Aggressive narcissism

The patriarchy insists that women should be thoroughly passive, and that it must somehow play witchdoctor, inspecting the entrails of female behaviour, in order to discover their mysterious meanings.

This insistence on women’s passivity by the patriarchy is necessary in order for women to play the role they are required to, under the patriarchy. That is, they are to be mirrors of men’s souls, nothing more and nothing less. So a male looking into a woman is supposed to be able to read his own sex drive, in terms of good or evil, and to make sense of it that way, in relation to other men.

If what he sees in the mirror makes him angry about himself, he may beat or kill the woman, but if what he sees of himself pleases him, he will try to couple with her in a more peaceful manner.

In any case, he is a narcissist who uses women as a means to an end.

My view here is based on thinking about people like Freud, and how they reflect upon masculinity and femininity. The puzzle is why so great an intellect as that of Freud’s was unable to figure out “what women want”. My conclusion is that patriarchy has fixed it so that women’s voices are silenced. But why? What did patriarchy want, when it fixed things this way, for surely it must have had some reason, some incentive? My sense of things is that patriarchy wanted a mirror for the male “soul” as it were (like Narcissus) — but more specifically in order for masculinity and the male as such to discern the meaning of his sex drive. And, looking at it closely, this was really Freud’s intention all along — to discern the meaning of the male sex drive, to focus on it, and understand its message for patriarchal culture.

But, as I have said, in order for the male sex drive to be able to read “objectively”, it needs to be in isolation from all other sex drives. The female drive has to be rendered a still lake. And so it was rendered so by patriarchy throughout the ages. And this is precisely why it became technically impossible — by virtue of patriarchy’s own logic and the way it had structured reality — to find out anything about the female sex drive.

In other words, patriarchy is institutionalised male narcissism which obliterates the Other.

UPDATE: Interestingly, THEO DORPAT seems to concur that Freud was culpable in attempting to override some of his clients’ self-expression, in order to impose his own rigid views. See:
http://www.amazon.com/Gaslighting-Interrogation-Methods-Psychotherapy-Analysis/dp/1568218281

 

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The Freudian Structure of the Psyche

Freud’s structure of the psyche has heavy lead weighing down the topmost level. The lower levels of the mind are weighted down by its force, pushed far into the basement, deep below the ground. There are not windows, no sources of ventilation for the occupants to breathe. The body, too, is submerged underneath the burning clay of Freudian consciousness. The body is a Vesuvius victim, half-dead, half aware and active, screaming. Such horrendous cries are readily condemned by those above the ground, who see it as an expression of so much vain hysteria.

Freud’s upper mind is allowed open windows, not too many, from which to gaze at others from a balcony with rose perfume on every ledge. (One needs it to smother the stench of rotting flesh that permeates the streets below from all the dead and dying and their problems. Freud does not to understate the sheer necessity of all of this.)

In Freudian terms, the anguish of the body whilst being burnt with hot sulphur and ashes is called: emotion. Emotion undermines the rose-hewn detachment of the Freudian upper mind — which wants to feel that it is quite happy sitting on a ledge.

The body politic

Those who do face the reality of the mechanisms of projective identification are extraordinary, and kind of shamanistic, for this is what they have to combat:


Bion says of the group, ‘My impression is that the group approximates too closely, in the minds of the individuals composing it, to very primitive phantasies about the contents of the mother’s body. The attempt to make a rational investigation of the dynamics of the group is therefore perturbed by fears, and mechanisms for dealing with them, which are characteristic of the paranoid-schizoid position. The investigation cannot be carried out without the stimulation and activation of those levels… the elements of the emotional situation are so closely allied to phantasies of the earliest anxieties that the group is compelled, whenever the pressure of anxiety becomes too great, to take defensive action’ (Bion, 1955, p. 456).

http://www.human-nature.com/rmyoung/papers/paper3h.html

The Daemonic

Why do idiots insist on using their image of me as a way to do sparring with their own shadow side?

I speak very directly and my speech is not rhetorically loaded to mean something other than what it appears to mean in plain language. However, there are those who strain to try to hear a tone of underlying nasty prejudice, adiscriminatory or discriminating tactic, the nasty dismissal tone that they feel identifies who they really are in their underlying essence.

And when they do not hear it, they do not hear anything at all. For the condemnation is what they are most attracted to. The condemnation is also what they fear to hear. It is what Freud termed the “daemonic” that attracts them to hear the same forms of condemnation against them, again and again. They long to repeat their traumas anew, in the hope of a spontaneous healing.

But I cannot help them there. Perhaps I am the ultimate sadist in that I cannot bestow upon them the prejudicial feelings they expect, so that they may kick and strain against them, and believe themselves to have confronted the evil that assails them in the world. (The ultimate sadist, it’s said, ignores the pleas of his masochistic interlocutor to acknowledge him through bestowing pain).

In any case, my words seem to lack meaning to these maschostic types unless I’m in the middle of berating them.

face this:

It seems to me that the shaman is often one who has done deliberate damage to their current character structure in order to break free from the control of superego:

IN FREUDIAN TERMS:

You cannot have the first thing you want (ie. in Freudian chitter-chatter, one’s parent — for the other parent would surely kill you). So you introject the law of the father instead, as superego, and walk around in a mode of delayed gratification — in line with what you believe are society’s expectations of you.

IN NIETZSCHEAN TERMS:
I like my new interpretation of Nietzsche — which involves a recipe for being shamanised (the shaman faces death). You have to get beyond yourself if you want to kill this old character structure.

IN HEGELIAN TERMS:

Well we can put a bit of Hegel in here, too: To become master, you have to face death head on.

IN SUM:

Your superego is keeping you a slave because you are afraid to face “death”. You fear that by doing your own thing you will surely die.

However, you need to face that sensation of death by going beyond your present version of self. That is the way to become the Overwoman.

—————————

Anti-colonial rituals and agitations

Like I said, this could really be the fundamental difference between being brought up in the type of colonial society I was, and being brought up in this much later, more advanced form of civilisation I am living in now.

In Totem and Taboo (1913,1955) , Moses and Monotheism (1939) , Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego (1922; 1959), [Freud] put forth his primal horde theory, in which the sons’ rage at the primal father’s freedom to exercise his sexual and aggressive instincts without restraint leads them to murder the father. The ensuing sense of guilt ushers in a more egalitarian, but at the same time a far more repressed version of society, in which no one is allowed to enact the primal father’s instinctual freedom. In this model, neurotic conflicts are primary in determining the form of a society, whereas in the model described earlier, society is the prime cause of neurotic conflicts.

It would explain a lot. The attitude of the white colonials — and indeed the blacks I went to school with — was quite overtly one of ironic distancing from the primal father (and would-be authority) and his claims.

In practical terms, we did not internalise a relationship of guilt towards the social system and its claims on us. We mocked it rather — not altogether with malice, but rather with a passion akin to an impulse for self-preservation. (That mockery is present and self-evident in Marechera’s writing, right up until his death — yet it was not unusual for a subordinate to take this attitude. In the same way, when a British emissary came to Rhodesia to talk the colonials out of their rebellion, the practiced ironic distance was maintained, leading to no political discussions whatsoever, but emissaries and colonials alike dancing on tables (according to what I can remember of the historical report.)

The sense was that if you could keep the sheer capacity for force of the primal father at bay, there was nothing more to do — and certainly nothing to feel guilty about. Thus, the colonials were often characterised as disenchanting children by the miffed members of the elitist British regime.

So much for colonials and their attitudes towards authority. One allowed the father (the authorities) a certain amount of freedom to do as he would: One was “authoritarian” up to a point, in that one did not deny that there was a necessity for the powers that be to take control. The difference between modern and colonial society was that one had barely internalised the necessity for the father’s will, except in a situation where he was directly and practically exerting it. Apart from that, one escaped it and its authority as best one could. That was considered the only reasonable or worthwhile way of playing the social game.

The internalisation of the guilt at (ostensibly) “father murder” — the overthrowing of a system of society based on the practical force of pure, physical power rather than on the inwardness of self-monitoring practices — was something I would not encounter until later. I consider the society I live in today to be largely (although not completely) geared towards the later order of things described above. The band of brothers concept describes the advent of a self-monitoring morality in society. This is more repressive and harsher all round – except for the proviso that sudden acts of physical violence to assert paternal authority are less likely to occur. Apart from the difference that physical violence is less a feature of this later kind of system, one actually becomes more internally authoritarian under such a pervasively moralistic system. [This is a real paradox, which I had sensed before, but never had the conceptual terms to describe it until now.]

The difference between living under a society of the primal father and living under a society of the band of brothers is huge. For me to understand this difference explains a lot to me about my own experiences. Why did I feel such a complete sundering of my life into parts — the part before I came to migrant and the part that emerged after I had landed in a very different society? It was as if I had to learn the rules of living all over again, right from the start. Instead of an ironic distancing of myself from authorities of all sorts, I had to learn to have an ‘identity’ and an ego — private property all of my own that needed to be watched over by me, and constantly defended.

Before this — and as strange as it will sound — I didn’t have much of an ego as such. What I defended against was not a guilty conscience for failing social standards, but rather something more immediate and practical — my own physical susceptibility to pain. The mechanism I used most to defend against pain was my sense of humour — always keeping the primal father at a distance through my sharp wit.

This was how I grew up in a colonial setting — and it took me many years upon arrival in this new place to discover even part of the reasons why my schoolmates looked and acted so subdued (so much for them to live up to — so much group guilt to recompense.) By contrast, I had always been quite light on my feet.

It still takes me a while to adapt to the new order. I still do not really understand it. When I am with those of a lower working class order, who acknowledge their real relationship to power (and are ironical about it), I feel quite normal. When I was in the military, where power was not so much a matter of internalisation but of external force, I also felt within my element. (So long as one knows where the power is, one can be ironical about it.)

I can understand the logic of refusing to be ruled over; the logic of resistance. Yet what I cannot understand it the wilful conformity I am supposed to adopt, from the heart. Would it be that I had the attitudes and ways of thinking of an actual masochist, I’d still have trouble complying.

What I have found:  when Westerners want you to conform, they do a little bee-dance. This bee dance can occur in academia or in the workplaces considered most professional. The key here is that it is supposed to be non-coercive. So a Westerner who thinks you’re not attending enough to something that is supposed to be a part of group spirit will do this dance. It will look for all the world like a really awkward and impromptu shadow boxing display. They will do their bee dance for you as a demonstration, and after that it will be taken for granted that you are compelled to do the bee-dance too. It is your moral and social obligation, since it is the pattern that has been approved by other bees as being the true bee dance. If you fail to do it then it will be taken down and noted as failure to conform to true group spirit. The band of brothers says so. There will be costs here and there — but you never know just where until the cost is thoroughly revealed to you, and then you’ll know. This is what the band of brothers hath commanded.

So throughout my adult life, I have had  sundry westerners do their funny and predictable forms of “anti-colonial” rituals on behalf of  me. I always can’t believe that human beings are acting like bees — because I’m waiting for something far more tangible and palpable. I’d like to see some palpable sincerity, some palpable directness and some palpable humanity, for instance. But all I get, despite my needs, is this funny little bee dance, telling me of the community’s objective standards and how I have the obligation to conform to them.

facing death

Heterogeneity is also about confronting one’s contingency and therefore one’s death. According to Bataille, facing death was one of the sternest tasks he took upon himself to do. I guess that death is precisely what we are compelled to face when all ego defences are bypassed. It is at the end of BLACK SUNLIGHT that the author faces his own death in the most obvious way. Yet, throughout the book, there are various experiences which bring the writer/protagonist very close to danger, and to some extent close to confronting his own death (whether through existential threat, psychosis, injury, of the deaths of those around him).

A confrontation with death is in fact sobering, rather than intoxicating.

A confrontation with life without its masks, is both ecstatic (intoxicating) and grief-ridden (sobering) simultaneously. Here, we enter the heterogeneous realm of deep and joyful ambivalence.

heterogeneity and trolls

Heterogeneity is expressed when we do something which doesn’t have the value of promoting us or emphasizing our abilities with regard to a production context. It is behaviour for its own sake, and not for the sake of the good of society. A troll  is one who engages in heterogeneous behaviour. Perhaps the troll mistakenly thinks that he is placing himself against the productive behaviours of others, through his trolling. Trolling becomes his very minor and affected way of expressing his heterogeneity, which he achieves by subjectively placing himself against the behaviour which he thinks produces public value.

There are positive manifestations of heterogeneous whims, although it is in the nature of heterogeneity that one can never prove aspects of heterogeneity publicly, no matter how good they seem. All expressions of excitability and pleasure which do not serve to put you into the positive books of some denizen of the production process could be considered positive aspects of heterogeneity (at least, as I am inclined to think of them.)
Well, I’m off to grade some martial arts students.

The failed logic of anticolonialism.

Be careful!

The logic of anticolonialism is exactly the logic of those who want to be purer than pure in the face of past history (I’m not sure if this is what Segrest implies, too, but it is my own view.) In other words, the logic of anticolonialism is the guilt complex of those who still feel as if they have blood on their hands! Why are the actual colonisers and their subjects silenced (I mean the ones who lived in the colonies)? Is it because they know too much about the nature of oppression, so they must not be allowed to speak of their experiences? Perhaps they know, too, that a day in the office in a properly western environment can spill more blood (psychologically speaking) than many a month lived out within a colonial outpost. It is not those who were sent out to do your dirty work for you who are the real sinners — it is you, yourselves!

She was in her own black sunlight 2

From Gifts Without Presents: Economies of “Experience” in Bataille and Heidegger

Rebecca Comay

“Intimacy” would involve, then, not the transparency of identity, but
rather the opaque intransigence of what connects at the point of
greatest secrecy. “Normal” communication (in the “profane” sense of
correspondence and consensus) cannot be more fragile, therefore,
than when “sovereign communication” silently rules. The darkness
of “common subjectivity” (to use Bataille’s language) would thus be
prior to the communal mergers of intersubjectivity, at least as clas-
sically conceived.

Communication, in my sense, is in fact never stronger than when
communication, in the weak sense, in the sense of profane language
( . . . which makes us-and the world-penetrable) proves useless,
and becomes the equivalent of darkness. We speak in various ways to
convince others and to seek agreement. . . . This incessant effort . . .
would be apparently impossible if we were not first bound to one
another by the feeling of common subjectivity, impenetrable to itself,
and for which the world of distinct objects is impenetrable. 19, 3111