Psychoanalytic Research: Ways to Study Inner Life

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Szajnberg, NY Jan 2007

I have two related goals today. First to describe four different psychoanalytic studies and the challenge of finding ways – methods – to learn about our “subject” — our inner life – when our primary instrument to study this is – our inner life. Second, if we have time, I want to encourage our thinking about our psychoanalytic community as a community of scholars by looking at previous communities of inquiry.

Art Nielsen asked me to present some of my research to discuss the challenge of seeking proper ways to investigate inner life from a psychoanalytic perspective. I will present four studies: two I have completed – one on child development, the second on Israeli soldiers; two in process – a study of immigrant Ethiopian children, the second of character structure and change in psychoanalysis.

A major challenge to psychoanalytic investigation is a constraining social science model of how research should be done: observable matters that can be measured in a statistical manner. Engraved in stone on the face of the Social Science Building at the University of Chicago is a quote from Lord Kelvin, the chemist – I paraphrase — “If it can’t be measured, it can’t be proven.” A Chicago faculty member seeing this commented sarcastically, “If it can’t be measured, do it anyhow.”

Some problems with statistics may be solved with improved statistical methods, such as Guttman’s Partial Order Scalogram Analysis or Small Space Analysis. But, this solves only some problems. A fundamental problem or challenge is the nature of our subject – inner life – and our primary instrument – our inner life. When self-psychologists state that empathy is the major method of cure, how do we “measure” that? It approaches an aesthetic judgment in art. Let me turn to the four studies, focusing not on the results, primarily, but on how we learned about our subjects.

Thirty-years of life

On Becoming a Citizen Soldier

Ethiopian Children growing up in Israel: Identit(ies), Relationships, Inner lives in Transition:

Ticho Memorial Lecture (3)

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Time presses us to move to Odysseus and Telemachus before we alight on the next father-son pair, God and Christ.

odysseus

Odysseus, Auerbach summarizes, is a great man, a warrior; Homer deigns  to write only of great characters.   The Antique Greeks wrote in two different styles: high for great characters; low for the hoi palloi (Auerbach).  For the Greeks, character is etched (as the word translates), engraved in our bones so that we are recognized wherever we turn.#  Both character (eidos) and persona are words of Greek origin: persona is the mask that actors wear to portray different roles; character is what remains consistent in all settings.  Just as each letter is a character to distinguish it clearly from another, so too, man.  (This distinction between persona and character may be a vorspeisse of false social self versus true self.)  Odysseus is cunning, crafty from beginning to end.  Remarkably, Auerbach says, Odysseus over two decades’ voyage does not change.  He leaves his one month son, Telemachus and his dedicated Penelope, who fends off suitors/squatters.  After twenty years, let’s turn to Odysseus’ disguised return to meet his son Telemachus.

First, as if to prepare us, we hear of Odysseus meeting Eumaeus, his trusty, dedicated swineherd who does not recognize the Athena-altered old man.  How does this representation of reality differ from Bible?  Listen to the details of Eumaeus’s cottage and swine styes:

...built by himself… with stones from the quarry.. and coped it with a fence of white thorn and he had split an oak to the dark core and…driven stakes the whole length thereof.. and within the courtyard he made twelve styes hard by one another to be beds for the swine and in each stye, fifty grovelling swine.. but the boars slept outside.”  (Book XVI).  

How visual; how sensual, how different than Bible.

Then, father sees son, who doesn’t recognize him.  Even after Odysseus says, “I am your father, for whose sake you suffered many pains and groans and were submitted to men’s spite,” even after he kisses him and sheds a single tear, Telemachus believes some god deceives him.  Finally, he flings himself on father’s neck and “…they wailed aloud, more carelessly than birds, sea-eagles or vultures of crooked claws whose fledgling young the country folk have taken from the nest…”  They would have cried all night, Homer tells us, but Odysseus gets to the matter at hand:  massacre Penelope’s suitors.  Athena insists Odysseus must first make blood before he can make love.  This goddess has priorities.

The next episode tells us more of Odysseus character.  Again, too briefly, Odysseus, disguised as a beggar enters his old home.  Unwitting Penelope greets him and asks Euryklea, his former nursemaid, to wash this stranger’s feet.  Odysseus, realizes that Euryklea will recognize the scar on his thigh; he claps one hand on her mouth, the other on her throat and whispers roughly, reveal my identity, and I will throttle you.  A decisive man, even ruthless.

Auerbach places these texts side-by-side to understand their Weltanschauungen.  The Bible’s narrative is spare, we see the moment, foreground; we know little of what characters think or surrounds them.  All is shot with a shallow lens.  Abraham takes Isaac hiking three days to sacrifice him; no word is spoken until the foot of the mountain.  Jacob calls Joseph to send on a lengthy journey; Joseph answers Hineini, that fateful, single Biblical word, “Here I am,” a word that portends something unknown, powerful and likely dangerous.  One God they possess; a God both feared and yet turned to for protection … or at least justice.  Intimacies are charged: Joseph’s brothers hate him unto death; Jacob adores him; his mother is dead.  Family, a people-to-be, possibly a nation, is foremost in Jacob’s and Joseph’s minds.  Jacob’s women — four — clamber upon him; for Joseph, one is briefly mentioned. Names carry meaning: Jacob — either “ankle-grabber” or “crooked one.”  Joseph, “and God will add (another son).”  

Homer’s characters are voluble. What they think, they tell; where they are, Homer says.  How did Odysseus get scarred some forty years earlier? Odysseus/Homer flashes back, his hand hard upon Euryklea’s throat.  And Homer speaks of great characters, no rifraff rabble, no vulgus here: we hear of gods or demi-gods, not shepherds or tent dwellers.  Names carry meaning: “Odysseus” is “one who is wrathful/hated”;  “Telemachus,” “far from battle.”  Odysseus is admired for his cunning and deceit.  And Gods — battling, petty, impregnating, form-shifting — reign Odysseus’ life, with one his guardian, a beautiful goddess of war.  Intimacies are limited: all Odysseus’ men die; he yearns for his dedicated wife, but is “fooled” by bewitching Calypso, stays with her seven years, believing that it is but seven days, a (self-) deception clever Odysseus would like his listeners to believe.

In both texts, names carry meaning.  Names condense.  They concentrate “unconscious ideas and images of self hood,”# place in family and identities.  These identities are imposed upon us and often accepted or rejected, such as in Moby Dick’s protagonist, who begins, “Call me Ishmael.”  We never learn his given name; only that his assumed name is of a son sent out by his father to die; instead, this young man, survives as he searches for an identity.  But, Joseph ultimately becomes his name: while he was named “to add” pointing to his brother to come; in adulthood he adds to, enriches the lives of others.

Ticho Memorial Lecture (2)

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“Begin at the Beginning and end…”

“The End is in the Beginning”

The sacrifice of Isaac's by Caravaggio.jpg

Let us begin with Bible and Homer, with a meeting of father and son.  Auerbach compares the Abraham-Isaac Akeda, the binding, to Odysseus meeting Telemechus after two decades absence.  Here, I compare the Jacob-Joseph meeting after two decades with Odysseus-Telemechus and the relatedness between the father and son.  I suggest several reasons to select Jacob and Joseph rather than the more notorious Abraham – Isaac story.#   I suggest that the Jacob-Joseph story is the foundational myth of father-son relatedness that permitted an enduring Judaism.  Further, we know so little about Isaac; he falls silent after his near sacrifice; speaks only until after his father’s (and mother’s) death.#

Of Jacob and Joseph we know more than earlier Biblical characters, a lot for the laconic Bible, a book that Auerbach says — unlike the Iliad and Odyssey — gives little background, much foreground and hence presses for hermeneutic interpretation.  Homer and his characters are voluble, tell us what they think, flash back into histories.  Of Bible, we have a desert of description, succinctness of acts or words, descriptive aridity.  Following Auerbach, after we touch on Bible, we turn to Homer.

The father Jacob is notorious.  Battling his twin in the womb, later described as a tent dweller unlike his hunter brother, he soon bests his brother, plots against his father with mother’s collusion and is on the lam from his brother for two decades. His name, “Jacob” is a pointing name: “heel grabber,” as it points to his brother who preceded him in birth.  Later, deceived by his uncle/father-in-law, whom he deceives in return, Jacob escapes home with two wives, two concubines, twelve sons and a daughter and wealth. After battling God’s angel, he is renamed Yisrael# — “God-battler” — he goes through other travails including losing his favored son, Joseph (unbeknownst to Jacob, because of his envious sons).  

Slide 3: Joseph

Joseph’s name also points, but to the future: “God will add,” his beloved brother, Benjamin, their mother dying in childbirth.  The favored Joseph proudly (or naively) announces his dreams of succession, of rule, unaware of the envy he generates in his brothers, although his father reproves him after misinterpreting the second dream.  Father misses the wish embedded in the dream: that Joseph dreams his mother alive.  Joseph, sent by his father to spy on his brothers’ industriousness, is cast by them into a pit while they plan his murder, then is saved by one brother, who sells him into slavery (to the offspring of Ishmael, Abraham’s exiled son).  I course through this rapidly. But from Joseph’s descent into the pit and his later Egyptian pit-imprisonment, emerges a different man.  This reborn Joseph shows evidence of an ego ideal, the first such evidence of this psychic structure in the Bible.  I refer to the more creative , super ego-softening aspects of the ego ideal (Chassguet-Smirgel and later Giovacchini),  the agency that works for Freud’s object “loved rather than dread(ed).”(Laplanche and Pontalis, p. 145).

Here are the details in brief.  Joseph enriches Pharoah, becomes vizier, then meets his brothers who come to beg for food and don’t recognize him. Joseph breaks into a crescendo of crying episodes.  His fifth outburst, as he reveals himself, is heard throughout the Egyptian court.  Then a final unabashed sobbing breakdown when he meets his father, Jacob, after twenty years: he collapses on his father’s shoulders.  Jacob’s response?  “Now that I have seen your face, I can go to my grave.”  When Jacob dies, his brothers expect Joseph’s retribution for how they wronged him.  Instead, Joseph insists that he will provide for them and their children and children’s children.  The brothers expect that Joseph’s psychic structure restrains retaliative aggression only out of father-fear; instead, Joseph shows internalized controls, which are not only superego, but also ego ideal.  Ironically, even poetically, Joseph “fulfills” his first dream of his brothers as sheaves of wheat bowing to his sheaf, but with a reversal: he “feeds” those circling him.

In short, a father, Jacob, is promised a nation.  But, his son, Joseph, fulfills this dream; a son who curbs his impulses,# won’t deceive, won’t retaliate: one who shows a new psychic structure.  The son is not murderous towards his father (unlike Oedipus), nor is this father murderous towards the son# (unlike Abraham or Laius … or Christ’s God); Jacob shows no ambivalence about his son’s successes.  Most significantly, Joseph changes internally.  He is the first Biblical figure who does not speak with God; yet he accepts a unitary god, which psychoanalysts might consider as accepting an integrated self, rather than the multiple gods who run rampant in Greek myth (or multiple part-objects or unintegrated impulses in our inner lives).  See how this contrasts with Odysseus.  Unlike Abraham-Isaac or Laius-Oedipus, the Jacob-Joseph pair is a more solid foundation upon which to build an enduring society: one in which a father’s dreams can be realized by his son without murderousness nor envy nor ambivalence on either party.  We might consider a Joseph-complex rather than Oedipal as a model to explain part of Judaism’s endurance.

Ticho Memorial Lecture (1)

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Ticho Memorial Lecture

Mimesis of Inner Lives in Western Literature: How We Got Our Ideas About Inner Life.

N. Szajnberg, MD

Slide 1

This paper’s idea first rose with Saul Bellow in 1970.  He promised, in our seminar on Joyce’s Ulysses, that the only book of literary criticism I would ever have to read is Auerbach’s Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature.  Several decades later, to design a course for the Hebrew University, I used this grand text as a loom with which I wove the literary and aesthetics threads of our psychoanalytic fabric: concepts of person, parent-child relatedness, intimacy, development, journey as soul-cure, with a guide for this treacherous journey.  Just as Freud turned to an Antique Greek myth to understand a Victorian state of mind; just as Ticho articulated the contributions of German thinking to Freud’s ideas; or, Makari uncovered three nineteenth Century strands that Freud wove together into a new view of the psyche; just as Bettelheim explored linguistic contributions to Freud’s concepts of psyche and eros (Freud and Man’s Sou), so, I will cull selections of Western literature# to examine how and when certain concepts developed, then were consolidated into how we think about inner life.  

My method is familiar; I extend what Freud did with the Oedipus story: this myth endures because it captures something fundamentally human through time, particularly in his era.  We find such tales compelling precisely because they pronounce something powerfully magnetic, yet often consciously unacceptable in our imaginations and lives. I touch on a few today and suggest that we have assembled aspects of them into what we consider deeply human.

Why Auerbach’s book?  Its subtitle could be, “The Representation of Inner Reality …..”  For, we learn little about the physical representations of external reality in the Bible or the Christ story.  Yes, some narratives tell us about the lay of the land or the sea: Ulysses’ passage through Scylla and Charybdis; Aenius’ haunting the underworld; Dante’s journey through Hell.  The beauty, the aesthetic elegance of Dante’s descriptions of the levels of hell can be heard as 1) concrete accounts of real Hell, or 2) imagined Hell, or 3) the spiralling levels of our inner life.  But, for Auerbach, the true reality — the more interesting reality  — even the reason to evoke landscape, is to grasp matters of the soul and heart.  Some literatures are landscape rich (Ulysses, Sheherezade); others are almost barren (Bible, New Testament): both types tell us something about how the writer viewed the world, and hence the characters’ inner worlds.  And, Auerbach’s book unveils the development of concepts of inner life in Western literature, opening our thinking about the core of our psychoanalytic investigations: ideas of the unconscious, sexuality, inner conflicts and conflicts both with those whom we treasure and with civilization.

We will discover how over time we have evolved concepts such as bounded personhood and character, how life becomes inner, relatedness and types of intimacy, and life values through Western thought.  The ancient stories — Bible, Homer, Renaissance writings, Shakespeare — are not buried, inert.   Rather, their archeology remains alive, even enliven us. Though buried, they resonate with something within.#  Our developmental model is Freud’s, Piaget’s, Stern’s: layers of development intercalate, particularly as we undergo the tidal ebb and flow of regression and progression during our day … or during the drama.   Earlier layers are not simply replaced, but may influence later layers.  Like the moon, these dramas bend our emotional tides.  As we learn about the evolution of ways of understanding humankind and Weltanschauungen, we learn how they continue to dwell in our minds even as psychoanalysis informs us more fully about why we think and feel.#

In our forty five minutes together, I hope to ignite, catalyze thinking.  To present a definitive study of Western literature’s concepts of inner reality in this time would take Mel Brooks, like his History of the World Part I.  I can’t speak so rapidly, nor am I so entertaining.  I condense my one-year long course at the Hebrew University into a series of amuse bouches, thought appetizers to entice you to feast on Western aesthetics.

Let us suspend our psychoanalytic jargon to permit ourselves to learn the wisdom from ancient texts about our inner lives.  We do this in the spirit of Harold Bloom’s Where Shall Wisdom be Found (2004, Penguin). While deathly ill, Bloom sought Wisdom literature. Disappointed in the experts in wisdom, the Philosophers, “lovers of wisdom,” and feeling time-pressed, he re-turned to beloved literature. Why turn to literature for wisdom?  Great literature has beauty both in form, and content: great writers charm, seduce, even provoke us into thinking more deeply about living our lives.  Rather than exhort — like religions or philosophies — aesthetics engage.

Given our time, I select some of Auerbach’s texts — you will see me leap centuries in single bounds.  I skip across eras like a dragon fly, alighting briefly, touching on water lilies whose faces rise to the pond’s surface, yet rooted, they reveal something of what lies below.  Listen to each brief excerpt and what we can cull about inner realities from these texts.#

卡拉瓦乔(1)

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卡拉瓦乔:来自400年后的精神分析速写,情感表达的矛盾与模糊(1)

作者:内森 赛恩伯格

翻译:武怡堃

摘要:为了纪念米开朗基罗·梅里西·德·卡拉瓦乔去世400,罗马迎来了他主要生平作品的历史性展览。然而,精神分析界却少有对这位巨匠的研究,除了关于他对于人类复杂矛盾情感的完整呈现。此前,精神分析对艺术先锋的研究有所贡献,如弗洛伊德对达芬奇(1910)和米开朗基罗的大卫雕像的研究,Blatt(1994)对乔托教堂的观察,或者Spitz-Handler关于Margritte的戏剧和外部现实的关系。我们可以从卡拉瓦乔的作品中学到什么——他那些革新性的贡献,如呈现情感的视觉表达,尤其是负面情绪的表达,包括一些复杂的情绪;以及他坦率的,甚至带有批判色彩的自我呈现。这位16世纪末的艺术家又能如何告诉我们,在精神分析下的心灵概念的发展。

为了纪念米开朗基罗·梅里西·德·卡拉瓦乔去世400,罗马迎来了他主要生平作品的历史性展览。然而,精神分析界却少有对这位巨匠的研究,除了关于他对于人类复杂矛盾情感的完整呈现。此前,精神分析对艺术先锋的研究有所贡献,如弗洛伊德对达芬奇(1910)和米开朗基罗的大卫雕像的研究,Blatt(1994)对乔托教堂的观察,或者Spitz-Handler关于Margritte的戏剧和外部现实的关系。我们可以从卡拉瓦乔的作品中学到什么, 这位16世纪末的艺术家又能如何告诉我们,在精神分析下的心灵概念的发展?

他那些革新性的贡献,如呈现情感的视觉表达,尤其是负面情绪的表达,包括一些复杂的情绪;以及他坦率的,甚至带有批判色彩的自我呈现。那就是,他可以勾画出那些强烈情感的时刻,他的勾画比早先的艺术家包含更多复杂性和模糊性。我们可以理解为他预示了弗洛伊德对于亲密关系中复杂情感的发现(1923)。在此,我们可以使用精神分析的概念,外加保罗·艾克曼解读情绪表达的方法(尤其是面部表情,还有手势和象征的表达)来研究他的作品。我们也可以讨论卡拉瓦乔的作品是如何成为一个再现个人和社会两难情景的范例:在这个范例中,疫病对他早年生活和居住社区产生的影响,即使他的作品未像埃里克森所假设的有创造力的个体(Erikson, 1994; Schutze, 2009)那样解决了个人或社会的危机。在此要注意的是,我们建立了一种协调的方法,在艺术史和心灵科学之间进行探索:通过考察先于精神分析的艺术(视觉艺术,文学和音乐),我们可以从艺术史上了解某些心灵的概念是何时发展出来的。依照次序,我们可以通过近代精神分析是研究心灵的方式来理解早些时期人内心世界的呈现形式。在本文中,我们集中于第一种方法:卡拉瓦乔在15世纪末期罗马的作品中展现给我们的情绪和亲密的表现形式,在今时今日依然会感动我们。

弗洛伊德创立了从精神分析的方式探索美学,在他的作品中写到我们如何更好地以精神分析的方式理解艺术和其他形式的作品。他同样深化了我们关于艺术的理解,即“(艺术)…不仅仅是一种美的理论,也是一种情感的特质的理论” (Freud, 1919, p. 218)。卡拉瓦乔将我们推向一种更紧张,复杂,而又有时暧昧的情感特质。

Spitz Handler(1989)归纳了三种精神分析的方法来研究美学,这三种方法都开始于弗洛伊德:疾病史,精神分析式的文本分析,艺术对受众影响的精神分析式理解。Szajnberg (1992, 1996, 2010)增加了一种变化的形式:跟随着弗洛伊德关于文学巨匠对内部世界的描述的评论,这些评论中弗洛伊德可以对其系统分析,Szajnberg描述了先于精神分析的艺术作品是如何预言了精神分析对于潜意识的概念,在不同层面上工作和成对关系的中心等概念。随后,Szajnberg (2010,2012)假设,西方文化中人的概念是在过去2千年内建构的,这是根据Auerbach (1954) 或 Bergner和Luckmann (1996)的见解提出的。我们了解,在我们的概念中关键的时期我们把人看做是什么,是在发展中的变化(向后和向前)的。这是埃里克森关于创造性的个体是如何解决危机的观点的延伸,正如埃里克森对于马丁·路德,甘地和弗洛伊德(Erikson, 1994)的表述。Ogden最近的关于卡夫卡和博尔赫斯的细微研究,也给Spitz Handler的三种方法增加了一些变化:利用我们所知的关于艺术家的生平和作品,了解这两者中的一方是如何启迪了另一方。

Blatt(1984)关于乔托的研究为我们对卡拉瓦乔的研究奠定了一种概念。乔托的38副14世纪教堂壁画,开创了文艺复兴式的无限的表达(他使用天蓝色而不是中世纪的金色来描绘天空),三维视角的绘画,以及引向自然主义和人文主义的探索(对应于中世纪的普遍作画方式)。Blatt回顾了西方美术史上视觉表达的发展阶段,从前古典派的单向,非对称发展到古典的双向,但缺乏整体空间呈现的阶段,再到中世纪更具体的,静态的,和程式化的肖像画(如拜占庭艺术),然后到文艺复兴时期三维的革新,以及与人文主义和自然主义的联系。这种人文主义和自然主义拉近了神性和人性的距离(Eliade,1959)。Burkhardt(Blatt, 1984)提到文艺复兴是对古希腊的人性中的自我信任和人的尊严概念的重新提倡。卡拉瓦乔更进一步地推动了文艺复兴的艺术:通过将人性中的世俗/贬低的一部分纳入画中,也通过将透视图压平,矛盾性地让我们聚焦于主体的内部世界,深化作品中的情感呈现,激发观看者的情感反应。

本文考察了卡拉瓦乔是如何跳到对矛盾情感的视觉呈现。这些矛盾情感包括负面的,嘲笑的和矛盾的,以及这些描绘出的情感之间的互动。卡拉瓦乔描绘了这些情感被放在一起时,那些被激发的,强烈的情感间的对话;一组情感对应其他的情感,就像巴赫音乐中的对位法。在与他同名的米开朗基罗的一个世纪以后,卡拉瓦乔推动了西斯廷教堂的表现边界,他也“引用”了这位巨匠的技巧到他的的视觉表达中。卡拉瓦乔的一些由教廷任命的作品被认为很有争议性的,被教廷拒绝。在那些被接受的作品中,卡拉瓦乔偷偷躲过教廷的审视和听闻,用一些的细微的姿势的来表现他的意图,如将两个苦力者的黑脚偷放到圣母的肖像上,将当代的一些“低俗”特质放到教廷艺术中。

我们想通过儿童期的经历来了解这位“先锋”艺术家,但所知甚少。我们所知的是,他是家中长者,在他三岁时他的父亲和一个妹妹死于瘟疫,他的母亲在他18岁时去世。然后他搬去了罗马,因为这些艺术家可以在那里接到教堂的工作而谋生。在那之前,他当过一段时间彼得赞诺(提香的得意门生)的学徒。我们可以看到在卡拉瓦乔的作品中的一些主题,是对提香的回应,如耶稣基督的加冕,而卡拉瓦乔在这个主题上的表达有更多的深度。卡拉瓦乔死时年仅41岁,他因在网球比赛中杀死对手而遭到流放,在数年后死于流放的途中。他曾从监狱中逃走,一直在潜逃中,受到一些资助者的保护。我们先回到他最后的作品之一:大卫提着歌利亚那受伤滴血的头颅,这个头颅有着卡拉瓦乔本人的面孔。大卫看起来很忧郁,他别开头没有去看那个受伤严重的头颅;而歌利亚/卡拉瓦乔,长着嘴,眉头紧皱,看起来似乎很困惑。大卫的十字剑松松地插在他的腰间,或者在前一个版本中,搁在他的脖子后面。

艺术史研究者为这位艺术家如何建构其作品提供了背景框架。巴拉斯写过关于艺术中的情感表达:在古希腊时期,以及在文艺复兴时期重复出现的“面部表达符号系统”是艺术家得以形成他们作品的重要基础(Barasch,1991, P16)。此外,手势也是卡拉瓦乔系统使用,与面部表情相联系的重要元素。“手势表达的情境,是由做手势的人物和受其影响的周围人物形象,以及其表达的潜力所共同构成的。它是用来感动和说服观众的(Barasch,1991, P18)。”在这里,巴拉斯用到了“感动”一词,他指的是情感上的触动,就像达芬奇所强调的,“在分析一副绘画作品时,最重要的部分,是人物的动作与心理状态相符,这些心理状态包括如欲望,轻蔑,愤怒,怜悯或其他。”我们注意到达芬奇在这里用到的“动作”一词,特指我们在心理分析中所说的情感。以此为依据,让我们转向卡拉瓦乔是如何尝试来感动他的观众。

僵尸,吸血鬼,狼人(2)

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僵尸,吸血鬼,狼人:来自一个少年世界里的不死族以及它们对人类依赖的系统发展(2)

作者:内森 赛恩伯格

翻译:武怡堃

(接上文)

几个月之后,分析师可以去问D关于吸血鬼和狼人的故事。D在接下来的几个星期里讲了这些内容。他解释到吸血鬼,狼人和僵尸是相关联但又不同的。他们有些共同的特质:1,都杀不死;2,都依赖于“活人”而生存;3,都没法变成真正的人类。

但是僵尸是最低级的不死族:他们没有自己的意愿,大部分情况下像机器人一样(他列举了他们机械的行为,僵硬的关节,面无表情的行走),对于咬人的行为没有情感。吸血鬼是更高级的存在。他们对自己的行为有自己的意愿,他们饮血来维持生存,但同时(矛盾的是)他们会给他们的牺牲者“礼物”,即不死。同样,吸血鬼对于杀死人类也不会后悔。狼人是不死族的最高形式,他们在一个月大部分时候都保持人的形态,只有在满月的时候变身成狼,失去控制并攻击人类。在第二天,这些狼人会对自己的行为感到强烈的懊悔,这也许是一种“延迟反应”的形式(La Planche和Pontillis,)。此外,他们只用通过记忆,或看到自己身上的血迹和破碎的衣服来“了解”自己做了什么。预计到他们会做什么,他们会在整个月中受到痛苦的煎熬。这就是,狼人会同时感受到对过去的懊悔和对未来的焦虑。

随着治疗的进行,D开始扮演狼人的角色。他解释到他的狼人娃娃会在出生的那一天会变成好的或坏的狼人。但是他无法确定,他在下一年会是好的还是坏的。此外,他还解释到他的僵尸或狼人都无法大小便,他们会吞噬并吐出恶心的东西,他们也没有肛门或阴茎来排泄。

D的治疗继续,在后来的几年中,他有了更为象征化的表达。他在治疗中的活动转向了画画,梦,讲看过电影和书,有时还会唱流行歌曲,如“丘比特,拉上你的弓,让你的箭飞翔,直接飞向我爱人的心,如果你愿意。”如果完整地描述他的治疗整个过程,可能会超过了这篇文章的需要,但他的一些梦暗示了他内部的转变。

他的梦在整个分析的过程中都在不断地重构,从灰暗和消极地面对死亡,独自逃跑,到联合他人来避免蓄意伤害。在他的第一个梦(第13次治疗),他在一个主题公园里和朋友们一起。一个杀人犯接近他们。D一个人逃到屋子里来寻求安全,但是那个杀人犯躲在门后面,他抓住了D,想把D放在一个伐木的锯子上,从D的头开始,D逃走了。

他对这个梦的唯一联想是,瞎了眼的鸵鸟依然会跑;虽然看不见,它的腿还是能把它带出危险。

在第一年治疗的末尾,他梦到一个在公园里死亡的女人,湿漉漉的叶子盖在她的身上。他听到一些词,“Esse, Esse”,他回到家后,发现那个死掉的女人躺在浴缸里。然后他醒来,他觉得这个梦很安静而又极度恐怖,他想知道该怎么忘掉它。他想把这个梦留在我的治疗室里,并把它放在那。“Esse, Esse ”,在德语里指的是“吃,吃”,也在他的吸血鬼/狼人游戏里出现,与这个游戏的口腔攻击和食人特质保持一致,但却是相反的:在这个梦中,有个声音告诉他去吃一具尸体。这个梦捕捉这个男孩早些年构建的心理结构中灰暗的部分。

治疗中一个关键点发生在治疗进行的第18个月中。他回想起来,自己的母亲在他7岁生日时尝试掐他的脖子,当时他的父母正处在短暂的分离中。(这个细节被这个孩子的母亲确认了,后来也得到了父亲的确认,因为男孩在从母亲那里逃出来后给他的父亲打了电话。当他的哥哥听到这些时,他的反应很冷淡,“喔,她也对我这么干过。”)在讨论了这个的几周后,他进一步解释了他的游戏,他还提到了“印第安纳 琼斯”系列电影,D描述了电影中的一个场景,在一场飞车追逐的戏中,印第安纳和一个金发巨乳的女郎一起坐在后排,开车的是一个男孩,非常努力地试图甩开后面的追车,而印第安纳似乎没看到这个男孩有多在乎他,因为他把头埋在金发女郎的胸前(因为解药掉到她的胸中间了)。他的游戏和工作变得越来越象征和符号化,就如有次他让分析师站在中间不动,自己围着分析师展示他见过的康康大腿舞,他告诉分析师她们站得如此得近却不会碰到对方,也不会互相微笑。

在他的分析的第三年,他做了这样一个梦,这告诉我们他的内在结构发生了怎样的变化。他在越南参战,成功地穿越了一片地雷阵,但弄伤了腿。他和一个战友一起在河里游泳,之后必须爬过一道墙才能逃跑,D成功地爬过去了,但是他的战友遇到了困难。一架直升飞机接近他们,向他们发射导弹,但是却没有命中。后来他们两个一起安全到达了墙的另一边,遇到了一对双胞胎女孩,成为了他们的女友。他们四个人一起进了一个电梯,电梯下降穿越到了未来,平安到达了2000年(治疗发生在20世纪80年代末期)。

我们谈到了在他的梦中他可以找到人和他一起逃跑,而且他还能够帮助朋友逃跑。(在这个梦中,他的朋友在爬墙时遇到困难,但他还是梦到他们一起平安到达了墙那边)。我们也谈到了有一对双胞胎女孩当女友是多棒的事情。他可以接受我的解释,即过去时可怕和危险的,他能预见到自己在未来和朋友一起会更安全,还有可能交上女朋友。我们了解“下降”到未来,是一种在治疗中退行的形式,为了有更好的未来(Kris, 1956)。

讨论

我们分两个部分讨论这个案例。首先是在治疗之前,这个男孩建构了一个精致的关于不死族的幻想世界(也把自己想象成不死族),这个幻想帮助他保持了精神上的平衡,但是也隔绝了他作为正常人类的感觉,使他“不得不”对某些人做一些会让他后悔的事,有时候他也不会对自己的行为后悔(Winnicott, 1974; Giovacchini, 2000)。其次,我们会思考关于这个男孩的不死族发展模型是如何反应了当前美国流行文化的兴趣,甚至为什么会那么关注不死族。

D的模型的很好地解释了他的思路:不死族有不同的等级,僵尸是最原始的等级,吸血鬼是更高一级的,以及最接近人类的狼人。他对于这些不死族特性的内在心理动力和动机的解释可以用多种精神分析的理论来分析,如力比多,客体关系或其他心理动力学理论。

僵尸,吸血鬼,狼人(1)

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僵尸,吸血鬼,狼人:来自一个少年世界里的不死族以及它们对人类依赖的系统发展(1)

作者:内森 赛恩伯格

翻译:武怡堃

在吸血鬼成为美国流行文化的时候,关于不死族的研究从1915年起到现在都不停地出现在精神分析的文献中。精神分析师们不仅花了大量篇幅讨论了吸食血液的吸血鬼,还有咬人的狼人和僵尸。PEP列举了439条关于不死族的文献(99条关于僵尸,288条关于吸血鬼,52条关于狼人)。在此,我们仅列举其中的一部分,如临床案例相关的(Kayton, 1972; Szajnberg, 1993; Olesker, 1999),与民族志,媒体及文学相关的(Roheim, 1953; Chasseguet-Smirgel, 1984),以及吸血作为母乳喂养的一种幻想的(Almond, 2007, 2010)。在通俗文化中,我们可以确认不死族对活人的需求:他们无法离开“人类”而生存。作为通俗文化的一部分,他们“经常出现在畅销的榜单和影视作品中”(Isherwood, New York Times, 2001)。

尚未有精神分析的文献考察这三种不死族种类之间,以及他们同人类的关系。这篇文章受益于一个少年关于不死族的游戏和幻想,以及他对于僵尸,吸血鬼和狼人在不死族发展系统中的相互关联,还有他们与活人的不同联系的理解。这篇案例报告描述了这个少年在治疗之前,是如何建构了一种关于不死族的内在心理模型来维持精神上的平衡,但这也妨碍了他感觉到自己是“活着的”。这个男孩关于不死族的洞见,反映了不死族在美国流行文化中,甚至在更久远的欧洲文化中的影响。在此我借用马克 吐温的关于天气的话来说:“当很多人在谈论不死族时,却没有人对此做些什么。”这个男孩可以在他的内心世界里进行与不死族相关的工作,通过精神分析。

案例报告:

少年D从12岁起接收精神分析直到差不多16岁。他有严重的强迫性症状,包括他必须把笔向上抛13次后才能写一个字,而这个字必须工整地写在行内,否则他就会擦掉那个字;在写之前纸张必须是保持绝对的整洁没有污迹(他派父亲出去为自己的作业准备大量白纸)。作为一个出色的运动员,他也有自己的秘密仪式,比如在投球之前在土地上画一系列的数字。虽然他在运动上表现出色,但他的父母发现他没有从中享受愉悦感。

他的症状变得明显是在他的一个表亲经历了头部受伤而瘫痪的意外之后(过了一段时间,他的表亲回复了一部分的功能)。其他可能的促发事件包括,男孩父亲因胸痛而倒下(被诊断为焦虑症),他的母亲在一次网球比赛中突然倒下,以及他的哥哥在几个月前搬到大学去了。D开始不停地在家里跑动(他自己说是为了加快他在篮球场和橄榄球场上的速度),在楼梯上不停地运球,这个活动在午夜之后依然持续。他出现了失眠的睡眠问题。他会在惊恐和痉挛中突然醒来,这导致了他在儿童医院的住院。住院期间他的医生考虑了两种不同的诊断,甲亢和交感神经肿瘤,他过去的医疗历史和当前的状况,没有出现相关的身体症状。他所有的身体症状都在分析的头六个月消失了。

对于本文来说,重点在于分析头八个月里出现的不死族。他的分析开始于一种胶着的状态,他紧张不安地坐着,捏紧拳头搓揉着他的T恤,否认治疗的需要。他从椅子上一跃而起,穿过治疗室跪倒在地上,把头探进“娃娃之家”里,询问“这里发生了什么?”他开始设置游戏,他安排了一个超级宝宝,宝妈,宝爸,和其他兄弟姐妹。这个游戏的基本主题,在之后的几个月里都基本固定,在游戏的玩法上有些变化:在这个咋一看很“正常”的家里,事情变得很奇怪。父亲开车回家,直接通过了2楼的窗户,把车停在卧室;妈妈在做晚饭,把爸爸叫去钓鱼,于是爸爸在厕所里钓鱼。超级宝宝回到人间,拯救了这个家,或者修复了问题。结局是,母亲精心准备了晚餐,但是她把超级宝宝当成主菜,放在桌子中间。之后超级宝宝会再次回到人间,然后“游戏”再次开始(Terr,1999)。分析师的主要任务是去澄清这个模拟的游戏,并对发生了什么或有哪里不对劲保持好奇。D拒绝把这个游戏和自己感觉要变成“超人”来拯救家庭的需要联系到一起,尽管变成“超人”,他还是很脆弱。

吸血鬼,狼人和僵尸是下一个游戏。相比之前的“娃娃之家”游戏,D只是静静地一个人演绎各种场景,只允许分析师从固定的位置来评论,而在新游戏中D更多地让分析师参与进来。D告诉分析师,分析师和他的动物玩具是狼人;D是吸血鬼,D抢走了分析师的娃娃,把她变成了自己的吸血鬼。D设定了故事场景,他指示分析师该站在哪里,怎么向娃娃们扔炸弹,在椅子哪里坐着被D和D的吸血鬼娃娃轰炸。这个游戏有一种强制,且重复的性质,但是在几个月之后,游戏升级了。

开始时,D会把炸弹球扔向分析师/狼人去杀死他,并坚持让分析师实施报复,扔炸弹球到D/吸血鬼身上去杀死他。D会瞄准分析师的头和脸,如果两人中有一个成功炸死了另一个,D会说明因为我们是不死族,我们会复生并重新开始战斗。游戏升级后,D增加了分析师的动物玩具。这些新增的动物玩具是分析师的狼人娃娃;D自己拿了一个娃娃,把她的衣服都脱掉,当成自己的吸血鬼娃娃。现在,我们的目标是要杀死对方的娃娃。关于他的娃娃,他解释到只是披着人皮面具,看起来像是人类。他会高举他的娃娃,引诱分析师去攻击她。如果分析师瞄准得不好,D会很生气,会炸死分析师和他的娃娃,并坚持分析师要瞄的更准。在这个游戏的过程的大部分时候,D都面无表情,扳着脸,就像带着一张面具一样。然后,游戏又升级,D或者D的吸血鬼娃娃会绑架分析师的狼人娃娃之一,并把她高举起来。D命令分析师去炸自己的孩子,否则的话D会慢慢地痛苦地掐着狼人娃娃,让其窒息或受折磨。如果分析师犹豫不绝或恳求D放过自己的孩子,D和他的吸血鬼娃娃就会挤压分析师的娃娃,他会流露出一种冷漠的快乐,或者干笑着捻着自己想象中的胡子,就像Snidely Whiplash一样。

如果分析师坚持自己无法扔炸弹,D会给分析师一种“强制命令”,让分析师不得不扔炸弹。如果分析师没有扔中目标,D会要求他继续扔。等分析师扔了炸弹,D会移动狼人娃娃保证她被分析师的炸弹击中,分析师就这样杀了自己的娃娃,这时分析师会表现出懊恼,后悔或伤心的样子。当分析师说,“这不是我的意愿,是D强迫我做的”时。D会很冷淡地说“让他这么干”,甚至会流露出轻蔑的表情“这是你自己扣下了扳机”。在游戏之后,D会倾听分析师尝试的解释,比如分析师会说自己感受到D有时候自己感受到的东西:无法控制地被迫去做一些破坏性的行为来伤害自己所爱的人,并在之后感觉到后悔,懊恼,或内疚。D会容忍这些分析师的意见,并坚持继续游戏。在以上描述的游戏中的变化发生后,D最终确定了分析师的意见,他的面部表达变得更加鲜活,表情也丰富了起来。

情感依附中文版导言

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作者:内森 赛恩伯格

翻译:武怡堃

本研究诞生于30年前,在那个时期父母们越来越关注如何能更好地养育孩子,研究对象是在纽约的孩子们。但是,我希望这个研究也能对中国的家长有所帮助。在独生子女政策的背景下,中国的家长们对自己的孩子有很多希冀和愿望,这些愿望减轻了他们的焦虑和恐惧。在2012年4月我在武汉教学的时候,我很好奇为什么中国的临床工作者会对儿童发展尤其是依附关系感兴趣。有些人很诚恳地告诉我,因为他们想要了解如何能更好地养育孩子。有些人报告的案例中有着深远的家庭悲剧,家中唯一的孩子经历了痛苦,而严重的内心困惑。这给了我对于教学内容紧迫性的思考。我希望我所讲授的内容能够有所帮助。这本书可以让更多的家长和年轻人接触到这些知识。我们了解早期生活的那几年有多么重要,但是在生活模式中也有机会去修复,改正,和完善关系,比如说是在第二次发展的“危机”,青春期。

精神分析师们对身份的发展感兴趣,身份可以给与人内在的安全和合理的自我确认,工作,爱和游戏的能力。我们在此想要传递的是,父母都有潜力有健康的情感生活,并培育他们孩子的情感生活。 埃里克森将一代代的人形容成交错的齿轮:父母的齿轮带动孩子的,也会被孩子们所带动,祖父母的齿轮也会被他们的孙子女们带动。当我们的孩子过得好时,这是因为我们的努力,我们也会为他们的成功而有所收获。 就像美国谚语所说的一样,“上帝是在细节之中。”如何养育孩子的细节,有哪些问题应该避免。本书也许会提供一些指导。

我想要简单地谈一谈我的身份,以及它是如何同你们的身份背景联系在一起,你们拥有古老而焕发生机的文明。

我是谁,谁写的这些话?我是一个美国犹太精神分析师;这是我的三种身份。犹太民族有将近3000年的历史,美国有250年,而精神分析有大概一个世纪。

犹太是一种奇怪的宗教和国家集合体,从距今2500年的大卫王时期起就有一种紧张。在上帝第一次对亚伯拉罕说话时,他许诺亚伯拉罕会成为一国之主,这个国家会非常富饶,多如天上的繁星。当时上帝是对一个老人,没有子女的人许诺的。犹太人在他们的宗教中信仰上帝,作为分析师我们把对上帝的信仰看做是对一个统一自我的信仰,而不是像多个神那样碎片化的自我。关于犹太,还有一个奇怪的地方,就在于它还是个国家。在国家身份和宗教身份之间有一种紧张。像爱因斯坦,弗洛伊德,或者我这样的犹太人,将自己认同为犹太人,虽然并不遵从宗教的教义,或对神的信仰,更不用说那613条戒律。在主要西方的宗教中,自称为天主教徒或穆斯林的人很少否认对神的信仰。

其次,我是个美国人,这个身份的历史只有2个半世纪。我并不是一生下来就是个美国人,而是一个移民,一种双重适应:作为一个男孩我希望成为一个牛仔和印第安人,似乎没有出现身份冲突的问题。我们是从战后的欧洲作为难民进入美国,受到这个自由之邦的吸引, 那里唱着Emma Lazarus所写的 “送给我,你受穷受累的人们,你那拥挤着渴望呼吸自由的大众,所有遗弃在你海滩上的悲惨众生…” 。大洋彼岸的难民可以在美国的土壤中成材发光。我感觉美国人,这种身份是受哺于欧洲的文明启蒙,17世纪的哲学家提倡的人而非神是人类的中心:人的创造——音乐,艺术,哲学,经验科学——可以来自人的心灵,就像美丽的爱神从海沫中诞生,从宙斯的头脑中诞生,就像Botticelli所描绘的那样。做一个美国人意味着从外部权力带来的自由,受到个体对国家和政府的责任感的平衡。

最后,我是个精神分析师,这个职业的历史只有1个世纪,是一个探索和治疗内部生活的科学领域,寻找那些个人内心深处黑暗和隐藏的东西,阐明这些东西来启迪人的心灵。17世纪的政治哲学家写到外部自由;而精神分析师促进内部自由。我们提倡自我认识,这是与情感融合的,它促进了自主性 。我们会培育爱,工作和游戏的能力。承担责任,而不是感到负担。 可以被他人依赖,也可以依赖他人,而不会去促使他们。我们也提倡将生命中的迷思(那些一直萦绕着的故事事件)转化为生活历史的能力,这些故事会成为我们生活中的一部分,但却不会像鬼魂一样一直在记忆中徘徊。

作为作者,我呈现的是三种交错的身份,我希望能够整合好。

这本书是关于从婴儿期到成年早期的发展。它横跨了埃里克森描述的八个发展阶段中的七个:从婴儿早期(信任对不信任),婴儿后期(自主性对羞耻和怀疑),儿童早期(自发性对内疚),儿童期(勤勉对自卑),青春期(自我同一性对角色混乱),成年早期(亲密对孤立)成年期 (繁衍对停滞)。 我们研究了76个婴儿,从出生起就跟踪研究直到他们30岁。我们会考察他们不同生活路径的源头是什么,以及是什么对他们的影响最为深远。父母和家庭的是最为重要的。大部分获得好的早期照顾的人发展较好;而大部分早期照顾有问题的孩子在后面的发展会不够好。但是有20%人的发展会同早期照顾后产生的预期不一样:一些人生活不尽如人意;一些人比预期更好。在本书中,我们会描述那些会影响生活路径的因素。跟随Bowlby之外, 创伤——这些严重威胁到生活的失去父母或导致失去父母的经历——深刻地影响了个体在30岁时的发展。除了父母的死亡之外,因父母离异,严重的酒精或药物依赖也会导致丧失。对孩子来说,有可能会“失去”依然在生的父母。在孩子的发展中前面积累的成果并非都会失去:我们会发现那些经历过两种以上创伤的儿童在30岁后的生活会受到较为严重的影响。这也就是说,为了你的孩子,如果你离婚了,请努力活着,切避免酒精药物依赖。

我们,亨利·马西博士和我,把本书当做一系列的生活实践故事来写作。我对于他邀请我在10年中参与这个计划很荣幸。研究的细节都呈现在本书中,但是作为精神分析师,我们会写作生活的故事,我们感觉这样会把这些我们思考中鲜活的人展现出来。我们希望你能向我们一样,能够从这些故事中找到亲切,感动和引导。

我开始接触作为读者的你们。中国有五千年的文化,有丰富的文学,各个流派的哲学家引导着人们的生活,像儒家,道家和佛家。有时候,这些思想者之间会存在差异,就像某些17世纪的政治哲学家那样。Paul Roazen, 我们时代的学者, 写到柏拉图以来的政治哲学家对于人是什么,人如何发展做出了假设。但是Roazen教导我们,从弗洛伊德以来,我们不仅要思考人是什么,或者发展的过程是怎样。我们需要更多地了解我们的内部生活。 因此他做出了理性的假设,我们可以建构出培育内部生活和人类幸福的哲学。

我的一个中国同事,童俊女士告诉我,中国正在经历一段令人兴奋和生机勃勃的“复兴”,就像从14世纪北意大利兴起,后来传播到法英德的文艺复兴。中国的复兴,培育了一个更好的经济生活环境。西方的文艺复兴也培育了爱和美,以及创造它们的人,如达芬奇,米开朗基罗,卡拉瓦乔,提香。它培育了人的自由精神来相信自己的心灵可以发现和创造。这是为什么我感觉很荣幸,可以通过写作和你们交流,以及对于把这本书呈现给你们感到很兴奋。我相信你会从中理解它,并希望你们能够更多地将内部生活展现给世界。精神分析的本质是发展内在的自由,从某种程度上本书实现了一部分这样的目标,教导如何去养育内在自由的孩子。

非常感谢童俊女士为出版所做的努力,以及本书的翻译们,武怡堃博士,陈昉和韩丹。我也感谢Arlene 和Arnie Richards夫妇邀请我来武汉讲课,以及Wallerstein基金会对我从2005年以来研究的支持。

内森•塞恩伯格

于纽约市

Caravaggio (4)

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Caravaggio (1)

Caravaggio (2)

Caravaggio (3)

Discussion
Four hundred years after Caravaggio’s short career and early death, psychoanalysis can place him in a pantheon of artists who — from a psychoanalytic perspective — advanced the representation of complex emotions. While constrained by his patrons’ wishes and subject matter, Caravaggio built on his great predecessors’ achievements, particularly his namesake, Michelangelo, and also went beyond them, such as Titian. Caravaggio transgressed contemporary rules/norms to expand the exhibition of a fuller range of emotion and the interplay of emotions of those in intense moments of human experience. He openly portrayed what psychoanalysts consider the fuller range of inner reality, including our ambivalences, thereby revealing our inner lives on the surface of canvas.

We can frame this discussion in terms of Handler Spitz’s (1989) overview of the relationship of psychoanalysis to aesthetics, elaborated by Blatt’s (1984) and Barasch’s (1991) focus on continuities and changes in visual representation of humankind over the ages.

Spitz gives three broad categorical approaches for the relationship between psychoanalysis and aesthetics: 1) pathography (using psychoanalysis and the aesthetic works to understand the author); 2) psychoanalytic readings of the text (such as Freud’s “reading” of the three caskets), and 3) grasping the audience’s reactions to a work (Freud’s study of jokes (1919)). If we consider Erikson’s studies of Luther, Gandhi and Freud as deep elaborations of pathography – involving not only the individual’s psyche, but also the society’s dilemmas – then this work falls in part into that category: how an artist’s work addresses not only his/her views and challenges, but also those of the era. Specifically, while this paper is not a pathobiography — given the paucity of information of Caravaggio’s life — we can speculate that Caravaggio dealt with the personal experiences of the Black Plague death of his father and sibling when he was three to four, as well as the deaths of many others of the time (and his dislocations from town to town to avoid the Plague) by portraying death and decay from his earliest work onwards: decay and death appear even in a still life – nature morte – of a fruit basket.17 His gruesome portrayals of decapitations might also be related to the developmental age of the painter at his father’s death, that is at the early Oedipal, suggesting (from the very little we know of his early life) his sense of the price paid for an Oedipal wish fulfilled.

We know so little about his early life, that we are left to speculate. But, we do know that the Black Plague painted a swath of death in Northern Italy in Caravaggio’s youth, killing some one-third of the population (Schutze, 2009). We can suggest that Caravaggio’s portrayals of decay and death as a part of life would resonate with concerns of his community and could explain in part, his popularity and the power of his work in his era (Schutze, 2009). He also was employed by the Church and its orders, yet was aware of the level of hypocrisy and obscene wealth and sexual practices of the Church, the same attitudes and actions that moved the devout Dante to write the Inferno three hundred years earlier. Caravaggio was an artistic picador to such Churchly bullish antics. That is, following Erikson (1994), we can understand Caravaggio’s subject matter as his way of addressing both deeply personal childhood (and adult) experiences that also resonate with his era and community.

But, let us turn to the central feature of this paper: a sixteenth century artist’s representation of complex emotions among intense relationships. Blatt enlarges this effort – applying psychoanalytic thinking to aesthetics and aesthetic development to understand our contemporary view of inner life — when he demonstrates that there are significant advances, turning points, in visual representations in art. Further, he suggests that these advances are consistent with Piaget’s ideas about cognitive development, even as Blatt cautions that we not “primitize” the work of earlier art. This moves us closer to understanding what steps, what efforts were needed to develop concepts of person, of relatedness in order that Freud could develop the discipline of psychoanalysis. Makari (2008) elegantly shows the scientific concepts of the nineteenth century (about sexuality, psychopathology, normal psychology) that Freud learned and was able to re-weave into a new discipline. Here, following Blatt or Szajnberg (2010), for instance, we suggest that one can use psychoanalytic understandings of inner life in order to chart how we developed these concepts, studying the aesthetic works – literary, visual, sculptural and possibly musical – over greater spans of time.

In this sense we can begin to observe how artists have advanced an documented our views of the inner life of mankind over the centuries, preparing the infrastructure of a road — an intellectual via Appia from Rome to Vienna (not only to Brindisi) — to psychoanalysis. Caravaggio brought the profane closer to the sacred, not only as Eliade has described (1959), but also as Freud did by elevating the mundane, the debased (parapraxes, dreams, symptoms) to self-enlightenment.

We too can explore further humankind’s development of awareness of self by using psychoanalysis. Blatt argues that Giotto’s new techniques — new ways of seeing and representing the world — represented a movement forward psychologically, both cognitively (in the Piagetian sense of reversibility, reciprocity, conservation being connected with the sense of infinity) and emotionally (in the sense of naturalism and humanism).18 That is, we can read the history of art (visual, plastic, literary) as a way of reading our progress (and regress) in Western humankind’s concepts of the inner world. In this paper, we focus on the representation of emotions – expressed in face, body, gesture and among the participants in intense moments.

We suggest that Caravaggio’s bold representation of both negative and positive feelings, including ambivalence and moments of ambiguity about feelings demands the viewer to approach, to feel moments of identity or uncertainty, to think harder as we look at these works: the Angel’s passive, calm face, yet pressing arm; David’s somber look; the absence of wrath, nor disgust, nor victory in Judith’s moment of killing the evil Holofernes; Caravaggio’s self-portraits in Medusa and the final Goliath; the impending rot in a basket of ripe fruit.

Auerbach’s argument in his now-classic Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature includes his view that literary ways of representation develop over time, with occasional leaps of achievement: the New Testament’s elevation of the mundane to the sublime; Dante’s self-portrayal voyaging through Hell in order to reach Paradise; Shakespeare’s (overly) self-reflective prince (Auerbach, 1954). When we read Auerbach closely, he defines mimesis not as “imitation” of reality (the usual translation of Aristotle’s term): rather this is in large part, re-presentation of reality (external, internal) in such a manner that the reader/listener is moved to feel as if this could be happening or has happened. We “know” that these stories may not be fact, real, (the Akeda; Ulysses slaying of the Cyclops; Aenius’ amorous “sojourn” with Dido; Grimm’s or Sheherezade’s fairy tales): but they feel deeply human, they move us (Bernstein, 1974). That is, with psychoanalytic thought, we can begin to grasp why certain pieces (literary or visual) move us so much. In Caravaggio’s case, he tackles the imbrications of eros and thanatos, of ambivalence, of decay and death with life.

On the other hand, we can also use our psychoanalytic understanding of what appears to be universal in inner life — such as, the existence of the Unconscious, the extent to which we are influenced by our Unconscious, the presence of ambivalence in close relationships, the enduring nature of working models of attachment – to look back on the evolution of Western art to discern the turning points in our development of concept of self, person and relatedness. For example, the genre of “autobiography” was begun by Rousseau’s provocatively titled Confessions in the late 18th Century (Szajnberg, 1987). The elements of what we consider autobiographical first appear in this work: that early childhood influences whom we become in adulthood; that we can reflect upon our lives and that we can construct narratives of our lives, particularly with a listener (or reader in Rousseau’s case) available.19 In this sense, a foundation stone for psychoanalysis was laid by Rousseau: the value of narrating one’s life to both understand and explain and the value of reviewing one’s early life. Psychoanalysis can be considered an oral/aural extension of autobiographical genre (Szajnberg, 1987).

We have the opportunity then to look at various forms of art to see how we have developed our psychoanalytic concepts over time. In a sense, Freud is a great systematizer and more significantly, developed a technique to access inner life. We can learn from great artists (visual, plastic, literary) how we came to become who we now as twenty first century psychoanalysts are – how we developed –learning what may be universal, but also what may be cultural variations of our concepts of humankind. Dyson (2007), in a book review and essay, outlined how cultural differences between the French and Anglo-Germanic schools of physical and mathematical sciences refracted into different paths of methodology and discovery. With time, discussion and critical thinking, such differences are resolved by the larger scientific community. Paul (2010), a psychoanalyst and anthropologist, points out that as an anthropologist, he expects differences in psychoanalytic “thought” (what is optimal inner life; what is intimacy; what are the goals of treatment; what are the methods) among different cultures. He cites the more evident differences between the individual-centric Western perspectives versus the more family and group-centric Eastern cultures. By such careful study, across time, across cultures, we can begin to get clarity of how we have constructed our views of inner life, what we share as “human,” and what differentiates us from each other.

In this study of a late sixteenth century Italian master, we see Caravaggio‘s perspective on the universality of emotions and psychoanalytic understandings of ambivalence and intimacy.20 We learn that as Caravaggio exposes the darker and more intensely ambivalent aspects of our inner lives, this aesthetically enhances our view of humankind.

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Caravaggio (3)

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Caravaggio (1)

Caravaggio (2)

Caravaggio (4)

In general, Caravaggio imbricates the profane with the sacred, just as he creates a duet between light and dark. With light and dark, he technically uses the extremes of visual world to amplify, intensify the portrayal of reality, to enhance reality so that it feels real.14 By employing the extremes of the visual, he also enhances the shades and colors between these extremes. So too for the sacred and profane. Previous artists separated the profane from the sacred representations, or made almost didactic use of the sacred to distinguish it from the profane: for instance, in the passion of Christ, artists made it clear who was evil, those who lashed him, or speared his side. Even the master, Michelangelo in his Sistine Chapel’s Last Judgement, the artist makes it clear who – beneath Christ’s feet – is going to or in Hell, and who are the beatified en route to Heaven. No room for ambiguity.15 Caravaggio in contrast adds ambiguity, shades of judgment about the profane and sacred. First, he brings the profane into sacred representations, such as the portraits of contemporary laborers in their worship of Mary. Second, as mentioned above, he portrays the “sacred” acts of Judith or David with greater subtleness. Third he plays with portrayals of sacred characters, such as the almost teasing, lounging, perhaps louche, St. John, his satisfied smile almost a twin to Caravaggio’s Baccus. Caravaggio’s introduction of ambiguity – via light/dark; via sacred /profane – leads to a greater appreciation of the fullness and complexity of emotional life, the “shades” between darkness and light.

Further, Caravaggio’s elevation of the mundane or profane into the aesthetic or sacred is similar to early Christianity’s elevation of the worldly to the divine as captured in Matthew’s “one (sparrow) shall not fall on the ground without your Father.” In this sense, Caravaggio challenges the Church of his time, engorged with wealth and corruption, to live up to its early dedication to the downtrodden.

For Caravaggio, when people are together, they are together intensely and often with murderousness enacted or in the air. Murder’s presence is clear in portraits such as Judith and Holofernes, David and Goliath, even Abraham and Isaac. Caravaggio’s portrayals of Christ show either violence (flagellation, thorn-crowning) or implicit violence in the passion, albeit with Christ appearing indifferent, neutral, possibly saddened or resigned in some cases. While his Christs do not differ in this sense from other artists, Caravaggio pushes the degree to which death and decay are present and to which when people become close, murder or death enters. In psychoanalytic terms, Caravaggio recognizes and portrays the presence of ambivalence and ambiguity between people, particularly when emotions run high. Freud’s (1923) recognition of ambivalence in our intense, intimate relationships is one of his major contributions. Caravaggio, perhaps among others, identifies this visually some three hundred years earlier.

Caravaggio’s “graphical autobiographical” notes about himself also are not new: previous artists would insert themselves, for instance as an observer in a crowd. In one of Michelangelo’s last sculptures, a Pieta for his tombstone, he puts his face into that of ancient Nicodemus, poised above both Christ and Mary, supporting the fallen son.16 But Caravaggio takes us and himself much further into the intense moment. We see only Medusa’s severed head – no Perseus present — snakes writhing in death throes, but it is Caravaggio’s visage, eyes and mouth wide-open, showing more fear than anger glaring at us. Or, in Judas’ kiss, soft embrace and betrayal of Christ, others are charged with emotion – a Roman soldier rushing to grab the revolutionary, a citizen turned away from Christ in shock, others crowded about, while at the right edge, arm aloft with light upon the scene, is the artist, mouth and eyes alert with interest, perhaps a touch of surprise. Caravaggio crowds us towards the central scene; he is a parenthesis to the moment. Finally, his near- death portrayal of David and Goliath is another stark portrayal of himself. We can compare this to Bernini’s David sculpture: victorious, muscular and fiercely, angrily expressive — a look of fiero –he swipes his blade through. But, Caravaggio, now in his early 40’s, running from justice for years, portrays something more complex. Yes, his face is in the severed skull of Goliath. Even in death, Caravaggio/Goliath’s upper face shows “corrugator action, which Darwin called the muscle of difficulty — seen also in pain, anger, fear, and sadness. His lower face is mouth agape.

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But, we can treat the picture like a dream in which the artist (or the dreamer) can parcel himself into several characters, as Freud (1900) and Erikson (1954) taught us. Then, to the degree that this David is Caravaggio’s David, the young shepherd’s face shows no fiero, no anger, no joy: he looks, head tilted, slightly downward to his left, towards the dangling head held by his almost soft grasp. He shows remarkable calm, but with a tone of sadness or remorse or pity in the brows of the victor’s face. That is, Caravaggio in his penultimate work both somberly metes out justice (David) and is met with justice (Goliath).

Caravaggio_-_David_con_la_testa_di_Golia

 

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