“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Monday, December 17, 2012

Let's Just End One-Upsmanship Now Shall We

"There is not narcissism and non-narcissism; there are narcissisms that are more or less comprehensive, generous, open, extended. What is called non-narcissism is in general but the economy of a much more welcoming, hospitable narcissism, one that is much more open to the experience of the other as other. I believe that without a movement of narcissistic reappropriation, the relation to the other would be absolutedly destroyed, it would be destroyed in advance. The relation to the other - even if it remains asymmetrical, open, without possible reappropriation - must trace a movement of reappropriation in the image of oneself for love to be possible, for example. Love is narcissistic."
--Jacques Derrida

Wounded narcissism projects its (impossible) ideal of a completely closed loop, a magical lost narcissism, onto the other, then attacks it. This usually takes the form of hostility towards a perceived self-referential loop.

Wounded narcissism detects in the other a loop that it directly experiences as wounding, since its own loop is twisted (weird, from Norse urth, twist or turn, of fate).

Did I exempt myself from narcissism? Reality just is narcissistic wounds, down to the nonhuman, possibly even  nonsentient levels. Since ego is just the precipitate of abandoned object cathexes (Freud) or, as yoga puts it, twists in the nadis (subtle channels) that are fixated on as "my" suffering--because of this, the form of an object as such just is the "wounds" it has sustained. An object is a wounded narcissism, a twisted loop. Reality is Jörmungandr, a serpent eating its tail (maybe the earliest example of a strange loop or Möbius strip).

So there is no us vs them on this level, no normal and pathological. Yet there is a syndrome in which wounded narcissism refuses to think itself as narcissism, a refusal to gather (comprehend) its suffering (patho-logos, the gleaning of suffering): "What is called non-narcissism is in general but the economy of a much more welcoming, hospitable narcissism, one that is much more open to the experience of the other as other." A refusal that in itself is the “pathology” of wounded narcissism, or rather, the pathologizing violence of wounded narcissism just is the refusal to see itself in its mirror. A refusal to be “narcissistic”...

Refusal to see: in this sense, a refusal to notice that one's tail is already in one's mouth.  Exemption of oneself from being a strange loop. Exemption from language, refusal of “there is no metalanguage” (Lacan's distillation of phenomenology). The temptation of one-upsmanship, which is a serpent chasing its tail thinking “This way I shall outfox it!”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wonder why no one talks much about the sun and moon, constellations and the clear light of sky, as objects in the Freudian sense of on-going cathexes. This is not to suggest an idealism or solipsism, but rather to identify active negotiations among "strange strangers." In times of famine, political proposals rooted in scientific claims of synthetic biology or geoengineering retain also this emotional investiture. The play of wounded narcissism in national science and technology policy.