Friday, September 21, 2012


As postulated by postmodernists the unconscious is not the singular possession of an individual within the inviolable sanctum of his self but a larger cultural entity whose ramifications predate and go beyond our temporal framework. Many find the prospect of an unconscious that they can't possess inadmissible as the quest for knowledge propels human beings into new directions, spurs them on. To acknowledge that the self is essentially unknowable is a disagreeable prospect. Within a contingent framework self knowledge or a modicum of it is certainly possible but the unconscious as collective, as communal is largely unfathomable.

Freud's ego ideal is quite similar to the infant seeing his mirror image in the lacanian scenario. Both are projections of the self onto an other image that is an extension or a narcissistic prolongation. The ego ideal is the self that the infant idealizes as something to work towards. Many point out that the ego ideal  is a normalizing process, a process through which the object of love, never possessed, is internalized and made indissoluble to the ego. A self beratement is an additional aspect of the internalized love object as its punitive reproaches keep the possibility of inward apostasy in check.

But how can the ego ideal be a narcissistic intra subjectivity when its constituents though coalesced within us are actually collective. And can a process of inoculation into the world be construed as a narcissistic act of extrojection. Clearly if the unconscious forms us as much as we are formed by it then it is constituted by epiphenomenon that transcends the temporal. In that case it is not augmentation but relinquishment, not enhancing but negation of egotism that happens. The ego ideal is not solipsism but its reverse. It is eschewing of the real self, a real unknowable self because that self is beyond us to a socially acceptable self that can navigate the world smoothly at the cost of repressing its own tendencies and propensities.

Interestingly the love object who is repressed and then putatively sublimated is in actuality repressed within the recesses of the self, denied as an object of love, internalized to become the voice of superego. This internalization is a giving up of  one's own intrinsic desires through the absorption of what the loved object, in worldly terms represents. So a process of narcissism is both amalgamated and disavowed. Amalgamated to a larger, socio cultural self absorption and creation of morality that is exclusionary and self perpetuating. And a disavowal because one's own inherent needs, drives are wantonly given up and repressed.

All of us come into the world with a certain image in our psyches of how we traverse it. Right from infancy, as the mothers breast is withdrawn, as feces can't be randomly expelled we learn that we are conditioned by norms and that the norms created  us  as and when we were born. However we peregrinate these norms and retroactively attribute subjectivity and singularity into the seemingly, ubiquitously normative. The desire to conform is inescapable and the need to, for many, unavoidable. Nor can the shackles of an overarching framework be thoughtlessly repudiated as superficial and inadequate. But intermittent interrogations, momentary irradiations of inter subjectivity and the occasional but persistent challenge to the autogenetic can reveal the construct as a construct and create a homology between experience and imagination and insert possibilities of other, polymorphous narratives.