My orientation to the world before now was strange indeed. I now understand the origins of that orientation and why it was misunderstood by others, who could not have understood the origins of a profound drive in me I did not understand myself.
It comes back to my father and the way he used to speak to me on two levels, simultaneously. On the one side, he spoke to me as his angry, rejecting step-father had spoken to him. “You are no good. You don’t belong. You have to conform to the capricious expectation of every stranger, or else you are unacceptable.” This way of speaking to me filled me with shame. Being unacceptable, one does well to hide oneself from the world. At the same time as he spoke, he spoke in an opposite voice. This voice said, “Watch out! Don’t listen to the angry father, who was my step-father. Submitting oneself to the arbitrary will of others leads to a hell that I’d like to see you escape. Don’t really listen to the words I’m saying, but to the emotional tone underneath: I’m warning you about what not to do, if you want to be happy.
I am certain — not just on the basis of logic, but on my father’s testimony — that had I listened to the overt voice, rather than the subtle and implicit tone of his disavowal of his angry father, my life would have been ruined. One must ignore authority and go one’s own way, he was trying to tell me.
How does one take from this mode of communication a meaning by which one can live one’s life? Clearly, the child that remained in my father was asking for much by way of protection from his vicious step-father. This was a request for redemption — and it became my quest to find the key to redemption of the historical past. My memoir was in aid of this. My thesis, even more so. I had to find a way to address the request for help. Otherwise, the angry father would keep screaming and screaming. The child would be continue to be hurt forever.
My ultimate construction of a system of “intellectual shamanism”, was a way for me to solve the problems I’d inherited through my family. I had to address my father’s childhood trauma, because if I didn’t, I would still know about the emotions he’d experienced, which were unresolved. One does not walk around expressing an attitude that problems are resolved when they are not so. That is to fall into trap set by a step-father who demands outward conformity without regard to inner emotional states. That was what my father had warned me against — the path that leads to unhappiness and emotional self-destruction.
What the three writers who predominate in my thesis have in common is insight into this thinly expressed understanding that I gained from my father. For Nietzsche, to engage in any activity without the cooperation of one’s heart and soul was a “recipe for decadence”. For Bataille, “inner experience” was paramount. And, Marechera considered it more laudable to sleep under hibiscus bushes than to submit oneself in any way to an authority’s draconian designs. In pursuing a path to inner experience, I was fulfilling a request I had received from my father. I was to redeem history. Although I didn’t understand it at that time, this became my imperative. I put everything I had — all of my intellectual and emotional resources — into solving the problem. I seemed to conclude that the “child”, the double of the angry step-father, had to cross a bridge back to his emotional self in order to restore his state of being. He lacked the emotional strength for the task, and I had been baptized into this role in his stead.
A shaman restores the state of well-being by “facing death” on behalf of others. So, I defied, relentlessly, the will of the angry step-father. Each time, I regained a bit of ground for emotional use. Each time, the principle of conformity died with me. The terror entailed by disobedience to the primeval law increased.
Finally, I was exhausted, but I had fulfilled what was necessary for me to do, by defying the primeval law and opening up the space for intellectual contemplation of emotional issues and matters previously hidden.
I still feared the strangeness of my father and his unpredictability, but I took immense pride in the fact that I’d tried with all my might to bring redemption to the situation.
A few months later, my father had his stroke. Intuitively, many of my family felt that he’d been holding onto life by such a slim thread anyway, that he should be allowed to die. They saw nothing but a linear continuity of life, where character remained the same or worsened with each blow. I had been studying shamanism, however, and was convinced by now that brains were quite adaptable.
We held his one hand for the next few weeks. The other side of his body was immobilized by the severe damage to the right side of his brain. I told him he had brought me up well — which was certainly not a lie in relation to the early years of my life. The specialist said the best case prognosis would be that he would be able to speak “a few words” (which somehow I took metaphorically, rather than literally) and would walk with a stick. Nowadays, he speaks fluently just as before, but is far more forthcoming about the nature of his experiences (due to less right brain inhibition). He also walks and jog and can use his left side, although sometimes awkwardly. He expresses a great deal of gratitude and jokes a lot, but I haven’t seen him angry.
Once again, this is the reverse of the prognosis that he would become deeply depressed, frustrated and angry due to his disability.
I made mention recently that passive consumerism is the new psychological condition that has become rampant. Many people strongly resist the notion that they are passive consumers. They like to see themselves as moral arbiters instead. They’ve now realized that anything to do with “change” is trick, perhaps even a force for evil.
The discourse of the left has become less practical, more resigned and moralistic. “Don’t you realize that our original trusting natures have been traumatized by too much politics?” Such original natures were no doubt pure and discerning, but lost their purity and capacity to discern right from wrong the minute they accepted novelty or innovation.
The only way to restore the purity of the original nature is by a reinforced will to embrace passivity.
Otherwise, trauma and disappointment lie around the corner.
But, trauma and disappointment also follow those who embrace a sense of nothing as their morality.
A most nefarious aspect of late Capitalist society is the idea that people ought to work on themselves to change to be more effective. Of course there are many ways to analyse, see and be better at what you do. This is different being exhorted to adapt and improve to respond more effectively to the demands of others. A problem with accommodating the demands of others is that they have not been screened to determine their rationality, freedom from malice, capacity to perceive accurately, ability to be free from prejudices, and so on. Adaptability thus becomes a spiritual meat-grinder. To refuse to pass through the meat-grinder gives the impression that one considers one’s present state to be all too precious. After all, others have happily passed through it, or so it would seem. To pass through the grinder by accepting public opinion means that one is changed. In a fundamental sense, one has altered according to the needs, demands and emotional requirements of others. These others are a black box of consumerist needs and qualities that are defined abstractly. Tomorrow, they may have different demands.
Adaptability is demanded by an unstable economy, and capitalism is the quintessence of economic instability, since its principles of success demand constant change. Although economic systems are, in themselves, without moral meaning, people nonetheless assume that adaptability has a moral meaning. To fail to adapt when change is demanded of you seems to imply retaining the aura of an unethical stance. After all, others demand it and your own well-being (in the short-term) depends on it. The situation you are commanded to adapt to may be amoral, but you stance sure as hell isn’t.
Responsiveness is a market need and anything else is not self-preservation but selfishness, for the market eats all of its children — and it eats them again and again.
Perhaps it is due to the hollowness of market demands that many these days now refuse to be anything other than what they “are”, maintaining that if they have any deficiencies, these are surely biological and unchangeable. The market for psychiatric drugs increases, as many fall back on the position that there is nothing they can do to change themselves. At the same time, everybody recognizes that acquiescence to market forces is necessary, no matter how illogical or harmful their impact on the person.
So contemporary society poses the problem: “Change is impossible (because it’s never enough) — but it is necessary for survival.” It is no wonder that most people’s responses to its demands for adaptability remain incoherent.
Giving children psychiatric drugs is an example of a typical non-response.
Many influences were those of my early life. I kept coming up against that my name depended on who knew who I was. For example my step father would say that my name was Peter Francis foster Armstrong, and that was because I was adopted – the foster part. The point is that young kids need stability. They need to know what they can rely on. Don’t tell them stuff they can’t rely on. It’s no use to them at all. Then, my father decided I ought to go to boarding school, a very English habit, although not exactly Rhodesian. Boarding school is a bad place for people who are insecure. Every single kid in there hated it. They coped by becoming very aggressive and beating up anyone weaker. I looked around for something to give me a feeling of permanence and all that seemed permanent was my depression. I clung to my depression.
Achieving permanence of some sort became my philosophy for a while. I became very gloomy. If I felt lost, I would just revert to my sadness. When you’re at boarding school, you’re getting knocked around all the time. It’s not hard to find something to be sad about. Just being left at the boarding school, away from home, wasn’t a good feeling. Even at home, I felt I couldn’t rely on my parents. They were both unpredictable. My father could be very hurtful. He was a bit messed up. My mother would suddenly start beating the hell out of me. I can only guess she was feeling uptight. She’d had a hard life. When she remarried, and I don’t think it was a very happy marriage. Dad insisted on taking control and he was a very negative person, pedantic, perfectionist and fastidious. He was verbally abusive. Mum used to hit.
After school, I would walk around our garden. We had five acres. My parents had put a lot of work into the garden and it sort of contained their personalities in the garden. I noticed that as I walked around, I’d come across the water pump, pumping water out the ground. As I looked at it, I would remember all the agony they’d undergone to put it in there, and in a way the water pump became filled with their personalities. If I wanted to relate to my parents, I would look at the water pump. Since I found I could get stability from objects, in a trivial way, I took to stealing. I would help myself to sticks of a chalk as I wanted those colours.
In boarding school you had to have a rest every afternoon. From our lunch, which would be about two o’clock, you had to go lie on your bed,and no talking allowed. You had to be there until three o’clock, at which time a bell would go and you could get up and do your thing. I read books. I actually remember the day I realised I could read. The teacher was away and I was sent to another classroom. I sat down with a book and I went though all the processes of sounding out the words in my mind, and slowly began to make sense off all the words. When I got to the end of the first story, I was excited. The mystery of the disappearing cat. From then on, I started to read.
I learned to link certain situations with experiences I had. If the story involved Christmas, I visualised my family at christmas and built the story around it. For me, reading was a bit like doing a jigsaw puzzle. If the story was too exciting, I’d get all wound up, because I’d become part of it. Almost every story became exciting. By the time I was ten or twelve, I thought I could fly a plane, since every time I read a book about flight attendant Bigglesworth, I would envision myself flying all these planes. By contrast, arithmetic was absolutely awful, because if couldn’t visualise myself in it. In a book about a world war two guy who escaped in italy, he was shot. In my mind, I made it so real, that I woke up with vomit down my side.
When I was about eight my parents next off some place and left me for about four hours. While they were gone, I suddenly saw flames on top of a hill next to us. These flames were twice the height of a house. The only time I’d seen smoke coming off from anything was a train. When my mother came back, I told her there was a train going over the top of the hill. It was a bush fire, but it could have been a train, as I used to hear train noises at times. There was plenty to cause fear.
I was sent to bed at eight and the noises would start. One was a steam train in the distance. Our house was an amateur building job with a thatched roof. The thatch was laid on wires. There were lots of geckos. During the night, the temperature changed and the wires would strum like guitar strings.
I would say that my biology has given me a particular induction into pain to which many, particularly males, will not be privy. I have, for a long time, been aware of extreme violence as an unavoidable part of life. Violence has long been established as the baseline of my capacity to experience the world. I’ve learned, as it were, to take my gulps of air from life quickly, because ultimately one is submerged in pain beyond belief. The oral contraceptive pill stemmed this for a while. I learned, however, that Nature is vengeful.
Without any form of chemical contraception, I’m at the mercy of Nature. Initially, she creeps up on you with a sensation of tingling in your finger tips and toes. Then the intensity increases until there is the effect of an electric current running through your body. Muscles, especially those used recently, start to contract and expand. One feels like a long distance running having already covered 20 kilometers in difficult terrain. Sweat gathers on one’s forehead. At first the body feels warm and then it starts to shiver. The moving in and out of the tides causes an increasing feeling of nausea. One is about to throw up, but this throwing up won’t stop the sensation of a knife jabbed deeply into one’s lower intestines. One sits on a toilet and the ripples in one’s system causes an easy evacuation of the load. But still the pain becomes more intense.
One tries to steady the mind, in between electrocutions, by not thinking painful thoughts. Negative memories trigger spasms throughout the body, that reverberate back and forth. One tolerates only neutral ideas — no revenge; no aggression. Every moment every fraction of a thought seems to fracture and open to reveal its contents. Even the thoughts one had not been aware of thinking seem to reveal themselves in this way. The spasms will have their way, and eating becomes impossible on the first day. One may venture forth with caution on the second day, but this is hardly to be advised.
One wakes up after a feverish sleep to notice whether the analgesics are still partially working. Reviving from sleep means one must continue to labor with one’s death wishes. The sensation of lying on a bed of nails does not let up. The next day, one’s hair looks dry and stressed and one’s complexion chalky.
This is what it was like growing up in a society where women’s health issues were not taken seriously. Nature was considered to be something that took care of itself. In the late seventies and early eighties, the birth control pill had been invented, but it was not offered as a solution to the female dilemma of being stabbed and electrocuted periodically. Our culture was, in many ways, backwards.
More recently, Nature was creeping up — again. My bodily chemistry had changed, and the oral hormones I was taken proved to be less efficacious in providing pain management.
Since I was losing my stealthy battle against Nature, despite using all the tricks accumulated in my book, I opted for an implanted contraption. This would give me a steady supply of hormones direct to my uterus, where it could sap them up.
To have an IUD implanted is like tolerating the investigation of your body by a huge alien robot. It’s not comfortable and everything about this alien seems huge. The final step of the implantation was like touching a hot stove and being sharply burned by it. After three seconds, the pain went away. I sat up and felt euphoric right away. That night I felt the hormones pumping. Their effect, in addition to the oral contraception already in my system, made me feel high.
My experience so far, two weeks down the track, is that I don’t feel any more a sense of Nature’s machinations.: that creeping up, the ecstasy of stealing time before she struck again. I don’t need to play so many games in order to preserve my sanity.
Also, for the first time, I’m observing other women in a different light. I used to think that dressing prettily was a sign of great frivolity in the light of Nature’s violence, when we would do better to set up military encampments against our impending doom.
I’m less dark, these days.
This one needs very careful reading
I guess this is controversial, but I was just stating facts from introspection.
In many of my readings concerning psychoanalysis, I keep coming across this expression: “The depressive position.”
Upon reflection, I wonder whether this term is key to enscapsulating the difference between how most Westerners experience their own consciousness, and the way I experienced life growing up.
I’ve spent 12 years delving for useful ethnographic information in my autobiography, and I can honestly say that at least for the first 16 years of my life I experienced nothing of envious competitiveness with any of my friends.
It wasn’t that I was of such superlative character than I simply rose above that. Rather, my life was just immensely full — and somehow the antics of my friends only added to that sense of fullness rather than detracting from it.
On a related matter, I have very often wondered how it could be that people brought up in Western culture — people who often…
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There are five shamanic stages to be found in Marechera’s life
1. THE STABLE “GOOD” WORLD—idealised as such, even if not so in actuality.
2. THE INTERVENTION OF EVIL AS DESTABILISING FORCE (LEADING TO DEPERSONALISATION AND DEREALISATION)
3. THE INTERNAL “TAMING” OF THESE FORCES FOR CREATIVE AND PRODUCTIVE ENDEAVOUR
4. THE ACQUISITION OF POWER (INCLUDING KNOWLEDGE AS POWER), POWERS OF TRANSFORMATION AND INSIGHT INTO HOW THINGS ACTUALLY WORK ‘BENEATH THE SURFACE”
5. THE STRUGGLE TO MAINTAIN INTERNAL EQUILIBRIUM “ON THE FENCE” BETWEEN TWO WORLDS.
5 shamanistic features to be found in Marechera’s work:
1. autodestruction and regeneration of the self
2. the use of imagination to supplement reality (tragic sense that life is in need of repair)
3. rebirth through shamanistic initiation to become no longer the child of one’s parent/s
4. the doubling of the self; The shaman’s body always projects a double shadow on the ground…
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I was not happy that I couldn’t go to Zimbabwe, due to it’s political status at that time, and had to go to the UK instead. Actually, I’m just making fun.
Jetlag has its own superordinary effect. It still lingers — and it is restricting my diet, making me prefer sleep rather than something to eat. I do not crave social company so much as I crave sleep, although I sometimes have these strange mad longings for things familar – the sun, the sound of a lover’s voice, familiar tones and faces.
Culture shock imposes its own version of delirium on the mind. It can give the mind a feeling of invulnerability up to a point, such as “I’m walking rather close to these construction workers on the street, but were I to slip and fall, they cannot hurt me, because either I or they are probably unlikely to exist.” (There simply cannot be both sets of us in this parallel universe.)
That is how it is when jetlag meets culture shock. There are other dilemmas, too — unresolved issues about…
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Here is a quote from shamanic solitudes:
[…E]motions felt by the shaman can suddenly appear. This happened with the shaman Ram Rai, who, during the dance, saw from far off the photo of his recently deceased brother, standing on a shelf. Ram Rai burst into tears. These were not the tears of Laladum [the wood nymph with back to front feet], but the tears of a man, who re-emerged at that particular moment. But this too is part of the ritual. It is not an anomaly. It is simply the irruption of a new fragment that makes up the shamanic ritual’s complexity, providing for the fact that, among the various actors taking part on the stage, besides the gods, there may also be the “man-shaman”.
The shaman’s body always projects a double shadow on the ground. A subtle tragic vein seems constantly to underlie every shamanic ritual performance. Just so…
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an insight about Nietzsche and shamanism
I’ve been reading Nietzsche more through a shamanistic lens lately and it is quite clear to me what is going on here, that is what dynamic is driving his need to oscillate between the surface of life and its meaning and its depths.
Quite clearly, the self-cruelty that he sees as being necessary for obtaining knowledge is akin to the shaman’s self-cruelty in choosing to associate with death.
Quite clearly, too, the “surface” of life and the drive to maintain its apparent superficiality relates to the normative side of life, heavily monitored and policed by ego-defences, and — according to Nietzsche — quite rightfully so. (But even in this, we have the resonance of the conceptual and even practical shift between two selves — the one who would rather stay on the surface, and the one who would rather dig deeper for a better resource of knowledge. This doubling within Nietzsche’s writing…
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There’s much complexity to the psychoanalytic term, “pre-oedipal state”. Different writers also give it different meanings and weight. For those who follow Klein, along the lines of Bion and Meltzer, there are gradations between being in the paranoid-schizoid position and being able to accept the value of others. Some of the later practitioners define the nature of the gradation as a movement between paranoid-schizoid subjective position and the so-called depressive position, the latter being where others come to figure as separate objects in their own right. The process of this separation may be gradated and yet still called pre-oedipal. One is either at the earlier stage or the later stage of separation from subjective states suggestive of ontological unity with others.
If you think you don’t view the world through some or various gradations of this consciousness, you are nonetheless still bound to do so as it is part of “human nature” and indeed, if the world were not given coherence by means of your unconscious projections, you would see yourself as being equal to every other person, whilst not having many essential characteristics that differentiate your identity from others. The ability to recognize and to have a more precise individuality applies to few — and it takes many years to be able to separate oneself from others, particularly one’s family. The political forces governing one’s childhood both help and thwart adult identity.
This psychologically ubiquitous, regressive part of our consciousness is particularly adept at bringing us into conformity with power hierarchies by re-proportioning parts of our personality to be able to accept our place within them as “natural”. We project the sense of self-competency upwards in the hierarchy, and the sense of our own incompetency downwards towards those who are defined as lower than us in the social/political hierarchy. That’s how it is and how reality is distorted and people attain particular gradations of positive or negative identities, depending on where they are in the social hierarchy.
At the same time, the altogether human tendency to project into others is so natural to human social relations that one would not do justice to the human mind to label this dimension as always and inevitably pathological. I will explain how there can be something positive involved in our capacity to project.
In some cases, the “pre-oedipal field” can also have a positive value if it is not entirely immature but has developed towards appreciating others. Shamanistic initiation ought to bring about such a sense of the nature of being as sharing one’s existence with others — for, to empathize also involves projecting, only we project our understanding and sensations into situations that are not purely to do with us.
This is the site of the author’s wound. Shamanism could be construed as a way of rebuilding the body as a material body, starting with the bones. Mind body dualism exacerbates the sense of the abject, that Kristeva refers to as a natural process of maturity, and which she sees as being consolidated by learning to speak. The author’s distaste for Immaculate’s sexuality, as well as his sense that “on the threshold of puberty” (in the short story) language was being separated from him indicate the breaking point which splits the tree down the middle.
The rebuilding of this tree of self (Eliade sees it as the bridge that unites the upper and lower realms with the middle realm of non-ordinary reality – ie, the elements of reality controlled by the memory, and sensations directed by outmoded cultural framing) requires (logically) an emotional reconciliation with the abject in order to dominate the negative aspects…
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According to my understanding of Bion, the mechanism of projective identification functions in terms of our need to have others process emotional material into a digestible (and communicable) form for us.
“I cannot tolerate this state of mind — you have it,” is the preconscious motive governing projective identification. Actually it is only a part of our mind that we require the other to have, the part that arouses anxiety. To complicate matters further, the specific (and often idiosyncratic) nature of our anxiety is itself a product of the way we have been nurtured — our social conditioning.
So, we require that others use their minds, or sometimes their bodies, to process that which we fear we cannot. We require them to use their minds in such cases as when we are leaning upon them for support — then they become the processing “container” for our undigested thoughts (or Beta…
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The best place to start in terms of understanding Marechera from a shamanistic point of view is from his own words in a typewritten journal that was reproduced in part in a posthumously published set of his works, Mindblast:
My father’s mysterious death when I was eleven taught me – like nothing would ever have done -that everything, including people, is unreal. That, like Carlos Casteneda’s Don Juan, I had to weave my own descriptions of reality into the available fantasy we call the world. I describe and live my descriptions. This, in African lore, is akin to witchcraft. My people could never again see me as anything but “strange”. It hurt, for the strangeness was not of my own making; I was desperately cynical for the descriptions were the only wierd things I cared to name “truth”. They were the heart of my writing and I did not…
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This is the seed for an article
Bataille’s conception of sacrifice makes clear his own view of the overwrought nature of the human condition — at least as he and Lacan experienced it in 20th Century France. Conforming is always a concession to impersonality, in both Bataille and Lacan. Conforming preserves the bourgeois person. The cost is impersonality; the benefit is preservation of oneself via creature comforts, bourgeois status and (impersonal) identity. The practical opposite to this norm of bourgeois conformity is personal self-actualisation. Herein is the Nietzschean paradox (and it also depicts what I call “intellectual shamanism”). To self-actualize is to give up the benefits of self-preservation:
I love him who reserveth no share of spirit for himself, but wanteth to be wholly the spirit of his virtue: thus walketh he as spirit over the bridge. (Nietzsche)
Bataille takes up a Nietzschean perspective when he associates self-actualization with sacrifice. He is also Freudian (and was used by Lacan to develop his perspectives), for he views sacrifice in terms of psychological deviance, on the basis of one’s circumstances being untenable (the need to represent impersonality in the workplace leads to an opposite, reactive attitude, once one has time to oneself). In his essay in book form, Theory of Religion, Bataille portrays the worker in a state of destructive reverie. Bourgeois form and sobriety are sacrificed to despair. This structurally determined polarization of the worker’s consciousness is between the profane (one’s experience of work) and the sacred (one’s experience of free time, expressed as a frenzy of destructiveness.) Free time and money to spend purely to satisfy one’s appetites are the worker’s accursed share.
The Freudian influence on Bataille renders this reading of the worker and his behavior as pathological — although, like Lacan thought, necessarily so. Civilization is not experienced by organic and instinctively driven human beings as a natural condition, thus it necessarily produces its discontents. Bataille’s point is that society structures the psyche of the worker in terms of polarizing his consciousness, so that it swings between conformity and destructiveness. Bataille’s views are also Marxist.
Nietzsche’s views are not at all Marxist in any way. He expresses his views in terms of evolutionary proposals. He expresses his ideas in terms of Darwinism.
What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal: what is lovable in man is that he is an OVER-GOING and a DOWN-GOING.
This is a tragic view of the world — that in order for humanity to make progress beyond its apelike origins, many who aspire to do something great will fall along the way and not meet their goals. Their failures, however, are necessary, because they offer the basis for others to learn and thus succeed.
Thus for Nietzsche, sacrifice for the benefit of humanity is achieved by those who attempt — (and perhaps fail) — to self-actualize: a “down-going” is also an “over-going”. A failure to do all that one had wanted to is nonetheless also transcendence of humanity’s existing ape-like condition. One advances human evolution through one’s attempts. One sacrifices oneself to the future of humanity, rather than sacrificing the future of humanity to one’s self to the degree that one departs from the script of an impersonal conformist who wants everything to stay just the same.
Object relations psychoanalysis teaches us that as humans we keep many of the intra-psychological devices concerned with ego self-regulation, from our early childhood. As adults we defend our place within society by projecting, for instance, the qualities of masterliness upwards within a hierarchy, so as if to perceive our social context as if our own superior qualities were emanating from elsewhere, from those in the strata of social hierarchy above us. (Menzies Lyth). Likewise, to adapt to the logic of a pre-existing social hierarchy, we may be inclined to project onto those in the social strata below us our negative psychological qualities, being those we find less desirable in ourselves – in the terms of Menzies Lyth, we project downwards our incompetence.
To project upwards or downwards our emotional needs can end up with us losing touch with those particular elements. Along with the infantile but nonetheless adaptive tactic of…
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Bourgeois ideology creates the basis for postmodernist consciousness. The reason is its mind-body dualism. To have a real identity, within the bourgeois system, is the moral and phenomenological equivalent of being caught loitering. The body is the concrete aspect of the self that is capable of giving us a real sense of being. However, under bourgeois ideology, the body is necessarily divorced from the mind. Freed of its anchor in the real world, the mind is left to wander, moving from one mental state to another, without a consistent feeling of having any particular underlying identity. The disembodied mind thus believes that it has freed itself. Such freedom is a moral imperative — not to be bound by the “body” and its memories, which are believed to pertain to a lower aspect of life. Those who remain attached to concrete aspects of the self, including bodily knowledge and memories of…
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