Origins: On the Genesis of Psychic Reality

Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 317
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    In the first comprehensive work to articulate a psychoanalytic metaphysics based on process thought, the author uses dialectical logic to show how the nature and structure of mental life is constituted. Arguing that ego development is produced not only by consciousness but also evolves from unconscious genesis, he makes the controversial claim that an unconscious semiotics serves as the template for language and all meaning structures. A thought-provoking account of idealism, Origins confronts the limitations of materialism and empiricism while salvaging the roles of agency and freedom that have been neglected by the biological sciences.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-8347-4
    Subjects: Psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. INTRODUCTION Rethinking Mind in the Age of the Brain
    (pp. 3-22)

    This book is a treatise on the unconscious mind. It attempts to reclaim and clarify many key elements from classical psychoanalytic doctrine through a Hegelian revisionist perspective I have calleddialectical psychoanalysis, orprocess psychology. Although process psychology has potential applications for theoretical, clinical, and applied psychoanalysis, here I am mainly concerned with explicating its conceptual explanatory power. It is my hope that this work will be received as a fresh paragon for the advancement of psychoanalytic inquiry grounded in a solid philosophical foundation. If it finds verification among the social and behavioural sciences it stands a chance of enjoying...

  5. AXIOMS Ab Initio
    (pp. 23-32)
    (pp. 33-60)

    There has always been a tension between psychoanalysis and philosophy, primarily because each discipline privileges its own discourse and agenda over that of the other. While psychoanalysis largely heralds itself as a behavioural science, philosophy sees science as being only one species within its vast metaphysical genus. This tension was present from the start, for it was Freud (1916–17) who envisioned psychoanalysis as a scientific discipline superior to philosophic speculation (SE 15:20), not to mention the fact that he loathed metaphysics. Within the past two decades, however, psychoanalysis has grown more friendly towards philosophy and, in some contemporary circles,...

  7. 1 Spacings of the Abyss
    (pp. 61-88)

    In theTimaeus, Plato gives us an account of the creation of the universe as an intelligible eternal presence forever inexpressible. Here origin is before beginning, before the syllable, beyond language, a mobile image of eternity – archaic, fleeting, ineffable. No doubt Freud was in search of this universal when he said that the unconscious is timeless, hence not bound to the finite world of lived consciousness, what Plato would call the shadows of appearance. What we know of the world and of our experiences is merely a copy – an image – of what is eternal and true, a changing reflection of...

  8. 2 Deciphering the “Genesis Problem”: On the Origins of Psychic Reality
    (pp. 89-144)

    Freud never actually used the words “ego” and “id” in his German texts; these are English translations into Latin, taken from one of his most famous works,Das Ich und das Es. When Freud spoke of theIch, he was referring to the personal pronoun “I” – as in “I myself” – a construct that underwent many significant theoretical transformations throughout his lifetime. By the time Freud (1923) advanced his mature model of the psyche, concluding that even a portion of the “I” was also unconscious, he needed to delimit a region of the mind that remained purely concealed from consciousness. This...

  9. 3 Mind as Projective Identification
    (pp. 145-170)

    The psychic process known as “projective identification” has become a familiar tenet of psychoanalytic doctrine. The term was coined by Melanie Klein in 1946,¹ when it was conceived as an aggressive discharge of certain portions of the egointoan external object, the aim of which was to dominate or consume certain aspects of the object’s contents in order to make it part of the ego’s own internal constitution. Not only has the introduction of this concept revolutionized Kleinian theory, but further developments have also paved the way towards its progressive application in understanding a number of mental processes, pathologies,...

  10. 4 Unconscious Semiotics
    (pp. 171-205)

    InStudies on Hysteria, Freud (1893–95) tells us that the origins of defence emanate from a psychical force that resists knowing certain pathogenic ideas through a process of censorship that is protective or insulating in its function (SE 1:268–9), a function we have commonly come to know as repression. Freud believes that this functional force in the mind is based on an “aversion on the part of the ego” that had originally driven threatening representations out of our awareness and that actively opposes their return to memory. Freud specifically states: “The idea in question was forced out of...

  11. 5 Ego and the Abyss
    (pp. 206-258)

    It is widely assumed across many disciplines that subjectivity is synonymous with consciousness and that consciousness is synonymous with mind and a cognitive self or ego. Following formal rules of inference, these logical propositions are representable in the form of a hypothetical syllogism:

    \[p \supset q\]

    \[q \supset r\]

    \[p \supset r\]

    If p (subjectivity) then q (consciousness);

    If q (consciousness) then r (ego);

    Therefore, p (subjectivity) if r (ego)

    Although this is correct in logical form, the birth of the subject does not correspond with the simple equation that subjectivity equals consciousness or that thecogitomaterializes when the nfant is born from the maternal...

    (pp. 259-260)
  13. NOTES
    (pp. 261-276)
    (pp. 277-296)
    (pp. 297-301)
    (pp. 302-304)