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Trauma and Selfhood

Jul. 15th, 2006 | 12:33 pm
posted by: frozenfoxtale in momentofmadness

"[The first] experience of trauma and splitting is a particularly powerful one, because it is only in this experience that I first become conscious that there is a 'me' at all, as distinguished from the world. My very first experience of being me is tied in with the first experience of being not-OK. We do not fully understand yet how this can happen with the foetus of with very young babies - it becomes more obvious at about the three-year-old stage - but somehow it does seem to occur. [...]

The non-OK self is the negation of the OK-self. It sees itself as the answer to the problem* of the OK-self; and it devalues the real self. This is the first and most dramatic instance of something which will happen again and again throughout life - the move into objectivity and away from subjectivity. The non-OK self is, or wants to be, objective, right, or on the side of those who are right (after all, that is where the power is, and power is what the non-OK-me needs or lacks). The OK self feels itself to be defined as wrong - subjectivity is wrong - it is wrong to see things my way. Once this split has been established, it has effects which continue long afterwards. [...]

'Trauma' implies that the baby has experienced a break in life's continuity, so that primitive defenses now become organized to defend against a repetition of 'unthinkable anxiety' or a return of the acute confusional state that belongs to disintegration of a nascent ego structure."

- John Rowan, "The Normal Development of Subpersonalities" in The Plural Self: Multiplicity in Everyday Life

*The 'OK-self' is an arguably pre-birth or even mythical originary stage at which "there is nothing wrong. Whatever is needed is given, without the need to ask. The self is OK, and the world is OK, and there is no need to differentiate between the two. The world understands me in a very intimate way, so that I do not need to be able to communicate my needs. [...] I am open to the world. I assume that I am free, and even perhaps omnipotent. I am totally identified with myself. I am whole. But this also indicates that I have no protection against harsh events which may occur" and which, because they are out of my control, subsequently cause me to fear annihilation.

Hm. This book is sort of an anthology of articles that propose or discuss pluralistic models of selfhood as a way of approaching the difficulties of the postmodern fractured identity. I'm not necessarily writing this particular stuff down because I buy it. It's just my way of making sense of the chapter I'm reading - and I think it's interesting in the context of other stuff I've read/written/thought about in the past re: "anxiety", "trauma", "annihilation" of the "self" etc.

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Any Good Books Lately

May. 20th, 2006 | 01:50 pm
now feeling: curiouscurious
posted by: frozenfoxtale in momentofmadness

Whatcha reading?

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(no subject)

May. 20th, 2006 | 12:32 pm
now feeling: curious*shrug*
posted by: frozenfoxtale in momentofmadness

This comes from a book I'm reading on 20th Century anti-racist activism by white people, called A Promise and a Way of Life. The author is talking about the writings of an activist named Mab Segrest:

My Mama's Dead SquirrelCollapse )

In the past, people have asked me to explain Feminist Epistemology, and I've never done a very good job at it. I wouldn't do any better a job if I tried again right now. But I think this passage gets at it somewhat. Maybe what's radical about Feminist Epistemology is its insistence on privileging not simply subjectivity but reflexivity over "objectivity".

Consider, by contrast, the connotative implication of the phrase "philosophical autobiography" - suggesting that such a thing is not valid as philosophy. I sometimes wonder about how much political energy in the mainstream "Western Intellectual Tradition" has been devoted, basically, to convincing us that Real Philosophers don't have psychologies.

(And I wonder about how the internalization of that assertion has impacted my ability, as a person who tends to be hyperaware of her own psychology, to identify as a Real Philosopher.)

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Two Things About Multiplicity

Apr. 28th, 2006 | 09:13 pm
location: Radio Station
now feeling: sillyplayful
now playing: Katrina and the Waves - Walking on Sunshine
posted by: frozenfoxtale in momentofmadness

[Context: This entry takes as given that a non-pathologizing application of concepts related to "multiplicity" or "multiple personalities" is an effective|valuable paradigm through which to approach the postmodern experience of "fractured" or "kaleidoscopic" selfhood.]

Would YOU Like to Shake Hands With Thing One and Thing Two?Collapse )

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O! That Gnome.

Jul. 11th, 2005 | 03:57 pm
now feeling: goodgood
posted by: neverireven in momentofmadness

O! That Gnome
Trickster. Creative Chaos. Wild gifts. Breaking habits and patterns.Collapse )

"In a nutshell, which is where he claims to belong, his job is to help us get lost from our comfortable ruts so that we will explore wonderful, exciting, and strange new paths. He is a good friend of Raven, the philosopher-trickster, and Coyote is one of his many disguises. He is so smart that he sometimes outsmarts himself."

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What's The Story?

Jul. 11th, 2005 | 03:28 pm
now playing: The White Stripes - Pretty Good Looking (for a Girl)
posted by: neverireven in momentofmadness

Okay! I don't really have any concrete plans for this thing. I just wanted to create some communal LiveJournal space. We can use it to organize social events, discuss and debate ideas, leave cryptic messages, explore the benefits and detriments of small scale mass-media, create intrigue, tell stories, share links, write poetry, muse, wonder, play word games, whatever. Let's just experiment with the bounds of textual interchange and see what comes out of it.

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