Friday, April 27, 2007

Gotterdammerung. In Memoriam: Paulina Kernberg, 1935-2006

A common daydream which in spite of its frequency has received very little attention to-date is the fantasy of possessing a twin. It is a conscious fantasy, built up in the latency period as the result of disappointment by the parents in the oedipus situation, in the child's search for a partner who will give him all the attention, love and companionship he desires and who will provide an escape from loneliness and solitude. The same emotional conditions are the basis of the family romance. In that well-known daydream the child in the latency period develops fantasies of having a better, kinder and worthier family than his own, which has so bitterly disappointed and disillusioned him. The parents have been unable to gratify the child's instinctual wishes; in disappointment his love turns to hate; he now despises his family and, in revenge, turns against it. He has death-wishes against the former love-objects, and as a result feels alone and forsaken in the world. Burlingham, D.T. "The Fantasy of Having a Twin." In: The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child. Vol. 1 at 205 (1945). A further element in many daydreams of having a twin is that of the imaginary twin being a complement to the daydreamer. The latter endows his twin with all the qualities and talents that he misses in himself and desires for himself. The twin thus represents his superego. Id. at 209.

The fantasy of having a twin sibling is inextricably bound up with a fantasy concerning the destruction of the parents, which is projected onto humanity at large. The world is depopulated, empty of human beings.  The following is a creative transformation of such a fantasy; it is an excerpt from the novel Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence.  In the novel the male characters Rupert Birkin and Gerald Critch, who are best friends, contemplate swearing an oath of blood-brotherhood, "like the knights of old."  In this passage Rupert Birkin talks about his fantasy of the destruction of the world.

The whole idea of human society, of mankind, is dead. Humanity itself is dry-rotten, really. There are myriads of human beings hanging on the bush -- and they look very nice and rosy, your healthy young men and women. But they are apples of Sodom, as a matter of fact, Dead Sea Fruit, gall-apples. It isn't true that they have any significance -- their insides are full of bitter, corrupt ash.

There are good people, but good enough only for the life of today. But mankind is a dead tree, covered with fine brilliant galls of people.

At least my only rightness lies in the fact that I know it. I detest what I am, outwardly. I loathe myself as a human being. Humanity is a huge aggregate lie, and a huge lie is less than a small truth. Humanity is less, far less than the individual, because the individual may sometimes be capable of truth, and humanity is a tree of lies. And they say that love is the greatest thing; they persist in saying this, the foul liars, and just look at what they do! Look at all the millions of people who repeat every minute that love is the greatest, and charity is the greatest -- and see what they are doing all the time. By their works ye shall know them, for dirty liars and cowards, who dare not stand by their own actions, much less by their own words.

Human beings maintain a lie, and so they run amok at last. It's a lie to say that love is the greatest. You might as well say that hate is the greatest, since the opposite of everything balances. What people want is hate -- hate and nothing but hate. And in the name of righteousness and love, they get it. They kill one another, all the lot of them, out of very love. It's the lie that kills. If we want hate, let us have it -- death, murder, torture, violent destruction -- let us have it: but not in the name of love. But I abhor humanity, I wish it was swept away. It could go, and there would be no absolute loss, if every human being perished tomorrow. The reality would be untouched. Nay, it would be better. The real tree of life would then be rid of the most ghastly, heavy crop of Dead Sea Fruit, the intolerable burden of myriad simulacra of people, an infinite weight of mortal lies.

I should like everybody in the world destroyed and the world empty of people.

You yourself, don't you find it a beautiful clean thought, a world empty of people, just uninterrupted grass, and a rabbit sitting up?

And really it is attractive: a clean, lovely, humanless world. It is really desirable. Of course, I'd be dead, myself. I would die like a shot, to know that the earth would really be cleaned of all the people. It is the most beautiful and freeing thought. Then there would never be another foul humanity created, for a universal defilement.

Creation doesn't depend on man! It merely doesn't. There are the trees and the grass and birds. I much prefer to think of the lark rising up in the morning upon a human-less world. Man is a mistake, he must go. There is the grass, and rabbits and adders, and the unseen hosts, actual angels that go about freely when a dirty humanity doesn't interrupt them -- and good pure-tissued demons: very nice.

If only man was swept off the face of the earth, creation would go on so marvelously, with a new start, non-human. Man is one of the mistakes of creation -- like the ichthyosauri. If only he were gone again, think what lovely things would come out of the liberated days; -- things straight out of the fire.

Paulina Kernberg, who died Wednesday April 12, 2006 at 71, was a child psychologist and one of the leading experts on the effects of divorce on children. Dr. Kernberg was a professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and founder of the Children of Divorce program at the college's White Plains clinic.  Dr. Kernberg is survived by her husband, Otto Kernberg, M.D., and children.

2 comments:

Shiv said...

it's not really uninterrupted grass, is it, if there's a rabbit standing there?

ok. i'll go back now to mulling over why audioslave's band members allowed chris cornell to make them sound increasingly like soundgarden, the band he dismembered so he can mix the 'rage against the machine' sound with soundgarden's...

i miss the ratm sound, now especially so, since i feel so vengeful, and filled with unadulterated comtempt for someone.

Gary Freedman said...

Shiv (Sivananda) Reddy has been going through my blog and deleting his comments. Now that he's a lawyer, he doesn't want to be associated with me, apparently. So I am reposting his comment so he can't delete it.

Shiv said...

it's not really uninterrupted grass, is it, if there's a rabbit standing there?

ok. i'll go back now to mulling over why audioslave's band members allowed chris cornell to make them sound increasingly like soundgarden, the band he dismembered so he can mix the 'rage against the machine' sound with soundgarden's...

i miss the ratm sound, now especially so, since i feel so vengeful, and filled with unadulterated comtempt for someone.

Thursday, April 20, 2006