The following writing considers the theory of Dietmut Niedecken and her psychoanalytic work exploring the primal scene and symbol formation.
Interpreting the Psychic Material
Alfred Lorenzer thinks that the traumatic experience consists of an “intolerable situation” that is available in phantasy being realized (1965, p. 693). If we consider what is being suggested is an “intolerable situation” represented in the fabric of the psyche that is generally dissolved in the fabric and only brought to bear when it is activated by a traumatic irruption, we can then make a connection with its connection to psychosis.
In considering potentially traumatic influences in early childhood, the primal scene was in focus in early psychoanalytic writings. The child is subjected to such an experience, to excitations that are overwhelming and therefore may have a traumatic impact. Freud thought the traumatic event of the primal scene was due to the child’s witnessing the parents’ act of intercourse. But some psychoanalysts believe the “primal scene” isn’t so much connected to witnessing the parents’ act of sexual intercourse as much as it is connected to how the parents treat one another in response to each other’s needs (e.g., in a loving and respectful way or in violent altercation and aggression). When aggressive arguments and physical fights are witnessed by the child, the child may experience traumatic side effects to the excitations that create cortical arousal and these excitations may be overwhelming for the child to process, and as a result, the child may have a hard time processing the event. This is most certainly connected with dissociative states and this becomes the difference between knowing and not knowing the trauma. Melanie Klein takes early phantasy formations as the “combined parent figure” and this combined parent figure is a particularly anxiety-inducing, fusional-destructive representation from the early stages of the Oedipus complex. The primal scene phantasy comes into being on the basis of projections of fear of abandonment, envy, and hatred that the child feels with regard to the parents’ sexual relationship from which he is excluded. Laplanche (2004) considered the primal scene the product of both the result of an event and a phantasy as the child works out the enigmatic message proceeding from the adults. In addition, according to Laplanche the phantasy is not arbitrary but an outcome of the child’s cultural environment which makes available to him for the translation of the enigmatic message of the primal scene some “general cultural . . . narrative schemata” (2004, P.908) These serve the binding and symbolization of the traumatizing enigmatic messages.
Many psychoanalysts have asked the question, “Why war?” And the answer to that question is, “War is how some children work out the enigmatic message of the primal scene (Mitzlaff and Niedecken, 2013, p. 87).” We see these enigmatic messages being played out all the time in child’s play when children will come together and play war-games. A very common game played when I was little was “Cops and Robbers.” In the war-games played by young children (mostly boys), one can observe the obvious encoding of the actions that make up the primal scene into male-sexual and female-sexual stereotypes, and the war scene itself is made up of the props and objects the child recognizes from television and computer games. As part of the primal scene symbolization what is acted out in the child’s game of war is a phallic-aggressive attack. Thus, the enigmatic message of the primal scene is in play here. In the journal paper The Primal Scene and Symbol Formation, Deitmut Niedecken writes:
“We can postulate that the children playing war have already developed a primal scene phantasy in which they assume the place of witnesses of excited events taking place between the parents. In playing, they are concerned now with further translating for themselves the enigmatic message of the primal scene. They are falling back on the metaphor of the war game, which operates as a cultural “translation aid (Laplanche, 2004, p. 908)”
Thus, there is a structure-forming aspect of the primal scene phantasy. Britton develops a concept called “The missing link” which positions a third person within the triangular space of the primal scene. This triangular space is bound by three persons of the Oedipal situation and all their potential relationships. This structure-forming space includes the possibility of being a participant in a relationship and observed by a third person as well as being an observer of a relationship between two people (Britton, 1989, p. 85).
Niedecken has shown when a child works out the exclusion from the primal scene the possibility of the “I think” position is made available and the protagonists of the primal scene are represented in grammar as “subject” and “object” and the relationship between them is governed by the predicate “Father-Subject has a Mother-Object.” I believe her German translates into a possessive form, as in “Father-Subject possess a Mama-Object.” That is, the father possesses the mother and the child is excluded from the sexual relationship.
If we consider it in this way, the development of verbal-discursive thinking is underpinned by an extremely violent, in fact, murderous phantasy and it is not surprising that children convey a perpetrator-victim relationship in their play. In this context, it is easily understood how the instrumentally dissecting external view proceeds from discursive language and allows a sadistic control over what is thought. This sadistic control and extremely violent and murderous discursive thinking underlie the machinery used during the Holocaust and can provide the reason for the sweeping tide of our planet’s self-destruction (Horkheimer and Adorno, 1973).
It is at this point in the paper Niedecken presents the possibility that exclusion from the primal scene may not be the only way a child interprets and experiences the primal scene. There is another possible way the child works through the experience as an inclusive member of the trio. She offers an example in music theory in which “two human voices can sing a love duet while an instrumental part accompanies it and adopts its own position towards it that is heard not as excluded by as belonging; in a fugue, two voices can join each other in a stretto, while a counterpoint is interwoven in it so that the three parts combine to produce an interwoven whole. Such forms of experience suggest to Niedecken that the primal scene experience must also be conceivable as a terzet, and she began to wonder where she could find such a form of the “primal scene as terzet (Niedecken, 2016).”
Niedecken offered two clinical examples of how children may experience the primal scene not as excluded but as included. She writes,
“In being together sexually, the parents do not have to exclude the child from their phantasies; instead, she can latently appear in them as its extremely welcome product, perhaps also as an oedipally desired participant; and the child can experience with them the excitation of the scene herself until the moment when she makes her own entrance and makes herself heard — as a counterpoint that is woven into the stretto of the fugue theme (Niedecken, 2016).”
It is important to note that this inclusion is in no way perverted, but rather demonstrates the healthy love between the two parents and towards the offspring him/herself. That is, the inclusion of a child in the primal scene is based on healthy reciprocity within the relationship, a relationship filled with respect, love, and caring that is consistently and actively demonstrated throughout.
With regard to the material that can be interpreted and analyzed in the phenomenon of electronic target assaults in the experience of the targeted individual, we can read its terzetto. We can read the unconscious unanalyzed fantasy of a child’s exclusion from the primal scene and the Father-Subject’s phallic aggressive attacks against his Oedipal Objects. In object relations theory we interpret the aggressor’s message as the phallic and potent father figure commanding and ordering his subjects/objects of his relational world.
It is my opinion, there is a tremendous lack of understanding in the research literature with regard to the prevalence of sadism in the world of non-incarcerated adults today, and how individual-specific sadistic traits contribute to the invisible crime of electronic targeting. It is also my opinion this phenomenon belongs to a subculture. A subculture interested in the “theatre of cruelty” in acting out a fantasy of control. It also utilizes the world of hi-tech electronic commercial fetishism (consumer hi-tech products) and biological implants that tethered together Objects with electronic devices, devices that act as counter-phobic objects warding off anxiety from these fear-inducing “threats.” Its action is bound to working out the enigmatic message from the child’s exclusion of the primal scene and it demonstrates the sadomasochism associated with other acts of BDSM. Please read further the link below.
STAGE VIOLENCE, POWER, AND THE DIRECTOR: Interpreting the evidence of electronic targeted assaults and body violations using electronic stimulation and radiofrequency — Proclivities’ Principle Wisdom (wordpress.com)
Lorenzer, A. (1965). Ein Abwehrsyndrom bei traumatischen Verlaufen [A defensive syndrome in traumtic processes]. Psyche Z psychoanal 19:685–700.
Niedecken, D. (2016). The primal scene and symbol formation. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 97(3), 665–683. Video abstract of the paper: http://youtu.be/5XxKSQ3pgWw
Laplanche, J. (2004). Die ratselhafte Botschaft des Anderen und ihre Konsequenzen fur den Begriff des UnbewuBten im Rahmen der allgemeinen Verfuhrungstheorie [The enigmatic message of the other and its implications for the concept of the unconscious in the context of the genderal seduction theory]. Psyche Z psychoanal 58:898–913.
Mitzlaff, S. & Niedecken, D. (2013). Zerstorung des Denkens in Institutionen [Destruction of thinking in institutions]. Frankfurt: Brandes und Apsel.
Britton, R. (1989). The missing link: Parental sexuality in the Oedipus Complex. In Britton R., Feldman, M., O’Shaughnessy, E., editors. The Oedipus Complex Today: Clinical Implications, 83–101. London. Karnac Books.
Horkheimer, M. and Adorno, T.W. (1973). Dialectic of Enlightenment, Cummingm J. translator. London. Allen Lane.
Winnicott, D.W. (1971). “The use of the Object and relating through identifications.” In Playing and Reality. Harmondsworth. Penguin, 1980.
Musical source to consider regarding Niedecken’s theory of a primal scene terzet:
Gustav Holtz. (1925) Terzetto (Flute, Oboe, Violin) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_DsQFfehGE
WRITTEN BYKaren Barna