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Reading the Witness - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
Reading the Witness
From Melanie Klein, The Psycho-analysis of Children --
The form in which interpretation is given is another thing of great importance. It should be modelled on the concrete way in which children think and speak. Peter, it will be remembered, pointed to the swing and said: 'Look how it dangles and bumps'. And so when I answered: 'That's how Daddy's and Mummy's thingummies bumped together', he took it in without the slightest difficulty. To take another instance: Rita (aged two and three-quarters) told me that the dolls had disturbed her in her sleep; they kept on saying to Hans, the underground train man (a male doll on wheels): 'Just go on driving your train along'. On another occasion she put a triangular brick on one side and said: 'That's a little woman'; she then took 'a little hammer', as she called another long-shaped brick, and hit the brick-box with it exactly in a place where it was only stuck together with paper, so that she made a hole in it. She said: 'When the hammer hit hard, the little woman was so frightened'. Running the underground train and hitting with the hammer stood for coitus between her parents, which she had witnessed till she was nearly two years old. My interpretation, 'Your Daddy hit hard like that inside your Mummy with his little hammer, and you were so frightened', fitted in exactly with her way of thinking and speaking.

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From: babyiwasshot Date: January 22nd, 2008 02:01 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

extracting confessions (an "extraordinary rendition" of the technique)

I don't know whether you're proffering this as evidence that psychoanlysis is more a means of imposition than interpretation, or evidence that psychoanalysis has the ability to "penetrate" the truth of a memory/situation.

Personally, I think the answer is BOTH. PSychoanalysis, in CONJUNCTION with logical deduction, has enabled me to pierce the REALITY of others' inner-life (thoughts). Recent example:

While at work on sunday, I CORRECTLY "caught" my co-worker cheating on his girlfriend--on his lunch break, an amusing story in itself--using both psychoanalytic theories and logical deduction. First, the deductive part: there's some girl who works at the front desk (we work at a gatehouse that's the first point of access to a hotel), who he had told me he was attracted to and who the preceding day (in a strangely uncharacteristic fashion) proposed driving down to the gatehouse HERSELF and giving us a sheet they didn't fax us, but my co-worker had already left to DRIVE up there himself.

The subsequent day, my co-worker took his lunch-break; about 40 minutes into the period of time he was gone (a total of about an hour), the GIRL from the previous day (Who is about his age) RETURNS from her lunch break. WE at the guardhouse are required to wave at vehicles entering, and when I waved at this girls something was DIFFERENT about her demeanor than usual; putting this fact together with the events of the preceding day AND a bit of INTUITION†, I reasoned that they had had a tryst.

When I confronted him with it--and the key is to do it in an INFORMAL manner, so the strategies that most people derive for dealing with ritual/formal scenarios, such as "the accusation" are impeded--he started breathing heavily, a sure sign of anxiety. I nailed his ass; he admitted it shortly thereafter.

†This is why psychoanalysis doesn't appeal to the mainstream, which demands cold facts/data. I, personally, find intuition to be as epistemologically valid as logic, but I think it's been stigmatized politically, given that WOMEN, in particular, are so good with it; thus, invalidating intuition gives men (who lean toward logic and such things) an advantage/POWER over them--legally, professionally, academically....watch that movie Sex, Lies and videotape; at one point in the flick, Andie MaxDowell's character KNOWS that her husband (played by Peter Gallagher is cheating (and he really is) but she can't PROVE it because her "rationale" is intuitive, which enables him to duck the accusation:

GALLAGHER: [some hyper-deductive denial]
MACDOWELL: Always the fucking lawyer.
GALLAGHER: Well your goddamn right, i mean: could you imagine presenting a case to a judge saying "i just KNOW he's guilty, your honor; i just have a feeling..."
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 22nd, 2008 02:09 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: extracting confessions (an "extraordinary rendition" of the technique)

That's a great story (and comment). Yes, I meant both, though I don't like Melanie Klein that much. I find her less open to the possibility of being wrong than Sigmund Freud was and far less likely to be self-reflexive about what she brought -- personal baggage, the desire for results -- to the analytic encounter. I do think that Freud was right that much of the resistance to his theories can be explained by the way they tap into what most people are loathe to confront. I don't think the Oedipus Complex should be applied in every instance. I don't think everything is ultimately about sex. But I have also found that psychoanalyis a la Freud -- and perhaps even Klein -- sheds light on a lot of my own early childhood experiences.
From: babyiwasshot Date: January 22nd, 2008 09:56 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: extracting confessions (an "extraordinary rendition" of the technique)

hahah I've always been a believer that everything is absurd at it's core, and I can't think of anything more absurd than sex (seeing as it's simultaneously the most meaningless and meaningful human physical activity there is†), so a world in which the sex drive and pleasure principle are the sole impelling forces of every act doesn't bode too poorly with me.


†Great example: that Mr. Show skectch about "the taint". Worship of "the taint" seems blatantly absurd, but then, so does worship of the penis/vagina when you think about it, given that penis, vagina AND taint are all essntailly jsut piece of skin/flesh.
From: babyiwasshot Date: January 22nd, 2008 02:09 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

ps

IN fact, the character Graham in Sex, Lies in Videotape justifies my belief in bald, blatant honesty, too. The character never lies, and nothing all that bad happens; so some people may get weirded out by his "project," if they're so werided out as to refuse to associate with him, so be it. It's probably better to have relations with somebody predicated on transparency and truth than lies, which mandate "performance" of some kind.

.....admittedly, my admiration for the character ULTIMATELY stems from my identifying with him, probably, which relates to that post you made a few days ago.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 22nd, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: ps

The problem with going for transparency at all times is that it renders the desire for transparency opaque. But I can definitely identify with that character myself. Or I could, before I became soiled with wear. . . :-)
From: babyiwasshot Date: January 22nd, 2008 03:20 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: ps

In the end, I'm pretty sure I'll yield, too. Really, society makes it so that the only choice is wither yield or kill yourself.....or become homeless, which is what happens those who reject "normal" society altogether.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 22nd, 2008 03:22 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: ps

All too true. I've started rereading Deleuze and Guattari's The Anti-Oeidpus, which inclines towards a similar conclusion.
sisterblister83 From: sisterblister83 Date: January 22nd, 2008 04:08 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
If Klein was practicing today, she'd be indited for countless charges of child endangerment, recklenessness and just misconduct. The worst case was with little "Dick" (the pun was so intended on her part) and how his feces represent the casual mess of sex between his parents. The feces were black, odorous, hardened and forgotten, without love... just sex. Gaaah! Bad Klein. :)
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 22nd, 2008 04:49 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
You're right. She would definitely run afoul of the law. And she's one of my least famous practitioners of "classic" psychoanalysis, though it feels weird to say that, since I would like her, as the most famous woman of that world, to be an example of how men got it wrong.

That said, although she often did a terrible job with her actually existing patients -- if her writings can be believed accurate about her experience of the analytic situation -- I don't want to dismiss the ideas she was working with altogether. Although I see loads of problems with the theory of the Oedipus Complex, I also see loads of problems with regarding it as totally misguided. For my part, Adam Phillips seems to do a good job of bringing object relations into our post-everything world without throwing the proverbial baby out with the Huggie Wipes.
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