The pre-oedipal politics of the whole and its parts

The idea of the pre-Oedipal involves the idea of ‘the whole’ — such that one sees oneself as part of the whole – the mother and child together being experienced as an ecological and political whole. A pre-Oedipal perspective (in this same vein) also leads to seeing others as part of the same ontology as oneself. Thus others appear as “other selves”, rather than as those whose trajectories of life are necessarily independent and detached. Quite simply, if other lives intersect with one’s own, then the subjective nature of one’s perception of them makes them “other selves”. Magical thinking, projective identification, dissociation and splitting are all functions within a pre-Oedipal way of ascertaining the world, and in terms of the greater logic of the whole, parts of me may become parts of you and vice versa . In other words, the pre-Oedipal mode of perception employs psychodynamics which shift around parts of identities, within a basically unstable, but unified ‘whole’. Deleuze and Guattari make a great deal of this, in that they see the creation of “part objects” or “useful functions of a person” as being inherent to the way capitalism operates.

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