113 Chapters
Medium 9781855758230

Becoming God And Hallucination At Hendon Aeronautical Museum

Symington, Neville Karnac Books ePub

What is the nature of my existence? What is the nature of existence as a whole? How on earth did I become a conscious being and how did mankind emerge on this planet? These existential questions have been with me since childhood. I remember when I was an eight year old in a house in Miramar, a little village south of Oporto, which my parents rented together with Reg and Auriel Cobb. I remember asking Reg questions like ‘Why do the stars only shine at night, Uncle Reg?’ and ‘How do fish breathe?’ and ‘Why was Jesus born in Palestine instead of Portugal?’ On and on I went till at breakfast one day Uncle Reg said, in an irritated tone, ‘Will you please stop asking questions?’ I cannot remember whether I stopped pestering him but I am glad to say that his admonition did not stop me going on asking questions and I have continued this way all my life. It is for this reason that I have always been attracted to the existential philosophers and, more recently, particularly the writings of Paul Tillich. Both these poems have that existential theme.

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Medium 9781855759848

CHAPTER THREE: An exegesis of conscience in the works of Freud

Symington, Neville Karnac Books ePub

When we discharge elements that are within hatefully into the bodily outer world, we are violently reproached. This condemnation, which can be very violent, is what Freud came to call the superego. When we cease to discharge elements out of our inner selves but hold them instead within an encompassing membrane, then the superego becomes transformed into conscience. This chapter is an exegesis of Freud’s use of the word “conscience”. Very often his use of the word is synonymous with what he later termed superego. This chapter distinguishes Freud’s use of the word from the one that became current at the time of the Enlightenment. Conscience here is understood to be a free invitation within the personality to act in a way that will ennoble both the self and the other. It is very important not to confuse conscience with superego, as they are entirely different things.

The first mention of conscience is in Freud’s 71st letter to Fliess, written on 15 October 1897, where he quotes the celebrated line from Hamlet: “Thus conscience does make cowards of us all” (Freud, 1950 [1892–99], p. 266), and Freud goes on to ponder why it is that Hamlet did not avenge his father by killing his uncle when he kills Laertes and his courtiers without scruple. Freud suggests that Hamlet had himself meditated the same deed against his father (out of passion for his mother). And then he says: “His conscience is his unconscious sense of guilt” (p. 266).

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Medium 9781855752030

12. The Current Relation between Psychoanalysis and Religion

Symington, Neville Karnac Books ePub

Freud talks about the ‘future of an illusion’ as if he thought that religion itself was an illusion; it may be, but I think it is a basic illusion. Any particular religion changes with the prevalent fashion, but the fundamental thing, religion itself, does not.

(Bion, 1992)

Only a few psychoanalysts since Freud have directed their interest to religion. With some notable exceptions those few have confined themselves to the Judaeo-Christian religion. Some valuable work has been done in undoing the bias of Freud's The Future of an Illusion. In this work, as we have seen, Freud expressed the belief that the origin of religion lay in man's sense of helplessness in the face of the impersonal forces of nature. In order to fashion this implacable world into a more homely place, we invested these anarchic forces with human emotions so the mountains, streams, sunlight, and thunder became ‘humanized’. If thunder was the anger of Zeus, it was comforting because we could then placate Zeus through sacrificial offerings and so exercise control. We were then no longer the helpless victims of fate.

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Medium 9781855750470

3. The narcissistic option

Symington, Neville Karnac Books ePub

In this chapter we will be trying to grasp a psychological reality. Just because such a reality is difficult to grasp, it is no less real than something which is easily defined, and if you are unaware of its reality the consequences can be disastrous. A professor who taught me philosophy many years ago used to give this analogy. He used to say that in a fog the outlines of an oncoming car are vague, but the car is just as real as if it were in bright sunlight. It is also more dangerous, because if you do not see the car, it may run you over. What follows in this exposition is a metaphor—it is pointing to the real but it is not the real itself. The reality can only be grasped by a personal psychic action.

In all theoretical models within the psychoanalytic literature, narcissism occurs when the ego takes itself as erotic object—or, to put it in classical Freudian terminology, when the libido takes its own self as love object. Returning to the principle of omission which I mentioned earlier, it is often what is not stated that gives a clue to the reality you are trying to get hold of, rather than what is stated. We have a statement here that narcissism occurs when the libido or the ego takes its own self as erotic object. This suggests that there is an alternative; this may sound obvious, but this alternative is seldom focused on clearly. If there is some other object that the ego can take rather than itself, what is it? Logically, if Narcissus can fall in love with his own reflection, the alternative is that he can fall in love with another.

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Medium 9781780490694

Chapter Eight: Resistance to becoming a Person

Symington, Neville Karnac Books ePub

To the extent to which I am a person I suffer shame, guilt, disappointment, sadness, regret, envy, and jealousy. I also become capable of love, gratitude, generosity, forgiveness, and magnanimity, and am capable of experiencing joy, beauty, and happiness. I also experience tragedy.

Becoming a person puts a demand upon me in two different directions:

Pain and turbulence

I come to know tragedy and this is an agony. I will certainly experience a turbulence, I will go through an inner torture. I emphasise the word feel because these realities are there prior to the individual becoming a person but they are not felt. So how do they exist in the untransformed state? When something is felt it has been embraced within the personality; it has been loved; it is united through the all-inclusive principle to other elements in the personality. So in the untransformed state it is hated, is discharged out of the personality into the body, into sexual behaviour, into social conduct, or into an ideology.

What quite do we mean when we say that it is “discharged out of the personality”? One concurrent phenomenon is that the I is dead. It is wooden; the I is programmed like a robot. It is in reactive mode. So a man asked me, “Neville, tell me, am I happy?” What we are saying is that the element cannot be ejected from the personality but the personality can be deadened or prevented from coming into life. A man's mother abused his girlfriend so he married in reaction to his mother's action. There is a living emotional principle that gives life to the elements in the personality. It is like the heart which pumps blood out through the arteries and from the arteries into the arterioles to every part of the body. It reaches all areas. When something painful has happened it resists the blood coming to it. A resistance can be so great that it prevents the heart pumping at all.

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