121 Slices
Medium 9781855752160

1. Aggression and Death

Williams, Arthur Hyatt Karnac Books ePub

Originally, Freud stated that death was unthinkable in the unconscious mind, but was euphemistically felt to have gone away. He was forced to alter this view in light of the curiously lemminglike way in which much of the youth of Europe went to be slaughtered in the impersonal battles of World War I. Dying for their countries seemed to predominate over fighting for their countries, at least in their thoughts and fantasies. When Freud changed his mind about the ideas people have about death, he wrote “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” (1920), in which he set forth his theory of life and death insdncts. Later, he seemed to be somewhat doubtful about it all, and at one point said to his followers, “You may accept this theory or not, as you choose” (Hoffer 1952, personal communication).

Melanie Klein took Freud’s theory of life and death as one of the cornerstones of her work, both dieoretical and clinical. The death instinct and the life instinct, she stated, began from the beginning of extrauterine life (work on prenatal life, particularly in Northern Italy, suggests that these two polarities begin a long time before birth).

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Medium 9781855759589

CHAPTER SIX: Some thoughts on the essence of the tragic

Karnac Books ePub

K.I. Arvanitakis

An attempt is made to define the essence of the tragic through an examination of Euripides’s The Bacchae, a tragedy that deals with the origins of tragedy itself. The action here culminates in the dismemberment of Pentheus by his mother. It is proposed that the tragic may be related to the earliest phases of differentiation of the subject as a separate entity breaking off from the original mother–infant unit. Tragedy, in this view, could be regarded as the enactment of a primal phantasy of the birth of theIas the result of an archaic act of violence. The process of mourning for the loss of the original unity is central to this development. Pentheus’s tragic flaw consists in his repudiation of contradictory dualities and his inability to mourn. The integrative function of logos, both in tragedy and in the analytic process, is underlined. It is suggested that logos aims to generate meaning not by eliminating contradiction but by embodying the foundational human paradox.

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Medium 9781855757370

CHAPTER TWO. An Independent theory of clinical technique

Karnac Books ePub

Michael Parsons

The word “Independent”, with a capital “I”, entered the psychoanalytic vocabulary around 1950. That was when, after the so-called “Controversial Discussions”, the informal “Middle Group” of analysts, who did not align themselves with either Anna Freud or Melanie Klein, agreed to become formally a third group within the British Society: the Group of Independent Psychoanalysts. Melanie Klein settled in London in the late 1920s and became an influential member of the British Society. A polarisation developed between her views and those of Anna Freud about child analysis and about early psychic development. So long as Anna Freud was at a safe distance with her father in Vienna, these debates remained at the level of theoretical and technical discussion. The flight of the Freud family to Britain in 1939, however, brought Anna Freud to settle in London as well, and from then on the arguments between Klein’s adherents and those of Anna Freud took on an acrimonious, personal quality. The essential points of theoretical disagreement were about Klein’s emphasis on early infantile phantasies, which Anna Freud did not believe in, Klein’s stress on innate destructiveness as the main factor around which development was organised, which Anna Freud thought devalued the importance of infantile sexuality, and Klein’s early dating of the Oedipus complex. The Controversial Discussions in the early 1940s clarified these differences but did not resolve them.

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Medium 9781780491745

CHAPTER SIX: Night fall

Williams, Paul Karnac Books ePub

One black small hours night awoke screaming not the scream of a nightmare that stops when you realise it’s a dream the continuous ear-splitting shriek of someone in agony toothache he’d never known split open the back of one of his front teeth fell out nerve exposed pain indescribable the people called parents did not take to being woken up to silence him something had to be done the woman called mother telephoned the dentist’s surgery at the end of the street demanded something be done yes it is past midnight held out the receiver hear the screaming unlit street jacket over pyjamas tongue pressed against the back of front teeth ease throbbing in the aching night air head made a mistake at one point mouth air struck the nerve like an arc of electricity nearly passed out. The woman called mother was with him she did not scream at him. Was this care? She was with him. Didn’t feel care watched tense two sources of pain his hers. Reached the dentist’s house the woman called mother banged on the door dishevelled dressing gown ill-tempered man let them in bent double fell into hallway chair head held man called dentist ordered him to a room unlike anything he’d seen glaring lights white cabinets white chair festooned with chrome mirrors trays never been to a dentist didn’t brush teeth didn’t have a toothbrush nor did anyone in the grey box as far as he knew sixteen no idea you don’t brush your teeth they rot hygiene not a priority in his “family” weekly fortnightly bath unusual same clothes weeks months a peculiar cleanness did happen when clothes washed the woman called mother didn’t wash taken away brought back starched crisp paper bags “The Swan Laundry” clothes sheets towels socks everything came back with smiling Swan Laundry Sid stayed for a long time at school when Sid came or told to leave.

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24. Antidevelopmental Sexuality in Adolescents

Williams, Arthur Hyatt Karnac Books ePub

During the last forty-five years or so, a different kind of problem has arisen in adolescent boys and girls vis-a-vis sexuality. Before that, the main task was to overcome the antisex and antisexual pleasure attitude that emanated from external parents and other authority figures and dominated the internalized parental audlority figures in the minds of young people. Over sixty years ago I got into ongoing trouble as a boy with the senior English master at school for merely talking to an adolescent girl when our padis crossed on the way home from school. Even now, whenever I think of St. Paul, the image that comes to mind is the face of this master (whom otherwise I liked), so powerful was the superego aspect of his impact on me.

Now that a much freer social climate prevails, particularly in relation to the sexuality of young people, what would one expect? I think that the kind of young person who would strive to conform would be freer and healdiier, while the rule-breaker might be frustrated by the lack of restrictions against which to rebel. Moreover, he or she might find other issues over which to express defiance, and this indeed does take place. One has only to think of drugtaking and the way it has swept through several generations of adolescents.

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