Leaving the Garden of Eden ... the Codes of the Culture,
the Codes of Perversion and Psychoanalysis Ó
by Patrick B. Kavanaugh, Ph.D.
Introduction: Michel Foucault considered the fundamental Codes of the Culture as "...those determining its language, its schemes of perception, its exchanges, its techniques, its values, the hierarchy of its practices." (1973, p. XX) The codes of the culture speak to that which a culture sanctions as the legitimate ways of thinking, knowing, and perceiving. Further, these Codes of the Culture are understood as constituted by certain underlying rules that provide for the discursive rationality and social coherence that operate in any given culture. These rules, or rules of formation, can be found in the various organizing stories of the culture such as its history, religion, science, law, literature, music, theatre, poetry and in various other mythologies which provide for its people a continuous, unified and traceable link with a past heritage and a future destiny. Amongst other organizing functions, these largely unexamined rules of formation signify, prescribe, and perpetuate certain cultural definitions and idealized images of the subject of Woman and subject of Man, the most dominant and sacrosanct of all binary oppositions in the westernized cultures. Indeed, this logocentric assumption of the binary opposition of the masculine and feminine is at the center of the foundational metaphysics of westernized thought.
Philosophic inquiry provides a basic, necessary and vital kind of freedom to place into question that which has been considered to be the natural order of things, the self-evident and the foundational essence of the traditional What Is in our everyday lives. For example, inquiry into the organizing stories of the culture and their underlying rules of formation calls into question that which determines the essence of gender and gender role, defines the Normal and Perverse, and prescribes the good and bad and the appropriate and inappropriate in the social order. And further, such inquiry provides the freedom to call into question the systems of logic and ways of thinking underlying the Why of that traditional What Is. Inquiry into the Codes of the Culture places into question the culture's language and its referents in reality, its schemes of perception of male and female, and the hierarchies of social practices in everyday life and discourse; such inquiry calls into question the very matrix of enculturation and meaning from which dynamic constructions of reality are generated. Inquiry into these presuppositions of the Codes of the Culture speaks to a questioning of basic assumptions presumed by the westernized cultures' systems of thinking and logic and underlying its institutionalized beliefs and values which, all too often, are represented as natural, timeless, and unchanging. This freedom to inquire into the Codes of the Culture brings with it the risk of disturbing the axiomatic certainty of the underlying assumptions, core values, and beliefs on which many of the mainstream psychologies of psychoanalysis of the modern era have been premised. Such disturbance, however, provides an opportunity to consider different ways of thinking and conceptualizing. And in so doing, our world(s) might be somewhat more comprehensible, coherent, and meaningful.
As a contribution to the ongoing project of rethinking psychoanalysis, I would like to risk such a disturbance by considering a way of thinking about these fundamental Codes of the Culture, their underlying rules of formation, and their relationship to the images of Woman and Man during the modern era. A central thesis in this consideration is that certain of the fundamental Codes of the Culture have constituted, in and of themselves, Codes of Perversion which profoundly influenced our modernistic systems of thinking, determined the idealized images of Female and Male, and shaped the classical conceptions of Femininity and Masculinity. More specifically, I would like to consider one of the organizing religious stories of the westernized cultures, the story of the Creation of the World according to John (1:1). My focus in this consideration will be on the organizing rules of formation reflected in the idealized images of Adam and Eve in the narrative of the Garden of Eden. My emphasis will be on the influence of these rules of formation in shaping psychoanalytic thinking and theorizing during the modern era; consideration will be given, also, to some of the epistemological questions and ethical implications that derive from these rules of formation for the Codes of the Psychoanalytic Culture and everyday psychoanalytic practice. One last introductory comment: the following perspective regarding the Codes of the Culture is per (the) version of a skeptical phenomenalist and is intended as a contribution to the study of the psychoanalytic arts.
The Metatheoretical Assumptions of
Social Coherence, Representation and Rational Objectivity
"In the beginning was the Word..." and the beginning was created by the Word and before the Word there was Nothing .... until the Word had been spoken... And the Word defined an objectively existing, mind-independent, and predictable World. A Word and World that rested upon certain metatheoretical assumptions of an inherent social coherence by which a single and unified world functioned, an objective and accurate means of discovering and representing that world, and a rational objectivity by which the world could be thought about, conceptualized, and understood. "In the beginning was the Word..." and the Word was the Deity and the Word created the World... and the Word first created Adam and then Eve in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were to be both the idealized and, after tasting the Forbidden Fruit, the more humanized images of Male and Female in the westernized cultures. And... Adam and Eve were to serve as the idealized images of the parents of humanity. Interwoven in the narrative of the Creation are to be found these metatheoretical assumptions of social coherency, a means and method of representation, and a rational objectivity upon which the rules of formation of the modern era were premised and developed. And each of these metatheoretical assumptions were contained in the Language of Adam as spoken in the Garden of Eden. In the language of Adam, each word reflected and illuminated directly, immediately, and completely--precisely, accurately, and objectively-- the innermost nature and foundational essence of the thing being represented. In the Garden of Eden, there had been a perfect "goodness of fit" between the word that represented and that being represented. There were neither confusions nor ambiguities. The exact correspondence between names and that which they signified spoke directly to the innocence and the simplicity of the relationship between words and the simple, pure, and innocent Truth of a self-evident essence. The fig leaf of metaphor as a special linguistic device to speak indirectly about essence was not needed until after the eating of the Forbidden Fruit in the Garden of Eden at which time the essentialist language of Adam was lost.
The systems of discourse, or the episteme, developed during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries assumed a philosophic premise of rational-objectivism in which The World was understood to have an essential, objectively existing and solid state traceable and reduceable to an organizing First Cause. Reality was self-evident and located in solid matter, the foundational building blocks of Newtonian physics and science. Assumptions of a social coherence and a rational basis by which this world functioned were foundational. It was assumed that this mind-independent world had spontaneously and naturally sorted itself into kinds, categories, causal hierarchies, and discrete spheres. Further, this world operated by rational and natural laws according to intricate, pre-determined, and pre-ordained designs of nature. These predetermined ways by which things ought to be were revealed to the objective and impartial observer through the evidences of natural design, function and purpose in nature; function follows form naturally and rationally. This naturalistic theory of social coherence was reflected in the Doctrine of Teleology, in which doctrine conceptions of people and their behavior presumed this natural state and order of things organized around biological purpose, function, and adaptation. These conceptual foundations of the Enlightenment's developing view of people and social life were believed to be as self-evident as were the prevailing notions of reality underlying Newtonian physics and science.
The World could come to be known through the discovery of these universal, unifying and natural laws that existed 'out there" in the real world. The authority of a Newtonian based science, method, and explanation rested upon the objectivist notions regarding the representation of knowledge derived from the scientific method. A metaphysics of presence was assumed in which '... something real would and could be represented in thought. This real is understood to be an external or universal subject or substance, existing 'out there' independent of the knower. ... Truth is understood as correspondence to it" (Flax, 1991, 34). A linearized 1-1 correspondence between the real world, naturally occurring observations, and the concepts that represented them was assumed by this classical epistemology. Language, it was believed, was object-based and simply reflected reality as it really was --- the Word represented accurately and precisely this mind-independent World. And thus, Science carried the promise of holding all natural phenomenon in its objectivizing gaze; understanding the nomothetic laws governing nature, people, and society could be accomplished through an empirical discourse. Like Adam in the Garden giving names to all of God's creatures (Genesis 2:19-20), Man could now identify and give names to naturally occurring phenomena, laws, and concepts by a scientific method and means--an empirical science had replaced the Deity as an enabler. A new World was waiting to be discovered and named. As suggested by Fraser (1977) the rise and quest of the Science of the modern era speaks to an attempt to regain the language, power and status of Adam that had been lost in the Garden of Eden.
Rational Objectivity and Natural Causal Hierarchies:
Adam and Eve and the "Rules of Formation"
"In the beginning was the Word..." and the World conceptually created by this Word was a cognitive, symbolic and reasoned World. During the Age of Reason, a rational objectivity emerged as hierarchically superior to passions and aesthetics. Mind took precedence over body, thought over feeling, and logic over intuition. A cultural ideology developed in which the rules of formation for discursive rationality and coherence were to be monologic and based upon a system of objectivist values, logic, and reasoning. Reasoning and logic were to be reified --- if not Deified. And Truth and its discovery were located with the intellectual sphere--the symbolic-cognitive order. Passions, emotions, and feelings were considered sources of interference and distortions of seeing things as they really were. And in the discursive field of the symbolic-cognitive order is found the direct link between the Codes of the Culture and the Codes of Perversion. In this hermetically sealed-off world of the symbolic order is found the discourse of a rational objectivity , the schemes of perception, and the hierarchy and exchanges of social practices of the culture as regards the subject of Woman and the subject of Man.
Rational Objectivity, Thinking, and Language: In the westernized tradition of rational objectivity, the world and the nature of that world are conceptualized as inherently and naturally dichotomous. The world had spontaneously and naturally sorted itself into natural pairings of hierarchical dichotomies beginning with the natural, dichotomous and hierarchical pairing of Adam and Eve which had been created and sanctified by the Deity. Direct lineage, authorization. and legitimacy for this natural pairing and its hierarchical relationship was traceable to the First Cause. The creation of Adam and Eve in the form of male and female was to naturalize a dichotomous metaphysics as central and foundational to the rules of formation in thinking and speaking about the world and people. And the inherent social coherency by which the world was believed to naturally function instructed us to represent these natural and hierarchical pairings of Adam and Eve precisely and accurately as this hyphenated unit of male and female existed in its natural state. This division into subject(ive) and object(ive) -- the subject-object division -- is the first, universal, and essential form of representation in thinking in the westernized cultures. And self-evident anatomical differences between Adam and Eve were paradigmatic in the dichotomous organization and categorization of concepts that ordered and organized the world, eg., Adam - Eve, male - female, cause - effect, Life - Death, before-after, reality-fantasy, outer objective-inner subjective, conscious-unconscious, analyst-analysand, and teacher-student.
As with the pairing of Adam and Eve, conceptual definition, meaning, and significance takes place when something is defined in terms of its binary opposite (Cixous, 1986). That is, in these naturally occurring hierarchies such as Adam and Eve, conceptual primacy is given to the first referenced in the pairing. That which is believed to be the dominant, superior, and more fully developed in these so-called natural hierarchies is referenced first with the second defined and understood by that which the first is not. Thus, Adam was defined in the affirmative and Eve was defined by that which Adam was not; Eve was defined by The Lack. Put another way: in this natural pairing, Adam existed in opposition to Eve; Eve, as the inverted version of Adam, was defined affirmatively in terms of the Lack which literally becomes an affirmative-negation. And in the social order, such natural pairings of hierarchical dichotomies as Man and Woman became organizing rules of formation and provided precedent and paradigm for the hierarchy of social preferences, social priorities, and social practices in the culture.
In the contextualizing mythology of the Garden of Eden, the Deity first created Adam in his own image from the dust of the ground and put the Man whom he had formed in the Garden of Eden (Genesis, 2:8). And, later, Eve was created as a consequence of Adam's Lack - as in his lack of companionship-- and Eve was created to fill this Lack - as in to fill Adam's loneliness. And, at the same time, Eve's creation was a cause of Adam's Lack - as in Eve's creation was to create an anatomical Lack (of a rib) inside of Adam. Eve, in her very creation and existence, was the living and breathing embodiment of the consequence of Adam's Lack, the cause of Adam's Lack, and the solution for Adam's Lack ... all at the same time. With the assistance of the creator, the First Cause, Adam gave birth to Eve as he slept. And Adam named Eve Woman because she was taken out of Man (Genesis, 2:23) And the idealized images of Male and Female, the parents of humanity, were given human form .... And Adam and Eve were sorted into a natural pair in which natural hierarchy Adam came first and was dominant as established and sanctioned by the deity --- Himself ... Of course, there was something more to the narrative of the Garden of Eden....
Schemes of Perception of Male and Female: Eve became responsible for the loss of the Language of Adam through her gullibility, her innocence, and her curiosity. Eve touched the untouchable and ate the Forbidden Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis, 3:6). She mindlessly fell under the sway of evil passions, appetites and the desires of the flesh. And with a bite of the apple, Eve bit into the carnal knowledge and corporeal dimensions of the temporal World of the physical. She was to eat the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge and Wisdom. In the Beginning was the Word. And the Word was made Flesh.... And the parents of humanity were given human form with the image of Adam becoming the unconscious embodiment of the Word and the image of Eve becoming the unconscious embodiment of the Flesh. Adam became the living and breathing embodiment of the spiritual, rational, and logical; Eve became the living and breathing embodiment of the Forbidden Fruit. And with Eve's earthly appetites and carnality came the Casting out from the Garden ... into mortality, Death, and the decay of the Flesh. The Language of Adam had been scientific, rational, objective, and primary in juxtaposed-hyphenation to the Language of Eve which was of the corporeal world of the senses, the carnal world of touch, the language of the body, textures, and blends.... The Language of Eve speaks the image of woman as flesh, temporality, and earthiness.
"And the Word was made Flesh" and these images of Adam and Eve were embodied in the Codes of the Culture as living and breathing systems of signification. And, from this perspective, the fundamental Codes of the Culture constitute Codes of Perversion in which the idealized image of Woman was to be a Mask of Man --- AND --- the idealized image of Man was to be a mask of Woman. As in the narrative of Adam and Eve in the Garden, gaining knowledge through the sense perceptions --the language of the senses and body--was silenced and repudiated in both Science and the Social Order. To be Found Under Carnal Knowledge in the Garden of Eden was to be found in the shame of one's nakedness and to be cast out and removed from the Garden.... To be Found Under the Carnal Knowledge of emotion or passion in the scientific method was considered to be contaminating of the objective findings, those contaminated findings were to be declared invalid, and they were to be cast out of the Garden of Truth. To be Found Under Carnal Knowledge in the Dark Ages was considered to be a crime against the Social Order and, if found guilty of the charge, was punishable by Death--to be removed and cast out from the community of the living. To this day, the acronym of the charge to be Found Under Carnal Knowledge is, itself, considered to be obscene and is not to be spoken in the community of the civilized:................. F.-U.-C.-K..
"And the Word was made Flesh..." And a process of othering produced an idealized hierarchical opposition between and within each side of the dichotomy of Man and Woman. In religious mythology, for example, new and idealizing images of Male and Female were provided between each side of the dichotomy by the narrative of the parents of redemption--Joseph and Mary --through which images, conception and birth could take place through the immaculate conception without the contaminating earthiness of carnal knowledge. Joseph and Mary were produced as the idealized others of Adam and Eve with the virginal angelic of Mary, for example, produced in opposition to the carnal corporeal of Eve, e.g., the angelic Madonna - and the carnal Whore existed within the categorical other of Woman. Paradoxically, carnality was divested of its carnality and became part of a purified angelic discourse in religious mythology, science, and the social order. In science, a Newtonian based method and explanation was entrusted to develop an angelic discourse in which, paradoxically, order was imposed on the physical and corporeal world so that the symbolic understanding of the carnal could be accomplished in the abstract. Structuralism was emphasized in this more predictable Cartesian-Newtonian world of certainty wherein universal patterns, themes, and parts were the objectives of scientific discovery (Fraser, 1977; Capra, 1982). Premised on a metaphysics of presence, the empiricist's doctrine and model advanced the notion that the world instructed the scientist-observer how to represent it. The scientist only discovers that which is already there in its naturally occurring state; causal relationships existed out there in an objective and knowable world. An alphabet of human thought comprised of numbers, quantifications, and formulae provided a dictionary of mathematical words and a grammatical context by which a linearized and deterministic reading of the World's text could take place. And in the normative vocabulary of this empirical discourse, deviations from the norm became evidences of abnormalities. Science became the Ultimate Knower and Signifier of meaning. And its quest to quantify and objectify the world, people, and life eventually led to an empiricism of wisdom, knowledge, and the soul.
The Codes of the Culture, The Codes of Perversion and the Other as Phallus
In the Social Order, the fundamental Codes of the Culture provide the discursive basis for the social reality in which the most dominant and sacrosanct of all binary oppositions is that between the male and female subjects. As noted by Silverman (1983, p 270), the antitheses of Male-Female are central to the organization of the cultural order to which they belong. The cultural codes are entrusted with the two fold function of maintaining the social order's dominant binary oppositions and providing the means necessary to perpetuate the so-called natural hierarchies in the social order through its literature, history, cinema, religion, law, and so on. And embodied in these Codes are the very Codes of Perversion that play out in everyday life in the idealized images and seemingly naturalized faces of the subject of woman and man. The Codes of Perversion are constituted by the language of binary opposition, the schemes of perception of Male and Female, and the hierarchy of social practices and values-.
Inscribed in the social order, Woman was a symptom of Man and, at the same time, Man was a symptom of Woman. More specifically, in this pairing of male and female there is an inseparable and reciprocal dependence of Adam and Eve -- of subject and object. The image of Adam as independent, more superior and more fully developed than the image of Eve speaks to an opposition that is not an opposition. The apparent freedom of Adam as opposed to the necessity of Eve in this pairing suggests that there is no metaphysical break from the opposition of subject and object; the opposition is not an opposition at all. The images of Adam and Eve are rooted in one and the same essence; there is an inseparable interconnectedness between Male and Female. More specifically, Eve was needed by Adam to define the other of Adam as submissive, inferior, and less fully developed. And Adam was needed by Eve to define the other of Eve as more superior and fully developed. Woman was present in Man as the opposite and absence of Man; and Man was present in woman as the opposite and absence of Woman. The presence of self as Male is defined in opposition to the absence of other as Female; and that which is absent, the Female, is always present in self, the Male. Woman as a symptom of Man and, at the same time, Man as a symptom of Woman.
"In the beginning was the Word ... And the Word was made Flesh..." And in the Social Order the Word was Phallus. And Phallus is that means by which reality is conjured from illusion and ineffable chaos by the use of systems of signs and signification as contained in and provided by the Codes of the Culture (Sebeock, 199 1). The Phallus is signifier; the Lack is signified. Phallus signifies the meaning for that which is Lacking in other; the Haves define the Lack of the Have Nots. Thus, Phallus, from this perspective, is considered to be neither structure, nor institution, nor product. Phallus is considered to be a complex semiotic process of signification and enculturation in which Phallus is defined through female Lack. And Phallus is inseparable from the culture's organizing metatheoretical assumptions of rational objectivity, social coherence, and representation. This conception of Phallus is not organized around the orthodoxy that proceeds from anatomical differences. More specifically, Phallus does not equate with penus. And Lack of penus does not mean lack of phallus. Rather in the symbolic field, Phallus always exceeds the biological differences signifying Male and Female. In the hierarchy of social practices, Phallus has little, if anything, to do with gender or gender role.
The Phallus is constituted by those systems of signification in which the privileged signify the idealized ought to be for the other because they speak authoritatively in the Name and Voice of the Father such as in the analytic community, for example, the American Psychological or Psychoanalytic Association. And in so speaking, the privileged are possessed, at least partially, of the phallus located in this position within society's hierarchical organizations. Certainly, Phallus includes access to privilege, prerogative, and power as derived from position and positioning in the culture's matrix of meaning. More importantly, however, Phallus is power in its signification as to how the other ought to be.. Phallus is, thus, inseparable from Nietzche's "will to power" over others (1967). And in the Social Order, Phallus as the ever-present structuralizing Other casts its signifying and contextualizing gaze over every aspect of life in society. Other as Phallus is constituted by the Codes of the Culture and the rules that govem the formation of legitimate thought, perception, and the discourse of hierarchically organized institutions. And Other as Phallus is expressed through the ideological interweave of the Law, Science, History, Theory, literature and the organizing stories of the culture. The Codes of the Culture are Codes of Perversion when such codes advance any extreme, fixed and exclusive conception as to how others ought to be in their Being, Thinking, Experiencing, and Presencing. And when such conceptions are presented as claims to Truth by Other as Phallus around which Self is to be organized per (the) version of Other..
The Narrative of Adam and Eve: Some Thoughts
on the Perversions, The Codes of Perversion and Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis was born of the interweave of the epistemological premise, cultural ideology, and the world view prevalent in the latter part of 19th century Germany. And the What is of the times was self-evident and known in its essential state; the Why of the What Is was awaiting discovery by Science speaking its monologic Truth clearly, precisely, and objectively in the Language of Adam. Premised in a logical positivism, psychoanalysis developed in a paradigm of biology, medicine, and the natural sciences and pursued the status and respectability of a natural science of the mind. Under the profound influence of evolutionary biology, the Why of human behavior assumed biological foundations as currently reflected in developmental theories of psychology in which physiology underlies the psychology of the subject. And psychoanalytic psychology became preoccupied with those structures, mechanisms, and functions that failed to develop properly. The scientific sterility and mechanical imagery of people of the 19th century blended with a compassionately callibrated empathy to form the foundations of psychoanalytic thinking and treatment in this country for the greater part of the past century. And perhaps, the Codes of the Culture speak most clearly in the psychoanalytic culture as Codes of Perversion in the classical notions of The Perversions.
The word perversion is a derivation from the Latin word perversus meaning "...turned the wrong way" , or "...turned away from that which is considered to be right, good, or proper." (Barnhart, C., 1970 ) To the question, "Perverse in relation to what?", came the reply from classical psychoanalysis: Perverse in relation to "...the accepted adult norm of heterosexual genital intercourse". (Moore, B. & Fine, B., 1990, 142) Mediated by a medical ideology, sexual behaviors were considered to be pathological when and if they deviated in either object choice or aim from this socio-biologically defined normative standard. The teleological conceptualization of sexuality was procreation; the purpose of sexual activity was the biological perpetuation of the species. And in psychoanalytic thinking and theorizing, anatomical differences were conceptually tied to the biological imperatives of reproduction; non-procreative sexual activities must be perversions of that obvious and naturalized purpose. Indeed, the classical formulations of The Perversions proceeded from the reductive temperament, the essentialist assumptions, and the self-evident notions of the times, For example, in such formulations, it was axiomatically assumed that anatomical differences between the sexes were as self-evident and foundational to the conceptual understanding of The Perversions as solid matter was the self-evident building blocks of reality in Newtonian physics. And these anatomical differences provided the irrefutable criterion of Truth; anatomical differences were self-evident, the denial of which reality was central in psychoanalytic thinking about The Per-versions. And the presumption of an inherent attraction between the sexes was an assumed foundational essence, departures from which were understood as the consequence of a disordered development. Component elements of drives had not developed into the more fully integrated and mature drive leading to the ultimate purpose of coitus; the unbridled discharge of these component elements contextualized a unifying understanding of The Perversions. The Perversions were conceptualized as being "disorders of discharge" as repressive forces had not been sufficient to convert infantile libidinized fantasies into the neurotic symptomatology of the "disorders of inhibition" (Freud, 1905). Procreation presumed and mandated the fulfillment of a natural biological destiny for the Masculine and Feminine: diversion of expression was a perversion of normative behavior - and, a diversion from natural law was a perversion thereof.
It seems to me that for the greater part of the past century the organizing rules of formation in the narrative of the Garden of Eden have been paradigmatic for the development of modernistic systems of thinking. And infused with a medical ideology, these same rules of formation have been paradigmatic for the development of psychoanalytic thinking and theorizing. As with the culture at large, the rules of formation in the narrative of the Garden have provided the psychoanalytic culture with certain ways of thinking about, knowing, and perceiving the world, people and life. As with the classical conception of 7he Perversions, abnormality continues to be understood as the natural development of the individual having been "...turned the wrong way..." or turned away from the right, the good or the proper developmental track and outcome. For example, in the mainstream psychologies of Drive, Ego, Object and Self, differences amongst people are conceptualized as deviations from the idealized Law of the Normative, e.g., those behaviors, ways of thinking, or states of mind that deviate from the empirically established normative standards. In the conceptual foundations of each of these respective psychologies, it seems that Normality has been to Abnormality as Adam has been to Eve; or, put in a slightly different way: Adam is to Normality as Eve is to Abnormality. To briefly elaborate: As with the creation of Adam, the idealized image of the Normative is defined in the affirmative and is understood as that which ought to be or ought to have happened in the individual's development. And further, it ought to have happened in a predictable, linearized, and natural developmental sequence. As with the creation of Eve, abnormality is understood by that which Normality is not; abnormality is defined by the Lack; mainstream psychoanalytic thinking conceptualizes the Lack as foundational to modernistic notions of psychopathology. In current psychoanalytic thinking, there is a developmental deficit; something natural, foundational, and essential for Normal functioning is Lacking in the subject. By way of elaboration:--
Infused with a medical ideology, modernistic psychoanalytic thinking has understood differences amongst people in the organizing conceptual framework of symptomatology, etiology, and psychopathology. Certain ways of thinking, behaving, and feeling considered to be inappropriate in the social order are conceptualized as symptomatic of deeper underlying pathology. This symptomatology is conceptualized as the Consequence of an internal Lack e.g.,--- the Lack of sublimation and neutralization of drives, --or, the Lack of development of Ego structures and functions, or --- the Lack of internalization of whole object representations -- or, the Lack of development of a Self structure and its functions. There has been a Lack of development of specific structures and functions which ought to have happened but did not. And in each of these respective psychologies, these evidences of pathology are conceptualized in binary opposition to the Normative and are understood as caused by an external Lack...... e.g., there has been a Lack of sufficient repressive forces to convert the libidinal investments of infantile sexuality into neurotic symptoms --or, the Lack of an average and expectable environment-- or, the Lack of positive, consistent and stable identificatory figures-- or, the Lack of empathic attunement in the childhood surround. Or perhaps as is increasingly fashionable, the Lack of an integrative combination of each of the above. In the positivist tradition, each of these respective psychologies conceptualize an external Lack as causal to an internal consequence of a developmental Lack. And the person's subsequent development is turned the wrong way due to this internal Lack. The ensuing developmental deficit -- the absence of the ought to have been -- is expressed through the symptomatology, constitutes the psychopathology, and explains the etiology ...all at the same time. The Lack is conceptualized as both cause and consequence of psychopathology. This way of thinking seems remarkably similar to and consistent with the mythology of the creation of Eve who, in her very creation and existence, was the living and breathing embodiment of the cause of Adam's Lack, the consequence of Adam's Lack, and the solution for Adam's Lack, all at the same time...... Adam is to Normality as Eve is to Abnormality.
The rules of formation in the narrative of Adam and Eve premise largely unquestioned ways of thinking in the psychoanalytic culture in which the Lack as both the cause and consequence of psychopathology has become an institutionalized assumption and is taken for granted as natural and self-evident. These ways of thinking are embodied in the fundamental Codes of the Culture of the psychoanalytic community --the Diagnostic Codes such as found in DSM-IV. In the sacred text of such diagnostic and statistical manuals, the normative language of an empirical discourse scientifically places people in the various categories of diseases, disorders, and deficiencies. And institutionalized medical values and beliefs masquerade as carefully considered clinical evidences of pathology in need of reparative and normalizing treatment interventions by the therapeutic parents of redemption of the pathologized--- the analytic practitioners as health care providers. And medicalized versions of psychoanalysis continue to be science and pathology driven, seeking to discover, prevent, and cure the causes and consequences of the Lack.
In the psychoanalytic culture, systems of binary thinking, beliefs, and values seem to permeate basic psychoanalytic concepts such as, for example, the concept of the unconscious as process, structure, and dynamic; conscious thought and experiences are defined in opposition to unconscious thought and experiences. Conscious thought has been understood as rational, objective, Man-ifest thought in binary opposition to Unconscious or Latent thought, understood as that which is irrational, not directly seen, and not Man-ifest: Adam is to Conscious thought as Eve is to Unconscious thought. Conscious thought and experiences have been conceptualized in terms of the direct, knowable, and observable. Conscious thought can be seen and known in its manifest presence; unconscious thought cannot be seen and can be known only through inference because of its latent absence. Conscious thought is defined through its presence; the presence of unconscious thought is defined through its absence. In opposition to the developmentally superior, rational, and objective monocausality of Conscious thought as Adam, the Unconscious-latent-absence has been conceptualized as the embodiment of the developmentally inferior, irrational, and corporeal causality as Eve. As noted by Irigaray (1985):
"...we might wonder whether certain properties attributed to the unconscious may not , in part, be ascribed to the female sex, which is censured by the logic of consciousness. (We might wonder ... ) Whether the feminine has an unconscious or whether it is the unconscious." (p. 73, The Power of Discourse)
The unconscious-latent, conceptualized as Female Lack, can not be seen directly as it is not visible to the conscious I eye. The rythmic voice of the Unconscious, however, can be heard faintly from a distance. This voice of the Unconscious is heard from off stage, out of sight, and from a great distance with the embodiment of carnal flesh and rational irrationality visibly absent, like female sexual organs. Could this be an expression of visible anatomical differences at the center of the foundational metaphysics of psychoanalytic thinking? Is this conception of the Unconscious reminescient, perhaps, of the ancient Greek theatre in which that considered to be obscene took place off stage? In the Greek theatre, the ob-scene could be literally heard but not seen. The ob-scene was to be kept out of sight. The ob-scene was cast in the role of not being visibly scene; its presence was known only in and through its palpable absence. Conceptualized in the rationalist epistemology as Female Lack, unconscious-latent meanings as Eve reside in the shadows of the idealized observable of the Conscious Man-ifest content as Adam . And as Eve did in the Garden, the unconscious profoundly influences the Man-ifest content in ways pathological as evidenced by symptomatic acts, distorted perceptions, disorganized thinking, disturbed cognitions, and disorders of the self.
Unconscious meanings as Eve can only be inferred and brought in sight through the illuminating light of interpretive in-sight as spoken in the rational and objectivizing language and logic as Adam.. And all too often in the analytic discourse, unconscious meaning is signified and mediated through a hierarchical relationship in which Adam is to Analyst as Eve is to Analysand. And all too often, the unconscious meanings of actions, thoughts, and states of mind are pre-signified; that is, the meaning is known in advance by the analyst, and is to be known eventually by the analysand. And through the analytic discourse, the fig leaf of metaphor can eventually be removed and the angelic discourse of the Language of Adam can once again be spoken, speaking the essence of Woman and Man---directly, precisely, and objectively without ambiguities, misunderstandings or confusions. The Truth of Essence can be revealed, known, and celebrated. To return to the Language of Adam that existed before Eve touched the untouchable and ate of the Tree of Wisdom and Knowledge speaks to the desire in the analytic culture to return to the development of this innermost nature and foundational essence of the Masculine and the Feminine.... Let the unconscious-latent be made conscious- "Man"ifest, --- Where there is Id let there be Ego, Where there is a Lack of structures or functions let there be Ego strength or selfobject experiences to further the development of a cohesive sense of Self...
Assumptions of a universal, unifying, and foundational essence as to the basic nature of people -for example, drive discharging, object seeking, or some combination thereof- and how people ought to be is to assert the Truth of Otherness mediated by the idealized normative images of Woman, Man, and Child from the privileged position of Other as Phallus. Around such images of the ought to be, Self is to be organized in the analytic discourse per (the) version of Other in the service of repairing and normalizing that which is Lacking in the subject; the derailed can and should be put back on developmental track. Such medicalized and linearized ways of thinking lead to a psychoanalytic discourse in which the implicit, if not explicit, objective of analysis is to reconstitute repair, revise and Normalize the Self of the subject per (the) version of Other as represented by the analyst's respective theory. And in which discourse, Phallus as Other as embodied in one's theory serves as signifier of meaning and Truth, with the Lack awaiting signification per (the) version of Phallus as Other. This conceptual framework speaks the aim, focus, and objective of psychoanalysis as that of a psychic orthopedic designed to encourage and promote the development of that believed to be Lacking. And with the unquestioned assumptions of a universal and unifying essence as to the basic nature of people, medicalized psychological theories can be scientifically mass produced for mass distribution through our educational institutions for the purpose of mass empathic applications in the analytic discourse for the mass consumption by the pathologized. And psychoanalysis becomes a discourse of conformity and compliance to the idealized normative of the ought to be ---all the while proclaiming the uniqueness of the person. When the analytic discourse unquestioningly allies itself with the normative ideology of the Master Discourse, the Codes of the psychoanalytic Culture and their underlying rules of formation constitute Codes of Perversion in their expectation that the Self of the other ought to be organized per (the) version of Other as Phallus.
When a particular theory -- any theory-- is assumed and advanced as a neutral, scientific, and objectivized claim to Truth, it moves far beyond simply that of an interesting theoretical perspective or an intriguing set of propositions. A series of epistemological and ethical questions arise when the idealized and idealizing Law of the Normative serves as the standard of what ought to be in developmental and analytic outcome: Who is it that speaks.. in defining the essence of Man?...... in defining the essence of Woman?...... in defining the essence of Child? ... Does not the very conceptualization of Woman-Man or Man-Woman imprison subsequent debate, discourse and discovery within binary categorical oppositions, binary logic, values and systems of beliefs ... From what position, location or place in the culture's matrix of meaning and power does one speak? From what philosophic discourse? ... from what theoretical discourse? Is authorization for speaking granted by virtue of position in the Phallus?... by virtue of anatomy? Does one speak empirically?, objectively?, logically? intuitively? rationally? Does one speak as if speaking outside of a philosophic or theoretical discourse?
The freedom of philosophy to place into question largely unexamined philosophic presuppositions, presumed natural hierarchies, a dichotomous metaphysics, and seemingly self-evident propositions has led to the appearance of radically different understandings of the world, people, life ... and psychoanalysis. As psychoanalysis leaves the Garden of Eden and these various rules of formation, the project of rethinking psychoanalytic theory, practice, ethics and education has introduced many different versions of psychoanalysis each having a different focus, aim, and set of objectives. In the time remaining this afternoon, I would like to speak to a particular version of psychoanalysis as resituated in philosophy, the humanities and the arts in contrast to biology, medicine, and the natural sciences. This version of analysis is premised in a radicalized perspectivism, phenomenalism, and subjectivism. And from this perspective, the natural order of things is neither natural according to predetermining and preordaining designs of nature nor are events inherently ordered, independent of the organizing principles, dynamic processes, and psychic laws of the perceiver. The natural order of things is to be found in the eye of the beholder and is considered to be an extension of the unbroken flesh of the signifying Self of the enunciating subject. This radicalized premise recognizes a World of Differences amongst and between people. And speaks a philosophy of differences and singularity in the tradition of Nietsche and Heidegger in which there is appreciated an infinite interpretability of reality amongst people: the only world that can ever exist and be known is this world of interpretations of the world. Such a philosophy of differences acknowledges the uniqueness of the subject, the analytic discourse, and the drama of this discourse.
In this version of analysis, there are neither rules, nor essence, nor fixed foundational ought to be's. And in the analytic discourse, there is neither universal nor unifying theories as to the basic and essential nature of people. And there are neither goals nor objectives in this discourse... Except the deceptively simple purpose of engaging in a process of venturing into the vitally and radically metaphoric language of the person--a venture into the very personal and private World of the Word of the individual. The focus of psychoanalysis is upon the What Is and the Why of the What Is according to the enunciating subject rather than what ought to be according to the Other as Phallus. The discourse of psychoanalysis is concerned with the understanding of the idyosyncratic meanings, ideas, desires, passions, beliefs, motivational causalities and psychic laws of the enunciating subject, the ideothetic and paradoxical meanings of which derive from the associative context of the analytic moment. From this philosophic premise and perspective that which constitutes The Normal and Perverted, the Good and Bad, and Gender and Gender Role is found in the contextualizing perspective of each person and is inextricably linked to that person's core values, beliefs, assumptions, systems of logic and understandings of the world, people and life. Thus, the psychoanalytic discourse attempts to appreciate the metatheoretical assumptions of social coherence according to the ratio-nal objectivity of the person with whom one meets... and attempts to understand the essentialist meanings underlying representation as they reside in the eye of the enunciating subject. Psychoanalysis is concerned with the rules of formation underlying the social coherency that constitutes the very structure, function, and meaning of the individual's world.
As a venture into this semiotic World of the Word of Other, psychoanalysis involves a continuous, very personal, and ongoing struggle for those who might engage in such a discourse which can be known through the immersion of Self of the analyst in the various versions of the world per (the) version of the subject. Entry into this World of the Word of Other involves an ongoing struggle and a continuous Death of the idealized images of Self and Other as constructed by the cultural codes. And as signified by each of the people in the analytic discourse--assuming, of course, there are two people. In effect, there is a mutual search for identity in this unique psychological discourse. In The School of the Dead (1993), the poet-thinker Helene Cixous speaks to this powerful struggle and this continuous death of Self-Other in the creative process of writing. Someone or something must die in order for good writing to be born .... She states:
"The only book that is worth writing is the one we don't have the courage or strength to write. The book that hurts us (we who are writing), that makes us tremble, redden, bleed. It is combat against ourselves, the author; one of us must be vanquished or die......... it's the one I want to write: I tear it from myself" (1993, p. 32)
Perhaps the same struggle and continuous Death of Self and Other holds for the analyst as both Self and Other (as analysand) in the analytic discourse. I believe that it does... The analytic discourse is guided by the relentless and passionate pursuit of knowing the What Is and the desire of knowing the Why of the What Is in one's life. In this pursuit, the author is in relation to her written text of the Word as the analyst- analysand are in relation to her spoken text of the Word in the analytic discourse. And in the creative writing of one's personal story and history, this Self-Other collaboration involves a passionate pursuit of the death of Self and Other. As to something of the Why of this struggle and pursuit of death, Cixous writes:
"... after all, the desire to die is only the desire to taste the fruits of the tree of Good and Evil. To be able to want to taste the fruits of the tree of Good and Evil, contrary to what the Bible says, one has to be mortal. It's very difficult if one isn't mortal. Not everyone is mortal. Not everyone has this difficult fortune (italics added; 1993, p.34)
And unfortunately it seems, not every analytic practitioner has had this difficult fortune of being mortal.
As a poetic work of art situated in philosophy, the humanities, and the arts, psychoanalysis speaks to the enduring and fixed traditions of the enunciating subject's phenomenal past as coexisting, codetermining, and costructuring with the subject's present wishes, desires and longings and future purposes and goals. In so doing, psychoanalysis speaks with the voices of the dead of the phenomenal past in this, the present moment of the past. As discourse, psychoanalysis engages in the continuous death of Self and Other in the present moment of knowing. And at the same time, paradoxically, the psychoanalytic discourse engages in a continuous birthing of Self and Other in that same moment of knowing; a quite non-linear and inexplicable something more of the analytic discourse that speaks to the dying and birthing of Self-Other as inseparably interconnected. As derived from philosophy and the arts, psychoanalysis is considered to be a poetic work of art in that it registers, monumentalizes, and speaks to the enunciating subject's passage of time. To engage in the conflict, dilemma, and paradoxical of the analytic discourse is to engage in, perhaps, the most intricately complex and human of discourses. And this unique psychological discourse speaks a basic, necessary and vital kind of freedom to place one's very personal and private World into question in a place and space not subjugated to the gaze of the Other as Phallus………
............ to be continued
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Dr. Kavanaugh received his doctorate in philosophy (psychology) from the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada. Since the completion of his doctoral studies, he has been active in the academic, organizational, and practice areas of the psychoanalytic-psychological community. In the academic area, he has served as Director of Clinical Training and member of the core teaching and supervisory faculty in the doctoral program in psychoanalytic psychology at the University of Detroit; as a member of the teaching and supervisory faculty in the Program for Advanced Studies in Psychoanalysis in Wyandotte, Michigan, an interdisciplinary program for the study of the analytic discourse; and, as a member of the teaching and supervisory faculty in the pre-and post doctoral educational programs at the Detroit Psychiatric Institute, the Wyandotte General Hospital, and the V.A. Medical Center in Detroit. In the organizational area, he is the founding and current president of the Academy for the Study of the Psychoanalytic Arts; past president of the International Federation for Psychoanalytic Education; the Michigan Psychological Association, and the Michigan Society of Clinical Psychologists. In the practice area, many of his professional interests during the past 35 years are directly related to experiences in the discourses of various residential treatment facilities.
Dr. Kavanaugh is a recipient of The Distinguished Psychologist Award from the Michigan Psychological Association and the Master Lecturer Award from the doctoral students at the University of Detroit.
Currently Dr. Kavanaugh is in the private practice of psychoanalysis in Farmington Hills, Michigan:
Office: 31805 Middlebelt, Suite #305
Farmington Hills, Michigan, USA 48334
Phone: (248) 626-6460
Fax: (248) 626-4808