11 October 2011

Quote of the day, yay! (Note to self ...)

"Freud makes clear that those who ask for analysis do so because they want a witness to share their feelings with. At the same time, to surrender those feelings is the last thing they are prepared to do. This is because they find comfort in the pattern of repetition they have established for themselves. As long as they repeat it, they recognize themselves in the repetition. So the cycles of reenactment are mistaken for the core of one's personality. To give them up, it seems, would mean to surrender oneself entirely (to the witness).

This is why, in the moment of transference, the witness is simultaneously drawn into the close cycle of repetition, and warded off as a threat to the comfort of a familiar pain which shall not be surrendered. In Jenseits des Lustprinzips (Beyond the Pleasure Principle) Freud in fact describes the force of repetition/transference as a 'demonic' principle of 'conservative resistance' against the pleasure principle itself: Under the spell of repetition people protect a world they (believe to) know and control against new experiences of pleasure that would disrupt the immutable laws of their cyclical universe.

Provocatively then, Freud portrays the surrender of the comfort found in the repetition of safe patterns as a leap forward towards an avowal of memory that implies an openness to yet unknown pleasures."

-- Jan Verwoert, 'You Make Me Feel Mighty Real: On the Risk of Bearing Witness and the Art of Affective Labour', Tell Me What You Want, What You Really, Really Want, Piet Zwart Institute & Sternberg Press 2010 (pp. 290-1)

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