i sound like a bitchy gay robot

Sunday, 12 June 2011

What is a victim?

"A victim, for Lyotard, is not just someone who has been wronged, but someone who has also lost the power to present this wrong. This disempowerment can occur in several ways: it may quite literally be a silencing; the victim may be threatened into silence or in some other way disallowed to speak. Alternatively, the victim may be able to speak, but that speech is unable to present the wrong done in the discourse of the rule of judgement. The victim may not be believed, may be thought to be mad, or not be understood. The discourse of the rule of judgement may be such that the victim’s wrong cannot be translated into its terms; the wrong may not be presentable as a wrong."

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Memory & perspectives on the repetition compulsion

Memories reside in our ego, in a part of our psyche where it is pre-conscious, that is, available to consciousness.  From cognitive psychology, we know that it is not the 'full story' which is remembered, but certain, skeletalized moments.  Remembrance is an act of construction which brings those few pivotal moments into consciousness overlaying it with schema or filtering it through our current object relations and narrativizing it into a fully-bodied story, image, memory.  Our ego is, in part, a great narrator, a great story-teller.

One important question about memory is why it is unable to inflect our future behaviour to be more adaptive: for example, the classic case of the individual who narrowly escapes an abusive relationship... only to immediately trap them-self within another.

 While memories reside in systems of consciousness, our behaviour and (re-)enactment may act as the place-holder of forgotten traumas which do not, because they cannot, reside in consciousness, to give a silent voice to pain.  An attempt at bringing it into the realm of the Real.  Phantasies, related to secret and repressed desires, seek their fulfillment and our ego is left to narrate the why in a consciously-acceptable mode.

Object Relational
 Individuals keep elaborating on the same object relations, each and every time.  A few basic transactional styles, primarily inherited in the earliest conflicts and introjected objects, continue to function for the individual, finding objects with which to reproduce the same.

 The subject is repeating an early feeling state from the pre-symbolic world of the chora and the vocalics, kinesthetics, and chromatics of the semiotic pulsional network and the earliest worlds of representation.  The return to the chora is unconsciously desired after castration into the Symbolic and the only point of return, which gives a subtle kind of pleasure and feeling of 'home' even if it is a movement into terror, is in behavioural and interpersonal repetitions.

Friday, 10 June 2011

A Critique of Intuition

"Hysterical symptoms are not attached to actual memories but to phantasies erected on the basis of memories." -Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, pg. 491

Though both fantasies and phantasies are "all those representations, beliefs, or bodily states that gravitate toward [...] the preservation of the status quo" (Abraham & Torok, The Shell and the Kernel, vol. 1, pg. 125), phantasies are not fantasies

Whereas fantasizing is conscious wish-fulfilling thought-activity which is known to be untrue, phantasies are fantasies which are unacceptable to consciousness and have been split off to the unconscious, where they are not subject to reality-testing and no longer known to be untrue.  Sufficiently intensified but traumatic phantasies can circulate--"proliferate in the dark"--to become complexes ('counter-ego nuclei') which figure into the moment of re-creation in 'remembering'. 

The viewing of the self and its memories as concrete, stable, essential, grounded figures denies the ways in which desires, experiences, behaviours, and orientations are subject to and moderated by complexes and phantasies.  'Intuition'--as a pre-reflective rush of emotions and sentiments--have been valorized by a number of movements as the most important way to avoid self-deception and make the right decisions: 'trust your gut feeling'; 'listen to your heart'; or, worse, that intuition zooms the mind past barriers of time and space into the realm of occult clarivoyance which knows the future... At any rate, respect for intuition is important for articulating the complexities of the mental and emotional lives of humans, but unbridled valorization effaces the origin of intuitions.

What we intuit should be significant fodder for how we orient ourselves and make decisions, but is not the 'correct answer' ever.  We can slowly learn about our own complexes as we deal with the affects in our intuitions, but only if we recognize that what we don't want to talk about is exactly what we should talk about, that what we hate is what we love, and where our intuitions are steering us may be precisely what is holding us back. 

Monday, 6 June 2011

Fenêtres: II

[Quotes from Jean-Bertrand Pontalis' Windows, part 2]

"You assume he is our father. No, he's mine, I am his daughter. I'm the one he loved.
— How do parents go about convincing each of their children that they were the favorite one? And how can one be satisfied with the conventional statement, "I love you both the same"?
— J. slams the door when her husband, who had not concealed his affair with B. from her, declares, thinking it would placate her, "But I love you. I love you both, one as much as the other," making his case worse by adding, "in different ways." " (62 - 63)

"Hypermnesia, this hypertrophy of recording memory, all this energy concentrated in order to forget nothing. [...]
— Forgetting is necessary to give thickness to time, to access perceptive time. This test of mourning, of loss, of the separation with one's self is what frees us from reproducing sameness. A memory that would desire no loss is a dead memory. A living memory demands forgetting. Dead memory recorded everything except the living moments of today, which cannot be recorded.
— Hypermnesia, insomnia: they are sisters. Memory is what is asleep in us, our still waters." (69)

"Trying day, tiring, session after session, they all look alike, they all keep endlessly repeating themselves, I've heard it a hundred times [...]
— At night, to distract me from this day that doesn't end, I pick up a novel [...] It often happens, said Therese, that one invents sicknesses for oneself after a death. It's a way of feeling less alone. You split in half if you will. You take care of yourself as if you were an other. You are two again: myself and the one I"m taking care of. [...]
— A monad without doors or windows. Hostile in front of everything that would disturb self-reliance.

Analysis is, perhaps, along with love, the only experience that takes you "out of yourself." " (81 - 83) 

"Clearings: light, fragile rays of sun through the leaves, opening, but opening through a crack that for so long was not visible. [...]

— In my clearings, I am never alone." (113 - 114)

Friday, 3 June 2011

Mourning the Memory of a Streetcorner

"[E]verything will be swallowed along with the trauma that led to the loss.  Swallowed and preserved.  Inexpressible mourning erects a secret tomb inside the subject."

The ramp down to the river ... the butter chicken place, for international calling cards; the gay coffee shop, where C. saw R. through the window; the lemongrass chicken vermicelli bowls with D.; the bad date with N. at the hipster restaurant; the Italian place where A. showed off her girlfriend; the art-house theatre, with every ghost ...  "Rest assured, your love is pure" ... a flute refrain, an ascent, a stolen past ... turning everything into salt ... I have to pretend you aren't there or anywhere.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Fenêtres: I

[Quotes from Jean-Bertrand Pontalis' Windows, part 1]

"Geography: The sunken part of the earth's surface, situated below sea level and generally filled in with water.
— These depressions have always been of unequal depth, which allows the following distinctions: a neritic zone or all marine waters that lie at depths of less than 3,000 meters, a pelagic zone that extends from 3,000 to 5,000 meters deep and an abyssal zone that includes large marine craters beyond 5,000 meters deep. [...]
— The abyssal mother at the very bottom of depression?" (26 - 27)

"I can only trust signs and no sign is reliable. [...]
— Hypochondria: my organs persecute me. My organs: so many objects inside of me became my present and potential adversaries, merciless attackers. I am now their prey.
— Jealous passion: she is hiding something from me, she lies, she has a life of her own and that's it -- I have nothing left in me except this "object," I am conflated with it. I am possessed [...]
— When the woman he thought he loved left him -- she was his, he was hers -- this man became a hypochondriac." (38 - 39)

"Meaning is not the opposite of nonsense. If you work at it, if you "rack your brains," you can always find some meaning in nonsense. Meaning is opposed to the formless, to the meaningless." (55)

"[The sensitive] quickly transform their perceptions, or rather their impressions, into signs, or rather into clues. They extend the empire of uncertain signs well beyond its definite borders [...]
— The jealous type is sensitive, always on the lookout for clues proving that he has been duped -- he isn't always mistaken; the lover also, about signs that would assure him that he is loved -- he is often mistaken." (56 - 57)

"[A]ll our efforts to master what we aren't assured of grasping or retaining, [...] the whole game of representations, which suffer from the lack of presence and that however tireless those representations are as well, they look for it, demand it, this presence.
— All this thread, as fragile as it is, is what connects us to the other, to life. Should it break -- existence is held only by a thread -- then it's death." (60)