I think voices often feel more disowned and externalized, but represent a similar process."
``Where there is light, there must be shadow, and where there is shadow there must be light. There is no shadow without light and no light without shadow. Karl Jung said this about `the Shadow' in one of his books: `It is as evil as we are positive ... the more desperately we try to be good and wonderful and perfect, the more the Shadow develops a definite will to be black and evil and destructive ... The fact is that if one tries beyond one's capacity to be perfect, the Shadow descends to hell and becomes the devil. For it is just as sinful from the standpoint of nature and of truth to be above oneself as to be below oneself.'' ---p. 464, 1Q84I am in front of a dark sea; deep, unsettling, sometimes stormy and wild, sometimes serene and meditative. I tip toe around its shore for a while. Then, I walk slowly in ... more and more ... the water comes up to my knees ... to my waist ... to my chest ... to my neck ... and I feel the sand emptying underneath my feet. Do I take the last step? What will happen if I do? Can I swim the deep dark waters?
``In this world, there is no absolute good, no absolute evil,'' the man said. ``Good and evil are not fixed, stable entities but are continually trading places. A good may be transformed into an evil in the next second. And vice versa. Such was the way of the world that Dastoevsky depicted in The Brothers Karamazov. The most important thing is to maintain the balance between the constantly moving good and evil. If you lean too much in either direction, it becomes difficult to maintain actual morals. Indeed, balance itself is the good. This is what I mean when I say that I must die in order to keep things in balance.'' ---p. 447, 1Q84Coincidence?
``There is an episode involving the devil and Christ in The Brothers Karamazov, I recall. The Christ is undergoing harsh austerities in the wilderness when the devil challenges him to perform a miracle---to change a stone into bread. But the Christ ignores him. Miracles are the devil's temptation.'' ---p. 447, 1Q84In any case, humor and humility are important assets for the journey :)
Poems and poetry are, for me, a deep a form ofknowing, just like science. Yes, obviously, they are different. But each, in its way, is a way to understand the world.From:
... Ayumi had a great emptiness inside her, like a desert at the edge of the earth. You could try watering it all you wanted, but everything would be sucked down to the bottom of the world, leaving no trace of moisture. No life could take root there. Not even birds would fly over it. What had created such a wasteland inside Ayumi, only herself knew. No, maybe not even Ayumi knew the true cause. ---pp.368-9, 1Q84This void inside, the emptiness that I have written here about and from it over and over, instigates an insatiable urge in us to "do something", something that we cannot identify, and because we cannot identify the source and the cause, some of us try everything to numb and distract: drugs, sex, porn, internet, gambling, computer games, and the list goes on and on! And sometimes the intensity of the urge to fill the void leads to self harming activities:
Ayumi must have feared that such a thing might happen. She needed intense sexual activity at regular intervals. Her flesh needed it---and so, perhaps, did her mind. ... She preferred wilder, riskier sex, and perhaps unconsciously, she wanted to be hurt. ---p. 367, 1Q84In response to the uncontrollable urge to risky and addictive behaviors and activities, people with more discipline and will power develop and impose very rigid structure on their life. These constraints and rules assure them against the surge of emotions that originate from the void or the dark place within their soul:
I have to keep my emotions in check, ... It's time for me to stop crying. I'll have to change my attitude again. I'll have to put the rules ahead of my self, ... ----p. 369, 1Q84And this is the tragedy of our time. We wonder what is the roots of extremism and the revival of fundamentalist readings of religions. There you go. When I have a void inside, a defense mechanism to deal with the resulting uncontrollable urges is "to put the rules ahead of my self.''
Sunday collection rounds were an absolute rule: no exceptions, no changes. If he caught a cold, if he had a persistent cough, if he was running a little fever, if he had an upset stomach, his father accepted no excuses. Staggering after his father on such days, he would often wish he could fall down and die on the spot. Then, perhaps, his father might think twice about his own behavior; it might occur to him that he had been too strict with his son. ---p. 90, 1Q84I had a strange feeling, like remembering something quite vague, after reading this. This wish feels very personal to me.
But this seventeen-year-old girl, Fuka-Eri, was different. The mere sight of her sent a violent shudder through him. It was the same feeling her photograph had given him when he first saw it, but in the living girl's presence it was far stronger. This was not the pangs of love or sexual desire. A certain something he felt, had managed to work its way in through a tiny opening and was trying to fill a blank space inside him. The void was not one that Fuka-Eri had made. It had always been there inside Tengo. She had merely managed to shine a special light on it. --- p. 48, 1Q84I am creating my own approach to enlightenment and awakening these days, making good progress :) Anyway, I will write about that subject when I feel ready. But I sense an interesting connection to this quote based on my personal experiences. For the past few years, I have met people that would give me this feeling, of a light being shined on some parts of my psyche.
As Lucy reflected on her outrageous behavior of the night before, the memory only served to draw her upward, like a flower toward the sun...