After a couple of months of a psychoanalysis book hiatus I started reading them again. I picked up where I left off with Rollo May’s ‘Love & Will’. It’s discussion of the interrelationship of love and will was a little heavy for me at the time …but at the end of the day the books; they are me.
To paraphrase a Rilke reference in ‘Love & Will’ – if I get rid of my demons, my angels might follow too. I have to recognise that reading psychoanalysis has brought me down some good roads as well as some bad roads. It has lead me into the forest of self-persecution with horrible Winnicottian and Kleinian ideas that seem to represent some sort of dark and terrible truth that you cannot unlearn. But it has also introduced me to the ‘unconditional positive regard’, ‘congruence’ and acceptance of Carl Rogers. It has allowed me to find out the importance of relationships, it has generated the concepts and symbols that have allowed me to paint and it has given me an insight into people that I might not otherwise of had.
The problem is that people don’t like being analysed but funnily enough the solution to this can be found in another book. In ‘Gestalt Therapy-Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality’ when talking about the different neurotic defences it refers to introjection. For the uninitiated what introjection refers to is the incorporation of the characteristics of another person or object into one’s psyche unconsciously. Now this book did something very interesting it linked it back eating in ‘Experiment 15: Introjecting and Eating’. The book draws a link between eating food fast without chewing and not chewing through the meat of life and relationships.
It then goes about painting a portrait of the orally under-developed person. Who likes to drink a lot because drinking is easier than eating. It is at this point that I start to get uncomfortable like when Karen Horney talks about ‘neurotic pride’ or I read anything written by Winnicott. I must, however, link this back to the original question – How does this solve the problem of reading these books which makes you analyse the people (which they don’t like)? Well here’s what it does – the portrait of this quick eater/ drinker offers a portrait of a person who ‘wants to enter into immediate confluence without preparatory contact with the other person. His acquaintance of the moment becomes a pal to whom he will ‘pour out his heart’ (note the use of liquids) He bypasses those parts of his personality which would exercise discrimination; and then; on the basis of these supposedly deep and sincere but actually most superficial contacts, he comes forth with impatient, extravagant demands?
So there it is the uncomfortable and accurate answer. The emotional statement that you are thinking or analysing too much or that you are not being present in the moment received intellectual reinforcement. Now maybe it should not have taken such a long route to understand that that bullshitty, piddly banter is required to make close friends who aren’t loon bags but I guess I need something a little better than you’re questions are really ‘bad buzz’ and I want good ‘buzz’.
So banter and chat then need to be attended to with the same effort as the deep analysis …who would have thunk it? So the book gives me this and then it goes on to give me something else.
Back in the game – the books are giving me something again. So we have banter being good and then we go onto contact with the ‘actuality’ of life. What is this you may ask? Well let’s explain it like this – A lot of the books talk about a defining feature of neurosis being the alienation of parts of the self from the self and not interacting with the present but instead making a major enterprise about of inhibiting and structuring behaviour. Contacting the actuality then is what you’re supposed to be doing i.e. Being in the thick of it. The book talks about a creative form of sort of suspended attention. You ask about conflicts and this book says ‘fuck conflicts’. It goes what has deliberate trying to deal with conflicts ever brought you.
It says just do stuff and let the conflicts play out in this creative zone and the right stuff will just flood into the gap without you knowing exactly what you’re doing. Now we’re getting somewhere.
It talks about ‘the spontaneous absorption of final contact[...having...] no need of such motivation, for there are no other possibilities; one cannot choose otherwise. The feeling of absorption is ‘self-forgetful’; it attends completely to its object, and since this object fills the entire field – anything else is experienced as to the interest of the object – the object becomes a ‘thou’, it is what is addressed. The ‘I’ lapses altogether into this attentive feeling; we speak of being ‘all ears, all eyes’ for instance in hearing the great music one ‘forgets himself and is all ears’, and any possible ‘It’ simply becomes an interest of the ‘Thou’.