In The In-Between ‘Space’ of ‘Voice’ and ‘Silence’

inquisition
Inquisitors torturing a heretic.

 

In the in-between ‘Space’ of ‘Voice’ and ‘Silence’ there resides torture (consider Peters, 2012).

In a review of Cullen Murphy’s book, Edward Peters writes, “Murphy ponders “ what . . . any inquisition really is: a set of disciplinary practices targeting specific groups, codified in law, organized systematically, enforced by surveillance, exemplified by severity, sustained over time, backed by institutional power, and justified by a vision of the one true path. Considered that way, the Inquisition is more accurately viewed not as a relic, but as a harbinger.” In this sense then, Jane Mayer, author of “Dark Money” writes, “Cullen Murphy finds the ‘inquisitorial impulse’ alive, and only too well, in our [modern] world.”

“The politics of experience sometimes takes the form of a tendency amongst both individuals and groups to ‘one down’ each other on the oppression scale. Identities are itemized, appreciate, and ranked on the basis of which identity holds “the greatest currency” at a particular historical moment and in a particular [social] setting. Thus, in an Afro-American Studies classroom, race and ethnicity are likely to emerge as the privileged items of intellectual exchange, or, in a Gay Studies classroom, sexual ‘preference’ may hold the top-notch on the scale of oppression (Torres, pg 116).”

In the politics of ‘voice’ and ‘speaking’ in my Italian immigrant home there was a tendency to ‘one down’ the other. In my home this “one downing” was done by the “superior order,” that is, the “superior identities” in order for them to wield power over by holding the perception that they were the ones in possession of the “superior social and intellectual currency” (intellect and knowledge) over the other(s) who did not speak in the same dialectic. I’ve heard this referred to as “mafia mentality.”

“This kind of “one downing” works much like inverse cultural capital: identity markers (e.g. color, lesbian, disabled) can easily become the ontological ground on which to base a ‘superior’ insider knowledge of more ‘authentically’ experienced, ‘real’ embodied oppressions which, say, the white, homosexual, able-bodied woman cannot match (Luke, pg 220).”

In regard to Targeted Individuals (TIs), I’ve heard the term “dumbing down” or “dumb downing” to express the act of retarding a person’s ability to “know what they know” and to make connections to and parallels with past experiences. This “dumb downing” is also known as perspecticide and, traditional speaking is one of the most devastating psychological effects of coercive control that is accomplished through isolation (Stark, pg. 267). However, in the abuse-related capacity of relationships, one is made unable to “know what they know” by either making that person self-doubt or by some other form of direct physical manipulation such as in electronic assaults or physical torture. This act of “dumbing down” leads to the person’s inability to be authentically and genuinely known as their true selves. This act of “dumbing down” your opponent facilitates the competition of the “superior class identity” and helps them become organized and recognized as the “real,” “better than,” “preferred identity” that possess the greatest worth among a groups social members. Please consider the invention of inquisitorial practices (History.com, 2017, Inquisitions).

“In women’s accounts of family separations, indentured servitude, forced sterilizations, and systematic genocide are powerful messages about historical silencing and these often rate higher on the oppression scale than white women’s testimonials (Luke, pp. 220).”

The forced and retarding nature inflicted by electronic assaults conveys a message that can be compared to the forced sterilization of Aboriginal women in Australia. Both acts send a powerful message about the historical and political nature of silencing the individual voice. A position that has been historically held by the dominant phallocracy. However, there’s power in victimhood. The perpetrators unknowingly hand over power to their victims immediately upon the initiation of the crime. For the victim has now become the ‘Signified’ by the ‘Signifier’ made by a visible wrong.

In the philosophy of Law, derision is most assuredly not tolerated much like acts of physical violence are not tolerated. Derision is closely associated with bullying, tyranny and the unfair treatment of marginalized groups. Harboring deep-seated feelings of hatred, scorn, and contempt for another or a group of people have historically led to outbursts of violent aggression during historical epochs, wrongful and unlawful death of innocent people by gangs, mafias, and other organized criminal groups, as well as the oppression of groups based on marginalized characteristics such as color, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, gender, intelligence, strength, and power. These characteristics have very well established and documented historical cases known to many. The institution of slavery, historical oppression of women’s rights, the Holocaust and other historical events of genocide, the Inquisitions, and the Witch Trials. As well as many criminal cases rooted in individual competition which take into account man’s nature and his relationship to objects in his relational world. We can refer to a variety of documented criminal cases for clarity and proof of man’s paranoia against threatening objects in his field of object relations. Consider Juliett Mitchell’s 2000 work “Madmen and Medusas: Reclaiming Hysteria.”

Exposing a ‘face’ to the broader social group can pose a ‘cultural taboo’ and reveal a raw sense of lived pain which was not experienced from others cultural perspective. As a result, a deafening silence can abound when individuals give testimonials about the horrors endured by them as marginalized groups whose ‘lack of insider identity’ and ‘lack of status recognition’ can expose raw truths about the true nature of humanity. Raw truths that can expose blood violence and acts of callous hatred. Characteristics such as a ‘lack of insider identity’ and a ‘lack of status recognition’ have historically been used during colonization which creates tensions and hierarchies along divided lines of power. Issues of divide and rule, power, gender and identity, ethnicity and religion are connected to relationships that promote “authentic authority.” But these same attributes can contribute to individual silence and “inauthentic identities.”

Refusal by the larger social group to “look at” and “speak to” the ‘exposed face’ of a targeted individual may be a reason the phenomenon of electronic assault has gone unaddressed and uncorrected. A refusal that has closely been tied to the ‘imaginary symbolic’ and muting feminine voice which has been reflected in the gender politic of historical-philosophical discourses isolating the feminine voice from the dominant phallocracy. This refusal, silence, and muting has been reflected in acts of religious inquisitions, the turning of one’s will toward the wishes of the other, the burning of ‘witches’ at the stake, other acts of forced confession through torture as well as conspiracy theories surrounding mind control techniques.

The Complexity of Power in “Divide and Rule” and “Knowledge and Ignorance” in Colonization

The colonial legacy has re-written cultural identities, individual life histories, and contemporary cultural politics, both individual and institutional. Silence, whether it is being promoted by feeling threatened or guilty, as a consequence of particular subject’s position in relation to an “authority,” or the silencing of one’s ability “to know what they know” through the act of electronic assault and coercive control are complex power/knowledge relations for which simple prescriptions for empowerment through voice and action do not account and may not work. For targeted individuals, this simply is because the “authoritative voice” that is silencing the powerless cannot be seen. It remains hidden under the veil of the invisible via electromagnetic assaults. When you have been systematically terrified over and over again, you get to a point where you become unafraid. You learn to accept your powerlessness and while the assaults have violated your body’s private spaces, and taken your quality of life, it hasn’t taken your life completely and this gives hope that it might one day end. I suspect that for me, as a female, a girl’s castration has already occurred and can no longer be feared perhaps making victimization a bit more palatable to digest intra-psychically. Girls don’t experience the dramatic destruction of the Oedipus complex typical for boys. What complicates psychological issues further is the fact that women need to be loved far more than they need to love. As Freud pointed out women are much more narcissistic than men. Acts of invisible, physical, electronic assaults do not seek to lift up and empower, but rather to tear down, destroy, and demean.

In comparative literature and film, we could consider as the cultural symbolic of invisible assaults, a book by Ralph Ellison ‘The Invisible Man.’ We could also address the new film release of “The Invisible Man” and how this film address issues of invisible physical assault similar to invisible physical electronic assault.

In the book “The Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison, “Invisibility is used as a metaphor for the oppression faced by African American men throughout society as the narrator comes to a greater understanding of himself (Robinson, 2017).” The novel works to protest against racism and the cloak of invisibility that is placed on Black people. It addresses the oppression faced by people of color that goes against mainstream White society. In this way, the Invisible Man is considered an existentialist novel or bildungsroman. This reflects a journey of transformation that occurs within the character. It includes individuality, identity, and self-discovery. “The novel can be studied as an existential one for it deals directly with questions of individual existence, identity formation, and the meaning of life for a Black man confronted with racism and cultural stereotypes.” Some literary scholars call “The Invisible Man” a protest novel (Robinson, 2017). Since all past historical inquisitions, witch burnings, and forced confessions were protests too, I wonder if the electronic assaults I am suffering are the ‘voice’ of some “invisible man” protesting my identity and existence? Why does he hide his face?

The name of the main character in the original novel is never revealed. This is a technique done purposely by the writer. However, throughout the remainder of Russia Robinson’s research, she refers to the main character as ‘I Am.’ The main character, the narrator of the novel, is a social outcast. Who he is, his identity as a black man is rejected by mainstream society. The book was written in 1945 and the main character speaks of his experiences. He is African American, he is male, he is young, he is from the South. It was written during a time in America when Jim Crow laws and segregation was alive and heavily enforced. Racism and discrimination were rapid and blatant in society. But since the author does not give the main character a name, a clever strategy put forth by the way, he refuses to give the main character a personal identity. This forever shields the invisible man from establishing a uniqueness, a distinction that would portray and establish himself as a separate self, a separate part from the larger whole. It also provides another effect. The character is known and recognized by being invisible to the world due to his race. With no name, the reader must further recognize his invisibility through language. That is, through ‘voice’ and ‘speaking.’ Scholars and researchers refer to the main character as, Invisible Man. This is the main character’s self-identity and the title of the book. This literary approach in writing gives ‘voice’ to the sentiments and feelings of the author and thus grants him ownership over the main character.

In the act of electronic assaults, there are no authors to refer to except for those authors found in history which have carried out acts of persecutory violence, genocide, murder, oppression, Inquisitions, and more. In this sense, one is only able to unearth a dialectical, a language that has been spoken by many abusive male leaders throughout historical time. The person casting the electronic signals in my personal case of electronic assault my be a person who is attempting to gain a hold of language, voice, and speaking in the abusive male tongue (dialectic) that allows them to speak but also keeps them safe from prosecution.
I find it important to note that the latest film scheduled to be released February 28, 2020 entitle “The Invisible Man,” the invisible man is a sociopath who is obsessed with a woman he wants to control and possess. When this woman runs away from him in the night to free herself from his abusive control, he ends up murdered. But is he really dead or has he found a way to make himself invisible? The film addresses some of the similar topics the original book “The Invisible Man” addressed in the 1940s only with variations on its themes of rejection, identity, separation and loss, identity transformation, individuality, and perhaps never addressed before, psychosis.

I find the subject of “identity transformation” an interesting topic because this is exactly what Inquisitions did. They tried to convert one religious group to another religious affiliation thru torture. Jews and Muslims were often their targets.

It is not only patriarchy that silences women’s voice. Many women may not survive the odds against them in their quest for mobility and this fact can be exacerbated by the fact that women can and do often silence each other. If the telling of individual experience requires a narrative cultural content and vantage point, it may be desired to silence some voices and not others in order to benefit one’s self-interests. Naming one’s historical trajectory, identity, location, and acknowledging one’s historical complicity in the colonization of discourse by socially skilled power players becomes relevant in uncovering critical facts.

“There are times when it is not safe for students to speak: when one student’s socially constructed body language threatens another when the teacher is not perceived as an ally. It is not adequate to write off student silence in these instances as simply a case of internalized oppression. Nor can we simply label these silences resistance or false consciousness. There may be compelling conscious and unconscious reasons for not speaking – or for speaking, perhaps more loudly, with silence (Luke, 1994).”
“Conversely……several (usually male) students of colour in mixed-race classes over the years….refuse steadfastly to say anything for an entire semester……these young men’s silence is a political strategic move to assert their identity by not giving the ‘black point of view’ for the benefit of white students (or the white teacher) (Luke, 1994).”

Making corollaries between the anal-sadistic universe where boundaries are obliterated and individual histories are re-written (Chasseguet-Smirgel, 1984), the Inquisitions of past history were the harbingers for a new world order and similar to these harbingers are the electronic assaults suffered by Targeted Individuals (TIs). Could these electronic assaults act as “mini-inquisitions” where a set of disciplinary practices targeting specific groups, codified in quasi-law, organized systematically by a larger or networked group, enforced by surveillance, exemplified by severity, sustained over time, backed by either institutional power or network gang-related power, and justifies its vision of “the one true path.” But who are the Inquisitors?  And will their faces ever be exposed?

Source References:
Peters, Edward. “God’s Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World,” by Cullen Murphy. The Washington Post. Published on January 13, 2012. Retrieved online February 22, 2020.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/gods-jury-the-inquisition-and-the-making-of-the-modern-world-by-cullen-murphy/2012/01/02/gIQAT1iywP_story.html

Torres, L. (1991) “The construction of self in US Latina autobiographies,” in: C.T. Mohanty, A. Russo & L. Torres (Eds) Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism, pp. 271-287 (Bloomington, IN, Indiana University Press).

Luke, C. (1994) “Women in the Academy: The politics of Speech and Silence.” British Journal of Sociology of Education. Publishers Taylor & Francis, Vol. 15. No. 2., pp. 220.

“Inquisition.” History.com. Published on November 17, 2017. Retrieved online February 23, 2020. http://www.history.com/inquisitions   It is important to not that inquisitions were considered a “tool” to exert social control and power dominance and as such became means of absolute power and control over the powerless. There are many mentions of countless abuses in which people were wrongly accused and tortured. Much like electronic devices today such as smartphones, laptops, desktops, global positioning systems, etc. These “tools” can also be abused and violate people’s personal boundaries.

Mitchell, Juliet. (2000) “Mad Men and Medusas: Reclaiming Hysteria.” New York. Basic Books.

Stark, Evan. (2007) “Coercive Control: The entrapment of women in personal life.” New York. Oxford University Press. Chapter 8, The Technology of Coercive Control, pp. 267.

Walker, Michelle B. (1998) “Philosophy of the Maternal Body: Reading Silence.” New York. Routledge. pp. 18. Walker points to Le Doeuff’s reference to the “shameful face of philosophy” which “alludes to the fact that philosophy is unable to recognize its dependence upon the images or metaphors that it plunders from an imaginary outside. Elsewhere she speaks of this as the “internal scandal” of philosophy, its inability to fathom its own inclusory and exclusory devices.” Michelle Boulous Walker points out on page 18 that in Le Doeuff’s exploration of the philosophical imaginary “she traces an elision of woman and interiority in the text of an eighteenth-century physician whose concerns slip curiously from medicine to moral philosophy. The text in question, Systeme physique et moral de la femme, published in 1777, is read in conjunction with some contributions to a contemporary one, Le Fait feminin, edited by Evelyne Sullerot and published in 1978. The fact that just over two hundred years separates these is cause for (feminist) concern when Le Doeuff exposes their ideological function of assigning woman the place of a mute interiority in her published work The Philosophical Imaginary (1998). I should point out that Le Doeuff does not attempt to reduce the structural complexities or specificities of these texts to one simple statement about femininity, but rather that she discovers the echo of an imaginary femininity embedded in a philosophical tradition that can only be labelled phallocratic.”

“The Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison: An Analysis.” Russia Robinson. Published on February 21, 2017. Retrieved online over WordPress.com February 25, 2020.
https://russiarobinson.wordpress.com/2017/02/21/the-invisible-man-by-ralph-ellison-an-analysis-on-race-and-race-relations-before-civil-rights/

Chasseguet-Smirgel, J. (1984) “Creativity and Perversion.” New York. W.W. Norton. Chapter 1 “Perversion and The Universal Law,” The Anal-Sadistic Universe and Perversion, pp. 2-6.

In The Shadow of Silence: The pedagogy of shame

Shadow of a woman2

by Karen Barna

The learned politics of ‘speech’ and ‘voice’ growing up in my home was a difficult enigma for me to unravel. As girls we were taught our roles and our place to speak, and when not to speak. My father was a militant dictator who barked out orders for his children to obey. Debates were rarely, if ever, used as a form of formal inquiry to understanding. What added to the confusion was the trauma reeked in the atmosphere of domestic violence. Violent outbursts between my parents were common and part of their marital communication ritual. Fear and intimidation imposed by patriarchial role models were often suffered through growing up. This turned into a fear to speak and be heard. Like Pavlovian Law, we were conditioned on a subconscious level of our worth as women; Silence is Golden. For women, the practice of ‘voice-speech-speaking’ can be carefully hidden and articulated in the shadow of imposed Silence, and since ‘voice-speech-speaking’ are elements of language and all language engenders sentiment and feeling, ‘voice-speech-speaking’ as a form of communication can be a powerful tool (Chodorow, N. 1998). As such, women can be taught to either love or hate themselves. This fact does not only ring true of patriarchal discourses and male-authored discourses but also bears truth in the silencing of female voice by other females when differences of identity, location, and history clash among women. It is for this reason therefore, that the ‘granting’ of spaces for women’s speech may be pedagogically desirable but may have potentially silencing effects (Luke&Gore, 1992a). Even a deadly effect.

As a woman, I had to learn how to emancipate myself from my own fears of speaking out. “Speaking” occurs on many different planes of one’s existence. Body-language, facial expression, choice of attire and the clothes we wear, hairstyles we don, occupational choices, even those we select as mates and life-long partners are all expression of our identity. It is this socio-cultural politic, it is this complexity of identity that represses some women to the side-lines only to be heard as “the voice from the margins.”

Becoming a Targeted Individual (TI) suffering the onslaught of electronic assaults, persistently and continually has had a silencing effect on my identity. This silencing effect marks the “signifier” from the “signified”; and the powerful from the powerless. The role of women’s voice and language, in a traditionally oppressed patriarchial society, have addressed issues surrounding the female learner and gender power inequality, differential distribution of knowledge, differential distributions of resources, the lack of empowerment for the “weak” and disadvantaged, who have traditionally been women and other marginalized groups. It is this differential distribution of knowledge that I would like to address at this point in my paper. What we as, not only women and marginalized groups, but as citizens of the United States are allowed to know and not know because the practice of ‘voice-speech-speaking’ can be carefully hidden in the art of silencing. For this reason, one must be critical of the alleged “facts” as evidence to the signifier’s or the dominant power structure’s case of supposed “truth.” On the contrary, one must analysis and interrogate with a critical eye the assumptions underlying the conceptual framework and practices geared toward emancipatory pedagogy’s truth, all of which rely heavily on the notions of “empowerment” and giving voice to the silenced and oppressed. “Make America great again!” Many are mislead by the promoted statistics, all the good numbers that reflect successful outcomes, while all the negative numbers are hidden in the shadow of the former. On the contrary, it may not be actual lies but rather a mistelling of truth. A distortion. A re-invention of truth. Be careful one doesn’t position themselves as ‘outsider’ readers and reproducers of the pedagogy masculine canon and become just like one of Adolf Hitler’s blind followers. In this atmosphere where the dialectic generates feelings of inadequacy in the competitive environment of the signified, where the “signifier” or power structure’s “voice appear more articulate,” more able to “sustain a rational argument,” and where one is “more accomplished” to give advice and render professional opinion.

“What are the signs that indicate an individual or group is being abusively subjugated because of their social status?” Voice has always been equated with political power. Astute articulation for women has been seen as positive and empowering, as well as a step forward towards the ability to make public utterances of assertion of one’s position on an issue, or the ‘naming,’ of one’s identity and location on the demographic grid of socially ascribed ‘differences.’ Through the smoke and mirrors of deception though, one might read silence as a refusal by one individual or group to ‘confess’ or ‘expose’ the self. However, with the phenomenon of Targeted Individuals (TIs) and electronic assaults, one must be careful they do not misread this silence. Individuals being tortured by electromagnetic frequency signals may not be withholding their truth by choice but rather under the direct manipulation of coercive control by a hidden operator. Just like a telephone operator who directs various lines of communication, connecting people to one another, so too does the controller direct the targeted individual’s will, communication, and behavior. Through this method of indirect manipulation what we witness is a new mode of communication in a system of language. That is, a new social construct to subjugate the “weak” and powerless through an imposed power structure and authority. No longer can we relegate these individuals to “the voices from the margins,” marginalizing and under-valuing their experiences, and misrepresenting their truth as the “schizophrenic mentally-ill.” These targeted individuals have the potential for suffering the same type of silencing as any one of the traditionally oppressed groups in history; women, people of color, black slaves, immigrants, homosexuals, prison inmates, the mentally ill, the retarded, young children and the elderly. The silencing of victims has been rooted in paranoia and fear of the other’s ‘difference’ and “powerlessness.” When a victim steps forward to reveal their truth, the first strategy by the defense team is to try and attack their character and question their sanity. This strategy is a political move in which political opponents jockey for power and position by casting the other in an inferior position, and often times, the truth, and the person’s character are misrepresented.

Genres of power and the linguistic and representational resources that constitute those genres, historically are male-defined, written, and exercised; masculinities that can represent dominant, authoritative, aggressive, active drives that silence and oppress “inferior” groups. It is important to note that marginalized groups have historically been excluded from education, from reading, writing, and speaking the public tongue of politics. And just like women’s historical location outside the logos of male-dominated philosophical discourse has muted and devalued women’s speech (Walker 1998 & Le Doeuff 1998), so too does the act of electronic assaults and electronically targeting individuals. It seeks to locate these TIs outside the logos of “rational argument.” This fact, in and of itself, is one of the biggest flags raised that should be an indication that a form of silencing is taking place, but nothing is being done to prevent it from happening. When targeted individuals come forward with allegations of electronic assault the first thing that is questioned is the person’s sanity. They receive responses like, “Oh, you must be schizophrenic.” Seldom do they receive a response, “I believe you. Because man has harnassed the ability to manipulate electromagnetic frequency signals and man, too, has a history of being violent and abusive. It just maybe that something else is going on. You might be a victim of some crazed deranged lunatic.” Since patriarchy’s historical obsession with repressing the feminine, locates her outside the “law of the father” and renders whatever identity she may have independent of male signification, as unspoken and unspeakable, we must connect the dots and draw a conclusion to the fact that these electronic assaults reflect male-pattern abusive dominance in American culture. Targeted Individuals are the symbolic representation of the silencing of ‘difference’ through voice, speech, language, and communication (Walker 1998 & Le Doeuff 1998).

We must retrace and uncover the muted voices. We must consider Chassguet-Smirgel (1984) and the anal-sadistic’s desire to re-write history by obliterating all boundaries between Objects, as well as Foucault’s philosophies (1978, 1965) and comments on how man has re-wrote history through the acquisition of medical knowledge with the birth of the clinic, harnassing power over the human body. We need to draw correlations and comparisons between the muted silenced voices of past eras and the muted silenced voices of today’s TIs. Like the wrongful murders and wrongful imprisonment of male homosexuals and black slaves based solely on the ‘difference’ they represented, so too does the electronic targeting of individuals represent a criminal wrong in today’s society. It is important to additionally note that women who are not empowered, praised, or supported will be less likely to engage in public political strategies where they can participate in approaches aimed at gaining and maintaining voice in mixed-sex settings. Research has shown that women acquire their ‘education’ passively. They learn to learn on their own and in relative silence (Lewis 1992). Electronic assaults and electronic targeting does not seek to empower people. It seeks to tear down, humiliate, demean, and obliterate.

“Women’s ‘work’ in the academy, whether as student or teacher, marker or research assistant, continues to be under the procedural theoretical and administrative custody of men (Heilbrun 1990).”

The production and reproduction of methods of silencing have been structured on one of the oldest organizational models to survive the medieval era into the 21st century – the university. High tech bureaucracies, research parks, and post-industrial management and control over what is to count as “knowledge,” “intellectual activity,” and “worth (Heilbrun 1990).

The use of electronic assault and electronic targeting is a demeaning and humiliating experience that contributes to the targeted individual’s sense of inadequacy which can perpetuate (indeed reward) their continued silence. The “marks of shame” are made apparent in their subordination, degradation, debasement, isolation, immobilization, and their sense of self as defective and diminished (Bartky, S.L.). It is likely the demeaning treatment of electronic assault is being perpetrated by someone who perceives the targeted individual as someone wholly ‘Other’ and non-human.

“Intellectual sparring and competitive one-up- ‘man’ ship – the expressive mode of choice among men – is not women’s discursive style and is not how most women go about the getting of knowledge. However, such a claim does not exclude a large number of women who have learned the master discourse and language of the other so well that their mimicry of the other qualifies them for (partial) admission into phallogocentrism’s inner circle (Luke 1994).”

However, women who have learned to speak the phallocentric language are quickly labeled “bitchy” and “quarrelsome” “ambitious” and “aggressive” – qualities valued in men but considered “unsightly” in women. In this respect, a woman who displays her sense of feminine-masculine power by asserting herself in either defensive fashion or in alignment with the dominant phallocentric order may find herself silenced and outside phallogocentrism’s inner circle if she is perceived as “too offensive.”

“Silence is generally deplored because it is taken to be a result and a symbol of passivity and powerlessness: Those who are denied speech cannot make their experience known and thus cannot influence the course of their lives or of history (Susan Gal).”

Thus gaining “voice” really becomes about gaining “power.” “Silence” and “mutedness” are then used in the sense of one’s ability, inability, or reluctance to create utterances in conversational exchange, but refer as well to the failure to produce one’s own separate, socially significant discourse. Thus, if one is able to successfully “silence” the other via electronic mechanical mechanisms, this then becomes the avenue in which culturally constructed relations of power, produce and reproduce itself through the interactions between and among various individuals. How does this apply to Targeted Individuals and electronic assaults suffered by people claiming to be targeted? This aspect of communication can make it difficult to link the one who is doing the speaking to the person being silenced by the speaker. But for the “speaker” it may become an illicit avenue with which to express and feel dominance by exerting power over a “weaker” subject. Individuals who failed to meet the traditional social standards of a capitalistic society (financial earnings, sublimating their creative power through acceptable hobbies and paid work, securing legitimate occupational or professional work) may fall into routine modes of behavior in which they gain power and dominance through hidden and clandestine, criminal and illicit avenues that may make it difficult to link the “speaker” to the “subject”. In this case, the one who is “speaking,” by imposing electronic punishment on his “subjects” or targets, is the one who is successful or winning at his game. This is the politics of, not only speech and silence, but of illicit criminals and their victims. This is the politics of abusive power over the abused.

Below are the referenced sources which cite historical, philosophical studies in silencing based on gender, sexuality, psychiatry, and classroom learning.

References:
Chodorow, N.J. (1999) The Power of Feelings: Personal Meaning in Psychoanalysis. New Haven, CT. Yale University Press.

Luke, C. & Gore J. (1992a) Feminisms and Critical Pedagogy. New York. Routledge.

Walker, Michelle B. (1998) Philosophy of the Maternal Body: Reading Silence. New York. Routledge. pp. 18. Walker points to Le Doeuff’s reference to the “shameful face of philosophy” which “alludes to the fact that philosophy is unable to recognize its dependence upon the images or metaphors that it plunders from an imaginary outside. Elsewhere she speaks of this as the “internal scandal” of philosophy, its inability to fathom its own inclusory and exclusory devices.”

Le Doeuff, Michele. (1998) The Philosophical Imaginary. Standford, CA. Stanford University Press. Michelle Boulous Walker points out in “Philosophy of the Maternal Body: Reading Silence on page 18 that in Le Doeuff’s exploration of the philosophical imaginary “she traces an elision of woman and interiority in the text of an eighteenth-century physician whose concerns slip curiously from medicine to moral philosophy. The text in question, Systeme physique et moral de la femme, published in 1777, is read in conjunction with some contributions to a contemporary one, Le Fait feminin, edited by Evelyne Sullerot and published in 1978. The fact that just over two hundred years separates these is cause for (feminist) concern when Le Doeuff exposes their ideological function of assigning woman the place of a mute interiority. I should point out that Le Doeuff does not attempt to reduce the structural complexities or specificities of these texts to one simple statement about femininity, but rather that she discovers the echo of an imaginary femininity embedded in a philosophical tradition that can only be labelled phallocratic.”

Irigaray, L. (1985) Speculum of the Other Women. Ithaca, NY. Cornell University Press.

Kristeva, J. (1986) The Kristeva Readers. New York. Columbia University Press.

Chasseguet-Smirgel, J. (1984) Creativity and Perversion. New York. W.W. Norton.

Foucault, M. (1978) History of Sexuality. New York. Pantheon Books.

Foucault, M. (1965) Madness and Civilization: a history of insanity in the age of reason. New York. Pantheon Books.

Lewis, M. (1992) “Interrupting patriarchy: politics, resistance and transformation in the feminist classroom,” in: C.Luke & J.Gore (Eds.) Feminisms and Clinical Pedagogy, pp. 167-191. New York. Routledge

Luke, C. (1994) “Women in the Academy: The politics of Speech and Silence.” British Journal of Sociology of Education. Publishers Taylor & Fransis, Vol. 15. No. 2. pp. 211-230.

Heilbrun, C.G. (1990) “The politics of mind: women, tradition, and the university,” in: S. Gabriel & I. Smithson (Eds.) Gender in the Classroom, pp. 28-40 (Urbana, IL, University of Illinois Press).

Bartky, S.L. “Pedagogy of Shame,” in: C. Luke (Ed.) Feminisms and Pedagogies of Everyday Life. Albany, NY. SUNY Press.

Gal, Susan. Between Speech and Silence: The problematics of research on language and gender. Retreived online February 7, 2020.
https://journals.linguisticsociety.org/elanguage/pip/article/download/458/458-776-1-PB.pdf

On The Politics of Speech and Silence

MS-13 Gang Slaying

“Silence is generally deplored because it is taken to be a result and a symbol of passivity and powerlessness: Those who are denied speech cannot make their experience known and thus cannot influence the course of their lives or of history.” ~Susan Gal, “Between Speech and Silence: The problematics of research on language and gender”

People who demonstrate problems in giving leniency to others deserving the right to be heard are demonstrating by example the impairment to their psyches and intellect and, as such, pose a very frightening threat to the freedom, liberty, and prosperity our democracy promises.

There are various different constructions of silence. For example, to baffle and disorient with words promoting the confusion of information as to create chaos of understanding in the other, religious and cultural refusal to extend the right for one to speak freely based on social position, sex, or ethnicity, or violently silencing a subject thru maiming (cutting out the tongue), murder, kidnapping, intimidation or some other construction in which the person cannot speak or fears for his or her life. These are some of the forms silence can take in human communication.

Silence suggests a close link between gender, the use of speech (or silence) and the exercise of power. But the link is not always direct. On the contrary, it appears that silence, like any linguistic form, gains different meanings and has different material effects within specific institutional and cultural contexts. How does this apply to Targeted Individuals (TIs) and forms of electronic assault to the human body?

All language generates sentiment and since all language, including unspoken words such as body language, can generate feelings, speaking behind the veil presents itself to us with the indirect link to speech and silence. Think about how a gangster might send a “message” to a potential enemy. The mafia might send a dead bird in a box to a witness scheduled to testify. Another person might find themselves locked out of all online accounts including their bank accounts by clandestine hackers. These are forms of communication without formal verbal speech attached to it.

However, silence and inarticulateness are not themselves necessarily signs of powerlessness, as powerlessness can be your greatest source of power. One’s vulnerabilities are one’s source of strength. Powerlessness, the inhumane unethical experiments traditionally carried out on the weak; women, black slaves, prison inmates, the mentally ill, retarded children, children in foster care, and the elderly. Weakness, even inarticulateness then can serve as evidence and example to the subjection of the weak by a stronger abusive power. A fact that must not be overlooked.

Since the female gender has been historically seen as a form of powerlessness, modern theorists argue that gender is a system of culturally constructed relations of power, produced and reproduced in interactions between and among men and women. It is this production and reproduction of the Object spoken about in the philosophy of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) Lordship and Bondage and the Master-Slave dialectic. These theories are also at the core of object relations theory and theories on subjectivity and intersubjectivity. In social institutions such as schools, courts and political assemblies, talk is often used to judge, define and legitimate speakers. Thus, small interactional skirmishes can have striking material and long-term consequences. A second aspect to the politics of speech and silence is for one to consider how verbal communication is often a site of struggle between the weak and the powerful; it concerns who can speak, where one can speak, when one can speak, and about what one is allowed to speak about. Therefore, if you are not in a legitimate position to speak because you have committed a crime, or are not considered a professional candidate, a person in this weakened position my seek ulterior means to communicate with his victim/s or the viewing public. Giving “voice” or “words” to the perspective of one’s personal experiences when one has been denied the right to “speak” by more powerful and oppressive authority figures, represents the rupture in human communication and human interaction. To take the right to speak away from one who has threatened you or exposed your evil is also part of this politic of speech and silence.

Thus gaining “voice” really becomes about gaining “power.” “Silence” and “mutedness” are then used in the sense of one’s ability, inability or reluctance to create utterances in conversational exchange, but refer as well to the failure to produce one’s own separate, socially significant discourse. Thus, if one is able to successfully “silence” the other via electronic mechanical mechanisms, this then becomes the avenue in which culturally constructed relations of power, produce and reproduce itself through the interactions between and among various individuals. How does this apply to Targeted Individuals (TIs) and electronic assaults suffered by people claiming to be targeted? This aspect of human interaction can make it difficult to link the one who is doing the “speaking” to the person being “silenced by the speaker.” But for the “speaker” it may become an illicit avenue with which to express and feel dominant by exerting power over a weaker subject. Individuals who failed to meet the traditional social standards of a capitalistic society (earning money, sublimating their creative power through acceptable modes of behavior in a legitimate business occupation) may fall into the crosshairs of a predator. The predator himself may use routine modes of behavior in which he gains power and domination through hidden and clandestine, criminal and illicit avenues that may make it difficult to link the “speaker” with the “subject-target“. In this case, the one “speaking” by imposing electronic punishment on his “subjects” or targets. This is the politics of, not only speech and silence, but of illicit criminals and their victims. This is the politics of abusive power over the abused.

“I then discuss the contradictory politics of voice which can occur when differences of identity, location, and history clash among women. I argue here that, in my and many of my colleagues’ expereince, ‘granting’ spaces for women’s speech may be pedagogically desirable but can have potentially silencing effects (Luke & Gore, 1992a).” ~Carme Luke, “Women in the Academy: The politics of speech and silence

There are culturally defined links between speech and power. Some linguistic strategies and genres are more highly valued and carry more authority than others. In a classic case of symbolic domination, even those who do not control them consider them more credible or persuasive. Respected linguistic practices deliver characteristic cultural definitions of social life which, embodied in divisions of labor and the structure of institutions, serve the interests of some groups better than others. This ability to make others accept and enact one’s representation of the world is another aspect of symbolic domination. Resistance to a dominant cultural order occurs when devalued linguistic strategies and genres are practiced and celebrated despite widespread denigration; it occurs as well when these devalued practices propose or embody alternate models of the social world. In short, the maladjusted behaviors that present themselves through the articulation of language such as normalizing of property theft, rape, illicit drug use and sales, and even murder. These are some of the modes of behaviors possessed by MS-13 gang members.

Symbolic domination through subjugated knowledge. Since the control of discourse or of representations of reality occurs in social interactions, and is a source of social power; it may be, therefore, the occasion for coercion, conflict or complicity. Therefore, some social theories notice and attempt to explain the subtlety, subversion and opposition to dominant definitions that define and legitimize acceptable dominant culture. I propose the phenomenon of Targeted Individuals and the electronic assaults they suffer may be an ambiguous form of subversive culture, that is, subversive communication voicing a rejection or a desire for the “reconstruction of identity (personality) for certain people (TIs). This is all done by expressing the beliefs and distorted perceptions of the “speaker” over the “subject.” When personality and identity are closely tied to identity formation, gender, and sexual orientation the varying aspects to personality multiply exponentially, this sets the stage for violence by those who cannot effectively navigate difference.

Key Witness in MS-13 Trial Beaten To Death

Source Reference:

(1) Susan Gal. “Between Speech and Silence: The problematics of research on language and gender.” Retreived online February 7, 2020.
https://journals.linguisticsociety.org/elanguage/pip/article/download/458/458-776-1-PB.pdf

(2) Carmen Luke. “Women in the Academy: The politics of Speech and Silence. British Journal of Sociology of Education. Vol. 15. No. 2 (1994). pp. 211-230.

Affecting A Person’s Blood Sugar Levels Via Attempts At Causing Physical Bodily Harm

Glucose Monitoring2

“Causing or risking to cause the infliction of personal bodily damage to another human being via the use of electronic assault by stressing the body into releasing hormones that raise blood sugar.”

Stress – being electronically harassed, cyber attacked, cyber-stalked, physically assaulted, criminal sexual contact via the use of an electromagnetic tether, sexually assaulted, physical stalking, or gangstalking. The individual performing these behaviors is intentionally acting in such a way as to “Causing or risking to cause the infliction of personal bodily damage to another human being via the electronic assault by stressing the body into releasing cortisol. A hormone that is directly involved in activating the liver to releasing stored sugar in the body.”

Hormones The Dawn Effect, The Dawn Phenomenon, or Liver Dump is when cortisol is released in the body forcing the liver to release glucose into the bloodstream. Other hormones also associated with high blood sugar levels are epinephrine and norepinephrine associated with the transition from sleeping to wakefulness, occurring between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. So working out in the early morning hours between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m. might be beneficial to someone suffering elevated blood sugar levels in the morning?

Could there be a correlation between my early morning electronic assaults, the ones that prevent me from active physical movement, be responsible for the onset of my weight gain? I consider these electronic attacks a form of aggravated physical contact, or aggravated harassment in the first degree.

 

Sleep Disruptions/Not Enough Sleep– Electronic assaults during the night that cause a person to awake at 2 a.m. and make it difficult for them to fall back to sleep are acting in such a way as to “Causing or risking to cause the infliction of personal bodily damage to another human being via the electronic assault by stressing the victims body into releasing cortisol.” Again, this is a form of aggravated harassment.

Excitement – When our bodies feel excited the body releases epinephrine in the bloodstream. Epinephrine is a hormone responsible for causing high blood sugar levels in response to the “fight or flight” evolutionary response.

 

“Under the statutes in the state of New York, you can be charged with harassment for engaging in a course of conduct or committing acts that place a person in reasonable fear of physical injury. … Simply making a call, even if no conversation takes place, can constitute aggravated harassment in the second degree.”

Aggravated Harassment Legal Code in New York

Menopause and Beyond: One Daughter’s Experience With Her Aging Mother

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Freud believed the elderly were incapable of benefiting anything from psychoanalysis. “Freud (1905, 264), writing about who is fit to treat, asserted that “near or above the age of fifty, the elasticity of the mental processes on which the treatment depends is, as a rule lacking. Old people are no longer educable.” (1)

In reading a case study of a ninety-four, terribly infirm woman, and contrary to Freud’s postulate, Lucy Holmes seems to think that even in extreme old age a person is capable of resolving unresolved issues of infancy and the relationship to the pre-Oedipal mother. In old age patients regress to childlike states in which they take great joy in being nurtured again. Like the pre-Oedipal infant at the nursing breast, a sense of comfort and safety can be won. However, regarding menopause and speaking from my own personal experience, I also believe some individuals regress to both childlike and adolescent states during menopause. Just as in adolescence, there is a surge of both libido and aggression in menopause. If a woman’s maternal introject is a perception of her being fat, castrated, weak, slob of a mother and this, typically speaking, would be projected onto the self in what psychoanalysts call introjective identification. But what if the daughter didn’t introjectively identify with her maternal object? It is my opinion that homosexual women, or heterosexual women who don’t identify with their maternal introjects, may not demonstrate the negative self-talk that many menopausal women do experience.

Speaking from personal experience, I see the great pleasure and joy my mother takes in humiliating me, a caregiver who, like her own mother, occasionally confronts her with difference. Her spiteful spirit is a reflection of her past experiences and character profile. It is my opinion that at one time during her childhood development she was made to feel weak, small, and powerless. During the times she seeks to humiliate me, she seems to take great joy in it. So, it is my opinion, that at these times she regresses to that childlike state where once powerless, castrated, filled with penis envy, she manages to make herself feel powerful and omnipotent by squashing the object of her humiliation and/or difference and conflict. I wrote a post called The Object Humiliator: Theory Explained where I attempt to explain this form of passive-aggressive attack.

Recently, I corrected her on one of her opinions, backing my statement up with academic, accredited, factual, collegiate information. Let me explain. She always has claimed to have idealized her mother by saying, “I would never talk that way to my mother! I respected and loved my mother because she did the best she could for me!” Of course, my mother is projectively identifying herself through this delusional image of her “perfect mother” (the “good breast” version of herself) because it has been a defensive mechanism she puts in place to elude confrontation with difference. This mechanism is put in place to help her elude the work of a deeper investigation into why the other person is confronting her with “conflict.” This mechanism also helps her to elude confronting and coming to terms with her own “bad parts” and acceptance of her imperfect self.

What my mother expects from us daughters is undying love and allegiance. That means you can’t confront her with your own difference of opinion. Your actions are expected to reflect accommodation to her wishes and desires because this makes her life easier. If it doesn’t, well, then that would be like turning your back on “the crown”. Another one of her favorite sayings is, “I’m a tit for tat kinda person.” This phrase means if you do something against me, I’m going to do something against you. An eye for an eye if you will. This is how my mother has presented herself to me over the years I have known her. Another one of her favorite phrases is, “It is what it is.” This statement is another attempt at eluding responsibility for taking action.

No one idealizes their mother that much. All mothers possess good and bad traits. Respect and love of a person come not from solely loving their idealized parts but from understanding that they are possessing both good and bad traits. We all do! And the truth is, my mother would occasionally be disrespectful to her husband, to us children, and to others who upset or wronged her in some way. This is normal. People get disgruntled about loss. People get mad. She would sometimes scream at us growing up. The truth is my mother doesn’t like being told when she is wrong. She does not want to be corrected. She doesn’t want to be yelled at and she certainly doesn’t want to waste her time trying to understand why YOU are upset. She can be psychically cut-off. Everything is expected to go smoothly in her “idealized world.” Is it because she’s too old? Is what Freud asserted true? That “near or above the age of fifty, the elasticity of the mental processes on which the treatment depends is, as a rule lacking? Old people are no longer educable?” Some psychoanalysts don’t believe so.

For my mother to carry around this delusional belief about her “perfect” idealized mother would be similar to a young woman carrying around the delusion that her fiancee is “absolutely perfect” for the rest of her married life! As the years go by, as we all know, we are all confronted with the reality that our idealized lover is in fact “not absolutely ideal.” That he has “good and bad parts” to his personality and that marriage is not a “perfect bed of roses.”

The Expulsion of Internalized Objects

During menopause, and beyond, women have to re-confront their maternal introjects. That is, their mothers. There can be a move, during menopause, and beyond, toward anger and aggression directed at our early childhood introjects. As women must confront their aging bodies, and the loss of their youth, which prepares us ultimately for the loss of control in advanced old age, it is not surprising that some may become confrontational and aggressive. This type of confrontation in women, which starts during menopause, sparks a move to try and expel the maternal introject from her body and psyche. Other psychology related to this fact are the diseases of anorexia, bulimia, and self-cutting. This expulsion of the maternal object is fueled by aggression and is part of the regression of the infantile position, the anal-sadistic fantasies that Freud described and since our early childhood introjects are the first objects that confronted us with difference, it’s not surprising that aggression should be locked-up with these experiences.

The overriding theme of female development has been the internalization of and identification with objects in one’s early childhood relational world. How we unconsciously identify with these objects may remain hidden from us, but through careful inspection and analysis, we can uncover what these objects represent to us. For example, my analysis of my mother taking great joy in humiliating me perhaps is, in part, due to her hidden identification with me which has become less about me being her daughter and more to do with me being a projection of her husband, my father. I look like my father. I even identified with my father growing up more so than my mother in my early development. My father was the first generation born of an Italian immigrant family and, like him, I have dark Italian features. The parts of me which represent her difference, are the parts of me that she might find repulsive; lack of allegiance, desire for independence, youthful age, academic knowledge, remembrances of humiliations she endured from my father during their marriage, may all be hidden and unconscious to her.

Of course, at the root of all this difference are the internalized identifications with our original objects – the Mother, Father, Self triangulation. However, Juliette Mitchell bought sibling lateral relationships into the fray with her book “Madmen and Medusas: Reclaiming hysteria.” My mother was one of six siblings. One of her siblings, my aunt, disclosed to me when I was a young pre-adolescent girl that when my mother was little she would “beat her.” “Oh, I beat her ass!” she proclaimed. I often wondered if these “beatings” my mother endured in childhood were the result of her psychic splitting. I found this woman to be totally repulsive as she took great joy and laughter in telling me the story of her indiscretions against my young mother. How could I forget the way she licked her dentures, after consuming a meal at our table, placing her teeth right there for all of us to see, lite a cigarette, and relaxed back in the chair. Horrible etiquette!! Now, I wish I could go back and ask her what made my mother deserve such harsh discipline?

My final thought is this if female development has been the internalization of and identification with objects from our early childhood relational world, and if during menopause a woman attempts to expel her mother from her body and psyche, how does this relate to, and what does this say about women who wish to humiliate the female objects in their relational world by making them that fat, castrated, weak, slob of a mother through the process of projective identification? Are these desires to humiliate not tied to the infantile world of anal sadistic fantasy? Could not some of the sexually deviant fetishes of Body Inflation Fantasies be rooted in humiliating this maternal Object Other? To consider deviance related to forms of this sexual fetish please click on the link below. Video may contain sexually explicit images. Viewer discretion is advised.

https://xhamster.com/videos/inflatable-latex-suit-6226636

Source Reference:

(1) Lucy Holmes. (2008) The Internal Triangle: Theories in Female Development. New York. Jason Aronson.

What Does Woman Want?

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Freud asked, “Was will das Weib?” (“What does woman want?”). Lucy Holmes and Bollas answered many decades later:

What does woman want? She wants to be able to use her empathy and intuition in the service of her own ego. She wants the feminine tendency to identify to be a tool, not a prison. She wants to be liberated from the oppression of the internal triangle and be able to encounter her internalized objects playfully, not compulsively. The longing implied in Feud’s original question, “Was will das weib?” expresses an important idea and it is this: Life becomes complex, rich, and meaningful only when we can experience and savor both self and other.” It is important to note that it is only when this “savoring” of one’s self and other is done with the capacity to love the other void of pathological narcissism and fixed unconscious drives that negatively and pathologically ritualize the way we maltreat others.” (1)

“Bollas (1987, 62) said that the creation of a space for the holding of the self as an object of one’s nurture is an essential contribution that clinical psychoanalysis can make to the patient. But if the internal triangle is characterized by a rather impoverished ego being tyrannized by two or more toxic parental imagoes, it becomes difficult or impossible to access the space required for the nurturance and feeling of the self. How then can an analyst work with the oppressively “feminine” woman to help her carve out such a space?” (1)(2)

Although this space is constructed in the weekly hour-long clinical interview, the need to carve out this time in daily life remains a necessity for a lifetime. Women usually achieve some “me time” through a multitude of ways including workouts, meditation and prayer, yoga, and connecting with loved ones or friends. Again it is important to reiterate that it is only when this “savoring” of one’s self and other is done with the capacity to love the other in a truly healthy way; void of pathological narcissism and fixed unconscious drives that negatively and pathologically ritualize the way we maltreat ourselves and others.

“Hoffman (1996, 38) wrote that Freud’s theories about women were consistently based on the adolescent conception that women’s passions are dangerous and need to be controlled.” (1)(3) Since Freud’s body of work can be seen as a progression from a masculine, nineteenth-century worldview, (4) based on science and rational logic, to a more feminine and modern perspective that is broad enough to include the importance of intuition and the unconscious (Breger 1981), (5) women aren’t viewed as vessels that must be commandeered and controlled, mastered like an animal.

Since the internal triangle gives meaning to the idea that “three’s a crowdthe maternal and paternal introjects have powers that the little girl doesn’t possess, the female ego is almost always bullied by its own introjects, and this encourages the submission, passivity, and masochism that are associated with the truly “feminine” woman. This intrapsychic dynamic is implicated in the almost universal subordination of women that anthropologists and sociologists describe. (1)

I would like to reiterate that women don’t want to be controlled or commandeered like some maritime vessels. Woman wants to be free to creatively express and enjoy her internal objects, her sexuality, skillfully and playfully, void of sanctions that confine her to a position, a symbol, of muted space with denied rights. The tether of electronic chains are no different than the metal chains that imprisoned Ariel Castro’s three victims; Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight. Snatched, chained, imprisoned and denied their freedom. All were oppressed to his will and desires. (6)

Source Reference:

(1) Holmes, Lucy. (2008) “The Internal Triangle: New Theories of Female Development.” New York. Jason Aronson. Chapter 4, “What Does Woman Want? A New Perspective,” pg. 75-89.

(2) Bollas, C. (1987). “The Shadow of the Object.” New York. Columbia University Press.

(3) Hoffman, L. (1996) “Freud and feminine subjectivity.” JAPA 44, supplement: 23-44.

(4) Dijkstra, B. (1986) “Idols of Perversity; Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-de-Siècle Culture.” New York. Oxford University Press.

(5) Berger, L. (1981). “Freud’s Unfinished Journey: Conventional and Critical Perspectives in Psychoanalytic Theory.” London. Routledge and Kegan Paul.

(6) Ariel Castro Kidnappings. Wikipedia. Retrieved online January 8, 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariel_Castro_kidnappings

Pathological Ritualization in Human Behavior

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The Term Ritualization Defined

“We should … begin by postulating that behavior to be called “ritualization” in man must consist of an agreed-upon interplay between at least two persons who repeat it at meaningful intervals and in recurring contexts; and that this interplay should have adaptive value for both participants.” (1) Such “ritualizations” are seen in religious ceremonies throughout the world. However, it is important to note, that those suffering from psychosis also develop ritualizations that have maladaptive value. That is, when the ritualization of behavior between two or more people is carried out with the intended purpose of harming an Object Other as part of the re-occurring context of language and speech. Forms of these behaviors represent forms of psychosis. An example of some common types of “ritualizations” would be that of serial killers and serial rapists. They would display acts that are carried out in the same fashion with the same type of murder weapon which would display through symbolism and metaphor their chaotic, psychotic internal world. Uncovering the hidden meaning behind these “ritualizations” is part of the job of forensic psychologists. In reading silence of a ritualized crime scene one can potentially unveil the troubled internal world of the perpetrators. (2)

The Space in which One Lives

“Any habitation that one enters as a visitor or an observer always has its ambience, its tone (personal tonality). It is not readily analyzable but is a perception on the visitor’s part, Michael Polanyi has called this a tacit knowledge and appreciation of the values of those who have chosen the space, arranged the furniture, and designed the decor. The space inhabited by the individual is an investiture of preferences and usages. For what kinds of activities is it arranged? Is the interior planned as space in which to receive and to welcome others? Does it on the whole suggest dependence on others, or is the space clearly managed by its occupants? Is it full of memorabilia from the past, or does it perhaps immediately draw attention to the generational involvement of its tenant or tenants by displaying the current photographs of the young of the family? These outward signs of involvement are always on view…..with the social and personal need to make a statement.” (1)

I took the above paragraph from the book “Vital Involvement in Old Age” by Erik Erikson (1986). Although it was a discussion on a way to analyze the recipients’ living spaces which were part of Erikson investigation study into old age, it, nonetheless, also can be used to compare the remains of ritualized crime scenes. Spaces and locations are chosen carefully. Bodies, arranged like decore, which may offer insights to the criminal mind. Here I’m thinking of the Eastbound Strangler. The Eastbound Strangler is an unidentified serial killer believed to be responsible for the murders of four women near Atlantic City, New Jersey in 2006. Four dead bodies of women identified as prostitutes were found in a drainage ditch filled with shallow water on November 20, 2006 behind the Golden Key Motel on the Black Horse Pike in Egg Harbor Township, situated on the outskirts of Atlantic City, New Jersey. All of them were placed face down in a row, facing east, about sixty feet apart from each other. They were clothed except for having their shoes and socks removed. They were believed to have been strangled to death. Since all four bodies were arranged in the same fashion, in the same ditch, lying in close proximately to each other, an investigator would perceive this as a method of ritualized killing. These women may have possibly been attacked when they bent down to take off their shoes and socks. Most of the microscopic evidence was washed away by tidewaters and the case has never been solved.

The ritualization of pathological behavior is not solely found in acts of violent crime but is also found in the passive-aggressive acts of what French writer termed dangerous liaisons or Les Liaisons dangereuses. Sometimes played out on the schoolyard playgrounds where bullies target and harass students who may appear shy, non-aggressive, “weak”, or “stupid.” Les Liaisons dangereuses (in English: Dangerous Liaisons) is a French epistolary novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, first published in four volumes by Durand Neveu from March 23, 1782. (3) 

It is the story of the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont, two narcissistic rivals (and ex-lovers) who use seduction as a weapon to socially control and exploit others, all the while enjoying their cruel games and boasting about their manipulative talents. It has been seen as depicting the decadence of the French aristocracy shortly before the French Revolution, thereby exposing the perversions of the so-called Ancien Régime. However, it has also been described as an amoral story. (3)

Les Liaisons dangereuses is celebrated for its exploration of seduction, revenge, and human malice, presented in the form of fictional letters collected and published by a fictional author. (3)

The Perverse Strategy

A perversion is a psychological strategy. It differs from other mental strategies since that it demands a performance. The overall strategy operates in the same way for males and females. What makes all the difference between the male and female perversions is the social gender stereotype that is bought into the foreground of the enactment. The enactment, or performance, is designed to help the person to survive, moreover to survive with a sense of triumph over the traumas of his or her childhood. The perverse strategy is unconscious. The actor, or protagonist, knows only that he feels compelled to perform the perverse act and that when deterred from doing so he feels desperately anxious, panicky, agitated, crazy, even violent.  The protagonist does not know that the performance is designed to master “events” that were once too exciting, too frightening, too mortifying to master in childhood. The performer cannot, dare not remember those terrible events. Instead, his life is given up to reliving them, albeit in a disguised, symbolic form. An adult, male or female, who is compelled to perform a perverse ritual expends a great deal of energy and devotes a considerable portion of each day and night attempting to master and control emotions and affects that were overwhelming and uncontrollable in childhood. A perversion, for as long as it lasts – a decade or an entire lifetime – is a central preoccupation of the person’s existence. (4)

Forty-one year-old repairman Terry Oleson, who was being allowed to stay for free at the Golden Key Motel in exchange for repairs when the murders took place, was implicated by his girlfriend as the killer. They were reportedly having a domestic dispute at the time. In Oleson’s room, investigators found cameras set up and images of his girlfriend’s teenage daughter undressing. There have been no DNA matches to connect Oleson with the crimes and he was never named as a suspect. (3)

“Women who make a man feel weak, who may bring to the surface the man’s fear of looking feminine or appearing like the weaker sex, might create a situation in which the man fears of ego defacement and thus may create a modulated form sexual sadism which may be played out as an enactment of dominated / dominator. The man thereby assumes the role of the powerful dominator and inflicts pain and suffering on to the dominated to prove his masculinity.” (4)

Some other forms of pathological ritualization in human behavior: transvestism, imposture status, Ponzi schemes (Bernie Madoff empire), bondage discipline and sadism and masochism, pedophilia (networking groups of men), prostitution, and pornography.

Source References:

(1) Erik H. Erikson, Joan M. Erikson, Helen Q. Kivnick. (1986) Vital Involvement in Old Age: The experience of old age in our time. New York. W.W. Norton & Company.

(2) Michelle Boulous Walker. (1998) Philosophy and the Maternal Body: Reading Silence. New York. Routledge. Chapter 2, “Philosophy: Reading Denial.”

(3) Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved online Janauary 3, 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Liaisons_dangereuses

(4) Kaplan, Louise J. Kaplan. (1991) Female Perversions: The Temptations of Madame Bovary. New York, Doubleday.

Other Sources Connected to Pathological Ritualization:

(5) Amber Jacobs. (2007) On Matricide: Myth, psychoanalysis, and the Law of the Mother. New York. Columbia University Press.

(6) Nancy J. Chodorow. (2012) Individualizing Gender and Sexuality: Theory and Practice. New York. Routledge. Chapter 9, “Hate, Humiliation, and Masculinity.”

(7) Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel. (1984) Creativity and Perversion. London. Free Association Books.

(8) Lucy Holmes. (2008) The Internal Triangle: Theories in Female Development. New York. Jason Aronson.

(9) Danielle Knafo; Kenneth Feiner. (2006) Unconscious Fantasies and the Relational World. Hillside, NJ. The Analytic Press, Inc. Relational Perspective Book Series, Volume 31.