On Passionate Attachments and Hegel’s “Meanest Character” Otherwise Known As Freud’s Id

By Karen Barna

So with this “thing” called “conscience,” with the foundation of its formation we see the establishment of some type of morals and values through passionate attachment. Nietzsche may have argued a portion of this point in his theory of “bad conscience.” Certainly in the typical early childhood we see a passionate attachment toward one parent or, perhaps both parents and, the acquiring through social learning and formal education, the norms of standards of conduct that become peculiar to our culture. The early relationship between mother, father, and self is what sets the foundation for the type of conscience we will carry with us into adulthood and is reinforced through our academic learning. Some families are more religious, others more scholarly based in academics, not necessarily religion or spirituality, and still others acquire an unsophisticated air in their culture, raw in its characteristics, a culture that may, and not necessarily will, promote illict sale of drugs, prostitution, and other forms of crime. Theories in social strain certainly would support the culture of crime we see in high risk urban areas. So too, is the individual will in subjugation to the local economy and opportunities available in order to advance the various individuals in social status and social standing. We can see the manifested watermark left behind as a result of one’s culture, and too, the watermark left behind as result of one’s early childhood attachments. We can make a demonstration in analyzing these marks by comparing channeled aggressive who are paid high salaries in the various area of sports or athletics. There can be a wide distribution in culture, value, and individual psyche.

So, as we grow the foundation we acquire for our conscience awareness of right and wrong, develops in our early childhood, and is a big part of who we are and thus, becomes elevate to broader levels when we enter into passionate attachments towards teachers, pets, spouses, children, and athletic coaches, etc. An interesting question which was posed in the book by Judith Butler was, “What motivates the will to turn back on itself? Does it turn back on itself under the pressure of an external force or law, under the anticipated or recollected force of punishment? Or does this peculiar form of reflexivity take place prior to, or in some other form of complicity with a set of externally imposed demands?”

Certainly we could argue with little objection from a legal judge the passionate reasoning behind a spouse who murders their husband or wife in a violent jealous rage upon discovering them engaged in an intimate partnership with another person. Acts of adultery have spawned passionate acts of murder through out history, and are almost always down graded to a lesser degree because of their lack of premeditation. So we could certainly argue that an act of will turned back on the self can be most certainly motivated by an external force playing on its reflexivity as well as an internal force, say a memory or feeling playing on the will.

In addition, we can argue, and which history has proven, the case of the war veteran who, as a young man enters the war only to return with a diseased mind. We could pose the same questions, “What motivates the will to turn back on itself? Does it turn back on itself under the pressure of an external force or law, under the anticipated or recollected force of punishment? Or does this peculiar form of reflexivity take place prior to, or in some other form of complicity with a set of externally imposed demands?” The war veteran’s turn addict or mental patient as the result from the peculiarities, wills engaged in violent anti-subjugation through the use of external force, excessively imposed and harsh demands brought into one’s reality through technological weaponry, .like bombs and grenades, makes a mark on the soldier’s psyche, ones that terrorized and punished the soldier into nightmares leave traces behind that maybe irresolvable.

Characteristics of human aggression are ingrained in our psychic environment from the moment we are born into this world. We arrive, mostly usually, crying and in demand for some attention from our mothers and require the vital nourishment of her breasts in order to sustain our survival. Thus, our needs are achieved through primal rage and aggression toward ‘other’ unless positive attachments are made through mirroring, adequate and timely response to needs, and those needs being meet consistently through out the early stages. Thus the highly libidinal and narcissistic states of our human existence which are at the heart of human acts of aggression. The oral stage is highly libidinal and is included with the formation of our first narcissistic development at 0-3 months and second stage of our narcissistic development occur around the pubertal age with the onset of hormonal changes and second sex characteristics at or around the ages 12 – 16 years and can be highly narcissistic and social with its emergence and discovery of identity as well as gender identity and with that all its distantiations as well, “Who am I?,” and “I‘m not you.” are usually answered and identification with groups like GBLT groups may emerge if they have not already, theater groups, music groups, debate groups, service oriented groups and these identifications help to shape ultimate career choices and who our desired love objects will be.

The lucky ones will have established a continuity of conscience and will possess modes of behavior that are consistent and reliable in their successful journey that carry them through their self-enslavement and continuity with the lordship and bondage of human form. The unsuccessful ones with be riddles with maladjusted traces of dysfunctional “terrors” and “punishments” which has shaped who they are as, what Erikson used the termed “monstas in defectu” in describing individuals who lack the formation of a superego, perhaps from methods of maladaptive parenting. One could speculate that the very notion of “purgatory” created by the catholic church would create monstras in defectu of us all with its cruel and harsh punishment, but what it does as a tool of learning is establish our conscience awareness based in fear of having our asses literally burned over hot coals. However, excessive methods actually carried out in childhood, by imposing on the will of the child harsh and punitive measures like; beatings, neglecting needs (especially emotional ones), using tactics of intimidation and cruelty are all forms of maladaptive parenting. History has shown us the effects of harsh and punitive treatment, and we see this most commonly in the aftermath of war. Hegel termed this figured body as “the merest particular of the meanest character,” reduced to his animal functions. This is the philosophical construct of Freud’s id. Hegel implies that defecation is carried out without embarrassment, as matters trifling in themselves which cannot possess any importance are essential significance for the Spirit; instead, it is in them that the enemy reveals himself in his characteristic shape, they are rather the object of serious endeavor, and become precisely matters of the utmost importance. This enemy, however, renews himself in his defeat, and consciousness, in fixing its attention on him, far from freeing itself from him, really remains forever in contact with him, and forever sees itself as defiled. This “enemy” as it were, is one which serves, unfortunately, as an object of identification for his “fallen” consciousness.” This is the turn in the will we see when one turns away from subjugation, that is, a turn away from man’s established conscience will, and turns his will back upon himself. Individuals will fairly regularly behave in this matter, or at least from time to time, with regard to transgression of behavior in acts known as acts of “bad conscience.” But what motivates the individual to turn his will back upon himself? Desire affixed to some passionate attachment he can’t live without? The need to fulfill some narcissistic demand? All human beings suffering the human condition go through periodic intervals, acts that transgression against society‘s norms. Anyone who thinks themselves above this “figured body”, that is, this “figured state of existence” is not in touch with his human state of existence, and acts most arrogantly, egotistically, and narcissisticly in his attempt to disclaim such a state. The fabrication of “other,” which I have previously stated, is fabricated simply because the standards of conduct that are imposed upon a civilized society, and thereby shape a given society, are created out of the imagination of the sovereign, and thus so is the fabricated states of bad conscience or ‘otherness.” You can prove this point by asking a person, “Have you ever violated a traffic law?” Almost everyone has at some point. Or ask, “Have you ever cheated on your taxes?“ Many individuals have and I’d venture to guess that most correspondence would not be forth coming about it, but to the one’s who answered yes, ask the question, “What motivated you to do so?” No doubt you’ll be able to find the glimmering trace of the person’s psychic id reveal itself like a jungle monkey stealing the another monkey’s bananas.

One of the most disturbing images I have seen circulate around Facebook is the posting which states, “If you are on welfare and collect food stamps, you shouldn’t own a cell phone, purchase cigarettes, or alcohol.” This message renders the opinion that the individual knows what it means to be the person collecting welfare and or food stamps. But, what if the person who is collecting food stamps, through welfare, is on disability because he or she is either a war veteran, physically handicapped, or mentally disabled? What right do you have to tell him he has not right to own a cell phone, smoke cigarettes, or drink alcohol, when you couldn’t possible know what it means to be in this person‘s shoes? These images are just cultural slurs imposed by narcissistic individuals who want to characterize, or better yet, demonize the ‘other’  as evil or the devil. It lacks good leadership skills. At no one time do I ever witness anyone offering to try and do something so as to effect social change. Instead, they just throw stones and rocks at another for being trapped in the enertia of the power of subjugation under a rulering authority.

My hope is to impart a sense of empathy by sharing with you what I’ve learned from the Psychic Life of Power by Judith Butler. While it has taught me how to explain the various violations of conscience, from violations found in the recidivism rates of violent criminals to violations of acts committed by, otherwise fairly conscience minded individuals. But what it teaches, and what I already know, is that we all suffer the human condition. I am in you and you are in me and, all is really one. We need government, we need religious community, and we need discourses in philosophy because these established institutions help to protect individuals from harm either through imposed laws or by raising our conscience state of awareness. We need to protect the people from the “enemy” from within, that fallen angel who fell from his conscience state of awareness. We need protection from the us we call man.


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